Michael Dahn’s blog post last week about vendor involvement in #SecChat was a good read on multiple levels, but as a PR/marketer, what I appreciated most about it was its acknowledgment of vendor efforts to be part of the community rather than on its periphery:
I really like it when vendors engage the audience instead of just tweeting their own marketing news briefs or re-tweeting other people’s content. Engaging in actual conversations with actual people somehow breaches the corporate veil and makes large companies more … human. There are a few companies that have done this well, such as @TripwireInc with their #PCIHugItOut series….
Dahn goes on to describe these chats in a fair amount of detail, providing a new dimension to the possibilities for vendor engagement. I have blogged about the general need in the past. But Dahn gets specific.
So specific, in fact, that I’m stopping just short of saying that digital forensics and e-discovery “tweeps” should hold similar chats. In fact, the conversations I have seen among them (as well as the infosec community) are lively and organic, springing up amid the workaday grind and hardly in need of a hashtag or a set time.
Only occasionally do vendors join in, though. And so, while the natural conversations may last for 30 or 40 minutes without any need of a hashtag… what if vendors are missing an opportunity here?
Recently, @McAfeeBusiness reached out to me about organizing another kind of engaging conversation. The idea was to harness those flame-wars and schedule them so people who wanted to participate could. Thus was born #SecChat….
The chat itself was interesting, but the behind the scenes was even more interesting. Katherine Nellums (@knellums) and Haley Hebert (@haleyhebert), two of the active voices behind @McAfeeBusiness, reached out to me to discuss who would be good people to offline-invite to participate.
Dahn’s account reflects something I have been reading about in mainstream content marketing and PR blogs for months. McAfee’s actions indicate careful planning, using a Twitter chat as one tactic in their overall communication strategy. To channel all that online energy into something that was useful not just for the community at large, but also (ultimately) for McAfee’s own business. Ideally, shaping a useful conversation will help McAfee generate leads for its products and services, along with existing customers’ loyalty.
I’d love to see large digital forensics and e-discovery vendors take the same opportunity to help drive conversations away from “Oh, there they go marketing again” to “Hey, they really understand our needs.” What might these conversations look like?