Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Social Media: Not Just a Fad

August 17, 2009

I’ve used the phrase that “social media is transformative”. 

Here’s a YouTube video that demonstrates this much better than I can.

Integrated Media: A New Twist

June 1, 2009

When I hear the term “Integrated Media”, I think about combining various print, online, and face-to-face media products into an integrated package. It’s a term that probably came into existence when publishers began to feel the first signs of the declining long-term trend several years ago and they became creative in packaging together (mainly print) products into a package.

Chris Brogan in his blog post, Thoughts on Nowhere and Nowhen, led me to think about a different version of Integrated Marketing. He writes about synchronous and asynchronous communications. Even though there seems to be a movement towards live, lifestreaming communications, not everyone nor everythings needs to be shared that way.

He describes the first web as the brochure web which gave rise to the second web, the two-way web and poses the question, “What if the third web is about the relationship of things and places between the physical world and the placeless, timeless world?” An interesting perspective especially for those pondering the future of b2b media. And what if instead of defining Integrated Marketing from a publisher-centric product perspective, you defined it from s customer-perspective as to where and when they want and need to get their information and where and when iti makes sense for synchronous and asynchronous to come together?

I’m not proposing an answer, but I am pointing to a perspective that could dramatically alter the way by which we view the future. More to come on this one.

Twitter @Events II

April 23, 2009

So step one is complete.  You now have a working knowledge of Twitter and Social Media.  Most importantly, you understand that Twitter is an ongoing conversation and not a traditional marketing or selling channel.  So what do you do now?  How do you use Twitter with your event? 

Let me attempt to combine my thoughts with articles and blogs that I’ve corralled. 6 Ways to Utilize Twitter at Your Conference provides some solid observations and ideas from BlogWorld 08.   Ian Skerritt, Marketing Director at EclipseCon in his blog posting Creating a Conference Twitter Community  provides an excellent case study and tips covering everything from setting objectives to offering improvements for next year’s event.  And TwiTip offers up another 6 step process in the blog post Twitter Trumps Online Conference – Six Steps for Using Twitter for Your .Conference or Event.  By no means is this intended to be a comprehensive list, but it should be a pretty good starting point.

So here’s the composite list:

  • Create your Twitter account(s).  You need to determine whether your Twitter identity should be the show or individuals on the show team.  If you have multiple individuals, create multiple accounts, and don’t try to control the individuals.  Let then develop their own voice.  Remember that Twitter is a person-to-person, transparent, open, and honest environment, not a broadcast medium. 
  • Establish a #hashtag for your event.  Very simply this is the # sign followed by an event name, acronym, or abbreviation (e.g., #CES).  It is best to establish the hashtag early and then to start using it in your pre-show tweets to establish its usage.  The hashtag acts as a filter that allows anyone to follow the conversation happening at your event.
  • Develop a strategy to build followers. Invite people to follow you.  Follow other people.
  • List your Twitter accounts on your web site and in all marketing materials. 
  • Feed the Twitter stream to your web site.  Depending on what works best you can stream to your home page or to a separate section.  There are even Twitter apps that allow you do things such as mash up Twitter with Flickr images.  But start with the simplest approach.  EclipseCon created the “EclipseCon Bird’s Nest”.
  • Start by listening but gradually begin to engage in the conversation.  Remember not to be overtly promotional.  Retweet (RT) materials that other people have created.   Establish your voice and your presence in the Twitterverse.
  • Ask  your potential participants what they want at the event.  Send out tweets with questions and ask your followers to retweet to get more input.  You can even embed a poll in a tweet using tools like PollDaddy.
  • In your event promotion (specifically following up with pre-registrants) and on your website, promote the use of Twitter and your #hashtag, but also offer Twitter tips and links to Twitter beginner articles to help those who need some advice to get going.  
  • During the event send tweets with updates, changes, and agenda items.  Encourage your CEO, board members, or other vested leading industry stakeholders to join the conversation. Remember that these tweets should be personal observations, comments, even “newsy”, not promotional.  You may want to provide these folks with some Twitter tips before unleashing them.
  • Encourage your participants to tweet during the event.  You probably want to create separate #hashtags for individual conference sessions to develop an interactive, more tightly defined conversation.  Note that these additional #hashtags can be developed on the fly at the event. 
  • Use twitter for Q&A during sessions and keynotes.  You can feed the Twitter stream to a large screen so that everyone can follow the conversation.
  • Encourage your participants to hold “meet-ups” or arrange them yourself.
  • Post-show keep the conversation going.  Immediately after the show you have a lot of material to work with but even after that dies down stay as active as possible and maintain your presence.

Social Media: Listen

April 16, 2009

Lorna Li in her 6 Steps for Creating a Social Media Marketing Roadmap offers 4 simple steps to help you jump start your buzz monitoring campaign.  Please note that I re-used her comments word-by-word:

1. Sign Up for Google Alerts

Google alerts is a service that notifies you by email of the latest Google results pertaining to your query or topic of choice. Google alerts covers your query results appearing in news, blogs, web page updates, video and groups.

Because of the large volume of alerts that will come to your inbox, it’s recommended that you create a “Rule” in Outlook that will filter all Google results to a specified folder.

Google Alerts will also list recent blog entries. However, to retrieve a listing of blog entries that span a longer period of time, use Google Blog Search or Technorati.

2. Monitor Blogs

Google Blog Search

Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs – all blogs, not just Blogger blogs. Google Blog Search will search for the latest blog entries related to your query. You can also subscribe to search results for your specific keywords by RSS, and receive continuous Blog Search updates for that search term.

Technorati

Technorati is an Internet search engine that focuses on blogs. I find that its search results tend to be less relevant than Google or Yahoo, delivering a broad spectrum of results for queries with more than 2 keywords and delivering nothing when exact match is enabled.

It does allow you to query tags, and suggests alternative tags related to your search term.

For continuous updates subscribe to Technorati search results via RSS feed.

Co.mments

Tracking a blog may not reveal the full conversation about your business. Even if a blog post makes a positive mention about your business, those commenting on the post can still attack your reputation. Co.mments helps you to stay on top of blog conversations by keeping you updated of new comments, allowing you to break into the fray and defend your brand at a critical moment. Just bookmark, track and follow. You can also subscribe to your tracking feed and read new comments in your feed reader or e-mail client.

3. Track Conversations in Community Forums & Message Boards

Boardtracker

Boardtracker is forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system designed to provide relevant information quickly and efficiently while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted.

You can pre-define search terms and receive an alert by email or RSS as soon as a thread matching your search term is posted in any of the thousands of forums it tracks.

If you want to track specific forums, you can also submit the forum url to be included in the Boardtracker database.

4. Use RSS Feed Readers to Stay on Top of Industry News

In the Information Age, staying on top of news the old-fashioned way can be overwhelming, time consuming, and inefficient. Why not let the latest news come to you? Sign up for a free RSS feed reader/ news aggregator and peruse hundreds of news items with your morning cup of coffee.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document, which is called a “feed,” “web feed,” or “channel,” can either contain a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually.

Several good, free RSS news aggregators are available, such as:

Google Reader

This is Google’s free news aggregator. You can also share news feeds by publishing your feeds to your public page.

RSS Owl

It’s a platform independent, downloadable news reader. It’s cool because it:
• Allows you to import your feeds using the OPML format
• Bookmark your favorite feeds
• Import blogrolls
• Export an entire category of news feeds into PDF, RTF, or HTML files.
• Has search options that allows you to search within news feeds or an entire feed category

Social Media: Engage, Tactics

April 16, 2009

Reproduced from Lorna Li’s 6 Steps for Creating a Social Media Marketing Roadmap .

Now comes the tactical deployment. Here are some examples of different kinds of social media engagements.

Blogger outreach & engagement – this is a top down, bottom up approach. To demonstrate a significant impact, this is best handled by a team. You will need to identify the A-List blogs, cultivate a positive relationship with as many as possible, persuade them to blog about your issue, or guest blog for them. You will need a team of conversation agents to fan out into the blogosphere and engage in MEANINGFUL conversations wherever conversations about your topic is happening.

If you have a call to action, relevant product, or web resource you are trying to drive traffic to, drop html links with target anchor text for an additional SEO lift (a % of the sites you will be hitting will be do-follow)

Disclose your identity, be courteous, informed about the subject, or you will be flamed, and that will live forever on the web.

Social networking – only hit the communities relevant to your issue, product, company, topic or you will get poor quality traffic, if any.

Are you infiltrating tight-knit interest-specific online communities? If so, you will need to ingratiate yourself into the pack.

Are you starting your own community on a hosted platform, like a Ning? You can drive conversation and awareness, your revenue options are limited (ad revenue sharing).

Do you own the community? Great – you can drive targeted conversations and include strategically placed calls-to-action, promos, ads, anywhere. If you’ve designed your site with SEO in mind, your users will create the content, and you will had an advantage in the SERPS, especially for long-tail keywords.

Social news marketing – thru social sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Newsvine. These sites also have a unique culture and will work for you if your news item relates topics favored by the community. Digg, for example, veers towards the geeky. Write for maximum click thrus – think “linkbait”. Popular stories here can get picked up by bloggers, which will also give you an SEO boost. Traffic can be huge and fickle like a tsunami. Don’t expect it to convert. Avoid marketing here – you will be buried.

Social Media Strategy: Learn

April 16, 2009

Lorna Li 6 Steps for Creating a Social Media Marketing Roadmap does an excellent job describing what social media is and what it can & can’t do so I’ve cut & pasted below.  Keep in mind, however, that although her descriptions provides a great overview, the only way to truly understand social media is to participate, first, by listening, second, by engaging in the conversation.

Please note that the following comments are taken directly from Lorna Li’s post: 

What social media is:

The best way to look at social media is to view it as one of many Internet marketing channels, one that has the amazing power to go viral. In the very least, it has the awesome ability to engage your audience in meaningful conversations about your product, issue areas, company, and brand.

The social media marketing umbrella includes sites that are both Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 – basically you want to be anywhere that enables discussions, sharing, and user-generated content (UGC), such as:

  • Blogs and Forums / Discussion Boards
  • Consumer Review Sites
  • Social Networks / Online Communities
  • Social Bookmarking Sites
  • Social News Sites
  • Social Music Sites
  • Video and Photo Sharing Sites
  • Wikis

What Social Media Can & Can’t Do

Social media can engage your audience, encourage online conversations that are user-generated, increase your web presence, expand brand awareness, generate publicity (both good & bad) and provide SEO benefits. It doesn’t convert.

For most marketers, social media has no ROI but is great for:

  • Brand building
  • Relationship management
  • Product development
  • Reputation management
  • Customer interaction
  • Customer feedback
  • Customer support
  • Community building
  • Defensive SEO – Yes! Bury your bad press with positive UGC

Social Media Strategy I

April 16, 2009

My next step is to develop and etch in my brain what I think a social media strategy should look like.  I’ll start by quickly reviewing the articles I’ve gathered and then I’ll develop my own little mash-up in a way that makes sense to me.  In  my next blog post, Social Media Strategy II, I’ll lay out the steps and fill in the details.

I’ll start with the Mashable article How to Develop a Social Media Plan for Your Business in 5 Steps and build from there with the other articles I’ve gathered about developing strategy.  The ultimate social media strategy isn’t stand-alone, it’s part of a broader strategy and incorporates other elements such as SEO.  But let me start and see where I end up in my mini strategy mash-up.

  1. Listen
  2. Prepare
  3. Engage
  4. Go Offline
  5. Measure Success

Another Mashable article Social Media and SEO: 5 Essential Steps to Success offers another 5 step program.

  1. Find an Audience
  2. Define You Objectives
  3. Establish a Game Plan
  4. Create a Tactical Mix
  5. Measure Your Goals 

Upping the ante a little bit Lorna Li in her Green Marketing 2.o blog post 6 Steps for Creating a Social Marketing Media Roadmap Plan offers the following steps:

  1. Understand What Social Media Is
  2. Understand What Social Media Can & Can’t Do
  3. Determine Where the Conversations Are Happening
  4. Divide . . .
  5. . . . and Conquer
  6. Trust in the Force

Jason Bauer his Marketing Prof’s article adds a different twist and another step The 7 Must-Haves in Your Social Media Strategy :

  1. Describe the Business
  2. Business Goals
  3. Where is the Audience Cyclically?
  4. How Does the Audience Use Social Media?
  5. The One Thing
  6. How Will You Humanize the Brand?
  7. How Will You Measure Success?

Social Media Definition III

April 15, 2009

There will be more Common Craft videos used in my blog as they have developed very clever and amusing ways to simplify and explain new media and web 2.0 concepts.

Social Media Definition II

April 15, 2009

Brent Csutoras offers a range of social media definitions from various sources.  He starts with the comment that the definition may vary from person to person based upon how they use social media.  That’s part of it but in reading his posting I think that the varying definitions come more from whether you take a web, software, integration, social, or combined perspective.  Here’s what I mean:

Web: “A category of sites that is based on user participation and user-generated content . . .”

Media: “The term social media describes media that is posted by the user and can take many different forms. Some types of social media are forums, message boards . . .”

Software: “Software tools that allow groups to generate content and engage in peer-to-peer conversations and exchange content . . .”

Integrated:  “Online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.”

Other definitions from comments to the blog posting (does this demonstrate the richness of social media or what?):

“Social media is digital media that allows people to add their input, influence, opinions, comments and feedback.. and sites that empower people to become producers and editors, rather than passive consumers.”  Note:  I like the “empower people to become producers and editors” phrase.

 Wikipedia defines it more specifically as “tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.

What the Heck is Social Media?

April 15, 2009

I’ve decided to use the next few entries in this blog to start to sort out the various aspects of social medial. I’ve been gathering material in places like my iGoogle Notebook and Delicious intending to shove the information into my brain some day to have it all make sense, to create that ultimate “click” of the meaning of life, well, at least a small part of the meaning of life becoming crystal clear. That day has come. I think?

My starting point is the question “What is social media?” Originally, I intended to steal What the F**K is Social Media taken from a Marta Kagan slidedeck but I decided to go with the PG-13 version. The highest form of flattery is to to steal. I might be paraphrasing that a bit. Plus I’m pretty sure that this does not apply to cars and personal electronic devices, but I’m positive that it works with social media content.  But as I steal I will attribute the stolen goods to the original source.  Deal?

So starting off I will outline what Ms. Kagan so colorfully and aided & abetted by volumes of statistics had to say:

  • “Social Media is the umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, video, and audio.”
  • “Social media is people having conversations online.”
  • “IT’S A FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT IN THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE”.
  • “It’s a conversation that transparent, inclusive, authentic, vibrant, and consumer-driven NOT controlled, organized, exclusive, product driven, on-message.”

Social media conversation is powered by:  blogs, microblogs, online chat, RSS, widgets, social networks, social bookmarking, message boards, podcasting, video sharing, photo sharing, wikis . . . just to name a few.

Why should you care?

  1. Social media sites are more popular than porn sites.
  2. 78% trust the recommendation of other consumers.
  3. People are talking about your brand and/or your market right now.
  4. Social media will only become more pervasive and critical in the success or failure of any business.
  5. Generational shift: New Millennials live with social media and they trust what their friends tell them.

How to get involved:

  1. Listen.  Immerse yourself in the conversation.
  2. Participate. Remember that it’s a dialogue not a monologue
  3. Relinquish control. The goal is NOT to control the conversation, it is to ENABLE, INSPIRE, INFLUENCE, AND ENGAGE.
  4. Honesty is the ONLY policy.

So a starting point.  I will follow up with other definitions and descriptions of social media moving on to developing social media strategies and the individual social media tools.  Somewhere along the way I will interject my own thoughts and definitions which are vaguely forming.  I have one overriding, developing thought which is that social media is not a “thing”, it’s more a “philosophy”.  This ties back to Ms. Kagan’s comments about social media being a fundamental shift in the way we communicate characterized by transparency, vibrancy, inclusiveness, authenticity.  Even in the final slide of her slidedeck she illustrates this shift in including an updated version of the standard copyright verbiage “All rights reserved. (But happy to share – – just ask!)”  Quite a difference from the old school mentality of “All rights reserved. (If you even look at this the wrong way – –  we’ll see you in court!)”