Tag : Social media

Here Comes Everybody — Maybe

[photopress:Here_Comes_Everybody.jpg,full,pp_image] If you want to really understand how social media/tools are changing how we work, play, activate change and live, pick up Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. And if you are seriously considering communities as part of your marketing strategy, Do Not Pass Go without reading this.

Here are some of my takeaways:

There are three essential pieces of a community, starting with purpose:

1. Why: what’s the the promise of the group/community? Why would anyone want to join or contribute? “Creating a promise that enough people believe in is the basic requirement. The promise creates the basic desire to participate. ” Note: in my experience this is where marketers usually spend too little time. Or, rarely challenge their own. assumptions.

2. How: this is where you figure out which tools will help people do what the community is all about. Note: too many companies are buying tools and then trying to make a community fit the tools. A recipe for disaster — or, at a minimum, enormous frustration.

3. Rules of the road: this the what Shirky calls the bargain: “If you are interested in the promise and adopt the tools, what can you expect and what will be expected of you?”

People have always wanted to share and help one another. Pervasive, easy-to-use communications tools and ” the collapse of transaction costs makes it easier for people to get together — so much easier, in fact, that is changing the world.” “Social tools don’t create collective action — they merely remove the obstacles to it. This is why many of the significant changes are based not on the fanciest, newest bits of technology but on simple easy-to-use tools like email, mobile phones and websites, because those are the tools most people have access to and, critically, are comfortable using in their dauly lives.”

Incentives for participating are not financial: Attention, the desire to see your work spread, the desire to help others and be helped.

Why some communities grow and others don’t: “They grow if enough people care about them, and die if they don’t.” (This goes back to getting the promise right.)

How did you do that?: communities where a group of people help one another get better at some share task or interest — called communities of practice — are especially pervasive and appealing. The basic question that can trigger a community of practice: “How did you do that?”

Not everyone needs to be passionate, participate a lot: in the old model we had to work hard to get people passionate enough to act, because acting was a lot of work. Today you can have a handful of highly-motivated people participating a lot — and “people who care a little participate a little, while being effective in the aggregate.”

A small number needed to get things started: “The number of people who are willing to start something is smaller, much smaller, than the number of people who are willing to contribute once someone else starts something.” Tap into a small core of passionate people; don’t expect a lot of people to contribute at the get-go. Many are more comfortable adding to what someone else has started.

Sociability generates more revenue

[photopress:blackjack_table_1.jpg,full,pp_image] A big part of SOCIAL media is being more social as companies — online and in the real world. But many executives have asked me, “how do you measure sociability and friendliness?”

In a 48-hour experiment with blackjack dealers at Ameristar Casino J.D. Power & Associates found that a highly social, outgoing blackjack dealer collected 13 percent more money at his table than at the serious table where the blackjack dealer held to the standard, “don’t talk unless spoken to” rule.

In explaining the experiment Chris Denove of J.D. Power and author of “How Every Great Company Listens to the Voice of the Customer,” told a group this week that there’s no reason to believe that the same relationship doesn’t hold true in other business environments. Why? People like spending time with people who are likeable.

Social media confusion: game changer vs. new channels

My friend and business partner Francois Gossieaux has a great post over at EmergenceMarketing that nails why social media is a big deal.  It’s not simply another new channel like email.  Social media has given power to the people, which has changed the rules of marketing.

” Social media is what transformed the rules of marketing. By providing a platform of participation to your employees, customers and prospects, social media has changed the fundamental pillars of the marketing game. Not only have the rules of game changed, so have the players, the scope, the tactics and the added values – to use the game theory elements of the game…The end goal of marketing has not changed – it still is to create a customer. It is everything in between to get to that goal that has changed!

10 reasons to be thankful about social networking

On this Thanksgiving eve in the U.S. I’m thankful that social networking is….

  1. Making it easy to collaborate with brilliant people all over the world.
  2. So collegial. I’m constantly amazed at how willing people are to help others in a way that is friendly and helpful vs. the 1980 -90s’ competitive and proprietary.
  3. Providing ways to develop richer relationships with people. The best part of Facebook is seeing clients and professional colleagues’ music and movie recommendations, photos of kids, what they’re thinking about or playing with. These small things humanize relationships.
  4. Kind. I realize that the first two chapters of my book are kind of slow and blah. Reviewers have been so kind not to harp on those chapters but focus on the other seven. Similarly, the best bloggers tend to find the good and offer criticism in kind, constructive ways.
  5. Giving people a voice. Some of the most insightful, interesting people are shy and don’t speak up at meetings or in social situations. Ah, but online they come alive. How horrible if we had no way to hear these voices.
  6. A way to rediscover people. During the years we “lose” people that we really enjoyed working with. Finding them again and having a way to stay connected is a treat.
  7. Optional.
  8. Opening up amazing ways to innovate.
  9. Liberating how people work.
  10. About people, not ads.

Communication felony

Interrupting is a communication felony, says Jerry Seinfeld in an interview with Oprah. “If someone is talking — and I don’t care what they’re saying or how excited you are to say what you have to say — wait until he or she is finished. When you interrupt, you’ve stopped listening. People want to be heard.”

One of the upsides about online conversations is that we listen better because we can’t interrupt. And maybe the reason many people say more online than they would in-person is that they feel that they can have a say. MySpace’s “Never Ending Friending Study,” released this summer, found that 50% of those surveyed said that they are “less awkward when I communicate on this site than in person,” and “the site allows me to more social than I am in person.”

10 practices for managing marcom, PR organizations in a 2.0 world

One big question I’m hearing from marketing, PR and corporate communications executives is HOW to change their organizations in view of this marketing 2.0 tsunami. They get the “why.” Here are 10 ideas people find helpful.

  1. Redefine the box: clarify the business goals, then define new approaches for accomplishing that. There are many cool new tactics but it they don’t help you realize the goal, e.g., generating leads, find those that do. Try to stay in the business objective box vs. the tactical box.
  2. Revise competencies; add new roles, eliminate others: there are many traditional roles that are far less important, e.g., traditional media relations, and others that are becoming far more important, listening and participating in relevant digital conversations. Step back and assess what you need more or less of and where to add, change, phase out.
  3. Change hiring process to better “see” important new qualities and skills: while many marcom organizations and PR agencies, ask people to write a press release as part of the hiring process, I’d suggest that other “tests” more relevant to today’s world. How about asking candidates to writing a point of view brief about marketing (Do they really get where it’s going and can they articulate it in a compelling, non-corporate speak way? Are they intellectually curious? Or ask a candidate to create a two minute video. Can he/she tell a compelling story?)
  4. Revise performance reviews, reward systems: People won’t change behaviors unless there are incentives to do so, like getting a raise or promotion. Include important new skills into annual performance plans. If money is involved, people are more likely to change, master new ways of doing things.
  5. Create “master plan” for professional development: As a manager, identify those key skills your team needs and develop a master development plan for the year. The better you do at helping people learn and change, the better you’ll be able to move into new approaches that deliver some great business benefits.
  6. Rotate people in jobs so they stay “fresh,” keep the passion: It’s hard to stay passionate about a particular product or functional area. Try to rotate people into new roles every two years so that stay fresh, interested and engaged.
  7. Think about marketing 2.0 “coaches” or Sherpa guides to help transition faster, bake new skills into your team: adapting new communications styles is harder than most people realize. (I hear this all the time from training marketing people in really diverse industries.) Consider using “on call” coaches or sherpa guides to help your people with their everyday work and questions. Six months of an apprentice like relationship speeds the learning curve.
  8. Question assumptions in every planning cycle: things are changing fast, and will continue to do so. Question what you’re doing and where you’re allocating resources at every planning cycle.
  9. Adopt an “Always in Beta” culture: some degree of experimentation is the norm. We can no longer wait for “best practices” to adopt new approaches.
  10. Leverage everything: what’s interesting today is how many opportunities there are to leverage everything. How to tap your loyal blog readers to set up lead-generating Webinars. How to take ideas from your online customer communities and use them in product development, PR and sales.

Blogs & Beyond: Digital Marketing Workshop Highlights

Here are some highlights from The IT Services Marketing Association’s (ITSMA) recent “Blogs & Beyond” digital marketing workshop, held at Babson College. I had the pleasure to be a speaker along with Rob Leavitt, ITSMA’s vice president of marketing and member community; Paul Dunay, director of global financial services marketing for BearingPoint; Siobhan Dullea, vice president of community consulting for Communispace, and Cinny Little of the Digital Influence Group.



Workshop participants said their greatest digital marketing challenges are:

  • Understanding the optimal mix of digital tactics to accomplish goals

  • Reallocation of budgets: what traditional marketing approaches should be cut to fund digital marketing approaches

  • Overcoming pushback from legal, particularly around online communities and blogging

  • Figuring out how to measure new approaches

Listening to the digital conversation (Lois Kelly, Foghound)

If marketing is a conversation, half of the work is listening to customers and what’s being talked about in the market. Listening is as important – maybe more so – than talking (blogging, podcasts, etc.)

The value of listening to the digital conversation:

  • Making customers feel heard, key to building trust and relationships

  • Boarder understanding of relevant issues, players

  • Early warning on new ideas, concerns, competitors

  • Deeper insight into emerging influencers

  • Better tracking of “real conversations.

The three levels of active listening to be successful in the “marketing as a conversation” world:

  • Recognition: recognize the person’s view. Practically, this means providing easy ways for customers to share ideas or even complain.

  • Acknowledgement: acknowledging what a person feels or thinks. Providing a personalized, relevant response shows that your company hears and appreciates the idea.

  • Endorsement: accepting another person’s thoughts or point of view as valid and legitimate: this is where real dialogue kicks in.

Tools for passively listening to the marketing conversation, helping us to see where we can add to the conversation or glean insights.

  • Technorati: see who is blogging about a topic or a company; view by “authority of blogger, by language, how recent

  • Del.icio.us: easy way to see most saved Web page links on a topic, highlighting influence, value

  • Blogpulse: free way to analyst trends and monitor a conversation string among bloggers

  • Google Trends: see search volume on a topic comparing it to news volume. Also get search volume by article

  • Flickr: shows photos tagged by keywords, photos associated with your company name; hints at sentiment, metaphors

  • Touchgraph mapping: shows relationships among and between topics or companies and what issues are closely connected

  • Netrocity: Situational Awareness Mapping tool identifies conversation volume and relationship between topics and d companies

  • Consumer generated media analysis services: thorough way to identify and track online consumers, opinion leaders, key issues, trends, competitive threats and opportunities. Leading service providers include Nielsen/Buzz Metrics, Cymfony, Biz 360, and Umbria.

Microsites and Podcasts (Paul Dunay, BearingPoint)

Why microsites are useful:

  • Isolates content you want to showcase to a particular audience

  • Don’t have to crawl though your website to find content

  • Direct traffic there using a Vanity URL (ex:www.bearingpoint.com/risk)

  • Easy to direct search engines there (using keyword or SEO)

How microsites fit into marketing mix

  • Promotion of thought leadership

  • Interactive self-assessment

  • New product launches

  • Resource centers

Tips on using microsites

  • Don’t clutter up the page

  • Use a strong call to action

  • You don’t have to go it alone – use a media partner

  • Aim for highly-interactive content

  • Decide on what actions you want to track before hand

  • Optimize microsites for search engines

Tips on podcasting

  • No shovelware

  • No direct selling

  • Transparency is the key

  • Formats: multiple article format, blog-like rant, radio show with guest interviews

  • Use strong call to action

  • Commit to a series – you can’t “eat” just one podcast

  • Frequency: weekly

  • Keep it short: 5 to 7 minutes

  • Copywrite the title carefully

  • Costs: $0-$1,000 – quality varies

Private Online Communities (Siobhan Dullea, Communispace)

What Customers Do in Online Communities

  • Talk about competitors

  • Brainstorm ideas for revamping customer website

  • React to marketing campaigns

  • Give advice (solicited and unsolicited) about positioning

  • Chat about work challenges and suggest how the sponsoring company could address unmet needs

  • Give testimonials

  • Review white paper drafts and give feedback

  • Generate hypotheses that serve as basis for other research

Private online community best practices

  • Narrow the focus

  • Invite the right people

  • View members as advisors

  • Work at building the community

  • Be genuine, encourage candor

  • Just plain ask

  • Pay more attention to what members initiate

  • Don’t squelch the negative

  • Don’t ask too much too often

  • Use the right mix of methodologies and technologies

Blogs (Lois Kelly, Foghound)

Blog marketing strategies

  • Gather market intelligence

  • Comment on the conversation

  • Sponsor the conversation

  • Start your own conversation

  • Manage crises and misperceptions

Commenting on blogs and responding to TalkBacks

  • Be genuine and real

  • Someone from company vs. agency

  • Acknowledge, respect others’ views

  • Share facts and ideas that contribute to conversations vs. just opinions or rants

Publishing your own blog

  • Who is it for?

  • Theme? Do the posts add up to a grater whole? Connect to your business?

  • Your points of view, advice, expertise, personality, “humanness”

  • Commitment and skill: ideas, writing, responding thoughtfully to comments

  • Use a linking strategy

  • Add visuals to help convey views

  • Use RSS syndication, tag your posts,

  • Measure and learn

  • Frequency doesn’t rule; quality does

Organizational Challenges (Lois Kelly, Foghound)

Common organizational obstacles and tips for overcoming

  • Fraidy cat syndrome: use data to show why digital channels are popular, valuable to your audiences; show data and studies on the value of allowing and correctly responding to negative comments; show how you can convey points of view and advice that are not material to company; make friends with legal to create a plan on what can and can’t be talked about.

  • Oops, we forget the communications experts: Write to be said vs. read; learn broadcast-like interviewing skills; be prescriptive vs. descriptive; ideas should be valuable and interesting to the audience; be causal and conversational.

  • How do you measure?: Some ideas:

  • Track and show value of consumer insights from online market listening (to product development, customer communications, sales intelligence and communications, positioning, etc.)

  • Use awareness measures for digital

  • Viral marketing effect: use data to demonstrate speed efficiency

  • Search engine lift: show stats on how company brands, are more “findable”

  • Session quality: use increases in content viewed

  • Opt-in activity: track online registrations, requests for information

Ideas for getting started organizationally

  • Make passive and active listening someone’s job

  • Earn customer and prospect trust by giving away valuable advice

  • Start with an internal blog by an influential exec to show pent up interest and value of blogging

  • Start with tactics that fit your corporate culture. Podcasts better for “talking” cultures, blogs for cultures where written communications rule, communities for CRM-focused companies

  • Change your style: conversational communications based on providing value to others in language of people vs. pushing one-way messages. Use throughout ALL communications, digital and traditional

Brand Building in Web 2.0

The folks in the “global sensing network” at Future Monitor
have weighed in that “brand, brand and brand” are among the top “trends
that will matter most” to business in two years. (Hmm, brand is right
up there with China, energy, the baby boomer bulge, and info
overload…some of the other issues identified in the inaugural Future
Monitor survey.) So last week FM threw a VoIP webcast called “Brand Building in Web 2.0” to get the conversation rolling. Ted Nelson
of Mechanica caught everyone up on the three new realities marketers
have to accept and the three ways they need to adapt. Quick version on
shifts: competition is changing; consumers avoid marketing really well
now; segmentation ain’t what it used to be. Advice: CEO-level vision
must inspire risk taking; think beyond traditional category boundaries;
and elevate the role of design.

What was really interesting (as usual) were the questions.
Future Monitor is bringing Ted back in a few days to share some
answers. In the meantime, here are a couple of the Qs and my take at

Q You mentioned “enlightened research.” How can marketers find the
inspiration and ideas they need for the kind of innovation required to
engage consumers?

A. Just ask, and listen. But do it in new ways. Look at online
communities, where people talk to each other about things marketers
wouldn’t even know to ask. Get a handle on the “market conversation”
with new visualization tools.

Q. Is “viral marketing” overblown? And if not, how do you practically think about it as part of a branding strategy?

A. It’s not overblown when you consider that people are talking to each
other more and more – because they can with web and mobile technology,
and because they don’t trust marketers as much as they trust each
other. What needs to happen now, though, is viral or WOMM that actually
produces business results not just buzz. That requires conversational
marketing, which is where most brand strategies fall down.
Conversational marketing is based on something more interesting and
emotional to talk about (which is usually NOT the product or service

Q. Can you give examples of companies that have successfully created
brands enabling customers to “self-select” how they relate to it?

A. Consumers are inventing their own marketing experience while
they’re pushing away what’s pushed at them. The brands that thrive are
not fighting but are creating these more participatory environments,
inviting consumers to make their own ads (Converse, GM, Mastercard),
create their own customized products (Nissan, iTunes, Nike), and
creating forums where customers can not only talk to the company but to
each other (Unilever, Hallmark, SunMicrosystems).