Archive for July, 2008
A few weeks ago Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer suggested in a post that social media is the responsibility of public relations. My visceral reaction to that notion required an immediate comment [note: I am a PR practitioner as well]. And it didn’t end there; I spent the entire weekend thinking about the post. Come the following Monday, I went back for another comment to strengthen my position on why social media is the responsibility of marketing. In doing so, I noticed that Brian Solis of PR 2.0 posted a comment: “Truth is that Social Media is the responsibility of the champions that demonstrate how it will benefit the company and the brand.” Interesting.
In the spirit of debate, I then posted this topic on Plurk to see what the smart folks there had to say. Frank Martin of Marketing Magic plurked: “this debate is so old school it misses the point of New Media, which will cut across all aspects of companies: Marketing, PR, Customer Service. We need NOT to put it in a little box of yesteryear’s definition!”
In reading Frank’s comment [and others] I realized that I was indeed stuck in a “marketing box” and looking at social media through a cracked lid.
After some consideration, I’d suggest that social media is the responsibility of the revenue generators. How so?
- Customer Service/Technical Support provides support for purchased products/services
- Finance/Accounting collects payment for the product/service
- Sales sells the product/service
- Marketing Communications/Public Relations publicizes the product/service
- Operations/Manufacturing delivers/builds the product/service
- Engineering/R&D designs/tests the product/service
- Marketing develops the product/service
- Human Resources hires the people that develop, design/test, deliver/build, publicize, sell, collect payment and support the product/service
Before becoming a social media champion consider becoming, if you’re not already, a brand champion first. Doing so just might create the brand pride necessary to get employees to understand, embrace and champion social media initiatives.
- explaining that the value of a brand—first & foremost―comes from the inside-out and bottom-up
- embracing that the brand is a living, changing thing—it can’t be controlled
- understanding that all brand experiences affect revenue—positively & negatively
- respecting that a brand is owned in part by the prospect or customer
Are you stuck in a box? Do you think brand champions will help social media efforts? What other steps would you recommend?
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What’s a Plurkshop? Plurkshops are community driven workshops on lots of different topics. Organically fostered on the Plurk social networking community, they’ve evolved into great and insightful discussions with engaged participants on a number of topics, from social media to marketing to blogging. Created by the community, for the community, Plurkshops hopes to tap the widsom of the amazing people using Plurk.
Last week I had the honor of kicking off Plurkshop #8, Social Media: It’s the Conversation Stupid!, which was hosted by Tim Jackson (MasiGuy). The Plurkshop lasted over 1-1/2 hours as had 675 responses! Some of the topics included:
- Do brands CREATE a conversation or RESPOND to one that has already started? (served up by the servant of chaos himself, Gavin Heaton.)
- So why don’t companies want to converse?
- What are the positives of being a part of the conversation?
- And the negatives of not being involved in a conversation about your company?
- How does a company empower more people to engage in a conversation? (great question from Plurker @MikeTempleton)
The conversation ran far, wide and deep. So check out the Plurkshop and conversation for yourself…it was anything but stupid!
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Given that this is part of my permanent record, I thought I should give you some background on why it happened and share my opinion of Twitter.
For those of you who know me, you know that I am not a big fan of Twitter. And yet, I keep trying. Unlike a lot of people, my ‘sort a like’/hate relationship with Twitter has nothing to do with Whale Fail or functionality coming & going.
It has to do with the fact that I find Twitter offers minimal value either on a personal level or as a Marketer (except to pimp my blog). And yes, I have met some great people on Twitter, but ultimately got to know them better on Plurk through different conversations (my own and by joining in on others) or via e-mail.
So, what kicked off this crazy Twitter Monologue? Back in June, Ann Handley asked the following question on Plurk: “Who do you consider to *really* know their stuff in Social Media? Who is a thought leader?”
A bunch of us chimed in, offered up some names, and then…the conversation did what conversations do—it took a left turn, then a right, then, finally, it was back on track. Within all those turns it was discussed that Twitter is turning into a broadcasting mechanism for self-promotion. Ah ha! My bright idea for a monologue emerges (with some prodding from Tim Jackson, of course). I just needed the right ‘moment.’
That moment was Saturday, July 12, 2008. And here’s some of what transpired:
[Literally, there was one comment in six minutes so I took my chances.]
[With less metal and other torture devices to hold him back…Tim was starting to get out and about for the first time in months. I was happy he wasn’t on Twitter. ]
[My frustration with Twitter begins to rear its ugly head…]
[Not going to do this on Twitter. Really. Not Ever. I’ve tried and I don’t like how it feels to hear myself talk for the sake of talking (unless of course, it’s a monologue).]
So ultimately, what’s the point to all of this?
I have been hesitating to even write this post being that it’s only been two months or so since I joined Twitter and it doesn’t seem quite fair to offer up an opinion. But Gavin Heaton and Mack Collier have been on Twitter for a long time and they seem to have the same thoughts about it being a broadcast tool. So I’ll add in my two cents in based on my experience so far.
When I first joined Twitter it was suggested that I “listen” first and then join in. Well, I’ve been listening for eight weeks and I am still listening. Why? Because there really aren’t any conversations going on (if they are, it’s hard to follow along and insert oneself in a meaningful manner without being intrusive). So, the only thing you can basically do is ‘listen.’
I see Twitter as a tool that is:
- A feed (check out this link, here’s a link to my blog)
- A diary (went to the gym, my mother is a lunatic)
You can’t really converse with a feed (except maybe to say thank you) and trying to converse with someone’s online diary…well, just seems intruding, odd and wrong (hey, sorry to hear your mom is a lunatic, hope it all sorts out.).
Now before I get a public lashing, just know that I want to see the value, I really do. So many people are loyal to Twitter and many have told me about the “good old days” of Twitter.
But I ask you to think back before you had 1,000+ followers and were following 800+ people (back to the place where a lot of us are starting out) and consider:
- What was the original value of Twitter to you?
- What was the community like?
- What happened to the conversations? Did they stop? Or are they still there?
- If you use Twitter as a feed or diary, why? And what’s the value to you or the people who follow you?
- Is there a chance to bring the conversation back to Twitter? Or are there better tools for conversation?
I am hoping from other perspectives that I can learn the value of Twitter. Otherwise, I need to use it appropriately (as a broadcast tool) and spend more time where the conversations are happening…isn’t that the value of “social” media?
P.S. I blame all the folks on Plurk for this outburst of self-conversation on Twitter. It was their questions & comments on Plurk—which led to really great conversations—that ultimately solidified my opinion of Twitter.
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There have been a lot of discussions around how to measure social media. While most seem comfortable measuring the “media” aspect (after all, it’s what we are comfortable with) there is an uncertainty around measuring the “social” part. Mainly because there’s a lot of confusion―especially within corporations and agencies—as to what “social” actually means. It contains a lot of metrics that marketers are used to―or at least should be familiar with. Typically, the discomfort and confusion occurs when marketers try to tie these metrics back to ROI. During a recent
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been compiling a list of measurements that have been offered by Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Larry Weber and from recent conversations on Plurk with two social media practitioners, Amber Naslund and Jane Chin. The list includes:
Is ROI the right measure for social media? The very interesting responses suggested that perhaps the “I” should be measured as Initiative, Involvement or Interaction.
It contains a lot of metrics that marketers are used to―or at least should be familiar with. Typically, the discomfort and confusion occurs when marketers try to tie these metrics back to ROI.
During a recentPlurkshop, hosted by David Alston of Radian6, the measuring of social media effectiveness was discussed and a question kept popping up…
Another important area also surfaced during the Plurkshop: listening. Ultimately, listening is the most important―and valuable—aspect of social media. That said, can you effectively measure the impact of listening as it relates to the new ROI? Maybe. Maybe not.
But, here’s an example of how not listening makes the argument for a new ROI:
Recently, a business associate made a virtual introduction via LinkedIn. This person’s only intent was only to connect two marketers that might have some common interests, networks, etc. The person introduced to me was with an agency. I reached out, sent a note saying hello, introducing myself, etc. The response received: “when can we set up an appointment to discuss our services with you?” What?! Are you kidding? But you probably new that was coming, didn’t you?
My next response, “I think the purpose of the introduction was to get to know each other, etc., etc.” Their response: “We do have a PR offering, so if you ever have a need, please keep us in mind.”
It’s obvious that this person only wants my business and could care less about developing a relationship. So, I ask a test question: “do you offer social media services?”
The response: “[Yes]. We also perform social media audits, and participate in blogging on behalf of our clients. We actually do quite a bit in this area. Please tell me if you would like to learn more.”
Interesting. (Yes, I know, the response is wrong on so many levels. A topic for another time.) If this person would have “listened” to my suggestion of getting to know one another and perhaps stopped to consider having an actual conversation, about something other than the services the company offered, they would have learned something very valuable.
As a rule of thumb I never hire a new vendor without having a relationship first—a rule that I have followed for over 14 years. (And I don’t mean a long standing relationship, but heck a conversation or two would have been nice.)
The value of not listening? On a project basis, let’s call it $10,000. On an on-going basis for a year, let’s say $50,000. Perhaps it’s not a lot of money, but it is money that they will now never earn.
Not Listening: $0
And that, my marketing friends, is an example of the new ROI (Initiative, Involvement, or Interaction) and the “social” of/in social media!
(Note: To help preserve anonymity, I did not include all information in the e-mail transactions, but the essence of the conversation is factual and is being used only to show an example.)
[Image purchased from iStock]
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I am a fan of microbrews. Why, because they are homegrown, fun, unique, tasty, and… more interesting than the average bottle of suds.
Perhaps it’s these wonderful qualities that get them in trouble when it comes to their websites. What’s the trouble? All-Flash sites! I have nothing against Flash, in small doses.
The main issue I have is that an all-Flash site makes it hard, if not impossible, to find new microbrews to try. Why? You know it…lack of search engine optimization (SEO). I am not an SEO expert (those of you that are please chime in, there’s a beer in it for you!), but I know the basic rules. If the site doesn’t utilize text, links, keywords, tags, etc. search engines won’t find it. If search engines can’t find the beer—then I can’t find the beer. Unless I dig, and well, I’m lazy and I don’t want to do a bunch of digging. I’d venture to guess that the average beer consumer doesn’t want to dig either.
Now, a Google search for pale ale:
Do you see Magic Hat and Roosters? Neither do I! [Note: there weren't any ads either.] If it weren’t for the kindness of friends (word of mouth works again!), I wouldn’t have found out about Magic Hat. And that would be sad…because it’s really great beer.
- Obtain Increased and Higher Quality Sales
- Increased Search Engine Visibility
- Brand Recognition
- Enhanced Credibility and Legitimacy
- Investment in your Domain Name
- Competitive Edge and Research Advantage
- Ad Spend predictability and High Return on Investment (ROI)
- Passive Business Development
And I get it…they are “micro” and perhaps searchability, brand, competition, etc. really doesn’t matter and they are happy with where their revenues are. But the truth is…Flash sites are sometimes just not very nice to look at, lack functionality, and are just plain hard on the eyes.
I’d ask microbrews to keep in mind when thinking about their cool, all-Flash website how many people won’t be finding them…and the lack of beer happiness for us.
This is just my opinion, what do you think? Are you a friend or foe of the all-Flash site? Have any tips or best-practices for SEO that I am missing?
[Image: Purchased from iStock]