You’ve told the boss that you’re going to implement social media stuff for your organization, and in your mind, you’ve decided that means an account on Twitter and a blog. Maybe there’s a bit more to it than that. For instance, what are your goals? Are you there to show customers and prospective new customers that you care? Are you there to solve customer issues? Are you building awareness and attempting new forms of digital marketing? Knowing this up front makes a world of difference.
If “joining the conversation” is one goal of your exploration of social media, it’s almost become a requirement that you maintain a presence on FriendFeed. It’s an application that acts as a central aggregation and discussion point for many of your other Internet points of presence. You can add your YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Jaiku, Brightkite, Upcoming.org, Last.fm, and a gazillion other services into it, and then when you create activity on any of those services, other people following your activity stream can form commentary around what you’ve posted.
First, it’s something you might consider joining so that you can aggregate your content into one stream. Second, it will give you a new audience for some of your content, and some different interactions will happen there than on the primary sites it’s reporting on. For instance, if someone posts information to Twitter, and that person has Twitter added to their FriendFeed account, others using the service can comment on that person’s tweets:
Understanding the mechanics of writing a blog post (especially if you’re doing this for business) is sometimes daunting. I’ve seen lots of ways to do it, and have written a few posts about that kind of thing myself. In my search to find you interesting information to improve your own efforts, I came across something else today that I wanted to share.
I found this post by David Peralty to be an interesting guide on organizing your blog posts. He breaks it down into 7 distinct steps.
I believe that Patrick O’Keefe has LOTS of experience in managing online discussion forums. From reading his book, Managing Online Forums: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Run Successful Community Discussion Boards, I get the sense that he lives and breathes this. To that end, I’m going to recommend the book, should you be looking to start an online forum, or if you’ve got one and want to improve your game.
My one knock to Patrick is in the organization of the book. It feels a bit like a folk cookbook or a country almanac, if that makes sense. Now, this didn’t really throw me off badly, but for whatever reason, as I read the book, the flow kept feeling like a winding country road, where I wasn’t sure what was around the next curve. I think the chapters were probably in the right order, but the information inside could maybe use a remix. (But maybe this is just me, so you decide).
It’s important that those of us who are passionate about social media tools understand that not everything requires their use. Further, we must learn to move from expressing things in our terms when explaining these tools and their use to others. Otherwise, we end up seeming like someone with a hammer seeing everything as a nail. I find that terms cause problems when people within certain companies haven’t yet made the jump from one perspective to another. If you’re used to banner ads and hit counting, how will you understand the value of a Twitter discussion?
How are you describing what you’re learning about to others? What are some of the ways you’ve talked about social media that worked for people? Care to talk about times when you’ve talked your way into a corner? Let’s talk about HOW we bring these tools together with the people who most need them within an organization. How are you helping with that?
After reading this review of the advertising and marketing programs for Marvel’s IRON MAN movie and Warner’s DARK KNIGHT (batman) movie, I started wondering just what a social media contingent to the program would have looked like. The article’s author, Antony Young, gave the edge (they tied at 4 stars) to the Dark Knight and cited the web presence to be one of the differences between the two efforts. But what could either side have added with social media?
Possible Movie Promotional Extensions With Social Media
- YouTube video conversation: Why I Love Batman (or Iron Man).
- Podcast: behind the scenes on the set of Iron Man (these seem to be getting more popular)
- Blogger Outreach: give 5 top comics/entertainment bloggers early access for interviews, photos, etc.
- Flickr campaign: Marvel did this with Hulk.
- uStream chat with _____ : Wouldn’t it be cool to hang with Christian Bale for a bit?
- Affiliate sales program: what if they gave bloggers a little button that offered movie goers a dollar off for an early ticket purchase, and gave bloggers a dollar for each sold?
- Wiki “barn building” campaign: ask fans to find every scrap of interesting web presence for Iron Man or Batman (great for lawyers to use later for copyright infringement – ouch).
Would It Work?
I’m not so sure. Think about it. Movies are SUCH a mass medium. It’s all about bulk, and though social media tools are inexpensive and pervasive, wrangling millions of people isn’t exactly their strong suit (anybody remember Snakes on a Plane?).
Community manager is a role that more companies will adopt in the coming years. Jeremiah Owyang provide a huge list of companies who have such a champion already, and more recently gave businesses a scorecard for whether startups should have a community manager.
Back in June, I wrote about whether companies will value your personal network. It’s a topic I think about constantly because I’ve seen time and time again the value of my own network. I use some amount of that value every day. And I spend a portion of each day threading the social needle.
Two great posts over the last few days show me that it’s not just me thinking about this. Tim Sanders says we should refresh our network often, and Jeremiah Owyang reports on the the risks and opportunities inherent in your network. It’s all pointing towards the same thing: you’ve got to think consciously about how you use social networks, and you have to build relationships that are decoupled from goals.
It’s been a long, tricky last few years for me. Somewhere in the fall of 2005, I started getting really passionate about social media. I went to a conference in April that convinced me that I was on to something. I attended BarCamp Boston in June, and that gave Christopher Penn and I the idea for PodCamp.
In September 2006, I left behind a typical day job and joined a full time adventure. I started by working with Jeff Pulver, where we took on both a conference and an Internet startup at the same time. And as of last winter, I joined Stephen Saber and CrossTech Media in a similar-but-different set of endeavors.
This is just a little something that I started thinking about yesterday while preparing for a webinar with John Stone from CrossTech Partners coming up tomorrow. It just hit me while discussing how the various social media tools apply to businesses seeking relationships with customers (either b2b or b2c). I wanted to put this out as a starting point to a thought.
I believe that as marketers seek to use social media and social networking software to do business with people on the web that there is a spectrum to their engagement efforts.