Monday, March 30, 2009

Will PR Agencies Represent Communities and Not Brands?

It's an interesting question to consider from Jeremiah Owyang at Forrester. Jeremiah's point is that firms will discontinue representing brands, but more likely be bringing communities to brands.

Think before you post

This post from Jason Falls highlights one important thing about social media - think before you post! Is the information you are sharing appropriate for a broader audience? Am I OK with this information being available forever? Will it embarrass me or the company I work for?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Four Faces of Social Media

I'm actually not a really big fan of this post, but I'm sharing it with you so that you can see how puritanical the social media "elite" are. Beth Harte outlines the four different "faces" of social media. Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive, but her tone toward the agency and SEO gang seems a little negative.

The Social Media Process

I liked this post from David Finch (via the blog of Jason Falls) about how companies can embrace the social media process. The process according to David:

1. Monitor conversations
2. Create content that you'll give away
3. Fish where the fish are
4. Engage in the conversation
5. Track and analyze results

Is job security keeping us from being ourselves online?

There has been so much written recently about transparency, and (lack of) poor judgment in social media lately, and this post is no different. David's point is particularly worth considering - are people changing who they are on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook for fear that they may put their jobs in jeopardy?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Social Media Monitoring Guide

This is a good post from Kat French on Jason Falls' blog about social media monitoring. This is less about the importance (I don't think anybody is disputing that at this point) and more about the tools available. She says some good things about Radian6, but also mentions some free techniques that folks can use.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Social Media and the Customer Chasm

I thought this was an interesting post by Jay Baer about whether or not our drive to social media is creating a "customer chasm." His point, and I think it is one worth considering, is do we actually do our customers a disservice by only rewarding the ones that follow us on Twitter or "friend" us on Facebook?

Guy Kawasaki Uses Ghost Writers

One of the social media legends, Guy Kawasaki, uses ghostwriters for his Twitter account. There were several posts (click on the ghostwriting tag) recently about whether or not ghostwriting in social media made sense. What's most troubling about this, to me anyway, is that Guy never really disclosed that 3-4 people were tweeting from his Twitter account. Then, when Dave Fleet asked him the question about the ethical concerns he just blew it off. Curious...Check it out

A GREAT study of how marketers are using social media

When you have a moment, I’d encourage you to check out the study linked below by Michael Stelzner. Michael is the author of the book, “Writing White Papers,” and has several big name clients, including Microsoft, Dow Jones, FedEx, LinkedIn, Citrix, HP, Monster and S&P. The attached report is an analysis of 700 responses from marketers all around the country asking questions about social media uses, time commitment, benefits they have seen, tools they want to learn more about, etc…

A couple of interesting tidbits included:

Marketers are mostly new to social media: A significant 88% of marketers surveyed are using social media to market their businesses, BUT 72% have only been doing so for a few months or less.

How much time does this take? A significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week and 39% for 10 or more hours weekly. What’s most amazing about this statistic is that as people grow more accustomed to utilizing the tools on a day-to-day basis the time spent goes WAY up.

The top benefit of social media marketing: The number-one advantage is generating exposure for the business, indicated 81% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jack in the Box

I think this is another great case study about what social media can bring to a company. What I like about this story is that Jack in the Box joined the social media world willing to be authentic and transparent. They almost had to be as consumers were coming to their Web site and posting comments -- some negative and some positive. Despite the smarmy tone this reporter takes toward their program, it's definitely commendable and one worth keeping in mind as you talk to clients about social media.

The Art of Retweets

I thought this was another cool post from Dave Fleet, countering another blogger's (Mitch Joel) assertion that "tweeting" somebody's blog content is the ultimate blow off. Essentially, Mitch's argument is that the social media elite should be blogging about your content and not using Twitter to push it out. If they really cared about your content they wouldn't be trying to sum it up in 140 characters. Dave's post does a good job of countering those arguments.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Auto-Following on Twitter

An interesting debate on whether you should always follow someone back on Twitter from Dave Fleet.

Having trouble coming up with new blog content?

if you contribute to a blog, there always comes a time when you are stuck for content. Check out these 20 blog topic tips from Chris Brogan if you are in that position.

Twitter and Facebook Integration

If you use TweetDeck, I'd encourage you to check out the new version. It allows for a much more seamless integration with Facebook. in fact, in a much overdue upgrade, you can actually select which Twitter updates you want to have appear on your Facebook page.

Is Twitter Peaking

On his blog Micropersuasion, Steve Rubel asked the question whether or not Twitter is peaking. He thinks it is. My opinion is that there is still tremendous capacity for Twitter to continue growing. Just think about brands you buy products from. Are they on Twitter? wouldn't it make sense for them to engage customers through that network? As long as we can point to capacity, I think it's hard to make the case for it peaking. Thoughts?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Social Media's Impact on the Practice of PR

This paper is worth checking out when you have a free moment. Don Wright from Boston U. and Michelle Hinson from the University of Florida, building off of previous research done by them and the Institute of PR, examine the role social media is playing on the practice of public relations. Some of the more noteworthy findings include:

Findings show that traditional news media receive higher scores than blogs and social media in terms of accuracy, credibility, telling the truth and being ethical.
93%of this year's respondents spent part of their average workdays with some aspects of social media.
85% believe social media complement traditional news media
92% think blogs and social media influence coverage in traditional news media.
88% believe blogs and social media have made communications more instantaneous

Friday, March 13, 2009

CEOs on Facebook and Twitter

One of the challenges of social media is getting the C-Suite to buy into its power. Stories like this from help us "sell" that power. Some great evidence as to why CEOs should Facebook and Twitter

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Twitter and IR

Further evidence that social media isn't just applicable to marketing anymore...The applications of social media for IR aren't always obvious, so it's helpful to see stories like this one from eBay. The company held their first analyst day in three years yesterday, and during the event the company's corporate blogger was "live tweeting" the event. Cool eh?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Want to take a few minutes and learn a ton about social media?

if the answer the question is yes, then I would highly recommend checking out these "video shorts" from Radian6. They launched a series of video interviews on YouTube with social media experts like Jay Baer, Ann Handley (MarketingProfs), Sean McDonald from Dell, Scott Monty from Ford among others. Great pieces on everything from the value of social media as a brand reputation management tool to the importance of having a strong customer service foundation as you enter social media.

SEO and Social Media is Empowering PR Agencies

I thought this was a particularly good post from Bulldog Reporter about how getting involved in social media and SEO is really empowering PR agencies.

finding your "brand voice" on Twitter

This is a good post from Mashable about the importance of companies finding their "brand voice" on Twitter. As he notes, companies "must consider the right “Brand Voice.” One that is appropriate for what they want to say, and who they want to reach. This is a different sort of voice than the one companies have been familiar with in their traditional print and broadcast media channels, as it’s a more open and authentic form of communication."

social media metrics

another in the long line of solid posts from Amber Naslund over at Altitude Branding. Great discussion here about social media metrics that companies should consider using to evaluate their social media campaigns.

Don't use social media...yet!

This is a good post for those of you who try and educate clients/peers/colleagues about the social media world. His five talking points make quite a bit of sense.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Microvision, IR and Social Media

You don't find many good investor relations/social media case studies, but this is one of the better ones. Microvision launched a blog at the end of 2008 that dealt with IR and marketing topics. Before their most recent earnings call, the company opened up the blog to investors. If you read Dominic's blog often you'll know that he has been calling for more companies to do this...

What I particularly like about this is that we aren't talking about a mega-cap name. Microvision is relatively small, in comparison to some of the other IR case studies we have so far (FedEx, GE)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Fine Line Between Analysis and Excuses

If you only read one of the posts in this week's rundown, I'd highly suggest this one. I think Amber does a great job of debunking some excuses we often hear for not engaging in social media. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CHECK IT OUT!

Embracing customers through SM

This post is somewhat self-explanatory, but I like it. Here are some practical tips on how to embrace your customer through social media. After all, that's one of its primary purposes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It just won't die

This topic, paid blog posts/ghostwriting, is being killed just for the sake of watching it die. This time Groundswell has a post (a good one by the way) about why sponsored conversations can make sense.

Setting Social Media Expectations

I think this post was written more for personal social media use, but I think it could apply to companies as well. Setting realistic expectations is a pretty critical step when using social media.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ghostwriting and Bill Sledzik

The drama around ghostwriting blogs continues with this post from Bill Sledzik. I definitely don't feel as the purists do--ghostwriting is 100% wrong. I do feel, however, that putting out overly refined messaging via social media is dangerous, and probably not effective. The best brands let the conversations flow, they don't try and force the conversations on their communities. Anyway, what do you think?

Social media driving coverage?

Here are some great tips on how you can use existing social media conversations to drive media coverage. I don't think I've ever seen this approach before, but I like it.

Twitter Expert or Advocate?

I liked this post because it shows that you don't have to be a social media (in this case, Twitter) expert to be influential. If you're an advocate, and help people through SM challenges, it's likely going to be returned to you 10x over.

Can brands respond to all customers in social media?

It really is an interesting problem that faces many of the larger brands. Can they possibly respond to every customer complaint/inquiry that happens in social media? The answer is probably no. However, it's probably a slippery slope to look like you are playing favorites by only responding to the "social media elite." That's why I liked this post from Jason Falls. He recaps two incidents he's had recently that both received resolution, while two of his friends were not nearly as lucky. Jason has about 7,000 Twitter followers. Curious...are we paying so much attention to influencers in our own analyses for clients that we are losing sight of what social media is really about--listening and engaging?