At least we can be grateful for one thing this year: No more turkey from this guy!
See you next week!
Jennifer Laycock makes an interesting observation on the Search Engine Guide about having a post Tweeted. Jennifer says that in addition to reaching additional eyeballs, Twitter traffic is important because it is an engaged community accustomed to leaving comments. Jennifer says, “The true value in your blog traffic is in the visitors who add to the conversation and who engage with you to share their own thoughts, ideas and feedback.”
NTEN’s Peter Deitz says, “Raising money in 2012 will require creativity and foresight. Micro-philanthropy — that ambiguous term that refers to all things socially networked, small-scale, and charitable — will have matured.” Check out Peter’s post for specifics, from hiring the social savvy to using technology such as the iPhone, on how to get the funds you need in the changing economic environment.
“Sometimes it’s good for brands to get into trouble — that is, for customers, and the public generally, to begin to question if a brand is what it says it is,” says Scott Baradell. Why? A crisis acts as a wakeup call. It sends a message that stagnation is not an option. Read Scott’s post on Media Orchard to see how a crisis can make a brand reevaluate itself and make improvements.
Mack Collier captures the essence of social media in his post on The Viral Garden. Mack’s post reminds readers that social media is about using conversations to build trust. With trust companies and customers can develop an understanding of each other. Understanding creates barriers of entry, innovative product development, focused marketing efforts, etc.
How can internet startups get off the ground during this down economy, especially when so many internet services are free? Profy’s Svetlana Gladkova says, “I may be too naïve but as it is I think that we will continue watching the entire internet industry slowly stagnating because of inability to turn great ideas into successful businesses.” Svetlana thinks new monetization efforts across the internet are needed. Check out her post on Profy for her detailed ideas, and share your own.
I just tweeted for the 10,000th time. So what the heck does that mean? I am a Twittering fool? 20 months, 10,000 tweets, 3,000 followers. What learning have I gleaned from all this (image by Sonny Gill)?
Twitter remains a strange place. That’s what I’ve learned.
It’s just weird in a captivating, yet maddeningly ugly way. Twitter represents heaven and hell at the same time. It captures the best of life, and some of its ugliest aspects. Twitter is a big ole bazaar, and there’s nothing quite like it.
There will likely be variants, imitators, and maybe even the acquisition of Twitter. Who knows, who cares? Given my longevity and frequency, I’ll probably still be tweeting.
Fourteen observations about Twitter:
1) Twitter sucks until you start following about 100 people.
3) You can follow everyone or not. It doesn’t matter, because people can still follow and “@” you, and you can still converse with them. I know that now. Since I can’t deal with more than 500 people in my stream, it’s hard to get me to follow you.
5) I don’t believe in Pistachio’s theory of micro-messages (an idea propagated by Joel Comm in his Twitter book, too) or micro-sharing. I find it hard to believe that Twitter is in itself a place to build a solely focused social media consultancy. I like Laura personally and am happy to see her prospering, but I don’t get it. Just saying, but hey, proof is in the bank account. I’ll shut up on that topic. Or maybe I’ll just ask her to ‘splain it to me!
6) Qwitter is for the self-absorbed. Get over it, and get into real conversations, will ya?
7) Real people on Twitter don’t treat it like a popularity contest for their “personal brands.” They just be. Get it. Know what I’m sayin’, Shaq?
8) The amount of people following you doesn’t mean crap. It’s a number to drop in conversations. Influence is determined by value, and whether or not people believe in you enough to do something.
9) Stalkers, trolls, and not so nice people live on Twitter. Just like reality.
10) Trying to please all the Tweeple is impossible. Instead it’s better to find Tweeple like you or that at least can engage you so the conversation is worth your time. And their’s.
11) Twitter is a place people can take too seriously. The world exists without Twitter. Really. It does.
12) If you tell people to unfollow you, they usually won’t. Damn.
13) Jousting with Amanda Chapel is a serious waste of time. That’s why the last time I sauteed Brian Conolly – oops, Chapel was really the last time.
14) If you let the tyranny of the un-urgent — a.k.a. Twittering all the time — drive you, there can be seriously negative results in your life. Most weekends and every vacation I just turn it off.
Today I asked some other long-term Twitterer’s the lessons they’ve learned. Here they are:
Very public, socially-catalyzed non-profit activity can humanize a company in a much more meaningful way than just highlighting “a personal voice” on the blog. Showing a human heart across the company touches people in a genuine way, especially in a time when people throughout the country really need the help!
In fact from a corporate marketing standpoint, this is exactly when a company should be seen contributing to society and encouraging its people to very publicly pitch in and help causes. The key is that the activity needs to be genuine, truly representing the company’s views.
“Our collective reality is borne of our interactions. We can and must create a different pattern than that we are facing with the economic slowdown,” said Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni in an email interview.
“I was talking with some friends the other day about how this Christmas will be about love,” said Maltoni. “There is nothing more energizing, nothing more powerful than the conscious decision to be there for one another. We don’t use the “L” word inside organizations often. Demonstrating resiliency is also about looking to help those who are facing less fortunate circumstances. In the end, we are all connected.”
And what means more, personal brands deployed by a company or publicly investing in our society? Or even better, using these critical social media tools to encourage our companies and their extended networks of vendors, investors and customers? To help our fellows who are suffering?
Real voices on a blog and social responsibility both provide transparency inside the company’s soul, but human contact can only go so far sometimes. Has comcastcares’ Frank Eliason changed Comcast’s public perception? It’s really just a start. Corporate integrity demonstrated through real actions often means more.
Incorporating Social Responsibility
We practice this ethos at Livingston, both in our recommendations and our actions. Our blog represents only a small example of how we are giving back. Here’s just a sample:
As a team our activities are deep and consistent in this regard. In fact, we gave Qui Diaz her own social cause practice to foster this important activity.
We’re not the only firm pushing companies to get more engaged with social causes. Edelman has its Good Purpose effort. According to Edelman, over 83 %of consumers are willing to change consumption habits to make tomorrow’s world a better place. Another big agency, Fleishman-Hillard conducted a study reaffirming this:
A recent national opinion survey of Americans found that knowledge of a company’s commitment to social responsibility influences purchasing behavior more than lower prices do.
Now More Than Ever
Because they are small and subject to charitable donations, they too are endangered by the current economic situation. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, many non-profits face their extinction or demise.
There will be no bail-out for the non-profit industry from Congress. While the auto industry certainly has a big impact on our economy, so does the non-profit industry. In fact, social causes and other non profits do more than just provide jobs, they seek to better our society in a variety of ways, from supporting the arts to feeding the poor.
Now more then ever companies need to show their human side… and do it with more than a little “flair” on their blog. The economy may be an excuse to cut costs, but charities still need our help.
That’s why I refuse to send our clients meaningless mugs or gift baskets for the holidays. We give money and services on their behalf to charities. We use those resources to impact and change our world. That means even more this year, when our country really needs these charities to get through what will be one of the toughest times in living memory.
Updated at 12:19 a.m.
Shel Holtz and John Havens just published the book “Tactical Transparency.” The latest entry in the growing library of social media books is a very strong one. I highly recommend it to executives and communicators considering social media for any organization, but particularly within enterprises or non-profits that have 20 or more people working for them.
Here’s my video review:
Some more color… The thing I took away from the book was the theme of transparency, and how critical this new level of visibility is for organizational social media. While personality matters, this book is about more comprehensive corporate social media, and as such it’s more important to show the entity’s logic, efforts, reasons, as well as its people. In essence, what personality adds for the individual, transparency provides to the larger entity.
In addition, I really liked how Holtz and Havens blended brick and mortar examples of transparency with online versions. The reality is online works so much better when it’s integrated into traditional communications. It’s great to see a book recognize that.
My only minor critique is an overly strong focus on blogs as a tool. In comparison, while social networks are well discussed, they are not as well documented. With each passing year, I feel that social networks have become an increasingly critical component of corporate social media.
All in all, I rated it five stars on Amazon, and will be buying additional copies to provide to colleagues and clients. Well done, Shel and John! Buy Tactical Transparency today!
Cerado Ventana connects customers to brands in spaces such as their blogs, personal start pages and cells phones. Created by Cerado, a provider of mobile and web-based software services, Cerado Ventana offers a wide array of features designed and implemented by customer requests.
Cerado Ventana addresses the needs of brands and customers. Brands have the opportunity to create and manage ventanas of their company, networks, events, etc. and deploy them through mobile devices or the web, broadening their ways to reach customers. The ventanas enable brands to find customers that are talking about them online – allowing the brands to engage in the conversation and build relationships with customers. Through this system, customers can address five aspects of business relationships: research, purchase, support, connection and conversation. The relationship building also helps brands connect their customers to the sales teams, support staff, and to easily find product information.
If you own an iPhone or Blackberry, you can immediately deploy their mobile-based app and/or blog widget through personal start pages, like iGoogle. You can also integrate Cerado Ventana with a blog sidebar. All you have to do is purchase Cerado Ventana, create your ventanas and with one click – become connected. Examples of ventanas include: Blog World Expo, GigaOm’s Mobilize Conference, and Zappos.
Here is an intro video of Cerado Ventana:
Buzz Meter Ranking: 4 out of 4 Buzz Bees
Positive: Lots of brands are looking for better and more efficient ways to connect with customers. An issue is that these organizations do not know how to connect with customers beyond the brick and mortar and regular online sites; Cerado Ventana addresses this.
Negative: Building relationships takes a while and is not free. Cerado Ventana’s starting price is $499, but don’t let this hinder you from connecting you to your customers.
Conclusion: As they’ve stated, “Cerado Ventana is the new platform for bringing people, information and business together,” and I believe that Cerado is successfully doing this. Cerado Ventana is an excellent investment that brands should consider using.
Fellow Georgetown University adjunct and SEC social media wonk Mark Story aptly dubbed the current post election government 2.0 craze a meme. And in doing so, he tagged me. It’s been a while since we’ve updated our ongoing coverage of the federal government’s adoption of social media, and the current excitement does prompt a new post. Why? Because, 15 years of DC-based experience tells me what a great challenge Obama faces bringing open online conversation to the world of federal government — in spite of his social media savoir faire.
To answer Mark’s question, I think the great social media promise for the Obama administration lies in freeing data. Tons of taxpayer data from poverty figures to weather information should be available to us all, but it’s trapped in ancient legacy IT systems.
Freeing data and serving taxpayers with access and usage will create a new world of context for Americans. Tim O’Reilly’s dream of a democratized web can come true. This will allow true governance and service to the taxpayer.
Social conversation with the government seems much less stimulating. While useful to governance, like most business or organizational social media it will be one dimensional. Consider the TSA blog.
More importantly, Obama has a great task ahead of him. I’ve sold more than $30 million worth of communications contracts to the federal government. I know how public affairs and IT departments conflict over web communications. And I know how legal precautions, procurement and legacy contractors can absolutely kill change in the government.
In reality, because of the way the federal government works, a good expectation for aggressive, systematic communications change in the government is two to three years. Consider that the Navy is leading the charge with the first set of social media guidelines for an entire agency.
Here are six reasons why Obama isn’t going to be turn the switch on walking in the door:
1) Sheer Girth: We’re talking about 26 federal agencies here, each the size of their very own automobile manufacturer. Think changing those organizations are hard? Try moving a bureaucratic organization that’s got no adherence to Wall Street, no real accountability to anyone (please don’t say Congress), with decades of strange processes and legal entanglements, legacy contracts already in place, and demoralized staff that have been abused for eight years by incompetent political appointees.
2) Culture of Fear: Government employees are afraid that if they do communicate, they will have their butts handed to them courtesy of the Washington Post or some other “investigative reporter” seeking to expose government ills. Think that’s wrong? Welcome to beltway reality, where scandals and incompetency are written about and discussed regularly. Every communication must be filtered through public affairs to protect agencies from embarrassment. The command and control ethos reigns here.
Just like any traditional enterprise, controlling the message and negative feedback will be huge issues for the bureaucratic public affairs departments. Often these folks are the last to adopt. Expect the public affairs department to fight for control on the government communications front for years.
3) Welcome to the World of Beltway Bandits: Sorry Silicon Valley. We actually have more IT workers than you do, in large part because of the federal government.
Massive IT companies hold legacy contracts in almost every agency, and big companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon won’t be quick to allow their private billion dollar systems be replaced by web app du jour. These local giants will do everything they can to protect their contracts, including lobbying and leveraging deep relationships throughout the agency procurement cycle.
4) CIOs: Government officials like to protect their budgets, and not yield them. Like a feudal system, the CIO’s office can function like a warlord, holding sway over multi-year million dollar contracts. Opening IT to the socialized web will not be easy here for a variety of reasons, but most importantly surrendering budget — even in a time of restricting budget — will not happen.
5) Security and Privacy: Securing government data is not just a priority, it’s essential. The more defense and security oriented, the harder it will be to sway government bodies to open data and information for the social web. Beefing up technologies like PHP-based WordPress will be a must.
6) Appointees and Procurement: These processes will slow down the process, too. Consider the following points:
No, the challenges for Obama are deep and significant. I expect change we will, but we won’t quickly. Think the 2010-2011 timeframe.
Because the conversation to date has been dominated by non beltway insiders, I’d like to tag some folks in the know. Andrea Baker, Chris Dorobek, Mark Drapeau and Helen Mosher, what do you think social media can do under Obama?
Jothy Rosenberg predicts that “millenials will abandon Facebook.” On Rocketvox Jothy provides a detailed history of Facebook, and he offers insight into why it has developed gracefully. But, according to Jothy, things are changing. He asks rhetorically, “what is turning the Millennials — Facebook’s original and core constituency — away in droves? Creepiness, complexity, and lack of privacy.” Check out Rocketvox, for an in-depth look into Facebook’s rise, and predicted fall.
Technosailor’s Aaron Brazell reveals the latest news on the upcoming WordPress release. Aaron has includes three screenshots in his post. He also says to be on the lookout on Technosailor for “the big release cheat sheet as soon as it comes out.”
Check out Amber Naslund’s post on Attitude about how social networks and new media tools are able to bolster business development. Large quantities of money are spent on generating leads and nurturing relationships, and business development practices are evolving in the 2.0 world. Amber says, “Social media is business development. It’s merely a set of tools – yes, an overwhelming set at times – designed to better connect one person to another…”
Jay Deragon says that most companies don’t know what to ask for when hiring a new social media employee. On The Relationship Economy, Jay says, “Most of the job descriptions appear to focus on candidates who know how to use a listing of social technology with little if any emphasis on relationship or communication skills.” Jay argues that a social media professional’s job description is difficult to define. But the correct candidate’s value is based on the relationships they can create.
Are you looking to expand your Twitter presence, or to spruce up your blog or Facebook page? One way to do this is to add Twitter button, badge, widget, etc. to your online real estate. Darren Rowse provides an extensive list of links to “181 free Twitter buttons, badges, widget and counters to help you find followers.” These Twitter items go beyond the mundane. Check out TwiTip for the links.
In response to a PRWeek survey, which brings to light that 44% of CEO’s still don’t plan on using social media in the next year, TweetPR’s David Alston takes a deeper look at why some companies are struggling to catch the train. David “debunks” five main issues expressed by CEO’s in the study with detailed explanations. These include a lack of relevance, message control, ROI, lack of company know-how, and lack of communication agency know-how.
Ducati recently launched its new Streetfighter motorcycle with a reveal video and at the EICMA conference. Both events have been captured on YouTube, but for several reasons this online launch marks another corporate social media failure.
In my mind, that means the community was not engaged. Companies who experiment with social media often make this mistake. They publish content instead of interacting with their stakeholders. They push messaging instead of engaging the community. Influencer relations and knowing the prominent Ducati owner and motorcycle influencers to involve them in the launch would have been savvy. Consider India’s Bikers on the Fastrack Facebook Group.
Heck, even the official web site doesn’t have the basic tagging and sharing principles that any major online product release should have. I don’t care whether you call that a social media release or just common sense. Consider that the reveal photos were not issued on Flickr though lots of folks at the show took them.
In addition to influencer relations and posting content in socially accessible locations, here are several pointers that Ducati could have benefited from:
What else would you suggest for this effort?
Everywhere you go, you see Twitter. Consider the following:
Twitter has become so hot, and in a sustainable way, that it’s become impossible to ignore it. Marketers need to learn how to intelligently integrate Twitter into their online marketing efforts to enable their community to carry the ball forward with word of mouth marketing. The Solutions Stars Video conference owed a great deal of its success to the more than 1000 tweets on the event.
Note that companies can only enable the community, but viral happens when people care enough to talk on their own, not when companies force the matter. Twitter participation is highly interactive and social, so the usual broadcast method won’t work. In addition to active presence, that means providing hashtags, enable tweeting as a bookmark, and executing the proper etiquette. An interesting resource you may want to check out is Warren Whitlock and Deborak Micek’s new book, The Twitter Revolution.
More importantly, what’s next for Twitter? How far can the social microblogging network go?
Updated at 9:30 a.m.