Michael Dell “Friends” His Customers: Dell is often cited as the case study on how companies can engage its online community, and this Fortune story takes an even more in-depth look into the company’s strategy.
Statistics are persuasive, which is why you’re going to need them to help persuade the holder of the purse strings to invest in a social media strategy. My Mashable post today titled “how to find statistics on social media” offers a selection of key stats and resources to round out that PowerPoint deck you’ve been waiting to present.
I’ll summarize some of them here:Social media is rapidly becoming a core channel for disseminating information. Fifty-seven percent of this group of early social media adopters reported that social media tools are becoming more valuable to their activities, while 27% reported that social media is a core element of their communications strategy.
Social media is not just about participating in online conversations, but building closer relationships with the people in your network offline as well.
Robert Scoble is a great example of someone with a high profile blog who travels constantly and uses those trips to meet as many people as possible. In fact, he uses the social travel site Dopplr (as do I) to update people on his whereabouts.
So if you’re inclined to network with other bloggers in your niche, here’s a couple of upcoming opportunities in a variety of cities that might appeal to you. You’ll also learn a heck of a lot about social media in the process:
PRSA T3 PR Conference (New York, September 11): I’ll be hosting a panel with Paull Young from Converseon and David Bradfield from Fleishman Hillard titled, “Tech PR & Social Media: New Skills & Opportunities for PR Pros.” In addition to our panel, there are some fantastic speakers lined up, like Paul Gillin and Brian Solis. Check this link for the registration and more details.
Interop (New York, September 15-19): If you work in tech, this show is not to be missed. It’s a virtual who’s who of technology bloggers, evangelists and decision makers discussing the future of mobile, wireless and cloud computing at the enterprise level.
Web 2.0 Expo (New York, September 16-19): Head to Interop and get two for the price of one. There’s a whole track dedicated to Web 2.0 at work.
Blog World Expo (Las Vegas, September 20-21): This is one of those conferences that seems to get bigger each year. Topics range from Intro to New Media to Community Development and Business Blogging.
Social Networking Conference (London, September 22-23): The organizers of this event are hosting similar conferences in other regions as well, but if you want to know more about the state of the social networking space in Europe, this might be a good place to start. The largest European gathering of social media folks takes place at Le Web in December, so keep an eye out for that as well.
Blog Orlando (Orlando, September 25-27): This is a free “Unconference,” which means that anyone is welcome to lead a session on the topic of his/her choice. I’ve participated in a couple of these in New York and Boston. The content can be great depending on the presenter, but the topics here are pretty compelling .There are sessions scheduled on Blogging Relations, Crisis Communications and a few industry focused tracks as well (politics, travel/tourism). And the speaker lineup thus far is pretty damn strong.
Social Media Forum (Hamburg, Germany, September 29): The site is in German, and although my surname would indicate some level of comprehension, I confess I used Babelfish to translate the site. What I like about this one is the number of case studies that will be presented. We often hear a lot of high level strategy at these events, but rarely hear real world examples from which we can learn.
Aloha Social Media Summit (Boulder, Colorado, October 6-7): A bunch of social media rockstars, no PowerPoint and a cap of just 25 attendees? I’m intrigued.
PopTech! (Camden, Maine, October 23-25): Think of it at the TED Conference for the East Coast. It takes place in upstate Maine. The trip might be tough but you’ll leave inspired by the speakers and tapped into a community at the bleeding edge of whatever comes after Web 2.0.
Blogging Fundamentals (Boston, December 11): Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang will lead a one day workshop on corporate blogging. He’s among my favorite bloggers and a couple of hours with him are well worth the investment!
Leslie Poston has taken the time to capture an even bigger list over at Media Bullseye, which I recommend you check out as well. In addition to some of the conferences I outlined above, she included a host of free events as well.
Regardless of how you choose to participate, keep building your network!
If you’re planning to attend the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin next March, it’s time to vote for the sessions you’re most interested in seeing. Organizers recently launched the Panel Picker, which empowers participants to review all of the proposal submissions and cast a vote for the sessions that sound most appealing.
According to the site, voting will account for about 30% of the decision making process, while the remainder will be at the discretion of the advisory board and organizers. Categories range from advertising to community to new technology, each of which have close to 200 submissions. That’s why you’ll probably want to use the robust panel search function, as you can also just look for keywords you’re most interested in, like panel submissions that include the word ‘suck. If you want to vote, you first have to create an account. It’s a pretty cool search function, and will help you wade through all of the different submissions.
Voting closes August 29, so if you have a panelist you want to see or topic that you want to hear, now’s your chance to let it be known. I highly recommend (cough, cough) voting for the one that I’d be a part of, “PR for Peanuts.”
And if you live in Austin and have a couch I can crash on in March, let me know!
While I was on a bit of a social media vacation last week, Mashable published my post on 40+ Topics for Corporate Bloggers. I started it off by saying that there will be times that you have to contribute a post for your company’s blog and you just don’t have one idea that inspires you to start a conversation.
It’s difficult to blog on behalf of your company, even if you love what you do. For one, you’re representing your company in a public way. That’s scary, especially if you haven’t done so before. Also, you have to find topics that don’t compromise your company’s corporate blogging policy but still provide value to readers. Of course, some of the most exciting things you’re working on might not be ready to be shared publicly. So what the heck do you write about?
The Drama 2.0 blog took issue with my list, saying that a canned list of topics lacks authenticity and that “forcing” a blogger to write on a topic that doesn’t inspire them actually hurts the conversation. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more.
The value of lists like this is that they provide a resource for corporate bloggers to turn to when they just can’t think of something to write. I’ve been there before, and I find lists like this one from Chris Brogan are helpful in sparking a new post idea or topic. That’s probably why they are so popular. We all approach blog writing from different perspectives, even if we begin with similar ideas.
The conclusion of my post is the same one that I’ll end with here:
Remember, what makes a good corporate blog post is the passion of the writer. Find the topics that you are most interested in and help your readers to feel that same type of excitement.
I’m trying to take a social media vacation, and it’s not working out so well. I’ve found it much more difficult to unplug than I imagined. It’s hard to let go of something that you’re passionate about, which is why I’ve been doing a lot of reading on social media during this downtime.
My Mashable post today includes a list of books on corporate social media. It includes:
There are a lot of free ebooks and white papers out there if you don’t want to cough up the money for one of these (cough, cough CHEAP cough, cough). However, if you’re tasked with formulating a corporate social media plan or you just want to learn more about how it can impact your business, any of these are well worth the investment.
Alright, I’m going to try unplugging again and see if it sticks this time.
One of the best parts about posting to Mashable is seeing the conversations that develop in the comments, so I encourage you to not only read the post, but share your own thoughts as well.
Here are some of the tools that I referenced:
Twitter to inform your community about your upcoming plans and see if anyone is in that area and wants to meet.
LinkedIn members should take advantage of the site’s Business Travel section under Answers and either ask a question about the place to which you’re traveling or answer a question by a fellow traveler.
TripIt aggregates your trip details in one place, which you can share with colleagues, contacts and family.
Brightkite, a location based social network that allows you tag your photos by where you upload them and, if you choose, reveals your location so you can discover other members who might be in your area.
Utterz, one of the easiest ways to podcast using your mobile phone.
Upcoming.org or Meetup to see if there are any industry related events coinciding with your trip.
TripHub to coordinate group events, meals or meetings if you’re traveling with several of your colleagues.
Steve Groves at the World Webinar Network adds another tool to the arsenal which I hadn’t heard of, FastPitchNetworking. It’s not necessarily related to travel, but it sounds like a more robust version of LinkedIn.
I know that my post wasn’t exhaustive and I’m confident that the community of travelers (you!) have other tactics to contribute, so please do so.
At least that’s the word from a guy who should know. Arun Chaudhary, Barack Obama’s director of video field production, has helped the campaign to post more than 1000 videos on YouTube as well as capture footage for TV ads, news clips and everything else.
After taking leave from his day job as an adjunct professor at NYU’s film school to work for the candidate, he returned to the university last night in his first public appearance, sponsored by frog design and Fast Company. Chaudhary spoke to a packed crowd about the use of video by political campaigns in an age when everything is documented and how that is impacting the political process.
The one hour chat was moderated by Fast Company senior writer Ellen McGirt, who reported on the campaign in the April 2008 cover story “The Brand Called Obama.” There were a lot of great gems, but I wanted to focus on two things Chaudhary said.
The first was the example he gave of Hilary Clinton’s 3 AM ad:
When the ad aired, it turned out that the sleeping girl in the stock footage the campaign used was actually an Obama supporter. Four years ago, there was little you could do to get that message out. But Chaudhary’s team found the girl, Casey, and put together a YouTube video. At one minute, it was still too expensive for TV, but it had the opportunity to spread online:
As the campaign moved forward and the YouTube channel became a destination to post footage from Obama’s speeches and appearances, the community started talking back. Comments below the posts, emails to the new media team and general feedback at events yielded two findings:
The audience for the YouTube video skewed towards an older demographic – 45-55 year olds — not the typical 18-34 age group most people expect to find on YouTube.
People didn’t want short, edited clips. They wanted to watch the whole video.
What? People want to watch long form videos?!?! Chaudhary went on to say that based on what they’ve heard from the community, people aren’t interested in sound bites and clever edits. According to the numbers, full speeches at important moments are underestimated. That might be unique to the political process, where people want more context as every quote has the potential to be politicized (ask Jesse Jackson). But I don’t think so.
People want transparency
Don’t make assumptions about your audience – listen first!
You never know which moments people will respond to, so test and test and test. You might be surprised by the outcome.
My post on Mashable today discusses how businesses can begin using social media for community building and conversations. Obviously it’s impossible to construct a plan based on a single post, but I hope there are some good ideas mixed up in there to get the juices flowing.
After the tutorial was published, I shared the link with my Twitter community, asking them for their thoughts. Several people responded:
@MSGiro said, “I’d also toss in be prepared for the good and bad yet don’t fear the bad. Embrace and learn from it.”
@PaullYoung said, “Good outline mate, solid for the newbs. Go offline is always handy, but not essential. Good concise writing!”
@RobertCollins said, “I’ve found capturing 3 things our client’s exec staff are passionate about & sharing gets them to listen and engage faster.”
Thanks for all this feedback. That’s the part of social media that I enjoy most: the ability to bat ideas like this back and fourth in near real time with people I respect all over the world.
There’s a lot more that probably deserves to be covered as part of this topic, so I’ll try to do so here over the next few days.