5 Keys to Social Media Effectiveness

In working on a course in Social Media Effectiveness, I found myself defining the base principles again. Overlooked far too often, I thought they might be worth sharing.

  1. STRATEGY: Define your objectives so that you can determine where your energy is best placed BEFORE your spread yourself too thin. Understand which sites are social and which are professional. Establish clear rules for you and your organisation as to what is public information. Define who the on-line representatives are and make sure they are clear on the strategy (Make sure they use separate accounts for their non-company related media activity). With clear objectives, it is easier to follow the tactical efforts for measurement of their effects on engagement and ROI.
  2. AUTHENTICITY: Don’t try to be something you are not, it will destroy trust, and ruins your credibility. Be real, it will add depth to your interactions. Errors are opportunities for learning and conversations. Accept them and use them to build engagement.
  3. ETIQUETTE: Remember the base rules of social etiquette that you learned in kindergarten. Speak when spoken to. Offer thanks for when someone helps you. Be respectful. Don’t use vulgar language. Maintain your connections. Don’t shout (all caps), unless you really mean it. Listen when others are speaking. Be humble.
  4. SHARE: Promote your peers. Pass on knowledge, links and media that is of interest to your readers or community members. Build, don’t burn bridges. Connect others who have potential synergies. Promote your own expertise by sharing your knowledge for others to learn from.
  5. QUALITY: Protect the integrity of your network. Participating in the same community does not warrant a “friend” or “link”. These should be determined by real interactions that provide ability to create a reference or support a referral. Just as reciprocal “following” or becoming a “fan” does not add value. As your interests also define your profile or your brand.

Of course there is more, as this is just the base key principles. Please feel free to share your thoughts and examples of success or failure using these keys.

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What a “User” looks like

This is such a beautiful depiction of what social media can do and who is our “user.” I came across this British Telecom (BT) advertisement from 2002 in searching for images to add to a class I am teaching on social optimization. Talk about engagement, they certainly got me (but not for using their services). I certainly took the time to share the advertisement with my community of social media people. What I found fascinating by the commentary on this YouTube posting was that it was mostly based on “the making of” There were people who were in the advert, and others who “knew people in the advert.” But the content message was not commented on. And yet, despite this advert being over seven years old and made for television, it is now being used by people like me, via YouTube, as content to explain the power of social media. The individual who posted it is not even connected to BT (at least it seems). Something is far more sticky in that…

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#Q-Day reflections

Brilliantly presented the Q-Day conference exceeded my expectations. To keep on topic with this blog on social optimization, I will not go into great detail on the speakers of wither Q-Day or the second day of Innovation in Mind. Instead I will share a few lasting impressions.

Live interaction that is shared via SMS/MMS and then posted on side screens was innovative and engaging. Thank you to:

  • Susan Blackmore for pointing out the gorilla in the room, but also reminding us that if we do not need to see him it may not matter. Externalities can simply be distractions when we need to focus to complete a task.
  • Germund Hesslow for reminding us that mistakes can be creative and that “he who never makes a mistake has never made a discovery.” Innovation comes from , according to Goethe, 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
  • Anders Persson for amazing us with the depths to which we can see the invisible , solving problems we didn’t realize were there in a non-invasive method.
  • Kary Mullis for pointing out that monthly reports can kill creativity and that innovation that breaks limits and expectations often requires creating one’s own smokescreen.
  • Spencer Tunick for helping us understand that a day in jail is a small price to pay for creative expression.

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Innovation in Mind applied (part one)

The last week has been full of conferences and little time to reflect. Starting with Q-Day and Innovation in Mind in Lund and followed by TEDxStockholm. Each of these had both face to face elements that I have tried to reflect and capture as well as social media tools applied to create greater interactivity with the participants. Q-Day did this particularly well with mobile texting tools integrated into the scene.

Reflections from Innovation in Mind (day one):

  • Bengt-Åke Lundvall – Great to have innovation and creativity officers representative in EU, but missing measurement of entrepreneurs and SMEs (and noticeably missing women). The audience was particularly disturbed by the “old men” representation of creativity, and did not hold back from expressing it on the message boards. Seems he forgot his audience when creating his message, as these were predominantly innovators and entrepreneurs, not politicians.

  • Henry Chesbrough – On open innovation, great modeling for critical element of capturing spin out and spin offs in innovation process. We must figure out better models for Yours/Mine/Ours and Intellectual Property. This “open” aspect of collaboration is certainly a great deal of what “social” strategy is about.

  • Nikolaus Franke – Finally simplified explanations of User Innovation (user gets benefit from using, not selling) and the importance of applying information from test users in analygous markets. Brilliant. This is true social optimisation in R&D. Understanding that the users are not always obvious and neither are their motivators for innovation is critical. Great examples of toolkit development to simplify users participation in R&D both from online t-shirt design to watch design. Reminded me a bit of the Timberland customized boot or Ralph Lauren custom polo short applications. But the data on what the user was willing to spend on individual customization was quite interesting (nearly twice).
  • Sahar Hashemi – Was a brilliant presenter. She shared her story on the founding of Coffee Republic with such authenticity that she engaged each and every member of the audience. Her message was clean and clear and inspiring for everyone fearing taking the entrepreneurial leap, she left them feeling they could do it and as she says “the net will appear.”
  • Clay Shirky – I will write more on his presentation in a separate entry, as his work is so critical to understanding the impact of communities and users. It was a delight to see him present and to meet him afterwards.
  • Eric von Hippel -Spoke of Lead User Innovation (user who innovate to solve their needs at private expense & the freely reveal their innovations) and the difference with User Driven Innovation (otherwise known as, Market Research) and the importance of recognising that over time fewer users can compete with user collaboratives. This was a great example of how SMEs and Entrepreneurs have an advantage in the new marketplace using effective social strategy.
  • And finally the panel that (from a social strategy perspective) accentuated the importance of collaboration and partnership as well as the power of listening to analygous markets. (ask listen, learn)

My reflections are from a social strategy perspective, but keep in mind there was so much more. More to come…

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Writing for a global audience, hello “z”

I finally give in. As a serial expat, my American language has become influenced by British and European English resulting in my spelling going to pot. Working with Social Optimization does not help given its blatant exposure of my weakness. So, I give in. I will use (or at least try) to return to my American roots and spell with the “z” of my childhood. I must admit I am attached to the the softness of the s in “optimisation” so it will be with regret. I have received sufficient flack from both family/friends and readers now that I must decide. On top of it all is the fact that in order to optimise for search engines, I must use the more common spelling. So forgive me if I slip up every now and again. From now on you can find my work under social optimiZation. But fear not, I will not become a ForbeZ.

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Q-Day Opening with Teitur

Enjoy the fabulous opening to Q-Day while I try to edit together footage from great presentations on innovation, creativity and conscience byHesslow, Persson, Mullis, Tunick, Albertson, Blackmore and Bushnell.

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Keeping Social and Keeping Up

I am reminded by my colleague as we sit and work on the book about “Social Optimisation” that the biggest struggle that we all share is too few hours in the day. Trying to keep up with blogs and tweets, curriculum development for classes, presentations to tweek to specific audiences and deliverables for consulting clients becomes a bit of a balancing act (pun intended), not to mention having a life and keeping healthy (which by the way is not optional, its required in the social optimisation equation). Yes, even those who work with balance can become off-balance. But this only fuels my fire, so to speak. The more effective the tools, the easier to take the best of what there is to reuse where applicable and apply where needed. The beautiful thing about social is that we all use it in most of the areas of our work. It is about people communicating with people. The message and the methods may change, but the base principals are the same.

I have decided to try some different tools that might make the message simpler and cleaner, video. So keep posted, for video blogging to come. (Of course, the drilling above my office might make this a challenge, I will do my best.) Tomorrow begins “Q-Day” that leads up to “Innovation in Mind”. So, I will be blogging and “V-blogging” during the day and we will see if this works well.

Stay tuned….

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Social Media for Non-Profit Organisations and Networks

“Where do we start,” is the common question I get at workshops on social media for global networks. The struggle that many have is partially based on a technology gap, partially quick turnover of volunteer boards, and often too much fear of getting out of the comfort zone. This leaves much room for knowledge to be lost and information to get caught in transitions and never shared. In my workshop on PR tools at the BPW Europe Congress yesterday, the discussion was quickly diverted to what are the tools for, how to use them effectively, as they were all perceived as channels. The beautiful thing about the way things are evolving, social media tools are, in general, user friendly and free (non-profits love this). So here is one way to simplify the recommendation:

Firstly, with each of these tools there must be an account that is shared by the club to access and a record of which tools are being used. This will simplify the archive and tracing process during handover of new boards. This can be done by creating a free gmail account which forwards to those currently responsible.

Second we select the content to be shared. This does not always have to be created, as it may have already been created by others (interviews, photos from events, in the press, links to products, services, articles, blog posts,…). Write your commentary and questions in text format and save for insertion.

Third we send these through translation tools that will host the dynamic content and provide an embed code or link to it to insert when you broadcast.
Here are some examples of translate tools that I have found effective:

  • Links: http://bit.ly Shorten urls so that they are easier to share.
  • Presentations: slideshare.com Converts Powerpoint presentations and images and hosts them, providing a, embed code
  • Documents: Adobe Acrobat, from Word download the conversion tool to make any doc a pdf
  • Video and Music: YouTube.com Upload video to host on YouTube, can use the direct link or create an embed code
  • Pictures: picasa.google.com Upload your images and create an album to share via link or embed

Fourth step is to take ownership of these tools and provide them context. You can do this through creating a press release uses the links and embeds to enrich the content. This can be broadcast through onlineprnews.com which with the free version will broadcast and the fee based will optimise it for search engines (determine which is best based on the importance of the reach and accuracy in targeting required for the particular message). Maintain a blog that can be linked to your homepage where your editorial, and content can be compiled and broadcast. Both Blogger and WordPress are free and easy to set up and use.

In between these lies the infamous twitter. Do not use your personal twitter, keep a separate account for the organisation for relevant, contextual only tweets. They can be managed separately using tools like tweetdeck. Tweetdeck will also enable you to shorten urls within it, so that you can share individually elements of the content (from content host links, above) or the full summary (press release or blog). This is important as you are limited to the 140 characters. You can also embed the twitter profile and tweets in a sidebar of the blog or website by using a badge. If you are new to twitter, keep in mind to stick with format of headline and link only. To avoid “ego” only tweets, refer to other links in context outside of organisation.

Next you have the channels which here is just to name a few. The key is to understand where your audience is interacting and have a presence there, whether it be in the form of a group, a fan page, a separate community or site. Here are some of the ones that I use and their different purposes:

  • SOCIAL: Facebook is a great tool for social interactions that have extended and local reach. Just remember that the interaction is social, not professional, so unless it is of personal interest to the audience, it is not appropriate. As an organisation you can create a Fan Page that Facebook members can join to hear news, give feedback and share their appreciation of with their friends.(note: rule of thumb for connecting on Facebook, only do so if it is someone that you would ask how their family is, not just as a conversation starter, but because of genuine interest).
  • PROFESSIONAL: LinkedIn is the best tool for professional referal and reputation management. Create a group to where you can have interactive dialog, update when there is new content or news of note or interest to others. (note: rule of thumb for linking on LinkedIn, only do so if you have an interaction or experience to base a referral on to ensure the integrity of your network. When you refuse, do so politely leaving the door open for when you have that interaction or experience).
  • ~Xing is a hybrid of the social and professional that also encourages local communities to create face to face events. Most active in German speaking countries but does have global coverage.
  • Homepage: Provide a space to announce your presence and link to them on your homepage so that your readers know to look for you there. Also be sure to provide the opportunity for your readers to share content via both RSS and tools they are using (try adding ShareThis). If you already have a community or blog, make sure to integrate the new content regularly).
  • INTEREST: Ning is a free online community building tool that can be used for both professional and social purposes, depending on your need.

Lastly, but very importantly, once you get to your audience, you need to remember that it does not stop there. To be truly effective, monitor and measure who your reader is and their behavior. Google has two great tools for the monitoring (Google Alerts) and measurement (Google Analytics): I am currently evaluating some of the more indepth tools that are coming out onto the market for measurement. This is a critical step to understanding our effectiveness and continuing improvement. You can always ask them directly if you know your audience or embed a survey in one of your communications via SurveyMonkey.

As we all know these tools are constantly evolving and new ones come to market daily. The recommendations made in this posting are simply what I am using today. I welcome your thoughts on others to try.

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