Ignore social media metrics before abusing them

This is the first in a group of posts in which I explain why I have advised some clients to adopt a “dynamic brochure” social media strategy, focusing on publishing, active listening and “pulse” metrics while ignoring “performance”-related metrics.

Winning the social media game
Racking up “likes” in the addictive game of social media isn’t the same as delivering ROI

As a client once pointedly asked me, “how much social media do we need?”

The answer lies in measurements of both the pulse and performance of social media activity.

Yes, I know measuring social media performance is almost universally considered a best practice. No, I’m not intimidated or uneducated when it comes to metrics (quite the opposite: I have an undergraduate degree in social psychology from a department with a hard-core approach to statistical methods). I am opposed to the abuse of metrics, however, and I accept the fact that not every organization is prepared to use them correctly.

For many businesses, the measurements that are accessible aren’t actionable. And often enough accessible metrics are abused just because they are the only ones available. I advise those organizations not to focus on metrics, and the strategy described in this post is for those organizations.

What do I mean by pulse and performance? Let’s say you are Continue reading “Ignore social media metrics before abusing them”

How often should I blog?

Bruce WilsonThe primary flaw of much advice given around the topic of “how often should a blogger blog?” is that it involves examining popular bloggers and deducing what they must have done to become popular. This approach presupposes that your goal is to become a popular blogger, and that you have the resources to accomplish this goal. I’m not going to offer this type of advice because it doesn’t apply to most bloggers who have “day jobs” which preclude this degree of focus on blogging.

Instead I encourage you to consider your audience and consider your own motivation.

Your audience: no one is making potential readers read every word. Whether they discover new posts by tweet, LinkedIn update, Facebook post, email notification, RSS, or browsing the blog, they can simply decline to read posts that don’t interest them. There is definitely a saturation point, but Continue reading “How often should I blog?”

Is WordPress the best blogging platform for personal branding? What about hosting?

Bruce WilsonI’ve consulted to a number of companies where one of my roles has been to provide high-profile employees with advice and coaching about developing their personal brands, complementing the company’s own brand, via social media use. Here are two such questions and answers.

Q: Should I set up a blog on WordPress–is it the best all-around blogging platform for “personal branding” for a blogger?

A: WordPress is a very strong platform for feature set, user interface, search engine optimization, and customization (huge number of themes + CSS).

Q: What’s the best WordPress host?

A: If you are in touch with your inner Unix voice Continue reading “Is WordPress the best blogging platform for personal branding? What about hosting?”

Making the Scene With SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Social Media Features

Social sharing - how is it different in the workplace?

I discovered an interesting video recently while helping a client demonstrate how users of a SharePoint document management system can share information about the documents they are managing. The video is by Michael Gannotti, a technology specialist at Microsoft, and it apparently shows how Microsoft uses SharePoint 2010’s social media features in-house. The video covers other SharePoint 2010 features as well, but I found 2 segments particularly relevant.

Social Media features in SharePoint (from timestamp 6 minutes 49 seconds to 15 minutes 50 seconds):

  • people search — users can find people who are experts on the subjects they’re researching;
  • publishing — via wikis, FAQS, and blogs;
  • user home pages — users can fill out their own profiles, add types of content, see their friend and group feeds;
  • viewing other users’ pages — users can find out more about co-workers and their work;
  • adding meta-information — tagging, liking, and adding notes or ratings to alert others about the relevance of content to oneself, to a project, or to a topic; and,
  • publishing (blogging) options — users can post to SharePoint either via a rich web-based text authoring environment or direct from a Word document.

Using One Note For Sharing (from timestamp 17 minutes 34 seconds to 18 minutes 34 seconds):

  • can create the equivalent of wikis and FAQs;
  • is web-editable;
  • may be better for printing; and
  • can also be used offline.

Here’s his video (hosted by Vimeo):

Other resources

Another useful resource concerning social media in SharePoint 2010 is this blog post by Microsoft Senior Technical Product Manager Dave Pae at TechEd earlier this month: http://community.bamboosolutions.com/blogs/sharepoint-2010/archive/2010/06/07/live-from-teched-overview-of-social-computing-in-sharepoint-2010.aspx. This also links to a post about social search which not only discusses the types of content (including meta-information) which can be searched, but also covers phonetic search capabilities: http://community.bamboosolutions.com/blogs/sharepoint-2010/archive/2010/06/07/live-from-teched-in-new-orleans-what-s-new-in-enterprise-search-in-sharepoint-2010.aspx.

Generating B2B sales leads using social media

The 2009 Forrester Research report about what influences IT buyers in a B2B context presented the following list of the most influential sources of information for technology buyers. As it happens, the positive impact of all of the sources of influence on Forrester’s list can be enhanced through social media efforts. Starting from the top, in order of influence, the sources are:

  1. Peers and colleagues
  2. Vendor, industry, trade web sites
  3. Your direct vendor salesperson
  4. Technology or business magazines
  5. Consultants, VARs, or SIs
  6. Industry trade shows or conferences (in person)
  7. Industry analyst firms
  8. Forums, online communities, social networks
  9. E-mail or electronic newsletters
  10. Web events or virtual trade shows
  11. Interactive media: podcasts, video, online demos
  12. Blogs

(surveying 1217 technology decision makers at companies with more than 100 employees).

B2B sales lead generation - fitting the pieces togetherAlso according to Forrester, 91% of B2B technology buyer decision makers use social media to gather information.

It’s critical to recognize that a successful social media lead generation strategy doesn’t require reaching out to every customer on a one-to-one basis. Instead, the most powerful online strategy is to use existing communication channels by reaching out to the influencers who already have a one-to-one relationship with customers. Here’s how this strategy maps to Forresters list:

Peers and colleagues” – People will go out of their way to share good news with their friends. It’s human nature to tip off friends about big finds. The right tools can make it extremely easy for people to share information about products and services via email, Twitter, and other channels. State of the art viral messaging hooks can be built into the sellers web site, including a subscrition email messaging system and connections to other transmission mechanisms on the web (like Twitter). These are all trackable, incidentally, to provide feedback about the spread of a seller’s messages via various channels.

Technology or business magazines,” “Consultants, VARs, or SIs“, and “Industry analyst firms” – I lump all of these together under the category public relations (PR). The experts and commentators in almost every B2B community are constantly trading information. More and more of this discussion happens using social media. Social media like Twitter and blogs are now a key conduit for building relationships with journalists, bloggers, analysts, consultants, and other experts, who in turn influence IT decision makers. (See my post earlier this week for more about this.)

Your direct vendor salesperson” – Social media can reveal which specific people working for potential buyers are looking for a seller’s solution. For instance, LinkedIn provides a virtual directory of who does what inside many companies. Twitter and blogs can provide a blow-by-blow account of the projects specific people are working on.

Web site“, “E-mail/newsletters“, “Web events“, “Interactive media“, and “Blogs” – Initial contacts are stickier, stronger, and last longer when people can effortlessly keep in touch with a seller using the form of online communication – email, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, webinar, etc. – that they are most at home with. But a surprising number of B2B sellers aren’t using these off-the-shelf subscription and interaction options to convert contacts into leads.

Forums, online communities, social networks” – These three are pure social media. But a company must actively and consistently participate in them to have an impact.

Last but not least, within every communication channel mentioned above it’s important to listen and learn what people are saying about your company, its competitors, and its markets. Companies that don’t make an effort to become aware of what influencers and customers are saying are likely to miss both sales opportunities and criticism. It takes an effort, but a wide variety of tools are available to automate the process.

No man behind the curtain: Twitter is only a tool (no faith required)

Once again last week I found myself complaining that no one seems to recognize the connection between Twitter and PR. But later that same day I saw a tweet from Laurel Papworth linking back to her own blog post: BBC says Use Social Media – or Leave (citing The Guardian).

Thanks Laurel!

Journalists and bloggers: more wired than most.The whole “Twitter: Pro or Con” argument is a bit like debating “Planetary rings: pro or con.” Twitter is what it is. Those of us in harm’s way because we are in marketing, public relations, or other areas now exposed to public discussion should learn how to use Twitter, then put it to work when it fits. Whether and how to use Twitter is a choice that should be decided on the merits of the tool, not on hype or emotional reaction to random, apocryphal stories in which people tweet about brushing their teeth, etc.

A lot of bloggers and journalists already use Twitter. Based on my unscientific sample that now includes the BBC, this isn’t likely to change any time soon. So if you’re reaching out to journalists and bloggers, use Twitter.

More about this in my next post.

A social media primer for indie filmmakers

Last week I had the pleasure of spending an hour over coffee with a couple of Seattle-area independent filmmakers to talk about their social media strategy. In honor of the occasion I put together a short (9 slides) introduction to social media.

While there are details that are specific to filmmakers, most of the concepts are relevant to almost every organization, both commercial and non-profit.