Corporate Social Media: After the Buzz

I was a guest on This Week in Social Media hosted by PJA Advertising + Marketing. The show was rebroadcasted last week.  I had a chance to listen again and thought there were some interesting nuggets. Mike O’Toole and I talked about the practical aspects of running social for a public company. I really like the way we came up with a top five list of “rules” for helping an organization be more social. 1. Find people who are willing to speak in the first person and aren’t afraid to have a personal point of view. You need people who are passionate about a given topic and have the domain expertise to add value to the conversation. 2. Be ruthless. Help your team find time for social marketing activities. What will they stop doing to make time to join the emerging conversations?  Find the bottom 10% of activities and stop doing them – life is a zero sum game and something has to give. 3. Think small and simple. Social media can be overwhelming so people need to get started in simple ways and scale from there. 4. Use agile project management. Social media is still quite speculative and you will need to test things before making bigger investments. Agile provides an adaptive approach that helps accelerate learning. 5. Need to create an open, principle-based policy to provide guidance to the team. It is impossible to create rules for every possible scenario so you need to give people baseline behavioral guidance. There is much more to the conversation if you have the time to listen. Are there any other things we should add to the list? One last ask: I could also use your support for my panel on Agile for Social Media at the SXSW conference.  Vote early and vote often my friends.  And as always, thanks for your...

Read More

Real people and social media: PJA Advertising

With all the hype surrounding social media these days, I decided I would find some “real people” using Web 2.0 to improve the way they do business.  Over the next few weeks, I will be interviewing a series of marketers and agency people to better understand what it all means to “the rest of us”. In my first installment, I interviewed Mike O’Toole, Partner and SVP of Strategy at PJA Advertising + Marketing in Cambridge Massachusetts. Tangyslice: What marketing trends are affecting your business in 2008? Mike O’Toole: A renewed focus on demand generation, based on the shaky economy and declining marketing budgets. An accelerated emphasis on analytics and accountability. Online channels moving to the center of marketing spends. TS: How are people measuring success with social media? MO: We have a couple of clients who have hired firms (specifically, Nielsen Buzz Metrics and Cymphony, now part of TNS Media Intelligence) who specialize in monitoring and analyzing the social media conversation relevant to their brand and products. These firms combine software and professional services to measure volume and (more interestingly) tonality of blogs, bulletin boards, consumer reviews, etc. We encourage investment in these tools because it gives our clients a finger on the pulse of market opinion, and also gives them an additional yardstick for measuring the success of marketing campaigns (i.e. does a campaign help increase the positive buzz among key audience segments?). TS: What do you think is over-hyped at the moment? MO: Social media-as-marketing-strategy is over-hyped. This will sound obvious, but social media is by definition user-generated and user-controlled. Corporate marketing can’t exert control, and this makes a lot of marketers nervous. We counsel our clients to be careful, not to mention courageous. The best strategy is to participate in relevant communities and conversation, and to create interesting content that might be share-worthy. And to have appropriate expectations. You will be bashed at times, and measuring the return is tricky at best. It is critical to participate, though. PJA has done three waves of research with ITToolbox (an online community of more than a million technology professionals), and we have found that social media content and communities are top influences on purchase decisions. And when companies participate in the right way, we have seen their efforts make a real difference in brand and product perceptions. TS: What do you see as the next big thing online marketing? MO: Creating moderated, online communities of customers, prospects, and other key influencers. Web 2.0 tools and technologies have made it much easier for companies to tap into virtual audience segments to get feedback about products, customer satisfaction, and brand...

Read More