Archive for August, 2008

Post Conversation-What do we do now?

Once you get beyond the conversation, what’s there?  For each aspect or rather in each of it’s iterations, there will always be a result or an action. Conversations, regardless of the network they are swimming in, have to have some causal net result. If not, then it’s one big dinner party or bar, where the conversations have no substance, and we all go home and wake up in the morninh with a headache and ask what happened.

There is a great discussion about this exact subject going on in a few places that I would encourage you to visit. Over at Valeria Maltoni’s site the conversation agent, Valeria has always maintained that it was always about the outcomes of the conversation. And she cites numerous sources that in one way or another support this premise. I couldn’t agree more. You have to do something with the conversations that you have participated in. There has to be an outcome. Unless of course, you converse just to hear yourself speak.

But see, the difference is that in this Web 2.0 age, our conversations take on many different forms. We reach out to have these conversations in many forms and in each form, the effort on our part is the push and we want the pull from the other party. But the conversations may have a tinge of self aggrandizement unfortunately, and that’s where we might be missing the point. I think that these days people are realizing that some of the conversations may be disingenous. It’s the dirty little secret of the social-ness of what we are all participating in. Its the nature of the fluidness of social. It’s way too easy to start the conversation and it’s way too easy to manipulate the conversation in your favor. But most of us are hip to that and I think it eventually  sorts itself out. We’re able to police that part fortunately.

What happens next in each aspect is covered as well by David Armano  with another one of his wonderful graphic representations in which David essentially asks… We’ve identified all the different mechanisms and networks and tools to bring forth the dialogue and raise the level of everyone’s voice beyond the tinge of a whisper so, “What next?”.

You see in each “property” in the above graphic, conversations are and have been taking place. But what comes of them? Here is a quick example. Do we blog because we want to hear and read what we speak and write about respectively? No, we do it because we essentially want to talk and we want to be heard, and we want to engage others in a dialogue. Problem is, and I’ve noticed that perhaps this one tiny aspect is often overlooked- in order to be heard and in order to converse on or in a blog platform, it does not happen immediately. It takes work, and it takes effort, and I think to a large degree, most people underestimate that. Thus they abandon the endeavor. Do we need to make it even easier to be heard and engage others? Is it still to intimidating and difficult to join in the conversation?

The outcomes of conversations in each of David’s properties all predicated on various barriers of entry. Some not as great as others, but each still requires some effort in order to be heard. Do people want to work at their conversations? I don’t think so, but in each example, conversations and the endeavor of enagaging in them is not a passive activity. never has been, unless you like to lurk.

Another aspect often overlooked in the online social world, is that there is still the aspect of engagement. Type “A”‘s might still have an easier time of engagement than type “B”s. We still have to look at easing the transitions for N00bs. Once they are engaged in the conversation, they may be ok. But then we all come back around to the beginning. And we ask ourselves, “Now what?” “What comes of this?”

Seth Godin started an invite only social network called triiibes that was tailored to his forthcoming book. There are roughly 3000 people in this network and conversations abound. The problem is, I have to think, and do, that all the people in the network are in the “take” mode. A network where everyone is looking for, according to Steve Bridger’s comments to David, “what’s in it for me” can’t be very productive, or maybe it is? Conversations have to be equally 2 way, if not, they’re not called conversations, they’re called monologues. They have to have something more to them in each web 2.0 scenario. That’s what Valeria and David are getting at. We have all these tools, so now what? What do we do with all the various ways that we now have to communicate with each other. Perhaps a Conversation Manifesto is in order?

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9 posts/sites that are required reading

I read so much that my eyes water sometimes. When I get home and walk in the door and set my laptop bag down, it’s nice to say-I’m home, time to take a break. Except, after about an hour or two and I’m finally settled in, what do I do? I fire up the laptop and read some more. I’m an information junkie and I suspect a lot of you are too. So since we have a 3 day weekend coming up. Here are some blog posts and websites for you to ponder over and check out.

Shel Israel has some interesting thoughts on the future fo social meda, don’t worry Shel is all about brevity but it’s still good.

Here’s a really interesting post from Veronica Giggey at Social Media Group, why? because she’s a project manager there and she’s looking for an internal collaboration tool. This struck me as odd, yet honest. Hit her up and see if you can help her!

I guess the big Yahoo Mash experiment is over. Actually I didn’t know it was just an “experiment”. Maybe that’s what you call something that doesn’t work.

This absolutely boggles my mind about Facebook and I’m still catching hell about this post I made on Social Media Today

Check out these numbers on how associations are using social technologies, over at Chris Carfi’s site, they’re actually higher than I would have thought!

Why do you exist?

How uber cool is this? meglobe

Valeria Maltoni asks what’s beyond the conversation, because she never thought it was just about the conversation itself. It’s a great piece.

And lastly, the socialization of your personal brand part III

4 reasons to be excited about the next 5 years

According to the Gartner Hype Cycle, they have identified 27 emerging technologies to keep an eye on. They have also predicted that 8 of them will have a major transformational business impact. For that reason,  those 8 should be strongly considered for adoption by technology planners in the next 10 years. Of these 8, there are 4 that have caught my eye and thus have a particular interest to me.

The first of the 4 is Web 2.0. Although if you look at the below diagram, Web 2.0 is currently in Gartners “Trough of Disillusionment”. Though it almost sounds like some type of business purgatory, it will emerge within two years to have a transformational impact, as companies steadily gain more experience and success with both the technologies and the cultural implications-according to Gartner. If you cannot get excited about how Web 2.0 is transforming the web and the way we utilize it, then you just might not be geeky enough. That’s ok though, there are enough of us out there that truly are “giddy” about the direction we’re heading.

The next area that Gartner feels is about to explode is Social computing platforms — you’d have to be living in a cave on the island of Fiji to not suspect that consumer-oriented social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, are causing companies of all sizes to evaluate the role that these sites, or various components of these sites, including their enterprise sized brethren, might do to transform and elevate the way that they currently communicate and do business. What’s more, the individual components and their ilk are forcing people to re-think what it means to be social, to re-evaluate what communities are all about, and how all of this can change the way we might interact with each other in the future.

If it hasn’t been obvious to this point what would be on Gartner list, its Microblogging— Thanks to Twitter specifically, and Plurk and Friendfeed to a lesser degree, microblogging is the new kid on the block in the world of social networking. But if microblogging is the new kid, it’s the new kid who can hit the ball out of the ballpark the first time he picks up a bat. The potential has already been leveraged by some pockets of the online community such as social media marketers and PR people, but it is also slowly being adopted by some forward thinking leading-edge companies who are using it to communicate with its customers, and employees. It’s becoming and will become another viable tool in a companies quest to engage it’s customer, communicate with the customer and brand their products more effectively.

Lastly, I’m going to lump 2 together. Corporate Blogging and Social Network Analysis I think that corporations, because of the advent of Web 2.0 technologies and the emergence of social networks and their niches, are starting to realize the importance of communicating like they never have before. We throw around the word transparency and I think it has never been more self evident what the upside can be to these organizations. As soon as Corporations can get a handle on the how’s and the why’s of blogging, they will be well served to incorporate it into their marketing mix. My suggestion would be to start with the book Naked Conversations.

Social Network Analysis is a natural extension of Web 2.0,  social computing platforms and microblogging. Because we are in the realtive infancy of these aformentioned technologies, the measurement of these is still as well, in it’s early stages. Analyzing the impact, the ROI, the level of engagement, the depth, the reach, the frequency, the conversations, the numbers- of social networks is something we talk about every day. An example of a company that does monitors social media would be Radian 6. As social networks continue to mature, look for this aspect as well to become robust and very vertical and very in demand.

So take a look at the diagram below, which ones get you excited to be in this space?

Hey, is my nose bleeding?

Humility tends to be in short suppply these days. I suppose after reading and writing about the importance of relationships, ego traps and hero worshipping yesterday that I might have at least learned something or had taken my own advice to heart. Something. Anything. It’s as if I just tuned out.

Yep, in the course of ohhh say 24 hours, I have been knocked down to size and humbled by one client. I was told I was not assertive enough by another would be client that I had been working with, who in hind sight wanted me to be more agressive and forcefull. And lastly, I had another potential client essentially tell me to give them what they had asked for and not what I suggested they need. All in less than 24 hours!

Hell, I even wrote a blog post titled, “Serve me what I want, not what you think I need”.  Talk about doubting yourself! What has this taught me? Alot.  Below are 10 points with associated posts that I need to always keep in mind and maybe you should too!

  1. The client will always be right. Always. Even if they’re not.
  2. You might be right, but the client doesn’t know you well enough to give you the business.
  3. You have to build trust incrementally.
  4. Assume nothing.
  5. Sometimes you just need to shut up.
  6. You are not as good as you think you are.
  7. There will always be someone who can do it better.
  8. Never underestimate the client.
  9. Always temper your actions with humility.
  10. Don’t forget where you came from.

 

Happiness, Heroes and Relationships: 3 Lessons

Interesting day unfolding before me today. I’m going to provide you 3 lessons in relationship marketing. One of the first blog posts I read this morning was written over at Jason Falls’s social media explorerer. The post was about how social media can open the door for happiness marketing. I’m down with that, since scare tactics seem to be de rigueur these days. My take away points from this are as follows:

Social media offers a way to build your business by making people happier, rather than the other way ‘round.

People who feel like they’ve been heard are happier than people who don’t.

If you refer to yesterdays blog post, you will see that one of my deadly “sins” for a social media marketer are the pissing off of a customer. Any time we can make a customer happy, shouldn’t you take it? When you help someone or make them happy, are you not happy as well? Isn’t that, or can’t that have a viral effect? Come on people start thinking of the power that you posess to make people happy and use it.  The quality of a good relationship will make YOU happy. Lesson #1.

So after reading this article, I happen across Peter Kims’s blog post titled How to create successful hero marketing and my take away from this was to beware of gods with clay feet and to thine own self be true. Essentially Peter is saying that you either worship your heroes in social media, you want your heroes to notice you or you want to create your own hero persona.  Please read his whole post, it really raises some questions on just  what exactly is it that we want to achieve? Below is part of my response to his post.

The hero marketed to his followers and they did as they were told because their egos told them that perhaps it would open doors and allow them to get closer to the marketing guru…But once they got in, I think some might have realized that it was just another NING network.

But it serves up two good points that you have mentioned. Seth leveraged his hero worship status to drive sales via WOMM and the viral aspect of invite only status: and his followers/readers and their egos fell for the ego trap and bit.

 

The relationships that you cultivate all have a motivation. The ones that have the most impact on you and your life will be the ones that make you happy. They also will be the ones that to a certain degree are mutually satisfying. That isn’t saying that they might not involve some ego, but relationships are as much the driving force social media as any other component. i.e. the conversation  and the realtionship that springs from it,is not a monologue. Lesson #2.

Relationships. it’s what drives everything we do. Relationships are our universe. You might not agree but I will tell you that in the immortal words of John Donne, “no man is an island” especially in social media. Our relationships define us as much as any metric in social media. For example: Number of visits, Number of subscribers, number of readers, number of followers, number I’m following, blogs I’m reading, people I recommend- ALL Relationship driven.

But in some cases the relationship is not perfect. It has it’s “warts and all”. And we’re taught that we should tuff it out and eventually things will get better. Well you know what? In some cases that just isn’t true. And people end up bitter and angry and saying things they don’t mean because they stayed in the relationship entirely too long. Which leads me to Maggie fox and Geoff Livingston. They decided to not go through with their planned “merger”. They called it off a little over a month after they had announced they were teaming up. Rather than fight through it, they both had the foresight to realize that maybe it wasn’t going to work out. So the end result? A relationship intact. Some disappointment but in the end, no damage done.

In the end,  it’s all about the quality of ALL of the relationships you cultivate, and what you do with them in all of there various forms and stages. Lesson #3, Can you say Micro Interactions anyone?

 

This is so dead on

I was reading Jackie Huba’s and Ben McConnell’s blog and they were interviewing Tom Fishburne as part of the Post2Post blogging book tour he’s doing. So they asked him if branding was dead and if so, where do we bury the body?” The following cartoon was inspired by the question. All I can say, is amen. It’s dead on. It’s a great interview by the way.

Social media marketing’s 7 deadly sins

With apologies to all of the spiritualists out there, this post is not to make fun of the “real” 7 deadly sins. This is simply a way to magnify the importance of getting it right versus screwing it up seven times over. Over the last few days Peter Kim and I have exchanged emails over topics that swirl in and around social media marketing, and somehow this blog post evolved. I am not sure how it came up exactly, but then again, thats how a lot of these posts start. But the subject of this post seems to dovetail nicely into what is being discussed lately, especially on SMT.

So there’s a lot being discussed every day about social media marketing, what works, what doesn’t, why, how, when, etc etc. In the past I’ve written lengthy pieces on what social media isn’t, but how about 7 things that you better not do in social media marketing? That in and of itself would be something to throw up on the fridge with a  fridge magnet right?

1) In your push to increase customer loyalty and retention, you’ve driven your customers away with poor messaging, poor communication and complete disdain and compassion for them and the product they love. You’re Insincere and it shows. You nod your head and pretend to listen, but you decide that you know what’s best. That’s a bad choice.

2) In your zeal to hit the ground running with your product, you have failed to realize that the product has serious deficiencies and you choose to launch anyway. It could be that your product is either being hurt by the initial buzz of bad publicity, has been hurt or bashed by 3rd parties,  or the word on the street is, it just doesn’t work. Your product awareness campaign has only increased the awareness of how bad the product might actually be. Why? You were not listening and your timing could not be worse.

3) Because of #2, in your quest to create brand advocates you have created the anti-brand champions who have made it their goal in life to do everything in their power to make sure that your brand does not succeed. You made enemies and you continue to not listen and you decide to push on without addressing it. Could it have been, that you might not be listening or refusing to even try?

4) In pushing to roll out your social media marketing plan, you miss the mark completely and are marketing to the wrong people. In fact these people may have had their fill of social media marketers, social networks, and are essentially hip to the overtures of marketers in general. So again, in your rush to create new revenue streams, you’ve decided to beat a dead horse. Not knowing your customer and assuming you did. Bad. Guess what? You again must not have been listening.

Are you sensing the recurring theme here yet?

5) You decide to do it your way. You think your one way style of contacting and talking at the customer using the latest social media tools should work just fine in its own intrusive way. You sir or madam are not respecting the rules of engagement. You have lost your protocal compass. You have decided that frequency is better than reach and breadth is better than depth. You have not heard a thing that has been said.

6) You’ve decided that you need to hide behind a few layers. You don’t want the customer to know anything about you, the company, the realness of the people behind the product. Nothing. You have decided that a fake persona is the best route to driving sales and stickiness. Wrong. If you’re not being transparent, then you’re not being you. You have something to hide. One of the most important aspects of social media marketing it being transparent, or had you not heard that yet?

7) You’re not honest, you’re not who you say you are. This speaks as much to #6 as it does all of the rest.  But one of the keys to any relationship be it personal, or business is honesty. Just look at the code of ethics on the WOMMA They get it, and so should you. It may sound trite but keeping it real has never meant more than in social media marketing.  Oh yea, you might want to shut up and listen too!

I’m sure that there are tons of social media marketing faux paus’s that we can all think of it. In fact Jim Tobin over at Ignite Social Media has a nice post about it. The aformentioned 7 are just some that have really been standing out for me lately. And to be honest, I have made some of these, but I have also learned from these mistakes as well too, and have tried like hell to not repeat them.  Who was it that once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it?” Last question, with the 7 points mentioned above, can you figure out what collective quality might benefit you the most?


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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