Archive for April, 2010

We didn’t mean that transparent…

Transparency and openness are so 2008 and you’re so 2000 late.. OK so I’m paraphrasing Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas a bit there.. But I have a simple point to make with a larger concern. look at these latest headlines.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Believe In Privacy

What Do New Facebook Features Mean for Your Privacy?

See What Facebook Publicly Publishes About You

NJ Principal Asks Parents To Ban Social Networking

Facebook’s High Pressure Tactics: Opt-in or Else

Facebook’s Eroding Privacy Policy: A Timeline

So where’s our head at? When some of us first got into social media we touted, and admittedly I still do, the transparent and authentic nature of it all. How social media connected us or would connect us, in ways that we never dreamed of. It was our sales pitch if you will.

Sadly those days are over. Transparency and openness are the old defaults.

A funny thing has happened along the way. Some of us are not as cool with that as we thought we would be.

We care about our privacy. We just didn’t realize how much social networks didn’t.

We didn’t start to care about how much was “out there” until we started to see it abused and blasted all over search engines and showing up in our mail boxes.

The pushback has started. Privacy is the new default, and it’s time for Facebook to quit making it so damn difficult for people to understand how to control what others can and cannot see.

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What drives participation in a social network?

If you’re a social media consultant like Jay Baer, or a larger organization like Accenture for instance, one of the constant constants in social media is the amount of education required to get people all on the same page, before anything can really be accomplished.

With that being said, once people are “there”, and they “get it”, they can see pretty quickly what the trans-formative nature and power of  social media is like, and what it can do.

But it took a post from the The Next Great Generation to open my eyes to what we are really talking about here and what really drives participation in social networks. It’s amazing that I can be so immersed in it and not really see what is going on. Check out these quotes from the post:

There was no validation that what I did was comment-worthy, no “cute” notations on Yelps, no retweets of my witty Twitter updates

and

Social media validates my feelings and actions. Seeing them online makes them real and takes them out of me, much in the way that I imagine it would be to keep a diary.”

What is the common theme there? Validation. Simply put, what we do in our communities needs to be validated. No one likes to create content in a vacuum. Conversations become just that, conversations, when someone responds to you. We need that reaction. the dialogue, not the monologue. Be it positive, negative or indifferent-the social creature in us needs the juice.

As well, by simply creating and putting it “out there” validates our existence in these social networks. We become “part” of the dynamic of the group, of the community. You are a creator and you’re validating yourself for the group.

Crowds applause-that validates. Social Media flash mobs go nuts over corporate missteps-they validate each other in unison and then are further validated by Twitter, blogs and reaction from the company itself. All forms of validation.

You write a blog post or tweet something or create a video, or write a review-you do it because you want to become part of something and it all rings hollow until someone notices and says something. Blogs were and still are great because not only did it provide a forum and platform for self expression but it also provided instant feedback.  It validated both readers and writers.

Social media engagement is all about validating each other and our experiences and the content that we have created and…shared

Consider:

  • A high number of views=validates
  • A high number of blog comments= validates the topic
  • Trying to creating a video=searching for validation
  • Snarky comment on Twitter=need for validation

The list can go on and on but I have to thank the folks over at TNGG for validating what I had completely missed in this space. You see, it’s the little things that can sometimes go completely unnoticed, and once you notice them, they aren’t so little after all.

This Weeks #Social Media Topic: Managing the Marketing Mix: Which Channel is More Effective?

Posted: April 26th, 2010    By: Jason Breed

On its surface, this topic is a “status quo” topic, one that fits into the traditional advertising model that says radio, television and print are channels therefore the Internet is a channel too.  Agencies and old-school marketers feel comfortable when discussing digital as just another channel.  They figure if a portion of their budget allocated to digital and they tweak their messaging to match the medium then Whoalla! we are all new-age digital marketers.

The problem with this approach is it assumes consumers are the same and want the same messaging pushed at them to interfere with their online entertainment just like they consume television or radio entertainment.  Consumers have changed!  Consumers do not shop the same, communicate the same, consume content the same nor do they react the same to advertising.  When it comes down to it this topic cannot be about marketers adding a new channel, it has to be about those marketers who can adopt to changing consumer behaviors and those who cannot.

Consumers no longer want to be talked at, they want to be engaged with.  They want to see who prepares the food and talk with the baggage handlers, they want to feel they have a voice in determining the features of their next car model and want to help select what charities their soda maker donates to.   The majority of companies today are not set up to handle this new consumer.  Decades of closed systems and legally approved content are getting in the way of companies trying to interact with the consumer.

So what is this post about then?  Even though consumers are changing their behaviors by the second, companies can not move that quickly.  Companies need to have some transition period to move from traditional to digital and it’s not just in the way they advertise.  This is a cultural shift,  a systems shift, a shift in processes and approvals to a more distributed workforce.  This is much more than simply a messaging shift.

This post is about transitioning.  Many times, the only way to move the needle or to convince traditional executives is with proof.  That proof comes in comparing what they already know and are familiar with and in a way that they understand like reports and measurements that can compare traditional apples with digital apples (apples to apples).  If you measure traditional marketing with reach (ie. magazine has 100k circulation + 2 times pass along and costs $5k) and sales (call volume rises when our infomercial airs and conversion increases 12%) then your digital marketing reports cannot use language like followers, subscribers and linkbait, they must be consistent.  The good news is with proven success comes additional funding and a higher tolerance for experimentation.

Once you are able to measure and report consistently across traditional/digital and begin to show positive results, how do you determine how much is the optimal amount to spend on each?  Again, a fully integrated interactive marketer does not allocate a bucket of monies per channel.  Integrated messaging and consumer engagement is determined by the need at the time.  If a customer makes an online mess, it may require an online video response or it may require an actual television ad to express your point-of-view.  In order to stay flexible and meet your daily needs you cannot have a pre-allocated budget based on channels that was set 9 months ago.

In staying with the theme though, you need to be able to show value as you transition from traditional advertising to more integrated.  You have to show that any investment is worth the return before executives will release additional funds and approve more experiential marketing.  In light of that, what is the right mix?  Ford transitioned 25% of their marketing budget to social.  Seems like an arbitrary number but what is the right mix for your company as it transitions from what it was to what it needs to be?

To help us get a better handle on the right marketing mix for your company, we are bringing in a moderator this week who not only understands the measurement and monitoring side, she also understands the business side and promotes the advancement of companies into a more integrated marketing approach.  Amber Naslund, the Director of Community at Radian6, understands organizational change is just as important as technical change is and knows how to get people there.  While there is before digital (traditional) and after, more importantly there is a during or a transition that not many can talk to except Amber.  This week’s topic and supporting questions are as follows:

Topic:  Managing the Marketing Mix: Which Channel is More Effective?

Q1:  How do you know your traditional marketing efforts are effective?

Q2:  How do you know your digital marketing efforts are effective?

Q3:  What is the right budgeting mix between traditional & digital?

Be sure to join us Tuesday April 27 at noon Eastern and participate by following #sm57 from any Twitter client or simply goto our LIVE page during the event.

The catalysts of social media

Earlier today I mentioned that I would love to use the words granular and linear when I talk to people about social media and marketing, but my mind doesn’t work in a linear or granular fashion. I’m more of a black and white type. I like to distill things down.

As I was walking my black and white dog this morning I was struck by a notion that really, what might be driving widespread social media adoption are 2 simple things.  Word of Mouth and Search.

A social network happens because of what? Because someone told us about it or we did a search. Pretty much, right?  Yes there may have been an accelerant( see traditional marketing) that drove us to the social network, but for the most part how we get there is pretty simple.

Children, Parents and Social Media, the need for education

This past Monday, I sat on a panel in Naples Florida where we talked about social media and children. It was put on by the Collier County School Board and the panel consisted of law enforcement officials, representatives from Naples High School, and an individual from the Naples Daily News as well to name a few.

Throughout the 2 hour discussion I was amazed at what I heard but not surprised, and thus I jotted down some things. Three of the recurring themes coming from everyone’s lips on the panel were:

  • Education-It might seem as if that is a redundant thing to say in this type of setting, but it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to not only educate your children on the perils of certain aspects of social media, but how important it is to stay on top of it as well. the big follow up question to this was, “Where are we supposed to go for that information and education?”
  • Accountability-Social media has now made everyone accountable for what they do and what they say now. Yet children do not realize the larger implications of their online actions and interactions in social networks. As parents it’s important to understand the broader implications of social media missteps.
  • Communication-Ironic that the “thing” that helps us communicate with more people, seems to reduce the amount of communication  amongst us. But in order to stay on top of what your child is doing and who they are doing it with, what they are saying and who are they saying it to, and what they are sharing and uploading and who that is with, you have to communicate and you have to do it a lot. In other words, talk to them, ask them questions, be proactive not reactive. Don’t be afraid to dig a little.

Along with the discussion were a few links that I had suggested that parents take note of:

Knowem.com-KnowEm allows you to check for the use of your brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 350 popular and emerging social media websites.

UsernameCheck.com Similar to Knowem.
123people.com-123people is a real time people search tool that looks into nearly every corner of the web to find comprehensive and centralized people related information consisting of images, videos, phone numbers, email addresses, social networking and Wikipedia profiles.
Facebook.com/help/?safety-Facebook takes safety very seriously and strives to create an environment where everyone can connect and share comfortably. Find answers to a variety of safety questions here.
It starts with this and continues with a willingness to educate and share. Social Media is not bad and I had wished that we might have spent some time on the positive things of social media-Perhaps another session is in order for that.

Monitor your social space with 7 tools and 16 minutes of setup.

If you’re the average person, you don’t have time for paid monitoring tools; and furthermore, you really don’t want to mess with complicated social media monitoring tools or setup either. So what do you do if you want to monitor your space, your company, your name and your competition?

You check out these 7 easy tools with even easier setups.

With the advent of blogs and micro-blogs, there’s a constant online conversation about breaking news, people and places — some famous and some local. Tweets and other short-form updates create a history of commentary that can provide valuable insights into what’s happened and how people have reacted.

1) Meet. Google Replay. To check out this feature, do the following:

Go to the Google homepage, click on the show options link, and then click on updates. Make sure you have already typed in a search term and then see what happens. A waterfall of real time data coming from Twitter. Time elapsed: 30 seconds

2) Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Time to set up: 5 minutes

Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • getting the latest on an event
  • keeping tabs on your local news or teams

3) Monitter is so simple its scary, just plug in words or terms in each of the three columns and go watch the firehose of data coming from Twitter. Time to set up: 1 minute

4) I’ll add Social Mention, though sometimes the results are a bit odd, but the  setup might take one minute, which is what we’re talking about here. Time to set up: 2 minutes

5) and 6) The next 2 are great for seeing where someone might have a social profile setup. Knowem and Usernamecheck are both solid. Set up time: 7 minutes

7) Backtype takes about 30 seconds and allows you to monitor stuff. Time to set up: 30 seconds

Honorable mention: Watchthatpage Notify.me

Protecting Children from Social Media

How can you protect your children from social media?

One might say, “Do we really need to”? and another would say “We have to”.. and still another will say, “We’re all overreacting”.. and you know what? All three opinions are in a certain way, correct.

Do some of the following questions and comments sound familiar?

“I’m on top of it, I know what this social networking thing is all about”, “My child doesn’t really use it”, “Does it really matter? It hasn’t been a problem yet”, “My kids are good, they’re responsible and know what they are doing, nothing has happened, nothing ever will”.  “Facebook seems harmless”, and besides, all they do is text”.

Your children, and for the sake of this post I will keep it to those children that are under 18, are exposed to so many different forms of media and channels of communication, that one has to wonder…

How do you shield them from the dark side and at the same time allow them to explore, absorb and learn without acting or being perceived as the enemy?

Right?

Before we dig into the what to do, let’s review something real quick that may help you to understand the landscape a little bit.

Though the above graphic refers to adults, children are not too far off from this model.  This graphic by Forrester Research, refers to the types of people that hang out in communities and what they do in those communities. Your children hang out in communities, both online and offline, and all of those communities have their own sets of things to do, their own sub cultures and their own cliques; and within those groups there is as well, unwritten rules and what not.

But more importantly, aside from the breakdown of percentages in that graphic above-look at the number of ways that people can consume and create content. It’s just the tip of the iceberg in ways that a child can communicate with their peers and others. We are, and they are, consumers of media and creators of it.  We are, and even more importantly they are, in the digital age.

They can:

  • Text with their phone
  • Online Chat via AIM
  • Create video on YouTube
  • Comment on YouTube
  • Create a blog on WordPress
  • Comment on any blog anywhere
  • Create a song
  • Create a network via Ning
  • Upload music and comment on the music
  • Upload an audio podcast
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • Create hundreds of profiles on hundreds on networks
  • Update their status on Facebook
  • Share images on Flickr
  • Share music
  • Share audio
  • Share content
  • They can use a desktop computer
  • They can use a laptop, ipad or itouch
  • They can use a smartphone
  • They can use a mobile device
  • They can use someone Else’s device or phone
  • They can use someone Else’s account
  • They can rate someone
  • They can vote for someone
  • They can create a poll or survey
  • They can use a Webcam
  • They can build a website from scratch

All of these forms of communication are just that, forms of communicating-with context and without. And… the majority of these activities have incredible SEO ( search engine optimization) ramifications. Simply put, when this content is created and uploaded or shared, if it was not done in the ever dissolving walled in garden of Facebook- then it is essentially waiting to be found by someone. Good context and bad.

I repeat, Good context and bad. Simply put, If I create or write something about Thomas Jones being a jerk-There is a high likelihood that it will be found in search. The problem? Thomas Jones might be a great guy, but you don’t know that. You just read that TJ is a jerk and so you decide to tell someone else…and so it begins. It goes viral in a social network and people get hurt.

Your digital footprint has never been more impactful than it is now, here in 2010.

So how, as a parent, do we deal with the firehose that is electronic communication, that is social media? How can we at least protect, shield and monitor our children from this new media evolution but still allow them to enjoy all that is has to offer in a positive way?

The first determination is the degree of involvement if any. If there is none, and they say there is none, don’t assume that. If it’s not happening in your house, don’t assume that it is not occurring next door, or in the school library or on the playground.

Assuming participation in social networks is going to happen and or is happening, then you need to take an active vital role in education, in creating policies, and creating ground rules for participation.

Believe it or not, even at the small business level as well as the corporate level, two things that we implore companies and businesses to do from the outset is to:  1) Start listening and monitoring to what is being said about you, your company and your industry and 2) set up and create policies, rules and guidelines for participation in social media. If they didn’t do #1, they won’t know what is going on and, #2, just like children, adults will take advantage of the  zero social media policy and the situation and zero work would get done. So the same applies to children.

So I mentioned education. Do you know who needs the most education? You the parent. That’s right. You need to educate yourself on what the social networking landscape looks like and the texting landscape looks like.

u ned 2 kno what asl is as much as idk, wtf and omg…

The more you know, the more you will be able to understand. What do you know and how much do you know will be critical; but more importantly, how much of what you think you know and is it accurate, might be crucial.

Once you have a firm footing it’s time to create policies, rules and guidelines for usage. It starts simply with no computers in the bedrooms. Having the computer in a medium traffic area can be a game changer. Next as part of your rules, policies and guidelines, you will want to know, have or have done the following:

20 point checklist for letting your child engage in social networking

  • Know all social sites that your child is a part of it
  • Have access to all content pages that your child has created
  • Know all user names, passwords and profiles that your child has created
  • Know all email accounts with user names and passwords that your child has created
  • Create rules of engagement on social sites that are built on being “accountable” to you for their actions-A 3 strikes rule is not a bad idea.
  • Create your own accounts in these networks
  • Explain that though you will have all this information, you will only access it, should there be a need to.
  • Establish Trust.
  • Understand that that trust may be breached
  • Review the privacy settings in your child’s social networks and map it to their profiles and then review their profiles
  • See who is following of “friending” your child and vice-versa
  • No adult, unless it’s a family member should be in any network that your child is part of.
  • Explain the dark side of social networks to your child, there’s nothing wrong with being scared straight.
  • Periodically evaluate the content they are sharing and consuming.
  • Know what they are searching for
  • Don’t forget or ignore texting and email. Establish usage guidelines for those as well. Never assume they are harmless or easy to manage.
  • If you feel the need to establish time constraints for computer and phone usage, do it.
  • You’re not trying to be a friend here- we’re trying to be parents.
  • If you have to shut it down-don’t feel guilty. Do it without remorse.
  • The computer is not a babysitter. Talk to them.

In closing here are some things that you need to know that I told a group last week and it’s something that I have seen first hand. For the most part  young children could take or leave using social networks and in my honest opinion-the usage of them, from a learning and sharing and creating standpoint in high school can have great value. But the usage of social networks for those below the age of high school freshman and possibly sophomores, I see no need.

For parents, knowing what your child is doing on a day to day basis is normal, but adding the dynamic of social media and social networks to the mix is definitely a challenge. especially without a road map.

Understanding social media, becoming educated about it and learning how to use it and monitor it are things that companies of all sizes are currently wrestling with. Take heart parents, you’re not alone.  It does get better though once we all are on the same page. Just remember that you need to be controlling the technology, not the other way around and certainly not by your children; and though we call  it a fire-hose, that fire-hose can be turned off.


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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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