Social Media conundrum #714. Are relationships campaigns?

Maybe some of you are missing the point.

I think some of you are thinking that social media is this:

field-of-dreams-scene

If you build it…blah, blah, blah…

But if we look at the offline equivalent of online relationships, you wouldn’t do this.

waiting-for-the-phone-to-ring

Waiting for the phone to ring?

The same holds true online and in social media. Whether you are connecting or you are creating, or you are immersing yourself in culture. It takes work. It takes a leap of faith and it takes a belief that it’s all worth it. And once it starts, it doesn’t stop.

leap

But decide right now. Whether you are a company or a small business owner or an individual. What is your commitment going to be? And, what do you want to get out of it? We all have a notion of what we want to get out of any engagement. Social media is no exception. Beth Harte has put together a wonderful Slideshare of this thought which she presented to a packed room at Social South this past week. Essentially saying, social media requires planning and measurement.

But couldn’t you say that about relationships? You don’t enter into a relationship blindly, and you certainly have expected or anticipated outcomes of your involvement and committment to that relationship. Right?  Look at Slide #13 of Jason Falls presentation on The Marketing of Unmarketing and see if you can figure out what these people are referring to.

Once people get past the…

jerry

“You had me at hello”…

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and understand that social media and the realtionships YOU will create are not a campaign. But you knew that right?

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The ROI of competitive intelligence

eaves

Rachel Happe is hosting this weeks #socialmedia session. I bring her up for a reason, which you’ll soon see. For those of you that are unaware of what #socialmedia is, I will quickly explain and then get to my point. Every Tuesday at Noon EST, Jason Breed of Neighborhood America and myself host a one hour Twitter session around the business of social media. Every week we have a different host to moderate  a session wrapped around some of the hottest social media issues revolving around business. They’re job? To challenge and question and probe participants to reach higher in their assumptions about what social media is.  The list of people that have hosted over the past few months is like a who’s who of social media practitioners. They include Jason Falls, Geoff Livingston, Toby Bloomberg, Lee Odden, Mack Collier, Danny Brown, David Alston and Beth Harte, to name a few.

Now more to my point. In one of Rachel’s recent posts on her new project blogsite The Community Roundtable, which I highly suggest you check out, she does a snap shot  view of how community managers use Twitter. She highlites  Connie Bensen, Dirk Shaw, Guy Martin, and herself. In each case, we see how each person manages to monitor the twit streams in their space. In every case, they all manage to monitor the sandbox or boxes in which they play. Why? Because it gives them more information, knowledge and data. And the best part, it’s free and for the most part passive.

Call it competitive intelligence or call it consumer intelligence, call it whatever intelligence you want; but don’t dismiss the value of this information. On the surface it may not deliver the troika that I constantly talk about when talking about hard ROI in social media- make money, save money, or increase equity but if I were going to place a value on competitive intelligence I would say, to use a few sports analogies- It’s the 6th man in basketball, the utility club in golf, the setter in volleyball, the pitcher with the rubber arm in baseball, or the slotback in football. Simply put, don’t underestimate or discount the value of competitive intelligence.

To not take advantage of competitive intelligence that is freely available is more like giving the competition a constant headstart. Or better yet, if you are a hitter in baseball, you’re starting with a strike before you even step in the batters box.

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KD Paine’s 7 steps to measurable success in social media

KD Paine has got it going on. I had just re-watched a video that she had done over at Jason Falls‘s blog awhile back about social media and ROI and since I’ve been struggling with it again, I decided to hop over to her site and found that she had just put this deck up. Very worthy to share with others!

Mardi Gras and Social Media

mardi-gras-parade

Today is Mardi Gras and given that I’m here in Naples and I’m from New Orleans, I need to do the next best thing. I’m going to compile a list for you. The list is of people that I would want to buy food and drinks for and a short reason why. You see with drinks and food readily available, we could have some killer conversations.   Hell we already do, and there ain’t no food and drinks!!!! 

And isn’t what this all about? Social Media, Mardi Gras, being together sharing, talking, laughing, drinking, eating…So,  laizzes bon temps roulez

Say Hi to…

Mack Collier– great conversation, good person, here’s some beers for you Mack, followed by  a shrimp po-boy…:)

shrimp-po-boy

Arik Hanson Loves a good hoppy microbrew, so pull up a chair and crack one open.

Amber Naslund, she can bring it. Between myself, Arik and Amber the beer scene will be covered. I’d have beers with Amber anytime.

I gotta have someone who can bring the crawfish. Ahh Paul Chaney is in Lafayette, he can do it. Plus he’s a great guy. I’d split 15-20 pounds of crawfish with Paul!

crawfish1

This party needs some flavor and maybe I can show David Alston that his Canadian beer is not up to snuff. Molson? ick…:)

I can’t forget some Austin Flavor right? How about Peter Kim, Jack Leblond and Dave Gonzalez? I need to buy all three of these guys beers for their ability to share so much with me, for that, they can drink for free!

beers

What party wouldn’t be complete without some wicked people from the Boston area? Rachel Happe between sips of her Sam Adams, would be a welcome addition. As long as she kept the Red Sox talk to a minimum!

I’d buy a beer for good friend Jason Breed anytime, as long as it was a 2 for 1 special!

Speaking of Jasons why not have Jason Falls? He has an “in” over at Makers Mark! Plus, he’d be a welcome addition to any party.

I better invite George “Loki” WIlliams since he lives in New Orleans
and does write a blog called Social Gumbo!

I’d buy a few beers for David Armano provided he hooked us up with some Chicago dogs.. waddya say Dave? Plus he’s a good dude too. As big a heart as someone can have.

It goes without saying that 3 of my favorite gals would all be getting beers AND shots from me. Beth Harte, Liz Strauss and Toby Bloomberg. If They didn’t want that, then we’ll settle for splittin a Muffeletta from Central Grocery– Trust me you won’ be disappointed. These sandwiches are ridiculous!

muffuletta

I’d also like to have beers with the following: Sonny Gill, Daria Steigman, Ari Herzog, Nathan Taylor, Lisa Trosien and Shannon Paul, Todd Defren, Brian Solis and of course the Yat Pundit! Because they all are great conversationalists and thinkers and even more importantly, better people!

One more rule, You can bring 2 friends. Mardi Gras is all about blowin it out..so bring a friend or 2. Who ya bringin? and Where Yat?

Oh we need someone to do the music, any suggestions?

15 questions the small business owner will ask about social media

I was reading Peter Kim’s wiki of social media marketing examples which I highly recommend, and thought that I’d follow that up with the following short post about the types of questions and comments you might be getting from business owners about social media. This differs somewhat from say Chris Brogan’s post about selling it internally to your boss-but the questions and comments might be very similar.

Are you having conversations like this? I’ve had these type of questions thrown at me over the course of the last few weeks and months. If you are not getting these type of questions, then maybe you should get out there more. But the flip side is this: You better be prepared to answer them.

  1. How much is it gonna cost?
  2. But first tell me what exactly it is?
  3. Is it like Facebook or Myspace? Because that’s all I really know.
  4. Twitter? I’ve heard about it, but I’m not really sure what that is.
  5. A blog? I don’t see what I blog is going to do for my business, besides, I don’t have time nor the desire to write one.
  6. So you’re going to “show me” how social media is going to drive business? Ok…(proceeds to wait)
  7. Who else is using it?
  8. Are there any companies like mine that are using it?
  9. So can you guarantee this?
  10. Who’s going to do this? You? or us?
  11. How long is this going to take?
  12. I still don’t understand but I’ll take your word for it.
  13. Can you get our website ranked higher in Google?
  14. Will I make money?
  15. Will I save money?

Interestingly enough, even the ones that do “get it” will still ask a lot of these questions.  You see, the issue is that social media and all it’s moving parts really involves putting a value on the engagement and then equating it to dollars earned or dollars saved. That’s what the business owner wants to see. We need to start putting what social media is and does into more equitable simplified terms that the public and small to medium sized business owners can understand, that they can wrap their arms around.  And if you are truly challenged, and you are “that person” that works for the small to medium sized business, then maybe you might want to check out this post by Mark Story, it may help. I know I get it, and maybe you do too, but can you articulate it?

Talk with them…

I’m learning as much as you right now. If you are a marketer or an advertiser then you need to be talking with your customers and not at them. We have been talking about that for a while now.  IDC just came out with a report that says that advertisers are failing miserably at communicating with social net users. Why? Because they are used to pushing shoving? their info and their product down people’s throats. According to IDC:

There are four major reasons why consumers use SNS: to connect and communicate; in response to peer-pressure; for entertainment; and for work-related purposes. Advertising does not factor into consumer motivations.

Ouch. So essentially advertisers still don’t get it. Keep reading, it gets better. IDC continues,

One of the potential benefits of SNS that the advertising industry has discussed is whether peoples’ connections (i.e., whom a user knows or is linked to) could be used for advertising. For instance, publishers could show a car manufacturer’s ads to a user’s contacts because that user’s online behavior has indicated that she is interested in a particular brand of cars. Anecdotally, there has been some indication that this “social advertising” might be more effective than behavioral targeting. However, that idea is stillborn. Of all U.S. Internet users, only 3% would allow publishers to use contact information for advertising. For instance, publishers could show a car manufacturer’s ads to a user’s contacts because that user’s online behavior has indicated that she is interested in a particular brand of cars.

If you have been reading some of the thought leaders in the social media marketing space like a Jason Falls, like a Beth Harte or Amber Naslund or Valeria Maltoni or Paul Chaney– they have stressed the importance of brand champions and community influencers who can shape the decisions and actions of the group or community or social net-naturally.

IDC’s report says that “One of the potential benefits of Social networks is that the advertising industry has discussed is whether peoples’ connections (i.e., whom a user knows or is linked to) could be used for advertising.”

I’m not sure what to think. Should I admonish IDC for putting out a report in which this comes as to no surprise to a lot of us? Or should advertisers be ashamed for not listening to some of the people I mentioned above who so obviously “Get it”? and have been saying what was put out in the report for a long time? A LONG TIME. IDC and advertisers could have saved a lot of grief, time and money just by listening to what is being written and talked about every day online in blogs and on Twitter.

Advertisers need to start listening to the thought leaders in the social media space to start with.

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?