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April 2010

What's the appropriate punishment for going rogue?

Astonished It's inevitable in any organization of scale.  An employee goes rogue, posting their thoughts and opinions about their employer and their customers/clients in public (with a fairly derogatory twist), in clear violation of the corporate policy.  What is the appropriate action?

  • Should employees get one warning before punitive measures are taken?
  • Should there be a three strikes policy? 
  • Should they be terminated on the spot? 
  • Is it fair of a brand to ask Twitter to provide the registration info behind an offending account? 
  • Is it fair of Twitter to share this information?

Bear in mind, the cost to identify and track down each offense is significant, as smart offenders know how to hide their identity.  

What would you do?

things that motivate me in social

As exciting as it is, working in a young industry where virtually every project includes doing many things for the first time, social is often an uphill climb.  Yesterday I vented.  Thanks for reading.  Today I would like to take a look at the major drivers that motivate me in social. 

  1. My Friends.  I would not know the vast majority of what I know about this space without everyone that regularly shares links, content and perspectives on Twitter, their blogs, Facebook, via email and yes, even in real life.  The serendipity, closeness and breadth of a good network are my number one resource.  And so, to all of you, thank you.
  2. My Clients.  For every dozen talking heads, there is one client somewhere that wants to explore what all the talk really means to their business.  Together we challenge, we push, we explore and often together we succeed.  Without real corporations and brands of scale, all of the talk would be just talk.
  3. Real, Normal Thought Leaders.  Chris Brogan, David Armano, Jeremiah Owyang, Peter Kim... the list goes on.  What's great about these guys isn't just their perspective and strategic frameworks, it's how they communicate.  They don't just talk and present, but they have real business experience. Most notably however, they are genuinely nice people.  And luckily for us, they share.
  4. Comedy and Expression.  I need comedy.  I need to feel the human connection that comedy brings to table.  And sure, occasionally we experience a tragedy that unites us all in social, but the shared real human experiences, those that make us laugh and cry, make all of this talk real to me.
  5. Exploration and Innovation.  Rarely have I engaged in the same project twice.  Rarely does one client's challenge mirror that of the next.  Sure, many Facebook strategies contain the same general components, but the creativity in the messaging, execution, measurement and engagement really get my juices going.  

things that frustrate me in social

  1. I know people, but I don't know them. I have met so many great people.  flat tireBut I don't know them.  I know what they like.  I what they think.  But I'm not the kind of person that enjoys casual platitudes for too long.  I want to know the people around me.  Know what makes them tick.  Know their strengths and they weaknesses.  Know what makes them, them.  Most great social content is just that, content.  Sure, it's comes from a smart person.  And far too many of my "friends" aren't really friends, they are more like co-workers you never really go to know.  So please, feel free to say hi, and let's talk about what matters.
  2. The snakeoil ruins the fun. I appreciate the nubies.  I celebrate a little when someone is passionate and exploring this new world for the first time.  It wasn't too long ago that I was new to the game, and I will never forget the many friends that helped me find my way.  But I have limited patience for the posers.  If you're on Twitter, but have never built a successful brand marketing presence, that's ok.  If your tool features poor automated sentiment, and you recognize that it really isn't accurate, that's ok.  But don't claim to be something you're not.  You won't win in the long run, and you're ruining it for the rest of us.
  3. Shiny Objects.  Honestly, unless your target are early adopters, you don't need to know about the next big thing.  It's exciting, but not core to your business.  Allocate a dedicated amount of your time to learning, pick a few sources and read/listen/watch their content regularly.  Then get on with real business.
  4. Pompous Posers.  You wrote a book.  You built a following, a readership and/or a meaningful Google page rank.  This doesn't give you the right to be a diva.  You don't deserve any more from a brand than any other customer.  Stop threatening to destroy a brand.  Most brand employees care more than you would like to believe, they just aren't setup to help you the way that you want to be helped.  Approach them as partners and work with them, and they will generally come through for you.
  5. Magic Beans Accounting. Social isn't going to replace everything, and nothing is going to be proven in you try it.  Anyone who promises the world, or demands the world, needs to take a breath. 
That being said, I love this stuff.

10 reasons why nearly everyone struggles with social (brands, pr, media, creative, niche etc.)

  1. Social cannot be bought, but it isn't free.
  2. Social is not about your staff or your agency, but both are very much needed.
  3. Social is about the collective, not just the loudest voices.
  4. Social isn't an island.  Few have the purview to make it a network.
  5. Social isn't a channel or a campaign.
  6. Social isn't business as usual, but it must be measured against real business results.
  7. Social will not be solved with new technologies or policies alone.
  8. Social must remain flexible with dedicated focus.
  9. Social must deliver real ROI and efficiency.
  10. Social must be understood to be proven.

And this is why real success will only come to the enterprise when everyone sits at the table.  Good luck moving that table.

Inspired by Valeria Maltoni and Jason Keath.

f8's implications for marketers

  1. Facebookf8_1 Socialized Everything - all of your content is now easily optimized to be infinitely more shareable and sociable.  Your visitors will not only be able to seamlessly share content, but see what their friends have done.  And while privacy advocates and concerned citizens cry out Big Brother!, the rest of us will use and enjoy this new offering (this isn't to say they don't have legitimate concerns, I just don't believe we as a society will refrain from using these tools for these reasons).
  2. Data - 1) Facebook's analytics aren't earth shattering, but if marketers are going to be working with the system it's important that these analytics be paired up with other performance data.  Most importantly, this makes sharing into a site metric, and brings all the rich demo data we get on Facebook into our site data.  Facebook's site analytics package probably won't cause to many large enterprises to abandon their current metrics providers yet, but it may be a compelling alternative to Google for small business. 2) Access to  more than 24 hours worth of data is huge.  Not all activity takes place over 24 hours, this provides a much needed window into the longevity of a social statement.
  3. Creativity - whether it's the Graph API, the wall, or even how you position the "Like" buttons, there is an entirely new can of worms available to all.  While at first we can all expect a crop of tools that claim to analyze our social circle and tell us what car to buy or cracker best represents us, someone somewhere will create a wow-worthy integrated application that will blow us all away.
  4. Partnership - Credits for one and all.  While Facebook's new currency initiative doesn't provide a wow-factor out of the box, it's future will be dependent on not just it's growing network of partners feeding into the system, but products feeding out of it.  Let's be real.  There's not too much I do right now that requires Facebook Credits.  But if I could cash them out for goods, services or access to... say Hulu's new premium option, we may have something worth talking about - a new cross platform web currency.  Think "Linden Dollars" only useful outside of the barbie world.
    • The other nice piece of news for marketers, is that we have an open invitation to engage Facebook, and Facebook has an existing sales and support staff to support these discussions at scale.  Twitter could learn a lot from this.

The bottom line: the more Facebook grows from a tool to a platform to an ever-present companion, the better off Facebook will be in the long term.  Facebook knows how to court partners.  And they are in it to win it.  (Inspired by this post from Robert Scoble). 

PS - all this data, sure would create a compellingly smart search, would it?

The social graph bottom line

Here's the bottom line: the data, flex and flow of the social graph are powerful tools for both users and marketers. It pulls down walls, increases customization and makes everything a little bit more personal. The messaging and targeting will be far smarter and better. And as much as Twitter may try, Facebook is ideally positioned to lead us into this smarter future.

Their only real competition is Google. Is it to soon to call this race?

Facebook's new ecosystem: the agency perspective

Disclosure: I am writing this from the perspective of an agency employee, but in no way represent my employer or it's parent company

Any social consultant or agency worth a lick will tell you that a Facebook strategy is not a social marketing strategy.  Facebook is a platform.  Social is a marketing discipline that embraces an ecosystem.

But Facebook is about to get much bigger.  Below I will address a few of the rumored and confirmed changes and their probable impact on how we do business.  note: I have no insider information, this is just analysis of the speculation we've all seen online

  • Community Pages - Dear Agency world.  The bubble has burst.  Remember those great days in 2006 when your social presence was all about your own blog and community?  The web has evolved, and savvy brands have since learned to engage on the user's terms by participating in third-party hosted discussions such as industry forums, twitter conversations and replying to blog posts.  While brands could have engaged in third party hosted conversations in Facebook, few bothered to do so for any number of reasons.  However, Community Pages promise to unite people by affinity in a highly visible manner.  And brands are going to pay attention.  Let's just hope the conversation management platforms have a way to manage this "Community Management" in the closed ecosystem that is Facebook.
  • Facebook "Like" Network - Facebook Connect was great, but it complicated everything.  Only the most savvy brands successfully deployed Connect well, delivering true, rich, meaningful integration with their Facebook page.  Most Connect enabled pages delivered little equity to the visitor other than "Share on Facebook".  Like as a platform promises to make this simpler, and therefor more meaningful experience to both marketers and users. 
PS - If "Like" were tied to the Ad API (see below), the reach and targeting extensions would be significant.  Not to mention that Facebook would continue to own much of your brand performance metrics.  Good for Facebook, potentially challenging for marketers used to their own metrics pipeline.
  • Improved Ad Performance - We have long heard from Facebook that their ads are simply better than everyone else's at pretty much everything.  Media Planners however, are trained to take everything with a giant grain of salt.  Today's Nielsen study promises to substantiate Facebook's sales claims.  It just became a lot easier to convince clients and planners alike to spend more on Facebook ads. 
This study also drives home a HUGE POINT - creative and media need to work together.  Organic growth only happens when ads drive to a seamlessly share-worthy experience.
  • Facebook Ad API - if this happens, it will be huge.  Firstly, it will put Facebook into the "network" world.  Ad targeting will be strong, as it is with most substantial Facebook ad buys.  It also means that Facebook will own much more of your brand metrics.  Most importantly to marketers who are active beyond Facebook, it answers the age old question How do I attribute my third party (non Facebook) ad's performance in terms of fan growth and engagement?
  • Integrated Coupons and E-commerce - coupons are many vertical's way of measuring and attributing digital performance (ROI) when scale doesn't warrant larger impact.  Other brands and verticals look to e-commerce conversion numbers.  Integrated e-commerce will be HUGE for Facebook and the types of brands they attract if Facebook can convince users to use the site for e-commerce or to adopt their new "credits" currency.  Make no mistake, while some brands will run into a partnership with Facebook and the industry press will go crazy, user adoption will fuel the success of this rumored platform.

Twitter's courting the wrong audience

With all the news about Twitter's latest and greatest, one party is noticably lacking - agencies.  Agencies are not the be all and end all of marketing, but they represent virtually every single ad dollar of nearly every single major brand in the US, if not the world. 

Twitter sent out information packets to bloggers and press.  They are activley working with the search engines.  They are working to extend their developer relatoinships.  They are talking big about their ad solutions.  But they are a brick wall when it comes to agency relationships

So while we can all celebrate the potential and debate the merits of the system, Twitter is snubbing their revenue stream.  If you work at Twitter, and would like to contact this agency person, you know where to find me.  I'd love to talk.