finding value in your shiny objects

Social Beyond Singular Campaigns

Social currency for a brand can grow in two ways: slow and steady or slingshot

The slow and steady growth is more likely sustainable, but as most campaign metrics (and marketing metrics) utilize a traditional purchase funnel, slow and steady efforts often fail to hit key "awareness" benchmarks.

Slingshot tactics are far more gimmick-heavy and generally reach scale quickly, but they generally go dark a couple of weeks later.  These are campaigns in every sense of the word.  Give out a few free Macbook Pros on Twitter and watch your follower counts soar.  Give away seven free iPhones and watch your brand become a trending topic.  Create that incredibly creative Facebook application or visualization of the conversation, and hold up your scaled short-term engagement as your success.

But is Slingshot-value real social value?  It this where most brand will play in the space?

Probably.  As dirty as it sounds, Slingshot Marketing is going to be much of what we see in social over the coming few months.  The strategic vision, budgets and dedication to doing social right just aren't yet there.  Yet.  But with the inclusion of some basic marketing know-how, your slingshot shiny objects can be of value.

Here are a few basic principles:

  • Build ongoing social support into all activation budgets.  If you can't perform customer support triage, it will be very difficult to inspire a new consumer perspective towards the brand.  This doesn't need to be expensive, but it does require some training and strategic setup. 
  • Build for an ups and downs, not starts and stops.  Your brand doesn't need to be inspiring new conversation everyday, but it does need to be present, real, relevant and responsive to the conversation 365 days a year.
  • Slingshot Marketing/shiny objects should speak to your core brand value.  Don't give away an iPhone when you are selling a low-tech pair of socks.  Connect your shiny objects to the brand value prop.  Make your promotions speak to your messaging.
  • Invest in personalities and relationships.  Always have a twitter account available for following, and a brand page on Facebook where people who engage with the application can gather for current engagements and future activation.
  • Level set with key stakeholders that this is a shiny object, not a full social strategy. 
  • Setup your measurement, learning process and KPIs in advance. 
  • Listen to the conversation.  You just may find a few advocates and opportunities.
  • Setup a follow up lessons-learned session before you start.
  • Always bring ideas for a more strategic plan as a next step.  Neither you, nor your clients will find continued success in gimmicks in place of real marketing.

media/social/societal negativity and fear

Outlook Some blame the media.  Some say the media is a reflection of society and blame society.  Some say it's all about the numbers, driving business (eyeballs = advertisers).  But one way or the other, the fact remains: you cannot turn on news radio on a Sunday morning drive without exposing your family to "news" about rape, murder or family abuse every 10 minutes or so.

And the print media is just as guilty.  Open up a Newsweek, Time, or even (occasionally) a Wired magazine.  You will find at least two feature doom and gloom stories about war and genocide, political instability, global warming or a global financial crisis.

Obama spoke about the politics of fear.  But there is a greater story playing out here - we are becoming a society fueled by fear.

There are two ways to motivate people to change:

  1. make them believe in their potential or
  2. scare them into changing. 

It's far easier to scare people, but far more effective when you can make someone believe in themselves.

And so I have to ask, why are we ruining our society by filling our tanks with fear?  After 9/11 the news media ran stories of heroism, of inspirational sacrifice.  New Yorkers came together from all walks of life to help one another.  Is today's world outlook any bleaker than the average NYers on 9/12?

We have a responsibility.  I have a responsibility.  We must, as a society, reorient ourselves.  Instead of focusing on what isn't and the possible consequences of what is, we need to learn to focus on the inspiration to grow to what we can become.

Wouldn't you rather open a newspaper in the morning and be inspired?  Wouldn't you rather feel meaning and purpose over depression and fear?

I don't have the answer, but I know that if consumers demanded positivity of brands, then advertisers and sponsors would demand it of the media. So how do you propose we get this ball rolling?

setting the record straight: Techcrunch - the community

People on a bridge
Networks Vs Communities

A network is a connection.
A community is built on top of a network.

A network does not require activity.
A community is active, built by and of people.

Where do blogs fit in?

A blog is a publication in a social context.

Communities are built around shared affinities.
Shared affinities are discovered via front-facing social objects that draw like-interested individuals. 

When thousands of active readers converge on a blog, engaging in threaded commenting and lengthy discussion - is this a blog or a community? 

Blogging has evolved.  There are now three categories.  And a fourth is just around the corner.

3 Primary Categories of Blogging

  1. Social Journalism - NY Times blogs - professionally authored and published, the social arm of a traditional media property
  2. Community Blogging - blogging as part of a conversation, a broader community. 
  3. Broadcast Blogging - traditional publishing in a blog setting.

While the technology suggests that TechCrunch is a blog, it is only a matter of time until the next category emerges.

4. Content/Community Blogging - creating social objects as conversation pieces to inspire an active community.

A blog on a community page may currently serve this purpose.  But a community function on a blog (similar to Mashable's Community) changes the blog dynamic.

Disqus and Typepad Connect bring threaded conversations to blog comments.  But I'm waiting for the technology that connects comments and commenters, enabling deep, structured conversational engagement in the comments.  I'm waiting for the community in the comments. 

Blogs are no longer one size fits all.  Comments are no longer one size fits all.  It's time we recognized them as such.

Inspired by a tweet from Andrew Weissman. Kudos to Howard Lindzon for sharing via retweet.

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10 Reasons CEOs Need Social Insights ... and 6 Steps to Setting this up

executive CEOs are busy people.  They don't write the market briefs, they read them.  CEOs look to a trusted inner circle of resources, both people and data, to inform their decisions.  Likewise, they rely on trusted people and resources to execute their visions.  But is social intelligence part of this trusted inner circle?

Matt Dickman recently posted:

A recent CMO Council study, however showed that only 16% of 400 executives they surveyed have an online listening plan in place. 56% have no plan to track of drive word-of-mouth and only 30% thought they had the ability to resolve complaints quickly. Why such a low percentage? What is stopping these CMOs from implementing a plan?

Below please find my 10 Reasons CEOs Should be Listening to the Conversation

  1. Reporters are listening to the conversation.
  2. Verbatims from the conversation are organic. Verbatims from focus groups are not.
  3. Your consumers are talking.  They need to know that you care.
  4. Two minds are better than one.
  5. Crisis prevention - get out in front of the rising issues.
  6. You cannot start a conversation without getting to know the conversational conventions of the community.  This is true at the high level report to CEOs and broad activation strategy as well.
  7. Metrics point to data. Insights speak to people.  Machines don't purchase your product.  People do.  Get to know them.
  8. Break out of your comfort zone/echo chamber.  Social insights offer broader scope than focus groups and traditional market research.
  9. Social insights are both timely (near live) and time sensitive.
  10. Relationships start with mutual respect. You are the executive face of your brand. If you aren't listening, then your brand isn't ready for a two way relationship.

6 Steps to Setting Up Executive Listening

  1. Identify your listening goals and communicate these efforts to senior leadership.
  2. Identify a passionate and informed social maven for social leadership.
  3. Engage a social listening solution that fits your staffing, social goals and activation dlieverables.
  4. Establish your reporting gameplan.
  5. Share insights and gather feedback from the CEO's inner circle, optimizing social insights for maximum reach.
  6. Establish communications plan for publicizing these efforts (and potentially participating further down the road).
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social media and political insensitivity

(Disclaimer: I have never read the Quran. I enjoyed having Mein Kamph in the bathroom for some light reading in college.  The views expressed in the videos embedded below are not my own.)

Fitna How do you tolerate intolerance?  Should you?

A member of the Dutch Parliament is being called out by the Dutch courts for insulting Islam, comparing the Quran to Mein Kamph. 

My Question
Is the democratization of media always a good thing?  Is it a good thing that one man has the right to stand up and reach hundreds of thousands via YouTube to share this non politically correct perspective?

Does the web celebrate the niche because the mainstream media doesn't serve their needs?
Is this a good thing for democracy?  For humanity?

Original Fitna Interview (part one) video below

Dutch Commentator on the Political Retribution over Fitna video below

My 2 Cents
I'm not sure that humanity is bettered by voices that call out one another's religious beliefs.  Nor am I convinced that assimilation is the answer to multi-culturalism.  But I can say I am proud of a culture that allows even the most un-PC people to voice their un-PC opinions.

With this in mind, is it acceptable for a PC country like Indonesia to block this content?

your social efforts aren't social, are they?

Spectacle Think about it.

  • Your widget - is it a conversation?  Or a tool?
  • Your blog - is it a two way conversation? or a publication?
  • Your "viral video" - is it part of something greater? Or a tactic?
  • Are your listening, monitoring or measuring the conversation? Or none of the above?
  • Your influencer relationships - are they relationships, or paid friendships?
  • Your "blogger outreach" - are you forming a relationship, inviting their participation as a two way street? Or are you sending a form letter pleading for free distribution of your campaign?
  • Are your campaigns executional? Or are they part of a broader relationship-building effort?

The key differentiators:

  • Are you making a statement or participating in a conversation? 
  • Are you:
    • a conversational brand,
    • a social object,
    • a broadcast message or
    • a social enabler?
      • Do your efforts reflect this reality?

The truest test of a brand's commitment to a relationship:
Does your customer support online, on the phone or via mail/email offer to same level of support as your social/twitter team, marketing agency, social agency or pr agency?

Key Takeaway: It's easy to care about a relationship in a silo.  It's much harder to commit to that relationship across the board.

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Like this post? Share it on twitter!

Inspired by Joe Jaffe's post and the follow up discussion with Craig Daitch in the comments.

influence in the fishbowl, a twitter story?

Fishbowl Once upon a time, on a small undiscovered island in the mid pacific ocean, one caveman grunted at another caveman.  Soon a few cavemen joined together and started grunting at each other, but every time that the first caveman grunted, everyone else paid attention.

To this small group of cavemen, the first grunter was the most influential caveman in the world.  He yielded lots of social influence.  But while everyone respected him, they served the man with the biggest knife.  Thus was life in their fishbowl.

Little did they know, just a few hundred miles away, deep undersea tubes were carrying fiber optic cables around the world, enabling the spread of information at blinding speed.  And to many of the homes and offices connected to this network, Seth Godin was the most influential man in the world.  But while Seth was the man they looked up to, they generally followed the directions given by their bosses and clients.  Because bosses and clients pay the bills.  Such is often life in the digital fishbowl.

And while all of those connected homes and offices were admiring their influence and this little world they had created, the world continued to spin all around them.  Millions more watched American Idol, oblivious to both the cavemen and Seth Godin.  Still millions more suffered the fear, genocide and oppression of life in a third world country, nearly all of them oblivious to the cavemen, Seth Godin, American Idol and even Twitter!  Is all of life a fishbowl?

Was the first caveman a successful communicator?  Is Seth any less so?  Is Ryan Seacrest?

Communications success is not one size fits all.  Success is about your results based on your goals.  Life is not about your followers, your "twinfluence" or your reach.  Life is about the journey, those we encounter along the way and the meaning of those encounters.  But in today's multi-platform world, we cannot measure influence by a single platform alone.

To suggest that one is influential on twitter is almost as absurd as to suggest that my friend is influential on her cell phone.  On her cell phone, she has hundreds of contacts.  And thousands of people have her in their cell phone contact lists.  And whenever she calls they generally pick up the phone.  Does this make her linfluential?

So the next time you hear someone speak about the latest twitter influence grader, blog metric or ratings numbers, ask yourself: is this the measure of my success, or a rough representation of someone else's?  Does the temperature of the water in my fishbowl determine the traffic intensity on the local highway?  Is my influence real

Isn't influence relative?