Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why Social Media? A Good vs. Evil Debate

Reasons you should (and should not) jump into the SoMedia pool party

If you’re struggling to get to the real motivation for your time in Social Media you may be like the character Pinto in the classic comedy Animal House.

Pinto, a virgin, has a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other giving him conflicting advice about whether he should “un-virgin” himself with an inebriated girl he just met. (For the record, the angel wins out).

Here, then, are some of the reasons you might consider entering Social Media and what your own internal Angel and Devil might say to you.

YOU: It’s where my customers are

Angel: You need to know your customers better and Social Media is a great place to listen and learn. Even potential customers have something to offer you. The more you listen and observe the better you will meet their needs. It will take a time commitment.

Devil: Oh c’mon! The real reason you need to be in Social Media is to sell more stuff, more cheaply. There’s a huge audience out there just waiting for you to sell to them. The best part? It’s free!

YOU: It’s where my employees are

Angel: You’re a good boss and you realize your best assets are your employees. By empowering them to use Social Media and showing the way you will have strong advocates out there. Your only policy on employee Social Media usage is borrowed from Google: “Don’t be evil.”

Devil: What fun is that? Now you can to check up on your employees. You can follow, friend or fan them and then see what they’re really up to. And just when your employees think you “get” the whole Social Media thing you can pull the rug out from underneath them by producing a 145-page Social Media Policy manual.

YOU: It’s where my competitors are

Angel: You can see what your competitors are doing and how they are helping people in Social Media. When a competitor is unable to help you can step in and offer help. Gosh, you might even form a Social Media alliance with a former competitor to better meet your joint customers’ needs.

Devil: No way! You’re gonna use Social Media to spy on your competitors and spread misinformation about them. You’ll use it steal customers and ideas away from the competition.

YOU: It’s where my neighbors are

Angel: In this busy world you can become better connected to the nearby community. You can connect with people, businesses and community groups that all have similar goals – making this place a better place to live. You can use Social Media to offer help where it is most needed.

Devil: But what’s in all this for you? Let me tell you: More networking, more connections and, duh, more money from sales. C’mon Angel all this kumbaya stuff is making me nauseous!

YOU: It’s where everyone else is

Angel: You know, you shouldn’t just go into Social Media to follow the herd. If it doesn’t make sense right now give it some time. A fake or half-hearted effort in Social Media will do you more harm than good.

Devil: Oh really? Don’t be a woos! Everyone else is in the pool, jump in. You don’t want to be last do you? It’s GMOOT (Get Me One of Those) time. Last one in is a …

Well that’s enough from the Devil.

Social Media and whether to jump in can be a tricky decision. Here’s hoping the Angel wins out in your internal debate.

Related posts:
10 Commandments for Social Media
5 Social Media Mistakes
7 Ways to Tell How You’re Doing in Social Media

Saturday, October 24, 2009

5 Social Media Mistakes

Don’t tie yourself up in the “Nots” before you even get started

Sometimes the easiest things to remember are the things you are NOT supposed to do. In Social Media that means that mistakes are easily made. Some common ones:

No. 1 – Not listening
Social Media, as it has often been said, is like a party. You would no sooner charge into that cocktail party and just start talking at everyone you encounter.

No, you’re much more likely to be welcomed if you take some time to find your bearings – to listen to what is going on.

This, in turn, helps you find people with whom you have something in common.

No. 2 – Not watching
The best way to earn a reputation as someone to be avoided is by not understanding the “rules” of the Social Media party.

How do you learn? You watch others. You pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. You note what the group finds acceptable and what kind of behavior will get you shown to the door.

No. 3 – Not being polite
Make your mother proud and be polite and courteous to all. Ask for permission to join a conversation. Ask to be introduced to someone you would like to meet. Be thankful for all comments that come your way – the good and the bad.

And let’s not even get into discussing politics, sex or religion. We know that no good can come of that.

No. 4 – Not helping
Figuratively speaking if you see the little old lady waiting to cross the street … go help her!

Social Media is full of opportunities to do good and to help others. Seize them … and do it without any expectation of reward or recognition.

Think of it as working towards an internal Good Social Media Citizen merit badge. You won’t actually get a badge, but you will get a great reputation.

No. 5 – Not waiting
Timing is everything. If you’ve successfully avoided the first four “Nots” you will be sensitive to what you can can’t do in Social Media.

Selling (yourself, your business or your cause) is something that will only happen when your Social Media audience is ready – preferably when they have asked a question.

You only get one chance with each person to get this right, so think before you offer to sell anything: Does this person really want to hear about what I have to sell?

If you have any doubts whatsoever, that would be your conscience using your accumulated knowledge to say “Not now buddy.”

All of this will take time. But if you can make through the Nots you will find a direct (and untangled) line into Social Media.

Related Posts
10 Commandments for Social Media
5 Really Useful Sites for Social Media Newbies

Friday, October 23, 2009

Questions Are Recipe for Social Media Success

Some key ingredients will help you cook up a great plan

If you want Social Media to be part of your recipe for business success perhaps you need to think like a great chef.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay knows a thing or two about the ingredients of success:

“Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken or hamburgers,” he says. “In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.”

Social Media is no different. You need to be comfortable with the ingredients you will put into your SoMedia plan.

How do you get there? By asking questions that lead to a better understanding of your real Goals, Strategies and Tactics for Social Media.

To get started you might consider these questions as a path to cooking up a plan for Social Media success:


  • What are my overall business goals?

  • What are customer goals?

  • Which of my goals makes sense for a hands-on Social Media approach?

  • Are some of these goals best served by traditional media?

  • Why are we going into Social Media?

  • Which aspects of Social Media fit our culture?

  • Are we OK with Social Media taking time?

  • Can we be good Social Media citizens?

  • What will Social Media success look like?


  • Who will we listen to?

  • When is the appropriate time to join a conversation?

  • Who will we talk to?

  • How will we earn trust?

  • If we earn trust … then what?

  • Who will we help?

  • How will we help others?

  • How will we handle any kind of problem?
  • What will we be known for or remembered for?


  • Will we try a single platform? Or multiple platforms?

  • Will we have a single Social Media champion? Or multiple users?

  • Will our presences be heavily branded?

  • What personality will each presence have?

  • Will different platforms have discreet purposes?

  • Can we commit the appropriate time to this?

  • Can we be transparent?

  • Can we accept ALL kinds of feedback?

If these questions give you cause to pause before rushing into the Social Media kitchen that may be a good thing. But when you do answer many or all of them you will have the basis for a plan (recipe): Bon appetite in Social Media!

Related Posts
5 Steps Before Jumping Into Social Media
10 Commandments for Social Media
5 Really Useful Sites for Social Media Newbies

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Social Media measurement

7 ways to tell how you’re doing

So how do you measure success in Social Media?

And I don’t mean by playing the game of “the new ROI or Risk of Ignoring.” No, I mean once you’ve jumped into the Social media pool how do you measure whether you’re creating waves or merely ripples?

7 Social Media Measures

1. Sales: It seems obvious, but perhaps not. If you are selling more stuff or getting more members was the increased activity after you first jumped into Social Media? Success is: Sales increasing independently of your traditional and other non-Social Media marketing efforts.

2. Opt-in e-mails: The most valuable asset any marketer or PR professional can have. These are people who want you to reach out to them. Success is: More people giving you their email addresses.

3. Time on site/Page-views per visit: It’s not enough to get people to your site, you need to keep them there. Success is: When your Web analytics show an increase in one or both of these scores.

4. Downloads: If you offer good stuff for free – White Papers, How To Guides and coupons, for example – people will come looking for you. Success is: Month over month you are getting more and more traffic to (and then downloads from your) Downloads page chances are your business is about to go crazy because people are finding you and finding value in you.

5. External links/External referring sites: If you are tracking how many sites link to you (and you should) you’ll want to see that number and the quality of those sites go up. This in turn helps with your SEO. Success is: When the number of external links builds exponentially and the referring site traffic also grows steadily.

6. Comments: This is one of the more social aspects of Social Media and whose value is often overlooked. Success is: Getting more and more people to engage on your blog or anywhere else you ask people to comment, rate or generally have an opinion.

7. Social Media metrics: By this I mean Facebook fans, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections etc. These relationships all have value. Success is: A steady growth in the numbers of followers etc across platforms and the increasing flow of messages between you and your fans.

Related Posts
10 Commandments for Social Media
5 Really Useful Sites for Social Media Newbies
10 Things To Watch Out For In Social Media
10 Social Media No-Nos
5 Steps Before Jumping Into Social Media
5 strategies to get the Boss into Social Media

Sunday, October 4, 2009

5 Really Useful Sites for Social Media Newbies

The great thing about Social Media is that so much of what you need to know can be had for free.

Here are five websites that should be on your list of favorites, bookmarked or saved anyway you know how:

1. Mashable
Without a doubt Mashable is the best place to go every day to see what’s happening in Social Media. But for beginners the site, subtitled "The Social Media Guide," it’s also a storehouse of knowledge on everything from individual platforms to trends in SoMedia. The Mashable Lists and News Channels navigation bars make finding the right stuff a snap.

2. Alltop
Alltop, as it’s About section explains, tries to answer the question "What’s happening?" in "all the topics." And it does this by aggregating content from blogs and other sites. The Social Media collection is exhaustive. The coolest part? Let your cursor hover over a headline for a snippet of the story to pop up before you decide to click.

3. SocialMediaToday
The SocialMediaToday accurately claims to collect "the Web’s best thinkers on Social Media and Web. 2.0." The site features the blogged musings of Social Media, marketing, PR, and media mavens. You’ll also find some of the smartest people in Social Media commenting on the blog posts here. When you’re ready, you too should jump into the conversation.

4. The 'In Plain English' YouTube videos
Le LeFever’s wonderful CommonCraft video channel has countless videos that use simple illustrations, word balloons and a pair of hands to explain almost any Web 2.0 platform or tool "in Plain English." If these wonderfully informative and entertaining videos can’t get through to the most resistant boss or staffer … go work somewhere else!

5. inSocialMedia
The inSocialMedia site is an eclectic series of viewpoints on all things Social Media. The site sums it up: "inSocialMedia is a content mashup of Social Media professionals from experts to enthusiasts. We encourage, educate and have fun building online connections and networking for business." There are blogs, forums and groups for all tastes and needs.

Related Posts:
10 Commandments for Social Media
5 strategies to get the Boss into Social Media
Social Media Expertise Is Hard To Find
Social Media disasters
10 Things To Watch Out For In Social Media
10 Social Media No-Nos
5 Steps Before Jumping Into Social Media