THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Is social media a man’s world? I certainly don’t believe it to be. Social media comes naturally to women. It taps into their ability to network, nurture, and build communities. In short, they own the space.

There are plenty of figures that support women’s ownership: 63% of Facebook users are female, 57% of twitter users develop estrogen and same figures are attributed to Yelp’s user base.However, today, I came to the sad realization that the ratio of female to male social media gurus that I follow on the  networks I am active on, is nothing to be proud of. So how did I manage to end up with such a gender gap? I have two reasons for my shortcoming.

1) I can’t remember  any of my coworkers (male and female), friends, or acquaintance, suggest that I read, subscribe to an RSS or even mention a female speaker at a conference I should attend.

2) The last conference notification I receive only features men. Although I look forward to hearing Seth Godin, Mitch Joel, and Andy Nulman discuss the art of marketing, I can’t understand why no female presenter is mentioned.

The only conclusion I can draw is that women are too busy staying with their families and thus leave the traveling to men. But we all know that this conclusion makes no sense. I know plenty of women in other industries that travel. Aren’t  dad familiar with changing diapers and applying polysporin?

Are we not generating enough buzz around women social media gurus? In the tech industry, some argue that men are not to blame for this. While I’m not particularly interested in pointing the finger at anyone, I sure would like to know why this is the case.

why do I care? In today’s recessionary climate, including women in the development of strategies will benefit the economy. I’m not only focusing on social media, I speak of all industries and organizations. Research shows that women in executive positions have more impact on job creation and economic growth than their male counterparts.

How’s that for a recovery!

Don’t become part of the noise. Do not outsource social media conversations!

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

When asked why they outsource social media, business owners cite lack of time and lack of knowledge as the main reasons. Companies should not delegate all their social media efforts to an agency or a consultants (I’m going to piss a few people off with this one).

Photo credits: met2art's

Social media tools let businesses engage with customers on a wider scale and faster than previously possible. Companies that decide to completely outsource social media are asking vendors to handle their relationships with customers. The primary role of social media vendors is to get the company to a point where they only need his/her assistance for the mechanics. Given that technology moves at the speed of light and no single person can stay informed of all the latest trends, the consultant is there to bring you up to speed on the latter.

Let your agency handle the production aspect of your social presence. Let them design your Facebook page, let them present you with a background for your Twitter account, let them handle updates and the analytics but don’t let them handle your engagement or conversations. The owner and the employees are the best persons to speak on behalf of the brand. They live and breath the brand on a daily basis. They know its voice, its culture, its history.

Agencies regardless of their level of involvement with the brand are not the decision makers. Having had the chance to be in an agency myself, I know that all executions has to be approved by the client. So by the time you get approval and execute, the buzz might have waned.

Finally, outsourcing your social media efforts mean you give up control of your brand’s personality to a vendor. If the relationship goes south and you take back control of your social media presence, you might be surprised to see that some of your followers don’t fit the target profile.

Agencies are the eHarmony of your social media. They ask the questions that let you find the best potential relationships but the decision to engage in a long lasting affair is ultimately yours.

Aside from time and lack of knowledge what other reasons do you see for outsourcing your social media? Have your say in the comments section.

Twitter “paid” the NFL

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Forget your elevator pitch! Can you sell yourself using 140 characters? Every organization can reach super stardom with Twitter, period, full stop. Just look at professional sport leagues. These guys are making a killing with the social network and integrating it effectively in their communications mix, although sometimes not deliberately. If you look at the NFL, NBA, MLB and any other sport association’s income statement Twitter appears in the sales revenue section and rest assured that no sale has occurred.

The number one reason  the NBA and its counterparts has not outright banned players for ranting on the microblogging service results from all the money to be made each time an athlete decides to catch feelings and broadcast to his followers. Can someone tell me how much any of these sports association made in the last year from fines issued to players for tweeting during games, complaining about the officiating, calling out their teammates or coaches? I’d like to see that figure.

The latest incident involves Chad Ochocinco, wide-receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. The NFL  fined him 25K for using an electronic device during a preseason game and posting to his twitter page: “Man Im sick of getting hit like that, its the damn preseason shit! 1day I’m gone jump up and start throwing hay makers, #Tylenolplease.” for his followers’ reading pleasure.

Although I am curious to know where he got the device (Are there hidden pockets in those tights?), it’s clear that all publicity is good publicity. That 25k will be split between the league and the players’ union and benefit some charities of their choice. If that’s not effective PR I don’t know what it is. Secondly, Sir Ochocinco is what we can call a social media superstar. And as such, enables football fans to connect to a human representative of the Bengals creating brand awareness and further engagement opportunities.

Do you see added benefits from having social media celebrities in an organization? Share them in the comment box below.

Facebook Places: How’s your customer service?

August 24, 2010 1 comment

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware by now, that last week Facebook made its anticipated debut into the location-based arena with Facebook Places. while much talk is devoted to the benefits Places brings to businesses, a post by the dudes and dudettes at Inside Facebook titled Facebook Places: The Real-Time Web Without Search, made me think of the implications, negative word of mouth may have on your business. Here’s a little taster from that post:

Using the write API, data from across location services can be aggregated to a Places page. Unlike hashtags, which can easily differ from each other and thereby splinter the data, Facebook keeps everything tidy by suggesting the most popular instance of a Place if you try to create a similar one. While there’s no Twitter integration yet, someone could create a system that converts hashtags into Places API write calls. While Places check-ins are currently only visible to friends regardless of your setting, the fact that there is a privacy option to share check-ins with everyone means Places pages are equipped to become public repositories of real-time information.

Now before you press that “Is this your business?” button giving you admin access to your place, how confident are you about your  customer service level?

Case in point: if my friend Joe visits your location and tells me and 500 million others, that Meg at the reservation desk is rude and just told him that if he’s not happy to wait a few minutes to be seated, there’s a McDonalds down the street that will gladly take his order. Will you have the listening tools in place to take action right away? What’s your game plan? Will you walk to the front and fire Meg? Can you recover from that real-time uppercut in front of the world or will you let me count to 10 and go meet Steph that’s “Nearby”(Pun intended)?

Facebook Places just gave way to free word of mouth and advertising but before you go ahead and launch your Place, tell me how is your customer service?

Endless possibilities are coming with Places but did you see the ditch on the side of the road? Facebook just provided consumers with ammo that can reach far beyond their next door neighbor.

Do you see any other pitfalls that small businesses should think of?

LET THE MUSIC PLAY!

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

So today marks the end of the U.S military’s combat unit deployment in Iraq (don’t worry this is not a look back on the war). How social media helped shape the lives of young people in the country?

About a week ago I came across the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (NYOI), check them out on facebook. I was moved by the dedication of the young woman behind the orchestra and the subtle message of peace it offers.

Zuhal Sultan was 17 years old when she decided to follow her dream and bring together young musicians from different regions, and religious views, together to form the NYOI.

A pianist herself, she gained support for her initiative in the U.K and with the help of Scottish conductor Paul MacAlindin, they launched the first summer workshop in 2009.

With the war still very much a reality, applicants submitted their audition videos via Youtube. For security reasons, music classes were held with instructors in other countries using the Internet.

On August 8th 2010, the orchestra performed in Northern Iraq. The point I want to make is the following: Do you realized the power you have? We are surrounded by computers, high-speed Internet, smartphones capable of recording videos, laptop with built-in cameras etc… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Trust me you can miss a few episodes of Jersey Shore or worse catch it at a later if you have a DVR or TiVo.

So Put down the remote, think about your dream(s), but please get moving! In the words of Scarface “The World is Yours”

Do you have an inspiring story you’d like to share? Use the comment box and share your story. I can’t wait to see what some are doing with these great tools.

WHAT IS YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA EXIT STRATEGY?

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Source: usoge.gov

Are you an entrepreneur looking to grow your business through social media? Are you developing your social media strategy? Have you thought of your social media exit strategy?

An exit strategy is not an OK “shit hit the fan, let me run to the bank, empty my account, and retire to some remote island plan.” An exit strategy is your plan for success.

So before you throw on your kicks and decide to take part in the social media race, go back to your long-term business goals and see if you can figure out what social media exit strategy you can come up with.

Social media is the new kid on the block, it’s the new quarterback that’s going to take your business to the top, everyone wants to date it and watch the 0’s add up. Yeah that’s cool! Social media is young, healthy, and has a promising future; after all the research says it!!! But what will happen when it grows old? Sure it will evolve and open up new avenues, but before you throw a good chunk of your cash into it, ask yourself the following:

  1. Where is your business headed with social media?
  2. How long will you invest in it?
  3. What will your business look like ten years from now when social media is less the talk of the town? Nobody wants to be seen with Dr. Laura these days just ask Motel 6.

Take the time to think about this as a clear picture of your social media

Social Media Marketers are Falling into the CHASM

August 7, 2010 39 comments

We’ve all heard or read about the success Procter and Gamble has garnered with its Old Spice Campaign video responses. Now the question on everyone’s lips is WHY ARE OTHER COMPANIES NOT FOLLOWING SUIT and embracing social media?

While cleaning my library looking for books to give, I came across Geoffrey A. Moore’s Crossing The Chasm ( if you haven’t read this one, make sure you pick it up). Flipping through pages I’d bookmarked, I revisited the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. Based on the theory (I’ll spare you the details), and the graph, I’d say most company execs, are part of the early majority group or pragmatists.

Why are they not booking first class seats on the Social Media bandwagon? Because we, the vendors, have failed? Whether you’re an agency, consultant or whatever we call ourselves these days, we’ve forgotten that social media, in its many shapes and forms, is a discontinuous innovation. As such, adopting social media brings about a radical change in modes of behavior. behaviors that are so entrenched in corporate cultures, they go unnoticed.

Secondly, while concocting our social media pitch to execs, we’ve overlooked their psychographic profiles. These suits buy into productivity improvements that will seamlessly integrate with the way they do business. Don’t give the REVOLUTION, present them with EVOLUTION.

We social media pundits are visionaries and are not good references for the companies’ CEOs. We thus need to translate social media’s benefits into incremental, measurable, predictable progress. In other words, figure out ROIs. Thus, instead of finger-pointing  execs for their lack of experience with social media, let’s put our brains and efforts together to figure out how we’re going to make social media take off.

What’s your take? How can go about consistently drawing up ROI for companies looking to invest in social media? What tools do you use to draw up ROI?