Showing posts with label social networking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social networking. Show all posts

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Rise and Rise of Twitter

In recent days two reports have been released on Twitter. Both outline why and how organisations can use Twitter to reach the people they need to talk to. Both are simply written and certainly worth a read. Together they reflect the rise and rise of social media in today's communications mix.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Get Buy-In Before Crossing the Digital Divide

You are already to use social media in your next marketing venture. The problem is those around you are not supporting your efforts. How do you get buy-in?

At today's Public Sector Marketing Conference in Canberra, two speakers offered practical ideas to help you get others behind your online efforts.

Jason Davey of Bullseye, an Australian Aussie digital marketing firm, suggests to persuade the Boss you should:
  • Detail the data. Successive research reports are showing Australians are increasingly going online for their information. A good start in letting your Boss know the facts and stats would be the latest report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (read here).
  • Educate and immerse the Boss in the social media application you want to use. There is nothing better than getting him or her to test drive the new tool.
  • Pick out a similar organisation (or one the Boss admires) and show how they are successfully using social media.
  • Mock up tweets, blog pages or sites to show how the final product will look. Seeing is believing so try a demonstration.
  • Suggest running a pilot program. The words "pilot" or "trial" can go a long way in removing the corporate fear factor when trying something new. It's a good way to reassure the doubtful as you head into new territory.

My Twitter buddy Diana Mounter from the Local Government and Shires Association of NSW offers practical tips for getting the IT guys on board when you want to introduce social media into your marketing:

  • Develop a relationship with the IT team and get to know their issues before proposing anything too radical.
  • Regular informal discussion is a great way to make sure a new venture starts properly and then stays on track.
  • Talk about your communications needs rather than the technology you want. Chances are your IT guy has other options that could meet your marketing needs better than the one you're suggesting.

The key take-out: build support within your organisation before crossing the digital divide.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Manage Social Media Before It Manages You

In the past few weeks we've been helping an agency to pull together a social media policy. The intent is to come up with a simple document to guide staff on how and when to respond and contribute to social media when they're on company time.

And last week Australia's biggest telco,Telstra, announced a social media policy for its employees.

With more and more people communicating online, and brands increasingly finding themselves mentioned on Twitter, Facebook etc, organisations interested in protecting their brand need guidelines on how to manage these digital discussions.

We base our approach around a few fundamentals we hope are easy to understand and easy to apply.

  • Organisations should be clear about who can represent their brand on social media platforms. Can all staff take part or only designated people. When first starting out ask yourself do you want everybody involved? Or is it better to limit participation to say staff with communications or client service responsibilities? At least initially.
  • It is in your organisation's interests to ensure the people who represent your online interests have personal profiles on Facebook and other sites that are consistent with what you expect from your spokespersons.
  • Google never forgets. Staff need to be careful about what they post online. Materiel destined for online audiences must be accurate and respect commercial in confidence, privacy, copyright, trademark and other requirements. It will be an art finding the balance between speed and accuracy.
  • It can be tempting to respond with sarcasm, fury or even be condescending when commenting on online information you think is misguided, plain wrong or mischievous. Online conversations are easily inflamed so remind staff to keep conversations professional and to the point.
Social media is not going to go away. Nor do I think will it completely replace more traditional communications.

Now is the time to learn how to learn to manage social media before it manages you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Be Clear About Why You Should March In The Social Media Parade

In the past three months I've noticed the interest in social media continues to grow in Australia. The references to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms have increased in mainstream media stories and every communications-related conference now has the almost obligatory social media panel discussion.

Whereas twelve months ago many people were skeptical about the new media, now those same people want to know more about it and how it can help their business.

Social media is certainly an attractive addition to conventional marketing and PR. And given time it may even replace more traditional practices in some areas. But before you join the ranks of the passing social media parade, please take the time to think through what you want to achieve and how best to incorporate the new media into your operations in a planned and sustained way.

Suitable objectives for introducing social media into your communications mix could be:
  • To find out what people are saying online about you and your brand.
  • To correct misunderstandings in on-line conversations and confront errors of fact .
  • To manage your brand's online reputation.
  • To contribute to online communities that share your interests or to form or support such communities.
  • To use social media to proactively share information with individuals and communities online.
  • To contain or reduce the costs of conventional communications.
Undoubtedly there are many other reasons. The point is don't just launch into the new digital spaces because it is topical, trendy or because others are joining the parade.

Before you commit money, time and effort into the new media clearly and specifically articulate your communications objectives and have solid ideas on how you want social media to work for your organisation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Five Steps To Introducing Social Media

Australians are increasingly interested in social media.

Maybe it was President Obama's social media efforts during the recent US Presidential election campaign that has stirred our interest. Maybe after hovering on the fringes of mainstream communications for the past two or three years, social media has moved beyond something for teenagers in bedrooms to a point where it has emerged as a legitimate player in the PR and marketing mix. Or with the economy in poor shape, decision makers may be finding the low cost of digital media channels is simply too appealing to ignore.

So if you work for a government agency, a large organisation or a not for profit, now is the time to decide if your organisation will move into the social media space and to scope out how to do this in a disciplined and sustained way. Here are some considerations to make that transition as effective and as least disruptive as possible:

  • Decide Firstly make a strategic decision about whether using social media platforms will actually improve communications with the people you need to reach. If they will, take conscious steps to slowly blend the new digital tools into your promotional mix. If for whatever reason you decide against moving into the new media space (eg your audiences may not be on-line) at least take steps to monitor the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook and similar sites to learn what is being said about your organisation and its issues. And if necessary be prepared to act quickly to protect your organisation's reputation on-line.
  • Policy Develop a social media policy. This will not only provide guidance to staff but it will become a necessary security blanket for managers and others still nervous about venturing into the online world. A simple document should clearly spell out what is to be gained by using social media, under what circumstances it will be used, by whom, legal, copyright, privacy and other considerations and how to respond to online criticism.
  • Competence Build digital competence within your team. Make one person responsible for managing online conversations. Ensure they know the core business and the communications intent of those on the top floor as well as the issues faced by those on the factory floor. Start out using one platform (such as blogging) and then bring other social media platforms into play as your organisation becomes more and more comfortable.
  • Integrate Integrate your online and other efforts. Avoid a worst case scenario where staff responsible for online engagement do not talk to those responsible for traditional outreach such as media relations, events etc. These types of barriers lead to mangled messages and missed opportunities.
  • Measurement As with other marketing and PR efforts, measure your digital program as thoroughly as you can. Some social media applications suit some circumstances but are not effective in others. You can waste a lot of time, money and effort if you select the wrong tool.
My sense is that social media will be the "flavour of the mouth and flavour of the month" among Australia's communicators and corporates within 12 months. Everybody will be talking about it as it moves from today's early adopters in the Twitter stream to government agencies, not for profits and businesses in the mainstream.

So now is the time to start thinking through these and other issues.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Twitter Triumphs

Twitter is the new media application that lets you communicate to friends and followers in 140 character bursts via the computer, mobile phone or blackberry. It's a great way to keep in touch or unless you're careful waste time.

I'm planning an article on social media and local governments and used my Twitter connections to find two case studies (both NSW Councils).

So who else uses Twitter? Thanks to US based blogger Paul Dunay here's a list of CEOs and other top US executives on Twitter.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Don't Waste Time Social Networking Unless...

Social networking is a big waste of time ... if that's all you ever do.

At some point your online conversations and relationships have to convert to offline action if you either want to change something or make something happen. Perhaps the real power in online conversations through Facebook, blogs, Twitter etc is to raise awareness of issues and give people sufficient information to motivate them to act in the real world.

It all comes down to persuasion and trust and we think US marketing guru, Seth Godin has got it just about right.