The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.

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Each of these is, of course, dependent on the type of business, organization, or mission.

  • What are you looking to achieve on social media?
  • Look at what channels are being used by similar businesses.
  • Create an account, then sit back and “listen”. Search for relevant keywords and follow the conversations. Get a feel for the channel before posting or commenting.
  • Decide on what “voice” you wish to use for your posts. Even if you have multiple people making posts, they should all be following the same format, goals, and tone.
  • Develop questions that support your goals and objectives.
  • Ask friends, relatives, and regular, recognizable customers for their thoughts and preferences.
  • Survey your current followers for thoughts and ideas of what they would like to see. What channels do they prefer? What are their likes and dislikes?
  • Use focus groups.
  • Listen to the responses. Each answer provides insight and can bring new perspectives.

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Social Media and Etiquette: A Local Twist

I wanted to write a useful post about social media and etiquette. After all, I believe and live the adage “common sense is anything but common.” Yet, as I read through articles and even skimmed a book about the topic, I had a hard time coming up with useful tips that didn’t seem too well, you know…DUH!  That’s when I stumbled upon another book but this one had a twist that is worth mentioning.









“The Ann E. Answers Guide to Communications Etiquette in the Digital Age” came out in December and was written by the employees of Goff Public, a St. Paul Advertising Agency. Buying the book has a “feel good” factor too because all proceeds are going to “Dress for Success, a nonprofit that helps women enter the workforce. I admit that this impressed me. I just suggested that my county library buy a copy. I want this book to be in my local library.

Yet, there’s more. The company also stays on top of social media and etiquette by answering ongoing questions on their Facebook page and through Twitter. Dealing with an issue and don’t know where to turn? It’s “Dear Abby” for the social media and digital world to the rescue! What more could you want?

Check it out here!



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For the Birds: A Field Guide to Social Media Channels

Sure, you know about Twitter. But what about Chirp, Chirpify and the rest of the 200 or so channels out there?

It’s not your imagination. New social media channels really are popping up every few months. A study by Experian predicts that “Deeper functional[it]y, combined with a lower technical barrier to entry, will result in new leaders in social media being created, accepted and used within a matter of days.”

So how do you select the right channels for your organization? As with marketing communications generally, there’s a strategic as well as a tactical answer to that question.

Start with yourself. That’s the advice of Catherine Parker, author of 301 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Your Marketing. For example, if your professional product is highly visual—or text-heavy—choose your channels accordingly. “Know your business’s strengths and weaknesses,” Parker advises (Tip 2).

Just as field guides help birders identify the hundreds of avian species in the USA, the “conversation prism,” reproduced here, guides marketers to the social media environment and its native inhabitants.

Social media guru Brian Solis, developer of the conversation prism, places “YOU” at the center of the social universe. In order to choose the right channels, Solis suggests, first consider your vision, purpose, value, commitment, and transparency with regard to social media.

“Social is not a silo or a function, it is a way of business. It is intended to mature business perspective from a command and control mentality to that of engagement and openness.”—Brian Solis

Next, identify your priority audience segment(s). This is partly a demographic exercise: who are they and how do they prefer to communicate? It’s also a functional exercise: what task are they trying to accomplish at a given time? What’s their strategy for engaging with social media?

With a little research, you’ll be able to identify your segments’ “native habitat” in the social media environment. Using the outer rim of the conversation prism, you can then make tactical choices to convey your message through the channels your audiences will appreciate.

As a bonus, you’ll be better prepared to create relevant and meaningful content. Information, entertainment, and applications can take different forms, depending on the channel you choose and the audience you plan to engage there. (We’ve written elsewhere on “value” and values in social media.)

Happy birding! (LA)

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Decisions, decisions…on choosing the right social media channels

What if social media channels had been around in 1959?

So, you’ve decided to go social. Now how do you choose the best social media channels for your group or organization?

Blogging or microblogging? Social networking or social bookmarking? Multimedia, reviews, opinions, and wikis, oh my!

It does get a little overwhelming out there, but don’t worry: you don’t have to use them all. Choose your channels for the audience you want to reach, the kind of content you want to share with them, and the results you want to achieve.

Channels are great tactical tools, but to use them wisely, you have to get strategic. Plan your communications so that social media serves your objectives, your goals, and ultimately your mission. Otherwise, why bother?

Let’s say your mission is to make the world better informed by sharing your expertise. If your goal is to build and strengthen your clientele, choose a channel where you can go into depth.

Blogging is a natural for professional advisors—lawyers, tax accountants, editors, and consultants of all types. It’s also good for teachers, researchers, stay-at-home parents, authors, government officials, and politicians—in other words, people who do a lot of explaining.

If you blog on the basis of your expertise, you can also provide guidance on review and opinion sites as well as wikis. Likewise, businesses that depend on being reviewed—the hospitality, restaurant, and travel industries come to mind—will also want to be in dialogue with reviewers.

Suppose your content is primarily verbal, but its value is highly time-sensitive—think of reporters, activists, celebrities, crisis communicators—you can share up-to-the minute information on a microblog. This channel is also good for cross-promoting updates to your other social media channels.

But suppose you want to show, not just tell. In that case, focus on multimedia. Some channels specialize in still images—good for galleries, museums, artists, designers, garden centers, or mail-order retailers, to name a few.

For more multimedia impact, focus on moving images with sound. Video channels are just the thing for a how-to demonstration from a skilled tradesperson, a travelogue from a tourism bureau, a teaser from a film or TV company, the latest release from a musician, or a political action not covered by the major media.

Would you like to keep up with industry news? With social bookmarking, a typeface manufacturer can track the use of its fonts in the digital world. Are you a fan of popular culture? Share and save the latest links with social bookmarking. Do prospects have trouble finding your niche product or service on a too-general Internet search engine? Try social bookmarking and get noticed faster by the right people.

If you’d like to tailor the scope of your appeal, social networking works for both mass and niche marketing campaigns. Business-oriented social networkers include retailers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and executive recruiters.

Again, there’s no need to use every channel. Start with just one or two that suit your strategies. Keep them updated with content that your audience(s) will value. Get strategic, and get social! (LA)

Note: Thanks to ApartmentTherapy.com for showcasing the “Faux Vintage Tech Ads” from Brazilian ad agency Moma.

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Comments and the art of social media home maintenance

Is there any better season to procrastinate than summer? When it’s too hot to weed and mow, and a pile of unsorted mail is cluttering up the kitchen counter, let’s find a nice, cool place to chew over social media. I’ll have a tall, virtual glass of iced lemonade with that, how about you?

Comments in your channels are like handwritten notes among the ads and bills in your mailbox. In an over-hyped, over-messaged, over-memed world, someone noticed you and cared enough to respond. So now that you have an audience, what should you do with positive or (gulp) negative comments?

Managing your channels is an essential skill for social media success. Skillful management can be tactical or strategic. Clever tactics are great in the short run, but smart strategies will prepare you to handle—and possibly avoid—controversies or other problems that come with the territory. With that in mind, let’s consider how to handle comments both tactically and strategically.

• Why are you using social media? If you just want to start a conversation, consider it done. But if you want to promote something specific—a brand, idea, product, or service—look for patterns in the comments. Then ask yourself whether your message and channels are reaching your intended audience.

• Who is commenting, and why does it matter? If you just want to filter out spambots, use a CAPTCHA utility to identify human visitors. But if you want to build relationships and align values, develop what linguists call “communicative competence”: the ability to use language appropriately for your online community. A values-based community supports its members—and you. That matters.

• What is the overall tenor of the comments? If you’re mainly concerned about verbal abuse, install a profanity filter, post a comment policy, and maintain it consistently. But if you want to grow a supportive community, engage people with courtesy. Thank them personally. Ask open-ended questions. Healthy debate is is a sign of engagement.

• Concerned about complaints? If people simply want to be heard, a kind word at the right time may be all they need. But if you want to earn their loyalty, help them solve a problem. Your professionalism will shine through, and your engaged community may come up with an even better solution.

• When controversies arise, don’t ignore them. Regret is not an admission of guilt. Let people know what they can realistically expect from you. Resolve private issues offline. To be proactive, include social media strategy within your organization’s crisis communications plan. You’ll be better prepared to turn problems into opportunities.

Think of comments as linguistic currency that builds social assets. Managed skillfully, comments ensure that messages, channels, and audiences are consistently aligned in support of your mission and objectives. An engaged, supportive, values-based community is an asset that money can’t buy.

So be authentic. Don’t settle for astroturfing. For real grassroots support, cultivate your comments and answer the mail. You’ll have an online home that welcomes visitors again and again.

Now back to work!—(LA)

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PT- How to Add Value in Blogging

Time and again we hear that we need to add value in our use of social media.  If the message does not drive results, why bother?  With social media being ever-more important in business, doing it right is crucial.  The question is, "How?"

The post from the link below focuses on blogging, and specifically about how to get more value from your blogging.  The goal of a blog, and for any social media for that matter,  is to drive customers to action.  That action is often to “buy”, “give” or .  If you wanted to write a diary, you wouldn’t need to blog.  So some of the ideas put forth by Corey Eridon in the link below are appropriate for us to consider.

Much of what Eridon refers to is driven by Analytics.  Knowing where your traffic is coming from and what they are clicking on will help you increase your traffic.  It will help you see what other channels may be adding value, and which are not.  That will allow you to improve your effectiveness in each medium.  In fact, if a particular medium is not helping drive results, why bother?

In addition, you can see if your messages are effective Calls to Action.  The content of your blog is not the only important aspect to consider.  Rather, what other links, banners, headers and footers do you use on your blog, and how are they driving action?