Friday, June 27, 2008

Building an All-Star Social Media / Web 2.0 Team

If you could only bring 6 Social Media Pros to an island to start a Web 2.0 Marketing Department, who would they be?

Making it on Jeremiah's list of 'Social Computing Stategists' got me thinking about my team, what we do, what we want to do and what's next. My team is fairly new and we've been at it for about 9-months now and the various disciplines and skill sets of our team was built trial and error over the past few months. As we plan for the next fiscal year I can't help but think big so I started creating a list of all of the things a 'Social Media and Web 2.0' team should focus on (leaving out the boundaries of resources). Here's what I've come up with:

Social Media Strategist - In 'Alice in Wonderland', Lewis Carroll wrote "if you don't know where you want to be, it hardly matters which direction you take". At the core of every good team there’s a good plan. This is the person who pulls everything together. They build the Social Media Marketing plan and determine what the objective of the campaign is and therefore what tools should be utilized and how.

Community Manager – There are currently two communities that we have an active presence on - Facebook and NetPro having someone actively facilitate conversations in these communities would really take things to the next level.

Social Site Management – The great thing about engaging your customers in social media is that you can tweak your message depending on the audience. The tough thing about engaging your customers in social media is that your message could end up looking different for every audience. At the core of any marketing strategy lies a common message. We now have a presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Depending on the campaign we may leverage one or more of these channels and having someone to manage the communications and having it centrally executed is critical.

Blogging (including Micro-blogging) – Blogging is made up of two basic parts: content creation and content distribution. You could be channeling Shakespeare in your daily journal but if nobody knows about it, it won’t ever matter. Offering assistance to our bloggers to help optimize their posts for the search engines helping with suggestions on key or hot topics or sending out Twitters when new posts are live can make all the difference in the world.

Monitoring – If a tree falls in your community and you didn’t hear about it; WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU DOING THAT WAS SO IMPORTANT?!? Whether it's with Google Alerts, Nielson BuzzMetrics or TruCast, it's important to have an ear on what conversations are happening about our solutions so that we can actively participate in those conversations.

Web Innovations – This involves looking at the technolgoy our web pages use and determining if there are new capabilities available to better communicate or present something on our website. For example behavioral targetting, implementing widgets, or something as simple as adding Lightbox treatments can give your entire website a 'web 2.0' feel.

What do you think? What additional superpowers should a Social Media / Web 2.0 all-star team stock up on?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Diet Coke's PR Hell

Good thing I drink Pepsi because according to Dr. Ralph Walton as pointed out by John McManamy, "Don't Drink the Diet Coke," there may be a correlation to depression and bipolar disorder to aspartame - the sweetener used in Diet Coke. What does this have to do with marketing? Well, as Brian Morrissey points out in Dell's Hearing Test, try typing 'Diet Coke' in Google and see what comes up. Two of the top 5 search results are pointing to articles about how Diet Coke is associated to depression. I would hate to be in their PR department right now.

This claim is based off of a single research study that was done 15 years ago and now because a blogger picked up on it it's resurfaced and is a top search result. It been up there since June 5th and there's no response from Diet Coke. Are they even listening to the conversations happening on the social web? Do they even know that post is out there and spreading further each day? Maybe they overdosed on Mentos...

My colleague Brian Ellefritz points out that this is great example of why corporations need to be monitoring (and participating) in conversations about their brand. Consumer generated media is not something that can/should be ignored. I think Mark Jarvis, CMO at Dell says it best, "Your home page is Google." From a B2B perspective we can all learn from Sun's blogging strategy in how to jump in and join the conversation and ultimately improve the sentiment of what gets communicated online. You can bet that Sun keeps a close eye on what new conversations about their brand emerge from the social web and if this happened to them I can't imagine they’d go this long without noticing.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Building an Online Brand in 3-Steps

More and more people are starting to realize the power of having a 'personal' online presence and building a personal brand. I have been asked a lot about how I built my brand so I thought I would repeat that conversation here on my blog. However in the context of marketing, I think we also need to spend more time with our executives and helping them to build their online brand which will only further the business relationships that they already have. There are a lot of things you can do to build an online brand but it doesn't need to be a cumbersome activity and ultimately I think there are three main steps that will make the biggest impact:

1. LinkedIn: I've been a LinkedIn user since 2000. But it wasn't until 2004 that I saw the the biggest benefit on how to leverage the site. Coming from the very fluid start-up environment and having changed bosses 3 times in one year and co-workers constantly I needed a way to capture recommendations from the people I worked with. I now manage this very closely; if I change positions or if someone I work closely with changes positions I will ask them to write a brief recommendation on my profile while their memory of working with me is still fresh. This helps build my brand with credible third party resources. It's also a great way to build and manage your professional network.

Another way to use LinkedIn to build a brand - although I haven't taken advantage of this - is to participate in the Answers forum. This allows you to provide your input on topics you have an expertise in and your 'answers' are tied back to your profile so you build on the credibility of your expertise overtime.

2. Blog: The biggest brand builder for me has come from my blogging efforts - but this is also the most time consuming. I started blogging just over a year ago in May 2007 and started seeing the benefits after just a few posts. Since I enjoy blogging and the topic I cover I don't consider it 'work' but that is how others view it. So, if you know you can't commit to writing and maintaining a blog don't bother, there are other options for you...

Blogging is about joining the conversation by having my own blog that just means at times I'm also starting a conversation but a lot of the time I am still reading and commenting on other blogs. You can still build a brand and expertise in your area by finding the appropriate blogs and joining the conversation by commenting. Usually when you comment on a blog you have the ability to add a cross link, if you have a blog yourself you obviously want to link to that but if you don't, your LinkedIn profile is a good place to link to so that people can learn about who you are and get a sense of your authority/expertise level.

3. Facebook: I haven't been on Facebook as long - I think it's just under a year now and to be honest I don't use FaceBook to it's full potential either. I do have my profile developed and I do use it to connect with my professional network and the nature of Facebook allows me to interact with my network at a more personal level. However there are many groups within Facebook that would allow me to build my brand further if I was an active participant in these communities - I choose not to participate because of lack of time and instead participate in the blogosphere conversations but again if you don't want to commit to blogging this is a less cumbersome way of joining the conversation and ultimately building your online brand.