I just stumbled upon a social media blog post by Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia, and I had to share it on my blog as well.  Enjoy!

A while back I joined an organization that I believed in whole-heartedly. I liked their ideals, mission and leadership. When I met people whom I thought were a fit, I would let them know about the organization and gave them my personal guarantee that they would enjoy themselves and learn a lot in the process.

Recently, that same organization created a special program to which I invited a dear friend – actually, I insisted that he attend so that he could experience what I had experienced.

The time spent was great, but not remarkable. Something was off…and halfway through the program, we both realized what it was. It was the person they hired to lead the program. He was hard to follow, confusing and in general didn’t “fit” with the flavor of this organization that I had come to appreciate. I was duly embarrassed.

Here I had insisted that my friend attend this event with me and it turned out to be almost a total bust. Wow.

Now, I still like the organization, but I’m less engaged and less likely to refer people to them. I’m also less inclined to attend events myself. A big shift.

So, what the heck does any of this have to do with social media?

It has to do with the people with whom you connect, the people whom you allow to comment on your blog, the people whom you retweet on Twitter.

I’m sure you take take and care in building your brand. You make sure your company uses the right colors in your logo, oozes sure-fire customer service and gives off exactly the right “vibe”. As a result, your market loves the feeling they get when they read blog and they genuinely care about what you have to say. So much so, they tell other people!

All of this can be undone in an instant if you allow spam comments to pile up on your blog or if you retweet or “friend” the wrong person – someone who writes or spreads objectionable content. Some people have a policy of “friending” anyone who sends them a request. Be careful of this.

If you’ve taken my advice about managing your time with social media, you’ll have time set aside to review profiles of people who want to connect with you to make sure they’re not social polluters. (And, if you have an assistant, they can do this for you).

Bottomline: Don’t be lazy, do whatever it takes to preserve your positive brand experience by making sure you connect with the right people.

Advertisements

Charlene Li just released a study that correlates consumer brand engagement in social media and financial performance and the results tell a unique story. In a nutshell, the more “authentic” participation by a brand in social media, the higher their revenue gain. This is huge news, especially for brands who are struggling to get buy in from senior management. Each brand was given a numerical score based on certain criteria:

  • Starbucks (127)
  • Dell (123)
  • eBay (115)
  • Google (105)
  • Microsoft (103)
  • Thomson Reuters (101)
  • Nike (100)
  • Amazon (88)
  • SAP (86)
  • Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

I am very excited about these results!  I encourage you to read the full report and share it with your friends and colleagues. Could this be a wake up call for brands to start taking social media more seriously? I hope so.


about_sm1aYou’ve heard the hype, but do you know what exactly “Web 2.0″ and “social media” are, and more importantly, how they can help your organization? This workshop is designed to help you understand the implications of social media for your organization’s communications strategy and gain confidence in navigating the language and tools of the modern online experience.

Our Social Media Orientation Workshop covers the most important lessons you need to know about social media, how it differs from communication “1.0″, and what the tools to participate in the conversation are (and how to use them). This workshop is designed to be a conversation that covers a wide range of tools, technologies, and platforms.  The workshop is perfect for those ready to branch out beyond email and get started leveraging social media!

Topic of discussion include:

  • Interactivity on your web site: Are you ready to let go of control?
  • Aggregating: RSS feeds and syndicated content
  • Sharing: Links, photos, and videos
  • Fostering conversation: Blogs and forums
  • Online communities: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Ning and more

Details:

When: Monday August 17th, at 11:30 a.m.

Where: Renaissance Airport Hotel Orlando (5445 Forbes Place, Orlando, FL 32812)

Cost: Only $10 to cover food and beverage costs.  (Pay at the door)

RSVP…

Facebook Event Page

LinkedIn Event Page

MeetUp Event Page


Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are proving to be successful outlets for reporting on events following the presidential election in Iran, where news is being heavily restricted and censored by the government, Poynter Online reported. The microblogging site Twitter has confirmed itself as a particularly valuable resource during recent protests in Iran, so much so that the U.S. government appealed to the networking site, asking it to delay scheduled maintenance in order to keep the site active and updated.

Other social media sites, such as YouTube and Flickr, provide video and photos of the events which are otherwise unlikely to be distributed or published in newspapers given the government’s restrictions on the press. The Iranian uprising has also inspired the aggregation of Tweets on a site called WhyWeProtest.net which offers a list of “essential Twitter follows.”

Thanks to proxy servers that do not disclose the location of the user, bloggers and other news gatherers are able to access and upload content on sites that have been blocked by the Iranian government. However, government efforts to block the proxies are making online access increasingly more difficult. In response the the heightened censorship, Iranians are asking the international community for aid in creating new proxies which would allow for more reporting.

Here’s a snip from a blog post by Ethan Zuckerman about lessons learned from many hours on the phone with reporters doing “social media in Iran” stories:

ethanz.jpg It’s been an interesting few days for people who study social media. As the protests over election results have continued in Iran, and Iranian authorities have prevented most mainstream journalists from reporting on events, there’s been a great deal of focus on social media tools, which have become very important for sharing events on the ground in Iran with audiences around the world. I, like many of my friends at the Berkman Center and Global Voices, have spent much of the past two days on the phone with reporters, fielding questions about:– Whether social media is enabling, causing or otherwise driving the protests in Iran
– How Iranian users are managing to access the internet despite widespread filtering
– The ethics (and practice) of distributed denial of service attacks as a form of information warfare
– Whether such online activities are unprecedented

Rather than tell you what I and colleagues have been saying to reporters, I’ll point you to one of the better stories, by Anne-Marie Corley in MIT’s Technology Review – she interviews several of my Berkman and Open Net Initiative colleagues and outlines the argument many of us are making:

– Social media is probably more important as a tool to share the protests with the rest of the world than it is as an organizing tool on the ground.
– Iranians have been accessing social networking sites and blogging platforms despite years of filtering – there’s a cadre of folks who understand how to get around these blocks and are probably teaching others.
– Because so many Iranians use social media tools – often to talk about topics other than politics – they’re a “latent community” that can come to life and have political influence when events on the ground dictate.

Iran, citizen media and media attention (Via Jay Rosen)


Below is a blog post from Richard Ponser, contemplating the future of print newspapers.

“Newspaper ad revenues fell by almost 8 percent in 2007, a surprising drop in a non-recession year (the current economic downturn began in the late fall of that year), and by almost 23 percent the following year, and accelerated this year. In the first quarter of 2009 newspaper ad revenues fell 30 percent from their level in the first quarter of 2008. This fall in revenue, amplified by drops in print circulation (about 5 percent last year, and running at 7 percent this year–and readership is declining in all age groups, not just the young), have precipitated bankruptcies of major newspaper companies and, more important, the disappearance of a number of newspapers, including major ones, such as the Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Falling revenues have led to layoffs of some 20,000 employees of the remaining newspapers.

As a result, print journalism has come to be regarded as a dying profession. Online viewership and revenues have grown but not nearly enough to offset the decline in ad revenues. Even the most prestigious newspapers, such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and USA Today, have experienced staggering losses. News, as well the other information found in newspapers, is now available online for nothing, including at the websites of the newspapers themselves, who thus are giving away content. The fact that online viewing is rising as print circulation is falling indicates a shift of consumers from the paid to the free medium. The economic downturn has doubtless accelerated the trend, but economic recovery is unlikely to reverse it.”

But the real question here, is are newspapers dying or evolving? Perhaps they seem like one in the same right now, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a way for newspapers to change their revenue model and profit from this dramatic shift. So I ask you…Are newspapers a dying breed or an evolving media form that is in need of a dramatic strategy shift?


Here is a great post from Chris Brogan, listing  19 Presence Management Chores You COULD Do Every Day

If you’re looking to establish your online presence, and build relationships, it’s not the kind of project where you show up, build your profiles, friend a few people, and call it good. It’s a lot like tending the farm. Here are seven particular “chores” you could do every day that should prove beneficial to your online interests.

Twitter

  • Find seven things worth retweeting in your general feed and share.
  • Reply to at least five things with full responses (not just “thanks”).
  • Point out a few people that you admire. It shows your mindset, too.
  • Follow back at least 10 folks. (I use an automated tool, but this is a personal preference. If you want such, I use SocialToo.)
  • 10 minutes of just polite two-way chit chat goes far.

Facebook

  • Check in on birthdays on the home page. (Want a secret? Send the birthday wish via Twitter or email. Feels even more deliberate.)
  • Respond to any comments on your wall.
  • Post a status message daily, something engaging or interesting.
  • Comment on at least seven people’s status messages or updates.
  • Share at least 3 interesting updates that you find.
  • If you belong to groups or fan pages, leave a new comment or two.

LinkedIn

  • Accept any invitations that make sense for you to accept.
  • Enter any recent business cards to invite them to LinkedIn (if you’re growing your network).
  • Drop into Q&A and see if you can volunteer 2-3 answers.
  • Provide 1 recommendation every few days for people you can honestly and fully recommend.
  • Add any relevant slide decks to the Slideshare app there, or books to the Amazon bookshelf.

Blogs

  • Visit your blog’s comments section and comment back on at least 5 replies.
  • If you have a few extra minutes, click through to the blogs of the commenters, and read a post or two and comment back.
  • While on those sites, use a tool like StumbleUpon and promote their good work.
  • Write the occasional post promoting the good work of a blog in your community.

It’s Not Easy

Maintaining your online presence takes time. If you look at all I’ve listed above, that’s easily more than an hour of work. But it depends what the value of that presence is to you, if you’re doing this as an individual, or to your organization, if you’re doing this on behalf of a brand or product.

We’ve traded dollars for time, in lots of these equations, as we see the return on our advertising spend diminish. It’s your choice whether you want to maintain an active online presence, or if you want to get away with a bit less.

What do you think?


If you haven’t seen he commercial yet, Nationwide just released a new iphone app for their insurance customers.  Here is a great example of a company developing an app to really add value to their customer’s lives.

If you are thinking about developing an iphone app, make sure that you are providing value to your users, not just sending out more fluff.

Do you have an iphone app that you love?  Leave a comment below, or tell me what you think makes a top iphone app.