The first meeting of the new Social Media Roundtable

27 May, 2008 | | No Comment

Last month I attended the New Communications Forum which was really eye opening. But probably the best part about it was the chance to meet other people who are in the same boat as I am. Being the “Social Media Expert” is fun, but it’s even better when you’re in a conversation with others who are doing similar things.

So I took the opportunity to gather together a few friends from the conference. Not everyone could attend, so I wrote this quick summary of what we discussed. On our first “round table” call, Kate (from a consumer tech company) had some good suggestions for how to get more buy-in or enthusiasm around your blog:

  1. create an editorial calendar to give some visibility around the blog topics. Let people know what you’re planning to post, for example, whether it is a video or text, and share the calendar on a wiki or Google documents.
  2. We discussed the fact that other internal people are creating videos and posting to YouTube. She is in Corporate Marketing, and has asked people to work with her directly. I am taking a more “hands off” approach, and I created a channel for other people’s YouTube videos. I am trying to get the word out to centralize our videos.
  3. Kate told us about a presentation given by Marilyn Waters about how Disney Parks & Resorts is leveraging online communities and user-generated content. They put out a request for 10 moms who would be interested in participating in a “Walt Disney World Moms blog” answering questions about trips to Disney parks (“best attractions for a 6-year old,” “best place to change a diaper,” etc.). They got 10,000 applicants, so they created an “affinity group” for the other 9,990 applicants! We should all be so lucky as to have such an enthusiastic following of our brands!

The success of the Disney site just underscores the fact that we are all at different stages of buy-in and implementation of our social media programs. For example, Janie (From a large non-profit agency) told us that her board of directors approved the social media budget, but she is still in the planning stages of launching her blogs. I think that Janie has a great opportunity to leverage consumer generated content…and Janie has also gotten quite active on Twitter. I suggested she try using survey monkey to gather info, since from my experience Twitter is not usually a two-way street for information. (You ask a question and don’t usually get answers.)

Another topic we discussed was how to help change peoples’ behavior — Marketers always have a message to send, and a story to tell. We want them to first listen to what is being said in the blogosphere. In his opening Key Note at the New Comms Forum, Joe Jaffe said “The storytellers are the bullies.” Richard@Dell also gave a great keynote on the benefits of using social media and listening to customers. But I think we all agreed that changing attitudes and behaviors is the toughest (and most frustrating) part of this “fun” job.

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