Archive for ‘social media evangelism’ category

Your Employees are Your Biggest Advocates

14 February, 2010 | | No Comment

Are you still pummeling the public with your ads and messages? Have you noticed that nobody is paying attention?

What people care about most now is what their friends and acquaintances say about your brand. So stop wasting your money on short-lived campaigns or what you hope will be the next “viral video” – even if you garner millions of views on YouTube, you’ll never see it translate into sales. As the saying goes, “Social Media is not a campaign, it’s a commitment.”

In today’s market where you are competing for consumers’ precious attention, you need to cultivate relationships. Those relationships already exist – in your employees’ personal networks. That doesn’t mean every employee needs to blog about how much they love their work. It could be as simple as posting a job opening to their LinkedIn and Facebook Networks. That tells their friends and family “come work at Company X – we’re good people.”

Empower your employees to talk about your brand. They’re your most powerful advocates. Authentic interactions with your employees can go a long way towards building trust in your brand. Paying an agency to Tweet or Blog or Facebook on your behalf betrays that trust.

You have to plant the seeds now for a lush and healthy garden — and stop wasting your money on what seems like a quick and easy fix.

But don’t just take my word for it. Gia Lyons (aka Social Media Evangelista Extraordinaire) presented this at Social Fresh:

Making sense of the social media landscape…

5 May, 2009 | | No Comment

In February, a friend who is an excellent personal trainer asked me how she could use social media to improve her business and attract clients. “What’s the difference between a Web site, a blog, Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter?” she asked me. She already had a Facebook account to connect with friends and family. I remembered an anecdote I heard at a conference, a clothing analogy for some of the social networking tools:

LinkedIn is like your “business attire” for your professional contacts. Twitter is your “business casual” wear. For example, you can use it to make informal connections with colleagues you meet at conferences to get to know them better. And Facebook is “weekend wear” — flip flops and shorts, meant for your friends and family.

“Well why do I need a Web page?” She asked. I had to think about this one. Did she really need to register a domain name and set up a site, with all these tools at her disposal? The answer is a definite “yes.” I judge a business by the quality of their Web site. Maybe I’m a bit of a snob, with my roots in Web content development, but I usually choose the restaurant or a hotel with a higher quality Web site unless I have a strong reason to do otherwise. I don’t think I’m alone in this. So I explained to her that as a solo practitioner, she needed to establish her professional presence with a Web site. I even suggested “TrainWithJess.com” which she loved.

Then she asked, “why do I need a blog?” So I gave her another analogy. “Your Web site is like your office building, it’s your home base. Your blog is like the landscaping / garden out front that shows that this building is occupied and cared for.” And then, the final question:

“Why do I need Twitter?”
“Twitter serves as a way to meet new prospects and attract them to your manicured blog and professional Web site.”
“Got it.”

That was two months ago, and since then Jessica has created her own Web site, complete with a blog and Twitter feed. She even found some new communities to join, hosted on Ning. I am amazed at how much she learned on her own, and she is already attracting new clients who are finding her Web site via Twitter and Google, and complimenting her on “how professional it looks.”

Jessica is obviously a very smart, ambitious lady, but the fact of the matter is that in a Web 2.0 world, ANYONE can self publish and have a voice on the Web. All it takes is the desire to learn and the willingness to spend some time doing it.

Iran: A Nation of Bloggers

3 February, 2009 | | 1 Comment

It took something exceptional to snap me out of my several-month blogging slump. I found this on twitter from @marshallk Iran: A Nation of Bloggers a powerful 2 minute video.

Half of Iran’s population is under 25 and they are not happy with the oppressive regime. They blog about it, most anonymously for fear of imprisonment, but some are bold enough to speak out. I did not realize that Iran is the third largest blogger nation.

Check out this video.

Good stuff! Let Social media bring democracy to the masses, Obama style!

How Social Media swayed me to vote for Obama

5 November, 2008 | | 1 Comment

I heard a word on TV last night that I don’t think I have ever heard on TV before. “LAYAWAY.” It’s certainly not a new concept — I’ve just never heard it on a TV ad. K-Mart is advertising to “start your holiday shopping early, put it on layaway and you’ll have it in time for Christmas.”

My husband’s parents amassed a small fortune despite having a modest income and raising 9 children. Whenever I asked Dave how they did it, he said “they grew up during the Great Depression.” For the first time in my life I actually understand this mentality. I am very fortunate I don’t have to make any tough choices (yet) but I chat with the security guard at our office who had to stop taking his law school night classes because the cost of gas.

Younger Americans are going to be affected by the economy. The cost of college is skyrocketing, and recent Business School grads will find that there are no jobs available.

I was planning to vote for McCain until about a month ago. The choice of Sarah Palin as running mate was disappointing, but I am strongly opposed to big government because I have had experience working with unmotivated, uninspired Federal workers. They are not rewarded for taking risks, only punished when things go wrong. I worked for a Federal contractor and I saw how they stretch out a project — the longer it takes, the more money they get. This is why I want my tax dollars to stay local; I am suspicious of “big government.”

But I was swayed by the passion and enthusiasm I see in the user-generated content on YouTube — GenY LOVES Obama. I also saw the fanatical support on my Facebook network (Gen X), and through the people I follow on Twitter. Several of my good friends (Fay Mark, Karen Henke and Mary-Dixie Carter) were rabid Obama supporters from the start. The social network “My.BarackObama.com” helped them reach out to people like me.

Times are tough, and we’re probably only seeing the beginning. When people are losing their homes, their savings, and the promise of a prosperous future, the only thing that is going to keep them going is hope. This is why I voted for Obama. But I might not have really seen the passion people have for Obama if it weren’t for my online social networks.

I got inspired to write this blog post when I read this article from Wired: Propelled by Internet, Barack Obama Wins Presidency

Cardio or Weight Training? Social Media is a Lot of Hard Work…

26 July, 2008 | | 2 Comments

After meeting with other Social Media professionals at Cisco, Intel and SAP, I have noticed three distinct characteristics that appear to contribute to the success of Social Media programs:

1. Social Media Initiatives came from “the Top:”
At Cisco, John Chambers’ blog post about the iPhone lawsuit set off an avalanche of external blogging. At SAP, the CMO requested a social media strategy.

2. Internal Community Helps: Both Cisco and Intel have a robust internal community that allows potential bloggers to try out the medium and find their voice.

3. Company Culture:
Cisco and Intel (especially Intel) both have an internal environment that is receptive to social media. Here is what I wrote about their cultures: “Social Media at Intel” and “The Evolution of Social Media at Cisco.

I just spent a week at our corporate headquarters where I met with execs who are supportive of social media initiatives for our company. As I think about how we should move forward, I am working with a PR agency that specializes in Social Media. They have lots of good ideas for me. But I still have a lot of work to do on my own…

As I vividly recollect how hard it was to drag my butt in to the gym this morning, this analogy of Social Media to personal training by Jim Durbin reminds me that we still have a lot of “heavy lifting” to do internally — and the agency can’t do these things for us:

Paying Sven to do your workout for you isn’t going to help you, it’s only going to enrich Sven. And for far too many of us, purchasing a 3 year membership at the 24 Hour Fitness of Social Media hotspot is a subsitute for actually exercising.

So, while our agency (a.k.a “Sven”) can help with some efforts (like monitoring the blogosphere), we have to continue to lay the groundwork of a social media program. I still need to persuade legal to open up the blog program, and update our policies so that employees won’t feel scared to start a blog. And finally, there are our marketing folks, whose favorite phrase is “viral video.” : – )

Am I a Social Media Martyr?

14 July, 2008 | | No Comment

Even though it is not yet part of my job description I am determined to show my company “the light.” I believe that it’s in our best interest to plan and strategize around a social media program. How do I balance that with needing a “quick win” to gain executive support of our program? Something that justifies my job title?

I met Steve Mann of SAP thanks to Gia Lyons. We scheduled a call (all using direct messaging on Twitter, it was cool). I was expecting to converse on the usual topics, like how many blogs SAP has, or the struggle to get legal on board.

Instead what I got was a revelation. Steve described the process he went through to set in motion a long-term Social Media strategy for SAP. He was asked “Why do we need a Social Media Program?” One big reason “There are already pockets of activity throughout the company, potentially incompatible technologies, cost to standardize.”

It’s time to stop looking for quick wins that “show the value of social media.” It’s time to take ownership and build a strategy for company for the long term (even if that’s only a year.) If I don’t act now to satisfy the needs of our stakeholders, the more advanced folks will move on and find their own resources. A year from now we’ll have a variety of tools and platforms that may be incompatible. I need to do research around what each stakeholder can benefit from social media. And that’s not just marketing and external communications, social media can add value for other stakeholders as well.

Here are the departments that could benefit from Social Media:

  • Customer Support
  • Internal Community
  • Product Innovation / Research Community
  • Human Resources / Recruiting
  • I think that Jeff Moriarty missed a title in his list of social media titles:
    The “Social Media Martyr: s/he who sacrifices job security for the greater good of the company.” : )

    “What the F**K is Social Media?”

    10 July, 2008 | | No Comment

    This slideshow contains the Social Media messages that many of us have heard over and over (and agree with).

    If it takes the “F” bomb to get this the attention it deserves, then so be it. ‘Cuz I am getting tired of explaining it : – )

    So, see it for yourself, first hand.

    And btw,I think Marta Kagan really is a genius (and she does too.)

    Planning a Social Media Program: Gia Lyons gives advice

    25 June, 2008 | | 1 Comment

    Gia Lyons took some time out of her busy day just to give me some advice and help me navigate the stormy waters of the social media landscape. She said:

    “2007 was the year of Web 2.0 — and now everyone has figured out what that is. This year is about how to use Web 2.0 tools to make or save money.”

    Obviously there is lots of buzz around social media and Web 2.0. The hard part is putting together a business plan and finding case studies with ROI. Gia gave me some names of folks who are in similar roles as mine at other large corporations. It sounds like they are doing some cool stuff, I’ll report back on any great pearls of wisdom that they cast my way : )

    She also showed me this great blog post about those who are less-than-enthusiastic around Social Media tools. My first reaction was “oh, nobody at my company is like that.” But then I realized, they might be thinking some of these things and just not saying them!

    “Norman Naysayer,” the Enterise Octopus arch nemesis

    Meeting “THE Gia Lyons” …

    10 June, 2008 | | 1 Comment

    Yesterday we had another presentation from Jive on their Clearspace app. Definitely a promising tool for our company, something we would like to leverage both internally AND externally.

    But the best part of this week (so far) was meeting Jive’s Social Software evangelist, Gia Lyons. Here is how she was introduced in the meeting maker:

    “Introduction of THE Gia Lyons:
    Gia is a collaboration guru and industry pundit. She was with IBM for the last 10 years working directly with their largest clients on social productivity software initiatives. She’s well versed in industry and technical knowledge and can lead an interesting discussion on how Jive’s products map to your requirements.”

    Listening to her talk was like music to my ears…and the best part is she has agreed to chat with me about Social Media Evangelism. I can use some encouragement right about now.