The Power of Commenting on Other People’s Blogs

I found this post as I discovered “ProBlogger. When you find an interesting blog, it really affirms their influence when you see that 7,000 other people follow them on Twitter. I click “follow” so I don’t have to subscribe to their RSS feed because I never check Google Reader.

ProBlogger created this video about “The Power of Commenting on Other Blogs” that I want all our Corporate bloggers to see : )

How did I find ProBlogger, anyway? With all the various ways to find someone online, it’s getting quite difficult to remember how you find things. I found ProBLogger this morning through Tweetburner. Tweetburner is a “short URL” service that not only lets you shorten an URL and create a redirect, it:
1. Lets you post directly to Twitter within its interface (even if they do need some usability tweaks)
2. Lets you login to your account (which is tied to your Twitter account, so it’s the same login) to track your traffic.
3. Shows you how many people clicked on each link you posted (over all time, does not seem to break it out by past day, month, etc.) But with Twitter, if people don’t see it in the first hour, they’ll probably never see it anyway.

I was checking Tweetburner out of vanity to see how many clicks I got on a few links I posted last night, and ProBlogger had gotten 37 clicks in the past hour on his post about the birth of his new son.


ROI of Blogging: Cisco’s Social Media Program

Figuring out the ROI of bloggging has become my quest for the Holy Grail as I try to educate my company. But the best part about working in social media is how open and helpful everyone is. We’re all on the same boat, being tossed violently in a perfect storm. But everyone is willing to share their lifeboat (in this metaphor, information = lifeboat.) The New Media team at Cisco is no exception in this generosity.

Cisco’s New Media program started out as a grass-roots effort in late 2005 with two people working part time on it: Amy Paquette and Jeanette Gibson. When I first did research on blog programs in October 2005, Cisco had nothing. zippo. nada. And then A year and half later, their director of New Media (Jeannette) is presenting at Web 2.0 in April 2007. Through various modes of online stalking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) I managed to connect with Jeannette. I even modeled my own title after hers (“New Media”).

Here is a great story from Cisco that illustrates the value of blogging:

In Jan 2007 Cisco engaged in a lawsuit with Apple on the iPhone. Cisco owned that trademark. The lawsuit was public and there were a lot of questions around the specifics. Mark Chandler, Cisco’s SVP and General Counsel posted JUST THE FACTS around the lawsuit (he was probably tired of all those phone calls.) It was not conversational in tone, just factual. They “just wanted to get it out there.”

In one day his post got 77,000 hits and got 344 comments.

Out of 344 comments, the sentiment was a 60 / 40 split between Apple and Cisco. (Which is surprising, considering Apple’s rabid fan base.) People expressed their support of Cisco protecting their trademark. Now, I want you to take a minute and think about the corparate legal folks you know. How many of them would take this kind of risk and post the facts of a lawsuit on a blog? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, ya gotta hand it to Mark Chandler for putting it out there.

(This reminds me of another great “controversial” post on Yahoo’s corporate blog: the day Yahoo turned down the Microsoft Deal. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.)

Chandler’s post around the iPhone proved to Cisco that a blog can be a great way to disseminate information. This was the first time that a blog had actually helped with Cisco’s PR efforts. It is not surprising that after this event, Cisco’s blog program really took off in 2007.

The icing on the cake is this great commentary on around Chandler’s blog post:

From Jan. 10 2007

“It’ll be interesting to see how this all turns out given the transparency Cisco is approaching this situation with, and Apple’s notorious secretive nature.”

— Scott McNulty (“The unofficial Apple Weblog”)

Great end of week: Social Media Conference and Presentations

Today the inimitable Katie Paine (communications measurement guru) is honoring our offices with a visit. The meeting started out small, but there are so many people across the company who are interested in social media. They are excited to be able to measure the results of their campaigns, whether they are on YouTube or other social media. (Now that I think of it, they’re mostly on YouTube.) I’ll be recording her presentation and then hopefully I will figure out a way to edit it in iMovie.

Tomorrow I am attending BlogPotomac, a bloggers conference that is right here in Virginia! Yeehaw!


Meeting “THE Gia Lyons” …

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.

The first meeting of the new Social Media Roundtable

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.

A new item of my list of things to try…

Yet another example of how Twitter is helpful : )
Scoble tweeted about his visit to Dogster. So of course I had to see it. On this site you can post video from your phone.

And then I noticed a familiar face on Scoble’s page. My friend Stacy who I met at the New Comms Forum! She gave Scoble a tour of the NYT board room. Small world!!

What Should I name My Blog?

I was trying to decide what to name the Corporate Blog I plan to write for my company. (Which has not launched yet and so I’m kind of practicing on my own here.) So I decided to survey my friends and they came back with some pretty funny suggestions for titles.

  • Snyder’s Snippets
  • Enterprise Social Media: Life in the trenches
  • Yeah, yeah, blog this… OMG…Social Media…LIC (from my boss)
  • Free Donuts!
  • Sourdough Rolls (from a jetlagged VP)
  • Karen’s Wheelhouse The Snyd Truth
  • Nothing but the Poop! or the Poop Scoop!
  • Social Media Maven: See Me Naked click here.
  • Kareniki: Adventures in Social Media
  • Karenlicious
  • Karenpedia
  • Stories from the social media front line
  • Snyder Social Media Marvels & Tales

And then I asked our SEO Guru how I should figure out what keywords to focus on for my blog and he gave me some very sage advice:

“…just begin writing the content then see how it should be best grouped. For blogs the categorization is one of the most important parts of the SEO. You can always go back to past posts and retag or add tags as you begin to see themes emerge from your writing.”
— Rob Meusel, SEO Guru

So, maybe I’ll actually succeed in writing a blog, with a little help from my friends!

Autumn Truong of Cisco: Moving in the Right Direction

There is nothing more encouraging than talking to someone who is doing REALLY cool stuff. I had the good fortune to speak personally with Autumn Truong of Cisco today. We met last year at the SNCR forum in CA. Autumn used to manage the virtual events for Cisco, but now she is in a strategic role where she consults with the business units and Corporate Marketing to educate them about social media.

With any announcement, there is a PR and an AR component. Autumn helps determine what the “social media” version would look like: since that is always different.

Autumn said it’s tough sometimes to think of new tactics, since there are no roamaps and no rule books. She asks herself the following questions before she pursues a mew tactic:

— is what I do going to impact customer behavior / sales transaction?

— what types of opportunities can I jump on that would give me a unique case study?

“Initially, education is always challenging. But once it’s done, and they see results, then next time they are more open to bringing you in.”

For example, she did some great work this summer on the User’s Conference, so the Analyst Relations team came to her for assistance.

They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus…

One should never rest one one’s laurels, but need to take a brief minute here to celebrate what I consider to be a victory. I’ve been evangelizing the benefits of Social Media since I attended the Web 2.0 Expo in April 2006, and first drank from the firehose of the amazing potential created by Web 2.0 technologies.

I started to spread the word amongst my coworkers, feeling like a stranger in a foreign land. A few “converts” along the way kept my spirits up, but overall, it felt like a battle against the odds. I was even told to be wary of changing my job description to strictly social media, because “what if legal decided that there would be no more blogging?” Thankfully there were a few visionaries along the way who saw the need to bring Social Media into the business model.