Monday, August 31, 2009

Can you really build relationships through social media?

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Many people believe that social media is a cool, new thing. They think its a great way of reviewing products and sharing photos with people they already know, but it is not a good way of meeting new people and forging lasting relationships. If you are one of these people, don't worry you're not alone.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that meeting new people and developing long-term relationships with them is easy, but it is absolutely possible and happens on a regular basis. Most relationships in social media are short-lived, but people do develop business connections that lead to jobs, forge friendships and even meet a significant other.

It's easiest to develop the relationship beyond just casual conversation if you combine discussion in the social media realm with meeting in person. You can engage in a tweet-up, connect with people at a convention, or just agree to meet for a drink.

If you're pensive about meeting in person for one reason or another, you can still develop strong relationships with online social media conversation alone. You just have to make an effort and consistently participate in the conversation.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why is monitoring important?

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There are more and more companies sprouting up every year dedicated solely to monitoring online media. These companies are improving their products as the digital media world evolves.

Nowadays the best tools will capture all online mentions, both social and traditional media, which in effect replaces a clipping service while adding new services. After harvesting the data from traditional media outlets with an online presence, social networks, blogs, discussion boards and video and photo sharing sites the monitoring tools will analyze the posts/articles.

Not every monitoring product will capture posts from all these locations, so make sure you ask the salesperson or analyst that is demoing their product for you what sources they monitor.

The top products will provide trends in conversation, sentiment breakdowns, tag clouds, gleaned insights for marketing and public relations purposes, opportunities for engagement and much more.


These products can range from $1,000 at the low end to $100,000 at the high end. Even if you don't have any money for monitoring services, you should be manually monitoring your brand. There are plenty of free tools to search by tag/key term. Google alerts, Google News, Google Blogs, Twitter search, Ice Rocket, Twendz, Technorati, etc. are a good place to start.

No matter what, make sure you are listening.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fun With Widgets III-Make Yourself a Simpsons Character

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Social Media Stats

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A video called "Social Media Revolution" has made its way around the social media landscape quite rapidly. Socialnomics created the video, pulling stats on social media from a number of sources. The video is well done and provides value for social media novices. Those of you who have been in social media for a while have probably seen these stats and statements a hundred times, but this video is a great tool to get more power players into the online space:


video
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Harry Potter is like Social Media

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After some thought and admittedly a marathon of Harry Potter movies, I came to the conclusion that there are quite a few parallels between the social media realm and the world of Hogwarts.

For starters, there are four major houses at Hogwarts and each has their own unique identity. Griffyndor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff compete throughout the school year to determine which school is the best.

The Gryffindor house is the home of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger so it is without question the most prolific house in the series. With that said, it is only logical that this house is representative of social networking sites. Facebook is the Harry Potter of this storry, MySpace is Ron and Twitter (yes, I lumped a microblogging site into social networking) is Hermione.

Hufflepuff's house values are "hard work, loyalty, tolerance, and fair play." When thinking about what these values represent, I can't stop thinking about the blogosphere. Blogs work together, develop networks and ensure a proper "hat-tipping" of shared content.

Ravenclaw is the least discussed of the four houses. For this reason, it seems most like photo sharing sites in the social media landscape. Photo sharing sites like Flickr, Snapfish, PhotoBucket and others are certainly power houses in social media, but are often left out of the conversation as a valuable marketing tool.

Finally, we are left with Slytherin, which is the house of Malfoy, Severus Snape and ofcoarse Valdemort. Given the crafty nature of these characters and the constant struggle for power that they endure, I can think of no better comparison than video sharing sites. Going to YouTube is like entering into a steele cage match for viewers. You can find the exact same video posted by five different people because they all want the viewers to visit their profile. There is no common courtesy of "hat-tipping" and no request to share content that isn't proprietary.

Just to recap, in my uber-nerdy mind I have drawn strong parallels between the social media world and Hogwarts--a mythical wizard school created by J.K. Rowling. The parallels are as follows:

  • Gryffindor--social networks
  • Hufflepuff--blogs
  • Ravenclaw--photo sharing sites
  • Slytherin--video sharing sites
There will certainly be more thoughts to come, but what do you think about all this nonsense?
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Social Media Serves as Hope for Small Business

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The state of the economy is still hotly debated. Are we still in a recession or have we come out of it? Are we at the bottom or are we slowly building? These questions and more are being argued every day on CNN, NPR, Fox and every other news outlet.

The state of the economy, no matter what it is, doesn't mean that people can stop living their lives. People change jobs, move to a new house, pay their child's college tuition and proceed whether they are truly able to or not. There are even some Americans that are continuing to start their own small businesses in this down economy. Just think about trying to raise the capital for a business right now. It must seem like an insurmountable task. Social media has helped and will continue to help in this area. Imagine going to angel investors, venture capitalists or just friends with some extra dough and saying "we don't need any money for marketing. It's going to be free aside from man hours." That would surely help, right?

Social media affords small business owners with this opportunity. Social media can be low-cost or even free if you aren't counting the hours you personally invest. Don't get me wrong it is not an ideal situation to rely solely on social media for your business' marketing efforts, but it can be done if need be. You can begin to build a community of support and potential customers simply by strategically building a social media presence for your brand.

If nothing else social media provides hope to small business owners who have very little budget, and hope is a premium when starting a new business in a downtrodden environment.
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Top 100 Best Social Media Books, Ever

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When somebody takes the time to put together such an exhaustive list, it is time to defer to their research and wisdom and share the link:

Jurgen Appelo's Top 100 Social Media Books, Ever
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Social Media Optimization Can Lead To Monetiziation

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I stumbled upon a post about "Social Media Optimization Rules" over at the Open Circle Blog, who drew their inspiration from the Online Marketing Blog. There are some very, very good points about how to build community in the social media realm. I highly recommend reading the post if you want brief pointers on increasing traffic and entrenching yourself in established online communities. With that said, I think we can take it a step further and talk about monetizing social media efforts after they've been optimized.

There is no doubt that the more traffic and reach you have in social media, the more likely it is that you are to be able to monetize your efforts. It isn't as simple as getting increasing traffic though. Optimization is the process of leveraging that community and traffic. There are a number of ways to do this:
  • Ad Sense: This is the simplest form of monetization. Google has enabled this program to be embedded in any website. More clicks on that advertisment by your community means more money for you.
  • Sponsors: Companies both large and small are always looking for ways to reach their target audiences. There is no doubt that your social media niche will appeal to at least one company if not more. Either they will find you, or you can proposition them to buy banner space on your site, write a sponsored tweet, evaluate a product/service and much more.
  • Events and Contests: Being the trusted source that you are for your community, you can create and promote an online contest that will benefit your readers and you at the same time. Raffling off a MacBook Pro, t-shirt design contests, organizing an online marathon and many other options allow you to provide engaging content for you readers while potentially making some money for you.
Social media should be what you want it to be. If you want to develop a community to share and build relationships, by all means stick with that. If you want to monetize your social media efforts, just don't forget that you are absolutely able to do so in a number of ways.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Healthcare Reform Broadcast Through Social Media

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It is well documented that President Obama used social throughout his campaign to develop an army of active, highly engaged individuals. Now that President Obama is in office, he hasn't forgotten the communication tools that helped garner him so much support. As the Los Angeles Times reported,

The White House blasted links to the package out to more than 300,000 fans on Facebook and more than 900,000 on Twitter today. It also sent an e-mail acknowledging "scare tactics" being used to bash the programs. A few hours later, users of the social news site Digg voted Reality Check to the site's homepage. That potentially exposes Reality Check to millions of eyeballs.
I don't think that this is a major landmark for social media. This isn't the first political message mass-communicated through social media, nor is it the Obama administrations first foray into social media, but it is for the first time being used consistently as a tool to educate the masses.

What the current political administration understands is that social media reaches an audience that might otherwise be uneducated or uninterested in healthcare reform. They also understand that by asserting facts, preaching opinions and generally opening the discussion, they can rally support and find true citizen advocates for their programs.

Combining President Obama's notoriety with his willingness to take a stance and his administration's understanding of communication methods like social media could potentially lead to the greatest revolution in mass education for Americans since FDR and the radio.
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Fun With Widgets II-Mario and Luigi

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Social Media Is About Individuality

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When trying to market your brand and increase communications through social media, you have to remember that each person and each community is unique.

Social media communications can't be mass produced. Every social media technology has a plethora communities within it. All of these communities have their own interests, ways of sharing opinions, languages and code of ethics. Within that, the individuals of the communities have to be treated as such. Sure, you can send a message to a blog, discussion board, Facebook group and get some pick-up or engagement, but your brand with grow much stronger and with greater affinity if you seek out individuals or go through the community administrators who are trusted by the community. The notion that your brand is connecting on a one-one level with consumers will hopefully spread like wildfire.

The key in social media is to be human, show some personality and ultimately so your brand is tangible rather than mechanical. You have to remember that no matter how easy it is, mass communication techniques are often tabbed as spam in the social media world.
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Who? Why?

Social media often becomes a rat race. Who has the newest technology? Who has the most friends or followers? This blog is designed to slow it down a little and remind people that at its core, social media is about relationships and conversations.

Jake Rosen
Managing Supervisor, Fleishman-Hillard
jake.a.rosen@gmail.com

The content on this site reflects my own opinions and not necessarily those of my employer.

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