Saturday, February 20, 2010

James Andrews - Turn Your Company into a Content Machine

This post contains paraphrased notes from SoCon10 breakout speaker James Andrews on how to turn your company into a social media content machine.

How easy this is; just use the tools. The content will come in many different forms -- your lives, your clients' lives. The uninteresting stuff is content. Really think about everything as content. Have fun with it.

What’s important is the conversation that content creates; you can’t measure these things in pure numbers.

Use crowd sourcing regularly; it gives legs to social media.

Focus on audience backgrounds, then implement content. Produce a show for them. Engaging conversation streams are basically a TV show.

How to get started

Start with listening.

Find influencers through social media. Listen to them; talk to them. Go where the people are already gathered and bring them in. Ask your readers where they are (get their content from) and then post your content there.

Have a goal very specific to what you want to accomplish; if the goal is X, then use the tools to do that. Have the courage to try things, measure them, throw out what doesn’t work, and try new tactics. Constantly reinvent.

Tag and archive everything. Big fan of hash tags (#). They provide the ability to give context. Create your own. Make a story.

The beauty of social media is that the ‘riches are in the niches.’ There is an opportunity to create real activitism.

On email newsletters

Big fan of email newsletters; they give legs to your content. There is too much stuff out there; email newsletters become a deliverer of content, i.e. ‘Here are the 20 things you missed on our blog/YouTube channel/whatever.’

If you are producing content, it is critical to have email; you want people to be able to easily get it and share it.

Some tools to consider
  • Ustream: free, video streaming; uses it all the time.
  • Vokle: free, video production tool
  • Blogtalkradio: create your own radio show; get your thought leadership out.
  • Posterous: the easiest blogging platform; write it, email it, and it’s on your blog formatted. Syndicates where you want it to go. A great tool for new bloggers.
  • iMovie: video editing; mid-level is fine.
Some hardware to consider
  • Blue microphone: sound is critical; make the investment.
  • Flip cam: turn everyone into content creators.
  • Tripod: hold your camera steady.

Be prepared with backups; stuff breaks.

But remember, grainy photos are OK; authenticity gives a dimension.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jon Gatrell - B2B Social Media Activity

"It's about improving; there is no home run, no 140 characters to riches." - Jon Gatrell

This post contains paraphrased notes from SoCon10 breakout speaker Jon Gatrell on how B2B Social Media activity needs to drive results.

Results of recent survey on the influence of Social Media on go-to-market activities was shocking. Only 9% of respondents said Social Media would be a major part of their program. 57% considered it, but not as a significant factor. 40% had no Social Media plan.

Thoughts on B2B Blogging

Company blogs are an easy way to distribute and update content. On his company blog, Jon tries to never mention the product. “Even things that might seem uninteresting about development, wow do customers love it.”

Top reasons for a B2B blog:
  • Prospects have to be aware that you exist
  • You have to provide a solution for these prospects.
  • A blog can help set up the sale.

Blogging platform:
  • Big fan of WordPress and TypePad
  • Blogger is for Mommy bloggers [WOW. Did he say that? Hey, this is a Blogger blog.]

Thoughts on B2B Twitter

Businesses have channels to shout at people, but don’t have a lot of inbound channels for customers to interact with the business. On Twitter, a lot of people are posting, but not listening. Always listen and respond.

You have to be a better writer because of Twitter. Twitter is as much about emotion as writing because it's so personal. It's about your network circle. You want personality; personality requires emotion.

A recent survey found that 62% of product managers don’t use Twitter.

Should you Twitter? Hasn’t translated the business value out of it yet, but at the end of the day, it is another opportunity to practice, experiment, and get better.

But not everyone Tweets. Maybe your customers aren’t there; maybe they are somewhere else. Lots of people still use listservs. Find out where your audience is; that's where you go.

Thoughts on Evaluating Tactics

To evaluate, you need real metrics, but don’t go crazy. Keep it simple. Figure out the one thing that you want to track; know that it has to be something you can learn from. If you don’t know where you are, it’s hard to get somewhere.

Ultimately all you need are goals and objectives.

Thoughts on a B2B Social Media Approach

Be agile with what you are doing. Social Media are things that you do everyday and build upon. Have a daily work list. See how your activity drives results.

The more control you have in your Social Media efforts, the less effective they are going to be. Have many different viewpoints and voices representing your business.

Share something valuable that people other than your prospects will care about.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dan Siroker - Five Lessons Learned in Social Media and Online Tactics

This post contains paraphrased notes from SoCon10 keynote speaker Dan Siroker.

Five lessons learned in Social Media and online tactics during the Obama campaign:
  1. Define quantifiable success metrics (First focus on what your goals are, then prioritize what you can do. A lack of quantifiable success metrics is a big problem; you will only know that your experiments work if you can measure them.)
  2. Question assumptions (Experiment with what you can. Try even simple things. Perform multivaried tests. An ability to experiment and to learn from experiments proves really valuable.)
  3. Divide and conquer (Different things can work based on demographics.)
  4. Take advantage of circumstances (If you can capitalize on something in the news, then do so.)
  5. Always be optimizing (Create an hypothesis and test it. Measure the impact. Take the things that work, put the best ones together, and test again. Build variations in context of your page; always experiment. Think about your audience and what they want.)