Archive for July, 2009

July 31, 2009


Each one of these could be meaty blog posts, but I don’t have the time, and I’d rather share them, I guess to some degree, Steve Rubel is right, there’s a need for something in between a tweet and a blog post.

  • It was a busy week, I travelled to Indiana to visit a client, had several briefings and client meetings during the week.  Chiago’s O’Hare is consistently poor performing, bigger isn’t better.   Still conducting interviews for upcoming report on skills needed for social marketers.
  • I don’t need to say it, but there’s a tremendous amount of interest from brands and media around social.  In the back of my mind, I try to keep a bigger perspective, as in 10 years we’ll look back and think of this in the same way as we currently do about people having email conferences in the 90s (that actually happened you know).
  • I wish I went to Blogher, the amount of brands (partial list) that are trying to reach online influencers is a sight to behold.  Heard from many that this year, there were many more brands that ever, I realize there’s more to the conference than influencer outreach, but that’s my focus.  Did you see the fake Scott Monty?  He heads up social at Ford and was omnipresent, smart.   On a related note, Adriana told me her vision for Girls in Tech, a site focused on empowering women in a male dominated field.
  • It’s not just women bloggers, learned of Dave McClure’s geeks on a plane tour that travels to Asia, as well as Christine Lu’s China Business Network blogger trip, and Renee Blodget’s we blog the world are travelling blogger troupes.  Not only does this bring awareness to other cultures, bloggers get expose to new ideas, technologies, and startups.
  • It’s interesting to hear about the many acqusitions that appear to be happening (a common occurance in a downturn) and how companies have to reinvent their social strategies.  It’s also interesting to see how slower projects get shifted into high gear and go live half-baked so teams can prove their worth.  I’ve seen a few of those.
  • A few years ago, when brands said they would dip their toe into social that meant launching a blog.  Now, I often hear of creating a Facebook page or a Twitter account.   Why?  it’s cheaper, less commitment, and all the rage.
  • Met with Ryan Block and Peter Rojas of Engadget, we discussed the launch of their social network Gdgt, here’s my profile.  What is it?  it’s a site where the social object is gadgets, this is important because we know consumers trust each other more than brands –this site will do this for the passion owners, but likely won’t be for mainstream users.   If you’re in the consumer electronics space, you should pay attention.  They have the community, experience, and vision to pull this off.   There are implications to Amazon, Cnet, BestBuy, Wal-Mart, and of course the gadget manufactures.
  • Louis Gray, who I rely on for deep dives into technology,  gave me a demo of My Sixth Sense, which is an app for iPhone.   What is it?  It’s a feedreader that suggests content based on your previous behaviors.  RWW has a more thorough review.   This is a trend, as there’s more content being created, we need tools to reduce the noise, see next bullet.
  • Sensing the FTC and other regulatory legal eagles are moving into the social web.  Did you see the story about Horizon realty suing a Twitter user that had 20 followers for defamation?  Read the comments in my last post from Bryan Rhoades about commercial speech.  We should expect more incidents of this.
  • From an industry perspective, I certainly see many brands and people exploding with social activity, they are mainly doing pollinating, which is spreading content to the social web.  As a result, it creates a lot of noise.  As a result, I’m seeing a trend towards aggregation, the opposite reaction of pollinating.  Aggregation alone isn’t sufficient, the need for prioritization and filtering is the next trend.  Vendors like GetGlue and My Sixth Sense are the early pieces of this.
  • On a personal note, I’m realizing that being really busy reduces my ability to connect with people and build more meaningful relationships.  As a result, I tend to be very direct, which unitentionally gives off the wrong public impression that I never intended to portray. There are certain stigmas I want to shed, I know what Ben would say to me, read his last paragraph.

Curious what you think of any of these bigger than a tweet, smaller than a post observations, either way, It’s 3am, I’m going back to bed.

From Corporate to Personal: A Breakdown Of The Four Types of Twitter Profiles


Brands often ask how they should position their persona on social media profiles and accounts, this guide should be a helpful breakdown.  This post is inspired by Michael Brito, one of Intel’s social media strategists who presented on this topic with me at Stanford a few weeks ago. There are different purposes for different needs, so my standard breakdown is designed for you to weigh out the pros and cons as you make your decision.

From Corporate to Personal: The Four Types of Twitter Profiles

1) Pure Corporate Brand
100% corporate branded with primarly corporate related content. These accounts, which are often sporting the proper brand name of a company are used often to provide corporate news, deals, and support.  There is no indicator of any individuals involved.
Example: Four Seasons corpoate or McAfee News feed which indicates it’s not an interactive feed.
Pros: This account can be managed by a team, and less risk of an individual being co-branded with the brand, as they may leave later.
Cons: This may be perceived as a just an extension of corporate PR or the corporate website with little human interaction.

2) Corporate With Persona
Estimated with about 80% corporate brand and 20% personal brand this account may be a corporate branded account, although it’s clear there’s an individual participating.
Example: ComcastCares, which shows the account is run by Frank Elliason, or CiscoNews, by John Earnhardt
Pros: This account maintains the face of the corporate side, yet shows a human element, building trust with the community.
Cons: The account may be limiting itself as the community may come to expect and rely on the individual person to participate.

3) Employee With Corporate Association
In a rough estimate this account consists of 20% corporate related content, and approximately 80% personal information.  Perhaps the most common account are the thousands or maybe millions of accounts my employees that may not explicitly represent a brand –but they represent their individualism and often indicate they’re an employee of a company.
Example: Take any personal account, which often indicates their name, they indicate they’re an employee, although may have disclaimers that their opinions are theirs alone. Bert Dumars of Rubbermaid.
Pros: These personal accounts are often organic and are a great way to build connections with a community.
Cons: Even if a disclaimer states that “these opinions only represent me, not my employer” they still are representatives of the brand.

4) Pure Personal Account
These accounts are 100% personal content and have no tie or mention of corporate or branded information. These personal accounts, either created by an individual that doesn’t want to be associated with their employer –or their employer won’t let them is void of any corporate ties.
Example:  There are various personal accounts, without any affiliations to brands.
Pros: This account has no tie or risk to a brand.
Cons: Although the risks are reduced, so are the opportunities. The chance to evangelize the brand with their community are lost.

Each Profile Type Serves A Different Purpose
Which type is right for your social media endeavors? It depends on the culture and goals of the organization. Expect many brands to have several of these accounts (For example, Cisco has types 1, 2, and 3) within their social arsenal). Type 1 may be useful for sharing facts, Type 2 may be helpful for support, Type 3 may have advantages in evangelism and type 4 may be helpful for employees that have little connection to the product or customers.

Having multiple types of profiles for your brand strategy is useful, play to the strenghts of each, however it’s important to note that having internal coordination with process and policy will also help to provide a common, high-quality experience to customers.

Love to hear from you, what profile types does your company use?  If you found this helpful, tweet out what kind of account you are, with this URL to this post

Marketing Voices: Three Recommendations for Marketing Leaders (11min)


Long time friend Jennifer Jones interviewed me at Forrester’s Foster City office in California, and I shared three practical recommendations for them to start doing. Listen in to the above short podcast embed, or download the file directly.

  1. Customers own your website and what you can do to get it back
  2. Social media resources: understand the 80/20 Rule
  3. How marketers can be more strategic within the corporation by leading the social charge across departments such as sales, client teams, HR, product development, support, and leadership.

I hope you forward this to your CMO and VPs of marketing.

The Importance of Social Media Audits


In addition to constant listening and alerting to their market, brands should conduct an initial, then annual social media audit to be successful in their endeavors.

Just as brands conduct audits of inventory, employees, and budgets on an often annual basis, they should also survey the landscape to find out what customers, influencers, partners and employees are participating on the social web. Audits are key for identifying priorities, benchmarking previous efforts, and planning for future efforts; the same applies for social media. I’ve been reviewing social media strategy documents from a variety of large brands, and I’ve noticed the following three common traits:

Understand the Three Types of Social Media Audits

  1. Initial Kickoff Audit. Brands should audit their social sphere as part of their initial planning process. Brands should work with a partner to find out the conversation index, top competitors, top discussed phrases, and customer experiences with products and services.
  2. Conduct Annual Audits: Social media teams should work with management and marketing managers to understand how and why the social web responded to activities in the market. Benchmark top advocates and detractors, and determine which topics or products are most talked about. Most importantly, benchmark your own social efforts, measuring the change and analyze what caused them, you’ll need this data as your budgets are questioned. Finally, use this knowledge to set quantitative and qualitative goals of where you want to be next year.
  3. Conduct Ongoing Monitoring: This really isn’t an audit but is key as listening doesn’t just happen in spurts. Brands should be constantly monitoring their brand using alerts and reports. Ongoing monitoring is helpful in responding to the real time web (crises can breakout even on a weekend) but may miss out in seeing the bigger picture and macro changes.

Key Takeaways
I was involved (I come from practice within corporate) in the brand monitoring when I was running the social program at Hitachi Data Systems, I leaned on Converseon and Factiva, now owned by Dow Jones as well as setup Google Alerts and tracked Technorati links. Here’s a few things you’ll need to take into account:

  • Don’t conduct your audit in a vacuum. Identify the keywords and phrases to measure by involving a variety of stakeholders. Be sure to distribute the findings to stakeholders as well as conduct a findings meeting to discuss next steps
  • Find a brand monitoring vendor as a long term partner. Find a listening platform that understands your business, and gets the social web –beyond just mainstream media. Forrester has conducted research Wave on this topic to find the right listening platform vendors to meet your needs.
  • Appropriately Staff and Fund. Don’t expect this partner to understand the nuances of your markets’ discussion, assign a few part time resources internally to champion this audit internally –and don’t forget to budget. I’ve seen many annual pricing proposals at the 100k range –varying on services and number of keywords used.

Love to hear your tips, best practices, and pitfalls to avoid in the comments when it comes to developing an active listening strategy.

Usage and Experience Doesn’t Equate to Social Expertise


Those who are seeking social media careers need to remember to remember that social media technologies are secondary to meeting business and customer needs.

I’ve been interviewing social media strategists at corporations or their bosses for my upcoming report on social skills needed in brands. I also get emails from hiring managers who are trying to hire folks to develop strategy and manage ongoing social programs at large brands. Lastly, I’ve spoken to social media recruiters who have a very hard time finding qualified candidates. One theme comes across many of these conversations: many candidates are incorrectly positioning themselves.

Here’s three rules that social media candidates must know:

  1. Usage of social media doesn’t equate expertise. Many who want to pursue a career in the white hot social space equate the number of fans, followers, or blog readers as a badge of honor –at times, I do that too. It’s an effective indicator of someone’s ability to use the tools, however it’s not an indicator they were able to use them in a corporate setting to meet customer and business objectives.
  2. Long Term Experience of Social Media doesn’t equate expertise. Many speakers and about pages on blogs like to indicate they were using social technologies for years, to demonstrate they were an early adopter. This can backfire to a hiring manager as the duration doesn’t indicate ability to use these tools in a strategic way. In fact, many of the early, early adopters really aren’t the type that may work well in a corporate environment.
  3. How candidates behave online can make or break the deal. Candidates should recognize that recruiters and hiring managers are looking at how individuals behave online –it factors into the decision on why they may –or may not be contacted. So before you post that blog lambasting another blogger, or somewhat questionable photos in Facebook, or talking about recovering from your hangover on Twitter, remember that hiring managers are analyzing how a candidate will represent their brand.  (Update later in day: I gave the Miami Herald my opinions on this very topic)

Although hiring managers have told me that they do look for ability, experience with social tools, they’re also seeking to find out how candidates have used these tools that align with corporate and customer objectives –not just a fondeling of the latest and greatest tools.  In upcoming posts (and the report itself) I’ll discuss what skills –and positioning is leading to getting hired.   BTW: I’m guilty of breaking rules 1 and 2, and sometimes 3 , so this is a good check to keep all of us focused.

Love to hear from you what else candidates should be considering in their social media positioning.

How HP Integrates Digital and Social, Kathy Durham, VP Marketing


It was so fun to live blog this event, something I rarely get to do now. I just love in taking all this information from the world’s largest brands, this is a raw capture.  Read the live tweets #ISF09 here at the Internet Strategy Forum in Portland.

Katherine Durham VP of Marketing, who I just met this morning is responsible for many of the consumer facing product lines at HP, Imaging and Printing Group, view her LinkedIn profile to learn more.

Topic: Integration of digital median and conversational marketing

Trends that HP sees:

  • The more things change the more they stay the same, reaching the right customer with the right message at the right time, and in the right place.
  • Digital is getting marketing what it used to be. Talks about the old corner store, how relationships were built in real life, digital is doing the same now.
  • “If content is king, context is queen” Jeff Berman, MySpace
  • 14hours per week are spent online by consumers (40% of time) however companies only spend 5% online.
  • 5 years ago only one of the 10 top sites were social (myspace), now there are several in the top 10 youtube, facebook, wikipedia
  • Social media isn’t just for kids, many are not accessing it from but are using mobile devices.
  • Talks about a mobile social network that enables customers to show restaurants coupons while at the table.
  • 77% of Americans watched a video last month
  • The importance of reviews are important as they give credibility. 87% of customers would rather ask a friend and trust them than see a critics view about that product.
  • Negative reviews can convert
  • Gives a customer reference to BazaarVoice, who helps increase results.

Kathy Durham, VP of Marketing, HP

The mix still matters, traditional marketing tools still matter. She breaks it down in three different stages: initial consideration, active evaluation, closure, and shows the mix changing. See below image.


Kathy Durham from HP shows a Marketing Mix by Funnel StageClick on image to see my notations

HP success factors:

  • Maximize Online to In store integration
    • Breaks down in three cross channel shopping opportunities from online, in-store, and on-ad.
    • 96% research online, 79% purchase in store from consumer product line
    • Key message: Integrate your strategy cross-channel
  • Integrate social media
    • Everyone wants to have a say, so listening is good, consumers want to share their opinion
    • Social networking has become important within the employee culture.
    • These tools are about relationships and trust with ‘friends’ and that helps to deliver that with HP
    • Mom is a key target for them, talks about the Pioneerwoman blog –as great example of a blog that demonstrages a customer using printing products in her life. Gave a case study how the blogger Ree drove more conversion.
    • They have a social media lead that builds relationships with key influencers and bloggers, they gave products to the top bloggers to give to their community –making the blogger appear like a community hero.
    • HP just recently launched a Facebook page –a bit late in the game considering how large the company is.

She gives the final points that it’s an “AND” not an “OR” use these mediums together with digital and social. Use the data and trust nyour cut, and leave room for innovation and experimentation.

My Take:
Kathy’s got it right, social marketing, while a different approach to marketing that doesn’t work with traidtional marketing efforts, should not be encapsulated as a silo –it needs to be integrated like an overlay across nearly all marketing efforts.  Tip: Rather than talk about social in your marketing strategy plans, instead talk about customers –which will naturally lead you to involve their voices in the program.