Secrets of Social Media Seminar

I will be speaking at the “Secrets of Social Media” seminar being held in Jacksonville, FL on Thursday, March 26. I will be sharing the stage with four wonderful speakers, all of whom bring a valuable perspective to social media and its myriad applications for your business.

Here’s the link for more information. Hope to see you there.

Something kind of cool happened last week that I wanted to share. The post I wrote about Tropicana’s decision to change back to its original “straw in the orange” logo generated a lot of traffic. Evidently, someone at the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is among my readers and noticed my analysis. They  cited me and the blog on their weekly index. Who knew people would get so exorcised over an orange juice carton, huh?

Marketing in 2009

In our ongoing effort to share resources that focus directly on social media, we wanted to direct your attention to this free eBook offered on the terrific Conversation Agent blog by Valeria Maltoni.

Twelve social media professionals talk about what they see as the key imperatives and trends for 2009, and it’s well worth downloading and referring back to all year long.

It’s free, yet it offers invaluable insight and advice.

What are you waiting for?

Did I mention it was free?

Should corporations blog?

Instead of answering the question directly, let’s do a quick survey of some larger corporations in the space.

This incomplete list illustrates how each company takes a different approach to information, outreach and community building.

The GE Global Research blog is a peek into their industrial research labs and is targeted to the technology set. They have dozens of contributors so the content remains fresh and wide ranging, and they incorporate lots of video.

The Graco blog also has multiple contributors (always a good idea) and focuses primarily on parenting issues.

General Motors’ Fastlane blog is “a forum for GM executives to talk about GM’s current and future products and services.” GM has been in the space for some time, and their blog gets a lot of comments, particularly in the past day or two as the Big Three are all testifying on Capitol Hill in search of a bridge loan to keep them afloat.

Most social media consultants, and I include myself, will say that a corporate blogging no-no is to prattle on about your latest product or service. Instead, you should be attempting to build trust with your community and be a problem solver. These three companies attack this issue in different ways.

GE is speaking to a devoted and passionate audience of science and technology people. GE Research Labs does not really make consumer products so unless you’re planning on buying a multi-million dollar medical imaging machine or a pulsed detonation engine (I don’t know, either), I think they’re right to break this cardinal rule. Their blog is for those who wish to stay on top of new developments.

Graco has a wide range of baby products they sell such as playpens, car seats and strollers. The blog, however, shares experiences and offers advice to the common problems that affect all parents. They do have a channel about their products, but the number of entries there is far outnumbered by those in the “Parenting” or “Babies” channels.

GM’s blog, on the other hand, is essentially a series of press releases or talking points posted by execs of the company. To their credit, though, most of the posts receive a LOT of comments and GM seems to let the community say whatever might be on their minds, and things sometimes get a little chippy. I don’t think people are feeling too warm and fuzzy towards any of the Big 3 right now, and if you don’t believe me, check the comments section.

There are tons of other big companies out there blogging (Coke, Molson, Intel, P&G and Wells Fargo, to name a few. There a good list here if you’re interested in seeing what the other guy is doing). The purpose of this post is not to hit you with a laundry list of who’s doing what. The point is to get you, your company or your clients seriously thinking about getting involved in the space, spy on your competition, learn from their mistakes and maybe even find something out about these companies you may not have known.

One of these days, “new media” will stop being new. That day is growing ever closer.

Measuring the success of your online video strategy

As we all continue to refine our thinking about how “success” is measured in terms of your online video strategy, it is important to keep a couple of things in mind.

First, what IS your strategy. Too often I hear things like, “We need to get a video on our website,” or “We need to be on YouTube.” Maybe you do. But have you fully considered why? And exactly what the videos are meant to achieve?

I would agree with Forrester research analyst Jeremiah Owyang when he suggests that job one needs to be making your content embeddable and, consequently, more easily shared. As we have written before here, here and here, to  give up control is to gain control. I’m not trying to go all David Carradine, Kung Fu master on you, but think about it: people are sharing videos and talking about your company or product already. Naturally, you hope they’re saying positive things. And if they are, moving pictures beat words on a page any day of the week.

But while people are using your content however they wish, we need to stop thinking so much about the hit or click as the sole measurement of success. The conversations are happening. You may as well do all you can to try and lead them.

Too Lijit to quit?

We made a couple of housekeeping improvements to make the blog a bit more useful. TypePad, our blogging software, has added a few new fonts and features, among them they have made it possible for links to open in a separate window. Like most good bloggers, we provide lots of links in our posts, but this way you won't navigate away from us every time you click a link. We want to keep you around for as long as possible and we like anything that makes the layout prettier and more useful.

On that subject, thanks to our pal Jason Falls, the Social Media Explorer, who told us about Lijit, which does a couple of cool things rather well. Chief among them, it offers robust search within our blog. We have 100+ posts and trying to find what you're looking for can be a little tough. Another thing it does well is create what I would call a "trust tree." (They don't call it that, but they can steal it if they like it.) If you click on "Explore" you will see a matrix of other blogs in my network, the assumption being that if you're a fan of my blog, you might also like these other ones. Finally, there are little chicklets that represent all the places you can find me online so you can follow me on Twitter, friend me up on Facebook, see my history on LinkedIn or watch some videos we've produced on YouTube. Find their widget over on the right hand side, just beneath the "Email me" link.

I'm just getting started with it, but I think it is a cool little tool. Tell me what you think. Or better yet, tell Lijit what you think and install it on your blog if you like it. They make it pretty simple to do. Not a major overhaul, but we hope you like the changes.