The “Social” Team: Permutations and Combinations

There’s little doubt, the deeper the understanding of how social media can help online marketing, the more organizations look to growing in this field.  Alas, you may be constrained by budget realities or you may just want to grow slowly and wait for evidence.

Challenge:

Assuming a five-person limit for your Social Media Team, who would you employ?

Below are nine social media positions and how they might factor into your plans if you were in Government, Business or Not for Profit.

Looking at the diagram I’ve made below, you can see that each of the three sectors begins with a Social Media Strategist at the helm. This person is the manager of all social media and must run a program that complies with organizational goals. This person is responsible for the final numbers including:

  • leads
  • sentiment
  • customer support
  • reduced costs
  • ROI
  • customer satisfaction

Out of all the sectors, the business sector requires the Business Unit Liaison the most. This person is responsible for maintaining coordination in corporate scaling across units. The Unit Liaison encourages business units to collaborate and as such may:

  • provide resources
  • assure consistency
  • implement a checklist
  • educate unit heads

Assuming in this case we have a large corporation storing databases of information from different sources, our business would need a Web Developer to plan, brand, configure and integrate social technologies with existing enterprise systems.  So this person has to get useful information from social analytics and make them useful for later use or other units, and vice-versa.

The business case also requires a Digital Strategist to integrate all the content from social media into other online channels, conventional media and real-life experiences.  The Digital Strategist is also responsible for assuring governance and quick responses to negative content posted by users and clients.

The business case also touches on the Social Analyst who is responsible for monitoring and measuring progress. This person has the big picture before them, monitoring the brand, the social analytics and web analytics.  It’s this person’s job to ask how is Social impacting our customer experience, then delving into the social media details.

The Social Media Team

Permutations and Combinations of the Social Media Team

We can also see that the Not for Profit sector intersects with the use of the Social Analyst for the same reasons.

The Not for Profit, if any of the three sectors, relies heavily on affecting its constituents with content.  Because the opportunity in this sector is to employ emotional suasion, a Content Strategist is important as the person who sets the tone and coordinates the content strategy across the organization – including advertising, corporate and social media content guidelines.

In this imagined scenario, the Social Media Manager, is embraced by both the Not for Profit and the Government sectors.  This person oversees all the social projects having fixed end dates.  The usually have a program management background with duties including:

  • program launch
  • manage campaign
  • deal with agencies
  • maintain timelines
  • keeps time, resources and expectations aligned

Another person that the Government and Not for Profit sectors converge on in this case is the Community Manager. Both these sectors want to cater to their publics especially, so this customer-facing liaison is the go-between for brand and community. The Community Manager brings brand enthusiasm with a passion to serve as a trusted community member. This role is not to be a PR messenger, but to bring community concerns to the organization while being a brand ambassador who gathers feedback in an effort to improve the product or brand experience.

In this scenario, that leaves Government owning the Agency Partners and the Education Manager.  The Education Manager‘s job is to spread the basic knowledge of best practices when doing outward facing communications. You can understand the importance of ensuring standards and consistency across a sprawling bureaucracy.

Often times, an organization will outsource specialty tasks.  Your Agency Partners are the ones who help develop strategies and tactics in those areas your organization either cannot or does not want to do itself.

It’s important to remember that any or all of these roles may apply to any of the three sectors named above. How you distribute your resources among these job descriptions all comes down to your specific needs and desired outcomes.

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The ups and downs of Cloud storage: Dropbox vs. Google Drive

The ups and downs of cloud storage: Dropbox vs. Google Drive

Dropbox vs. Google Drive

Cloud storage is a relatively recent service on the Internet, where data storage, retrieval and sharing are made easy over networks.

Using a cloud based storage system saves space on your personal or portable device, files are synced to your portable devices, storage is free and you can access any of your stored files anywhere there is an Internet connection.

The Cloud is a handy tool if you want to store or share large files that are too big for email.  Storing your data on the cloud means your data is not vulnerable if your device gets damaged or lost, but the payoff means you must trust your data to these services. New developments in spying technology means there’s no guarantee your files are safe from prying eyes, so as always with the Internet, if you require total privacy, you should sequester your information away from network access points.

Two leading Cloud services are Dropbox and Google Drive, this article will compare the two.

Storage

Dropbox: Both services offer free storage for data, up to 2GB free on Dropbox.  Connect to it via Facebook or Twitter and Dropbox will give you 125MB more storage for each. Additionally, you can get an additional 500MB of free storage for every person you refer to the service, up to a maxiumum of 18 additional GB.  You can pay for extra storage if you need it:

Monthly Fee Monthly Fee Monthly Fee Annual Fee
$9.99 $19.99 $49.99 save 17% when ordering 12 months on any of these packages
100GB 200GB 500GB

Google Drive: You automatically get access to Google Drive and 5GB of free storage when you get a Gmail account. A variety of plans exist to upgrade from an additional 25GB to up to 16TB.

Platforms

Dropbox supports Windows OS, Mac OS, and significantly, is the only service with native Linux support.  Mobile compatibility includes iOS, Android and Blackberry.

Google Drive supports Windows and Mac, as well as iOS and Android, but you need a third party software to connect via a Linux operating system.

Features

Dropbox: You get an additional 500MB of more free storage every time you upload 500MB through the free Camera Upload service.  You can keep increasing your storage by doing this again and again until you reach your limit of 3GB.  All you need to do is enable the Camera Upload feature that comes with latest iOS, Android, MacOS and WindowsOS and your pictures and videos get automatically uploaded.

If you are managing lots of files and updates, you can go for the Pro Dropbox, which for a $39 a year fee gets you unlimited “undos” in your document histories.

You can use Dropbox in two ways, if you use the website for uploading the limit is 300MB.  But if you install the Dropbox app onto your device, you get unlimited upload sizes.  Dropbox also has a handy feature allowing you to share directly to Facebook groups that’s quite practical.  If you want to edit any of your documents, you must download them for the process, as they cannot be edited online.

Google Drive: Google Drive is more flexible in that it allows you to keep all old versions of edited work until you run out of space.  This offers a kind of time-machine option for your documents. You also get Google’s search tool integrated so you can search within your documents.  Using Google’s Optical Character Recognition service and Images service you can scan documents for text or images.  In comparison, Dropbox’s search is much more basic.  Google Drive allows the handy bonus of online editing in Google document format; all doc or docx files are automatically converted to gdoc files in Google Drive. Where this feature beats Dropbox, the drawback is that Google Drive has a 10MB upload limit whether using the web version or the app version that resides on your computer.

File Support

Any type of file can be stored on the Cloud, but only supported files will be viewable within either Dropbox or Google Drive.  Non-supported files must be downloaded each time you wish to view or edit them.  Because of copywrite laws, neither service allows audio playback.

Dropbox: While there is no online editing capability, you can use your mobile devices in conjunction with the Dropbox app to view any MS Office file, Apple iWork file, as well as any audio/video, image or PDF.

Google Drive: The website has the extra capability of being able to view Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Autodesk AutoCad files as well as scaleable vector graphics.  You can view any MSOffice document, but need to convert it to a gdoc in order to edit.  The Google Drive app doesn’t fully support viewing of these unique file types, but you can watch a movie file or make edits to gdoc files through the app.

Security

Keeping in mind the precautions you should consider regarding the sensitivity of your data, both services do offer a double verification process when logging on through the website.  A basic ID and password are required, with an additional passcode which gets authenticated through your smart device.

Sharing

In both Google Drive and Dropbox, you need only designate any folder for sharing, then add emails of those people you want to access it – only they will be able to.  If you own a Mac computer, Dropbox has the added benefit of making your on-computer folders shareable through Dropbox for your invited online visitors.

Overall the Cloud storage services are both great.  They have similar offerings, you just need to decide on your priorities as to which one has the better functionality for your purposes.

If you want cheaper storage space, Google Drive wins, but remember there are some ways that involve a little action and work to get some more free storage with Dropbox.  If you work on a Linux platform, you must go with Dropbox.  Otherwise, the two are fairly comparable.  Google Drive does shine in terms of the online service. The winning features for this service include online editing, a suite of office applications like spreadsheets and an image editor.  The online editing feature is handy and more than one person can edit the same online document at the same time, each person’s text is a different colour.  If you require a Cloud service for easy sharing and you don’t require large amounts of storage, Dropbox is easy to use.  If you are collaborating on online documents and require large amounts of storage Google Drive is the choice for the more involved user.

Below is a comparison chart to help you out.

The ups and downs of Cloud storage: Dropbox vs.Google Drive

Cloud storage summary: Dropbox vs. Google Drive

Courtesy: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/dropbox-gdrive-skydrive/#top.

citations:

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/dropbox-gdrive-skydrive/

http://www.businessinsider.com/dropbox-vs-google-drive-2013-4

“Content is Currency” – Is your’s bankable?

As far as online networking goes, communications campaigns begin and end with content.  Applying all the SEO in the world (1) will not save a campaign that doesn’t provide content that its audience wants. Scott Monty, head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company, sums up its worth when he says “Content is the currency of social.” (2)

Here’s what good content should be:

  • it meets the needs of organizational goals
  • it caters to audience needs
  • it conforms to the organizational image
  • it establishes your credibility on a subject or in a community (3)
  • it does all this while engaging, stimulating dialogue, and evoking a response (4)

On the Internet, social networks have become fertile ground for government, business and not-for-profits to find audiences and target them with the type of content that will fulfill organizational goals. For government, business and not-for-profit, there will be significant differences in the way they engage their audience, provoke dialogue and evoke responses.  These three factors are analogous to adjusting content for audience, message and success factor.

Audience:

Engaging an audience means your audience has paid attention. The content you provide must address why they visit you and eventually gain trust in you.

Message:

Knowing your audience means understanding their general mood when they come to see your resources. Is the message fun or serious, informative or fictional? These considerations will determine the voice of your materials and give you permission to push the envelope.

Success Factor:

Your content should also be designed to trigger an action. Some government campaigns will only require that a message has been read, while a business may define success as a sale, and a not-for-profit may determine their goal is increased visibility.

Government Example:

In this example of a government website, the appearance and content of the page looks staid, is worded simply and is informative.  The overall design conforms to a strict style guide and appears culturally neutral.  The image that the government wants to display is one of an authority that can be trusted because the information if offers affects the lives of citizens.  Notice the accessibility of the design in its uncluttered format.  All the content elements cater to a broad audience seeking mainly information.  ontario driving

Corporate Example:

Here’s an example of a Facebook campaign by the makers of Grey Poupon mustard. Continuing with a tongue-in-cheek brand image, the content is clearly playful and ironic.  The wording is casual, as the brand has fun with its customers.  In this campaign, Grey Poupon opened a Facebook page called The Society of Good Taste. Only those subjecting themselves to the application process were allowed to view it. This edgy, risky content worked for that audience.

grey-poupon-wants-to-be-the-most-exclusive-page-on-facebook-25c91e614ecut the mustard

Not-for-profit Example:

The National Wildlife Federation used content to boost their visibility. Their tactics saw them linking their blog content to digg.com where it got viewed and bumped up to such a degree that it pushed 29,000 views to the NWF blog in one day. (5) The content they built this on is very simple but it caters to viewer interests in endangered animals, it provides fact, it’s unique information and it kind of compels us to imagine ourselves in the same situations as animals.

nwfWhatever your organization and whatever your message, your content must reflect the audience and consider success factors for the content.

Citations:

1) http://econsultancy.com/ca/blog/11331-five-core-elements-of-audience-building-content-strategy

2,3,4) http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/3756-The-4-Step-Social-Media-Content-Strategy

5) http://blog.nwf.org/2008/02/10-extraordinary-animal-tactics-for-surviving-the-cold/

Eye-Candy is your Friend in Social

1. Eye-Candy is your friend in ‘Social’.

Social media is … it’s like the name suggests – social!  Online social spaces are more and more becoming an online representation of our real-life social spaces.  Where the Internet began with text only bulletin boards, today’s rich-media experience mirrors real life more closely.

You’ve probably heard of the significant role of body language in daily communications.  That’s because we generally are such visual beings – we always have been.  Assigning symbolic value to drawings, carvings or other visual art is an ancient human practice.  We understand visuals inherently, one doesn’t need to know how to read.

2. 40,000 year old cave drawings.

Given our disposition to visual input, if you’re not exploiting visuals on social media, you’re only half communicating.  After all no toddler lights up when shown a page of text like they do when they see pictures.

Make your social spaces the same.  Spice up posts with a headshot of yourself, add eye-catching visuals and embed video where possible.  Even if you want to communicate serious facts, you can still use colour and graphics to tell your story in a more appealing way.

All visuals tell a story.  Stories are what get shared.  Do you want to get shared on ‘Social’?

3. Whatever this is. Can you NOT notice it?

photo credits:

1. https://smd102eric.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/29f62-eyecandy.jpg
2. http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/content/2012/0615-neanderthal-cave-art/12867945-1-eng-US/0615-neanderthal-cave-art_full_600.jpg
3. http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/tumblr_mf2tsiBK821qc0s10o1_500.gif

The Snakeoil Salesman’s Pitch on: How to Snag an Audience on Social Media

"Step up and listen in, I'm divulging secrets!"

“Step up and listen in, I’m divulging secrets!”

Hello!  You’re the CEO and somehow you’ve ended up on this page.  Congratulations, I’m gonna make your life easy, friend.  I know the story: You want market penetration and you need marketing.  You have a huge budget and I’m telling you to put that money back in the coffers.  Seriously! I can cut your budget and increase your results. Listen carefully, friend. I’m offering you the only marketing tool that connects with consumers at every point in their consumer journey from need, to browse, to final purchase.

All right, you’re reading these words, so you haven’t bounced as a result of my audacity.  Good move kid. I like it, I like it.  Now, I may seem overconfident, but I have evidence that shows social media marketing not only has a higher ROI than traditional marketing, it tends to leave a more positive impression on your followers.(1)

Lets begin: Social media, it’s all about knowing your audience – their interests, habits, preferences – you know – the nature of your customers.  Then you talk to them, give them goodies and be nice.  Then you get people that your followers trust, and you get them to advocate on your behalf.  It boils down to three words: Monitor. Respond. Amplify.  That’s all you gotta do to use social media.  Here’s what I mean.

listen-sign

View Twitter “mentions” of your organization. What do they say about you?

Monitor: Defining your audience and refining these definitions is what you’re doing when you monitor online commentary in social media.  First, general demographics correlated to social media trends will tell you which social media platforms your target audience likes to use.  This is often defined by their needs and preferences.  Do they visit primarily visual sites like Flickr, or do they use social media for more professional reasons, spending most time using LinkedIn?  Here’s the twist Mac, lots of people have many roles in life.  You must hit your target when they’re playing that role in life that intersects with your organization.  Are they shopping, investing, advocating for the environment?

When you monitor Twitter mentions about your company, or product reviews of your stuff, not only do you get valuable marketing information, but social media gives you a chance to engage immediately.  So if you needed to patch things over with a frustrated client, you’d have a chance to help them out.

respondRespond: Don’t be creepy though.  Spying on your customers via social media sounds cool, yeah.  But seriously, if you don’t engage the people who talk about your company, then you’re losing out on a lot of chances. Now that you’ve defined your audience, serve them!  -You monitor their complaints; now give them what they want.  How can you add value to your followers?  If you can provide them with content, help, coupons, even fun diversions, they will stick around.  You only deepen their relationship with your brand when you take care of them.  You might even make a friend.

megaphone-clip-art_427314

Get influencers to amplify your message, but also support those who do it.

Amplify: Not to get all sentimental, but if you develop a kind-of relationship with your customers, some of your better customers may actually do things to help you out.  True! I’m gonna let you in on an industry secret.  We call these people “influencers”.  Yeah, influencers are audience members who have the ability to inspire action among others.(2) For whatever reason, these people have credibility with your audience.  For example, this summer Tek Recon launched their elastic propelling gun system aimed at challenging the Nerf Blaster gun. Well, Tek Recon reached out to Nerf Blaster clubs in major cities across the USA and found respected bloggers who review the latest in such toys.(3)  They then offered some free equipment to them.  Guess what?  The word spread about this Tek Recon among the very people who would be the most eager to buy it.  Also, Tek Recon was raising money to help their launch by offering discounted guns, ammunition and other perks through a Kickstarter crowd-sourcing initiative.(4)  The people who signed on were the early adapters, eager to be the first to offer their opinions online.  Badda-bing, there you go!  It’s free promotional talk, it’s mouth to ear, from trusted people, directly to your target audience, need I say more?  Oh yeah, one thing.  Once you’ve found your influencers, help them keep their credibility and their aura by giving them perks and other support that will make them even more influential to your audience.

It’s not a big soap opera. That’s just social! Just remember – be like people be.

Citations

1.  Divol, Roxane, David Edelman, and Hugo Sarrazin. “Insights & Publications.” McKinsey & Company. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct 2013. <http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/demystifying_social_media&gt;.

2.  Neil, Boyd. quoting Radian6 in: “Targeting the right audiences for social media campaigns.” SMD102 Lecture. Seneca College. Markham Campus, Toronto. 21 Oct 2013. Lecture.

3.  “Tek Recon Update #3: Firing Demo & Trigger Explanation.” Foam From Above.com N.p., 17 May 2013, Web. 21 Oct 2013. <http://foamfromabove.blogspot.ca/2013/05/tek-recon-update-3-firing-demo-and.html&gt;.

4.  “Tek Recon Soft-Projectile Blaster with FPS online Gameplay.” Kickstarter.com. N.p., 09 May 2013. Web. 21 Oct 2013. <http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/graemebissett/tek-recon-the-first-real-life-video-game&gt;.

Hootsuite U. Lecture Series – The Scoop on Social

socialmediablues

Don’t panic. Hootsuite U helps you capitalize.

As online marketers build up their organization’s exposure on social media, managing all their accounts can become a challenge in itself.  But in today’s technological society, no need ever goes unfulfilled.  Hootsuite is a solution offering a dashboard to monitor all your social media channels from one place.

Hootsuite U

If you want to get good at using Hootsuite, they offer Hootsuite U.  Sign up and you’ll get access to tutorials and other resources.  I just watched three of the many lecture-series videos available on social media and Hootsuite.  Here’s a summary.

 facebook and thumb up

Facebook is it!  Now how do online marketers use it?

Jason Li is Lead Strategist of Global Creative Solutions at Facebook.  Facebook is an online marketer’s dream because it offers the largest and the most engaged audience in the world. In this video, Jason explains the Rules of Engagement for building good Facebook Brand Pages.

Why Facebook?

The purpose for a Facebook brand page is to create quality relationships driving word of mouth among customers and their contacts.

You’re being judged by your cover

Jason explains that having attractive posts with interesting content drive the engagement value of your brand.  Your content strategy should only produce content that people will share.  This means making an emotional connection on some level.  If enough people like the content, they will push it to their friends’ Facebook newsfeeds.

Engage and spread your arms

With the average Facebook user spending 40% of their Facebook time looking at newsfeeds, you want your content to end up there because your fans embedded it and shared it.  Congratulations, you’ve got “owned media” – your followers, and “earned media” – their followers.

The four principles of why content gets shared:

  1. There is information or a useful tool.
  2. People want others to enjoy what they did, so they share.
  3. People want to help others, so they share.
  4. People want to tell others about themselves and their interests.

Facebook is out there. It’s free to use. It’s got a huge following.  So take advantage!

*

Content Curation and the Empowerment Model

Now as we are speaking of content, in his Guide to Content Curation, Hootsuite’s Cameron Ugenac explains the value of content curation.  It’s a fancy way of saying that you have lots of different content, stored and ready to be posted, or repurposed.

film-big2Content = Viability

For many social media platforms, content curation is part of their business plan.  For example, Storify and Reddit rely on users to post news clippings and for other users to add to these as well as share to other users.  The same goes for Pinterest as related to photos.  In this video, Cameron also points out that collecting your most effective keywords is an important aspect of curated content.

Everybody Empower Each Other

As in the above Facebook video, organizations want to spread their content. Cameron’s Empowerment Model sees all organizational divisions collecting the content they produce for sharing on the organization’s outward facing social media channels. The company social media team can really extend its reach if employees, friends and family all pitch-in to share content and attract followers.

news on computer

Cross promote on all types of channels.

*

Does  Internet trump Traditional Media?

Of course content is no good without a distribution medium. Today’s dominant medium has to be the Internet, and newspapers are seemingly suffering the competition.

In this third video, Todd Defren, Principal at SHIFT Communications, and Ben Watson, VP of Marketing at HootSuite got together to discuss the shifting sands in the media-scape.

Channels must be complementary

We can all see that newspapers are struggling.  But some do live-on, and they do so by incorporating many media channels. The same goes for any organization: Audiences vary and channels must accommodate viewer preferences while feeding content and viewership amongst each other.

Take advantage of third party endorsements

Anytime some of your content or products gain earned media or endorsements, build a story around this, post it and link it back to the third party endorsement.  These are the types of links that gain credibility for your website and your organization.

The Web is Voracious

The Web wants more content and it can handle more content.  If Gutenberg made publishing more affordable, Social Media has extended this effect.  But when it comes to content, quality trumps quantity with a view to providing value to your readership.

No More Silos

The final point to sum up the discussion is that rather than killing traditional media, social media has been built upon its shoulders.  The successful strategy uses all mediums to build viewership and to feed those viewers to other media properties.  Because of social media’s pervasive nature, and its numerous uses, each of the HR, PR and marketing departments must agree on messaging standards, then share content and feed viewers to each other.