Today Nielsen released graphs illustrating where consumers are getting trusted recommendations. Their charts clearly illustrate the importance of peer recommendations and clear communication and interaction from company web sites. You can view the full post here.
Where are your customers getting information about your products and services?
What are their most trusted sources?
Are your communications reaching your audience?
Is it easy for them to join the conversation and spread the word about your company?
On August 22nd, in conjunction with my work with the Los Angeles nonprofit, Project Return Peer Support Network, I had the good fortune to participate in the all-day Social Media for Nonprofits conference at UCLA. I have been to many music, tv/film, and tech conferences over the years and this was exceptional on many levels.
The event was packed with great presentations, case studies, tools, tips, and wonderful people committed to using technology for social good. Co-producer Darian Rodriguez Heyman did a masterful job as MC, bridging the non-stop presentations with helpful, targeted summaries. His closing remarks tied everything together and he seemed to have as much energy and focus at the end of the day as he did at 9 a.m.
Takeaways: Big Ideas, Targeted Tools & Granular Data
No social media event would be complete without continual reference to Big Ideas like “Engagement” and “Authenticity”. The social media world is rapidly maturing and each day these high concept terms are demonstrated concretely, with results that are making a huge positive impact on the world.
Tools and opportunities multiply at a dizzying rate. I am continually inspired and amazed by the evolution of social media communication technologies. Just a few of the things I will be digging into include Netvibes RSS dashboard, Tech Soup (software and hardware for nonprofits), and video slideshow sites, Animoto and Stupeflix which make digital storytelling simpler than ever.
Metrics and data tracking were discussed at length, particularly in relation to fundraising. The importance of tracking metrics can’t be over-emphasized. At one point Darian Rodriguez Heyman mentioned a nonprofit that saw an immediate 30% increase in donations when they changed the color of their ‘Donate’ button from grey to red! I am sure neuroscientists can explain this phenomena, but the important thing is that robust data is available to everyone. Experiment and find what works for your organization.
All said, this was an inspiring and educational day and I made many new friends. Pay attention to Social Media for Nonprofits and check them out when they hit your town.
Were you at Monday’s event? Was it helpful for your organization?
In his new book, We First – How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World, creative director and blogger Simon Mainwaring makes a compelling argument for the need to redefine capitalism, factoring the social and environmental footprint into how we evaluate and support corporations. Social communication technologies provide consumers with an increasing array of tools fostering transparency and intentional, purpose-driven consumption.
At first I thought Mainwaring was preaching to the choir, but as I continued to read this thorough and well documented manifesto I became more and more excited. There are many innovative examples and practical ideas here that can be applied by corporations, consumers, government agencies and non-profits to foster sustainable business practices and create a better world.
This is a fantastic introduction to best practices for online, direct-to-fan marketing, presented by Berkleemusic instructor Mike King at NARM 2011. A must-see for musicians and anyone working to engage fans or develop a social media strategy for their business.
Interesting, valuable, content is the heart of communication with fans and followers. Using social media effectively requires planning and commitment. Here are a few tips to get you going:
Develop an Integrated Strategy
Be realistic about the time you can commit to online communication. Find the right partners to help you. Develop your approach from the Big Ideas that make you unique; the ‘Why’ of you as an artist. Connect your online and offline strategies.
Understand the Tools
Each social media platform and channel (and there are many) has a unique flavor. Your blog is a personal command post, Twitter is a cocktail party, Facebook is like a neighborhood pub, and so forth. Determine where your fans hang out and develop a plan that uses between 2 and 10 different platforms. Don’t overwhelm yourself at first, but make sure you understand how each platform works; it’s strengths and weaknesses. Tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck allow you to manage several communication channels in one dashboard and send Tweets and status updates to multiple services with one click. You can also delay posting times so that you can ‘pre-publish’ outbound communications.
Share Your Passions
So how do you create all this content? Be real, have fun and share your passions. Get a little outrageous and controversial. Your music generates a slew of byproducts that can help you build a community of active fans. If you are a guitar player in search of the ultimate tone, talk about your rig. If you are a foodie that samples every regional cuisine when you’re on the road, share the love. Keep it interesting and surprising. Mix it up; short, long, funny, informational, photos, writing, podcasts, & video.
Listen to Your Audience
Make time every day to listen to your fans. Comment on other blogs. Ask followers what is important to them. Use Google Alerts and Twitter Search to keep track of what people are saying. Google Reader is my tool of choice for following multiple blogs. Most importantly make time every day to thank your fans personally; for a comment, a purchase, for following your blog, Twitter or Facebook feed. If you are a musician you are a fan too. Ask yourself, what would you like to hear from the artists you admire? Make a list and try those things out with your fans.
Create a Publishing Schedule
This seems like a lot of work, right? Well, it is but you can streamline your time management in a number of ways. Set up a regular publishing schedule. Break it down into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly activities. Tweets and status updates every day; blog posts 3 to 7 times a week; email newsletters monthly, etc. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You can take one central thing that defines who you are and extrapolate all sorts of shorter pieces of content. For example: the record you just recorded or a tour; you can talk about the songs, the players, the recording process, pictures, videos, and on and on. If you document everything you are doing with pictures, down and dirty videos and recordings you will find that have more content than you know what to do with. Content Rules by marketing gurus Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman is a great book filled with specific ideas and approaches. Music marketing veteran Michael Brandvold has written a great post on managing social media overload. Check it out and add your comments.
Set Goals, Measure & Tweak
Before you jump in, ask yourself why you are doing this and, specifically what do you hope to accomplish? Are you looking for more Facebook followers, email addresses, blog subscriptions, page views, download sales? It takes takes time to get a viral loop spinning. Review your stats and measurements at least once a month to see what’s working, and make adjustments.
And of course, the most important thing is to create extraordinary music.
I hope this helps to get you started developing social media content. Have fun! Please share your successes and tips here. What’s working for you?
In a survey of 140 global-national corporations the Altimeter Group found that the number one ‘go to market’ goal for 2011 is the effective integration of social media into corporate websites. In this webinar Owyang describes a hierarchy of Use Cases each with several real world examples.
No Integration – Your website is irrelevant. You are not connected to the trusted discussion happening in social networks. Your investments are not working together well.
Social Linking – This send users off of your site, and while it has made Facebook tons of money, it is not the best strategy for your brand. Owyang recommends skipping this step all together and moving directly to…
Social Aggregation – This comes in Basic, Curated, and Contextual varieties.
The increasing use of social sign-ins
Samsung’s integration of live social feeds into their event screens at the recent SXSW conference
Huffington Post’s aggregation of realtime user comments into article pages
Social Publishing – Encouraging customers to share information, pushing it back out to the social web.
Social Context – The practice of continually updating customer personas based on connections and context. A good example is Amazon’s content recommendations driven by friends’ reviews and buying choices.
Seamless Integration – The future… URLs will go away and content will be assembled wherever you are.
Owyang points out the benefits and limitations to each one of these strategies. He summarizes with advise for Product Managers on the shift to socializing product pages and pointers on where to start this integration to maximize the creation of viral loops in which, “Your investments stay constant but your results go up exponentially.”
The second half of the webinar has some strong case studies from partners Janrain and Badgeville.
I highly recommend this webinar to Product Managers, Web Developers, and Community teams. You can watch the full presentation here.
How are you integrating social communications into your website? What works for your customers and your brand? Please share your experiences!