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Category: Sharing the experience

Value of social media…web presence – several thoughts rolling around in my head

I’ve taken some time away from social media… i.e. blogging, twitter, etc. I needed to step back and soak some inputs in… and step away from the echo chamber. I’ve been evolving my thinking and here is where I’ve landed on a couple of thoughts.

Social Media – ROI, Value, Etc – It’s some sort of glue

I’ve been stepping back and looking at social media in a bigger picture context, and I think that is where you can prove value and ROI. As a stand alone project, social media’s ROI/Value can be difficult to prove to a CMO. “So, let me get this straight, by blogging you will increase my sales?” Now this in the thick of social media do have charts and graphs that can prove this… but it takes some digestion to get it (and having CMO’s actually participate to really get it). But if social media is part of a larger web presence for a brand/product – the value of why do it makes a lot of sense.

Organic Search/Search + Social Media
Reach + Social Media
Impressions + Social Media

In any of those contexts it gets much easier to explain the value/ROI of why you need social media involved in your web presence strategy.

This thing called the Web – No mom, that’s not just “another link”

Explaining what I do for work to anyone can at times be challenging. Explaining it to my mother is an art. One I have not completely mastered. But I will say, if you need to test any of your web ideas out…always run them past my mother. She will break your experience design without even trying. She’s brilliant like that and doesn’t even know it. Same with my father. May be the best usability testing team on the planet. But I digress ( I love saying that).

When I was trying to explain what I do the last time something really stuck with me. That the web is all activity or search, and that Web 2.0 is really about the activities we can do with the web. I know, I know…this is obvious to most of us. But not to my mother. And when you have to slow it down and explain it…that when we go to the web we are looking to “do something”, it makes a lot of sense that your web presence should be about an activity design, what do you what consumers to do where.

Leading by example – or, get out of the way

I’ve be dormant on the web presence/social media front for awhile. And I think the echo chamber has hit a point…put up or shut up. I sat down and looked at the projects I’ve done over the last 2 years. Some pretty cool stuff that I’m guessing nobody knows about. And some pretty cool things that never got done. It’s time to fail forward, fast.

Just a couple of things, rolling around in my head…

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Social Media best practices meme – points for a strong social media strategy foundation

Dusting of my social media links in my Google Reader, found an interesting meme being passed around that just happened to touch on a few water cooler discussions I’ve had in the last couple of days. Seems that the discussion around social media has started to evolve to a ‘best practices discussion (started by Mitch Joel)‘.

Now my water cooler discussions were more centered around the lofty ‘what is social media’ discussion…which I’m currently boiling down to – social media is just content and should be treated as such (I do think it is more than that, but for space/arguement on the blog…running with that this morning). After reading through several of the linking posts on the best practices meme, ended up with a couple of favorites that I think are related to what I think is a best practice for social media…or a starting place for a social media game plan.

When I first started advising team members and clients on social media I recommended a strategy to do one of two things for consumers in social media land. We needed to either 1) give consumers something to talk about or 2) a place for consumers to say something (ok, you could/should do both).

I felt that running with this strategy would lead brand stakeholders to a wide range of tactics…with the key being that they would now be at least participating with consumers in some form/function, which to me was key.

So after wading through some of the best practices posts, found a couple that I think relate to my thinking and either add to, evolve, or compliment it.

Jason Falls leads off with ‘embrace your audience‘. Which I twist to – know your audience (embracing to means know that you know your audience to a certain degree). This is a key foundation point…know who you are going to be participating with and what they want/like/feel/etc.

Beth Harte raises the point of ‘provide a platform‘. Give you consumers a place to chat, get them going. And I really like that she cuts to the chase and adds, “Why wait for those limited occasions?”. Lead your consumers with a place to chat if they don’t have one. And if they do, give them extensions there to help them talk.

And if they are well cemented with there own places to chat, then follow Kipp Bodnar advice and create value for your consumers. I would evolve that a tad and say, create value with them. Play the curator role and serve information/content for the discussions happening out there. Respond to issues that people are having and know when to peel back the certain and let your brand story out.

All these points I think can lead to a strong foundation strategy which then we can modify from client to client. To me, that is what leads to some of the social media best practices.

I know I need to embellish more on my initial thoughts that I think all social media is just content. I’ll try to get back to that soon…maybe after I’ve had my coffee this morning.

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Ramblings on ‘experience’

This started as a quick comment on Paul’s blog…and started rambling enough that I wanted to post it here…if anyone else has reactions/ramblings on the topic.

Ok, While I haven’t read the report yet…I will…my first gut reaction is that the ‘people will be buying experiences’ isn’t new. I’ve seen that in a couple of different places for awhile. What puzzles me is when/why did this become new? Of course it is about the experiences…but then again, it is how you define experiences.

Is experience –

1) I want to make sure I am cool, so if I buy a red piece of gum because everyone else is I will have the experience of feeling ‘in’

2) I actually need some decent gum, umm, red gum, it was a good product, i had a pleasant experience, it met my needs to chew and flavor

3) I’m buying red gum because MTV told me to. Which could be just like #1…but in my mind they are kind of different. One is because you experience others around you, the other is a manufactured brand.

Now getting past the experience thing for a bit…I’ve talked about it before, how people are defining themselves by their media and experiences, not their tangible goods. So where does a brand experience fit into that? Have a good product, tell that product’s story.

I think what we really are experiencing is the death of manufactured brand experience.

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