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Category: Social Media

Further down the road…

5 years…

…actually, not quite 5 years. In 2005 I joined Carmichael Lynch as a research specialist. Back then social media was a buzz word, Twitter still had the “track” feature and Facebook was just for college kids. Through the years I had the fortune to work with some great people to create some great work. The clients and people at CL are both top notch and will be missed. But this Friday will be my last day at Carmichael Lynch.

Next week I will be packing up my new car (I know, this still shocks some of my family/friends that I have a car) and will be heading South…to Dallas…yes, that’s Dallas, Texas. I know…here I was worried that I was moving to a non-snow state. But they just got 10 inches of snow there last week. So, I guess my new winter coat won’t go to waste after all. See, everything is going to be fine :)

In Dallas, I will be joining Matt Dickman at Fleishman-Hillard as Senior Vice President of Social Strategy. Though the decision to move South was a tough one, the opportunity to work with Matt and Fleishman-Hillard team/client roster was something that I could not pass up.

To my Minneapolis friends and family – you will be missed. Well, the -20 degree weather might not be missed but the art openings, soccer, broomball, board games, Irish pubs, beer tastings and Thanksgiving dinners will be.

Thank all over you for the laughs and great times over the last 5 years.

If you are ever in Dallas, much sure you stop by and say “howdy”.


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…


Evolving some thoughts on measuring social media

Bare with me, I’m going to do some thinking out loud here for this post. Measuring social media is a large topic, hot topic, and ever discussed topic around many social media water coolers. Over the last couple years the topic/meme has evolved in several directions both on the quantitative and qualitative side of the fence.

But because of my recent work in website design, working with design principles and IAs my thoughts around the topic have evolved into a couple of areas…which I’m still putting some thinking to…but here is what I’ve got so far. When it comes to social media measurement, its –

Activity vs. Media Value

…and it centers around how you approach your social media project. If its about an action, you measure the engagement/participation/activity you want someone to do. If its about selling it, you need a media value number. Now, both of these ideas can work together (and should) but the difference is in what you need as your end goal and why.


I’m calling it activity because you initial set out to design a social media project with people actively doing something (could also be called engagement/participation). But the entire project is built from the beginning to have a person actively do something with your content (information). So that is what you need to measure…and those metrics might need to be thought up to go with the project.

Media Value

These are more traditional online/offline metrics that everyone for the most parts understands. Impressions, CPM, time spent, etc. If you design your social media project to generate ‘X’ impressions that you can measure it against either an online media CPM or a PR dollar efficiency. But while this will help sell the project, might not sell the widgets for the brand.

For example – (i’m borrowing this from Bokardo, with his thoughts on activity-centered design…yes, this has been a decent influence)

If you design a social media project to have people ‘shop’ (activity) in your store, then you would measure shopping. If you design a social media project to have people ‘visit’ your store, then use the metrics, because you just need them to stop by.

Ok, so maybe this is some obvious already discussed social media measurement thinking. But I just needed to get it out, give it a spin. I’m really in the camp of knowing what activity to drive and measure off of that.

Now, to turn this post is a little different direction – I was reading Beingpeterkim and borrowed his post on a framework for measuring social media and added/edited in a couple of other points. I think this is a good cheat sheet to get at social media measurement from a standardized POV. His bullet points with my additions (genius steals and I hope he considers this flattery)

Attention:  The amount of traffic to your content for a given period of time.  Similar to the standard web metrics of site visits and page/video views.

Engagement:  The extent to which users participate with your content in a channel.  Think blog comments, Facebook wall posts, YouTube ratings, widget interactions, passing content on.

Authority:  Ala Technorati, the inbound links to your content – like trackbacks and inbound links to a blog post or sites linking to a YouTube video.

Influence:  The size of the user base subscribed to your content.  For blogs, feed or email subscribers; followers on Twitter or Friendfeed; or fans of your Facebook page.

Sentiment: The impression/reaction the audience has of the brand/product after the interacting with your content. Good/bad sentiment.

Media Value: Total number of mentions/impressions of brand/campaign across all media outlets/channels (social media impressions vs. CPM to generate same impressions)


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.