Friday, February 18, 2011

Adele at the Brits - OMG! Now that's how to grab an audience

Now for the How of Social Media - I

The word hotel Social Media 'full fat' guide

I've put my thoughts down on this subject to help you engage and interact as effectively as possible online, by hopefully showing you how to:

Leverage best social media practices

Link online engagement to targeted objectives specific to your goals

Access supplemental applications to quantify, monitor and expand efforts towards reaching those goals.

I’ve managed to produce this guide pulling on the expertise from contributors and commenter’s this blog WordHotel, colleagues from lastminute.com, Virgin Holidays and pantheon (read ramshackle) of others who are either fully immersed or have an active interest in the whole area of Social Media and its impact on now marketing, future marketing, eCommerce and Brand engagement.

Who this guide is for
Users who are new to social media engagement and looking for a way to sort the wheat from the chaff

Users who are already engaged in social media who want to move their engagement to the next level

How to use this guide
I’d like to recommend how to get the best results as I see it from using this guide. Adopt and adept these practices, strategies and tactics in a manner consistent with your own personal comfort and you corporate culture. As I’ve said in previous posts and presentations it’s my belief that for effective change to corporate policy and culture you should approach change by adopting/claiming the position of internal guide and not approached from a guerrilla stance.

WHAT IS IT THAT SOCIAL MEDIA REALLY NEEDS TO REALLY WORK?

Social Media really works and I mean really works best when there are REAL people, with GENUINE intentions and QUALITY content, behind every profile, tweet, blog, chirp update and tag. Automated social-posting systems diminish the value of your presence by corroding any real engagement. People (and it’s people we’re talking about folks) don’t suddenly morph into unrecognisable creatures just because they’re online), what motivates people online is similar to what motivates them offline. Peoples motivations for contributing to online communities do not rely on altruistic behaviour on the part of the contributor (there’ll be some broad brushstrokes in this guide, so please bare with). According to professors Peter Kollock and Marc Smith they depend on the following four pillars.

Anticipated Reciprocity. A person is motivated to contribute valuable information to the group in the expectation that one will receive useful help and information in return.

Increased Recognition. Recognition is important to online contributors. Individuals generally want recognition for their contributions.

Sense of efficacy. Individuals may contribute valuable information because the act of doing so results in a sense that they have had some effect on this environment.

Communion. People are fairly social beings and it motivates many to receive direct responses to their contributions.


Whilst there hundreds of ways to approach social media there are roughly 10 basic principles that should be your guide to participation:

Do Listen. The most important first step you can take in the social space is to listen before you ‘speak’. Social media offers a unique window into the lives of colleagues, customers, and influencers, but only if youdon’t talk over the opportunity. Adhering to a ‘listen-first’ mantra will help you gain valuable insights that inform how – or even if – you want to engage.

Do be authentic. The era of online anonymity is over (if, in fact, it ever really existed). Social media demands honest, transparent, and authentic participation. Social networks are human networks – so don’t be afraid to share about your hobbies, travels, and even weekend adventures (to the extent that sharing info is comfortable for you and doesn’t go against the company’s culture and values!)

Do be consistent. When cultivating your social media presence, be consistent about information contained in your profile and the content you share. It’s important to establish brand guidelines for individual and group participation within your organisation so that you can build trust with and recognition from others whether you are on Twitter, Facebook or blog comment sections.

Do be gracious.  Applauding the good work of others and thanking others for their support are the cornerstones of any good community on or offline. Whether it is citing a source with a link in a blog post, retweeting or giving a ‘shout out’, be sure to credit and thank the original creator.

Do disclose. Letting your online audiences know that you work for a company is essential if you are tweeting, blogging or posting favourably about your company online. One of the simplest and effective ways to do this is to utilise the bio function with a brief line about your company affiliation, as well as including your company’s name on your Facebook and Linkedin profiles. Additionally if you’re supporting the efforts of a client, make sure you acknowledge your interest in the matter.


Don’t share confidential information about your company, clients, colleagues, partners, or competitors.

Don’t criticise your company, clients, colleagues, partners, or competitors.

Don’t spread false rumours or false information about your company, clients, colleagues, partners, or competitors.

Don’t reveal personal information about any of your colleagues. What might this look like? No tweeting side conversations or posting personal photo’s to Facebook or Flickr without their explicit permission.

Don’t misrepresent yourself or your company.  Every action online is at some level, traceable, so make sure that the content that you’re creating and impressions you are leaving, no matter how big or small, are accurate and honest.


MAJOR PLATFORMS

Twitter

Twitter advantages

A smorgasbord of platforms! Twitter really is a mind boggling combination of blogging, email, social networking and texting that allows users to cast a wider net to people they otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Stay on top of Industry trends and news at the same time as you build your network of friends, family and colleagues.

The new face of marketing. Twitter allows companies to ‘listen in’ on and ‘participate in’ public conversations customers are having which enables them to attract new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones. Companies can test out new products or seek feedback on existing ones for very little cost whilst creating a buzz at the same time.

Credible traffic funnel: Twitter has fast become a top referrer of traffic to blogs, news sites and company websites. It accelerates and amplifies business, politics and entertainment news and provides a new way to place stories with key players.

Instant roving reporter: People go to Twitter to find out what other people are talking about in that very moment.


Twitter Disadvantages

Far from mainstream: Less than 8% of all U.S. internet users visit Twitter,  with about 5-7% actually participating on the platform.

Young people don’t really want it: About 17% of all Twitter users between 13 and 17, with just 2% of all users in the pre-teen demographic. Teens say they don’t need Twitter because txt messaging is their main method of communicating and they’re more accustomed to the Facebook platform (my caveat here is platforms grow in popularity so this situation could quite easily change).

Short shelf life: Twitter is a strong, but fleeting content tracking tool. The shelf life of tweets in terms of impact ranges from a few hours to a few minutes.