Archive - August, 2010

Social Media Informer: Best Digest of Social Media for Business

Anything that can make it easier for me to find a signal is a tool worth looking at.

Social Media Informer (SMI), a new hub and aggregator for social media content makes it easier to cut through the noise and find a signal. You can use the site as a daily digest, or search articles based on topics or dates.

In Tom Pick’s review of the site on Webbiquity, he shares:

“SMI was developed by some of the same people as the popular B2B Marketing Zone b2b marketing portal. It also uses the same underlying Browse My Stuff technology,
which enables publishers, PR agencies, corporations and other
enterprises to efficiently SEO-friendly build branded content
aggregation hubs.”

You’ll find archived content from plenty of the industry leaders, some you’re sure to be familiar with, and some maybe you haven’t discovered yet.  With Social Media Informer – you’ll be able to quick-and-easy now.

I’ve found myself searching by topic hubs (a great way to find outbound links if you’re using Blog Posting Mantra #4), and occasionally using the date-based “change edition” at the top (this could come in useful for our Social Media History category)

I’m proud to be among those featured, and thankful to be among their readers.  You should be too.

Social_media_informerHere are some of the other Featured sites (I’m either subscribed or following each of these folks):

If you want to learn more about how you can engage or involved, here’s more on how to Participate with Social Media Informer

 

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0-60 Series: Day Two – Content Creation Practice

In this series, we will cover some of the first 60 days of integrating social media into your overall business strategy.

0to60

Day Two – Content Creation Practice

This is your first writing day, though your writing won't be viewable to the public just yet. We pick a content management tool (what we'll call "blogware") such as WordPress or Typepad.

In either case, we "hide" it from search engines during our first two weeks. During these first two weeks of "trash talking", we focus on:

  • Learning the tool and how to use eye rests
  • Practice free-writing and half-blogging within a disciplined time frame
  • Develop your voice and thereby your categories

But more on those a bit later.

Sign up for either WordPress.com or Typepad's 14-day free trial (choose Premium). A quick side on each of these:

  • WordPress.com sites are free. If you decide to keep using WordPress, we will soon move to a self-hosted version (WordPress.org), but you'll want to keep the WordPress.com site for the API-key they give you. Some plugins we use will need this API-key (more on this in two weeks).
  • With Typepad, we'll opt for the Premium version because of design flexibility (though we won't think about that just yet. You'll need to sign up with your payment info, though you won't be charged during the free trial.

In either case, make sure you opt for "block search engines" during this period. This option is usually on the 2nd or 3rd screen of the initial sign-up process.  If you miss it, we can go back and make sure your site is "hidden."

WordPress.com uses the term Privacy, and you should choose "block search engines" for the first two weeks.

Blocked

Typepad's terminology for this is either Publicized or Non-Publicized and leave the box "unchecked" for now.

Nonpub

While I love Typepad (they host ConverStations and probably will for a long time), I also have sites on WordPress.  Because of the plugins available on WordPress, I find myself recommending that more often these days.  

Don't think about design just yet.  We'll get to that.  For now, just pound the keys, dawg

Note that during these 60 days, I would have about 20 face-to-face or live conversations (Skype or other form of video/screen sharing). The other days are self-paced — though plenty of homework.

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Are Blogging and Commenting Still Important Tools in Social Media?

Quite a few folks talking and writing about whether "blogging" is still relevant or not and where has commenting gone?

First, I'll say "blogging" is still the foundation of your content and a deep part of your conversation – the trunk of your social media tree.

I've worked with those that blog now and again, here and there. They are disappointed in the return (but look at the lack of deposit). So they take to the quick and twitter or facebook instead. Instant gratification.

When these folks begin to produce content and conversational points a bit deeper and more frequently on their blog site, they see better findability, more focused daily interaction offline, and even better bottom-line results. But it's work.

Second, allow me to be bold and say commenting on blogs is highly overrated as a means of success measurement. I want them, everyone wants them. They're great.  But I would rather find:

  1. Readers extending the conversation on your blog and linking back to the original post, or
  2. Sharing a link on Twitter or Facebook with your two-bits added

And hey, I'm all for Twitter and Facebook… and Slideshare and Flickr and Foursquare too.  They are fruits of the Social Media tree, extra rooms in our Social Media storehouse.  We can really branch out and connect from those places.  We can throw rice against a wall and see what sticks. Brainstorm.  Even improve our findability.

But the foundation of what we do and think, what we believe, and the most important inventory we have online is that space we call "blog" and the content or conversations that live and endure there.

Am I saying that folks who Twitter and Facebook in a business sense without blogging are lazy? No (Yes), I'm not saying that at all (sure you are). Not really (yes, really – you are).  But as seasons change and FBML's go by the way, you'll wish you had stronger roots. 

Hello, blog.

I do agree much of the exchange, the back-and-forth conversation, may now happenelsewhere. But don't use that as a signal that blogging has died or is a waste of time.

Blogging is still very much an important item in your toolbox.

Are RSS feeds still relevant? Another post (but very much intertwined with this one).

Related Here:

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Using Google Voice Mail for Blog Posts

I've written and talked often about my dislike for ghostwriting blog posts.

GoogleVoice Occasionally I would find it necessary, but the process still carried the uncomfortable feeling of breaking integrity (for the blog author as well as myself).

To maintain voice and tone of the author, I've begun using Google Voice Mail more often as a "Blog Post Drop" for clients. And it's working great!

Some clients use this in the morning when they first get to work, some on the way home in reflection of their day. Just a little coaching on what to say (it's not a 30-second radio ad, it's a conversation with their customer) and we're on our way.

Google Voice Mail allows and transcribes three minutes of conversation. Even with lots of "uhm" and "soo" we can usually get 300-400 words in a full three minutes. I get an email with the transcription (not anything close to a Dragon-type of transcribe, but it's good enough) and the sound file. In 10 minutes or so, we have the transcribed version, find a relevant outbound link, insert an image, and presto – a blog post voiced

I'm going to put Google Voice to another use later this week.

You can even embed the recording into a post.  Here's a voice mail I left recently:

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Brunch n Brains: Using Social Media to Build Brand You

This piece is a snack for your brain, but also – in my thoughts – an example of where presentations are headed.

These days, full presentations are being shared (on SlideShare) with and without voiceovers, and even single slides being offered up (on Flickr). And if they're good, they get spread via twitter or embedded on blog sites.

Here, in his "eggs"cellent presentation ID Thyself, Using Social Media to Build Brand You, Oran Parker offers a deck with great design, flow and story. His audience can understand the message without the voice. I'm wondering if his "live" presentation will have a modified deck (fewer text on some of the slides?).

ID Thy Self: Using Social Media to Build the Brand of You

View more presentations from Parker Brand Creative Services.

Are you preparing your presentations for both online and offline consumption and comprehension?

You can follow Oran on his blog site or his Twitter stream, too.  I do.


Drew’s Marketing question #91: What’s changed?

Look around.  Notice what has changed.  (And I promise you….something has!)  and then ask the important follow up question — how can you take advantage of that change?  

via www.drewsmarketingminute.com

The atmosphere around your business changes quickly and nowadays, constantly.

Drew McLellan urges us to be aware of these changes with an important question.

Sometimes a subtle "recontent" or modified message is what's needed to maintain — and even improve your share of the market.

0-60 Series: Day One – Finding Your “Who Dat” and “So What”

In this series, we will cover some of the first 60 days of integrating social media into your overall business strategy.

0to60 Day One – Finding Your "Who Dat" and "So What"

Objective: Discover the reasons, the desired outcomes, and the level of dedication you have in integrating social media into your business model or strategy. Discuss potential content production and conversation habits. Determine how we will measure successes.

Tools: Post-it notes; Whiteboard or Sketch Pad; Coffee (lots of it)

Our first day together is possibly the most important day. It's during this discovery conversation we start determining strategies, tactics, time lines, audiences, collaborators, fringe fields and success measurements.

This day is mostly Pens, Post-its, and Sketch Pad (and pizza?). Some tough questions. And of course fun.

We talk about:

  • Who is your customer?  I've learned a lot from my friends Mike Wagner and Drew McLellan on this question. Both are strong in helping folks discover exactly (specifically) who their customer types are and what their pain points are.  The book, Business Model Generation has also shed some light on this topic (see page 130). 
  • What is your customer's pain? What will you do to assist them? This is where we begin talking about your content creating (writing) and content curating (sharing resources). I know there's a big push for "Brand You" right now (and a lot of great stuff it is), but I believe even more importantly is the theory of "Brand Them." How does your work create value in their lives?
  • Where are they? I believe and preach speaking to the back of the church, and we will develop ways to have a global reach so to build up your core (however local or regional that may be). We also discuss fringe fields and competitive collaboration and some great conversational possibilities with those areas.
  • Why are you doing this?  You fill in the blank _______  and I say "So What?"  A lot. "Because everyone else is doing it" is not acceptable. We dive deep into the why you will engage and why your "audience" should engage in return.
  • How will we measure success?  While comments and retweets are great, and yes, incoming and outbound links are still important, we want to count and improve on some thing towards a bottom line. After all, we are in business.
  • When do we engage?  How much time can I devote to social media? We must figure out a time frame for engagement (day parts or at least how many minutes per day). Without a commitment, this won't work.

All this, and we didn't even turn on the computer yet.  Maybe tomorrow.

The Series:

This is an outline of Day One of the first 60 days of my coaching.  You can get the full 60 days via email or we can set up individual coaching sessions for you (email me about your interest and we'll have an initial call to find out how it might work for each of us).

Note that during these 60 days, I would have about 20 face-to-face or live conversations (Skype or other form of video/screen sharing). The other days are self-paced — though plenty of homework.

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Articulate Your Content Oomph: Moses Supposes

There’s this scene in Singing in the Rain that emphasizes oomph and telling your story, your way.

To set it up (just in case you haven’t seen the movie {say what?}), Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor are in the movies – silent movies. Their studio decides to make a “talkie” – film with sound. So one of the first things to do was train the speaking voices of the cast.

In the scene below, Gene and Don visit a diction coach who tries to teach them rolling their R’s and differences between long and hard A’s. After all, if the movie was going to “tell” a story, the audience would need to understand, yes?

Yawn.

Gene and Don took over the lesson with a bit of their own “oomph” and told a story – their way.  Have a look-see at Moses Supposes:

There are different ways to tell a story. Have fun with telling yours. Tell it your way. The audience that wants your stuff will flock to it.

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Slide: Information Has Moved

Found myself teaching a young man about RSS feeds and Search Once and Subscribe at midnight last night. I couldn't help myself.  He was hungry for the lesson. He understood that information moves like lickety-split these days.  He didn't want to ever face this message:

106506847_d10691fa09-1 

Photo on Flickr by choffee

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