Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘2009’ Category

Supergenius is this Wednesday in Chicago, and guess what: I’ll be there to discuss (you guessed it) R.O.I.

What else will be going on at Supergenius? Case studies, how-to sessions, and real-world business development, marketing, WOM and Social Media lessons from companies like Starbucks, Intuit, Lego, Coca Cola, Graco, etc. It’s going to be pretty badass.

AND, since it’s GasPedal honcho Andy Sernovitz’ birthday today, please join me in wishing him a very Joyeux Anniversaire.

If you haven’t registered yet, be sure to do so asap ,procrastinator! (And be sure to use the discount code in the above image to save a few bills.)

In case you have no idea what I am going to talk about, here is the interview (audio) I did with Supergenius a few weeks ago. It covers a few things:

Go check out the rest of the deets here, and I hope to see you there.

(Now can you crank up the thermostat up there? I’m getting reports of not-very-warm weather. Cheers.)

Read Full Post »

To celebrate thanksgiving this year, I thought I might share my Top 100 list of things I am thankful for. In no particular order:

  1. Blue skies.
  2. Night thunderstorms.
  3. Nutella.
  4. Gravity.
  5. Fine English saddles.
  6. Cheese.
  7. Architects.
  8. Seat belts.
  9. Planet Earth.
  10. Croissants.
  11. The DOW hitting 10,000 again.
  12. Satellite technology.
  13. Courage.
  14. Antibacterial soap.
  15. Power outlets. Especially in airports.
  16. Wi-Fi. Especially in airports.
  17. Artists.
  18. My parents.
  19. The number 2 pencil.
  20. The internet.
  21. Emergency exits.
  22. Toilet paper.
  23. Skim milk.
  24. Sail boats.
  25. Yogurt.
  26. My wife and kids.
  27. France.
  28. Sushi.
  29. Rollercoasters.
  30. Deodorant.
  31. Skype.
  32. My brother and sister.
  33. Fishermen and farmers.
  34. Helmets.
  35. Petits Beurre, de LU.
  36. Canon cameras and lenses.
  37. My friends.
  38. My enemies.
  39. Bailey’s Irish creme.
  40. Ice cubes.
  41. My extended family.
  42. Cartier.
  43. Washing machines.
  44. Power tools.
  45. German cars.
  46. Provence.
  47. Extra virgin olive oil.
  48. Spring.
  49. Summer.
  50. Fall.
  51. Winter.
  52. Birthdays.
  53. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
  54. Dental hygiene.
  55. Astronomers.
  56. Dogs.
  57. My childhood.
  58. Movies.
  59. Smart phones.
  60. Bespoke tailors.
  61. The path less taken.
  62. Triathlon.
  63. Duct Tape.
  64. Twitter.
  65. Performance fabrics.
  66. Kate Winslet.
  67. Jazz.
  68. Laughter.
  69. French patisseries.
  70. Slow motion.
  71. Cormack McCarthy.
  72. My readers.
  73. Medical research.
  74. US foreign policy in Europe since 1944.
  75. A proper cup of coffee.
  76. Haribo Cola-flavored gummies.
  77. Blue jeans.
  78. Designers (engineers and otherwise).
  79. Rubber bands.
  80. Paris and New York in the spring.
  81. Honey.
  82. Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Faconnable, Yves St. Laurent and Francesco Smalto.
  83. Benevolent space aliens.
  84. Air travel.
  85. Brave, selfless people.
  86. The Mediterranean Sea.
  87. The perfect gin and tonic.
  88. Afternoon tea.
  89. The USA.
  90. England.
  91. Guitars.
  92. Kevlar.
  93. The International Baccalaureate.
  94. Cashmere and Merino wool.
  95. My health.
  96. Old people.
  97. Laptops.
  98. Traditional French cuisine.
  99. Stereophonic sound.
  100. Every single day.

Missing from the list again this year:

  1. Alarm clocks.
  2. Disease.
  3. Selfishness.
  4. Sociopathic bosses.
  5. Celery.
  6. Pollution.
  7. Bigotry.
  8. Cancer.
  9. Religious and political extremists.
  10. Poverty.
  11. American Idol.
  12. Adolf Hitler.
  13. Easy Listening radio stations.
  14. Awful advertising.
  15. Land mines.
  16. Plastic shopping bags.
  17. SyFy Original movies.
  18. Social Media hacks.
  19. Rabid raccoons.
  20. Long lines.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Read Full Post »

Conferences are great. You learn stuff, you meet people, you go back to work all jazzed up and energized… But let’s be honest: There are some things you just can’t get from a conference, like real training and “how to” knowledge.

From my perspective no matter how much clarity I bring to topics like R.O.I. and social media measurement, building and managing social media programs, brand management in the era of the Social web, etc. at conferences, there is only so much I can teach you in an hour, or thirty minutes (and even 10 minutes, in some cases).

Based on feedback from a pretty big number of conference attendees over the last year, it became clear that something was missing from the picture: Think of it as a gap between the short conference format presentations and high-commitment 3-8-month long consulting engagements.

That’s when my mind flashed back to the courses I used to take from the American Management Association (AMA): Full day trainings on just about anything you might need to increase your value to your organization, from Best Practices in to “how to” courses. The format was simple: One day out of the office, learn everything you need to learn from an expert in the field, come back with copious notes, and get back to work with a valuable new skill.

Bonus: The playbook you bring back with you in the form of notes and course content. That’s yours to keep. Forever.

I loved those things. They made me smarter about the world, better at my job, and payed off in major ways – both for me and my employers… which is probably why they didn’t mind paying for them several times per year.

The single-day AMA trainings I was sent to typically used to cost my employers about $2,000 between registration, airfare, hotel and food (about the cost of going to a conference these days), which I always thought was a little steep. (Multi-day trainings went up from there.) Different value than attending a conference, sure, but in the back of my mind, I always knew the model could be streamlined and the costs made more accessible.

Long story short: It’s obvious that business managers increasingly need real social media operational training, not just neat case studies and presentations about social media tools, so I am launching a series of AMA-style trainings to address that need.  If you’re a business manager or social media practitioner and you need to learn how to better develop, integrate, manage and measure social media programs, this is for you. Though the official launch will take place in early 2010, the very first of these trainings will take place in London on December 4th:

Event Number One: Red Chair London

The course I will teach in London is designed for C-level business executives, Marketing and PR directors, Agency honchos and Social Media managers wishing to deepen their operational understanding of Social Media.

The course is designed for decision-makers and managers looking for real training on how to actually plug social media into their organizations and make it work. Not just from a strategic angle, but also from operational, tactical, and analytical standpoint. (Yes, this is what you guys have been asking for. I am finally bringing it to you.)

The day will be divided into four sessions:

  1. 9:00am – 10:30am           Social Media Program Development (Strategy)
  2. 10:45am – noon                 Social Media Program Integration (Operations and Planning)
  3. 12:45 pm – 2:45pm          Social Media Program Management (Execution)
  4. 3:00pm – 4:30pm             Social Media Program Measurement (Data analysis, benchmarking, ROI, etc.)

We will break for morning tea/coffee, lunch, and again for afternoon tea/coffee. (All included with your registration.)

Red Chair London is being kept purposely small (20 seats)  to foster a roundtable-style atmosphere for participants in which all questions will be answered, no matter how technical or complicated. I can handle it.

Registration is only £650 per person (about $999 US), and we have created some pretty awesome group discounts to make it easier for companies to send more than one manager (or client) to the event. (My advice: Pool your resources and buy group tickets instead of just individual ones.)

The best part is that attendees don’t have to fly anywhere or book a hotel. If you work in and around London, you can swing by your office early that morning, spend the rest of the day with us, and go home when we adjourn.  No flying, no hotels, no extra expenses. Simple, painless, convenient.

Although seats should go fast (we’re limited to only 20 seats), I am all about treating my readers well, so here’s a treat for you. (This isn’t on the eventbrite registration page.) The first 6 people to register using the keyword “paddington” will enjoy a special BrandBuilder discount off their ticket price.

Red Chair London will be held at the posh One Alfred Place business Club, which is the perfect venue: centrally located, beautiful meeting rooms, awesome food, providing just the right mix of business focus and comfort. If you aren’t familiar with One Alfred yet, you’re in for a treat.

All that’s left for you to do now is either register or pass the information along to your peers, bosses, colleagues, friends and clients. (Or your marketing, PR and ad agency partners if they don’t seem to know how to take your social media presence to the next level.)

Seriously, if you know someone who should attend, be their hero and send them this post’s hyperlink. Red Chair may not come back to London for quite a while. We have a lot of cities to cover in the next 12 months. Get a jump on the competition.

While we’re still putting the finishing touches on the Red Chair website, you can go register for the London training here.

Event Number 2: Like Minds Immersive

If you can’t make it  to Red Chair London or prefer a lighter version of that type of training, check out December 3rds’ Like Minds Immersive instead. (Hey, not everyone wants or needs to get a Masters in Social Media Operational Management just yet. Baby steps, right?)

Some differences:

  1. It’s in Exeter, not London.
  2. It’s on Thursday December 3rd (the day before Red Chair London)
  3. It only lasts 3 hours
  4. It’s a little easier on the finances (Only £200)
  5. The content is designed to be more accessible to junior managers and folks not yet fluent in Social Media management than Red Chair London.

Who should attend Like Minds Immersive?

  • Devon area business people who can’t make it to London on the 4th.
  • Anyone looking to advance their strategic and operational Social Media management skills but isn’t ready for a full day of advanced training yet.
  • Managers and business owners looking for structured, step-by-step how-to social media training they will be able to apply to their business right away.

You can register for Like Minds Immersive here.

Now spread the world, ye of internet fame, and help me finally bring real Social Media wisdom, best practices and savoir-faire to the world.

Read Full Post »

4025124497_4aa57576b8

Answering questions at #LikeMinds -Exter, Devon, UK

If you’ve missed seeing videos on the blog these past last few weeks, you’re in luck: I have some video for you today.

By now, you’ve probably seen the full version of the “intro to Social Media R.O.I.” deck I presented at SoFresh this summer, right? (If not, go check it out here.) You can also browse through most of the videos from my F.R.Y. and R.O.I. blog posts on www.smroi.net (which puts everything in one convenient place for you). And then there’s this recent piece by Mashable on the subject (which I highly recommend, by the way).

So what’s the latest? My presentation and ensuing panel discussion at the inaugural LikeMinds conference in Exeter, Devon, UK on October 16th.  We’ll be talking a lot more about Like Minds in the coming days (and weeks, and months) but for now, let’s focus on these two videos, which are essentially captures of the live feed provided during the conference. In these videos, the panel and I clarify what Social Media R.O.I. is and isn’t, and answer well crafted and at times difficult questions from the crowd.

Catch Part 1 here.

Catch Part 2 here. (That’s the one with the panel discussion. Very good stuff from the crowd and panelists.)

I also recommend that you take the time to watch Scott Gould’s intro, Trey Pennington’s keynote and Maz Nadjm’s presentation among other solid video content from #LikeMinds.

Cheers,

Olivier

Read Full Post »

Speaking at LikeMinds

Speaking at the #LikeMinds conference in Exeter, Devon, UK

Hang tight, kids. I’m trying to figure out what topic to open up with after my epic 10-day trip through the UK and France. I have hundreds of pages of notes bouncing around in my head and topics flying out of my… moleskine (what did you think I was going to say?) so it may take me a few hours yet to figure out where to start. And that isn’t even factoring in the pictures and videos I need to upload and edit. I am still in email management mode, and it may take a few days to sort it all out. 75 emails per day x 10 days… Yeah. I need interns.

Several things are certain though: Things are going to change around here.

First of all, expect less musings and more practical advice. The last thing the world needs is more abstract dreameries about brand management, new marketing, business 2.0, social media and the types of topics covered in this and other blogs of its kind. There’s plenty of that on the internets already and the last thing I want to do is add to an already overabundant pool of personal opinions.

Second, now that I have spent the better part of my stay in Exeter and London with some of the brightest minds in  business, brand management 2.0 and the Social Web (from Sky News, Edelman, Nielsen, the BBC, WC Group, 4 Walls and a Ceiling,  WorldEka, Limenoodle,  Red Cube, iLevel, tweetmeme, FreshNetworks, Sinuate, Optix Solutions, and Aaron+Gould, to name but a few on a list as long as it is brilliant) I have a much clearer understanding of the level of dicussion businesses need when it comes to preparing themselves for the next decade, particularly in the US, where the army of social media “guru” we’ve been lamenting about has been reaping a harvest of shameless crap on the backs of their unsuspecting clients.  For shame. Seriously. For shame. I hope there’s a special circle of hell for you if you fall into that category of a person.

In short, you, my readers, and companies wanting to improve their situation and their customers’ lives in the process all deserve better, and we’ve wasted enough time bleeding philosophy about market leadership, what social media XYZ is or isn’t or the value of effective measurement. We’re going to get down to brass tacks and talk about things that will make a real difference in your business.

Third, well… Hold on to you socks. We’re about to see how fast this V12 can really go. I have some pretty exciting announcements to make over the coming weeks.

Back in a bit with more. In the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, you need to go check out all of the incredible content from the #LikeMinds Conference I attended in Exeter, England, including some solid videos and photos of several of the presentations.

Read Full Post »

airline2

I am going to be in Europe for the next week or so.

Don’t worry, I will most likely be blogging from France and the UK. (We’re all good.) That said, my ability to approve comments may be limited, so don’t get stressed out if your comments remain in approval limbo for up to a day or two. Likewise, my access to email, Skype and Twitter will most likely be spotty, so don’t stress out if an email , IM or DM goes unanswered for a bit.

Oh, and in case you want to stalk me, here’s where I’ll be:

EuropeMapCAWEB

Dates and places:

October 15 London and Exeter (UK)

October 16 and 17 Exeter (UK)

October 18, 19, 20, 21 Nice, Cannes, Toulon (F)

October 22, 23, 24 London (UK)

So if you’re in London, Exeter or anywhere near Cannes while I am there, let me know.

I’ll throw more details at you once I’m in the old country.

Happy travels to all. 😉

Read Full Post »

olivier blanchard

I had the privilege yesterday of being interviewed by Jason Baer (@jaybaer). If you aren’t familiar with Jason, he’s a frequent contributor on Marketing Profs’ Daily Fix blog as well as the mastermind behind Convince & Convert – the Arizona-based social media and email consultancy. I’ve been a fan of his Twitter interviews for quite some time, so it was a real treat to be invited to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ann Handley, David Alston, Scott Monty, Joseph Jaffe, Valeria Maltoni and Danny Brown to name but a few. (Yeah, I am officially in very good company now.)

Jay’s Twitter 20 format is very simple: 20 questions with typically 3 tweets to respond. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Most of his questions are so on the money that they deserve chapter length answers… So coming up with an appropriate response in 420 characters or less is quite the exercise in reverse-elaboration.

Now I can’t wait to be on a panel with Jay so we can address some of the topics covered in this Twitter 20 in a slightly longer format. At any rate, if you didn’t get a chance to join our #twt20 discussion, you can get a cleaned up transcript of it by clicking right here.

Here are several of my favorite topics from the interview:

1. @jaybaer: How has the rise of social media changed the way you build brands? (h/t @nazgulk)

The approach has definitely changed. Brands now have to think about real engagement instead of just pushing messaging.

Also, brands have to completely rethink the way they look at communications. The old PR funnel is definitely eroding.

And there are also new issues of transparency and personal accountability to manage for most organizations.

6. @jaybaer: People come to social from all over. What are the core skills needed for a career in social media?

First, you have to look at social media as a multi-disciplinary field. Not all social media roles are the same.

Social Media roles can be strategic (management and development), tactical (execution) or analytical (measurement).

Within the tactical type of role, you may need some people to have cust. service skills or community building skills.

So… the skills really depend on what the specific role within a social media program will require.

Experience working in the social media space is definitely a huge requirement in my opinion. ;)

11. @jaybaer: Are you suggesting that prospective customers engaged with the company in social will close at a higher rate?

Yes. social media (used properly, that is, not as a push channel) is mostly opt-in. People who participate choose to.

Aside from an increased frequency of interactions, more mindshare, more exposure, more information about products, customers who become members of a brand’s community are much more likely to transact with that brand more often.

They may not “close” faster, but they should see high transaction rates in terms of frequency and yield. And, these customers should also produce more recommendations/positive WOM (helping bring more customers to the table).

19. @jaybaer: You were in the French Marines – the only #twt20 guest who was. Takeaways from that experience you use now?

1) In that type of culture, you learn really fast that bullsh*t has a life expectancy of exactly zero minutes. :D

2) You also learn very quickly that excuses have an effective range of exactly zero meters. ;D

3) It was my first job, my first management role, and it was tough as hell. I learned that adaptation is critical.

All in all, my experience as an officer in the Fusiliers Marins very much shaped my professional style and values.

Go check out the entire interview here.

Read Full Post »

BJS0003

I get really great comments on a regular basis, but rarely showcase them in my posts for some reason. That changes today as I share with you three discussion threads that caught my eye earlier this week. They are timely, worth bringing forward, and most importantly worth discussing further.

1. On the subject of hiring vs. developing Social Media “managers”

From Jason Blumer:

My question is how companies can “hire” SM positions. That is, how do you hire someone to perform your SM functions for you? It seems the owner is the only one who can truly display the right culture and attitude of the organization to the public.

Do you think that is true?

Can you hire out, delegate or subcontract your SM functions?

My response:

That’s the question, isn’t it.

Ideally, you want to identify individuals inside your organization who fit a certain profile conducive to managing an SM function (monitoring, engagement, promotion, community management, etc.) and then train/develop them.

The training and program build can be done by an outsider while the execution, fine-tuning and “voice” are owned by insiders.

The alternative is to hire people with specific experience on the execution side, and turn them into insiders. Their street cred within the SM community and their resume should speak for themselves. ;)

I don’t recommend outsourcing engagement or community management. Monitoring and measurement are easier to outsource, but that’s as far as I would take it.

From Pauleco, the final word:

I was hired as Web Content Editor (but with lots of webmaster type responsibilities) – within six months I was made Online Community Manager and shifted to blog management and started engaging with social media… our MD writes all his own blog posts and comments, but I do all the management, including managing social media profiles etc.

I am now in the middle of rolling out a social media strategy for the whole company, I do tweet direct and represent the company on facebook etc now that I am fairly comfortable with being ‘on message’ (or is that now that PR/Marketing/Sales/Customer Service and the MD are comfortable with me?) :)

My advice to companies wanting to start engaging in Social Media by recruiting would be to find someone already employed who is savvy and promote them. Ideally – you wouldn’t have just one person doing everything (that isn’t scalable) – but you need one person to develop a strategy and lead a team of ‘normal’ staff to participate.

2. On the subject of compliance-heavy financial services companies and their use of Social Media

From Jay Ehret:

Actually, I did find a business that cannot participate in social media. I met with a financial adviser who deals in securities, and suggested a social media strategy to him. His every marketing activity must be approved by the SEC. He would not be able to create a blog post, post on his Facebook Page, create a YouTube video or Tweet without having it first approved.

I agree with your statement: “The medium in and of itself isn’t what works or doesn’t work.” While almost every business can use social media, it doesn’t mean that every business has to use it. There are many businesses who thrived without advertising or traditional marketing and there scores of businesses who can make it without social media marketing.

My response:

I’ve also sat down with financial advisers and covered that very topic, and we worked it out:

1. WHAT they say is regulated, not WHERE they say it.

2. As long as the corporate office approved the content they produce, all is well. (They have a blog now.) This took some time and lot of meetings, but they got it done.

3. Keyword monitoring using SM channels. They’re doing it now.

And most importantly…

4. Agents now use LinkedIn and Facebook to stay in touch with their clients. They don’t talk business. They just engage with them on a human level. They share photos of their kids, of their pets, of their fishing trips, they invite people to parties and events… They use SM to create and deepen their connections with people, NOT to do business.

So I respectfully disagree, Jay. EVERY organization in EVERY industry can use Social Media. Even tightly regulated ones.

From Dean Piccirillo, the final word:

Olivier’s understanding of the procedures that must be followed is generally correct. I’m in financial services and have been exploring the use of social media. I also have a strong background in compliance having been a Chief Compliance Officer.

Using social media is generally more cumbersome for those in my field as business related communications must be pre-approved, monitored and retained. That being said, we’re used to these procedures.

I use tools like Facebook and Twitter to expand my personal network and make few if any business related posts. Basically, I enjoy it, I manage my time on these platforms, I’m making friends and I assume that eventually something good will come of it from a business standpoint; it always has in the past when I’ve grown my network through traditional methods.

3. And finally, some great advice for companies struggling to figure out how to safely get into Social Media

Kristi Colvin, on the importance of developing internal Social Media training programs:

Spike Jones mentioned Wells Fargo (as an example), and how if they used Twitter they might find tons of people complaining about their company. If that were the case, and there were issues with confidential/financial data or “official” company representation, if I were the management of that company I think I would want to empower my employees to go online as themselves, at the social platforms of their choice, and “listen” (monitor) as you say, for brand mentions/issues/what they’re doing right.

A person who says something about your company, especially if they have a complaint and you can route them in the right direction to help get it fixed, is going to see you/your brand in a whole new light after a friendly, helpful exchange. You don’t have to put the logo on your avatar and the name in your screen name and all that. You can just be there, as a person, interacting with other people and talking about work-related things when appropriate.

Organizations could help themselves tremendously if they instituted social media training on a broad basis and encouraged employees to recognize opportunities and learn how to help customers and prospects online in this casual, real-time information environment. 1000 employees online, vs. 1-3 PR folks or “social media directors” might be even more effective. It doesn’t have to be so “organized” if there are great guidelines in place (ala IBM’s) and employees embrace the new ways to communicate and help people via various online channels. Everyone from financial to legal to defense/military sectors could bring benefit to their companies in this way.

Good stuff. (Told ya.)

Read Full Post »

CB-2009-TF_Cover

Just because I am still a few months away from the completion of my very own super top secret book project doesn’t mean I can’t start lending my thoughts to a few other companion pieces written by and for pretty smart people. Case in point: Jacob Morgan and Josh Peters’ Twittfaced (due out in October) should be a pretty good guide to Social Media for companies of all sizes and social media practitioners alike. (The foreword and introduction are being written by Brian Solis and Chris Brogan, respectively, and I pop up in the part of the book that covers measurement and ROI, so we’re already off to a decent start.) For the story of how the book came to be, click here.

From Jacob’s blog, here are some more details:

I’m very excited to announce that my colleagues Chris Brogan and Brian Solis are going to be contributing to my new book with Josh Peters; Twittfaced, a book on social media 101 for business.  Chris Brogan is going to write the introduction for the book and Brian Solis is going to write the forward.  Anyone involved in the social media or PR space knows of Chris Brogan and Brian Solis, so it’s very exciting to have them be a part of our book.

As a little bonus I’m also including some Q&A with Olivier Blanchard on social media ROI.

I’ve met Brian many times offline and greatly respect and admire the work he has done and the philosophy he shares on social media.  I’ve only met Chris Brogan once (I think) but I have also come to admire his work and his passion and dedication for educating companies and individuals on the value of social media.  Olivier Blanchard has really spearheaded the whole social media ROI initiative.  I’ve talked about ROI in the past but it’s thanks to Olivier that my passion and interest for ROI has been re-ignited with a vengeance.

Jacob is the Principal of Chess Media Group (new site coming end of Sept), a social business consultancy focused on strategy, creativity, and results.  You can connect with Jacob directly on his social media consulting blog or via twitter, @jacob.  If you would like to pre-order a copy of Twittfaced (visit the site for a chance to win a free copy) which is coming out in the middle of October you can do so via Barnes and Noble.

Read Full Post »

onourminds

I am pretty excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Like Minds Conference on October 16th in Exeter, England. The conference is the brainchild of Scott Gould, Trey Pennington, and Andrew Ellis who… presumably got the idea for this event while holding on to a pint or two. (At least I hope so.)

What I like about Like Minds so far:

1. The conference will focus on two things dear to my heart:

a) Sustainable social media practices (how to develop, manage and integrate social media programs, how to turn customers into brand advocates through social media, how to blend social media into your business mix, etc.), and

b) Best practices for social media measurement (particularly how to define and measure social media ROI).

Already, you can see how this is right up my alley. We’re finally tucking evangelism away and getting to methods and best practices. It’s about time.

2. It’s in Exeter, England.

As much as I love living on this side of the pond, it’s nice to fly back to the other side every once in a while and reconnect with my roots. (Yeah, I need a regular dose of euro living every once in a while, just to make sure all my systems are still properly calibrated.) And given the proximity of the UK to France, I’m guessing I’ll probably take advantage of being in the EU to pay my patria materna a quick visit, stuff my face with croissants and brie, shake my fist at a moped or two, and argue about art and literature with complete strangers.

Not to mention some of the sight-seeing I intend to do in the UK.

On a more serious note, the prospect of speaking at a conference in England is pretty cool, but more importantly the opportunity to learn from social media practitioners in in the UK and EU, compare notes, share stories, etc. is pure gold to me. Sometimes, you kind of have to hop out of the fishbowl a little bit and go see how the other fishies swim. I know I am going to come back with my head abuzz with ideas. (I won’t sleep for weeks.)

3. The roster of speakers.

Aside from moi, this is what it looks like so far:

Andrew Ellis @drewellis

Andrew is a creative director with extensive startup experience, a seasoned innovator, and co-founder of Like Minds. He pioneered Eyetoeye Digital as one of the earliest ‘new media’ agencies in 1993, working with both household brands, and multinationals. His work has received international acclaim, from the iconic slogan T-Shirts for Kathryn Hamnett in the early 80s, to Grammy nominations, and most recently, ‘Orbit’, a documentary-come-musical with extensive CGI of explored universe which is touring the US in 2010. Drew’s accomplisments, past and present, are available in full at his personal blog.

Trey Pennington @treypennington

Trey is leveraging social media to connect with audiences around the world. HubSpot ranks his Facebook profile as the #4 most influential in the world. Since January 2009, Trey has started or helped start ten Social Media Clubs—eight in the southeastern United States, one in the United Kingdom, and one in Australia. His home club now has over 550 members and was, for most of 2009, the second largest Social Media Club in the world. Trey’s book ‘Spitball Marketing’ is being launched at Like Minds. For more information, visit http://www.treypennington.com.

Laura Whitehead @littlelaura

Laura is a web developer and a consultant on social media integration and online community development. Based in South Devon and the founder of Popokatea, she works with awide range of clients including the nonprofit and public sector, and small business enabling them to use innovative methods and online technology to extend their reach, engage with their audience and achieve their goals. Laura was quoted in Fast Company as “the queen of nonprofit technology in the UK.” (Pretty cool.)

Andrew Davies @andjdavies

Andrew is co-founder of idiomag.com, an personalised publishing platform that is at the cutting edge of the digital publishing revolution. He also previously co-founded thruSITES, a London-based social media development agency with clients such as Universal Studios, Sky, ITV and Number 10.

Carl Haggerty @carlhaggerty

Carl is the Enterprise Architect at Devon County Council. He guides social media usage and change in businesses and organizations, creating and installing frameworks and policies for social media and networking. He has a broad background ranging from Sustainability and Community Development, Tourism & Economic Development to Business Administration and Communications. Carl’s blog is at http://carlhaggerty.wordpress.com.

In other words, no fluff. And some new voices, which I like.

4. Meeting a whole new batch of tweeps in the real world, all of whom will have really cool accents.

You can’t beat that.

5. The price of admission.

While some social media conferences charge upwards of $1000 for the privilege of listening to celebrities talk about their twitter adventures, this one made sure to make admission affordable, therefore open to all. I like that. If you book now, You’re only looking at 25 quid. At the door, 35 quid. I have a lot of respect for that.

So if you’re able to make it to Exter on the 16th of October, I encourage you to drop by, share your stories, listen to ours, and join the fun. Find out more here, or just go ahead and book today.

And if you intend to be there, drop me a note. 😉

Read Full Post »

200810011126b

It occurred to me while participating in Social Media Club Greenville’s September panel  yesterday that there are still MANY questions and misconceptions in the business world about Social Media. So without wasting any time, let’s cover a few obvious ones here today:

1. Misconception: Social Media only works for some companies.

That’s a lot like saying that the telephone, email or the web will only work for some companies. It’s nonsense.

Will Social Media have varying degrees of impact from one company (or industry, even) to the next? Sure. But we are talking about a lot of variables here, from budget limitations to a basic ability to execute. The medium in and of itself isn’t what works or doesn’t work:

Social Media, as a toolkit, as a set of channels, as a business process even is both industry- and brand-agnostic.

Whether you’re a florist, realtor, attorney, IT distributor, restaurateur, publisher, major global brand or government agency, Social Media can fit perfectly within your organization.

In our panel discussion this morning, a example of the type of company which might not be a good fit for a Social Media program was a bank or other type of company that might not be as popular as an Apple or a BMW. I disagree. Companies with image and public perception challenges should absolutely not shy away from using Social Media. Quite the contrary: They should look to Social Media as a means and an opportunity to address that pain point.

Look at what Comcast and Charter Cable are doing with customer service and engagement on Twitter, for example. These are cable companies! (Nobody likes their cable company.) Customer Service in that industry has been a joke for decades: You have a problem. You call the 1-800 number. 45 minutes and 15 transfers later, you finally realize that the guy on the other end of the line, the guy who hardly speaks English, the guy who has only been working in that call center for six weeks and is now the end of the line in this game of toll-free hot-potato can’t fix your problem any more than the previous 14. Enter @comcastcares (Comcast’s Frank Eliason) and the revolution in customer service he spawned by integrating social media into the company’s biggest public perception pain point: Customer Service. The result: Faster resolution times, for starters. Happier customers as a result. Great PR. And probably some decent cost savings to boot when you add it all together.

Another example: Men’s Health jumping into mobile content. (That’s right, Mobile.) The Social Media universe doesn’t stop with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube. There’s a lot more to this than the usual four or five social networking apps. 😉

Trust me, if some cable companies and print publishing houses have figure out how to use Social Media to their advantage, any company can. 😉

2. Misconception: By participating in Social Media, we will lose control of our image and/or message.

Really? How?

Will customers suddenly crash your strategy meetings via Seesmic? Will their Facebook updates derail your media buying? Will they somehow use Twitter to intercept and rewrite your press releases? Will they hack Seesmic to replace your next ad campaigns with their own? Will they use MySpace to brainwash your empoyees into acting like jerks?

Of course not.

By participating in Social Media the first thing you will do is open a window, not a door into whatever criticism may or may not exist outside the wire. The first thing you want to do when getting into Social Media is listen, not talk. Forget about the push tactics for a second. Don’t even think about pull tactics either. At first, just listen.

Just listen. And wait. And listen some more. Listen and learn. And then listen some more.

The first thing that happens when you get into Social Media (properly) is not a loss of control, but instead a gain in understanding of how people outside your organization – customers and not – feel about your company. The good and the bad, both are valuable. This is business intelligence. It’s market and situational awareness. It’s data and insight and information. Where is the loss of control in that?

Before it becomes anything else, Social Media is a tremendous listening tool. It’s a learning tool. The more time you spend using it that way upfront, the more time you spend learning how to monitor, measure, separate signal from noise, the easier it will be for you to hold on to the level of “control” over your brand you feel comfortable with.

Learn these channels. Take the time to become comfortable, familiar, then fluent with them. Baby steps, grasshopper. Before you can rock the big surf, you have to learn how to balance yourself on your board. Start at the beginning.

Control is media-agnostic. Learn the channel, learn the landscape, learn how this ecosystem works, and you won’t have to worry about “control.” Social Media is no different from email, trade shows or the water-cooler.

Misconception 3: Social Media is just a fad.

Not unless people stop doing two things: a) talk to each other, and b) give up technology (especially portable technology). No? They aren’t going to do either? Are you sure? Okay, so Social Media probably isn’t going away then. Though I’ll give you this: Social Media will change. It will morph into something a lot less… “media” and a lot more app-based and organic.

In terms of where Social Media will be in 5 years, think less “web” and more “widget”: The growth of mobile, an inceasingly U.I. savvy public and the age of the open API are driving this evolution. Before you know it, “Social” technology will be more about creating increasingly thin, fast and intelligent connective layers than developing massive databases like the ones we now know as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. (And yes, you should think of them in this way. Peek behind the veil a little if you ever get a chance.)

So don’t worry about Social Media going away anytime soon. Social Media will continue to merge with all other technologies, from your phone to your TV to your car to your fridge to other every day objects, which means it’s here to stay. As a result of a) our need to connect and share and communicate and b) our passion for gadgets, in ten years, the lines between technology and face-to-face interactions will be a lot more blurred than they are today. Social Media will be embedded into everything – hopefully not in an annoying or intrusive way… but you never know.

Back when personal computers started becoming mainstream, I had conversations with business owners who said computers would be a fad. They were wrong.

Back when the web started becoming mainstream and companies began to build websites, I had conversations with business owners who said the web would be a fad. “Why the hell would we ever want to have a website?” was the mentality. They were wrong.

When cell phones started becoming mainstream, I had conversations with business owners who said they would be a fad. They were wrong.

I am sure the same thing was said of the television, and the regular telephone and automobiles and wrist-watches.  Those people were wrong too. This is no different. Get on this train now, before everyone does, and you will have an advantage. Wait, and you won’t. It’s that simple. If the convergence of communications, technology and culture were a fad, I wouldn’t waste my time hanging out here. 😉

Okay, that’s all you get for now. We’ll revisit this soon. Have a great Tuesday, everyone.

Read Full Post »

presentation

I have to send out a big thank you to Kipp Bodnar and Jeff Cohen for shooting and posting (respectively) bootleg video from my Social Media R.O.I. presentation at #sofresh last week. You guys rock!  Video is definitely not as fun as being there, but in this case it’s pretty damn close.

Check it out here. (If you’re using a smart phone to watch it and the video doesn’t play, go here.)

Incidentally, though conferences don’t always like to see some of their content turn up on YouTube, Viddler and Vimeo for all (non-paying non-attendees) to see, I encourage all of you to bootleg videos of all of my presentations whenever applicable anyway. How you use the videos is your business. (Tip: Don’t forget to give the conference credit and allow a few days to pass, just… you know… to be nice.) Either way, you have my blessing. 😉

Note: Concerning the caption at the top of the video, I am actually @thebrandbuilder, not @brandbuilder. (I wouldn’t want you to follow the wrong dude.) 😀

Read Full Post »

Watch this presentation. It is one of the smartest outlines of the current state of Social Media integration (cultural and corporate) I have seen yet. And David’s unmistakable design style works really well here. Pay particular attention to the sections on cultural change and core archetypes. Good stuff. Insightful.

Read Full Post »

Part 1: The definitive Social Media R.O.I. presentation

So there it is. The Social Media ROI (#smROI) presentation many of you were waiting for. Sure, I still have a few videos to shoot to complete the series, but a lot of the content and methodology is right here in this simple deck – from what ROI is and isn’t, to the basic methodology to link ROI (financial outcomes) to specific social media activities.

Think of this as a Social Media R.O.I. proof of concept methodology, that you can use as a foundation for social media measurement from a real business perspective.

What you will find in this presentation:

The business definition of R.O.I., the case for business justification of social media, the actual R.O.I. equation, a step-by-step method for creating a Social Media R.O.I. proof of concept, and real world no-nonsense advice.

What you will not find in this presentation:

The typical BS spewed by social media and media measurement “gurus” who obviously have no idea what they are talking about.

If your boss or client is still not getting the answers they want when it comes to the Social Media R.O.I. question, point them to this presentation and see if it strikes a chord.

If the presentation doesn’t launch for you properly, you can go check it out on slideshare here.

IMG_1717b

Part 2: Social Fresh recap

I can’t list all the great people I met Monday at Social Fresh, so I apologize if I’ve omitted your name in this post. Leave me a comment to slap me upside the head if I forgot to include you here, and I will rectify my omission pronto. Anyhoo, I am pretty stoked to have finally met @keithburtis @gialyons @gavinbaker @smashadv @wendywells @nathanrichie @ENDsessions @cammicam RichTucker @beccabernstein @theRab @ryamstephens @djwaldow @gilliatt @waynesutton @gregcangialosi @areich @waynesutton (@armano @abellmas @amywood @spikejones and @tinkhanson I already knew. You don’t count.)

IMG_1719b

I missed all of the morning sessions (I was being Mr. chatterbox in the lounge) but killer presos from @armano @gialyons and @spikejones in the afternoon. You couldn’t ask for a better afternoon lineup. Seriously, for a relatively small conference, the content was super solid.

IMG_1735b

I really have to commend Jason Keath and his army of volunteers for pulling of this pretty awesome conference.

Yeah, maybe the SxSW’s of the world get all the press, but sometimes these small conferences pack a hell of a punch too. (Good things do come in small packages sometimes.)

It’s pretty much a given that SoFresh will be back (and I’m hoping it will spread to other cities, for that matter). Looking forward to the 2010 edition!

Note: I will post links to other presentations, flickr galleries and videos as soon as I have the urls.

IMG_1741b

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »