Monday, January 31, 2011

7 Characteristics Of Companies Effectively Using Social Media

This article from showcases findings from a report from a report by Harvard Business Review called "The New Conversation, Taking Social Media from Talk to Action."

I found the seven characteristics of effective social media use to be very interesting, as many of them are in line with what we do at my company to drive awareness and business using social media.

1. We do have a social media strategy. It has been documented, analyzed and evolved as time passes. It includes specific, tangible, achievable and quantifiable goals, and it also includes specific ways that social media efforts integrate with other online tactics as well as offline marketing methods.

2. We do have a budget - meaning we do spend money on social media marketing - and we also engage in more than four social media channels, including YouTube, SlideShare, Facebook, Twitter, Corporate Blogs and LinkedIn.

3. We certainly track progress via quantifiable metrics obtained through a variety of social media monitoring tools. I feel this is an imperative piece of expecting results with your social media marketing strategy.

Amplify’d from
  • Sixty-three percent of the effective users said they have developed and implemented a social media strategy.

    • They’ve taken an integrated view of social media and have made it another part of their overall marketing strategy, not “shiny object” or fad. They are working toward stated, documented goals that are specific.

  • Effective users were TWICE as likely to have a social media budget as compared to the rest of the respondents.

  • Effective users are far more likely to use more social media channels — four or more.

  • Effective users were much more likely to be fully-leveraging the benefits of social media by using multiple social media channels to:

    • reach customers,

    • learn about customers,

    • research new products,

    • establish user groups among customers,

    • monitor trends, and

    • collect and track customer reviews.

  • Effective users are more likely to be:

    • be doing more multi-media sharing,

    • participating in review sites, discussion forums, and blogs, and

    • know where their customers are talking about them on the Web.

  • The use of metrics and analytic tools also sets the effective users apart as effective users are measuring their efforts as well as the social conversations about them.

  • Finally, this group was also far more likely to integrate their social media monitoring solution with their other marketing solutions. (Again demonstrating an integrated approach to their social media initiative.
  •

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    Impact of Social Media on University Learning and Recruitment - #SMCSTL Recap

    The Social Media Club - St. Louis January Meet-Up last night at Gio's downtown sure delivered on its promise to be "an exciting look into how something that has touched all of us in life, education, is evolving and innovating to stay current with today's technology and youth."

    I recorded key points and insights from each of our dynamic panelists, and below you'll find their answers and what Erin Steinbruegge (@steinburglar) likes to call "Twuggets" -- little nuggets of gold that are meaningful to understanding social media and also short enough that they are perfect for Twitter. 

    The crowd mingles after the panel came to a close.
    Speaking of Twitter, it wouldn't be a Social Media Club St. Louis (@smcstl) meeting without hundreds of live tweets, all tagged with #smcstl for your convenient digest. Check out the stream from last night, and let me know what you took away from the event. Don't forget to connect with Allison, Patrick, Jill and Colby. In addition to their in-depth understanding of how social media is shaping higher education, teaching style, recruitment, learning opportunities and collaboration in and outside of the classroom, this group of folks tweets daily (and blogs!) about many things social media. 

    A bit of Social Media Club news before we get started with our recap from last night. 
    • Within a month or so, our board will be ready to announce a new website! Right now, directs to our Facebook fan page, but before long, we expect to have a collaborative hub of blog content, images, video and much more. Stay tuned for that!
    • Within the next week, we'll be announcing the February meet-up. Just ask anyone who attended last night's event to find out why you should definitely mark your calendar for February's. Next month's meet-up will not feature a panel or topic. Instead, we're reserving this one for pure networking.
    Here's the lovely panel from last night:

    Allison Babka - Marketing Specialist for Undergraduate Recruitment at Saint Louis University@AMBabka
    Patrick Powers - Interactive Media Manager at Webster University - @PatrickJPowers
    Jill Falk - Assistant Professor, Mass Communications & LUTV News Director at Lindenwood University - @JillFalk
    Colby Gergen Student at University of Missouri - Columbia, President Mizzou AAF - @ColbyWG 

    SMCSTL Moderator Brian Schwartz with Allison Babka & Colby Gergen
    Brian Schwartz (@creativereason) did a fantastic job moderating this panel, opening it up with some deep questions and inciting some lively banter when panelists amicably disagreed on a few points. Note that the following is a digest of notes I took during the panel, and it is in no way a verbatim transcript nor is it comprehensive of all of the topics discussed.

    One other key observation about the panel which I heard mentioned several times was the value found in including not only marketers on the organization side but also a student and a teacher. I personally think this is probably the most defining factor in the value of this event, and kudos to Brian for gathering a diverse panel so that we could all enjoy earning from the unique perspectives provided from each angle of social media's impact within education.

    Brian: What are the most popular social media tool being used by students?

    Patrick: Facebook! I see10 times the traffic and I can get people to do 10 times as much using Facebookover Twitter.

    Patrick: Median age of student is 31, which runs right in line w/ median age of Twitter users

    Allison: Most of our market comes from Twitter, but we get a lot of parents and alums on Facebook.

    Jill: Facebook during class (laughs) and she hears that the students are mostly using Facebook.

    Colby: Twitter is really catching on but it's a different step to get it to be used in the classroom than it is to use it to connect with friends. Most of my friends and fellow students who tweet, I follow them for the humor. A lot of what's posted is off the wall. So many students checked in at Cornell Hall one day that most earned the Swarm Badge on FourSquare. Students are getting more and more used to FourSquare.

    Jill Falk chats with attendees after the panel.
    Brian: Are students being given recommendations about not tagging photos on Facebook?

    Allison: We don't say anything to students about what to do on Facebook. We're not in the helpful phase, we're in the awareness phase. For students we choose to use in our ads or internal publications, we do vet them on Facebook.

    Jill: There's no coordinated effort at Lindenwood to tell kids to be careful about Facebook but some professors are advising students on it. In one of my classes recently, I advised them to Google themselves and do a write up. A lot of them said, "My facebook page came up, and I didn't like a lot of the pictures that were there!.... I didn't know this stuff was public!" You would think that to a lot of them it would be obvious, but it's not, and they do need a wake up call.

    Colby: Not sure how I got started in social media. A few of my friends came to me and said check out Twitter so I did, and it great from there. According to my first tweet is "oh man my car broke down" and then 2 weeks later, "my car broke down again" (laughs).

    Personally I'm not too strict about what I put out on social media. For me it's a personal philosophy. I am who I am. Take it or leave it. But other students have an opposite view of it.

    I think it's important when educating students to tell them they need to be themselves. 

    Do a brand audit of yourself. Same as you would do with any business you'd work with. Google yourself, audit what comes up. And find out how to get that LiveJournal from when you were 13 and figure out how to get rid of it.

    Lisa Keller (@lisackeller) having fun at SMCSTL.
    Allison: When prospective students are a friend of our school on Facebook, after they get accepted, we siphon them off into other more relevant Facebook pages: into the schools they want or the class they're going to be in. Student ambassadors answer questions related more specifically to what they're going to do at school. Then the ambassadors can connect with them over these topics and create a more personalized experience.

    Patrick: Prime drivers to website are academic program info, financial aid info, and then fill out the application. We have to create an experience across social platforms that cater to these desires.

    Brian: Do people who don't get into the school complain on your Facebook page?

    Allison: (SLU) says no, but Patrick (Webster) says yes.

    Patrick says it's important to Webster to always approach students or rejected students as human, even if the exchange occurs online: be compassionate and be understanding.

    Allison says she's fearful of the day that they have to deal with an angry student who doesn't get in.
    Says they've had no negative content generated other than media related fires they've had to put out.

    Jill: There's always going to be haters out there. I take advice from Scott Stratten not to worry about the "trolls" out there. We try to tell students to be authentic.

    Question was raised as to how social media impacts classroom assignments. 

    Jill: has all students keep a blog, and all assignments for "Intro to Social Media" class are submitted online.
    In the last year or so, been incorporating video and other more dynamic content and links. Jill says she asks herself and her students: what can we incorporate into our blogs and into the assignments that will expand their horizons a bit.

    If you're going into communications and you don't understand social media, who's going to hire you?

    Jill's classroom actually communicates and collaborates about classroom curriculum and assignments publicly on Twitter: #com130 @com130

    Jill: Media changes every day, and here's a textbook, here's all my years of experience, but all of a sudden, I'm old and I don't know anything. Now I can send them links after class is over, and it's really become an expansion of learning.

    Colby: If you're a teacher, be on Twitter and pay attention to it. It has opened up so many roads for me. Teachers are constantly available instantly for questions. There are teachers who I've never had in class yet have been the best teachers I've had by supporting me on Twitter.

    Jill: Instead of coming to me during my office hours, when they have a question about blogging or media, they ask a question on Twitter, and before I even answer, my other students are jumping in with answers.

    Panelist Allison Babka
    Brian: Do universities monitor current students' online presence for bad behavior?

    Alison: I watch but I don't do anything about it. 

    Patrick: (to the rest of the panel) Do you friend your students or fellow teachers on Facebook?

    Jill: I say to my students, "When this class is over, if for some reason you think I'm cool enough to friend me on Facebook, send me an invitation, but while we're in this class, I'm not that comfortable with it."

    Colby (student): Yes, I do. But if you do friend your students, make sure you trust them and there's a relationship there you trust or it may backfire int he end.

    Patrick: We tell admissions counselors not to friend their Facebook students. We have a policy. Some have said "Well I'll just start a second profile and friend them" and we tell them this is against Facebook's terms of service to have two profiles. 

    Valerie Jensen is an admissions counselor. Val doesn't want to friend the 15 year-olds she's talking to and engage in conversation. It might be inappropriate in some cases. So instead, the way our university handles this is that Val has set up a Facebook page (not a profile) that has her name, with Webster University tied to it. It's a fan page. They can like her, and she can message them. But it takes out the personal and risky elements of friending students via your personal profile. This way she can operate as the employee via her page and via her personal profile she is her true self.

    Questions ensued in the audience, largely from Eliot Frick, regarding how "authentic" this is - to have a "fan page" that is not fully representative of yourself. He asked the panel if this makes them uncomfortable or if they find this activity redundant rather than just allowing the teachers to connect directly with their students via their own Facebook profiles.

    Brian: We're always talking about how social media breaks down barriers between universities and people or between companies and people. Where do you draw the line? Where do you want/get to lock down any private content?
    How do you protect your online self and offline self? I don't check in on FourSquare at home, for example.

    Jill: One of the advantages of Twitter over Facebook is that it is more public. I can respond more openly to a student's question on Twitter at 11:00 at night, and it's okay. It's not creepy, because it's public.

    Patrick: Facebook is where the numbers are. That's where the students are, and if that's where they are, that's where we need to be.

    This is me, tweeting up a storm on the #SMCSTL hashtag.
    Responses about how each handles blogging:

    Allison: We're finding that people are reading the blogs and then they're going to the sections of the admissions site where we want them to go even though we get very few comments on the blog posts. That's how we know it's working for us.

    Colby: As much as I think it's great to get students blogging, it's one of those things where I feel like if students are not that into it, it's a question of "Do i really want to invest their time in it?"

    Allison: We have students blogging, and it has worked out well for us. In the same way that we select students for advertisements, we vetted them and made them apply to be bloggers. We very, very carefully vetted and selected our bloggers. We make sure we cover various disciplines.

    Brian: How do you vet candidates for admissions?

    Allison: If there's a whiff of anything not wholesome, we won't consider them. 

    Patrick: Who determines wholesome?

    Alison: (without hesitation) Me!

    (Audience Laughs)

    Brian: Do you change your tone and approach to adjust to different audiences in your social profiles?

    Allison: I'm gonna put on my 16 year-old 'dude' voice when I'm writing for kids, but I'm going to be professional when writing for parents.

    Brian: As a journalism thing and a writing thing in general, people don't write in AP style all the time. How do you handle the "disingenuous" factor of writing for your audience? Is writing in a more conversational tone becoming more prevalent?

    Jill: Definitely. 50% of my classes are on the broadcasting side, so I am encouraging them to be more conversational. Sometimes I have had issues with blogs being too informal, and they're writing text message style or with very poor punctuation. I don't get upset. I advise them to look into it and consider these things. I try to respect their style and their tone when they're writing on blogs.

    Colby: There is an important difference between conversational typing or conversational style and plain old laziness.

    Social Media vs. Social Networking: What's the Difference?

    I have also often heard "social networking" and "social media" interchanged. I think the important element to consider is "marketing." The way I look at social media, it is a channel for marketing much like any other medium. Largely, social media marketing is about branding, visibility, reputation management, sales, etc... while social networking is all about connecting, sharing information and collaborating. Connecting with friends on Facebook is a form of social networking. Connecting with a brand on Facebook is a form of social media marketing for that company. My colleague at Perficient, Mike Porter, is very experienced in the social media and social networking space, particularly when it comes to social collaboration tools such as those provided for the enterprise by companies like IBM and Microsoft. He weighed in recently in a blog post here. I agree with his analysis. I think it's important that as both of these continue to grow and evolve, we should use the correct terminology to help distinguish between what is inherently a more internal, private or personal connection (social networking) and what is a more business directed activity (social media marketing). What do you think?

    Amplify’d from

    So I’ve seen a lot of people change up how they use these two terms.  In my minds, they are very different although the base technologies used as people going about networking and working the social media may have a huge overlap.

    social media: the use of tools like twitter, facebook, blogs, etc to both monitor how your company is doing with your customers and to market your company.

    social networking: the use of web 2.0 tools like twitter, facebooks, jive, sharepoint, lotus connections, wikis, blogs, etc to keep up with colleagues, share information, and find information.  This is a natural evolution to the social network you probably already have when you call people, engage people around the water cooler, send emails etc.  These new technologies make it easier to find people and find answers even if your legacy social network is small.

    As people continue to make use of web 2.0 tools to to do both, I think we’ll see a maturation of thought around it and of additional tools like social analytics to measure both the quality of social media efforts as well as how a company is using a social network and who is important to that network.  Can you imagine a time when HR will use a social analytics tool to look up a person before they allow a counter-offer to be made in order to keep him or her?


    Monday, January 24, 2011

    My Personal Brand's Board of Directors - Who's on Yours?

    I read this article, "Who's On Your Personal Board of Directors", by Cortney Rhoades Stapleton, and it presents a fantastic take on what it means to build your personal brand along with the help, advice and inspiration of a handful of some leaders within your career network. I don't think this article intends for anyone to actually create, document, organize and gather a "board of directors" to advise them. This is pretty much something that just happens naturally as you expand your network.

    I certainly have found a collection of close friends and acquaintances here in the St. Louis interactive and social media community who have done wonders for helping to build me into who I am today professionally. They have inspired me and taught me many of the skills that have made me of value to an organization. I consider myself lucky, and I also thank social media for enabling it in a big way.

    The post has a unique take on roles that a personal brand advisory board might take, and I had fun thinking about how my network of Brand "Directors" fit into those roles.

    And here are those esteemed professionals. Compare their "Job Title" to the descriptions from the article, below:
    "The Supporter" Lisa Keller (@LisaCKeller), marketing manager at The Loud Few interactive marketing agency in St. Louis. 

    "The Sage" Chris Reimer (@RizzoTees), VP of Social Media at Falk Harrison and T-shirt entrepreneur

    "The Questioner" and "The Risk Taker." Erin Steinbruegge (@Steinburglar) Owner and Leader of The Loud Few interactive marketing agency in St. Louis

    "The Bridge" Brad Hogenmiller (@JavaSTL) of Infuz and President of the Social Media Club - St. Louis 
    "The Maven"  David Siteman Garland (@TheRiseToTheTop) of The Rise to the Top and author of "Smarter, Faster Cheaper"

    Who's on your board? Comment below or blog about it and shoot me the link on Twitter to @ErinE

    Here is the description of roles from the article:
    You are never too young or old to start building your personal board of directors. I’ve represented several executive search firms in my PR days. Years ago, I did a media pitch about people’s personal board of directors when looking for a job. At the same time I started my own.  With every career milestone I reassess my board and make sure nobody needs to be retired.  I thought it was a good time to share who is on mine – and see who is on everyone else’s! 
    • The supporter.  This person is a master listener. They know a ton about the marketing industry but also about me as a person. They are always there to lend an encouraging ear, a hug or a kick in the butt.    
    • The sage. Everyone needs a director they admire, somebody who has done it all in your field, made the mistakes, learned from them and triumphed. This is one of the most trusted positions on the board.
    • The risk taker.  This person is an inspiration. They have made mistakes and wrong decisions but they have learned from them and they will encourage you to do the same. Their mantra is “you won’t know if you never try.”
    • The questioner. This is an imperative board seat. Unlike the kings and queens in the book I just read for my book club (“Pillars of the Earth”); it pays to surround yourself with people who will question your motives, decisions and intentions. This person makes me a better marketing professional and helps me understand and process judgments and next steps. 
    • The bridge. Otherwise known as the connector – predictably, this is the matchmaker for your career. Connectors love to engender relationships among people who might not otherwise have met. Connectors are infectious; this person inspires others to be more like them.
    • The maven.  My maven is an expert in innovative marketing communication theories and techniques. They are often ahead of the curve but their expertise goes beyond B2B communications for professional and financial services companies. In Malcom Gladwell’s definition these are the folks who help us make informed buying decisions. I trust the way my maven thinks – they help me make smarter career judgments.
    The hallmark of a good leader is your ability to listen.  So no matter whom you add to your personal board, make sure you listen to them – after all – that is what a board is for. 
    Who is on your personal board of directors and why?

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    February Marketing Masters Luncheon from BMA St. Louis: Phil Clement, CMO, Aon

    Phil Clement, Global CMO at Aon Corporation, will speak at the Business Marketing Association's February luncheon at Spazio's Westport on February 7th at 11:30am. I'll be there! I am a board member for the BMA St. Louis chapter, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every luncheon I have attended. The thought leadership is priceless, the networking is great, and the food is pretty good too. A great way to pass a lunch with other business marketing (B2B) professionals in St. Louis.

    The topic: Engaging Employees, Customers & Prospects Globally

    The New Year heralds a new challenge for B2B marketers... to become "content marketers". Our "product" is now content, and methods of packaging and distributing brand benefits is rapidly changing to include channels like blogs, songs, podcasts and even sporting event sponsorship... especially when trying to reach a diverse global market.

    Aon Corporation made a big splash in 2009 when it announced it would replace AIG as the global sponsor of UK-based soccer (football) team Manchester United, the #1 brand in the #1 sport in the world, in the 2010-2011 season. The season began in June, and Aon Global CMO Phil Clement will give luncheon attendees the first glimpses of what Aon is doing to leverage its reported four-year, $132 million investment in this single global sponsorship platform to unite the firm into one global culture and maximize engagement with all audiences worldwide.
    More info and register here: (please tweet and share this link!)

    February Marketing Masters Luncheon: Phil Clement, Global CMO, Aon Corporation

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Social Media Bigger than Marketing and PR?

    Michael Brenner (@BrennerMichael) was quoted by Tom Pick (@TomPick) in a recent blog post, and I'm curious: Do you agree with what he has to say? "Social is much bigger than marketing and PR," he said. I don't have the source article from Michael, but I'm not sure I agree. I think Marketing and PR are fields of practice. Social media is a channel. Now, as it grows and grows, and as we look for ways to align marketing roles within organizations into focus areas, you may be able to say that "social media" is actually becoming its own field of practice. However, I do not believe the three are mutually exclusive, and thus I don't know that they can be compared to one another. I think there's a fantastic overlapping and intersection between marketing, PR and social media, as well as interactive advertising and other methods and channels.

    What do you think?

    Amplify’d from
    “Social is much bigger than marketing and PR. “Social is much bigger than marketing and PR. It’s a customer phenomenon. This will demonstrate itself as social moves into product development, operations, customer service and even sales,” according to Michael Brenner.

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