21 posts categorized "The Web"

April 19, 2010

Who owns Community?

This blog, about building community, has been inspired by two scenarios:
 
  1. Today I received an email inviting me to an event where I would learn how to earn £millions by creating great marketing copy to get people to “subscribe” to things.  A case study used was a new property forum, where people were marketed to via a free webinar where the up-sell was to a new membership forum.
  2. Rupert Murdoch apparently asked Mark Zuckerberg (founder of FaceBook) how to build a great community like FB, and Mark Zuckerberg replied “You can’t”.

You see, what I have learned from founding the Property Tribes forum, is that you cannot build a community.  Why?  Because it’s already there - you can't build anything that was not yours in the first place.

Crowd-stock762
Photo courtesy of officailpsds.com

What you can do, however, is provide a platform and facilitate people using the site to have an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  You can help them feel connected, you can help them feel valued, you can help them learn, you can help them feel that they “belong”, you can provide a space where they feel comfortable and among friends.  Then let them run with it.  Let them make the community what they want it to be, not what you want it to be.

What you can do is enable a community to organise itself.
 
Getting people to pay to join a site will not build a sustainable community - you will have tumbleweed blowing through it in no time at all. However, they may want to pay to have a method to organise themselves.
 
A membership/subscription site means that no one can look at the site without paying to join - barriers to entry will not help build community.  In fact, I believe they will stifle it.
 
A subscription/membership site also excludes a lot of people.  I think it is fundamental to build a platform for others to play in. Not just your users, but for people who want to reach your users.  Open, random, and supportive encourages community.  Closed, selective, and controlling will suffocate it.
 
I do not believe that anyone can “own” a community.  I don't think you ever could, but today in the land of the web you most definitely can't.
 
As Property Tribes has grown, we have taken a step back from it.  Yes, we set the tone, stimulated the initial discussions to help get the ball rolling, and drop in every now and then to support and encourage our members and let them know we value their contributions, but that is where it stops.

Now I'm more focussed on giving them what they want.
 
In his recent blog, “The tribe of normal”, Seth Godin shared this insight:

“People don't coalesce into active and committed tribes around the status quo.
The only vibrant tribes in our communities are the ones closer the edges, or those trying to make change. The center is large, but it's not connected.

Heretical thoughts, delivered in a way that capture the attention of the minority--that's the path that works”.


What Vanessa and I have tried to do is make Property Tribes stand for ethical and transparent business practices and treating property investment as a business, not a “get rich quick” scheme.  This is definitely a minority view, but it has gradually gained traction and now it has become one of the busiest property forums in the U.K

If a site has a huge amount of new members joining, but they do not feel like they “care” about the site, or “own” it, or do not engage with it, then all it has become is a database of people who have no loyalty to the site.  It’s just another profile on another forum.  It’s akin to replying to a party invite but not turning up to the party.

A forum designed to aggregate audiences to that you can sell to them is also destined to fail.  “The end result of spam (email spam, blog spam, Twitter spam, comment spam, phone spam, politician spam) is that it eats away at your brand. If you don't have a brand, you might make some short term cash but it gets tiresome creating annoyance everywhere you go. If you do have a brand, you don't notice the brand erosion... until it's too late”. ~ Seth Godin

What will work, however, is a community where people are supported in being more successful in what they are doing.  If they become more successful as a result of their contributions to the community, then the founders of the community will become more successful as a by-product of that.  Allowing people to leverage the network for their own visibility and credibility is key to their success and our success!

One of the by-products of the success of the Property Tribes community is that I have been able to watch and learn from the community, therefore, now I can see what they want.

There is the short-term way and the sustainable way to build community.  One erodes your brand, the other empowers it.

We formed the Property Tribes forum as a resource for the community, not ourselves.  We recognised that none of us is as smart as all of us.  We recognise that we are nothing without the people who “fuel” the forum hourly with their contributions and content.  Without the community, it’s just another one of a thousand sites with no activity on it.

Conclusion:  You cannot buy community and you cannot sell community.  If you are creating all the content yourself, and asking people to subscribe to that content, then that is a completely different business model and will not create community.  It’s also very hard work and time-consuming.

There is community there, it's always been there and you will never own it.

What you can create is a great venue for people to congregate and get to know each other.  Then leave the rest up to them.  User generated content is the secret to a successful community.  How you monetise that is another matter.  Community comes first.  Without it, you have nothing more than an expensive echo-chamber for your own opinions - this is self evident from the lack of "action" on certain forums.

Google is successful because it allowed us to organise our searches. LinkedIn is good because it allowed us to organise our business contacts and shuffle CV's. Facebook is good because it allows us to organise our friends. Twitter works because it allows us to organise our conversations. Amazon organises our purchasing, YouTube our Video and Flickr our pictures.

Question: How are you helping people organise themselves - or are you?

My top tips for building community:
  1. Engage.
  2. Contribute.
  3. Pay attention.
  4. Let the community know they are valued.
  5. Connect people to each other.
  6. It's about them, not you.
  7. Share.
  8. Don’t try and compete with your members.
  9. Be social.
  10. Be a friend.  Care.
  11. Don’t police or “moderate” the forum unless absolutely necessary.  The community will do that in their own way.
  12. Facilitate trust within the community.
  13. Understand that a community cannot be all things to all people.
  14. Celebrate the heroes in the community.
  15. Try and lead by example.
  16. Show respect.
  17. Believe in,  and encourage,  the wisdom of crowds.
  18. Enjoy it.
  19. Never stop trying to make it a better place for a community to organise itself - what ever your niche

What tips might you have?

Regards N  

  

April 15, 2010

Why some social networks may fail.

Question:

If you own a forum or a social networking site, is it prudent to give it a free rein, rather than trying to “run” it?

I co-founded the Property Tribes forum in April 2009 and we have just celebrated out 1,000th member joining.  It is an extremely active community, up-dating hourly. 

In my case, I have used the model "it's not mine, it belongs to the community”.    All I have to done is give them what they want, not what I wanted them to have. 

My reason for asking is I see forum and network owners around me that seem to be interfering, controlling, or policing all the time. 

Is this an ego thing?

I_love_myself_and_thats_all_that_matters

You don't see the owners of twitter interfering , nor do you see the owners of LinkedIn  getting involved.  Facebook have had their moments but again that was due to interfering.

So, on one hand, starting a social network or forum needs your attention at the beginning to “drive” it.  But on the other it would appear prudent to leave it alone when it gains traction and just focus on making your users have a good interaction with what you have built, and each other.

I have learned by watching and partaking that any site which is owned by me cannot be run by me.  In fact, I feel uncomfortable with even using the word “owned” because, without the community, I own nothing, and I cannot own them.

However, the one thing I can do is lead by example and support my community members in being successful at what they do.  I can also make them feel valued for their contributions, because, without their contributions, I have nothing.

Trying to control a social network is a very dated view IMHO (closed, controlling and selective).   Being an ego on a network is of equal silliness, not only does it paint the owner as an idiot, it destroys any form of "loyalty" the forum had in the first place.

I was looking at Quantcast the other day and put in the search term for a "popular" social network - in fact I put in a few - and the results were quite clear. Some of them are in decline and I would argue that it's because the owners interfere and control the site users!Anyone can own or start a network/forum.  There are a myriad of free sites to choose from. 

However, it’s another matter to facilitate a vibrant community that generates itself.  Ego should definitely be left out of the mix.

What do you think?

N

March 23, 2010

Cognitive bias and chronological snobbery have a lot to answer for on the web.

I've worked it out.

Cognitive bias and chronological snobbery have a lot to answer for on the web.

Surely.

Or is it just plain old fear? Fear that there is change, fear that there isn't change, or fear that you just don't know.

Fear is a powerful thing. It's also a marketer's dream. Fear will have you booking on courses.  Fear will have you investing your "hard earned $$$$" in "get rich quick" schemes.  Fear will also allow yourself to believe in "experts" and "secrets".

Fear loves the crowd as the crowd feeds fear.  Your eyes see people "jumping on the bandwagon" and this creates fear, fear that you are missing out. You are told "book quickly, places going fast" and you reach for your credit card.  Fear is very blinding.

But now we have a solution.

This solution is so powerful that fear fears it, marketeers fear it, experts fear it, get rich quick schemes fear it - they fear it a great deal. This solution is so powerful that it has certain people in most communities quaking in their boots.  And with good reason.

This solution has politicians shaking and corporates too. It is making a mockery of "spin". It laughs in the face of "control". It mocks the "shiny suited salesmen" that are pictured sitting on Ferraris and Bentleys.

alt

This solution is the solution to fear.

This solution allows you to go on courses. It also allows you to make investment decisions with peace.  It allows you to make decisions that are based on products and services that deliver tangible results in practice, not just in theory. It allows you to grow in thought process, it allows you to help and reach out, it allows you to be better.

And the solution is ....

alt

The web can not only find "the solution",  it can also help you do your due diligence. Has the person you are putting your trust with been through the pain of learning, or do they just have a cognitive bias? Or are they just a chronological snob that dares to stare down at you because they might think of themselves as "advanced".?  The web will tell you.

The social web is an asset.  It's not revolution:  merely evolution and for you it could be priceless.

But it must be used to "dig" not just "find".

Footnotes:

A cognitive bias is the human tendency to draw incorrect conclusions in certain circumstances based on cognitive factors rather than evidence.

Chronological snobbery, a term coined by friends C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield, is a logical argument (and usually when thus termed, considered an outright fallacy) describing the erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present.

P.S Last call for the Surrey Social Media Tribes monthly gathering tonight, Topic: LinkedIn

Regards

N

March 04, 2010

I'm a super awesome Social Media guru, baby!.

Am I hell!!

What I am is aware. Aware that there is more to this than paddling around in the shallows of facebook.

"Guru":  no way!. Passionate:  yes. Learning:  very yes, and hungry for more.

I've just got back from a trip to America.  I've never been to Silicon Valley before and as much as I am a self-confessed geek, what I saw was more than just "geekery" or "nerdishness".  What I saw was boundless:  boundless in the sense that it is immoveable, a huge entity that is unstoppable.  And unless someone works out a way of turning off the internet, it's not going away.   It'll just get bigger and more all-encompassing.  It will touch more and more of our daily lives - "augmented reality" is no longer just a phrase out of a sci-fi comic.

Consider Google.

They started off in a garage and now they have a "campus" the size of a large village - complete with their very own T-Rex!



So it is no secret that I have this passion for the web, and there is no secret that I have a desire to learn more - after all non of us are experts, merely participants -  maybe participants with experience, but participants nontheless. 

I don't know where the web will go.  I don't know if I will be using a phone in 12 months or a "communicator".  How will I use the web?  How will I transact on the web?  How will I work on the web?. How will this effect my life, family, time  - what I do know is that it has, it will and it's there.

The web moves in dog years, seven times faster than normal years,  so as much as it may be 20, in reality it acts like 70.  It's wisened.  It demands respect and it deserves it.



So inspired by my trip to the birthplace of social communications and inspired by the very essence of social media, as in the act of sharing, Vanessa and I  have decided to create a monthly event in Guildford.  We are calling it The Surrey Social Media Tribes and it is dedicated SMO - social media optimisation.

You can see a presentation I have done below which explains more.

As V. and I have always said, to quote Kevin Kelly:  "None of us is as smart as all of us".  So if understanding Social Media, the Social Web, and the contemporary forms for web communication/s is important in your world, then I hope this event is for you.

After all, we need you to lead us.

This month's event, scheduled for the 24th of March, is going to focus on getting the most out of LinkedIn.   I have brought in the person who communicated LinkedIn to me the best, Marc Perl.

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Click here for further details, and to book on.

P.S I did get the tee shirt.

Regards N
 
  

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March 02, 2010

Why your web pressence is like a tamagotchi ... #likeminds

... if you do not feed it, it will die.

Regards N 

   

February 25, 2010

Legal Graffiti.

So I'm at it again.

This time I'm at 33k feet just over Hudson Bay on my way to San Francisco. It's taken me 4.5 hours to get this far and 4.5 hours to fire up the MacBook Pro to write something. Truth is, Virgin have some good movies on at the moment!

Writing came second.


Click here to enlarge

It always has, that's because I'm not very good at it. Or at least I thought I wasn't, maybe I'm not, but now I enjoy it. The truth is saying your bad at writing is a cop out - we all have a good story to tell, a lesson to teach or a thought to share, let alone a shoulder to offer - and sharing should be an enjoyment.

Writing has never been my strong point, it's not that I didn't want to it's just that English, in the written word, does not come naturally to me. At school I devoured English literature, being forced to read the classics such as Chaucer, Milton and of course Shakespeare was not a chore. Writing about them was.

Most of the time I was chastised for "getting it wrong" (public school can sometimes be a poor teacher). Therefore, I carried the "scar" of writing chastity into adulthood - and I'm not sure I'm alone there.

In this world of online, being able to write is very important, if you don't then no-one will know you or your thoughts. No one will be able to benefit from your expertise. No one will benefit from you.

And we need to. We need you to lead us.

Being chastised by the thoughts of "I have bad English" or "I don't know what to write about'' is silly - really. Spell check and grammar check will take care of the former (even if it is Microsoft English), but it's the latter that I want to talk about.

Don't get me wrong story telling is not easy, but then again anything creative is not easy. There are many ways of writing styles and many different ways of getting your message, question, or information across. However, I always favoured getting my message across using something around me that most of us will know and see/undersatand and "weave" it into a story.

Take for example "The Whitby Goth Festival". Last year Vanessa and I spent the day in Whitby (North Yorkshire) and managed to "blunder" our way into The Goth festival (well it was Halloween). What a brilliant day, Victoriana in it's finest.

My point is this. The Whitby Goth Festival has been running for 18 years now and is one of the finest examples of a "social network" you could ever find. So all I did was take the "whim and Fancy" of the festival and turn it into a story about the importance of a social network. More importantly why we all need them and use them all the time every time.

We all herd, we all like to be part of a group, whether that be "Goth", "LinkedIn", Ecademy" or a social forum - it could even be the local pub, but we all do it. The Goth festival, to me, was an opportunity to express that need to exist in a social group.

Here's another example: I wanted to express my views on how to use, and not, the social web. So I chose Peter Andre and Katie Price (Jordan). Quite easy really she was me, me, me and he was share, share, share, it was obvious by their twitter pages.

So by taking a contemporary story I managed to "weave" another message about my views on the social web.

But don't get me wrong, I don't know if what I'm doing is right, I just know it helps me get over the barrier of "I don't know what to write" or in what manner.

I think all of us know what we want to write, I think some of the problems lay in not knowing how to express ourselves.

OK so try this one on then.

My background is in Art. I trained in it for 5 years, being qualified in fashion design at the end (OK so I didn't want to be a fashion designer, it was the design aspect that got me - ironically enough I ended up designing racing cars for quite a few years and the discipline/s between the two are very close) I digress.

Part of my training was in "life drawing" and, for this discipline, "still life drawing". I had a fantastic teacher, Philip Graves-Morris, and one of his methods was to take something like a red cabbage, wrap it in newspaper and "throw it against a wall". Paint that, as it lay, as it tumbled.



In other words what we we're painting was not contrived, it was unexpected and you had no pre conceived idea how to do it or what the outcome might be.

For me, in writing, this training has been invaluable. No, I don't throw cabbages around, but metaphorically I do. Both the Goth festival and the twitter story were "red cabbages".

I could have chosen to write about "social groups" or "the social web" in a formal manner. But formal has no "purple cow" as Seth Godin would say.

The correct structure of the written word still eludes me, I have no skill in that department (praise be to speel chock:)). What I do know is, whilst dealing with the social web what and how we write dictate who we are. Some people get anxious, some people panic - you don't need to, not all of us we're born Oscar Wilde. Some people have to write in a formal manner (dissertation) and that's OK, but for those of you out there who do get anxious, try a different way.

I can write but I'll never be Hemingway, I can paint but I'll never be Warhol - but I will never stop trying, I will never stop testing - and you shouldn't either. For those of you who feel chastised when blogging, and in the immortal words of Monty Python, "stop that it's silly".

Writing is like painting, we can all use a pen or a keyboard or even a brush, but good writing takes practise, no different to painting.

Try taking your idea wrapping it up, throwing it against a wall and write about it as it lay. Guess what, some of what you do will end up being a "dogs dinner", but hey you should have seen my paintings! Who cares every now and again something great will come out, and that something great will gain you experience.

I know some of what I say goes against the "plan, plan, plan" method of writing and I'm sure there are better skilled people out there that can advise on writing way better than me and you should listen to them. Structure and planning is good, it works - but sometimes that little maverick streak that we all have should shine.

After all we all have something we believe in and I want to read it.

Regards N

 

   


February 08, 2010

How to create great web video content ...

How to create great web video content – next course date: 6th March




 

It is no secret that we live in an age of “information overload”.  With more material being loaded onto the web in one day than someone would have been exposed to in an entire lifetime 500 years ago, there can be no doubt that we are entering the era of the “attention economy”.
 

The explosion of new types of information online can be seen as a blessing and a curse. We both enjoy and drown in news, blogs, tweets, podcasts, photos, videos and interesting FaceBook pages. And the problem is only going to get worse, as more and more people discover the social web and start adding to it.
 

Therefore, human attention is now a scarce commodity, and, as business owners, we need to understand how to earn it.  This involves being in the “attention marketplace”, being relevant, being up-to-date, and providing consumers with something valuable in exchange for their attention.  This will keep them coming back for more.
 

Self-publication on the web allows us to create visibility and credibility, but this will only lead to profitability if our content stands out from the “noise”.
 

This training day is all about empowering you to create compelling web content, using the medium of video.
 

As a former BBC cameraman, this is a subject close to my heart and I have a lot of specialist insights to share with you.
 

This training day will show you how your compelling  video content can help you become a thought provoker, communicator, and connector on the web so that you stand out from the crowd.



  

  • Discover how video web content “humanises” your business and facilitates people getting to know you and trust you.
  • Discover how this can drastically shorten the sales cycle!
  • Find out how to link topical items and issues in the news to your area of expertise.
  • Discover how being “social” with no business angle gains you new contacts and clients.
  • Learn how to think laterally to see content in everything you do.
  • Learn how to be your own evangelist and share your passion for what you do.
  • Learn how to create such compelling and engaging video content that you become the “go to” person for your area of expertise, product, or service.
  • Learn how, by sharing anything you consider valuable, you gain credibility.
  • Learn how being “you” on-line is your greatest advantage.
  • Learn how connecting and advocating others can also provide content.
  • Learn the five biggest video blogging mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • Learn how video blogging on your area of expertise, industry, product, or service sets you apart as a thought-leader.
  • Learn basic camera operation skills.
  • Learn how specific technologies speed this process up and help you distribute and aggregate your videos on the web.

 

As this training course is all about content, I will also be including the filming of a professional video blog or website introduction included in the price of the course.   This will include coaching from a former TV presenter on how to present yourself on-camera to the best of your ability.
 

Most people charge a minimum of £300.00 for a professionally shot video (when taking into account a professional set up, equipment, editing, and being hosted on a professional platform).
 

Therefore, at £399, including the training AND your video to take away with you, this training day represents excellent value for money.
 

As I will be focussing a lot of individual attention on delegates, there are only eight places on this course.

Please book early to avoid disappointment.
 

Course content:

  1. Introduction to using video on the web.
  2. Check your tech – camera equipment.
  3. Basic camera skills
  4. Creative use of video blogs – content generation and ideas.
  5. Presentation skills
  6. Distribution and aggregation of your video.
  7. Record your video!

 

 
Next course date: Friday 6th March

January 28, 2010

The Meme That Will Never Die: Hitler Debunks The iPad

January 18, 2010

Should you get someone else to do it for you?

NO ... but maybe yes!

In the greater good of the web any form of social interaction has to be done via the purveyor, otherwise it's not very social.

I mean when I follow someone on the web either via the realtime networks and/or any other social network, I am following that person and their views.

Conundrum: Should anyone wishing to leverage the social web run their own account/s on a consistent basis or outsource the effort?

Arguably both.

Firstly it's right and proper to run your own account/s. However, when you add social bookmarking/referencing into the mix - that can be dealt with via a third party - providing a strict brief is adhered to and conversation is dealt with by the original purveyor.

Social bookmarking is a great way of dominating web space as the "expert" but the method of use can be "mis-used", such as automation. The trouble with automation is that it's just that - auto - so there is no human being involved to have the conversation with. The other problem with automation is you are never sure of the output, unless you are monitoring it, and if you are then it negates the purpose of automation in the first place.

So outsourcing the social bookmarking/referencing side of your social web has validity as long as there is a human aspect to it ... after all it is social.

3761

I don't want to talk to a robot, do you?

Regards N 

  

socialmediagraffiti.com

 

How to implement a Social Media Strategy, training day.

January 11, 2010

Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property.

This blog is prompted by a heated debate on our Property Tribes forum concerning the title of our 27th January networking event "Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property". 

This proposed presentation brought some interesting opinions on social media to light, and during the course of the discussion, I clarified my own thoughts on the thorny issue of social media V's SEO, PPC and Google ad-words in respect of measuring ROI.

The discussion was interesting because it was so polarised.  In one corner, we have the new boy "social media", and in the other corner, "marketing using traditional channels".

But hold on. For sure there is a fight to defend corners and ideas, however, most of them are irrelevant to what is being suggested in the first place.

I would suggest, therefore, that we look at what we are talking about as a "bigger picture".

We are talking about the web. And the web is bigger than SEO, SM, SB, SN, PPC & GA (see below for clarification of what these mean) combined. As we breath today Jan 2010 it would make sense to practice all, depending on what products or services you have.

Some of us will not and they're right, some of us will and they're right.

But in reality it would seem to be silly to get all worked up over minor points when what we need to be discussing is the bigger picture i.e the web.

The web.

Spider_web1222693650-w200-h700

In truth web 2.0-4.0 has caught us all with our trousers down as no one really understands it fully - no one, the original thread amongst others has documented that beautifully.

There are those that believe in using arguably older methods on today's web, in a very short space of time we will see if the gamble will pay off. Others will use new methods on today's web. It's still a gamble because it's too new and no one really understands the best way of monetising it in a traditional sense but on the same note we are!

What we do know is there is a new kid on the block, some call it social media, most don't know what it means let alone how to use it!

Does it mean:

  • Being social with a media?
  • A word that conveniently covers all that we do on the web.
  • A "freemium" model that will save the world.

If it is a convenient method of covering all that is done on the web then that's about as useful as walking through Tehran in a "Star of David" tee shirt!

If it's the latter then maybe, we'll see.

I would go for the former, as this has been going on for thousands of years. being social with a specific media, thus creating conversation

Some would like to use it solely to get business, some will use it in a social manner and let business come to them.

Take your pick. Neither one is right or wrong - at the moment.

The only way to get it wrong is to use monologue on it's own, which as part of dialogue is non existent. It's no different to daily life that you are practiced at already.

Portfolio of web content.

Laptop-portfolio-15-4-R-2-w200-h700

If I want to create a "portfolio of web content" then I will knowing that with 31 billion searches per month (just google) someone will (and has) stumbled across my conversation and joined in, and in some case they have chosen to do business with me.

If I want to emulate that with any other method such as SEO or PPC/GA then I can - however it's not very straight forward to have a conversation with a static advert as static adverts are monologue. Moreover, I will have to keep paying for it to stay there, whereas "organic content" stays there in perpetuity. Also I might add that SEO and PPC/GA have yet to break into "real time", you can't pay to be at the top of a twitter search - please note I said "yet" they may at some point but at this point in time they do not.

As I said before both are right in the greater good of the web. Both have their advantages as well as their disadvantages.

IMHO the way to use the web in it's current format is to create the ability to be found. Both fit the bill, both have a different model, both work.

But, I would propose that they way the web is heading at the moment would suggest the future may hold a different approach.

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It would appear that conversation on the web is quickly catching up with surfing on the web (SM is to conversation as PPC is to surfing)*. Based on this I'm sure you will agree that SEO and PPC is far more suited to surfing than conversation, like wise SM is far more suited to conversation.

So we have a choice either SM, SM&SEO PPC/GA, or SEO &PPC/GA - what about SN and SB (see below for meaning)? When are these coming into the mix? They all need to be used to get the best out of the web.

As John said (in the original thread) SM is akin to Brand advertising. I would agree to that in so many words. However, SM is a specific action not the sum of effort and put against the web is only part of the collective.

ROI.

Roi1-w200-h700

The average human speaks 5000 words a day and yet we don't worry about the ROI in talking when we get up in the morning. Can we measure it? Yes, if thats what you want then you can.

We can also measure the ROI in custard, If you try, the only data you’ll find is weight and calorific content. And colour. And custard-ness. All of which are good barometers of great custard. But what number does custard taste like? Is it a 10? 4? 28? Might be. If I tell you my custard tastes like a ‘34′ -  would that mean anything to you? I would presume not! (courtesy of Michael Greenland).

If you don't like custard then you probably don't care about it's ROI, if you do like custard then you probably don't care about it's ROI.

If, however, you want to use some of your 5000 words a day on business and you want them to count then you might be interested in the ROI. Well there are tools to help you with that. If you are a purveyor of custard and you want to measure how good your custard is, you can do that too, there are tools.

You could also "monitor" conversations on the web and target them. There are web tools out there that allow you to "watch conversation" thus giving you data on your product and/or a competitor. Not only that but allows you to join in the conversation - Question: Would/could this be a smarter way of deploying advertising?

If so then SM is paramount as no one will take you seriously without the backing of your brand.

Traditional advertising (on the web) means the customer finds you. Now you can find the customer.

It's not that far fetched to accept that in the future, products and services will find us as opposed to us finding them/it. The algorithms are getting that tuned. This, in turn, negates the necessity for SEO and PPC to a certain degree - they will still be there but their importance will diminish.

We're doing it already, albeit, on a more manual scale.

Just prior to Christmas and over 2 weeks we used this method for Linda McCartney foods and increased their traffic by 800%. All it took was using the web app's that are already there. Could this be an ROI? They asked us to increase traffic and that's what we did with just twitter alone.

The "red herring" with SM seems to be the necessity to speak first then measure, whereas, you should always listen first then react to what is being said, this way cause and effect can become much clearer. Which means you will have to put time into something that you cannot measure before you start - but thats OK we're all used to that it's called listening, which as a rule precedes conversation, which in turn is called social media.

The act of being social with a specific media.

So as we sit here today Jan 2010 we can see that the act of paying for eyes, which has dominated advertising for thousands of years, has a partner called social media (to use the term in a very general manner).

It is clear that it is here to stay. It is clear that it has a place. It is also clear that all of us need to use it and it is clear that even new technology is being formed because of it.

But, it is only part of the greater good of the web. SEO,PPC,SM,SB,SN are all subordinate to the web, so you have to be very clear in what you want to achieve with the web to just focus on one or two.

Therefore, determining your objective is critical.

Regards N

If you are just starting out on your social media journey or want to clarify an existing strategy, I have devised a training day on Saturday 6th Feb at our new offices in Guildford. 

This will entail determining your objective, without which you may "scattergun".

Please click on the link below for full details.

How to implement a Social Media Strategy, training day.


* Technology is, at last, emulating what the web community is wanting/needing. Mobile devices are becoming mainstream for communication and sharing knowledge. This, in turn, maps IMHO the way of the web in the future (or at least the near future). With interest this is not the case for SEO and/or PPC/GA.

SM - Social Media
SB - Social Bookmarking
SN - Social Networking
SEO - Search Engine optimisation
PPC - Pay per Click
GA - Google Ad-words

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