I Can’t Talk About This on Social Media! Or Can I? – Post for #iStrategy Blog

I often get jealous of brands that have really open, interesting topics to discuss like the iPad, Google+ or fashion – things that the media and social media can really get behind. 

So what can the other side do?

Back in Amsterdam I posed the question of what to do with products of an intimate nature, things you can’t discuss. Can Zovirax for example ever have an open social media dialogue about their product? Who’d be their brand advocates and do we ever want it to go viral?

Joking aside, if you’re providing services to clients covering some fairly sensitive topics, or have a product that no one really wants to talk about what options do you have to make the most of social media?

The best bet might be to get off topic but not brand, to educate and give away your thoughts. Or decide that your brochure-ware articles need to start thinking about the popularity contest – will they share me? Really?

View the rest of the article Regulated Industries – I Can’t Talk About This on Social Media! Or Can I?

iStrategy Post: Network Overload – Is Google+ One Too Many Social Network Options?

Now I may be getting old, and only just consider myself a digital native, but are there now too many digital parties for us to attend?

Nickallen_blog_header1

Stretching yourself thin with checkins here, liking this, +1ing that (yes, it doesn’t really roll off the tongue does it), blogging, tweeting, asking, heck there’s barely time left for actually doing anything!

You have no doubt seen this by Brain Solis, and the good news is it just got a big addition – Google+! Which thankfully others are providing some great insights and howtos for us to read up on.

I for one see we have a couple of options to maintain our sanity.

Throttle back the social networks we use — choosing those where your true audience are — or connecting them together somehow. One thing we will have to watch is the idea of open APIs. And perhaps there’s signs that the social networks are getting antisocial. Twitter and Google part real-time ways — just before we are pleasantly surprised with Google+.

If I think of ways to connect accounts — here are some of the high-level auto posts that come to mind:

  • Twitter lets you share to Facebook and LinkedIn automatically – or via #in and #fb tags or the like to be slightly selective
  • Foursquare, lets you feed check-ins to Facebook as well.
  • Google+ are working on apps and the StartGoogle+ Chrome extension lets you post to Twitter and Facebook from Google+

The problem here is your treating all social networks equally. And your Facebook wall ends up with, at worst a bunch of @ symbols or @Queen_UK  all over it, at best littered with #hashtags. 

But tailored messages make more sense right?

View the rest of the article Network Overload – Is Google+ One Too Many Social Network Options?

Agile Web Development That Works

Fantastic post on Agile Web Development today! by Six Revisions

Agile Web Development That Works

via Six Revisions by Jacob Gube on 23/06/11


Agile web development is not a specific process, action, or a daylong exercise. Agile is a mindset, an attitude with which a project is undertaken.

It means streamlining the project, taking away time-sucks, performing frequent sanity checks, and making sure that you’re not spending excessive time on things that don’t add value to the project.

It’s about spending quality time on actions that add value to the website and make it better, and taking away time and energy from parts of the process that cause headaches.

Your team will reach the same goals and milestones, but in half the time or less.

Read the rest here!

A Retrospective – How Online Marketing is Bringing Back Traditional Marketing Values

In case you’ve been asleep for the last year – markets and marketing has taken a big leap backwards.

We’ve reverted to a place where no longer can faceless corporations produce mediocre products and services and hide in their corporate towers.

A bad review from someone with a high Klout or Peerindex score in your niche can now clobber a brands reputation, and even stock price.

On the other side, rave reviews, fantastic customer service, and reaching the right brand advocates can launch a brand to stardom.

A quick scan of my twitter account and I know:

The Four Seasons Hotel rocks! – and Thomas Marzano vouches for them.

Consummate business traveller Gillian Muessig thinks Delta are great!

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Yet her followers will be steering clear of Aer Lingus…

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So – We’re back to the old market days, but with our mobile phones and web clout in hand. Days where businesses relied on a close network of customers, and good word of mouth.
Honest, good, service and a decent product is back to being king. Some would argue it never lost its throne. But the good news is, the masses have their voice back, and its recorded, ready for playback. And its not just for consumer goods or services.

B2C and B2B definitions are fading.

“We now live in a P2P world – People to People relationships are the new norm.”

And adapting your product or service to the ever changing marketplace and meeting peoples needs will be key.
But where am I with this title?

We all adapt, evolve and innovate, but something I struggle with is remembering the thorough retrospective. Looking back and examining success and failure. Recording it and learning from it.
I’m instituting today and for the rest of my marketing career a daily retrospective. Standing up with my colleagues, and listing out:

  1. What went wrong – all too easily we jump to examine the negative, so get it out of the way, but put it somewhere you wont forget it. If you had a big fail, give it a face, write it on a post-it and stick it beside your desk.
  2. What went right – if doing something different helped or if consistency prevailed – write it down! If you had a big win, give it a big smiley face, a persona on a post-it and stick that beside your desk. Be proud of it.
  3. How can we improve? – listing out some bullets for the next time and evolving.

The Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 in the following years will all be companies that fail fast and innovate fast — remembering what they’ve learnt and adapting to win.
The key for larger organisations will be –- how well do you share your learning and knowledge internally. Not just bragging about your wins, but getting the right people info on your wins, fails and improvements.
It’s an Agile world and its only getting faster.

ICANN.pickmyurl – new TLDs

ICANN Approves New Top-Level Domains, So Prepare For .Whatever
http://mashable.com/2011/06/20/icann-top-level-domains/
So with ICANN opening a veritable can of worms this year as we expand beyond our current set of TLDs or top level domains I thought I’d explore some fun options. 

  • What literary guild will be purchasing .dotdot
  • Do Apple and Orange stand a chance against the respective US states/counties?
  • Politics will no doubt be controversial, but who gets .god?
  • Does Charlie get first digs on .winning? And @garyvee to .crushit?
  • Or could Amazon reconsider and push for a.z?

 

I wonder what inflated price I’ll pay to get i.am.NickWAllen? In the $100,000s 

What’s your pick?

Centres of Excellence for Social Media and Enterprise 2.0

A while back I wrote about setting up your organisation for new media success http://bit.ly/fx3JK3

With the velocity of change in new media, social media and our marketplaces in general, innovation will be a commonplace metric in the CSuite dashboard. The catch-phrase Social Media, web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, collaboration terms will morph into Social Business. A term describing leading organisations that transparently collaborate not only internally but also with their clients.
Co-creation, be that internal or external, even for restricted industries and consultancy firms with highly valued IP, will proliferate. With various lines being drawn for what is IP, valuable insight and what is education.

Companies with the capacity to innovate will be truly measured by their capacity to share ideas effectively. Both internally and externally.

Internally
We’ll move beyond intricate taxonomies, top down messaging and best practice archives. Adopting folksonomies, the capacity to search everything behind a firms firewall and beyond will grow. Best practice guides will turn into continuous works in progress, with collaboration tools allowing both implied and explicit experts to weigh in accordingly.
Again

– the 30 email chain, CCed to any possible stakeholders and amended called notes-on-meeting-about-meetings-draft-Final-v34.doc – will turn into a document in a collaboration zone that I can read and comment on from any device, share at any time, and publish to any level or group.

Sharing innovation to hubs, nodes and all empowered the second the market shifts.

Centres of Excellence will be true teachers with the tools to disseminate knowledge and empower innovation.

Email, Social and the Art of #Storytelling #iStrategy

John Sadowsky from Emailvision cracks into a theme, many have either forgotten or ignored. 

Storytelling.

Starting out with a great quote, “god made men because he loves storytelling” ~ Elie Wiesel

The essence of storytelling not being the push out of material about your Brand, but in today’s age, leveraging your community to tell your story for you. It’s about creating an emotional tie to your product/service so that clients are talking about the product, but also what they do and how they feel about it.

That message appears again from John.
Start listening to your clients and fans, rather than disrupting them with your blast messages. 
In order to speak, one must first listen, learn to speak by listening ~ Quote

Some interesting case studies included 

Bike Friday – dropping an email invite and collecting great YouTube videos from their tribe of folding bike lovers.

Mathon.fr – as an apart from their brand created and invited customers to a cuisine fan page on FaceBook. With the odd giveaway, and a stream of home town recipes, the community blossomed around regional variations, conversations about how best to roll dough etc.

As authentic as a piece of content we create may be, user created content has far more street cred.

Some interesting ideas for B2C where power tools approach customers for miss use stories.

Products people don’t like to talk about or where they can’t talk about it are hard to deal with. Bit it can be done.

Genital herpes cream is not something with an open fan base, but it does go viral!

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Understand what your brand stands for is paramount to finding your story – and getting the story you’d like your fans to tell.

HowTo Measure Market Attractiveness By Using Location Based Landscaping #iStrategy #Foursquare

Now as mayor of iStrategy, I’m obliged to be bullish on this presentation as Naveen Selvadurai, from Foursquare runs us through the game overlay and how gamification is motivating people to go out in the real word and do something!

The basic push to be Mayor of a location you frequent has initial draw, and badges, recognising your efforts extends the model. People coming to work just to keep their mayorship or frequenting the gym.

With 50000000 checkins, and at least one in every country around the world its a valuable datasource to analyse.

Heat maps, of checkins, are invaluable for picking new restaurant locations and even public transport routes. Future analysis of this draws insights into masses, and also personal details.

A record of lunch meetings, being a great prompt to realise, “hey, I haven’t connected with X client in a month”. Or even analyse who’s taking up your time and not converting to a sale?

Businesses
As foursquare became popular, chalkboard rewards were up in bars that realised their clients were embracing the platform.

When in platform specials arrived, mayorships were the first to promote, but often not that interesting for the majority of clients, or roaming FourSquare users.

First time, tenth time, bringing friends and Swarm discounts are some of the latest variants.

Case Studies
Amex in Austin – took things further, aligning with frequent business, they labeled up certain places, and gave cash back rewards for checkins.

History channel – added tips to historic / famous sites around the US

CatchAChoo – took data from the API, hiding Jimmy Choo’s around London for customers to hunt down.

The FourSquare API allows you access to all functionality and data – in the future CRM / CMS style management of locations will be available for brands. Self management getting around issue that they’re not physically in EMEA yet, as a company.

Naveen believes FaceBook places, a large competitor lacks the gamification and a method for brands to link to their checkins.

Privacy, although a concern, they believe the ability to hide checkins, checkin, post to twitter etc addresses users concerns.

The last example being Pet food billboards that dispensed samples for a checkin.
For more case studies hit: http://www.Foursquare.com/businesses

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How Social Is Your Business? #iStrategy #mashable

To start off the day Frederick Townes from Mashable asks us How Social Is Your Business?

The reply for most of us was, “Well, we’re trying.”

The notion that we should fish where the fish are rears it’s head, but to take the analogy further, don’t blast round the lake making your presence known and scaring the fish off. Use the right rod, and be selective. Tailor your marketing and interactions to the environment and the individual.

There’s quickening in the industry and each day, competitors are moving faster to engage, and push the industry even further.

It sounds silly, but we just added social to the front of media, it’s still the same principle, reel or funnel your potential clients into wins. With the recent revolutions, there was a workflow around how they used the services available to us. Facebook to plan, twitter to co-ordinate, YouTube to share results.

For us, as content strategist, being aware of all the channels, and their benefits is paramount to leverage the platform’s ability to share our content, and or engage with clients/prospects.

Frederic reiterated – and I’m not tired of the message:

” it’s not enough to just be present, you need to engage, leverage social media. ”

Optimising a campaign for a service like social bookmarks or flickr and broadcasting to them is quite different from how you engage in Facebook.

Brian Solis has a great slide segmenting the services, networks, and web today.

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www.theconversationprism.com

Drinking from the fire-hose was an issue even in old media.
Once working in these areas, it’s hard to filter out the noise, and for that matter stand out.

Digesting what’s relevant, and acting on it will be our new dilemma. The luxury of being able to “structure a response” , “run that by legal” is gone. The opportunity cost of not responding realtime is rising, and with new tools developing, we will have a dollar value to this.

Structuring internally, and empowering individuals to act and engage in social media will be our trial. And from discussions today, it’s a lot easier for startups and small brands, where the CEO tweets, and internal silos are minimal.

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Here’s the full deck with some great #infographics and data. http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/iStrategyConference/istrategy-ams-2011-frede…

Understanding Social Media’s Soft Points #iStrategy #ecademy

Penny Power from ecademy, as she puts it between us and happy hour, showed some insights into the extent to which – in social networks and social media – businesses and personally we need to develop a personality and express it.

Can businesses really care about the person, not just their wallets?

Often in today’s society we are perhaps too focused on ROI. 

Focusing on solving a clients pain point, addressing a communities problem is far better than selling specifications.

The line of personal vs. business posts is for each to set, yet adding this is often an icebreaker to a lead, or to develop a friendship / peer network to bounce ideas with.

So were back to addressing all of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Both in our organisations and with our clients. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs 

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It’s interesting that there’s underlying theme from today.

An organisation that understands core values, has a true shared vision and brand, and works together as a community – will outperform in social media.

– less throwing out pretty brochures – more “hey buddy, this could help you! I recommend it.