Archive for the ‘social media’ Tag

User Generated Content – The Future of Media is Here

I just got an email from my aunt. The email asked me to go to YouTube and watch my young cousin’s new stop motion movie. Besides being a little too centered on violence for my taste, I think he did a pretty good job for his first film.

When I watched it, what came to my mind was that he probably had more fun and got more enjoyment out of making that video than he would have gotten from a week of watching TV. I think one of the fundamental desires of humans is the desire to be creators. It is a powerful drive that has given rise to art and empire alike. Organizations that figure out how to encourage and empower people to be creators as part of their marketing and PR will be harnessing a power much greater than the power of the best traditional marketing campaign.

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3 Things I took away from Podcamp Seattle

I usually hate using terms like “take away”, but I really did take a lot away from the recent Podcamp Seattle.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with podcamps, go to http://podcamp.pbwiki.com/PodcampSeattle.Three of the things I took away are:

1. a new appreciation of tagging. All of the attendees were given small labels and a pen and were told to tag our fellow attendees. It really revealed to me the social importance of tags and tagging.

2. a renewed hope for the future of marketing. Among some of the great sessions were some really good ones on social media and marketing. Eric Weaver and Patrick Byers gave two of my favorite sessions. Eric Weaver, of Edelman Digital, spoke about the need for organizations to embrace the social media space and gave some great direction for how to start.

Patrick Byers, of Outsource Marketing, gave a presentation all about social media marketing for social good. Through great examples of people changing the world, Byers showed how doing the right thing is not only right, but a good business move as well. Check out Patrick’s slideshow here.

3. new connections with real people. Just like the real power of social technologies, the real power of Podcamp Seattle could be found in the connections that people were making with each other. To me, that is what social media is all about. I met a lot of great people who are doing great things.

Non-Profit Marketing and Social Technologies: Who’s doing it well?

I am a firm believer in the power of social technologies like blogs, podcasts, Twitter, etc., to help organizations like non-profits tell their stories to the world.  Businesses have lead the way into the world of social technologies and marketing.  Where are the non-profits?  Who is out there using these new technologies to connect with their stakeholders?  A couple of examples I know of are Epic Change and their use of Twitter, YouTube, and blogs and The Nature Conservancy‘s use of podcasting. What organizations do you know of that are using social technologies well? What seems to be working and what isn’t?

Social Media and Non-Profits: How can organizations find their human voice?

I had the opportunity to meet with an outstanding organization yesterday to talk about social media.  This organization is a faith-based group that is focused on social justice and eliminating poverty.  They already have a rather large presence in the world of traditional print media and are looking to expand into the world of social media.  The group has a lot of great ideas to use social media to affect social change while simultaneously accomplishing their marketing goals.

While the ideas shared in the meeting for user-generated content and social media organizing were great, I did walk away from the meeting with a concern for how organizations such as theirs can learn to, well, forget they are organizations.  I agree whole heartedly with the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto that, if you want your communications to succeed, they must be spoken in a human voice. And, according to the book, “They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.” This is definitely a hard thing for organizations to do when they have so much concern about brand management and message control. Unfortunately, the time is here when message control and brand management can no longer be done through top-down mechanisms—that is as long as the organization wishes to remain relevant. Organizations must let their people be people and be heard.

So, how does an organization empower its people to speak to the world? First, it must give more than permission to speak…it must encourage it. An organization with members that are fully engaged in the mission is a much more attractive organization than one that appears to be no more than an institution with employees. If you want active constituents, you had better start in your own office.

Second, the organization must forget about controlling what is said and concentrate on authentically living out its mission. Authenticity should take care of the messiness of open communication. If this seems unreasonable, the problem is with authenticity and transparency, not with communication or message.

Finally, the organization has to forget about how this communication will fit into its business plan or how it will be measured. It has to trust that authentic communication will benefit the organization in ways that can not be measured. Organizations that continue conducting their marketing and PR in the new networked world as if the old rules of marketing still apply are going to be in for a healthy dose of irrelevancy really soon.

I am hopeful that the organization that I met with will do great things with their social media ventures. I am sure they will experience a lot of successes along with the obligatory educational failures that come with such experimentation. My hope is that some of those successes will come in the form of open, human communication from the organization.

Social Media and Brand Identity – Can you control the message?

I just read a blog entry by Dana Theus of Magus Consulting called “Organizational Identity in the Age of Social Media”. In the entry, Theus discusses the possible negative implications that can arise out of an organizations inability to control its message.

I think Theus hits the nail on the head when she says, “But here’s the catch: Marketers don’t run most of the parts of the organization that will be carrying the organizational identity forward in the new world…”. The thought that I had when reading the post was this: If organizations continue to look to the marketing and PR department to craft and maintain an image for the organization, they are going to face a tremendous struggle in the increasingly uncontrollable world of social media PR. However, if an organization views the real work of brand maintenance as an organization-wide priority and responsibility, the lack of control will be, while not a non-issue, at least less of an issue.

New Media, Social Marketing, and Value-driven Organizations — My Senior Study at Goddard College.

There is a great deal of conversation and experimentation these days in the world of new media marketing and social marketing.  From blogging to podcasts to Second Life, companies and organizations are increasingly using new, conversational tools to tell their stories.  For my senior study at Goddard College, I will be looking at the ways that these tools can be used by value-driven organizations, such as non-profits, to perform their marketing and public relations in a more socially responsible way.

Over the course of this year, I will use this blog to document my studies and explore the questions I will be writing about for my senior study.  Also, I will produce a podcast every three weeks on the subject of new media and social marketing for value-driven organizations.  The podcast will include interviews with thought leaders in the fields of new media and marketing, as well as people in the world of value-driven organizations.  You can subscribe to the podcast by clicking here.