Archive for March, 2007

Social Media: Active Listening

March 29, 2007

Social Media marketers use the term Active Listening to express how every Social Media Campaign should begin, and to describe an important element in how every Social Media campaign should continue. Active Listening is an important part of the beginning of any relationship, especially when it’s a developing corporate relationship, with the Social Media community.

An organization needs to know what is being said in the conversation going on in the blogosphere, about their company, before they begin a strategy involving Social Media marketing, but they also need to absorb all they can as to how Social Media works. An understanding of the new Social ways of communicating, how to create interaction, and how to build community, are the foundation on which to build a corporate Social Media marketing plan.

Here are 10 things you should be monitoring from Cameron Olthuis:”Pronet.

1 Company name
2 Company URL
3 Public facing figures
4 Product names
5 Product URLs
6 The industry “hang outs”
7 Employee activity/blogs
8 Conversations
9 Brand image
10 Competitors

Thank you Cameron for your “Active Listening List”.

Until next time, thanks for the read. I’m off to play with our new Border Collie puppy. Her name is Sophie, and she is cute! Time to hide our good shoes.

Power to the People…Social Media


Social Media’s Sucker-Punch

March 22, 2007

Social Media’s Sucker-Punch from Ketchum Report

Recently Ketchum, an 84-year-old PR firm, commissioned a report on media usage, from USC Annenberg, School for communication. Ray Kotcher, Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Ketchum, states “The report is a survey that examines what gaps might exist between what communicators are doing to share information, and what consumers really pay attention to in their search for information.”

Thanks to Gurgle, one of our blog readers, we now have the URL for this report Thank you Gurgle for your contribution.

It was very interesting to see what traditional media firms have to say about Social Media. All in all it’s a thorough report with great information, about all segments of media usage. But I did have a bone to pick with the overall tone as it relates to Social Media.

The report starts out by exploring Media Myths: Six Media Fictions. Myth number one…Traditional Media is dead.

First, in all my study and general reading on Social Media, I’ve never heard anybody say that Traditional Media is dead. The statistics they so professionally show are exactly what one would expect at this early stage in this emerging market, and for 10 to 15 years into the future. I haven’t read or heard ANYONE say that Traditional Media is dead.

I’m astonished…how can anybody even ask a question like that at this stage of Social Media’s development? We’re only, at the most, two years into its growth, for heaven sakes.

When I see Ray Kotcher in his opening remarks, and the study use words such as “myths”, “new choices complicate”, and “media fictions”, along with the general tone of each myths summary, it makes me feel manipulated. Just using those words colors the perception of the reader, and brings into question the integrity and validity of the message.

A relevance of Social Media study SHOULD be looking at two elements of Social Media for a fair evaluation of its growth, and its importance as communication medium:

ÿ Growth compared with any other media over a specified time frame, and
ÿ How effective Social Media is as a communication medium compared to Traditional Media.

If one looks at the statistics of growth for a specific communications medium, including newspapers, radio, television (traditional media), and the internet, email, business web sites, blogs, podcasts, and search engines (new media), traditional media hasn’t come close to equaling the growth rate of the internet, email and business web sites. But wait a minute; Social Media’s adoption rate is 3 times that of ANY of these mediums, new or traditional.

So in a fair comparison, New Media shows an incredible growth rate, a rate of growth that no other media can claim.

Why is this? The medium itself is a far more effective medium for communication of any kind, and as people become aware of this new way to interact and communicate with a responsive, socially conscious company, they will demand a socially responsible new experience, that may or may not include traditional media.

Social Media is communication with integrity!

I have no problem with PR’s traditional tools and methods for putting the facts out to the public, in press releases and the like, making sure that the company’s side of the issues are heard, and the good news gets out. This seems ethical, and without the hype and manipulation of broadcast media.

At this point in time there is room and need for everyone at the table. I have no quarrel with Social Media’s ranking at this early stage; I just have a problem with any attempt to marginalize Social Media’s importance, and to distort the future of Social Media.

Power to the People…Social Media

Relationship Marketing the New Old

March 14, 2007

I just recently reread “Relationship Marketing” written by Regis McKenna, published back in 1990, and found it to be very in touch with today, for such an old book. In these fast-changing times, it’s absolutely ancient. However it still speaks with a strong voice that resonates within the Social Media context. Social Media is an extension of the early concepts of Relationship Marketing.

If Relationship Marketing is the starting point for a dynamic change in the way marketing is done, then Social Media is the vehicle or medium to transport us to Relationship Marketing’s potential.

Back in 1990 Regis McKenna said, “We are witnessing the obsolescence of advertising. In the old model of marketing, it made sense as part of the whole formula: you sell mass produced goods to a mass market through mass media. Marketing’s job was to use advertising to deliver a message to the consumer in a one-way communication.”

He goes on to say “In a time of exploding choice and unpredictable change, marketing-the “new” marketing-is the answer. And that means marketing that finds a way to integrate the customer into the company, to create and sustain a relationship between the company and the customer.”

Relationship Marketing has been searching for the tools to integrate the customer into the company, and to create the lasting relationship to which Regis refers. Social Media offers the two-way communication needed to begin this shift away from a restrictive, cold impersonal, one-sided message, to a mutual conversation, that benefits both the company and the consumer.

Regis McKenna has a new book out titled “Total Access”, published by Harvard Business School Press, or check him out at

I just started reading Seth Godin’s book, “Small Is The New Big”, so I’ll comment on that book as I read it. So far it’s great. Interesting ideas and information mixed with humor and insight.

I also wanted to mention a very good PR and New Media blog that I just recently came across, written by Kami Huyse

Until next time…thanks for the read.

Power to the People…Social Media

Social Media, Turning a Negative into a Positive

March 7, 2007

At its core Social Media is about participation, involvement, and listening. As I have said before, Social Media is communication with integrity. It’s a two-way conversation, void of hype and manipulation.

Corporations in general are reluctant to embrace a new medium that is so open and transparent, a medium that encourages an exchange of ideas and attitudes. The two questions that always seem to come-up are, what if we have negative feedback, from this new Social openness and transparency, and how would we handle it?

Until recently, I have always answered, that the conversation about your company is going on right now in the blogosphere. You have the opportunity to engage in the conversation and possibly influence the perception of the Social Media community, or ignore the whole thing, and pretend that negative comments and attitudes will have no effect on the communities overall perception of your company.

Not too long ago, I read a blog that referred to a panel of Social Media experts at the Frost and Sullivan’s Sales and Marketing Conference in Phoenix last January 23rd. That blog mentioned a comment that Angela Vargo, Southwest Airlines, Sr. Specialist Business Development (Blog Program Manager) made regarding this very subject of negative comments on a corporate blog or podcast. She said that “Negative is the new Positive”

Angela gave a case study of how public grievances against Southwest are aired on the blog. Southwest listens, acknowledges and attempts to take care of the problem in public, demonstrating to the world that they value their customers, their ideas, and even their problems.

Angela and Southwest Airlines have given us a great example of Social Media at its best, not sticking their heads in the sand, when it comes to negative attitudes and comments, but instead taking the high-road, giving voice to the consumer, acknowledging their concerns, and showing they actually care. Turning a negative into a positive!

This Social Media strategy builds confidence and trust in a company, building brand through the consumer experience of a responsive company that cares about them, instead of the all too common and ineffective strategy of the hype and manipulation of traditional media, that hold the consumer at arms length.

Can Social Media actually take a negative and turn it into a positive? What do you think? Is it still too big a risk for a corporation to take, being so open and transparent?

Until next week…thanks for the read!

Power to the People…Social Media