Posted by: Joseph S. Lima | May 25, 2010

The Many Facets of Community and Social Management

May has sure turned out to be a busy month.  I have made the effort to go to more face-to-face events and it has been wonderful.  Met a lot of interesting people, captured new information and trends and exchanged a boatload of ideas.  Rock on!

I must say the one “event” I cannot miss are the Community Roundtable lunches, the CRLive, which I mentioned in my last post (check out the most recent tweets here).   There are many reasons why I can’t wait for the Friday when the lunch is scheduled; there is always yummy food (Flatbread Company, Summer Shack, John Harvard’s) of course, the endless references to bacon and the most importantly, the people.

As you know by now gentle-reader-of-this-humble-blog, social is much more than being active on Facebook, Twitter, et al.   It is about making connections, some quite deep, most less so, yet all are important.  I would argue that many people confuse  pure “social friendships” (i.e. only have interacted with someone online) with “deep friendships” (interact with people online and offline, may have know each other a long time, kindred spirits, etc).  I know I have found myself so excited to meet a famous online person only to be disappointed by the reaction.  The nature of the technology has blurred the line of what it means and what is required to be considered a friend, a follower, an advocate.  Therein lies a challenge for marketers; how to acquire and excite large groups of people while managing the expectations of those people when it comes to the level of engagements they should expect. Part of the answer is to know what you want to get out of the conversation so that you can develop a logical strategy. Another part of the answer is to know what skills are needed to execute the strategy.

There is a difference between using social media to build awareness, create demand for a product or service, provide customer support and so on AND using social tools to build a community of deeply engaged users and advocates who are carrying on multiple conversations at the same time.  There is also a difference in the ideal skill set required to manage both social marketing programs and managing a community.  I say ideal because most companies are relying upon small teams or even individuals to do it all.

Rachel Happe from the Community Roundtable recently recorded a podcast on this subject, which is available on Voce Communications.  Here are some takeaways:

The orientation is different between social media and community management –

  • Social media is used to build awareness – content based
  • Community management is about building deeper relationship
  • Social media manager is a hub of the hub/spoke
  • Community management is about developing and fostering a network of relationships

There are operational differences –

  • Community manager is spending time to have more interactions and guide community to an end goal
  • The Social media manager may be good at building social content but may not be good at building relationships
  • Social media manager may lots of friends/followers with thin relationships
  • Community management – the complexity of product requires deeper relationships, not just getting people to buy but to get them to advocate for the brand

The question was posed as to what should a CMO look for in a person. Some characteristics include:

  • Social media manager has to understand trends, is good at content creation, being accessible, being human for conversation
  • Community manager looks and feels different, listens, draw other people out, not always the center of the party, make sure other people are making connections.

As I said earlier, there is no reason that one person can handle both roles so long as the internal and external expectations are clearly articulated.   We are still early in the development of socially based marketing, communication, product development, and customer service roles.   In time, organizations will be in a better position to define roles and responsibilities.

Does your organization have one person or multiple people covering both roles?

Posted by: Joseph S. Lima | April 30, 2010

Getting Back into the Groove

Hello occasional readers! It is your friendly occasional blogger, still kicking.  I seem to be writing around holidays or events (St. Patrick’s Day and the Kentucky Derby… and why I enjoy the Derby is another story for another time).  Many good things have been occurring on my end and this poor blog has taken a back seat.  A big project is complete and I am antsy to start writing again.  Here we go…

Using WordPress for websites: I use for my blog as it was a good and economical way to start a blog.  Lately I find myself wanting a more customized look, domain, etc so I will be making the plunge shortly.  One problem.  I am a WordPress newbie in terms of designing and customizing my theme.  In typical “Joe” fashion I have been reading up on WordPress and recently attended the Boston WordPress Meetup (meeting minutes can be found on their site).  Great event, well attended and very informative.  I saw the appeal of using WordPress to power a website and I will be doing more tinkering to determine if it can be used by the groups where I am a volunteer.

Facebook Privacy:  Ahh Facebook.  Love them or hate them we all have to deal with them.  Two recent articles demonstrate how Facebook is pushing individuals, companies, marketers headlong to the social web.   The first article (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2010) talks about Facebook’s announcement of the Like button, a free method for websites to allow their readers to flag connect and have appear in their News Feed. In theory traffic will flow to and from Facebook and the sites that use the Like button. Companies will also begin to learn more specific details about individuals allowing them to develop more targeted campaigns. Although Facebook has stated they have no plans to divulge personal data and that they would increase their privacy policies, their actions say something different. For example the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a timeline of the changes in Facebook’s privacy policy. The amount of information being aggregated by Facebook is a goldmine and open to abuse. The more people share the better companies can target advertising yet increase the advertising and people will (may?) start to tighten their privacy settings and the amount of information they share. It would be wise for anyone using social networks to keep in mind that policies and norms can change at a moment’s notice, which could impact your activities or business.

Apple iAd:  Speaking of advertising, this article in the Wall Street Journal (April 29, 2010) about Apple’s plans for mobile advertising piqued my interest.  Mobile anything will be growing exponentially in the years to come as smart phones become more powerful and ubiquitous.  In true Apple fashion, the company is asking for large fees and creative control over the creative aspects of campaigns, at least the intial campaigns.   With 85 million iPhone and iPod Touch in circulation Apple, for now, can ask and get their terms.  It is another example of companies having to address mobile as a distinct but complimentary component of their marketing strategy and execution.

Upcoming events: I am planning on attending these events and sharing what I learn.

  • Social Media Breakfast Boston #17 – I am real excited about the next SMB event and not just because it will be held at Communispace’s offices in Watertown.   The speakers will be excellent and I will have a chance to catch up with folks.  Follow this link to learn more and register.
  • The Community Roundtable, CRLive! – The Community Roundtable is a group of community managers/practitioners and like minded individuals. Jim Storer and Rachel Happe organize a lunch at a Boston area eatery so that people can get together, network and discuss community/social media topics. I have met great people and have had wonderful conversations. Go to the Community Roundtable Eventbrite page to check out the schedule of upcoming lunches.

That is all for now.  Have a great weekend and until next time be well.

Posted by: Joseph S. Lima | March 17, 2010

Can you tell me who has done this social media thing already?

Ok, ok. so it is a long title that probably breaks all the “blogging norms”. Oh well. I think it is a better title than, “Social Marketing Case Studies”. Or maybe not.

Anyway, I wanted to point you to some resources where you can find relevant examples of social media use in case someone asks, “who has done this social media thing before?”.

The first site is still in beta and it is called Case Studies Online. The site creator, Tod Maffin, has created a nifty site that will eventually allow people to search for case studies by demographics, by industry and so on. As I said the site is still gathering relevant examples so feel free to submit one if you think it is worthwhile.

Another useful resource comes courtesy of Chris Brogan. He has been bookmarking case studies and sharing them on his Delicious account

Finally, I am going to plug my own case study list on Delicious These are just the tip of the case study iceberg that is out there. You probably see wonderful examples every day and never think to share them with others. That is my challenge to you. Thank the people or organizations who are using the social web to its fullest. Share them with your friends and co-workers. The more people learn about what is possible the more growth and innovation will spread.

Do you have an example of social media goodness to share or a resource that others can benefit from?

Posted by: Joseph S. Lima | March 15, 2010

Feeling like Rip van Winkle

Yawn.  Stretch. Sigh. Scratch, scratch.   Hmmm, what day is it?  Why are all of the clocks are all out of whack.  How many unread posts are in this reader??? SXSW is in full swing? Huh?

This is how I feel lately.  It has been weeks since I last looked at my Google Reader or paid much attention to Twitter.  I blame the Winter Olympics.  My oldest daughter (who in fact is not that old) wanted to watch some of the competition every night.  So I got sucked right into the events, even after she went to bed.  Then this, that and the other thing kept popping up, you know, Life.  My social media interest took a back seat to everything else and I now feel like Rip van Winkle waking up from a long sleep.

I have a confession to make. I don’t feel like I have missed much. Heresy! Burn him at the stake! Seriously, I don’t feel any different.  Many interesting events have come and gone (like TED) and tons of amazing conversations are taking place right now. I have read some posts, sent some tweets, checked out some new FB fan pages and blogs.  Yet the feeling that I had to read everything or I would be out of the loop is not there anymore.  Wonderfully liberating.

Which brings me to a little secret I want to share with marketers, business owners or anyone who expects social marketing to radically change their project.  A lot of people are like me.  Despite the research that says people are increasing their time on line and on social networks in the aggregate, I think that people are very choosy where and with whom they spend that time.  The trendy phrase is “curation”.

For people looking to social marketing as the silver bullet, curation is an important concept to remember.  Just because you have X number of fans or Y number of followers does not mean that all of these people are fully engaged all of the time.  As the content creator, you have to keep the content creation process humming along without knowing how many of your total followers or fans are even paying attention.  Yes, there are methods to measure and analyze how people are engaging with you. But don’t for a minute assume that everyone is listening at the same time. Do not measure success just in quantity, pay attention to what people are saying and how much time they are spending with your you and your organization.  Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Had some more coffee. Time to jump back into the pool. Hope to see you more soon.

Posted by: Joseph S. Lima | February 3, 2010

Looking ahead to 2010

I have had fits and starts with this blogging thing, which is probably no different than MANY people.  I could rehash all of the reasons why I have not found my groove but I am tired of doing that.   In line with my themes of “Learn-Share-Grow” I have decided to focus my posts around a set of topics while at the same time improving the quality of my writing and blogging skills.

Here is what I am thinking/planning.  There will be a new topic every month or so during which time I will aggregate as many posts, blogs, case studies and resources and attempt to distill them into practical tips that a small business owner or organization could could use right away.  Topics include:

  • Strategy Development
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Direct Marketing
  • PR/Communications
  • Sales use of social data
  • Online branding – both personal and professional
  • What does the sales funnel of the future look like?

The last topic is something that has been bouncing around in my head for awhile.  Many of us are familiar with the traditional sales funnel and how marketing influences said funnel.   As the traditional customer-company relationships are being turned upside down, I wonder what form the future model will take.  I am quite certain that the answer is already out there.  So I am going to find it for you.

Are there any marketing or business topics you would like learn about in 2010?

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