February 28, 2008
I'm pleased to report that the job market for social media is taking off. A post in VisInsights indicated that more companies are starting to put together job description for social media types.
It's encouraging to see that organizations are not only taking social media seriously by apportioning budgets for programs, but they're also staffing against them. Here's some visual evidence:
One of the classic knee-jerk responses to instituting a social media program is "my staff is already swamped with work, they can't take on something else." It looks like that complaint has been met with the retort courteous, "Then hire someone new."
What should be particularly interesting is to see how many of these jobs end up being cross-functional. That is, to date, it's been impossible to compartmentalize social media: it seems to have parts of PR, advertising, brand management, customer service, employee communications and product development, to name a few. If I had an option, I'd go for the job that allowed social media to seep into / tap into all of those areas.
February 25, 2008
As a former classical studies major, I’m fascinated with etymology, the study of linguistics. The word that is the focus of so many marketingbooks – conversation – has its origins in the Latin word conversari, which means "to dwell, to keep company with." And this is entirely appropriate in the name of social media marketing, since having conversations requires spending time with people – namely, customers.
Too often in B2B marketing, we see the definition of the more personal "customer" devolve into the distant and cold "decision maker." Decision makers are relegated to the sales cycle, engaged in research and in need of information and education. The prevalent attitude seems to be that marketers develop the message and decide which information to share with decision makers. This is command and control, with unidirectional messaging at its core.
Is it any wonder then why B2B companies are slow to adopt social media as a marketing channel? It's not that B2B customers are steering clear of social media. On the contrary, they use blogs, message boards, podcasts and online communities in their research for business solutions as well as in their personal lives. But B2B marketers don’t seem to be aware of – or worse – care about conversations that are taking place within the social media space about their brands.
Brands are being discussed, both positively and negatively; now marketers can follow the conversations and join in. Ignoring it won’t make the problem dissipate; indeed, businesses that continue to put off the decision to join the conversations will find themselves at a disadvantage.
But – to return to our etymology lesson – marketers need to spend time with their prospects and begin to embrace bidirectional conversation. A simple way to start is to listen. Keep listening. And listen some more. Take the time to explore the sites. Look around. Follow the conversations with RSS feeds.
Above all, resist the temptation to jump in until you understand the context. Businesses that attempt to harness the power of social networks or new media sites without realizing the generally accepted etiquette will find themselves unwelcome. It is only by listening and learning that B2B marketers will be able to start talking with their customers.
Other categories include Celebrities, Cute, Design, Fashion, Gaming, Green, Mac, News, Photography, Oddities, Politics, Science, Small Business, Sports, and Tech.
And I'm pleased to say that The Social Media Marketing Blog is listed on the Social Media Alltop page. There are too many great sites to mention (and I don't want to offend anyone by accidentally leaving their name off), so take a look for yourself; you won't be disappointed.
Overall, Alltop is a worthy site. The design is clean - almost a minimalist version of a Netvibes page - and the sites they've selected contain a healthy combination of the usual suspects and sites that are new to me. There's almost too much to explore here!
I'm looking forward to watching this effort continue, as I know Guy does some great stuff.
Do you have any favorite sites that are listed on Alltop? I'd love to know which ones they are.
February 20, 2008
Call them "Gen Y," "Millennials," "Echo Boomers," or whatever you want - just be sure you call them, because they've got something to say.
I was listening to episode 79 of HBR Ideacast, Managing Generation Y, in which Tammy Erickson, who writes the Across the Ages column for the Harvard Business Review, was interviewed. As I was listening, I realized that in addition to the baby boomers, this is a generation that is potentially going to change the way you're doing business - or at least thinking about doing business. There are implications to marketing, internal communications, social media, and organizational behavior here.
In the podcast, they referred to the "self-assured, overly emotive, text messaging" generation who are "happy to tackle the big jobs, and they'll do it with confidence." This should be welcome news to any manager's ears, but I think this should be tempered with an acute awareness of the idiosyncratic traits that this generation brings with them. Let's look at them one by one: Impatience/Immediacy I've often said that this is the generation that wants to be an intern on Monday and the CEO by Friday. I admire that kind of drive, but I also wrinkle my nose at the hubris that accompanies it; there seems to be a lack of willingness to put in the time and gain the experience necessary for such a role.
According to the Erickson, this is deeper than just youthful impatience; she says they're likely be impatient for their entire lives. She posits that during their formative years, Gen Y has been bombarded with inexplicable, sudden and tragic events such as 9/11, Columbine and Virginia Tech - and that they've decided that they need to live life now.
I think it goes a little deeper than that (perhaps she was limited in time on the show). Look at the way the cable news networks have evolved over the last 10-15 years. Whether it's padding their daytime programming with Iraq war I or II, the O.J. Simpson chase & trial, or the latest celebrity overdose, all of the news outlets are catering to a need (?) for more information, now. When you take this institutionalized view of news, information and service, it's not too much of a stretch to think that Gen Y is going to expect fast results in the workplace.
But at the same time, I think we need to keep in mind that this desire for results and action may come at a price: the inability to think strategically. Granted, there are very few (if any) strategic planners who are 20-somethings. But if they have this nurtured aversion to longer-term thinking, there may be trouble ahead.
Lesson: harness the impatience and drive and turn it into an opportunity to let loose their unbridled energy on training in strategic marketing.
Let Me Tell You What I Think By and large, this generation has grown up in a peer to peer world, where they're used to openly sharing ideas and not being shy about saying what they think. Odds are that in the workplace, if they have an idea that will benefit you, they'll share it - with managers, directors, and even CEOs.
Lesson: tap into this reservoir of creativity and fresh perspective and get their input on as many facets of your business as possible.
Technology This is the generation that€ was raised on text messaging. They look up on email as an outmoded style of communication. To them text messaging is personal, immediate, and it gets results. They can't understand why it takes us 16 emails deep in a chain to come up with a time to schedule a conference call. To them, it's a no-brainer: text, boom, done.
In addition, TiVo, Facebook and other technologies lead them to doing things on their own time. We've been used to structure & scheduling, while they do things when time allows them to do so. Asynchronous behavior may become more prevalent.
Lesson: be open to trying out IM or presence applications in our day-to-day lives, with internal communications, and possibly with marketing.
Parents' Roles Gen Y likes their parents; not surprising when these "helicopter parents" are involved in many aspects of their children's lives. While this can be incredibly annoying (and these kinds of parents should ease off, lest they tarnish their kids' reputations in the workforce), it does have one positive side effect: Gen Y has great working relationships with Boomers in the workplace.
Lesson: use this natural attraction to create strong mentoring programs between Boomers & Gen Y-ers, to share knowledge.
There is no doubt that this generation will have a huge impact on the world. They're certainly ready for us. But are we ready for them? What do you think? How have you experienced Gen Y in the workplace, either as a Boomer, a Gen X-er, or a Gen Y-er yourself? And what do you think the answers are?
February 17, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to a new web app that I think is going to be a major force in the digital/social media/web video space this year. It leverages web video and consumer-generated content, but in a new and different way that doesn't require much in the way of new content development. They call it Overlay.tv. I call it fully interactive and annotated video that has the power to change the way advertisers think about online video.
You're probably familiar with Viddler, where you can make comments in the flow/context of a video. But that's only text and it only works if the original video appears on Viddler.
The beauty of Overlay is that you can comment, call out products, make video & iconographic comments, link to other sites, and more (these are called "overlays") that work directly on top of videos from pretty much any video sharing site. Because Overlay.tv allows viewers to rate overlays, the creator can see what works and what doesn't. Bottom line: using existing videos, overlayers can call out what matters to them. Overlay.tv puts the power of context & relevance into the hands of its users, which will drive attention to things they want to highlight.
But simply telling you about it isn't going to convince you of how cool this app is; take a look at a video that my friend Mitch Joel created (which at last count was closing in on 4,000 views on YouTube since Wednesday). Take I look at how I added to it:
While I was watching the demo of the product by Rob Lane, CEO of Overlay.tv, I jotted down a note:
Advertising that's contextually relevant AND part of the content.
This may very well be the solution to the pre-roll spots that advertisers have been looking for when it comes to online video. We all know that it's a pain to sit through a 15-second spot (let alone a 30-second spot) before a 2-minute video. But what's an advertiser to do? Answer: go where the people want you to go.
I understand that there are opportunities for brands to work with Overlay.tv, to offer their products or custom-made fun items to be used in overlays, skin videos and more. And in addition, they may be privy to statistics around views, ratings, click-throughs, purchases and other interactions with overlays. I could even envision brands or agencies offering content that people can experiment with.
While Firebrand positions itself as a repository of great ads, Overlay is more of a portable play that lets people make the content their own. And when you consider the ability to bake in affiliate programs to the program, it could be a huge win for Overlay members as well.
February 10, 2008
Well, it's here! We "ooficially" kicked off My ooVoo Day With... today at noon with the first chat session with George Parker. There are a few additional slots available and I'm working on adding a couple of last-minute hosts that you might want to check out.
And thanks to a suggestion from Bryan Person, who noted that it was difficult to see who was available on a particular date without checking out each host, I've created this Google Calendar as an easy reference. Please be sure to share it:
If you haven't done so yet, please take a moment to download ooVoo over at the My ooVoo Day With site and sign up for some sessions. I hope you'll be as pleased with your experience as I've been hearing from others.
February 5, 2008
I've been a little distracted lately. Not because of Twitter, not because of my otherinterests, but because of a very complex and detailed project I've been working on at crayon. I'm very excited about it and happy to tell you about it now that it has launched.
To say that this project has been my life lately is an understatement. My colleagues know it. My friends sense it. And my family feels it - and I thank them for their amazing patience and support. But in the end, I think we've got the makings of a fairly unique project that's bringing together bloggers/podcasters/authors and their respective communities like never before - all in the name of Conversation .
Let me explain. The project I've been working on is for ooVoo , a crayon client that does video chat - but more than just any video chat. As you can see, it allows up to 6 people to talk at once. Plus with the latest version, you can actually record video conversations. I won't get into all of the details here. If you want to know more, just check out some tutorials & stuff on ooVoo's site.
Our goal with ooVoo is to help build awareness - they're a fairly young startup - and introduce people to what they can do. So we came up with a pretty interesting way for bloggers & podcasters to connect with their communities, face to face. We're calling it "My ooVoo Day With..." and we've got 23 bloggers participating - the list includes:
As you can imagine, these are busy people who have little time in general. Well, ooVoo is thanking them by primarily sponsoring the the Frozen Pea Fund, a fund established to support the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign, in honor of blogger, Twitterer and cancer patient Susan Reynolds. A handful of the hosts have selected their own charities for ooVoo to support as well.
But in the end, this is all about conversation - not about ooVoo, mind you, but about whatever these bloggers and their communities want to discuss. ooVoo is just the enabler. In fact, we're determined to see ooVoo become the "unooficial" sponsor of conversation.
So, how does this work? Check it out:
So, all you have to do is go over to My ooVoo Day With..., download the software (for Mac or PC - both are still in beta), and pick the blogger of your choice. You can sign up for a single session with any of them and chat with them about whatever they've got scheduled.
February 4, 2008
I've got a social media lesson for getting your blog posts noticed: it comes down to timing & technique.
Last Friday, the early-morning news broke about Microsoft's offer to buy Yahoo. You know the story by now. But I first caught wind of it on Twitter, then quickly found the news on the Wall Street Journal Online.
I was lucky enough to be up and working at the time - about 6:30 or so - and I quickly threw together a post that combined visual humor with a little analysis. With Google's ability to quickly index blog posts, I found that my post consistently ranked in the top 5 search results for "Microhoo" on Friday.
February 1, 2008
Or MicroHoo. Whatever. It's not long before we see Googlezon, I'm sure.
Anyway, it occurred to me that Steve Ballmer's song & dance performance from his Microsoft keynote address left a vague recollection in my mind. I wondered where I had seen that kind of enthusiasm, that kind of stage presence, that kind of heavy brow.
The format was friendly and inviting, very much in the spirit of social media. We mixed with each other freely, connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. And we were asked a couple of questions, which we debated in small groups:
Five years from now, will "Web 2.0" (aka social media) sites be used more for traffic or building relationships?
Should companies get involved in social media now, or wait it out?
Now, aside from the sheer absurdity of thinking we'll be able to predict what the Web and marketing will look like in 5 years, it was telling that the organizers are thinking of social media in terms of traffic rather than relationship building. To anyone who is even remotely familiar with social media right now, it's clear that the social aspect (aka relationships, engagement, etc.) is at the core.
Our answers were tallied and it was interesting to see how each question resulted in a 3:1 split in favor of social media:
75% thought Web 2.0 sites would be relationship-centric
75% thought companies should get involved now
While I'm encouraged to see a majority support some of the basics behind social media, I'm concerned about that other 25%. There's really no excuse not to be involved in social media right now, even if it's about listening. But the alarming one was that they think that in 5 years traffic is going to be the metric that's central to social media. It's not even central now.
Earlier this week, I asked my Twitter followers if web site traffic even mattered for social media. Here are some of the responses:
to 99% of the people that will be paying you these days it does. (Tom Biro)
I've heard a lot of interesting thing about volume of posts and things like sentiment extraction and comment clustering (Rachel Happe)
I think it's worth looking at. But the real # that should matter is how many people are truly engaged? (Chris Wilson)
Comscore and Nielsen have metrics such as visits/minutes spent on the site per user.'engagement' is dependent on the context tho (Jamie Nathan)
And in an email exchange, Chris Brogan made the point that because so much of social media is distributed and disaggregated, we don't get the full impact of measurement - some people might be reading your feed on Facebook or never leave their RSS reader, or share your content via email.
It's definitely a challenge for social media - the notion that content should be open and distributed is in direct juxtaposition to most of our current notions about measurement. But where we are able to measure, I think my Twitter peeps have it right - it's much more about engagement and interaction than it is about traffic.
When are the other 25% of marketers going to realize that?
At Ford, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital &
Multimedia Communications Manager. He is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company, from blogger
relations to marketing support, customer service to internal communications and more, as social media is being integrated into many
facets of Ford business.
Prior to joining Ford, Scott served as Consigliere for crayon
and spent a number of years with PJA Advertising + Marketing, a
boutique BtoB agency specializing in health sciences & high tech.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about the intersection of
advertising, marketing and PR at ScottMonty.com and
also writes The Baker Street Blog and cohosts I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, two literary undertakings. Scott
has been featured in hundreds of news and business publications in print and on the web, in nearly dozens of books, and on a variety of
mainstream media, including NBC, NPR, CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and
frequently speaks at industry events.
Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's
Graduate School of Management. He lives in the greater Detroit area with his wife and two young sons, golfs all too infrequently, and
has a hidden talent for voice over work.
Scott speaks on social media at events, seminars and conferences around the world. His topic generally focuses on corporate use of social media, becoming an online spokesperson, and specifically on the progress that Ford has made in the recent past. If you're interested in booking Scott to speak at your event, please click here to submit a speaking request for Ford-related purposes or email me at speaking [AT] this site's URL (if you know what I mean) to send a general email request.. Scott's bio and headshot can be found in the "About Scott" tab above.
I'm Scott. I'm the global head of social media for Ford Motor Company. This is my personal blog, where I share my perspectives on business, technology, communications, marketing and the vast changes in the industry that impact leadership. This blog contains my personal views. My bio is available here and my headshots can be found here.