Information Maven: Greg Meyer

Marketing Strategy, Product Thoughts, Social Networking, Sports

Who won Super Bowl 49 on Social Media?

Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/parksjd/16393969066
Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/parksjd/16393969066

Who won Super Bowl 49 on Social Media?

We all know it now — in Super Bowl 49, The Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots left their bodies on the field as they battled for the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy. While all of metro Seattle is still smarting from the loss, and New England continues to celebrate, I thought it would get my mind off of the game to take a look at the results from the Super Advertising that took place during the Super Game.

$4.4 million was the going rate for this year’s Big Game, so clearly the biggest winner was NBC — the owner of all of that valuable advertising time. And many of the brands that advertised during the game generated a lot of engagement on social media — so I thought it would be interesting to compare the Battle for Super Bowl Attention across a number of different channels for all of the Super Bowl 49 advertisers.

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Customer Development, Life Hacks, Social Networking

As a community manager, how should you be using Twitter?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/2761252333/
photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/

Imagine you are a community manager and today is your first day promoting the brand. How should you use Twitter? You might be overwhelmed with the river of information and wonder what are the “right” answers to questions like these:

  • How often should you tweet? And should you retweet?
  • How do you decide to follow people on Twitter? And should you unfollow?
  • Should you care about your follower to following ratio?
  • Will people share and discuss your content?

The Best Twitter Strategy (doesn’t exist)

I think the best Twitter strategy (and really, the best content strategy overall) for a community uses metrics like these and doesn’t live by them either. It’s important to measure your activity, and you should explain why you are participating in a channel.

Here are three core beliefs I think are important to build community on any channel:

  1. That you should share relevant, interesting content with your community and your industry;
  2. That the best content is sharable by nature because it teaches and informs;
  3. And that you build an ongoing community by writing and sharing that content.

Community=Actions + Beliefs

You can’t build a community on beliefs alone, so here are some tactics that are useful to consider when you are engaging on Twitter and elsewhere. The act of engaging in conversation means that you should do more than just share your own posts or your own news. You should ask questions. You should always respond to conversations, even when they feel difficult to start or to continue. And you should understand that Twitter is a fluid, changing medium.

The “rules” for engagement are changing constantly as well. Here are some ideas to consider to help you build the kind of community you want. Post as much as you want to – and understand that this may drive some people away. Follow as much as you want to do – and understand that the dynamics of Twitter favor a high follower to following ratio. For your next 10 posts, tweet 1 about yourself, 2 about your firm, 4 about your industry, and 1 just for fun.

Be A Human.

When you reinforce your brand message in the style and tone of the communication channel, people come back. And they talk to you. You should talk back to them and engage in real conversation.

So are all of those metrics up top important? Yes, and they are not the only thing you should consider. You should build real relationships offline with people whom you meet online when you building a community on Twitter or elsewhere. That interaction at a conference or an event brings a community to life. In the meantime, share great content and make sure you talk to the people around you (offline and online.)

Agile Marketing, Customer Development, Customer Service, Productivity

What’s a Community Manager’s Secret Weapon?

conversation_community

About 18 months ago I wrote a post on generosity, the secret weapon of a community manager. And since that time one of the best places that has emerged for conversation about Community has been the Facebook Community Manager’s Group.

The conversation above is a great reminder of the power of community, of the obvious (and not-so-obvious) tricks of the trade that allow community-minded people to provide great service to their customers and to maintain their professionalism at the same time.

The suggestions from community managers (and like-minded folks) fall into two main camps:

  • Understanding and communicating with the people involved in a conversation;
  • And having a plan that extends beyond the hair-trigger time of clicking “send” or “post.”

Communication doesn’t involve just making sure the right words are in place; it also includes “listening”, “patience”, and “assuming good intentions.” I’d add to this list “placing yourself in the customer’s shoes” and “trying to look for the solution, not the problem.”

And tactics need to include something beyond what you’re doing at the moment. This group suggested “Planning”, “Work-from-home”, and “Strategy” as important tools in the Community Manager’s toolbelt.

So what’s the secret weapon for a Community Manager, really? The willingness of the community of other community managers to provide advice, friendship, and suggestions.

On Writing, Social Networking

4 ways to get started in social media

I’ve been meeting a lot of people lately who are relatively unfamiliar with social media (except maybe using it for personal use of Facebook or LinkedIn.)  It does feel a little bit strange when you’re getting started to speak to an audience who you’ve never met: you’re worried about saying the wrong thing, not knowing your audience, and saying something that lasts forever.

With those fears in mind, here are four suggestions to get started:

Listen.

Whether you’re paying attention to a hash tag at http://search.twitter.com, reading the tweets of interesting people on Twitter, or simply searching blogs on Google for a title, there’s lots of interesting stuff out there to read.  In fact, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all there is to read.  Picking a few topics to listen and then seeing what people say that resonates with you is a great way to start in social media.  A few resources that will help you are Google Reader (a great way to aggregate RSS feeds if you don’t know what you’re looking for) and Gist (a great way to learn more about the people you find online who are experts in a topic.)

Share.

Now that you’ve gained valuable insight into a topic, share it with your friends, or share it with the world.  Common ways to do this include Retweeting, or sharing a link through Facebook or plain ol’ email.  If you think something is interesting (and you’d like your friends to know why) say so – but don’t feel compelled to overthink your response.  Your main goal in sharing content is to bring interesting and new items about a topic to other people.

Comment.

When you’re comfortable with the idea of Listening and Sharing, start commenting.  This could be as simple as writing a comment on your friend’s Facebook page, or as involved as finding the blog of someone you don’t know and writing them a few sentence comment on a recent post to tell them how you feel.  Authors are publishers too, and they really do want to hear from you (really.)  If you can’t think of how to start, think about how you’d like to be addressed if someone wrote you a quick note telling you about something going on in your life.

Compose.

To paraphrase Dale Chumbley, composing is easy and just like writing email.  The subject of the email becomes the title of the blog; the content or body of the email becomes the content of the post; and the audience just becomes a bit wider than sending your email to one person.  You can start writing today — it’s not hard, and no one expects you to be an expert overnight.  Try writing a blog post and see how it feels — then write some more.  You’ll quickly figure out what sort of a rhythm works for you and how often you should publish, and it’s great when other people read what you’ve written and start the whole cycle again.

What are some ways that you recommend for people to get started in Social Media?

Marketing Strategy, Social Networking

Your Next 10 social media posts: 5 industry-related, 3-business-related, and 2 about you

“For every 10 posts, make 5 about your industry, 3 about your business, and 2 about you”

@TAMcCann at the Agent Reboot conference in Bellevue, WA.

On Wednesday, I attended the Agent Reboot conference in Bellevue, WA.  During his panel discussion, Gist CEO T.A. McCann (disclosure: I work for him) suggested the following axiom, which I think is a great rule to keep in mind when you’re posting online.  I wanted to take a minute to share the way I interpret that quote and how I think about posting online.

Industry Posts (50%)

I work for a company in the tech space (software), and our users are in many different verticals.  So that makes for an interesting discussion of “Industry.”  I think the larger industry we’re in looks like Customer Relationship Management, Loyalty, and Marketing.  But it’s also Customer Support, Market Intelligence, and research.

I maintain lists that help me to track the thought leaders in different spaces: for example, I make sure that I read CRM posts by Brent Leary, Mitch Lieberman, Paul Greenberg, and others.  My goal is to provide thought-provoking, relevant content and to engage with the interesting questions in the larger software (and business field).  It also helps to contribute, either by adding thoughts in the comments or by asking your peers what they think.

Posts about your business (30%)

This category of posts is relatively obvious (help other people learn about your business) but there’s an important point to be gleaned here.  If you answer questions that people have by showing them how your product or service can help them solve that problem, it’s a much more effective message than simply sending out the same marketing message over and over again.  Make the post about your business, but share a relevant point of view that people can use today, and add to the conversation (you can’t control it, but you can shape it.)

Posts about You (20%)

Finally, don’t forget to share some of you in your social media posts.  If you’re a sports fan, tell us what you think.  If you believe in a cause, welcome people to join you.  And if you want to tell someone that you had a particularly good meal and where to find it, don’t shy from that either.

Marketing Strategy, Media Mind, On Writing, Product Thoughts, Social Networking

The 5 Things You Need To Know to Get Started in Social Media in 2010

As this is a “list” time of the year, I thought I would take a minute and share my thoughts about how to get started in Social Media in 2010.  I’ve been talking to a lot of people about this topic recently and there’s a lot of information out there about what to do and what not to do to gain credibility, make friends, and contribute meaningfully in the space.  Let me start by saying that I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I do have opinions gleaned from talking to lots of smart people who are making headway at communicating with customers, communicating brand value, and being authentic online.

So here we go:

The #1 Thing You Need To Know To Get Started in Social Media in 2010 is: Be there and be there authentically.

It’s very easy to think that Social Media is a pat list of tasks to do, people to talk to, and products to Tweet about.  The reality that I’ve found is that there is no one answer to resolve this list.  In fact, the list doesn’t exist and is changing constantly.  Out there in the world is a wonderful combination of people who love your product, people who can’t stand your product, people who are curious about you because you shared something weird and interesting today, and people who found you accidentally.  So be yourself.  No bot can take the place of you sharing information and contributing in the way that you do best.

#2: Focus your Social Media energy and be consistent in each channel.

It’s tempting to think that when you maintain multiple social media presences (Facebook, multiple Twitter accounts, blog, and other) that all of your readers want to hear the same thing from you.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  While there is some crossover between, for example, my @GregAtGist account and my @grmeyer personal account on Twitter, you can bet that the people who want to learn about my employer Gist don’t necessarily care about my childhood obsession with Legos or my current interest in taking pictures of old signs.  I try to use the same avatar to ensure brand consistency and to keep my business tweets on business, and personal tweets on whatever I’d like to share with my personal followers.

#3: Social Media can be a self-reinforcing loop: Don’t Spend All Your Time There

It’s easy (and seductive) to spend all day dipping in the Twitter river, confusing the activity of posting constantly with the accomplishment of creating, communicating, and delivering unique value through social media.  So be careful: think about what you’re going to say and plan how you’re going to say it.  You can always spend more time on Social Media, but make sure that it isn’t getting in the way of more important work that you also need to do personally or professionally.  A suggestion: try to spend a few sessions a day in Social Media, responding to fans, questions, dms, and @ replies, and leave the rest of the day for other tasks.  If you need to keep an eye on the Twitterverse, using tools like CoTweet can help you to monitor important hash tags or other handles without constantly keeping your thumb on the Twitter trigger.

#4: Focus some of your time on searching and Meet New People

This may contradict my suggestion in #3, but it’s important to spend some of your time in Social Media just looking around, reaching out to new people, and generally making friends.  I find that some time reading blogs (use Google Reader to find some good ones) or simply reading the Tweetstreams that other people reference (I use Gist for this purpose frequently) opens up new relationships that I would otherwise have never made.  Be fearless: Twitter gives you a channel to talk to people all around the world, and many of them want to talk to you!

#5: Above all, have fun!

The 5th, and most important thing you need to get started in Social Media in 2010, is to remember to have fun.  The social media scene is a giant cocktail party, information bazaar, water cooler and secret information trove all wrapped into a river of information that you can dip into anytime and anywhere.  The kid in you should remember that this is about the coolest thing ever.  Now you need to make it work for you, your company, and your interests.  Are you having fun yet?

Product Thoughts, Social Networking

How many people can I connect with, really? (Dunbar + friends?)

If you’ve read any network theory, you’re probably familiar with Dunbar’s Number, or the idea that groups tend to fall off quickly in effectiveness and cohesiveness once they exceed approximately 150. The finding came from some anthropological research originally, and leading companies such as W.L. Gore have used Dunbar’s number as the ceiling for work group sizes and to aid in efficiency and team collaboration. But what about your “personal” Dunbar number? When considering social media, you may have an overlapping group of friends from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Email, and other places — but where’s the operative or active group?  Is the overall number of connections higher than 150, or does Dunbar’s theory still hold?

I believe that Dunbar’s number is still relevant in the context of social media, but that it is a constantly changing set.  Dunbar’s number for social media comprises the ~150 most important people in each overlapping social set with whom you stay in contact. Given that social sets move and reconfigure, it’s reasonable to hypothesize that I might have a set of 150 most important people in Facebook, 150 people whom I read most on Twitter, 150 people with whom I correspond most on email, etc. But as it turns out, the number isn’t 4 x 150 after all: it’s just a lot closer to the 150 people you most care about at the moment, depending upon where and how you spend your time on and offline.   So you can connect with more than 150 people, but it’s hard to believe that you can stay engaged meaningfully with more than 150 people at a time.

A disclaimer: I work at Gist, where I think about how to make users of our service more successful. I’ve noticed when using Gist (and when using other tools) that the number of people I communicate with meaningfully on a regular basis isn’t as high as I thought. Dunbar’s number notwithstanding, I’m a pretty connected person and I thought that between my various connections I was communicating with many more people on a regular basis. It turned out that I am communicating with a lot of Gist users and with my established networks. But the difference I didn’t see as clearly before was that this personal connection (the Personal Dunbar Number, if you will) varied by recency of communication, importance of the person in my overall network, and by the other groups with which I’m communicating.  In any given period of time I don’t communicate with a larger set than 150 or so people, but the time between periods of communications is dropping, and the reach of these communications is increasing.

Because I can learn more about the news published about and by the most important people in my network, and because it’s easy to change that focus depending upon the facet of the network I’m viewing, my “Personal Dunbar Number” is growing and is larger than 150 people.  But there’s a catch — I don’t know if the people on the other end of the network feel the same way — and look forward to finding out the answer to that question in the coming months.  In the meanwhile, I will be trading time for insights and using social media tools like Gist to help me share these insights with the most valuable people in my network.

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