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Big Changes for Google Search Announced Today

January 10, 2012

Google announced big changes to Google Search, including the addition of personal results, and much more integration with Google+.  A description of each the additions (from Google):

Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page; 

Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and, 

People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community. 

More information, including a video highlighting the changes can be found on Google’s blog post Search, plus Your World.

Kred Goes Beyond Klout Scores

January 6, 2012

Beyond Klout scores, Kred (by PeopleBrowser) assigns influence and outreach scores to Twitter users. An interesting approach, and another means to measure, but one of the things I don’t like about it is that the permissions include tweeting on your behalf. Find the Kred Guide here… http://kred.ly/components/com_pages/views/pdf/Kred%20Guide.pdf

UPDATE 09-Jan-2011: I just spoke with Shawn Roberts, Director of MarComm at PeopleBrowser and he assures me that although the permissions include tweeting on your behalf, the only time Kred will tweet on your behalf is when you instruct it to do so – as  in tweeting or retweeting directly from Kred.

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Eight Components for Social Media Success: #3 Content Plan / Programming Schedule

October 13, 2010

This is the third in a series of posts discussing my Eight Components for Social Media Success.  In the first we explored Strategy and Business Objectives, in the second Membership Identification and Acquisition.  Today we’ll discuss the Content Plan / Programming Schedule component – the sourcing and use of content, whether traditional or new media, new or existing, internal or external, expert or user generated, static or event based.

 

8 Components for SM Success: #3 Content Plan / Programming Schedule

 

People need a reason not only to initially come to your community, but also to stay and engage with other community members (and your company, if applicable).  Having the right content, in context, will go a long way to giving members of your community reasons to stay and participate.

Depending on the scope and needs of community, content creation and a acquisition may be a primary focus of the community staff.  In smaller communities, the community manager may be responsible for content creation and aggregation, but in very large communities or in enterprise-wide social media initiatives, content creation aggregation, management and scheduling may be performed by very distinct community staff roles.  I will get into these roles in a subsequent post, but today let’s talk about some of the Content Plan / Programming Schedule component, which includes the following activities:

  • Programming Schedule.  The programming schedule provides a roadmap for the overall editorial focus, direction and timing of content for the site.  The community programming schedule may include traditional as well as new media content.  The programming schedule should map the content to the appropriate context, be reviewed regularly in regard to the activities (and needs) of the community, and modified accordingly.
  • Content Acquisition/Development. The inventory of existing content, analysis of the content needs / wants of the community, identification of content gaps, and recommendation and plans for new content.  May also include the management of internal and external authors, bloggers, services, and other content providers.
  • Content Facilitation. Includes the editing of content and grafting and pruning topics within forums or discussions to maintain on-topic, productive conversations.
  • What I call Cross-utilization. One of the best ways to leverage not only digital content, but also “traditional” content, within social media is cross-utilization.  Although content reuse is nothing new, social media has provided a world of new places to utilize content.  Because each type of content is different, and each may have to be “adopted” (see Content Chunking, below) for proper cross-utilization.
  • Content Chunking. Quite often the best way to cross utilize content is by breaking content into smaller it usable bites or reformatting it for use in different social media functional areas (blogs, vBlogs, podcasts, webinars,…).  This is especially true when cross-utilizing traditional content for social media purposes.

(Depending on the amount of content reuse via Cross-Utilization and Content Chunking, these activities may be one of the more time consuming responsibilities of the community manager.)

This post does not include a discussion of the various types of content, which I will examine a letter post.  However, it should give you some idea of the activities associated with developing and defining the plans within the Content Plan / Programming Schedule component.

(Please keep in mind that these are the components for social media success, not the methodology or processes used to map out the strategy and plan.  My methodology is a four step iterative step iterative process that will be presented in a future blog.)

As always, comments and sharing welcome!

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(For an overview of my eight components for social media success, please see Strategy and Planning for Online Community and The Missing 8th Component of the Seven Components of Successful Community).

Eight Components for Social Media Success, #2 – Membership Identification and Acquisition

September 22, 2010

In my post, Eight Components for Social Media Success, #1 – Strategy and Business Objectives, we discussed one of the first two components for social media success.  In this post, the second of the series, I explore component #2 – Membership Identification and Acquisition Plan.

Too often companies launch into social media initiatives knowing what they want to get out of it, but not taking a look at the targeted membership and what the target membership wants to get out of it.  Closely related to the Strategy and Business Objectives component, the Membership Identification and Acquisition Plan identifies and clearly defines the target membership for the social media initiative.

You will notice that I use the term ” target membership” vs. ” target audience”.  Social media involves conversation and building relationships – one of the tenants of social media that is so hard for many companies to understand.  I find the term “target audience” inaccurate for social media because it infers old-school message control via one way communication.

Some of the entities to be considered in Membership Identification and Acquisition Planning are…

  • Target Membership: This where you define the demographics of your target audience.  Is your target membership prospects, customers, employees, suppliers, partner, or a combination?   Is it defined by other criteria such as interest, education, life challenge, family status?  Understand who your community is targeting.
  • Desired Interaction: You’ve identified your target membership, but what is your preferred interaction with them?  How do you want to engage your membership?  The answer better not be, “to tell them about..”, or “to sell…”.  We’re talking about the interaction between you and the membership that’s going to lead to furthering the relationship between you and them.
  • Membership Acquisition (Marketing) and Retention: The membership acquisition and retention plan will vary depending on the scenario of community being launched.  Here are three examples of what I call community scenarios – each requiring a different approach to acquisition…
    • A new community, where the membership might come from the public in general, or a population with like interests.
    • A continuing community, perhaps already established on another platform, which indicates a migration of the membership.
    • An aggregated community, where target members would be acquired from existing communities.

… or a combination of the three.

The retention plan is dedicated to asking the question, “How will we retain them as members?”  A preliminary retention plan needs to be defined during early stages of planning, as it will be used as input to the closely related Content/Programming Schedule and Community Management Plans components.  The simple answer is: if you provide Member ROI, retention should be fairly easy.

  • Member ROI: More important than Desired Interaction, member ROI can also be stated as “What’s in it for them?”.   Determine why the members should care about the community and what they are going to get out of it.  The key is to engage and build relationships, and to that end, you need to provide a community that is of value to the members. I can’t state this strongly enough because many companies completely miss this and wonder why their communities are failing.  If you don’t know what the members perceive as value, you can’t provide it.
  • Competition: Research and analysis on what your competition is doing to gain target membership attention and engagement.  This may include include taking a look at competitors’ hosted communities as well as their activity on external social media networks, including niche communities.  The end goal is to determine how can you compete with other similar communities.

Of course, this is a very high-level list and there is much that goes into each.  But, it should provide some guidance around the types of definition and planning required for the Membership Identification and Acquisition Planning component.

(Please keep in mind that these are the components for social media success, not the methodology or processes used to map out the strategy and plan.  My methodology is a four step iterative process that will be presented in a future blog.)

As always, comments and sharing welcome!

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(For an overview of my eight components for social media success, please see Strategy and Planning for Online Community and The Missing 8th Component of the Seven Components of Successful Community).

Beware Facebook Password Scam – Virus Email

September 21, 2010

An email with the subject “Facebook Password Reset Confirmation” is going around.  It comes from an email address of help@facebook.com or xxxxxx@facebook.com, where xxxxxx is somebody’s name.  Not only is it fake, but the attached .zip file contains a virus.  I love it when a fake email supposedly from a trusted source starts with, “Hey”.   The text of the email:

Hey,

You have requested a new password.

You can see your new password in attached archive.

Please note that this email has been sent to all contact emails associated with your profile. If you did not request a new password, it’s likely that another user has mistakenly attempted to log in with the help of your login.

For more information, check our Help Center at http://www.facebook.com/help/?topic=login

Thank you for attention,

The Facebook Management

Downloading the attachment may do some significant damage to your computer and  can do some   Downloading the attachment to your computer could do serious damage also result in a hacked Facebook account. If you have downloaded the zip file, update your virus software with the latest updates, and change your Facebook password.

If your Facebook account gets hacked, Facebook has a reclaim process which can be found at Facebook Help: My Account Has Been Compromised.  Please spread the word about this email scam.

Eight Components for Social Media Success, #1 – Strategy and Business Objectives

September 8, 2010

In previous posts, Strategy and Planning for Online Community and The Missing 8th Component of the Seven Components of Successful Community, I describe the eight components any social media initiative needs to be successful.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to explore each of the eight components in detail.

Some will say there are five components, some will say there are eleven, but the consensus is that regardless of how many components and how they are organized, the appropriate strategy and planning greatly increases the probability of success.  My Eight Components for Social Media Success are:

1)      Strategy and Business Objectives
2)      Membership Identification and Acquisition Plan
3)      Content / Programming Plan
4)      Community Management Plan
5)      Communication Plan
6)      Moderation Plan
7)      Tools and Rollout Plan
8)      Social Media Knowledge and Expertise

In the graphic below you will notice that Strategy and Business Objectives, and Membership Identification and Acquisition Plan are grouped above the rest of the components.  This is because these two components need to be completed before you can start working on the rest.  Similarly, Tools & Rollout Plan is below the rest because the others must be completed (or close to it) before you can determine what tools  and functionality are required to support the initiative.

Today I’ll dive into more detail of the Strategy and Business Objectives component.

The Eight Components for Social Media Success

Strategy & Business Objectives

Usually done iteratively and in parallel with Membership Identification and Acquisition Plan, the Strategy and Business Objectives component is the foundation for the social media initiative.  The following items need to be identified and documented (as applicable):

  • Vision: An overview of the social media initiative and how it aligns with corporate or departmental strategy.  In effect, a social media initiative charter statement.
  • Goals and Objectives: Statement of the business and financial goals and objectives.  It is extremely important to make sure that the goals and objectives of different stakeholders align.  Although each may have their own valid goals and objectives for the social media initiative, their goals and objectives may not align with the goals and objectives of other stakeholders.  In identifying each stakeholder’s goals and objectives, it will become apparent if they are miss-aligned.  Make sure all stakeholders understand and agree to the goals and objectives of the initiative.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is included in this component, including hard ROI (if measurable based on the scope of the initiative and available data), measurement (typical web and social media measurements), as well as soft  (such as like reputation, voice of the conversation).
  • Documentation: Documentation applicable to the social media initiative.  This may include existing social media guidelines or policies, communications policies, or published web practices and security procedures.
  • Ownership & Roles: Identification stakeholders, owners (of content, web properties, this social media initiative, existing social media activities,…).  Also includes current roles and responsibilities as related to community initiative.
  • Procedures and Processes: What is the change management process for getting changes to the web properties?  What are the procedures for getting approval of content?  Definition of the change management process for modifications for this social media initiative.  (May require initial identification of possible internal and external content sources and repositories.  Deep identification of possible internal and external content sources is done in the Content / Programming Plan component.)
  • Decision Making: Who is responsible for decisions regarding the social media initiative?  Includes decision makers not just for the initial phases, but also the decision makers ongoing.  If applicable, internal processes such as content approval need to be identified documented, and modified if necessary to meet the needs of the social media initiative.

Conduct an Analysis

After the items above have been identified and documented, analysis to determine if the current state will support the social media initiative as it is, or (more likely) what changes are required.  This is an important step that many organizations bypass as they charge down the path to launching their social media project – however, doing so is a step towards failure of the social media initiative.  There are many reasons why, but I will give you just one example…

Content Process Example

Let’s look at an example of a company’s current content approval process.  The current process for internally created content to be approved for external use starts with 1) content created by the author, which is 2) passed to an editor or manager for modification and approval, then forwarded to 3) HR for compliance approval, which is then passed to 4) legal for approval, and is finally provided to 5) whoever publishes on whatever medium.  The process from start to finish takes three to four weeks and has to be completed before any content can be released.

When responding to a hot topic within an online community (such as a product issue), communication has to be almost instantaneous.  Given the current content approval process of the example company, three to four weeks to respond is unacceptable.  This indicates that the content approval process needs to be modified to support the social media initiative, or a process specific to social media content needs to be defined.

A Good Social Media Initiative Foundation

In a software development project, where time spent flushing out the business and functional requirements before beginning development greatly reduces code rework and testing time, and increases the probability that the software will meet the business need.  Likewise, spending time and resources on Strategy and Business Objectives will lay a good foundation for your social media initiative, and increase the probability that the initiative will meet your business need.

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Social media event: Podcamp Boston 5

August 9, 2010

If you’re wondering what’s next in social media, there’s no better place to find out than at Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan’s PodCamp Boston. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a veteran practitioner, Podcamp unconferences are unlike other conferences which are often talking head affairs. PodCamp gives you the opportunity to learn, share, and grow your skills at any level, helping your community as it helps you.

PCB5 logo property of Podcamp Boston

The theme for this year’s Podcast Boston is “Preparing for the Future”, and will take place September 25-26, 2010 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development (N.E.R.D.) Center in Cambridge, MA. The session topics are still being defined.

For those of you unfamiliar with Podcamp Boston, it was co-founded by Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan in 2006. They wanted to learn more and share what they knew about podcasting without traveling over to the west coast to do it, so they came up with the idea to host an annual unconference in the Boston area. The first Podcamp took place in September 2006 at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown. Since then, Podcamp Boston has been hosted at BCEC, Harvard Medical School Conference Center and the University of Massachusetts. Each year PCB has been different sizes but always full of people ready to share their knowledge to those eager to learn more about this crazy space in podcasting and new media.

If you would like to attend, you can sign-up at the Podcast Boston 5 Eventbrite Registration Page. If you are attending and have a suggestion for any topic related to social media and podcasting – or would like to , please let them know podcampboston.org. This year they are planning a podcasting specific track so anyone that can talk about that subject on different levels.

(This article can also be found at my Examiner.com – Boston Social Media Examiner Page)

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