Archive for September, 2010

Growing The Social Mindset: Social Evangelism At Work

Posted in social media with tags , , on September 29, 2010 by wisdomlondon

By Kate Spiers

This post is a synposis of my presentation at Socialvation Live on 28 September 2010, on how businesses can benefit from ‘social evangelism’.

It’s a fact – social has happened. Social media is now ubiquitous. It’s a global watchword….Well, we all know that social is a good thing – burgeoning technologies that enable us to act and communicate smarter, be more social, market better and yet in certain quarters there’s confusion, concern, awe and bewilderment. In boardrooms around the world, in strategy sessions, emails, coffee meetings, train commutes, on the street. Because from a certain angle it looks like there are suddenly millions of marketers devoted to this movement called social media. It’s as if in social media, marketers have a new religion.

It has made an awful lot of management people a bit uncomfortable, to say the least. But this fervour is not bad news, quite the opposite.  If social is a given, then businesses need to adopt a social mindset.  Social is part of how we now function, and it’s not going away.  So the sooner businesses can start to incorporate social into their thinking, and adopt that social mindset, the better.  It is no easy task.  But harnessing social evangelism could be the key for many.

The religion / social media analogy

Now this is a broad analogy – and please accept it as just that, not a philosophical debate – but let’s take a look at the similarities and more importantly, what we can take away from that:

What’s religion? Well,  we could say that a religion is essentially a set of beliefs, a collection of moral standards and principles with established traditions or rituals in place. It’s emotive, social and community-based and provides a specific world view.  Sound familiar? I think so – here’s why:

Beliefs: We believe in social media, in good practice, sharing what works, what doesn’t work – many of these beliefs are shared and accepted widely
Code of conduct: There are values and principles that guide how we behave when using social technologies – sharing, attribution, cooperation, respect. Like religion we are self-governed by the community in the sense that someone’s watching: all of us!
Emotive: Social is a window into the workings of our minds, where personal and professional cross over.  Expression is at the heart of social media, just as it is in religion
Ritual: The use of SM is habitual for many (how long does it take you to check in the mornings? when you get to work?) but this also includes specific rituals: blogging, commenting, sharing and curating content (for example, your daily paper.li, RSS), Follow Friday on Twitter, checking in to locations and so on
Worldview: There is no better!  And it’s at our fingertips.
Social groups: In social, we are a community united by our belief.

We can learn something important from this religion analogy. And it’s this:

Evangelism works. Fact. Nowhere near all the time, of course, and that’s OK.  We need detractors or we don’t have a cause.  But evangelism is damn powerful. This is where we can take away some lessons and apply them to social media. This is how we can help people to understand the opportunities presented by social technologies and the behaviours we’re seeing as a result.

  • Through belief we can demystify social for those who fear it
  • We can demonstrate the benefits it brings through storytelling
  • We can engender hope and faith in social media and in what it can bring in the future, how it will change our world
  • We can make it personal and meaningful to the individual

Evangelism may well be the single most powerful driver for businesses in harnessing social technologies and making it work for them.

How?

So you believe in social.  You have a social mindset. How do you encourage social evangelism in your organisation, community or industry? It’s a positive and continuous cycle, as I see it:

Direction and Vision: In order to evangelise, spread the word, you need a clear message that articulates the vision of the what and why. Do you have this?  Do you see what social media can achieve for your business?  If not – stop – until you know it, live it, believe it, no-one else will. Which leads to….

Belief and FaithYou have got to believe. Which means that your objectives need to be realistic. Belief is the basis for sharing faith in social media – it’s the spirit of hope that it can and will allow you to change the world in some way. That’s what you need to share. Temper it with proof for the cynics (or realists) – there is plenty out there to demonstrate where social technologies are benefitting business, starting with ourselves and our own successes, big and small.

Outlet: Just as organised religion provides a home for believers, us social evangelists need to provide an outlet too: somewhere that our fellow believers can join us, where the curious can learn more, where we can share our ideas and actively demonstrate our belief. And PS. There are plenty of places to worship social media out there, both online and in person.  But worship alone is not useful – it needs to be balanced with the will to learn, share and explore

Emotion: Evangelism is all about emotion, how it affects you personally.  You can’t evangelise without it. We have to make it personal….

Reward: We are humans.  We have needs.  Maslow figured it out pretty well in his hierarchy of needs which says that beyond our basic physiological needs, we demand gratification in varying forms.  It’s part of our motivation for doing things. Maslow talked about our need for purpose, respect, experience, recognition as an individual and belonging… social media does a pretty good job of providing many of these things, so we need to demonstrate how this looks in practice – and how this can possibly benefit business.

The answer is, there’s a reward for the individual here – by “being social” you feel the benefit of community almost instantly, connection is a given. Individuality, acceptance and spontaneity are all there for the taking. Social gives you springboard further up the hierarchy towards self-actualization, which Maslow deemed to be the pinnacle of our needs.

But the reward is not just for the individual.  And perhaps this is an important message: By nurturing a community of believers who can evangelise, you build a really rich resource of connectors, knowledge sharers, creative forces, bearers and sharers of good news.

What company doesn’t want that?

Principles for social evangelism

But like in any organised religion, there are some principles to abide by.

Principle 1: Know vision and share the vision

What do you want to achieve, could achieve, have already achieved. How might that affect ‘us’? Why is that significant? This is what people need to understand, before they can even start to buy in and follow the cause. If you cannot articulate this, STOP. Figure it out.

Principle 2: Live it!

Proof is powerful. Be proof of the benefits of being social.  It’s the ultimate vote of confidence in what you’re saying, after all.

Principle 3: This is NOT blind faith

It’s natural and healthy to have a crisis of faith once in a while. We will all reach points on our social journey where we question what we believe in, what’s right and what is not, whether it’s really worth it.

Don’t fear the crises, this is an opportunity to reassess what’s working. Nothing stands still. What was right at one stage – be it a year, a month or a week ago – may not be right now. This is a human, organic business we are talking about, and that requires us to flex.

Principle 4: There will always be detractors

…and this is a good thing because it remind us if what were trying to do. Learn from non-believers, understand their barriers, biases and fears. Challengers are also a good thing because they remind us social is not the only way. It’s unreasonable to expect to be able to convert all non-believers, but imagine this – if you can successfully evangelise social to just one or two people in your organisation, who can then go on to do that same, you will have done a good job.

Principle 5: Make it personal

Companies, businesses, brands are not social. People are social. That’s the people who make up those organisations, who make the decisions, who supply goods and services, who review them and write about them, who buy them, test them, consume them.

So social should be – and has to be – personal.  And never more so than when you’re trying to spread the word. Can ‘personal’ benefit the organization too? Yes!

Think back to Maslow and our very human needs.  Where does social fulfil those in such a way that it also drives us to perform better, provide what we provide better and market what we market better and as a result make our business perform better?  Find that point and you’ve found enlightenment. It’s out there.

Kate Spiers is founder of Wisdom London.  We help businesses figure out and adopt their own social mindset, based on their own business reality.  We’re fairly evangelical about well thought-out, integrated and meaningful social media activity.

Wisdom London on Twitter

Experiments in Social Media Number 3, Part 1: Rationing Twitter

Posted in creativity, social media with tags , , , on September 27, 2010 by wisdomlondon

I don’t know about you but these days, I think in tweets and Facebook status updates.

Today I tweeted 20 times before lunch…

…. Okay, make that more than 20 times.

20’s not that bad – right? I don’t want to be the Twit that floods your feed. And I certainly don’t want to be the Twit that floods your feed with stuff that’s completely irrelevant to you!

But how much is too much? Is the right answer relative? Relative to what you do for a living? Or to what you say? Or to what sort of response you get?

Is it true that the more you tweet, the more valuable you are to followers? There must be a limit to this?

Is it better to be consistent throughout the day/week or to have bursts of activity just when you feel like it? Is it wise to tweet for the sake of tweeting?

Is what you say just noise? How do you make sure it isn’t? Could it mean limiting yourself to just 1 tweet a day? Or 10?

Self discipline and Social Media is not a common combination, but from time to time it is good to take a step back to make sure the time we spend using it, is worthwhile and meaningful. It comes back to the age-old question of quality vs quantity; can I derive as much value from my Twitter usage if I ration it and place the emphasis firmly on quality?

The challenge

We’re rationing our tweets and making them count.

This is an invitation. If you feel like you’re spending too much time on Twitter and need to stop your thinking in 140 characters or less… Or if you would like to take a stand against those that flood your page with meaningless blah-ing… Join me!

Are you up for it??

The method

Discipline doesn’t have to mean going to extremes. Limiting tweets to 1 per day could be a step in the wrong direction. Twitter can and should be used for loads of stuff: listening, trendspotting, broadcasting, sharing, conversing…so it makes sense that we still do that, but with extra thought and attention to making sure it’s worthwhile and meaningful.

And where you feel like you could just keep tweeting away – challenge yourself to find other ways to do this stuff too – take it off Twitter to email, convos, face to face, etc. Push yourself not to be lazy.

So here’s the deal.

1 week, 5 tweets a day:

  • 1 x original content,
  • 1 x RT,
  • 1 x direct message,
  • 1 x reply,
  • 1 x link share

The process

Kick off is tomorrow, September 28! Be there or be square, yo.

The result

This time next week we’ll reconvene here – I’ll post my findings and I’d love for you to share how you went and what you found!

Make them count.

By Jill Ruthenberg

Experiments in Social Media Number 2, Part 2: Conversations with Power

Posted in social media, wisdom with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Earlier this month I shared with you about an experiment that I wanted to do on ‘conversations with power’ via Twitter. The idea came about partly as somewhat of a celebration of the fact that, with Twitter, communication barrier between so-called power players and the majority (us ordinary mortals) appears to have been broken down. There is the possibility to engage with anyone you want to – and people you may never really have had the opportunity to reach before.  Pretty hypothetical  but I figured it was worth a look.

The challenge:

In a broad sense, I wanted to flex the biceps of Twitter.

The method:

With the help of some very helpful tweeps we curated a hit list as long as your arm, with the likes of Lily Allen and Richard Branson (and yes, Nick Clegg) making an appearance. And then I took it to the tweets.

The Process:

I thought I’d build my confidence starting slow, ticking two of my list on the first day. First I asked @BillBailey to tell us a joke. No response. At first we gave him the benefit of the doubt because apparently he was on tour and was perhaps in different time zones. So I scheduled a retweet to reach him where he was. I even told him a joke first, hoping he would reciprocate. Still no response.

Maybe I wasn’t funny enough.

Then I asked @jamie_oliver what he was having for lunch. Three times. I saw you tweeting, Jamie, don’t pretend you didn’t hear me.

Needless to say the experiment wasn’t off to a good start.

Throughout the experiment I asked @richardbranson about business and even complemented his mother.

I suggested @lilyroseallen try @mooli’s to satisfy her cravings. I also replied to her comment about that #meatdress and said she could totally pull it off.

I asked @dianebirch where she gets her hats from (which I still really want to know, and if she says they’re ‘vintage’ I’ll cry).

I checked in with @kanyewest to see how he was doing since his meltdown on Twitter.

I shared a really cool link with @tyrabanks. Bitch.

I asked Mark Watson why the chicken crossed the road and @Nick_Clegg if his favourite colour really was orange. Yes, Nick Clegg.

Eventually I openly approached ‘celebrities’ asking them to ‘help me with my experiment’… in their own language!

I figured the hashtag #pleasetalktomeimnotmad might of come into play in moments of desperation. Not sure if it worked…

The Result:

Well, I wouldn’t call the experiment a failure, but then again, some of the best lessons are usually learned from failure. Basically, no-one (from the list) really talked to me.

So what lessons can we take away from this experiment? Well in the words of existential psychologist, Rollo May:

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

While the celebs didn’t respond to my plea for attention – something even better happened. It was my existing friends and followers (my Tweeps) that got behind me.

I had Tweeple, some I had never met in person, taking the time to suggest celebrities which celeb would be interesting or more likely to respond. Most of the time I had no idea who they were talking about (I’m not from here, Toto), but we gave it a shot. In some situations this required guest Twitterer @AntDLewis to create some relevant content…

It was so much fun to see people getting involved, retweeting my messages and sharing what I was doing (big thanks to @PinkTipi).

And those translated messages – they were in Welsh! Translated by the very beautiful and very talented Lucy Payne aka @rubylup, who I met (through Twitter) in the flesh that same afternoon.

It was this that was incredibly encouraging.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, as a business, remember to not forget those in your immediate network because they are potentially your best ambassadors waiting to be involved in what you’ve got going on, and to be engaged with. Thank you, real people. I will not forget you. In fact, we’ll probably chat very soon.

By Jill Ruthenberg

Ever wondered about… Paper.li

Posted in Ever Wondered About... with tags , , , , on September 16, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Posted by Anthony Lewis

What is it?

You’re bound to have seen it by now. Paper.li converts your Twitter stream into a digestible daily online newspaper. Every 24 hours, all the links and information shared by the people you follow, or by a selected list of people, is arranged onto a newspaper-like webpage for your convenience. It’s one way of finding the most popular content being shared and making sure you don’t miss out on anything big, or it can simply aggregate up to date content on a specific subject. This program is still pretty new and seems to have some developing yet to do, but with the current buzzword “curation” flying about…well, it does just that.

Why Should I Care?

There are two main ways of using Paper.li – personally and publicly. For an individual, there are significant perks to this free service. Speedy and focussed feed sifting is one. It’s particularly useful for those who find the constant torrent of information a bit overwhelming, but who trust their sources to tweet good stuff. It makes sharing the content easy, too, with built in retweet and reply options, although social interaction is not so much the point here.

The other approach – widely seen and in some cases, resented – is to collect current content on a specific subject to share with the world. The owner of the feed is the “curator”, and the people they follow become “contributors”. There are very practical applications for this. For example, you can create a list of people who you know consistently share worthwhile content, or who are authorities on your subject, and create a “newspaper” of what they share.

You can also create a page based on a #tag, so you can collate everything on a certain subject, or let people submit content to your page specifically, using your tag.  Nice for events, for example. We see that it could be used to feed curated content to groups of people, such as employees of a company, who are too busy to check the Twitter stream hourly, but who need to keep up to date with developments. The downsides? Publishing your Daily isn’t appreciated by everyone – there have been mutterings about vanity and self-indulgence.  We say:  you know those in your stream better than anyone – it’s a case of judgement.  Maybe ask your followers if they’d like to see your Daily in the stream or not? If the answer’s a resounding ‘no’, well, you can still benefit.  If the answer is ‘yes’, happy days.  Just make it good.

Anything Else I Should Know?

As a young product, Paper.li is not perfect. The design is functional but rigid, and you can’t combine newspapers to create one compound paper. For example, you can’t yet combine your Facebook and Twitter streams, or your Twitter stream and someone else’s into one daily page. Paper.li is a good alternative to the acclaimed Flipbook for us plebs who haven’t yet taken up the iPad, and as a practical tool for individual users, it can serve a great purpose. There is definitely more potential to exploit in the future.  But whether you use it as a time saver or enjoy the glory of being a curator of fine content, the possibilities of Paper.li are well worth exploring.

Ever Wondered About is a new series on the Wisdom London blog, where we aim to demystify and explore what’s shaping our social interactions.  Coming up: Paper.li, and PPC. Wondering about anything else?  Tell us and we’ll investigate!

Ever wondered about how Android could be useful for your business? Wonder no more.

For All Your Nutritional (Informational) Needs:

Posted in social media, wisdom with tags , , on September 14, 2010 by wisdomlondon

By Jill Ruthenberg

Where is all the knowledge we lost with information?

Sometimes the content available online on social media, marketing and communications can be a little bit like ice cream – while at times it has little to no nutritional value, we can’t help but eat far too much. It’s all around us and it’s hard to figure out the good-for-you from the fast food. You can quickly be left feeling ill in the junk food aisle, longing for something with substance.

I’ve decided to streamline my thinking in terms of blog consumption, to try and ensure I’m really getting the good stuff. So let me share with you a blog diet to feel your mind and soul, while cutting out the empty calories.

These first three form the basis of any social media diet: thefuturebuzz, convince & convert and brian solis, make these your staple to ensure your blog receives sufficient sustenance. Here’s why

1. Blog: thefuturebuzz.com
Author: Adam Singer
Twitter: @adamsinger
Followers: 6126

This one will really add fiber to your diet with posts like Failure is Always an Option, What Marketing and Meteorology Have in Common, ‘Niche Is Overrated, Personality Underrated’ and (my personal favourite) ‘Gen Y Observed by Someone Actually Part of the Generation’. Adam’s advice is solid, thought provoking and a breath of fresh air.

2. Blog: convinceandconvert.com
Author: Jay Baer
Twitter: @jaybaer
Followers: 23,784

Email advocate and self proclaimed ‘hype-free’ social media strategist Jay Baer’s blog is like the encyclopaedia of social media. His site hosts a collection of guest blogs from leaders in areas ranging from marketing, to research, to PR, to CRM so you can be sure you’re getting wholesome fuel for all areas of your communication diet.

3. Blog: briansolis.com
Author: Brian Solis
Twitter: @briansolis
Followers: 65,125

Solis, the author of the book I’m reading right now – Engage, is a thought leader like no other. Through his blog slash vlog, he challenges merits of social media and offers pioneering ideas that may be invaluable to your online influence. It’s definitely one to excite your taste buds and give your brand some vigour. As a starter, I recommend: Influencing the Influencer and, Social Media’s Critical Path: Relevance to Resonance to Significance

These next two, thebrandbuilder and Six Pixels of Separation are essential to anyone serious about having a healthy intake of fresh ideas and new perspectives on social media and communications; munch through them – but not necessarily every day.

4. Blog: Six Pixels of Separation: twistimage.com/blog
Author: Mitch Joel
Twitter: @ mitchjoel
Followers: 20,247

Joel’s posts on digital marketing and new media are somewhat abstract, and always provoking. And there’s always a call to action. Some recent posts: In Praise Of Lazy and The Era Of Trepidation. A post (this good) a day will keep the doctor away.

5. Blog: thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com
Author: Olivier Blanchard
Twitter: @thebrandbuilder
Followers: 25,780

There’s nothing like a good dose of passion, innovation, creativity and common sense to boost your outlook on life in general. And this is exactly what The Brand Builder delivers. The posts might be a little long but Olivier has a unique way of structuring them into clear, well, building blocks and every so often he pops in a rule or two, I just read: Know your Sh*t. He incorporates insights from all industries and life to add value to your communication.

Lastly, methodical madness is a blog done by a boutique ad agency based in Sweden and they’ve worked with the likes of Ikea and Absolut Vodka:

6. Blog: methodical madness: blog.theduffyagency.com
Author: Jason Ross
Twitter: @ TheDuffyAgency (and more…)
Followers: 5168

These Swedes have a way of discussing significant shifts in the world of social media as they happen. Focussing mainly on Facebook, Twitter and Google methodical madness expands your thinking and provides direction for your communication strategy. Something to get you started: How four businesses used Twitter for serious sales success.

It’s good to mix it up, try something new, and occasionally re-assess what we’re consuming.

Do you keep up to date with any other branding and social media blogs to make sure your brand is getting enough nutrition? Please let us know!

Jill Ruthenberg is Communications Specialist at Wisdom London and also recommends you read this blog to keep you going strong!

Ever wondered about… Android

Posted in Ever Wondered About... with tags , on September 14, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Posted by Anthony Lewis


What is it?

Android is the mobile phone operating system (OS) from Google. A wide range of smartphones from a variety of manufacturers run the Android software, in the same way that the iPhone uses its own “iOS”, and Blackberry use their proprietary system. What sets Android apart is its open architecture. Essentially, it is designed so that anyone can develop apps and alter the phone’s setup, making it hugely customizable (compared to the iPhone and Blackberry systems, which let you install apps, but not alter the core interface of the phone).  Hence, fewer limitations on handset choice. It overcomes certain frustrations, such as allowing Flash where the ubiquitous iPhone does not. For mobile marketing this is important.

Connecting with customers through mobile technology is hugely powerful, so pay close attention – this is one bandwagon that just might be worth jumping on.

Why Should I Care?

With smartphone use increasing at a huge rate, the potential for reaching a large audience is great, and anyone thinking about mobile marketing can’t afford to ignore Android. Smartphones aren’t all about Apple, after all. It’s a fact that Android is stealing a march on the market – and expected to emerge as the number 2 OS this year. Also, as the tablet market grows in the next few years, Android tablets are likely to prove real competitors to the iPad. Apple tend to make one significant hardware release per year, whereas there can potentially be hundreds of handsets released running the Android software as so many companies have adopted it. It’s spreading fast.

So it looks like Android is here to stay. Google’s recent acquisition of Invite Media and Admob hints at future possibilities of this mobile marketing, and opportunities for advertising within apps as well as on mobile internet browsers will soon be abundant.  There are lots of considerations to be made here, though. It might be that you can offer a custom app to your clients, but equally important may be that your brand is listed and findable in other, general apps, while careful placement of adverts on the right mobile web pages or apps could be just as fruitful.

Anything else I should know?

While iPhones and Blackberries aren’t the only smartphones out there, neither are Android handsets. Nokia run Symbian, but wily developers have swiftly worked out how to hack their handsets to run Android on them. Like it or now, the hardware / OS landscape is opening up.

But for marketers, it will be important to remember who your audience is, and how they behave. For example, if you’re appealing to business customers, a Blackberry app might be the best way to connect. Don’t rule anything out. However, with millions of users taking up smartphones, you want to be able to get at as many of them as you can, whether it’s via their iPhones or their Android-wielding handsets. These technologies are still young, but the growth is fast. The potential is huge, so watch this space as it develops.  We are convinced that the rise of Android is significant for marketers.

Ever Wondered About is a new series on the Wisdom London blog, where we aim to demystify and explore what’s shaping our social interactions.  Coming up: Paper.li, and PPC. Wondering about anything else?  Tell us and we’ll investigate!

Ever wondered about how Ning could be useful for your business? Here’s our take.

Ever Wondered About…. Ning

Posted in Ever Wondered About... with tags , , , on September 13, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Posted by Jill Ruthenberg

What is it?

Described as the leading platform for the world’s organisers, activists and influencers, Ning is where you create your own custom branded social network.

Ning is major in the music, sports and entertainment worlds, but it is also useful for publishing (The Twilight Saga, for example), Non-Profits and of course, brands. It allows you to ‘create a social space for passionate or new fans to talk, share and build excitement even when you aren’t there’.

Why should I care?

With more than 45 million registered users, this one can’t be ignored. This is a platform where you create your own digital hub that facilitates community around your brand; connect with your fans and in turn, make them into promoters at whatever stage your business is at (you can make it private or public depending on the level of exclusivity you want to offer).

It has Twitter, YouTube and Facebook integration. You can also sell merchandise and earn revenue. Take videos viral or even allow members to upload and share their own videos. Give fans exclusive access.

Our take? Ning offers a lot of features that no other platform offers. Monitoring and measurement is made easy because you can customise analytics, but the most beneficial feature is that Ning provides a tool for you to fine-tune your target and reach. Collect user emails and demographic information through the profiles users create about themselves and learn from them to build long-term relationships.

What’s more, the latest addition to the site, the newly launched Leaderboard, ranks top members and content, meaning you can recognize your best customers and promote the best of your network.

Anything else I should know?

It’s not free. There are 3 membership option depending on your fan base and your desired level of customisation, starting at $2.95 per month – which is nothing really. What we suggest is that you take advantage of their 30-day trial to test interest and then decide if it’s right for your business, industry and community.

A downside to it is that you have to work within the constraints of the format and widgets provided, which actually doesn’t always mean simplicity. Think: tacky Myspace pages with gory colours and way too much going on. Word of advice, don’t go overboard.

Or check out another open source social networking engine Elgg. Some say Ning misses the ‘cleanliness’ that this one offers… for a minimum of $29.95 per month.

More alternatives include SocialGo and Igloo. And then of course there’s good old Facebook, which does allow something similar. It’ll also be interesting to see how Diaspora can add to this space.  That’s where our eyes will be focussed…

Ever Wondered About is a new series on the Wisdom London blog, where Kate Spiers and Jill Ruthenberg aim to demystify and explore what’s shaping our social interactions.  Coming up: Paper.li, PPC and Android. Wondering about anything else?  Tell us and we’ll investigate!

Ever wondered about Issuu? Wonder no more.