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  • Peter Duckler

    Making the Case


    It’s hard to believe that we still need to make the case for social. Perhaps since we live it and breathe it every day, we just assume that our clients and prospects are all on the same page.

    Not necessarily.

    Just this morning, a client put me on the spot and asked, “Why do you keep badgering me about our social marketing plan? Everything is working fine.”

    I’m happy the client is happy, believe me. And, we continue to have a very successful traditional media program. But, I noted, are we reaching the people that matter the most to us when they are in their blue jeans?

    That intrigued him. So I hit him with a quote from one of my favorite social gurus Brian Solis, “Social is the new normal. It is pervasive and transforming how people find and share information and how they connect and collaborate with one another.”

    I assume he was impressed that I didn’t quote myself (or take credit for Brian’s perspective). I then shared some of the interesting insights from Nielsen’s State of the Media: The Social Media Report Q3 2011.

    · Facebook isn’t just for Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters. A surprising 53% of adults follow specific brands online, while only 32% of them follow celebrities. What’s more, Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website.

    · Despite the lyrics from “Avenue Q,” the Internet is not just for porn. Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet.

    · Email is so passé. We now spend three times as much time on social media as on email.

    · There may be an app for that, but the mobile Web is alive and well. In fact, the unique number of mobile Internet users in the U.S. is up 47% over last year, as is the audience to social networking sites (up 62%). Also interesting is that over twice as many people aged 55+ visit social networking sites on their wireless device.

    · Because I said so. While we all want a thumbs up from Roger Ebert, personal reviews are more persuasive than endorsements from traditional media. 60% of social networkers are writing reviews and sharing them with friends. And, consumer-centric reviews and ratings are the preferred source for information about product/service value, price and quality.

    · I’ll tumblr for you. Tumblr, which combines elements of blogging and Twitter by letting users post and customize everything from pictures and videos to links and quotes, has become the eighth largest site in the U.S. Social Networks and Blogs category. It’s also one of the most buzzed about topics—generating a whopping average of 21,280 messages and links per day to the site (personally, I prefer Posterous).

    It’s certainly amazing that social media has gone from zero to hero in just a few short years. My client was impressed too and promised to share these insights with his executive team so we can move along the integration of social into next year’s marketing efforts.

    Inquiring minds want to know: How do you influence the decision makers to go social?

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  • Pam Flores

    Giving Back…Socially

    A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a local career fair sponsored by The Center for Working Women, one of many services offered by Housing Opportunities for Women, that helps local disadvantaged women overcome barriers to employment and advance in their career. I was there with the Chicago chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (one of the many industries ComBlu has deep expertise in). Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) is set up to help its members advance in their careers, so this was our Chapter’s way to support another women’s organization—helping to expose them to jobs they might not otherwise know about and offer inspiration.

    I was among a designer, paralegal, a title company rep and a property manager, prepared to tell the women about public relations and how social engagement is being applied to business, as well as how I got started in my career.

    When I walked into the meeting room, I was immediately struck by a sign on each computer in the room that stated “Computers are not to be used to access any social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.).” Now, I fully understand that the folks running the Center are simply discouraging the women from spending the time they should be job searching, playing on Facebook. But, this really presented an interesting opportunity for me to showcase social media in a whole new light.

    I spent my allotted 15 minutes explaining how public relations works (which can be tricky…I’m quite certain my Mom still has no idea what it is despite me working in PR for 20-plus years), showcasing fun examples of how we expertly crafted a story and sold it to the media. The women in the room had no idea there was ever anyone “behind” articles they see on the news and in the paper. I then moved onto the social side of our business, and described the blogger outreach programs, and showcased some of the communities we have built and managed.

    A bit of a nervous speaker, I was not completely sure if the women were following me by looking at their faces. But, it was clear by their questions, they were fascinated by both the traditional side of what ComBlu does, as well as the social side. “How do you find the right people to invite to the right community?” and “how do you measure a program like this and report back to clients?” Clearly, they got it. I have to admit, I was surprised at the level of sophistication they brought to the conversation. Disadvantaged at some point or not, these women are clearly determined to improve their careers and thoughtful in their approach.

    After the official session was over, I had the opportunity to mention LinkedIn as a truly social networking tool to several of the women in attendance, as well as the career counselors. Most had heard of it, but had not yet fully embraced it as part of an ongoing job search. I took that opportunity to tell them a little more and pointed them to my previous blog offering tips for maximizing LinkedIn. This certainly won’t get the signs taken off the computers, but may offer them a new avenue to explore.

    Social clearly transcends all people at all life stages. It made me feel good about what I do, and it felt great to give back and coach a little. Do you have any similar experiences you’d like to share? I’d love to hear…

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  • Colleen Nolan

    Get the Message

    A few days ago, I attended the funeral of a dear friend’s father. The funeral was held at a church I do not attend in a community about 30 minutes from my home. Before the service began, the members of the church engaged in traditions for their religious community – some of which were new to me. Being a good student of community, I observed the other members and followed their lead so that I could participate while being respectful of their customs and standards.

    While observing the prayers for the deceased I hear a loud cell phone ring. In fact, everyone heard it echo through the vestibule. Right in front of me, not 10 feet from the casket, a woman reached into her purse and answered with a hearty, “hello!” While I am no Emily Post, even I know that you don’t answer your cell phone in the middle of a funeral blessing.

    Get the Message

    Even more amazing is that the woman did not leave the building but simply stepped to the side and continued her call—not even hanging up while she walked behind the casket into the church. While you might look at this as a funny story on poor manners (which it is), to me it illustrates a common problem that people experience when interacting in a new community.

    When you enter into a community for the first time—be it online or offline—it is really important to adopt a few behaviors to ensure that you and those around you experience high quality engagement. A few tips include:

    · Be a bit of a mime. OK, I know everyone thinks mimes are annoying. And I am not asking you to pretend to walk down a flight of stairs! But in a community, observing how others behave and modeling your behavior will quickly educate you on the standards of behavior and interaction—and increase your acceptance.

    · Know why you came. Are you looking to learn, share or show support? Does the community offer you the kind of interaction you are looking for? Be clear on what you are looking for rather than assuming the community offers the engagement you seek.


    · Think of others. It takes many people to build a successful and vibrant community. And believe it or not, they did not go to all this trouble just for you. Think about what others are looking for out of the community and not only what you want. This will enable you to enhance the community experience and have your needs met.

    The cell phone offender would have realized how inappropriate her actions were if she’d followed a few of these tips. She would have seen that others did not have electronics with them and were purely focused on the moment. And, she would have realized her reason for coming was not to kill time until the call came to make her hair appointment, but really to focus on the loss that this wonderful family was experiencing. Finally, she would have known that the family’s need to gather their community together to celebrate the life of a good and loving person far outweighed the risk of her call going to voicemail.

    Any other tips I missed? Please post a comment and let me know. If you do, I’ll share the story about the guy who answered his phone after four rings during the funeral mass! Who knows, maybe he was modeling the woman’s behavior?

    Filed under: Engagement,Strategy

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  • Jennifer Voisard

    Your taxonomy or mine?

    A simplified approach to segmentation.


    Our industry applies many labels to people based on known usage and behavioral patterns with social media. There are great thought leaders and researchers in this space comparing historical data to emerging trends. However, we find ourselves swimming in a big bowl of alphabet soup these days, and names are beginning to lose their meaning and impact. 


    Your taxonomy or mine



    A few years ago we attempted a major undertaking to cut through the clutter and simplify segmentation as part of a Center of Excellence initiative for a major technology company.  The project included:


    ·      Deep analysis of the current approach to community member segmentation

    ·      Evaluation of membership segmentation methodologies in external communities

    ·      Examination of published research on the psycho social factors that motivate and drive individuals to affiliate with and become active within communities, social networks and brands

    ·      Review of more than 140 information sources including articles, e-books, videos, presentations and conducted one-on-one interviews


    We found that 4 main segments bubbled up to top of the lengthy list: Creators, Critics, Connectors and Collectors, because their main activities and behaviors were consistent across the Engagement Continuum:

    Your taxonomy or mine

    Next, we developed scenarios to tell us how, where and when to engage these segments throughout the different stages of the product lifecycle.


    For example…


    Say you are in the pre-release phase of a new product. You will need Creators and Critics for user acceptance testing, prioritization of fixes and enhancements, feedback on use case scenarios and the creation of product reviews.  On the other hand, in pre-launch buzz mode, you would need to rely on Connectors to amplify awareness and spread positive word-of-mouth.


    The same can be said for the community lifecycle.  You wouldn’t identify and recruit Collectors until there was enough rich content for them to consume and organize.  You need to start with Creators and Critics.  Sensing a pattern here?


    The point is that you must identify and activate the appropriate segment based on what you want to achieve through social engagement.  But, keep things simple.  It may be that Joiners, Contributors and Spectators make sense and work for you.  Does anyone have a different approach they would like to share?

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