Thursday, June 19, 2008

Social Media for the Enterprise

“What are your favorite buzzwords?,” asked moderator Todd Van Hoosear. “Twitter,” Mike Volpe responded. “Podcast,” replied Parna Sarkar. “Tweople,” said John Cass, leading most of the audience to ask for an explanation. (It’s people who twitter.)

This is just a taste of the dialogue at a Social Media Club event. The group prides itself on its interactive format. Events begin with a half hour of networking. The panel lasts about an hour, and is followed by 30-45 minutes of break-out sessions, where you have the opportunity to meet in a smaller group with the panelist of your choice.

Last Thursday’s panel, where the conversation above occurred, focused on Social Media in the Enterprise. The panelists included Mike Volpe, vice president of marketing for HubSpot, Parna Sarkar, senior director of corporate communications for Invention Machine, John Cass, online community manager for Forrester Research, and Michele Glorie, senior director of corporate communications for Kronos.

Glorie offered the words of wisdom that a company needs to be experimental to succeed in social media, since ROI can be hard to demonstrate immediately . Sarkar said that she was able to show success by having European sales tell her customers were finding information about her company, before officially launching in Europe. Volpe stressed: “Marketing is no longer predictable so you need to adapt or get out.”

The panelists touched on the importance of training company staff on what to expect with social media, and including legal from the first steps on. Said Cass, “Involve legal early and they may surprise you.” Volpe added that involving legal in writing policy can keep it from getting overwhelming.

The final question asked of the panel was, “What is your favorite social media tool?” Linked In seemed to be the favorite, especially their Question and Answers section.

To learn more, click here to listen to an audio recording of the event.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Buzz Marketing Tips Plus Pew on Going Straight to the Source

At least once a week, I find myself reading Guy Kawasaki's blog and saying, ummm, that's a really interesting post.

Kawasaki recently interviewed Dave Balter, who founded Boston-based BzzAgent in 2002, which has by now buzzed for dozens of Fortune 500 companies. He's also the co-founder of The Word of Mouth Marketing Association, which promotes "best practices" in the field and strives to protect consumers and the industry with strong ethical guidelines.

Here's an excerpt from the interview, which you can read in full here.

What are the components of an effective word-of-mouth marketing program?

The most important thing is that companies tap into consumer advocacy without destroying what makes it so powerful: trust. Effective programs should ensure participants are:
  • Unpaid. Cash messes with our opinions!
  • Unscripted. People should say what they really feel, no matter how good or how bad.
  • Open. If someone is involved in an organized word of mouth program, the people they talk to should be aware of that.

A simple test is to ask yourself: would I feel ok if my eighty-year old grandma knew about this program? That will help guide you.


In other news of note, BusinessWeek recaps another useful study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Adults are no longer content to read compressed news reports on political campaigns. According to the study:

...nearly 30 percent of adults have used the Internet to read or watch unfiltered campaign material -- footage of debates, position papers, announcements and transcripts of speeches.

"They want to see the full-blown campaign event. They want to read the speech from beginning to end," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew group. "It's a push back from the sound-bite culture."

Google Inc.'s YouTube and other video sites have become more popular. Thirty-five percent of adults have watched a political video online during the primary season, compared with 13 percent during the entire 2004 presidential race.

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