Monthly Archives: October 2008

Distribution, Distribution, Distribution

One of the key takeaways I had from the Blogwell conference was how well some of the companies were making their corporate content available outside of the corporate websites. Cisco with its video distribution strategy, The Home Depot with its Twitter distribution method and Kaiser’s ability to channel it’s health information into its own social network.

It’s becoming very obvious that a social media strategy cannot stand alone without a solid distribution strategy. It’s not just about social bookmarks or posting to a Facebook or MySpace page. Engaging community is nothing new, but understanding where content fits in the community is a good first step. After all, all social media activities are really just tactics. Channel management is the strategy. Customer engagement is the broader strategy. And, adding revenue is the overall strategy.

You could argue engaging with customers though social media is a strategy, but really it’s not. The strategy for any company should be to create and nurture happy customers. The how to do keep them happy is the tactic. After all, any employee engaging a customer face-to-face, over a customer service hotline or in a social network is acting upon the broader strategy of keeping customers happy.

What the companies who presented at Blogwell have done really well is extending their reach of happy, informed customers. The Home Depot taking its How-to videos from the corporate website and placing them on YouTube is an excellent example of taking content and pushing it for a broader audience to consume.

For me the homework after the conference isn’t how these companies created a social media presence, but how they’re able to successfully extend it.

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Blogwell Recap

I’ve returned from GasPedal’s Blogwell How Big Companies do Social Media conference and feel satisfied. Energized, right? That’s what you thought I‘d say? Well satisfied is more like it. After listening to some great cases studies by some outstanding companies, I realized the strategy that we are executing against isn’t off the mark. Validation seems like an odd word to use. So, I’ll use satisfied.

I started my trip off by reading ValleyWag’s Paul Bouton column in the latest Wired urging readers to Kill Your Blog. The death of blogs? Not a new concept. Nor is the death of the A-List bloggers. How could I be reading this right before Blogwell. I need to have aspiration running through my veins. I needed lofty goals and dare I say game-changing thinking.

It wasn’t long after the first couple of minutes into the first presentation by Cisco entitled, Why Vlogging is better than Blogging, that I realized Bouton wasn’t the only one who could see this trend.

I then sat in on The Home Depot’s Nick Ayers talk about the social media evolution taking place at the Orange Apron do-it-yourself retailer. He spoke about the company’s use of Twitter during the recent hurricane season and how that activity really resonated with consumers on Twitter. The Home Depot’s social media experience went from responding to a web comment board that followed an unsavory article to using Twitter and skipped the whole blog step. Nick stated that the strategy to use Twitter wasn’t a huge revolution, rather just re-posting information that was already on the corporate home page.

As I’m writing this on my blog (maybe it’s on its deathbed) I have to agree with Bouton’s thoughts that social networks and Twitter, FriendFeed, etc., are growing in popularity because of brevity. The immediate train of thought you can gleam from following some of the web’s thought leaders is more valuable that reading the scribble they worked on while staying up late or a prideful pontification that really only half-makes sense.

Not many companies at Blogwell were talking about their blogs, but rather their communities, their use of engaging community via YouTube or Twitter.

The blog isn’t really dead. Maybe it’s just been removed from the social media pedestal and a little bluebird has taken its place—for now.

Quick Thoughts About Blogwell:

  • For a social media conference, a lot of folks had their faces buried in their laptops (including me) and weren’t being too social
  • Managing content distribution is the next frontier in social media
  • Inviting a member of your legal team to join at these conferences up-levels the social media conversation you have with a key member of the team
  • UPS has the same challenge weeding out all the random mentions of their brand in the blogosphere as FedEx does
  • Blogwell may need another name by next year to better relate to the case study presentations – SocialMediaWell?
  • Lots of talk about social media not much on Reputation management-Nick Ayers touched on it, but for larger companies I was surprised I didn’t hear more about how these activities were being measured against reputation

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I don’t know that I approve of this video

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FedEx Newsroom Takes Gold in W3 – Twice!

Got great news today that the FedEx Newsroom won two more awards–this time from W3.  The Newsroom took Gold in the News and Public Relations categories.

The Newsroom continues to do what it was built for–to tell the FedEx story in a more impactful way.  We’re using video, photos, meta-tagging and ratings for most all content.  We’ve never claimed that this is a Web2.0 newfangled site, instead just a site that’s geared to effectively report FedEx news and equipped with the tools to help distribute the content. It’s truly a 24/7/365 reputation engine and we’re happy to get some accolades for a solid team effort.

Special thanks for friends at Ketchum–Chad Latz, Rachel Janner and John Reynolds, and of course Marie Wiltz for helping to organize the chaos.

We still have an outstanding award submission in Europe for the UK FedEx Newsroom, so everyone keep their fingers crossed.

About the W3 Awards

The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, videos and marketing programs. Simply put, the is the first major web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies.

The is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, interactive, advertising, and marketing firms. IAVA members include executives from organizations such as Conde Nast, Coach, Disney, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Estee Lauder, Fry Hammond Barr, HBO, Monster.com, MTV, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Victoria Secret, Wired, Yahoo! and many others.

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The Social Family

Last night in an effort to get our family’s life coordinated, my wife and I set up our budget using Google docs.  We already have a Google Pages for common phone numbers my wife always forgets and then calls me at work to get for her.  We use Facebook to stay in touch with each other during the day and of course there are the cell phones.

The cool thing I’m seeing is the changing behavior of our family due to technology. I imagine when the radio was introduced, families became closer in that they all huddled around to listen.  Then the TV came and that changed the dynamic.  But, for the first time, maybe collaboration tools will help families organize their life.

Curious to hear if anyone out there has any easy, cool ways their family is connected.

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Kramer’s had It, Does that mean we should stop talking and start listening?

I’ve watched the Kramer interview on the Today show about 15 times now.  You know the one. The one where he says, “take all your money out of the stock market.”  The one where he says all of this while looking like he’s about to cry. If you haven’t seen it, you must check it out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27045699.

His cautionary words have me thinking twice about what I’m reading on my Twitter feed.  Lots of folks shrugging off the economy, writing blog posts about social media and it’s affect on business and providing information for those laid off.

It seems to me that this is insanity.  While social media has opened new doors and opportunities, we can’t expect this new form of communication to be a save-all.

If anything, I hope we can all use these social tools to receive all the latest, greatest information needed to navigate through this troubling time.

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