Monthly Archives: September 2009

Looking at What’s Next

fdxmattsmallAs I shared last week, ZDNet’s Jennifer Leggio featured the FedEx social media program as part of her FORTUNE 500 series. Today, Jennifer,  also know as @mediaphyter, has named FedEx as one of ten FORTUNE 500 companies doing social media right.

Throughout the last year I’ve highlighted several Fortune 500 companies who have a smart approach to social media. Writing about the large companies demonstrates that even giants with hundreds of thousands of employees can successfully flex to run solid social programs. I get approached by a lot of different companies for this series but I only select the ones I think are really onto something.

So, the obvious question is…now what.  What’s next.

I’m thinking about building community and further integration of social media into the traditional media relations activities.  There are some cool things tee’d up and I can’t wait to get them rocking.

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Google @ 11

Google’s 11. In its short life it has taken over search, redefined the advertising business, questioned what exactly is a monopoly, created an email system to rival MSFT’s Office, let us spy on celebrity houses and became a verb.  Happy Birthday to you.

googleat11

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The Social Media Strategy Fallacy

broken_linkWith all the talk about Twitter’s $1 billion valuation and the news that time spent social networking as nearly tripled from last year, companies, pundits and experts are shouting louder than ever for a need to build strategy around social media.

Here’s the problem with that: social media activities should map to business strategy.

Social Media is  Just another Channel

Do you want a social media strategy?  Show me your broadcast media strategy first. Then your print strategy. Why not your long-lead magazine strategy.  What? You don’t have strategies for each medium? You say they are part of a larger media strategy and you tailor your message to fit the medium.  Social Media is no different.  It’s just another way to get your message out to your audiences.

Checkers not Chess

If you do a google image search for strategy, you’ll get a dozen or so images of a chess board.  Chess is a great analogy for strategy because the current move impacts a move 4 turns later.  However, social media is a game of checkers. It’s a react and reaction game.  Each move dictates the next move based on feedback from the community, insights learned from monitoring or how the community shifts its way of engagement (i.e., twitter, Facebook, online, mobile, etc.,) .

Message Strategy vs. Channel Strategy

I learned long ago in an interpersonal communications class that how something is said is just as important as what’s being said. After key messages have been clearly defined, the next goal is to understand what channels are available to get those messages across.  Messages will have to be tailored to the appropriate channel.  Need to reach a certain audience demographic? Understand what channels they engage in and create or play in that channel with a message that resonates.  As a communicator, I find this to be the most challenging and fun aspect of social media. Having the opportunity to craft and repurpose a single message in so many different ways.

I’m not discounting the need to have strategy. Strategy is good. This post is a call for clarity in understanding where the effort has to be placed.  If social media efforts aren’t tied to business strategy than it’s just noise.

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Take Him to Detroit – Updated

detroit-packard-plant-20080815-171843The title of this post comes from a scene in an old movie which shows a prisoner about to be beaten, tortured, executed, but a fate much more brutal is awarded – a trip to Detroit.

Other than having a wonderful colleague who lives in the state of Michigan and at one time lived in the area around Detroit before heading to the magical city of Grand Rapids, I didn’t really understand much about Detroit.

I knew the Tigers aren’t that good, Barry Sanders would have rather retired and not set every major rushing record in the NFL than play for the Lions and the Red Wing fans throw squid on the ice. After being attacked by my son as he pretends to be a Great White Shark and he calls me squid before “getting” me,  I know that’s not a good thing.

Then there’s the whole Auto industry – the big 3…er…2. Perhaps 1 and half now.

Anyway, here are two great articles that shed some light on the city’s history and possible future.  After reading both I know: it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be pretty. But, if it works, it will be a blueprint for getting this country back to having its petal to the metal.

Time Magazine is a doing a year long feature on the city. The first installment looks at it’s past and an optimistic view of the city.

NY Times looks at the current mayor and the issues he’s facing as the city continues to implode on itself.

Both are really great reads and are highly recommended.

A good friend commented on my Facebook page that Detroit has been making the rounds in the press:

“Detroit’s making the rounds in the national news. Newsweek had a great article as well from a reporter at the Free Press on why the city needs to focus on shrinking, not growing. Seems the antithesis of a wholly American sentiment, but could be promising. Detroit as a microcosm of controlled shrinkage. Hope it works.”

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ZDNet Looks at Social Media at FedEx

mattbostonWanted to share a very cool interview that I got to do with ZDNet social media reporter Jennifer Leggio (@mediaphyter) on the social media efforts that I’ve been apart of at FedEx.

Fortune 500 Series: FedEx delivers success through social media

The importance, and purpose, of this series is to show that even goliaths are flexing to social media. Even if their programs might be raw, they are moving to embrace the model. And if a large company with hundreds of thousands of employees can flex, so can a smaller business. Sometimes, it also helps to know how they did it.

One such goliath is FedEx, a household name worldwide. The company began its trip down the social media path two years ago and has begun a phase of rapid growth. From multiple blogs to multiple service-oriented Twitter feeds and even community sponsorship, FedEx has made social media a priority.

I spoke with Matthew Ceniceros of FedEx’s media relations team to find out more about how the giant is reaping the benefits – and staying competitive – with social media.

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Google Art: HG Wells

HG Wells was a socialist. So says Wikipedia. Other sources indicate it’s his 143rd birthday and Google celebrates with a Google art tribute.

HGWellsGoogleArt

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Google Art: UFO

Interesting image on the Google search page for the opening Saturday of 09-10 NCAA Football season.  Guess Google’s for geeks and not sports fanatics.  So why the UFO?  Hartley Engel over at AC says, two of the top Google search terms are the aforementioned “unexplained phenomenon” and “top 10 unexplained phenomena.”

google.ufo

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The Storyteller Listens to Stories

storytelling_here-264x300One of the more interesting parts of my job at FedEx is to be a blog coach.  My duties as a blog coach include helping bloggers find interesting angles on daily ideas, create and edit blog posts.  Basically do whatever it takes to keep bloggers interested in creating content and inspired to find new things to talk about.  It’s quite the rewarding experience when it works.

Recently, one of my bloggers gave me some feedback that since she’s been telling her story on the FedEx Citizenship blog, everywhere she goes people are telling her their story.  They tell her stories in hopes that she’ll find them fascinating or that she’ll be moved as much as they are to tell our audience about them.  She tells me she is now hearing stories everywhere she goes.  Now she’s overwhelmed, doesn’t know which story to tell.  Is this not a fascinating dilemma?

The truth is people have come to see her—and others that write for the blog—as a storyteller.  She’s a channel in which stories get told. People have become aware of her audience, the impact that each one of her posts has on people and they want to become part of the experience.

To be a true storyteller, it’s not so much about the stories you tell, but listening for the stories that are out there.  If you become a storyteller, understand it’s not just about what you have to say.  But it’s what you will hear.

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