Persuasive Picks for the week of 06/09/08

Talking About Competitors
John Cass, the newly appointed Online Community Manager for Forrester touches on how to talk about your competitors and shares 5 tips from Dharmesh Shah at OnStartups.com.

Ongoing List of Social Media Examples in the Auto and Car Industy
Jeremiah Owyang provides an excellent list of social media case studied revolving around the automobile industry.

Blog Topics for Business to Business Customers
Coming up with a steady stream of topics for your corporate blog is sometimes not an easy task. This can be especially challenging in the B2B space where topics can be rather, well…dull. Chris Brogan help ease the process with several good suggestions.

H&R Block Social Media Programs Success
Jennifer Jones from PodTech interviews Paula Drum, VP of Marketing for H&R Block on their use of social media tools and the success that they’ve had. Be sure to check out all of Jennifer’s other excellent interview podcasts as well.

Must-Read Books for the Social Media Marketing Newcomer
This post on the Ignite Social Media blog touches on 9 “must read” books for those diving into the social media space.

Christine Perkett Announced as Stevie Award Finalist

Stevie AwardAs I write this post, PerkettPR’s Founder and President, Christine Perkett is making her way down to New York City for this evening’s American Business Awards ceremony. Last month she was named as a finalist in the Best PR Executive category, and we’re all waiting on pins and needles for the announcement of the official winners tonight.

Hailed as “the business world’s own Oscars” (New York Post , April 27, 2005), The American Business Awards are the only national, all-encompassing awards program honoring great performances in business. More than 600 executives from across the U.S.A. are expected to attend tonight’s gala event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The ceremonies will be broadcast on radio nationwide by the Business TalkRadio Network and hosted by Liz Claman of FOX Business Network.

This announcement, along with the potential of being selected as a Stevie award winner, is the icing on the cake with 2008 marking PerkettPR’s 10 year anniversary. Christine’s passion for tech PR, business prowess, and innovation in creating a successful, virtually run agency with an all senior staff has proven to be a winning model, and this achievement marks her well deserved recognition from the industry. Congrats Christine!

Starry Eyed Over Social Media

The Internet has been ablaze the last few months about social media and business. Everyone is trying to figure out the value of the different sites – from the “oldies” like Facebook and LinkedIn to newbies like Twitter, Seesmic, Plurk, Brightkite, etc. The value of such communities is especially abuzz in the realms of marketing and communications. People are catching on that marketing and PR are now – more than ever – about building relationships (as opposed to spinning news). PR executives who are not engaging with constituents – media, customers, partners, colleagues, competitors – in these new communities are missing a huge competitive advantage and opportunity. But who are the right constituents?

Just like anything – it’s how you yield the sword, not the sword itself, in my humble opinion. While building a fan base, securing thousands of followers or becoming a “top friend” can be fun, when it comes to business, how do these numbers translate? Where does the value lie? Does having thousands of Twitter followers suddenly make you a “social media expert?”

The ability to use – or experience with – communities like Facebook and Twitter do not make anyone a communications expert. Sheer follower numbers do not necessarily mean value – at least not to everyone. I may have 1000+ followers but that doesn’t mean anything to my clients unless I’m gleaming value specific to their goals. And even if one of their goals is to increase their user base, not all – or even the majority – of those followers are going to be appropriate users for my client’s products.

What if the content I’m sharing on these communities is irrelevant or my approach is more personal than professional? For example, some Twitter users don’t actually converse – they just spew updates about their day. That doesn’t actually build relationships. Some don’t recognize Twitter as a business opportunity but just have fun with their followers. (The smart ones do both – personal and professional communications – for reasons discussed in previous posts). Others build corporate entities only to “spam” followers and quickly lose them. So, while having a great following on these communities is important, so is understanding how to participate appropriately and glean the right value from them – and how to combine that with other communications strategies.

A lot of folks in the industry are also abuzz about “social media experts.” We’ve had plenty of six figure-seeking applicants tell us they know everything there is to know about social media. Personally, I think there are very few who can truly call themselves experts in this arena – yet – and I’m not impressed when an applicant just runs down a list of “Twitterati” that they have on their follower list or “web celeb” Facebook friends list.

Don’t spew names. Give me an example of how these relationships have helped add business value to your organization or your client’s business. How did your relationships increase a company’s users? What strategy did you have in place for using social media to build a brand and what metrics have you used to measure that brand awareness? Just using social media does not mean you know how to tie it to the bigger picture. I find this to especially be true with the younger generation of workers. Yes, they know how to use social media and are fully immersed in it. But do they understand business strategy, marketing goals and how to leverage these communities for such? Some do, but the majority may not yet understand the intricacies of business relationships and communication.

When thinking about new media and marketing, don’t get too starry eyed just because social media is a hot topic right now. Just as anyone can put a press release across the wire, anyone can build a massive following in these communities. But if the tools aren’t used properly – and combined with other elements of the business to execute a larger strategy – they become useless from a business perspective. Sometimes they can even become harmful.

What do you think? Have you found value in hiring a social media expert? How do you define “expert?”

Persuasive Picks for the week of 06/02/2008

This week features a shorter set of picks that center around notable videos I’ve spotted. The last even features my appearance on a MyRaganTV.com segment talking about LinkedIn.

Video: Social Media in Plain English
Lee Lefever and his Common Craft videos continue to educate and entertain while breaking down topics in a way that anyone can understand.

Authors@Google: Garr Reynolds
Garr Reynolds, author of the excellent book Presentation Zen, recently spoke at the Google campus. The session has been posted on YouTube for all to enjoy.

Are you LinkedIn?
This week I had the opportunity to contribute some content to MyRaganTV.com. In this segment, I talk about how PR Pros can utilize LinkedIn as a valuable tool for both internal and client work.