Persuasive Picks for the week of 11/08/10

Mobile Users Want Branded Apps that Are Useful, Not Just for Marketing
Thinking of building a mobile app for your brand? This ReadWriteWeb post from Frederic Lardinois highlights recent findings and advice from app development agency EffectiveUI – to point you in the right direction.

Want to Lead Corporate Social Strategy? Read This.
Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford Motor Company, shares highlights from Altimeter‘s “Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist” report. The Slideshare version of the report is also included.

Could Facebook replace your e-mail inbox?
Mashable‘s Pete Cashmore speculates on Facebook‘s rumored plunge into the email provider space. Do they have what it takes to lure people away from the likes of GMail and Yahoo Mail? Read on for one perspective.

B2B Social Media Resources
Chris Brogan shares a plethora of great B2B resources that go beyond his ongoing collection of case studies on Delicious.

Social Media’s Impact on Offline Sales
Elizabeth Glagowski explains how social media can impact the bottom line through actual sales and provides several real world examples of businesses that are doing it right.

Is Chris Brogan Wrong?

Recently, Chris Brogan – a respected industry colleague and someone we’ve worked with on occasion, wrote “50 Power Twitter Tips,” a nice little post that’s been viewed about 10,000 times or so. It was also put into video form by one of his fans, as you can see here:

One of those 50 tips seems pretty straightforward: “Follow anyone who follows you (and unfollow spammers/jerks).” Now, I realize that this may not be everyone’s style on Twitter but with nearly 150,000 of his own followers (on just one of his accounts), I tend to think Chris’ advice is probably pretty solid if you’re looking to build influence. But lately I’ve noticed a lot of folks doing the opposite – or, more specifically, I’ve noticed a lot of long-time Twitter friends who have reached large follower numbers suddenly unfollowing massive amounts of their followers. It seems to be a trend – they reach 18,000, 20,000 followers and suddenly they trim their following list to 500, 200 or less. What’s with the new trend?

I asked a few folks and some feedback has been genuine “I’ve decided to only follow people I’ve met personally or who add value to my life,” and some has been esoteric, like “Just cleaning up.” Personally, I think it comes across as a bit narcissistic (of course, lately I’m feeling this way about a lot of social media) and disingenuous. It seems like these folks are building up to large numbers and then unfollowing to make themselves seem more interesting, popular or influential. It seems like they’re banking on the fact that most Twitter users don’t spend a lot of time managing their network and therefore won’t realize they’re no longer mutually connected.

Anyone else notice this trend? Any insights into why folks are doing this? Is social media becoming a burden and therefore people are changing their strategies? Personally, I’ve decided I like Chris’ advice. The reason I like it is that yes, following a large group of people could be cumbersome – if you didn’t know how to use tools to manage your lists and find what you want when you want it. But I use technology like Nutshell from Constant Contact (a client), TweetDeck, Tweepl and many more awesome tools to do just that. So I can always find what I need and track key words, trends, followers and more in a timely fashion. But I like to follow most of those who connect with me because in doing so, I sometimes find nuggets of information that I wouldn’t have been looking for – the more people I follow, the more interesting information comes my way. So for me, I’ll keep following my new followers … unless of course, they’re “spammers or jerks.”

What about you? What’s your Twitter following strategy?

Are You A PR Influencer?

Even though 99% of everything you do in PR is on behalf of your company or your client, are you working on becoming an influencer yourself? Our own @missusp spoke last Friday afternoon at the PRSA Technology Conference in New York on the topic of PR professionals as influencers and shared her insights into how our role is changing. She highlighted several PR & digital marketing professionals turned influencers including: Chris Brogan, Kelly Cutrone, Steve Rubel, Peter Shankman, Brian Solis, Scott Monty, Ann Handley, Sarah Evans and more. You can see her full presentation on SlideShare or check out some of the key tips and takeaways below:

  • It’s about YOU – PR professionals aren’t just "flaks," we’re tastemakers — choosing to work with the best and brightest upcoming brands, products and services. Embrace your role as an influencer and share your thoughts, insights, opinions – we have a better chance than ever to show how intelligent we really are.
  • Build your personal brand – YOU are your personal brand  and guess what – it lasts forever. Put some care into making sure it’s a brand you’re proud of. Great examples of personal brands include Gary Vaynerchuk, Julia Roy and more.
  • Do what you know and do it well – especially in PR! Bad pitches are now public – often the subjects of a reporter’s wrath – so “do what you already know how to do” but do it well because the footprint you build now will stay with you forever.
  • Share, Share, Share (with your networks) — the difference between simply being a member of a social network and being an influencer is sharing valuable content. Think about how you can help others.
  • Write a book — or at least a blog! PR executives need to be great writers and that means doing it well and doing it often. Blogs also give you another platform for sharing insights and opinions – embracing that role as a tastemaker -  as do Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks where you can be a resource with answer, opinions and thoughts. The point is to write – it keeps your skills sharp and increases your credibility as a PR professional.
  • Don’t say you are (just) in PR — our role has changed and we are so much more than PR pros now. Know the new terms used to describe our profession and make sure you are referring to all of your expertise, as it has now evolved to include digital and social media marketing, for example. As a leader, you should recognize when to change your messaging to meet the growing demands of our industry. You’ll notice many of the best-known PR leaders don’t even have "PR" in their company descriptions anymore. Some do – but regardless, all the strongest marketing influencers today include terms such new media, social media and digital marketing in their expertise description.
  • Make your own rules (within reason) – be bold and innovative. Take risks. Try new things – the best PR and marketing often comes from throwing out the old rules and making your own.
  • Remember it’s all about you (but really it isn’t) — we are all well versed at building relationships online and off and we continue to find new ways to leverage our communication skills for the better good of our companies and clients. Building your personal brand is important, but remember; you are doing all of this for the betterment of your clients and ultimately positive exposure for them. Your own influence on social networks is becoming directly related to how successful you will be with generating buzz for your clients.

Thanks to all who attended the session on Friday and for all the #TechPRSA tweeting. It was a great event!

It’s Not Personal – or Is It?

When Twitter first arrived on the scene a few years ago, it took a long while for businesses to jump on the bandwagon. A few brave souls were early adopters but even today, there’s still a lot of skepticism on whether or not social media is appropriate and valuable for business. I think we’ve made it clear here that we believe it is, but if you’re still wondering, take a look at some of the biggest “web-celebs” (individuals popular on the web and who have successfully used it to build and extend their brand) and their use of social media. Many of them use it solely for the purpose of business – you rarely, if ever, see a personal update from them. So, although one might argue that these folks are focused on “personal branding,” ultimately, they are using their recognition to grow their businesses. A few examples:

Pete Cashmore (he moved over to Google Buzz in lieu of his “personal” Twitter account)

Robert Scoble (a few scattered personal comments but usually around where he is, especially with his current focus to travel the world to study how start-ups are formed)

Guy Kawasaki (“firehose” is putting it lightly)

Michael Arrington (if you don’t count semi-arguments with people trying to get his attention through controversial engagement)

Brian Solis (the most personal current Tweets are around his own book)

On the flip side, there are several examples of some new “web celebs” who often share personal updates, sometimes posting such random things like quotes from their favorite song, or what they had for dinner. Folks like Laura Fitton of oneforty, Penelope Trunk (who is a writer, so perhaps this is part of her persona), Chris Brogan (also a blogger, but now also a marketer) and Peter Shankman (of HARO fame) all share a combination of personal viewpoints and professional insights.

Then there’s a lot of talk about the new “over sharing” of personal information around location-based technologies, such as Foursquare. If you missed the latest hoopla, check out this TIME story on Please Rob Me and the dangers of getting too personal online. A recent PR-specific example of over sharing is the young lady who was hired – and then had her offer rescinded – by People’s Revolution (a fashion PR firm and center of the BravoTV show, Kell On Earth) for tweeting about her job interview.

So what’s my point? It’s really more of a question – are those who keep content more professional-focused and less personal-focused, more successful in business? Have social media networks crossed the chasm from personal fun to serious business tool? If so, why are so many brands still hesitant to make the leap into social marketing? Clearly, these few examples are only a small part of the social media population – but they are also strong examples of those who have successfully grown their personal brand through heavy use of social media and digital content.

What’s your style? Do you have a preference of the type of people that you connect with in social networks? Is it better as a business/executive – especially a marketer – to keep what you share 100% professional? I tend to believe that as a PR executive, social networks give us the opportunity to show that we’re human, more intelligent than often given credit for, and interested and passionate about many of the very products and services we promote. However, I often wonder whether or not I should post anything personal on my social networks. My historical preference has been to strike a balance between professional and personal posts, although with Facebook I really struggle – should I be posting anything personal? If I want to be personal, should I only accept “friends” who are truly friends in real life (you know, those people I’ve actually met and share common interests with)?

What do you think? I’m particularly interested in hearing from those who have built brand awareness online and if such success came from staying on one side of the fence or another. Thanks in advance for “sharing.”

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 10/19/09

No Kidding
I’ll start the picks off with some humor via Scott Monty’s revisit to a post he did a year ago, askingHow many social media experts does it take to change a lightbulb?” I think you’ll enjoy the creative answers he received.

Ways to Be Human at a Distance
Chris Brogan reminds readers of the importance of showing the human side of your business when engaging your online communities. Lots of great tips here along with many additional bits in the comments.

When social media attacks: learn from others’ mistakes
Henry Elliss from the econsultancy.com blog shares five great real-world examples of how companies have made mistakes in handling their brands online.

4 Lies about social media
Penelope Trunk sheds some light on four common lies that many people wrongly believe about social media. We’re fond of correcting beliefs about all of them, but especially #4: “Social media is no place for business.” (Still don’t believe it? Let’s talk – we can help you understand why it is and what ROI you can receive.)

10 Proven Applications For Social Media
No, Adam Singer from the TopRank’s Online Marketing blog isn’t running through a list of tools to start using, but rather a more helpful list of business objectives to which social media can be applied. Read on for inspiration.