social media guard rails

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Yesterday, for a friend at Reputation Management, I wrote about brands and reputation management. Today, I’m going to take a crack at “malicious comments and trolls.”  I was director of marketing at Zude back in 2006-08, a web start-up in the social computing space. We were a drag-and-drop web authoring tool — that the brand brief referred to as “the fastest easiest way to build a website.”  Zude earned Robert Scoble’s demo of the year and we had lots of big stories on Tech Crunch, Read Write Web, Giga Om, ZDNet and more. When you get that type of pub it brings out the trolls.

Dave Berlind a key blogger and confidant at the time, told us “Correct false information immediately, but don’t get dragged in to long harangues.”  Some people just love to type and argue. Don’t give them a forum. Another time, when director of marketing at an education company – and trust me educators like to type and argue – I was careful to allow different points of view, but never attempted to tit-for-tat them. Trolls bore easily and will find new people to pester.

In Social Media Guard Rails, is a key caution that applies to trolls and malicious comments, “Don’t anger the angry.”  It’s good advice.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

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I’m thinking about developing a brand planning workshop around the part of my practice devoted to “proof.”  I’ve spoken before groups on numerous occasions but those speeches tended to about theory.  Presentations include “Social Media Guard Rails,” some others about marketing plan development, and others sharing planning tips and tricks. But I have yet to do a participatory workshop. That’s what people want. A workshop where they learn by participating.

So my idea is to create a big dump of reading, maybe with some picture and video, about a company or product. It might include a piece of topline research and trade some press articles. The lion’s share would be interviews with customers and stakeholders. The dump will offer about 45 minutes worth of reading.

I’ll explain that their task is to underline the proof. Proof of value. Proof of superiority. Proof of “good-ats” and “care-abouts.” Not marko-babble…tangible, understandable value.

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you what we’ll do with that proof.

PEACE in Syria.

 

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I posted a presentation on SlideShare called “Social Media Guard Rails,” that was created for a Social Media Club of Long Island in 2011. Its subtitle was “14 Dos and Don’ts.” Good strategy work is timeless and future proof, but only a fool would say things don’t change. As I reread the 14 points I stick by them all.  There is one new “Don’t” I’d like to add at this point which was born out of the law profession:

“Don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to.”

Many managers of social media programs like to engage audiences by asking questions. Ask a good, funny, category-endemic question, the logic goes, and you’ll engage people. You’ll start a conversation.  When Ronzoni asks “What’s your favorite healthy pasta dish?,” the sharers will share and you get some SoMe traction.  By caring about what customers care about, you’re in a positive ballpark.

But if the questions are too open-ended you may get McDonalded. They asked followers to tell stories about McDonalds using hashtag #McDStories — and it didn’t work out so well.

McDStories

If you have a brand strategy (One claim, 3 proof planks), and manage your social media program with the intent of putting deposits in the brand bank, you should be okay. Then, you will be asking questions you know the answers to (ish).

Peace.

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One of the cool things about being a brand planner, probably not unlike being a psychotherapist, is being a student of man. Though I am not looking for maladaptive behaviors as does the psychotherapist I am looking for behaviors. All types. By doing so, I’m always learning. When on the clock, I’m learning about behaviors contributory to commerce in a specific business category, but when off the clock, I’m learning about human nature. Always learning.

I’ve been a painter, a waiter, and ad guy and a couple two tree (sic) other things, but brand planner and constant learner has to be the best. And when you can share what you’ve learned to help people, it’s among the best feelings on earth. The fact that brand planners help sell things shouldn’t minimize the job. When working on a elemental nutrition formula for infants with eating allergies and observing “a mother is never more protective than of an infant in distress,” the goal was helping, not selling. In my presentation “Social media guard rails,” one of the first slides is about this point. Help, don’t sell.

The best brand plans help; the result is selling. Words to plan by. Peace.

 

 

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There’s lots of talk these days about content strategy and content marketing. It’s a big practice and bigger business. In fact, data analysis tools supporting these efforts is may have surpassed the billion dollar mark. Yet for a business with so much cachet, it is surprising there is so little in the way of real, innovative social sharing on the topic.  I’m not talking about the “7 ways to increase belly fat (I mean) social media engagement” kind if posts – those are a dime a dozen.  I’m talking about innovative, doable, free suggestions.

Here’s one.  Every social media team should be testing one new hashtag a day. Those hashtags should adhere to the brand strategy (one claim, three proofs planks), of course.  This regiment will provide multiple learning moments for the content marketing people daily. Moreover, it will create a new discipline for brand adherence. The team can meet before the day begins to discuss the daily hashtag and also what worked and didn’t the previous day.

Every day you are not learning about your brand, is a day it lies fallow. Eyes off the blinking dashboard lights for a moment sirs and ladies, let’s feed the marketing beast with real time analysis and learning, e.g., “What in the news of the day made people twitch to our hashtag?” 

Stay tuned for more social tips. Or visit “Social Media Guard Rails.” Not a book.  

Peace. 

 

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There are two fundamental behavior types on the social web: giving and taking. Givers are those trying to help others, either via original thought or curation.  All those posts on Twitter that start out “7 ways to increase your…”,  those are from givers.  Takers are people looking for information. “Where is Lone Survivor playing? Who is the actress in Vampire Diaries?”  Takers are also looking to get answers to questions. Platforms like Ask, Jelly and Quora come to mind.

If, as a brand, you look at the web from this Giver-Taker point of view it will help you with your customers. SEO people get this. The reality is, though, not a lot of people are in the market looking for brighter brights in clothes washing.  One of the guard rails in my Slideshare presentation on social media dos and don’ts is “Care about what your customers care about.”  If you understand your customers “taker” behaviors and have a brand plan (1 claim, 3 support planks), you can align your social giver content in more targeted, higher-value ways. 

So the keys are: Know what your custies care about. And have a brand plan that gives form, relevance and meaning to your sharing. Otherwise you are just pizzling in the ether. Peace.

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Steve Rubel is an acquaintance who has done lots to alter the landscape of social media.  He’s got pop.  (Baseball metaphor.)  He once tweeted a post of mine about “Google’s culture of technological obesity” which got hit by Lifehacker and earned me 1,000 blog visits a day for a while. That’s power.

Steve works high up at Edelman PR and though less visible to the public these days, is no doubt making the company some nice profits.  We all miss him, I’m sure.

Edelman is doing some leading edge stuff in social media and PR.  I came across a Twitter handle of theirs yesterday:  @edelmanfood.  Whoever is managing the account, and I’m sure it’s a small group of people, are thoughtful category trollers.  This is advanced stuff. Leadership stuff.  They’ve created their own little practice area topic on Twitter – something extensible into other media which in a fast twitch media world is an idea with ballast.

While category trolling is broad and much better than brand trolling, it does not hit the requirements of “Have a motivation” (Google “Social Media Guard Rails+Slideshare”). That’s next. For now let Edelman troll the category and do it better than most. A Twitter account or a Fotchbook page with a branded motivation, though, offers real pop!  Peace. 

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