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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category
Rest assured this isn’t another Community Management post linking back to a film as some of my others have. This is actually about what’s happening now; SOPA. With many sites and several social networks planning to “go dark” in protest of the bill it just highlights how important it is to have your own community space.
You may have a million “fans” on Facebook but if they can’t interact with you because that site goes down what impact is it going to have on your relationship with those users? I was asked a question the other day about where the best place to build a community is. My response was pretty simple; anywhere you own the space and can then manage accordingly.
From a customer support perspective, if you use Social Media to respond to issues what happens if those services go down for extended periods? I know I’m sounding all doom and gloom here but the biggest message I’m trying to give is that part of your community strategy needs to be about contingencies. It’s going to be interesting to monitor the impact of SOPA and which sites do decide to “go dark” in protest. I’ll also be interested to hear from Community Managers and whether they notice an increase in traffic / contribution across their respective communities.
As Facebook continues to roll out updates across personal pages (Timelines) and on brand pages it is feeling more and more like a billboard. The latest addition to brand pages, the nicely titled “people talking about” is another good example.
From a Community Manager perspective this arbitary number really gets me. “n talking about this”. So what? It’s just a number. At least give me some meaningful details. Who are those people? Where are they talking? Where and how can I interact with them? Are those people talking about my brand on another page that I’m not aware of? What are they saying? Is it positive?
It’s like Facebook suddenly had this cool idea to dangle a carrot under the noses of Community Managers except when you go to grab it, it’s not what you thought it was. At least with the number of fans I can click that number and actually see the people that have “liked” the page and can then analyse that based on the page insights.
This for me is another example of how Facebook isn’t about building communities, it’s just a gathering of people.
As we develop as individuals and professionals our thoughts and opinions also change. I’m currently going through this process at the moment and more specifically, in relation to Facebook. I was of the opinion that Social Media channels (like Facebook) can be used to build a community around a brand but having spent more time using the behemoth that is FB my view has changed. For me it’s lacking one key ingredient when it comes to trying to build a community and this missing link is starting to place it firmly in the camp of “audience”, at least in my mind.
The thing I’m talking about is relationships, namely relationships between users. Yes users may be there to develop a relationship with the brand and they may succeed (if they get some free swag or discounts then hurrah!) but it’s pretty difficult to build relationships with other users based solely on commenting on status updates. I’ve used forums for as long as I can remember and the ability for users to have profiles, create their own discussions and talk to other users without the need for faciliation by the brand means there is a far greater opportunity and potential for relationships to develop.
Ok, you could add the discussion element to your FB page but given the nature of FB I’m not convinced this will actually generate the level of activity required to turn your page into a community rather than an audience. With this being the case I now know how I’ll approach FB brand pages; provide the content and message whilst directing back to somewhere else for discussion.
Over the past week or so Twitter has rolled out a new feature to profiles; a gallery of all the images you’ve uploaded via twitpic, yfrog and a number of other 3rd party sites / apps. This new inclusion provides an interesting opportunity for Community Managers (and those involved in Customer Support).
We can’t all be active on our accounts 24/7 (if you are you need to take a break!) but chances are we still want to serve our communities and assist where we can. So why not use the twitter profile gallery as an “out of office” or “I’m away” tool?
Confused? Well..why not upload an image with an associated tweet and have the image act as a signpost for existing and potential users. It could contain a link to your community for them to get involved or it could continue details of how to raise a support issue when the support office is closed. The point is, it is there to be used so why not make the most of it? You could even run some funky activity with QR codes as part of a competition.
The image you use and the gallery as a whole will be visible to anyone that views your profile on the Twitter.com site, so make it work that little bit harder.
It’s safe to say I’m personally not a Google+ convert yet. I’ve got an account, had a quick poke around but I’m still yet to see the light or have an epiphany about it. There just aren’t enough people there for it to warrant my time.
Now from a brand and community perspective it’s a different matter. After Google’s announcement for brands to hold off from creating brand pages because “they were working on something” here’s my breakdown of what I want as a CM to make it worthwhile. There is a caveat though that goes something like “it still needs to hit critical mass for it to be truly effective”.
The whole circles thing is a pretty neat idea and one I think that has a lot of potential for creating communities and being able to talk to specific audiences or sub-sets. The biggest thing for me though would be automated circles. I want circles split by sex, age group, geolocation and a range of other factors so that I can quickly and easily analyse my audience and interact with them accordingly. I can tailor messages depending on age group or location. If I can create circles based on “interests” that people list on their profile that would be great as well.
What else do I want? I want to be able to communicate with individuals and groups freely. I want to be able to message a target group and go “hey, I’m having a Google Hangout to get your feedback, feel free to drop by and leave a comment”. I want to be able to set keywords associated with my brand or product and when someone searches for a Spark that’s related I want a notification.
I want Google+ to be smarter so I don’t have to work harder. I want to be able to easily differentiate between my users so I can give them a more personal experience and they can get the most out of the relationship they have with the brand.