Marketing Director

Showing posts with label social networking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social networking. Show all posts

Sharing Information + Diverse Audiences

more presentations from kemp edmonds

I recently had the pleasure of presenting (slidedeck above) at a one-day conference in Calgary called Social Media Marketing Unplugged. The organizer Jonathan Chow was an awesome organizer and the other speakers were people who I admire personally for the work they do in their areas of focus. It was my lucky day as having recently started working a dream job of sorts with HootSuite, THE social media dashboard, managing their learning program I was invited to fill in for my community wrangler Dave Olson.

It was a joy to present outside of Vancouver and in another Canadian city. It was very different from Vancouver where the use of social media is more prominent. Ask anyone who speaks regularly to audiences about social media and you will find out that the greatest challenge we deal with is the diverse knowledge base of our audiences. Some are 'going to try Twitter soon' while others are tracking website visitors' every move using Custom URL parameters and Google Analytics. If you didn't understand that last part don't worry few do, but it's the kind of technique that is basis for successful online communications. Sharing knowledge is an amazing part of digital culture in fact it lives at the core of our culture.

Kris Krug, Open Everything, Pecha Kucha.

Without sharing knowledge and allowing others to build on it we would not be where we are as a civilization. We would be stuck in the past. I've been inspired on my mission to share the knowledge by two individuals who started out as my heros and long ago became my mentors, my peers and my friends. Kris Krug and Dave Olson speak the gospel of openness.

In this era when multi-national corporations own the intellectual property created by individuals it is more important than ever to share our knowledge to allow our ideas and thoughts to be built upon by others to advance our collective work. Corporations are working against that goal with patents on plants and ownership of rivers that belong to the people of planet not the shareholders of corporations. I love business and it's been an incredibly powerful tool for bringing our world into the 21st century, but like the majority of entities made up of 100s or 1000s of people, self-preservation and control rain supreme while responsibility and accountability are diffused into near nothingness.

Why I don't blog here these days

I am sure that everyone reading this is on edge ;) wondering if I've disappeared into the wilderness of the internet. Well the truth is I have. Most of my time is spent developing curriculum for courses and workshops at BCIT. I am currently teaching two classes and a workshop that runs two Mondays November 1st and 8th at BCIT's Downtown campus from 1pm to 5pm. There are still a few seats available and it's an incredible value. If your curious about the classes I am teaching here they are:

MDIA1045 - Intro to Social Networking - Course Blog - Starts again in January
MDIA2045 - Social Media for Web Dev - Course Blog - Currently available in the full-time program

I am volunteering with the The Violence Stops Here, a campaign engaging men to help stop violence. We need your help as we are currently attempting to secure funding from the Aviva Fund. We need you to vote today so please take a few moments to VOTE. Please know that you can vote each day so we need you to return daily after 9:01 PST and vote again. Together we CAN make things better.

Check back in November for some new content. Also watch for a new blog about Social Media Education I am writing with Capilano University's Jess Sloss: @thattallguy. I am also developing a podcast and radio show with @SmuttySteff of Blog fame for UBC's CiTR radio!

Now for a treat... This is my American Television debut! Can you spot me? HINT: It's early on.

Social Networking studies lack scientific diligence

While listening to CBC Radio this morning @JianGhomeshi of Q was talking about a recently released study that stated that Facebook users are narcissistic. The study was picked up by media all across Canada and the world including: The Globe and Mail, Mashable, the CBC and Yahoo to name a few.

This gets me thinking about the methodology and scientific validity of some studies around social technologies. I say some because data mining of online activities is different from subjective applications of archaic social psychology measurements on digital social technologies. This kind of study lacks the scientific diligence of something published so widely by so many voices of authority in media.

I don't want to take anything away from the author who I have a lot of respect for and know is going to be incredibly successful. Students should be encouraged to pursue innovative cyberpsychology studies.

Anything that receives as much press as this undergraduate study is an important thing in our digital culture. It is also important that as more and more studies begin to emerge about social networking we raise our level of analysis. The methodology and definitions used in studies around web technologies is often murky and can mislead people about the outcomes of those studies. This can be said of many studies.

Traditional media need to be more diligent about publishing the methodology of studies they discuss. The size of this study was only 100 voluntary participants. This sample is small and the fact they volunteered after being recruited on a University campus skews the results about social networks; a participatory and youth focused technology. How can we have a proper cross section of any group when only those on campus and willing to participate do?

As an example from higher education marketing a large institution in the US released a statistic that is much used by those advocating higher education marketing on social networks. That stat is:

99% of prospective students have a social networking profile.

I agree that social networks are the place for educational institutions to manage relationships with the next generations more effectively. 99% is a powerful stat so I dug into the methodology used by this large American Institution. There were a number of things that should have been published along with that stat.

Those who responded to the survey had already opted-in to participate in surveys via the internet with this institution. They were then sent an email inviting them to participate in an online survey. Those who participated clicked the link in the email and landed on a questionnaire asking them a number of questions about their use of social networks.

These steps all skewed the survey results. Much like the Canadian government intentions of changing the long form census from mandatory to voluntary the fact that people opt-in to take the surveys skews things immediately. In this case participants have to be technologically inclined and willing to take multiple actions with no obvious benefit to themselves: something most humans have little interest in [Disclosure: I fill out surveys all the time].

photo by: Kris Krug. remixed under creative commons license.
I don't know about you but I would think that 99% of people who took each of these participatory steps have an online social networking profile. It's this kind of methodology that hinders academic study of complex social technologies.
A new study saw participants singling out narcissists just by looking at their Facebook profiles. The study found that users with an abundance of friends, wall posts and attractive (usually sexual) photos often qualified as narcissists.
This sounds like something from the most recent study, right? This study was conducted by the University of Georgia in 2008. It states that people who have many pictures of themselves and lots of friends are narcissists. To me what makes these studies about Facebook users' narcissistic tendencies problematic is that they are putting the cart before the horse. Facebook doesn't make people narcissistic. It enables them to act out their narcissistic tendencies. It even encourages them to do so by its very nature. Even the average Facebook user doesn't need a survey to see this. It's plainly obvious and baked-in to the Facebook ecosystem and culture.

photo by: D'ashley Wilson. remixed under creative commons license.
In the most recent study [PDF] on Facebook narcissism and self-esteem the sample size was 100 individuals recruited from an Ontario university campus, aged between 18 and 25, 50% men, 50% women. The participants then had their Facebook pages 'rated' by the author of the study, a 22 year-old female undergraduate. Students were recruited on campus by being approached and asked to participate in a study exploring the use of Facebook. Wouldn't narcissistic Facebook users be more interested in participating than passive users or non-narcissistic users?

The study's author used the NPI or Narcissistic Personality Inventory metric to judge the levels of narcissism in the study's participants. The more comprehensive NPI measure, a 40-item forced-choice version, was passed over in favour of a "shorter unidimensional measure" the 16-item forced-choice questionnaire. Example items include 'I am more capable than other people' and 'There is a lot I can learn from other people'.

Although it was designed to measure these features in the general population the NPI measure is based on DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) clinical criteria and was created in the late 1980s. This measure was not designed for use in a digital world. People who have high NPI scores are said to 'value material things and like looking at themselves in the mirror'. Back to the new study:

"Five features of the participants Facebook pages were coded for the extent to which they were self-promoting. Self -promotion was distinguished as any descriptive or visual information that appeared to attempt to persuade others about one's own positive qualities. For example, facial expression (e.g., striking a pose or making a face)... The use of positive adjectives (e.g., nice, sexy, funny)".
Seriously? Striking a pose or making a face in a Facebook photo is 'self-promoting'? It's self-promotional to call yourself nice, funny or sexy? It's a struggle to understand how the judgement of the rater a 22 year-old undergraduate student can be used to report scientific results. The model is anything but objective and that's the challenge here. Studies of social networks need to use statistical information as opposed to objective measurement. Most social networking studies want to compare the way people act in digital social spaces to the way we act in real life and draw direct correlations. Digital social spaces were designed to enable self promotional activities.

The results of this study were then used by news organizations across North America and the world. This is the embarrassing part for the media. At this time media are so enamored with social technologies that they aren't conducting the critical analysis necessary for high quality journalism. Something that will preserve journalism and remain one of great value to the world. The media's current fear is driving reporting on sup-par quality information and stories.

This was shown by the balloon boy incident and most recently the worldwide exposure given to a christian cleric from the southern US who intended to burn the Koran on September 11th but recently said he wouldn't. He should never have had worldwide exposure. Less than 50 people listen to him weekly but the media gave him the opportunity to reach billions with his vitriolic intentions.

The social digital cultural revolution is real and its different than our offline social and cultural lives in terms of tempo and medium but it is still a social and cultural revolution.

"Instead of  [being] revealing, I think it just gives us a chance to edit ourselves and, in that way, conceal the real self. Facebook profiles are about the persona more so than the person ... Narcissism and voyeurism feed off each other in this case." - Ms. Sarah Nicole Prickett, 25.

According to this thorough collection of studies and insights the narcissism isn't due to the tools, like Facebook, but more from the way we are raising children these days.

"We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said Professor Jean Twenge, author of Generation: Me and Living in the Age of Entitlement: The Narcissism Epidemic. "Kids are self-centered enough already," says Twenge.

Twenge and co-author Keith Campbell describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students' NPI (Narcissism Personality Index) scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above average NPI scores, 30 % more than in 1982.

How Social Media startups are hurting my friends

Original By: bootload. Licensed under Creative Commons.
There are lots of young people coming up with great skills. They are tenacious, technically savvy, willing to work for less than established people and highly aware of emerging trends. These individuals also possess a feeling that they can make a difference, change the world and be successful. These qualities make them the perfect candidates to help launch the newest social network or bookmarking tool that is going to take the world by storm and be the next Facebook or Digg.

Sadly, there already is a Facebook and a Digg and hundreds of other variations. Unless you have big backers and/or a niche market that is in serious need of it's own social network your idea is extremely unlikely to succeed. The sheer number of 'companies' launching as social networking or bookmarking sites is reaching into the tens of thousands. How many will be successful? Maybe none, maybe one. Now I know that your social network is better, faster, cooler and more versatile than Facebook but that doesn't mean people will use it. The trend that I have been noticing lately is that people don't want to login to another site to access yet another network they have to put time into the benefit; people are already spread to thin.

"Working at a startup is a valuable experience, and making mistakes earlier in your career will save you later on. Even if the social media startup fails miserably, you have learned valuable lessons that will make your future ventures more likely to succeed." -Anoop

Anoop is so right on that and don't get me wrong start-ups are a good things especially when planned properly, not just around an idea but around a business model where revenue is a real thing, not something that will come. How are start-up leaders going to pay their employees? That's the problem; often they don't. Young people like the idea of equity but equity in something worth nothing is worth, well, nothing. Whether it's for equity or as an intern these newly minted technology and programmer masterminds are often being used as 'slave' labour.
So how are these social media start-ups hurting my friends? Well by not paying them a real wage is one way. Another way is by locking them into a project which may result in them missing out on real opportunities to build their careers with companies who actually make more revenue that they have expenses. Selling my peers the dream of millions of dollars from your awesome startup is the same line that was fed to big Wall Street investors in the years before the original dot com bubble. I am happy to coin this new phenomenon "dot com bust 2.0". That is exactly what it is. There is good reason that VCs are now steering away from risky social media startups.

If you are or know a talented young person drawn in by this new startup model be warned or warn those you know. Any startup without a marketing plan or an inkling of where revenue will come from should be avoided. Below is an image including a number of logos from recent startups in the technology space. The ones crossed with a pink X no longer exist and there are thousands more to come.

What are your feelings on this? Do you have personal experience? Any good experiences? Please share.

Social Media Success: An Interview with Marc Smith

These days everyone wants to know how to be successful on social media. Most people are looking for a quick way to find ROI, revenue or sales. The bad news is that quick fixes rarely if ever mean long term success. Social Media is a return to more human communications. It's a return to a time when neighbors knew each other and went out of their way to help one another. The difference is this time you get to choose who your digital 'neighbors' are and what you do for them.
What is the ROI of social media? Well if you are a giant company like Dell, IBM or Comcast you can measure that easily after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and it's a good idea. Unfortunately, those ROI lessons rarely apply to small businesses who represent the majority of people trying to use social media to build business. Going to conference or a panel talk and listening to someone from a large company with a six figure marketing budget just for social media tell small business people how it's done is ludicrous. The space should move forward with applicable case studies that didn't require dedicated employees, custom solutions and boat loads of money.
When people ask me what the ROI of social media is I am quick to ask them what the ROI of their first telephone was. It's not a perfect analogy but it works. Social media is not a marketing craze it's part of a complete digitization of our daily lives and culture based on what people want. In the free space top tools are chosen democratically by users.

A large number of users are gaining great advantage personally, professionally and otherwise from their active use of social media tools to connect, share and learn. Marc Smith of Amuse Consulting is one of those people and I took some time to ask him about what's worked for him. Today is the 5th anniversary party of @amuseconsulting and Marc is throwing one hell of a party later this evening, but I got to ask him about what's worked for him before things got wild (UPDATE: The party was a great time and showcased the little touches that take a event from ordinary to extraordinary.

Before using social media Marc used a strong arsenal of tools to promote his business including: personal networking, a website, word of mouth, monthly e-newsletters and joining associations like Business Network International. Marc has been using Facebook for almost five years but didn't really know what the benefits for his business were until friend and YouTube specialist @JoshRimer sold him on them. 

He said that they were free tools and that they are just an extension of the relationship marketing that I was already doing. I was also enticed by the possibility to target categories and markets through social media versus going to networking events where it's often a 'crap shoot'. In Social media I could seek out my targets whereas at networking events I was relying on other people to come to those events where I would then have the opportunity to meet them. - Marc Smith on why social media is superior for him.
I frequently use a story I heard about Marc as an example of what kind of things work for building connections and community. In the story Marc has a coffee everyday with someone new. Often those are people he met through social media. 

ME: How did you come up with this idea? How has it helped your business and you?
MARC: It's part of what I do. I used it to build my community personal, professional or any other. No one will hire me if they didn’t know who I am therefore the more people I met the more opportunities for business I would have. I used to work at Caper’s then struck out on my own. In the last year with the Social media explosion the real benefit has been that people are now calling me to have coffee with me to share their business with me. The roles have reversed. I always say yes because you never know what benefits those conversations can reveal for your business. It expands opportunities for business and it expands the products/services I can offer to clients because I know of their existence. Sometimes taking something new to event planning can be that competitive edge, IE mobile apps for events.

I am an open source program. -Marc Smith

What has the ROI been for you in using social media?
It’s been a 300-500% on the investment of my time. Social media use has created opportunities for me to speak, to reach new customers, and it’s probably doubled my profile in the last year. A website or going to an event is a onetime thing whereas Twitter and Facebook allow me to interact with people on a regular basis to stay top of mind and create more business opportunities. It keeps me relevant.

How has using social media enhanced your life beyond business?
I’ve made some really interesting friends. It’s provided more opportunities to speak to young entrepreneurs. It’s allowed me give back to my community more by supporting charity and grassroots events.

What is the most unexpected thing you have found since splashing into the social media world?
How many people are social online and unsocial offline? It’s hard to tell what someone truly through a digital avatar is. I am as social offline as I am online and for others this may not be the same.

Did you teach yourself everything you know about social media?
It was all learned through social engagement. @ShaneGibson and @IanWatt were a few of the people I met in the early stages. Everyone along the way has given me bits and pieces. I try and explain the big picture to people. A lot of it was trial and error and also a lot of anecdotes. I think I followed the right people in the early stages and that quickly advanced my learning. Instead of spending a few minutes getting started I spent a few hours and began to find out how the services best work. Twitter has been the most successful for me. Although I use Facebook and LinkedIn as well.

5 Rules for being an Entrepreneur - Marc Smith
  1. Be the right person for the business you’re going to be in.
  2. Be self aware. Know your strengths and weaknesses. What makes your day better or worse.
  3. Don’t do things that don’t make you money (outsource, outsource, outsource) All the things that I am not good at or are not my core strengths take a lot more mental time away from the things you are good at. It has a much higher ROI.
  4. You are never busy enough. You always have to leave time for networking, marketing, building sales or acquiring jobs. Relying on a single client can leave your business in the wind.
  5. Even solo entrepreneurs are never alone. Make sure you have a network of people who want you to succeed behind you. You need a shoulder to cry on and someone to bring you down to earth when you are doing really well. (This is most important). No one looks out for you more than your family and friends when you are starting a business.

5 things every entrepreneur should know about social media

Understanding Social Networks: Frequency

Last month I discussed understanding social networks with a focus on delivery. I continue to see lots of people cross posting from Twitter to LinkedIn, something that I consider to be a bad move due to the nature of the different audiences on each social network. Today let's discuss something with even less hard and fast rules than delivery: Frequency. We've all had someone in our online social network who updates their status too much or with items we don't find interesting. I am sure I have been that person before (please let me know with a comment below, thanks). On LinkedIn most of your network is professional and oriented towards different goals and habits than on Twitter or Facebook. Here's an example from LinkedIn today:

To be kind to friends and connections I have blacked the cross posters' information. As you can see these folks are cross posting from Twitter. I already get these messages on Twitter from these people. I used the colored dots in the top right of the updates to identify the same user's updates. The frequency of these people's tweets is preventing me from viewing as many different LinkedIn updates as I would like. I see the same people constantly in my LinkedIn updates section. 

The frequency of tweets (1-20/day) is very different than the usual frequency of LinkedIn updates (1-3/week). I know I am going to get into a bit of hot water here as everyone has different ideas about how often updates should be made on different social networks. There are NO hard and fast rules here, but when people ask me how frequently they should post I give them this list:
My Twitter Stats from

  • Twitter: 1 ~ 100 times/day (few can be productive, see: @unmarketing's Best tip: 75% @replies.)

  • LinkedIn: 1 - 3 times/week

  • Blog: Set a standard and stick to it. (Daily, weekly, monthly)

  • Facebook Personal: As you please.

  • Facebook Page: Set a standard. Observe page insights & likes, comments, etc. Don't Spam.

  • These are frequencies I recommend using for posts. What do you recommend or use?

    We are all busy and seeing things we aren't interested in can turn people off, consider how easy it is to "unfollow" on Twitter or "hide" on Facebook. This is why it is so important to understand and respect each audience for their differences in the frequency and delivery they expect.

      Understanding Social Networks: Delivery

      The three major social networks or as a Pakistani gentleman who repurposed my presentation calls them "The Three Amigos" Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should be considered the essential social networks for most users. Niche Social Networks are a different beast altogether. I want to discuss the differences in 'Delivery' for the Three Amigos.

      Linking together different social media profiles is all the rage these days and it does save time, but it may do damage to people's networks that they may not consider. Consider how you felt the last time you read something you didn't understand. This may be how your network on LinkedIn or Facebook feel seeing RT, @ or # in a message you post. They may not understand what it is.
      Twitter is different from Facebook and LinkedIn in that it has symbols and key strings you wouldn't normally see when using the other networks. If you are someone who has only heard of Twitter but hasn't come to understand these words and symbols it can be challenging to understand and off putting. Remember what it was like the last time you read something that you didn't understand completely.

      I recently linked my Youtube with Twitter and Facebook. The problem was when I favourited things or added videos to a playlist I do it a whole bunch at once flooding the stream. Once I saw it I changed the settings which had a lot of good options, like it would only update my networks when i uploaded a new video. Let's look at a few examples of messages across social networks.

      This is an example of what a Facebook post looks like from April Smith. Notice the logo and the meta description pulled from the page automatically by Facebook. April has also posted this to the DNC Fan Page wall by using Facebook's mention function neither the graphic, the meta description nor the mention appear when cross posting as below:

      I don't mean to call out my friend Jeremy Lim he is a busy professional in high demand so I understand him using cross posting to save time and get out his message but one just has to read the comments section of his post to understand the reaction of users who didn't know what a hashtag (#) was. 

      This post could have appeared on Facebook in this way:

      The big difference about the social networks is the different audiences. We can't treat them all the same. On Twitter the hashtags become links to searches about the topic (EX). This is what Jeremy's post looked like on Twitter:

      On Twitter the message looks perfect and fits in the Twitter ecosystem, but on Facebook it looks out of place and makes at least one person feel like they 'haven't learned the tricks'. Jeremy reveals that in fact he is cross posting to almost a dozen different social networking sites with the same message. I believe doing so is taking a risk.

      Lastly, one of my favourite independent local marketing people, Rosa Meyers. Rosa cross posts from Twitter to LinkedIn. Rosa is starting out in marketing and LinkedIn is one the best places for her to find and connect with current and future clients some of whom may have never seen an RT or a # because they don't use Twitter. This is what her cross posted tweet looked  like on LinkedIn:
      Cross posting from Twitter to LinkedIn is a problem due to the differences in frequency for people using each platform as well. The biggest risk here is that the audience and potential audience on LinkedIn don't appreciate the 'cryptic' and very frequent updates as much as the audience on Twitter does. We only get one chance to make a first impression and when someone sees a status update on LinkedIn that they don't understand they may be less likely to connect with us.

      In conclusion, as more and more people start using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn it's important that they feel like these ecosystems are easy to understand and I believe cross posting makes that more difficult. This post started out as one but will now be made into two: Delivery and Frequency, which I will cover in a later post.

      For people who talk regularly these different messages are not a problem, they talk about it and someone learns something. It's when you don't speak to someone who only sees you on LinkedIn or Facebook, that the sight of these characters and symbols, which they don't understand, can put them off of communications and as the poster we may never know as they hide our updates on Facebook or LinkedIn. What are your thoughts on cross posting? What social networks do you use? Do you notice these differences in symbols and language? What are your feelings about it?

        6 Steps to Launch your Digital Identity

        This course will lay out from the start what is required to be successful in your own right using 'new tools' (social networking and social media) to fulfill your own goals. This course is about helping students to achieve what they are looking for from social networking and media. The course will be held at BCIT's Burnaby campus just east of Vancouver. See the course outline here. If you have any questions about the course contact me directly by email here.

        This course will not be exclusively focused on business, personal or professional. The purpose is to lay out the benefits and uses of the tools and let students pursue their own goals with ongoing support and education. Within the class we will be creating a microcosm of what happens on social networks among the larger population and encouraging students to pursue that larger network from the start.

        This course has come about as a result of my work in the Social Media realm dating back to 2008. I have been avidly reading everything I can get my hands on including more than a dozen books on the subject and it's related trends. Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody is a great general look at 'the movement' and what it can achieve, for a more Twitter focused book pick up Shel Israel's Twitterville.

        When deciding on a single book to use as a supplement to the course I wanted to find something that taught me things and made the path to achieve a strong presence in the new social media realm easy for anyone. For those reasons I have chosen Chris Brogan and Julien Smith's 'guidebook' Trust Agents.The book speaks to the business or professional user but it's lessons and tasks will help anyone looking to establish their digital identity.

        A few weeks back I was speaking with a collegue who wanted to start building their professional presence online and these were the first 6 steps I gave him. These steps can be used or substituted for things you have already completed.

        6 Steps to launch your digital identity
        1. Choose a name for your new digital identity. For the most success in a professional or business sense use your real name if possible (See Glenn Hilton). If you wish to remain anonymous use a nickname that describes in some way what you are trying to achieve (See Atomic Poet).
        2. Register for a Gmail account with "" if available. This will be the email you will use to sign up for everything else.
        3. Go to Twitter and sign up with the username "YourDigitalIdentity".
        4. Go to LinkedIn and start your LinkedIn Account. Use your real name. (See mine)
        5. Go to Go Daddy or any other low cost domain registrar and register the domain
        6. Go to Blogger or Wordpress and setup a blog. Make a few simple posts or even just titles. No one will find your blog until you want them to.
        Do these things when you have time, a Saturday morning or need a short break from your work (not while at work though). Don't feel like you have to do them all at once. "Baby steps" as Richard Dreyfus' character famously explained to Bill Murray's in What about Bob?.
        It's not a mountain if you climb it one step at a time. -Kemp Edmonds