May 30, 2009

Social Media success and B2B

I'm a perpetual learner, information "pack rack" and in constant pursuit of knowledge and becoming knowledgeable.

The challenge many companies face is not about creating knowledgeable people but institutionalizing knowledge such that more people can become knowledgeable. Also, what I find is missing, is a platform to collaborate that creates "collective knowledge". There are examples such as wikis and Google Wave looks promising. Google wave integrates conversations (email, tweets, IM) and other forms of expression in order to create a collective conversation which can develop into a concept, a research brief, a software spec etc.

In the video below Lee Bryant, from Headshift, talks about the challenges we experience in trying to create knowledge. The answer? Well we're figuring that out..but it's not email!

I believe that B2B companies in particular can use social media to do two things. First, find knowledgeable people and second, collaborate to create, index and institutionalize knowledge.

May 25, 2009

Why do you use Twitter?

Here's a twist. I'm using Friendfeed to find out why people use Twitter. I use these two social media tools and like many of you I'm figuring out how to get as much value from using them as possible.

Well, why not use social media tools to find out what value we are getting out of them? Below is a new feature I'm using from Friendfeed that allows you to embed a Friendfeed post in your blog.

May 22, 2009

Using Linkedin to listen and conduct research

Too Much Social Media?

In my journey to find things that matter when it comes to B2B marketing I find myself stretched thin when it comes to social media. I use Delicious, Twitter, Friendfeed and Facebook (a little). I get overwhelmed by the amount of noise but enamored with the potential social media represents. A vicious cycle no doubt. Having said that I'm starting to realize what matters to me.

First, social media starts with People and making meaningful connections with them

I do get a kick out of using these tools and connecting with people. These people, by the way you're one of them, are opening my mind and helping me see how social media can be used for business reasons.

Second, social media leverages online groups

This is the most interesting part of social media to me. In an earlier post I talked about how SBBUZZ is using Twitter to group people together to chat about small business and technology.

Another way that social media is "grouping" people is through the conducting of polls. On May 1st, a Linkedin Poll asked the question: "What is the most important new platform for brands to master?" To date over 2300 people have responded and 73 comments have been posted.

This is powerful! In Chapter 5 of Groundswell the authors talk about how social media can displace market research companies. Here's an example where that is taking place!

In summary

For me, social media is about connecting with people, learning from each other & sharing. It also can group people with similar interests to converse (like SSBUZZ is doing), vote and debate.

May 6, 2009

To follow or not to follow? That is the question

As a B2B marketer I'm watching the Twitter phenomenon closely and with great interest. I'm not so sure people are interested in following brands. I may follow a brand if it offers me something of value in the way of advice, service and ideas. I won't follow it to become another "lead" on the web 2.0 version of an email blast list.

Twitter is kind of like the "Long Tail" for creating your social network of contacts. These are people who choose to follow you for various reasons and motives. Some are trying to build their lists and sell you on how to make $10,000 per month using Twitter. (I block these). However, many people are using Twitter to share content, ideas and connections. These people I tend to follow back.

Using Gmail to track followers

To make things easy, I have set up a filter rule in Gmail, that puts all my follower notices in one place (see screenshot on the left). I can see how many people have followed me based on date. It also confirms which Twitter Followers profiles I've check out and who I haven't. (read emails means I have, unread means I haven't).

I'm not actively building a Twitter list, it's organically growing and I don't automagically follow someone because they follow me. I do get to know them a bit though. I check their profile, their tweets and their blog or site. If within 30 seconds or so, I see something that tweeks my interest I'll follow.

You'd be surprised at who is following you. It could be your next customer, your current customer or a prospective partner!

May 5, 2009

Pepsi Max: I'm Good Campaign

Really funny ad for Pepsi Max which is the competitive alternative to Coke Zero. These are diet sodas with more caffeine. Both were launched in 2006 it appears.

I wonder how successful these brands are. The tie in to the "I'm Good" meme is smart but, in my opinion, they should work this angle more.

Produce more ads around the "I'm Good" meme and make us laughter. Maybe, over time, people that drink Pepsi Max will remember how the ads made them laugh and they will equate that emotion to the brand.

May 2, 2009

Twitter for Businesses?

Time to bash the Twitter skeptics who claim that Twitter is a fad and not professional enough for businesses. Twitter is a tool, it's not a fad nor is it a "solution". How people leverage this tool to achieve something is what matters.

One of the biggest problems today is not lack of information it is lack of good answers. Google search is great and it plays an important role in helping you find answers. But, there can be many "false positives" or dead ends. Good search results still require you to dig deeper. Plus what happens if only part of your query (question) is answered?

Twitter can be used as a realtime question/answer tool. Here are two real world examples of how small business is using twitter to network, share, learn and get answers.

Example 1: iPhone Battery life
Yesterday I noticed that my iPhone battery was draining too fast. I sent out a tweet asking for advice and within 5 minutes I had a quality, authentic response from Ryan Barnett who said:
@b2bspecialist: Turn off screen as fast as possible, turn off 3G, turn off networking, buy a Power Slider from Incase:
Example 2: Tweetchats

SBBUZZ is an interesting case study on how small businesses strapped for cash and time, can cost effectively ask questions about technology for small businesses.

Founded by small business entrepreneurs, this is an example of how small businesses can tap into talent, skills and broaden their social network reach and get answers.

How SBBBUZ works: It's pretty simple (go to their site for instructions). Every Tuesday night from 8-10 pm ET, you can join in with others who are looking for answers regarding small business and technology. This is a real-time Q&A session. It takes place in the evening, which is a good time for small business owners since their days are busy and hectic.

But, it gets better! While the realtime nature of this is great, the session is permanently archived on their site. And, since the session took place on Twitter it is permanently indexed.

This is a great example of innovative thinking. Twitter is being used to help people and organizations succeed. That's not a fad. It is a solution. You can follow them on Twitter.

So is twitter a fad and not professional enough for business? Maybe that's what they said about email when it first came out.