Six keys to success in social media

One of my colleagues, Pierre Killeen, developed a list of six strategic considerations that corporate communications should bear in mind when planning their approach to using social media. I was struck by how simple, yet true, these six considerations are. So, I’d like to share them with you.

Six keys to success in social media

1. Success in social media is about human resources. The major input into social media is people’s time. As social media success begins to take hold, the resource requirements will start to grow. Where additional resources are not an option, organizations will have to reallocate existing resources in order to meet ongoing social media needs.

2. Social media platforms facilitate connections and conversations between individuals, not between individuals and institutions. Despite the filter of a social media tool or application, the conversation still takes place between two individuals. This distinction is integral to understanding the social media landscape.

3. People use social media to remain current with news and information filtered from people they know and trust. Connecting with social media influencers engaged in your issues is a key way to earn and build trust and spread your message.

4. Social media communications are about communities, not about target groups and audiences. Whereas traditional communication strategies seek to push messages to audiences, social media strategies are about connecting with and building communities of interest and practice.

5. Social media is about engagement. Some organizations think of social media primarily as another channel for pushing out content. This is inconsistent with the nature of social media and will, ultimately, act as a barrier to social media success.

6. Social media is measurable. Social media communications are rich in data and metrics. If you don’t measure everything you are doing, you are missing the opportunity to understand what is going on and what you are participating in.

What do you think?

I’d welcome your thoughts. What do you think about these points? Do you agree with them? Are there other considerations that you would add?

Inside PR 225: A new Inside PR Podcast Facebook Group

This week in Inside PR, Martin Waxman and I talk about the changing media landscape. This follows on recent changes to both the digital and traditional paper versions of the New York Times, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

We also have an audio comment on the power of Twitter to connect communities of interest from Jody Koehler, founder of Coopr PR in the Netherlands.

Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video of Jeff Jarvis‘ presentation in Frankfurt about creating publics. There’s a lot to think about in what Jeff is suggesting.

You can listen to the complete podcast by clicking on the player here.

What do you think?

Finally, please remember that we produce this podcast as a way of connecting with out community of interest. You can reach us many ways – through a comment on this post or on the Inside PR blog, by leaving a video comment on our new Inside PR Podcast Facebook Group or by tweeting to @Inside_PR. We’d love to hear from you.

Meet RichardAtDell at Third Tuesdays in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver

RichardAtDell is coming to Canada next month to speak at Third Tuesdays in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver. We’ll lead off with Third Tuesday Toronto #TTT on Monday, November 8, Third Tuesday Ottawa #TTO on Tuesday, November 9, Third Tuesday Calgary #CTT on Wednesday, November 10 and Third Tuesday Vancouver #TTV on Thursday, November 11.

Dell is one of the best known and longest standing case studies of the successful use of social media. It might well not have turned out this way. In fact, Dell was one of the early examples of a company on the receiving end of viral criticism and anger. Rather than go into a shell or attack its critics, Dell chose to enter the social media discussion, learn from it, win friends, and gradually turn things around. Today, Dell uses social media for many purposesw, including to connect with customers, build brand and as a retail channel.

RichardAtDell, aka Richard Binhammer, has been from the outset one of the constants in Dell’s social media presence. I first experienced Richard’s outreach as far back as 2006 when he commented on a post on my blog in which I’d written about a presentation by Robert Scoble in which Scoble had recounted the story of Jeff Jarvis’ upset with Dell. Richard reached out to me at a time when my blog had relatively few subscribers, acknowledging their problems but asking me whether I’d be prepared to acknowledge the efforts they were making to listen and act upon what they were being told. I was blown away just by the fact that a company at the other end of the continent would pay attention to me, let alone actually acknowledge me by coming into my place, my blog, to have a discussion. And yes, that made me a fan of RichardAtDell and Dell’s approach to social media.

Well, it’s not 2006 anymore. A lot has changed. And RichardAtDell has been there to experience the evolution of social media first hand. As the saying goes, he’s forgotten more than many of us ever will learn.

I hope that you’ll join us at Third Tuesday to hear from one of the leading corporate social media practitioners as he talks with us about the journey he’s been on, the path we’re following, and where he sees things going in the future.

Look for details and registration info in the next few days on each of the Third Tuesday Ottawa #TTO, Third Tuesday Toronto #TTT, Third Tuesday Calgary #CTT, and Third Tuesday Vancouver #TTV websites.

Thank you to our sponsors.

Once again, I’d like to thank our sponsors – CNW Group, Rogers Communications, Radian6, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Your sponsorship makes it possible for us to bring great speakers not just to Toronto, but to Third Tuesdays across the country. You make third Tuesday a truly Canadian affair.

To whet your appetite

If you’re not familiar with the Dell story and RichardAtDell, you can get a taste of what we’ll be talking about at Third Tuesday by watching this video. Enjoy.

Video is the Ultimate Social Object

When I started blogging on ProPR in 2005, blogging was strictly a text only affair. My first post was a headline with text. That’s all that WordPress, my chosen publishing platform, could handle.

But things didn’t stand still. And there were a rapid series of improvements to blogging software that let me add pictures, audio and video to my blog. Today, I include pictures in every post on ProPR to provide quick cues about the subject matter of the post. Depending on the subject, I may include an audio clip. However, more and more of what I produce involves video.

Video is the ultimate social object. It is visceral and immersive. It conveys a sense of personality. I can hear my publishing experience extends beyond text-based posts to include audio and video.

My colleague, Mike Edgell, has answered the question of “Why video?” in a short video. I think it makes the point very effectively. Take a look at it. And if you find it helps you explain to people why video is becoming the ultimate social object, please feel free to share it. It’s on YouTube with a Creative Commons Share Alike Non-commercial license.

If you want conversation, go where the people are.

When I started the ProPR blog in 2005, the social media conversation was focused on blog posts, links, trackbacks and comments on those blogs.

But that changed with the introduction of Twitter and Facebook. Twitter gave us drop-dead simple posting and conversation. Facebook is hard-wired to connect with friends and signal affinity. Simple publishing platforms that everyone could use. And with simplicity came numbers. And with numbers came conversation.

As people flocked to these new publishing platforms, the conversation followed them. And I noticed a decreased in comments on But that didn’t mean that I noticed a decrease in the conversations I was involved in. In fact, I continued to find new people I’d follow and engage in conversation with them. But that now happened primarily on Twitter.

Over time, Twitter became my preferred social space. It seemed to be THE place where I found people sharing interesting links to long form content – a discovery engine driven by the people with whom I share interests. I began to follow people and others who shared my interests followed me. And as we did this, we shared content and replied to one another’s posts. All in 140 characters or less. On any device – desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.

So, I followed my community from blogging to Twitter. And I’ve learned a lot from the conversation.

But one place I did not follow the conversation to is Facebook. I was an early adopter of Facebook and approached it as a place to connect with family and close friends. It was the place that I’d publish things that I only wanted to share with a small, close group of friends. And generally speaking, the content I found on Facebook reflected that – people sharing small gestures and information of personal import. What I rarely found on Facebook was the kind of thoughtful, deep dive content into specific topics. For that I still need to turn to blogs. Basically, people who invest a lot of effort into thinking through issues and writing about them prefer to post to places that they own and control, not to a platform that has an evolving business model and shifting policies regarding privacy, advertisement and the organization of content.

But … it’s foolish to ignore any place where more than 500 million people gather. And the revision of the Groups feature on Facebook has caused me to take another look at how I might make better use of Facebook.

As I said, Facebook is hard wired for connecting with friends and causes and signalling affinity for them. And there is a huge amount of conversation on Facebook.

So, I’m going to see whether Facebook Groups will provide a better vehicle for conversations around two communities that I belong to. I’ve set up a Inside PR Podcast Facebook Group and a  Third Tuesday Facebook Group. For the next two months,  I’ll make an effort to cross post information to these two groups and to participate in any conversations that develop there. At the end of those two months I’ll report back on what has happened and how they each compare to the other places that I use –, the Inside PR podcast site, the Third Tuesday Meetup sites, my @thornley Twitter feed and the @Inside PR Twitter feed.

Already, I’ve realized one immediate benefit of Facebook. It makes creating and posting video comments dumb simple. I’ve posted an introductory video on the Inside PR Podcast group.

It’s not great quality. I created it on the spur of the moment using my iPod Touch. And that’s the first benefit of the new Facebook Group feature I’ve discovered. It makes posting and responding to video comments as easy as writing a test comment.

I’ll be interested to see whether the conversation flourishes in these places. I hope you’ll join me there.