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A cultural and corporate shift has taken place in the world. The result of things like the current economic climate and recognition of global climate change, society is starting to push past awareness and into real time action. As this transition takes definite shape, companies are evolving from their reactive states, and moving toward more pro-active approaches. Social media today has become an essential element of communicating corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies & practices.

Today, CSR functions as more than just a set of guidelines to keep companies out of trouble. Because the end goal for corporations has risen above simply selling a product or service, the standard for CSR is being redefined and is evolving as a driver of innovation. The bottom line is now three-fold, and is centered around people, planet, and profit. As business leaders strive to build more sustainable and socially responsible entities, formal social media strategies are becoming paramount.

Panelists at the Social Media for Sustainability conference, which was held in San Francisco last month, offered some insights on how social media can aid companies in being more socially responsible.

Know your constituents via Social Media

There was a time when companies issued press releases, and operated under the impression that they controlled the message of their brand. Those days are gone. Today, the brand image is linked to the thoughts and conversations of a company’s consumers. Therefore, businesses must get to know their constituents. By sparking authentic and transparent conversations via social media, companies are can learn what their audiences think and feel.

Influencing customers as Citizens

In this age of digital democracy, social media allows companies to influence and view the behavior of their customers after a product or service is bought. In the same vein, more and more consumers are self-identifying themselves as individuals who want to continue ongoing relationships with a business or brand. The dialogue exchanged between customers and companies can be highly beneficial for both sides, and build and strengthen a sense of community, which is the fundamental purpose of social media. When consumers are treated as citizens, they can do everything from helping a company amplify its voice, to voting on the style of a new product, to improving a service.

Getting your good work out there

A growing number of businesses are leveraging social media to trigger a viral chain reaction of interest around the socially responsible work they’re doing. More and more companies are talking with customers and stakeholders about causes of interest to them, and about how they can work together to have a positive impact on the world.

Chip giant Intel is using social media to improve its earth-friendly consciousness, and to engage with other parts of the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector and consumers. Intel’s Director of Corporate Responsibility, Michael Jacobson, says his department takes advantage of social media by marketing the positive ways Intel is working to minimize its global carbon emissions, as well as the entire industry’s. Online networking can help significantly improve a brand’s image externally, as well as boost company morale, which is what Nike is focusing on currently. The shoe giant recently launched an internal social media network called the We Portal, which serves as a platform for employees to discuss ways they can socially engage with one another, and how the company can be more sustainable.

Source Mashable



The Coca-Cola Company is on a mission to find happiness in the 206 different countries that sell Coca-Cola products across the world.

 

Lets look at the team and the mega trip for 2010.

The TEAM

Team The MIX, Tony, Kelly and Antonio come from different backgrounds but are ready to work together to share the message of “Open Happiness” with the world. Tony is from Washington D.C., but has lived in Germany for the last two years, working as a kindergarten teacher. Kelly is a university student from Brussels who was born in South Africa. Antonio is a university student from Mexico City and has also spent time in Peurto Rico. Between the three of them they speak eight languages — which should come in handy when traveling around the world.

All three winners are already well versed in social media. The team utilized Twitter and Facebook to garner votes for their team. It paid off too — 75% of the votes came from outside of the United States. Tony told me that they really want to push the boundaries of what they can do with the social web. Using video, photography, blog postings, Twitter, and social networks, the three will be sharing their adventure with the world as it happens.

The TRIP

With Expedition 206, Coke is really doing something unique. Not only are they letting the winners travel the globe to visit all 206 markets, they are going to utilize the social web along the way.

This is how it works: other than airfare, the team members will have to make their own way across the world. They have a schedule of stops, but they have to get their own food, find their own places to stay and meet up with the locals themselves. The team is going to be given per diem for food and local travel, but what they do and where they do it is pretty much up to the team members — and the people at home interacting with the Expedition 206 team online.

The team will be visiting the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in Shanghai. They will be sharing their updates on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube ,Flickr , and other social networking sites. You can follow the progress on those channels or see the real-time lifestreams at Expedition206.com.

Along the way, people at home can recommend places to stay or must-see attractions, restaurants to definitely visit — or avoid — and more. Who knows, if the team happens to be in your area — you might even want to meet up for a Coke or show them something cool in your area.

The whole trip is all about interacting with people around the world and sharing the idea of happiness and connecting on a personal level and making connections that can exist beyond just language.

Source Mashable & DM News

Brand Ambassador – The phrase has been in use for many years. Going forward brand marketers are searching for ambassadors in every domain. I wonder if you saw the report on Charmin’s quest to find bathroom ambassadors, Ford’s looking for Fusion ambassadors, and now Coca-Cola is looking for a few brand Happiness ambassadors themselves.

The Coca-Cola Company is on a mission to find happiness in the 206 different countries that sell Coca-Cola products across the world.

With the Expedition 206 campaign, Coca-Cola is tapping regular people to be their “Happiness Ambassadors” and travel the world for the whole of 2010 and document their quest via blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, TwitPics, and other social media mentions. Yesterday, at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA, Coca-Cola announced the winning Expedition 206team.  In Coca-Cola’s Expedition 206 campaign, the company has used social media to pick three individuals to travel the world in 2010, who in turn visit all 206 markets where Coca-Cola has a presence. Along the way, the “Happiness Ambassadors” will take photos, make videos, send out updates on Twitter and Facebook and connect with individuals around the world

We’re constantly seeing new examples of big companies — and big brands — embracing and using social media to connect with customers. Still, it’s impressive to see a company the size of Coca-Cola, not only talk the talk, but actually follow-through.  The idea for Expedition 206 was kick-started by Clyde Tuggle, the senior vice president of Global Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola. This is interesting for two reasons: 1) this initiative started from the top — the higher-ups didn’t have to be convinced of the power of social media and 2) this blurs the traditional lines and roles that exist between PR and marketing teams. Tuggle made it clear that Coke knows that they don’t own the brand — the consumers own the brand. Thus, who better to trust to spread the message of happiness than those consumers?

Although the scale of Expedition 206 is obviously larger than what most social campaigns can be, the idea of connecting people globally using social media and real-life contact is something we hope other companies embrace.

Source Mashable & DM News

Being on Twitter and using Twitter are two very different things. In august this year Mashable reported that large number of Fortune 100 companies have taken to Twitter. But are they really using it? A study released today (PDF) by Weber Shandwick says the answer is not positive, and that the majority of Fortune 100 companies don’t really get Twitter. Though 73 of 100 companies had at least one registered Twitter account (up from 54 reported in an unrelated study released in August), the majority of them are not using Twitter effectively to engage their followers, weren’t tweeting often, and didn’t display any personality in their tweets, according to the study.

Low engagement of followers seems to be a reason for the ineffectiveness of Fortune 100. Out of the 540 total Twitter accounts registered by Fortune 100 companies, 50 percent of the accounts had fewer than 500 followers and another 15 percent weren’t being used at all. Twitter is more about the personality of the brand the user; not the brand/product alone! Out of the 540 accounts, 53 percent “did not display personality, tone or voice on their account pages,” according to the report, which judged personality based on whether an account was identified with a personality who posted on behalf of the company or if it was a “faceless” brand account. A real name to an account adds much higher credibility and a human face.

However, 32 percent did have personalities that were associated with their accounts, which might be a better approach to creating an account that is engaging and personable for consumers. Personality can also be demonstrated on Twitter via the writing of the actual tweets. Though tweeting sparingly can be a good thing, 76 percent of the accounts had fewer than 500 tweets posted.

The most popular use of Twitter from companies using it, is as a newsfeed or for developing brand awareness. But companies seem not to understand how to use the service to increase sales or they don’t believe that it’s possible. Though Dell (33 on Fortune 100 list) has used Twitter to sell millions of dollars worth of products, only 16 percent of Fortune 100 accounts used Twitter for sales, special Twitter offers, coupons or other special offers.

Another effective use for businesses has been using Twitter for customer service. For It very well may be that these companies are steering away from customer service because to do it effectively, they would need additional staff specifically to respond to complaints and questions from customers on Twitter.

When these companies do take a look at their strategy and use of social media, they need to realize that the key element missing is conversation. Twitter, and social media in general, is about two-way communication, which is something that all companies need to realize as they constantly evaluate and tweak their social media use. Companies should also reconsider whether to use a person that is identified with an account, which could improve their engagement and build a personable brand.

Business Cards are no good any more today if they not accessible on Twitter, Linked In or Facebook! Virtual Business cards fulfill a much great need in this instant message driven world. What’s better it also enables individuals and corporates to save paper. A lot of companies seem to agree and have built products that function as virtual business cards – read 8 Ways to Create Paperless Business Cards

However, Card.ly goes in a different direction. Its goal isn’t just to get you a phone number an email address, but to create a beautiful, shareable social media card.

The virtual business card maker asks you to complete five steps to create your embeddable, shareable card. First is to add your social networks: Card.ly supports dozens of networks from Twitter to Last.fm. Next is to add your personal details – things like your name, your picture, and a quick bio. The next part is the design, something that Card.ly implements beautifully. You have your choice of 38 different skins, though some are only available to premium users. The art and the interface are both clean and impressive in design.

The last two steps center around sharing your card. You can (but don’t have to) send your card out via Twitter or embed a button with your contact details. The end result is a simple, clean, and useful webpage that you can use as your virtual business card. While it’s not as easy to share as Contxts, it is far more elegant of a design – something that isn’t overlooked in the business world. Card.ly’s best features reside behind a premium account – including skins, ad removal, and analytics for your card. It comes at a price of $2.99 a month, which is reasonable, compared to some of the other price plans we’ve seen. So if you want to build a beautiful social media card, Card.ly might be the way to go.

Source: Mashable

Top Twitter Lists for you to follow

On the social media sphere – Twitter has been on the top of the list.  Twitter Lists have opened a new array of possibilities for twitter users. Many news organizations are leveraging the feature, to a full Twitter Lists FAQ to the potential for real-time journalism and the utility of lists after the tragic Fort Hood shootings.

We too have started our little project of putting together a series of interesting twitter lists to follow and add

Media Thinkers: media thinkers and commentators.

Social Media Linkers: social media experts, thinkers and linkers.

News Orgs: news organizations on Twitter, breaking news.

Marketing Experts: marketers who Tweet, digital marketing insights and links.

Top Designers who Tweet: web designers share their insights and musings.

Music: popular musicians on Twitter.

Web People: the web scene, a growing list of all things webby.

Top Brands on Twitter: brand names on Twitter, official company accounts.

Tech: interesting voices in tech.

Foodies to Follow: foodies who Tweet, top chefs share knowledge.

Celebrity: celebrities who Tweet.

Journalists and Journalism Tweets: journalists talk media, newspapers, tv and the growth of online journalism.

The Twitterati: early Twitter stars who share interesting links.

Source: Mashable

Social media measurement is one of those topics about which everyone has an opinion, but nobody agrees on the solution. The question about how to measure the return on investment (ROI) for social media participation comes up in every project we undertake at Cloud9 Media.

If you have a mass media approach to communications measurement, you are bound to have a tough time understanding social media. While media such as television, print reaches millions in one shot; social media has a slow burner effect and is much more effective. Measurement however is critical as it helps you plan and shape your campaigns betters. It is essential to look at both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of measurement. Here is how you can measure your social media ROI better:

Qualitative

First, determine what you want to measure, whether it’s corporate reputation, conversations or customer relationships. These objectives require a more qualitative measurement approach, so let’s start by asking some questions. For example, if the objective is measure ROI for conversations, we start by benchmarking ourselves with questions like:

– Are we currently part of conversations about our product/industry?

– How are we currently talked about versus our competitors?

Then to measure success, we ask whether we were able to:

– Build better relationships with our key audiences?

– Participate in conversations where we hadn’t previously had a voice?

– Move from a running monologue to a meaningful dialogue with customers?

There are companies that offer services to assist with this kind of measurement, which requires a great deal of human analysis on top of the automated results to appropriately assess the tonality and brand positioning across various social media platforms.

Quantitative

If the goal is to measure traffic, sales or SEO ranking, we can take a more quantitative approach. There are some free tools that can help with this type of measurement, including:

AideRSS allows you to enter a feed URL and returns statistics about its posts, including which are the most popular based on how many times they are shared on a variety of social networking sites (Google, Digg, Del.icio.us).

Google Analytics and Feedburner are essential, free tools to help analyze your company’s blog traffic, subscriber count, keyword optimization and additional trends.

Xinu is a handy website where you can type in a URL and receive a load of useful statistics ranging from search engine optimization (SEO) to social bookmarking and more.

In addition, you might look at how many people join your social network (or become your connection) in a given period of time, how much activity there is in your forum or what the click-through rate is to your product pages from any of these platforms that result in direct sales.

Source : Mashable

 

 

 

The lists went live on October 15th on twitter. Twitter’s new Lists feature is a big hit right now. There are probably already millions of lists and they are growing by the second. But many of us are wondering what are these lists, why this feature and what is the best way to use them? Savvy individuals are looking for ways to use lists to further their personal or professional agendas.

The idea is to allow people to create lists of Twitter accounts. For example, you could create a list of the funniest Twitter accounts of all time, athletes, local businesses, friends, or any compilation that makes sense. With millions of Twitter accounts and thousands of people and topics to follow, Twitter lists help users organize information on twitter better

As most of us are still trying to figure it out, here are a few suggestions.  Below are lists you can create

1. Professional Peers

One way to use Twitter Lists is to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry. Tim O’Reilly(@timoreilly), founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, for example, created the Gov 2.0 list to accomplish this goal for government tweeters. Once you create your “Industry” list, share the link with your peers. (If you’re in a good mood that is).

2. Leaders & Experts

If you’re an expert, recognize other experts. Technology blogger Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) did this with his recent lists like, “most influential in tech,” and “web innovators,” for example. It’s a win both for Robert and for those he recommends.

3. Select Lists

The New York Times’ City Room crew created the “NYC Street Food Trucks” list for all things street food in New York City. Creating niche category lists can be very helpful for others, so think outside the box. Maybe there’s an audience who would love a list of all celebrities who have graced the cover of Vogue and tweet

4.Location or City List

Create a list of everyone in your city/town who tweets. Or create a list of city and/or state employees who tweet. If your mayor, village manager, school district board members and others are on Twitter, group them together to create a resource for others in your area.

5.Your Affiliations

Twitter Lists may also be good for promoting or listing your affiliations. Collegiate alumni associations, for example, are constantly looking for ways to keep people engaged, enter the “University XYZ Alumni List.” This concept works for any group, organization, association, etc.

Journalists, bloggers, promoters, and others could also create a list of affiliations as a way to disclose potential conflicts of interest. A public relations professional, for example, could create a list of their clients as a way to let followers know which of their tweets may exhibit a conflict of interest

There’s more coming up for you, as we explore the Twitter world.

Source: Mashable

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