Your Government 2.0 has arrived – U Ready?

21 01 2009

Lately,  the blogosphere has been speculating  if Mr Obama would ‘follow through’ the social media groundswell movement his campaign had started with his government.  Today was a good sign. From having his Blackberry taken away for security reasons (then given back to him), the “twitterverse” has kept debating. The HOPE is: “we don’t want the traditional way”, it’s a time for change, right? Will the new Oval Office still use  its new way after blowing through the roof of every social media form? Check out these stats from during the campaign: Twitter (165,000 followers), Facebook (close to 4,000,000 fans), MySpace (1,100,985 friends), Blogging, YouTube … etc.

Well, in the hour after the inauguration, we had the spark of an answer, the new WhiteHouse.Gov site is now up and features a blog on the front page 🙂 – This will make those of us who think that blogging is the mothership of social media smile widely! There is no better way to engage and distribute your content today than through a [useful] blog. The Government is doing it , don’t be left behind! This is now the most cost effective way to reach out and spread the word about your brand’s higher purpose. Every blog is a natural SEO (Search Engine Optimization) method of increasing your relevancy.  RSS will distribute the mail (blog) for free and at the speed of light.

Along those lines (of doing the right thing), I had a brief interaction with @georgegsmithjr from Crocs recently – Wayne Sutton was interviewing George Smith at Crocs about their young voyage through Social Media. I think that many companies could certainly learn from their humble approach to social media [read more here] – They are tiptoeing into it,  their blog is buried on their site [unlike the new White House one on the front page] and feeding their blog to their brand fans in Facebook is not there yet, but they are definitely trying, kudos to them!  I speak to many marketing folks who are simply afraid of any ‘interaction’ with real people.  It’s funny how people can just become robots when they enter the work environment.  Crocs is definitely trying the right way, the human way. It’s time to engage, now that we have all that sociable leadership in the White House.

Today was another huge spike for the ‘people’s voice’ with Twitter experiencing moments of  5X more tweets per second than the normal daily rate. It’s always a good reminder that Twitter is now mainstream. Your customers and the most viral of them are on it 🙂 Be there. Even if you or your company are not blogging, try yourself out with micro-blogging — it is a good place to start. I also highly recommend you use TweetDeck (Desktop Application) if you are going to use Twitter. Tweetdeck is way more efficient than using Twitter by itself.

Blogging, yes we can…

Cheers!

@yannr

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Your participation is required (no duh!)

14 01 2009

In the last few weeks, we’ve discussed the roots of and early influencers of web 2.0 and customer relations (the re-birth of Trust 2.0 , the village Not-So-Fool,  Napster, Gen y…).  More and more, Health 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are taking the stage….. the 2.0 juice is everywhere, are you sick of it yet?

If you’re sick of it – You’re certainly experiencing a culture gap :).  If you’re excited about it, that’s probably the right feeling. It starts to get crunchy when you can claim and act as you are embracing it. Every segment of your company’s value chain should start thinking 2.0 collaboration. As the economy drops, it is essential that more brands engage in conversation.

The economy may be tanking but that’s not the case with all that is 2.0. Let’s talk about growth for a moment: Twitter 343% (users) and grew by 752%  in traffic in 08′, Ning 251% (users), Linkedin 193% (users) (the state of the Economy helping), Facebook 116%.  When was the last time you saw figures like that?? Staggering, isn’t it?

Now all those “sick and tired of this web 2.0 malarkey” would have you believe that this is all just a fad. A wild management fashion that will blow over by the time Spring comes. Just something to keep those geeks and young’uns occupied when they should be doing some “real work”. Right. Call me silly, but I see several major cultural and behavioral shifts here (feel free to add more):

– Numero Uno: This growth is conversation based.  Robots have no place in the hive and the communities are watching. Communities value quality, authenticity and collaboration. Sounds trivial doesn’t it? There you go, arguing that that flashing your sensory advertising 7 times in front of someone’ eyeballs may do the job. Forget that.  It’s just part of the noise.  As a product manager, a brand marketer or simply an employee, your online attitude and your ability to converse are making or breaking your business model.  The economy is just magnifying any cracks already there. Your products, your sales tactics and PR in general can only stay alive if you’re engaging with your consumers. No, it’s not only your engineering team’s job to do so… if you think so, you’ll fail.  Someone somewhere is  conversing about the features or service add-ons they’d like to see.

– Numero Dos: This growth is participation based. Your product, your brand (personal and company), your PR, and your support operations have to be able to engage and sustain conversations if you want to stay relevant. Relevancy has 2 axes:

– your current customers and prospects (do you empower them through conversations? are they getting your brand experiences for the same price they bought you product or services?). Are you in conversation with them before and after they bought your product? Like a good Chef, does your brand walk around Twitter or Facebook and see if what you cooked went beyond expectations?

– and Google of all places 🙂 Your brand digital footprint is constantly analyzed by search engines to create rankings.  Engaging in the conversation is cheaper and more effective than hiring any gizmo PR firm.

I’ve  seen a lot of debate on Chris Brogan’s blog lately about lead generation methods. Guess what, the most viral of us are spreading the word faster than ever before. I knew of the DIA air plane crash before any news coverage, I knew about the earthquake in Thailand and that my friend Neil just bought his new iPhone before he called and told me. Yes, your traditional communication methods are still relevant but engaging in conversation is required. Social networks and social media are not just for kiddos anymore – those of us 25 years of age + are the fastest growing segment on most networks.

So here’s your case for change:

– Your social media engagement should empower your users, especially if you are developing software or any collaborative tools. Sounds trivial, yes, now go listen to the blogosphere or the twitterverse and judge for yourself.

Brand monitoring should be like breathing – people are already talking about you, now listen and engage where necessary. I am always pleased to see brands replying to me when I comments about their product on Twitter or else

– If customers come back, great – if they speak about you on yelp.com, facebook or twitter… it’s better, their friends are listening.

Good blogging is the mothership of social media – it’s like going to a networking event– you’re putting yourself out there.  You may be anxious at first but there are no robots in this room, just human beings, style gets you only so far. Substance rules.

It all sounds very much like a village right?  People using technology have created more human avenues for connection than ever before.

Finally, if you think you don’t have the budget for this, your current marketing budget mix is wrong. Just because you’ve done marketing this way for 10 years doesn’t mean you’re right, that it’s working or that people are not immune to your message. It isn’t. And they probably are.

Let’s go man! It’s exciting.

Yann