As the new year begins, it is nice to look back at 2010′s social media trends to predict the future. This year Hubspot created an infographic showing how companies are using social media. The most shocking fact for me on this infographic was that Pepsi, for the first time in 23 years, will not buy ads for the Superbowl telecast. Instead, Pepsi has invested that money into social media marketing! What is the most and least surprising to you??
Over Fourth of July weekend, I took a bus to New York City with my friend Nicole. We visited another friend who was participating in the Dance New Amsterdam’s (DNA) New York Summer Dance Intensive that I attended last summer. DNA was closed on the 4th, so we took 3 classes in a row on Friday; 6 hours of dance! While that seemed like a good idea at the time, on Saturday we were in a lot of pain.
Before heading to NY, I researched my classes online and found DNA to have the most extensive social media efforts of any dance studio or company. Not only does DNA have Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, a blog and a Facebook page, DNA has their own social network, DNA World! DNA World allows you to connect and network with friends, dance teachers, choreographers, bloggers and dance administrators. DNA World also has forums for discussion about dance and DNA, as well as pictures and videos. The DNA World blog is used for listing upcoming events, classes, dance news and articles, and special offers.
Other dance companies and studios are slowly making their leap into the world of social media with Facebook applications and blogs. Many dance companies and studios have Facebook pages and groups. Facebook is much easier to update and maintain than a blog. Through Facebook, arts organizations can easily reach their audience and update with YouTube and news. Broadway Dance Center, Joy of Motion and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre have Facebook pages.
Dance Place, located in Washington D.C., has a blog, Twitter, as well as a Facebook Page. There are not many comments or followers on the blog (same with DNA’s blog), possibly indicating the dance world has not turned into avid social media fans yet, even though I know the audience is online. I believe those organizations testing blogs are still experimenting with what type of content to include and how often to update. It is exciting to see so many arts organizations take risks to stay current, especially in this tough economic situation.
I am especially interested in dance, but I found this video about how an orchestra has used social media to garner more attention. Listen for the different tools they use and how people are responding to their efforts.
Do you know of any other arts organizations, theaters, museums, dance companies and etc. using social media as part of their marketing campaign?! Let’s talk about how your organization is using social media. How are you making it work and what difficulties have you struggled with?
I first discovered Twitter in the spring when my web communication class watched the Commoncraft Twitter video. I signed up because it was free, but more than half my class thought it was a waste of time. I think by the end of the semester more people were changing their mind about the growing microblogging “fad”.
Twitter is great because it’s ability to direct followers to more information. Shel Holtz (@Shel) refers to the idea of Twitter as a table of contents or a billboard advertisement. You would never just look at a table of contents or a billboard and be satisfied; you would see the message and then go to the destination to be satisfied with an article or product. He does point out that Twitter is best when it is used for conversations. I agree because of the idea of ‘markets as conversations’ outlined in the Cluetrain Manifesto.
I recently researched how nonprofits and development organizations are using social media. Some development organizations are using Twitter to promote their mission, publications and events. Web 2.0 for Development explains how Twitter allows organizations to share information, network with stakeholders and discuss ideas with a large audience. Organizations can create dialogues with their audience asking and answering questions. Like any other social media tool, time and resources are the investment made to achieve a high return. Some of the development organizations on Twitter referenced are UNHCR, the World Food Programme, OECD, and the World Bank.
Beth Kanter (@Kanter) discusses Twitter on her blog and shares ideas about how to decide who should tweet for your organization. She suggests creating only one organizational account because of the need for several daily updates. Staffing Twitter with a team of employees may be the best way to manage an organizational account. She highlighted Co-Tweet’s Twitter account to see how each employee identifies their tweets within the account adding faces to the organization.
Employees can have personal accounts and should be encouraged to create an account to humanize the organization, but they need to remain transparent about their affiliation with the organization. An easy way to remain transparent is to identify twitter handles on the staff page of a website or web sites newsroom and to identify their affiliation in the twitter biography and website link.
There are several tools, including Hoot Suite, which can update an organizations twitter account with individual employee’s tweets about the organization. Also, Hoot Suite enables scheduling tweets ahead of time, shortened URLs and measurement options.
At IFPRI, most people rely on e-mail to send information out within the organization. An information and knowledge management specialist at IFPRI recommended this article to explain how Twitter is similar to e-mail because of the abilities to respond, retweet, mention a person or topic, and send direct messages.
Before an organization, like IFPRI, uses Twitter, a strategy must be made concerning what types of content will be tweeted and who will do the tweeting. For individual use I recommend that everyone gives Twitter a try. What’s one more social media addiction?
Dell is an example of a company that understands social media. Dell knows how to connect with their audiences, both internally and externally. Using blogs, twitter, forums, and digital suggestion boxes, Dell has discovered ways to promote conversations and dialogue. Even the CEO, Michael Dell, joins in the discussion when he has something to say.
In the video below, Vida Killian, Dell employee, discusses Dell’s blogging strategy with Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications. Dell started blogging internally and externally in 2006. Direct2Dell, the external blog, represents the main corporate voice and within this blog, blogs on specific topics can be found. One Dell Way is Dell’s internal blog written by the internal communication department. Other internal groups, such as IT, participate in team blogs. Dell encourages all of their audiences to engage in conversation. Listen to her advice on how to create conversations with bloggers.
Vida Killian explained that Dell’s Communities and Conversations 40 member team works to listen to and monitor blogs with the software Radian 6. Dell’s team represents all backgrounds, from engineering to marketing, so that a knowledgeable and credible response will be generated. Dell measures customer sentiment through the number of negative comments found on the web and has worked hard to reduce the negative statements about Dell.
Dell has not always known how to use social media or start conversations. Jeff Jarvis, author of the blog Buzz Machine, knows how Dell had to transform its’ strategy to adhere to the growing numbers of people talking on the internet. Dell initially did not listen to their audience, including small “no name” bloggers, but finally discovered the importance of allowing interactivity into their communication strategy.
One of Dell’s most important social media applications, though perhaps not considered blogging, is Dell’s Idea Storm. The tool is an “online suggestion box” where anyone can suggest an idea for Dell and have others vote on it. Dell actually takes the time to consider the ideas with the highest votes. The Idea Storm is an alternative direct feedback blogging application created by Dell for their audience. Idea Storm brings more customer feedback directly to the Dell site. Vida Killian, manager of Dell’s Idea Storm, discusses Idea Storm with Mark Ragan and the importance of listening to your audience. Killian also discusses Employee Storm for employee suggestions.
The New Communications Review acknowledged Dell’s efforts in internal communication and provides some of Dell’s goals and figures regarding their social media efforts. Dell, a direct company, has continued with their previous programs offline, but uses their online forums to learn more about their audience. All feedback is important in the progress and reputation of a company because Dell’s reactions affect the company. Dell is working to establish online outreach and participation with social media into the culture of Dell’s employee’s.
Companies are no longer in control. This idea is very frightening for companies who are used to traditional marketing campaigns and research. Through the use of social media, consumers can promote or damage the reputation of businesses. It has become the company’s job to listen and engage consumers to maintain credibility and authenticity.
The groundswell is the social phenomenon of individuals and communities gaining power using technology. People are using Twitter, blogs and YouTube to spread messages and experiences with each other. Viral marketing creates an impact through conversations with peers. Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, vice presidents for Forester Research, promote the idea of working with the groundswell to improve the reputation and credibility of their company.
Many companies have determined that consumers have great power over their brand and are engaging consumers through social media, especially blogs and Twitter. In earlier posts, I described several examples of companies working with the groundswell to improve their brand image through conversation and interactivity.
Southwest Airlines is a company that exemplifies the use of social media to engage with consumers.
“Nuts about Southwest,” is complete with a blog, video blog, Flikr group, polls, news, and a media center. The media center includes a video gallery, image gallery, and Red Belly Radio, a podcast. Each section of the media center is RSS feed enabled and favorite feeds are available once you log in.
To actively participate on “Nuts about Southwest,” a user account must be created, but everything can be read or heard without logging in to the site. Each blog post is identified by author and their job position. Employees, as well the CEO, engage in updates on the podcast, blogs and video blogs.
At the bottom of the homepage screen, there are links to YouTube, Flikr, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Southwest has created a good reputation on Twitter. With 18,364 followers, Twitter is an excellent way to communicate with their audience providing customer support, weather updates, boarding information and links to the other social media tools such as the video blog. In the blog, Read,Write,Web, Sarah Perez cites user experiences with twittering Southwest and the favorable and quick responses that were received.
In the video below, Paula Berg, manager of emerging media at Southwest Airlines discusses their performance in social media. Look for how Southwest Airlines used customer feedback on their blog and how they are using Twitter. Also, be sure to notice why there is only one Twitter manager.
Other companies and organizations should look to Southwest as a model who actively engages the consumers to provide information and customer service using social media. Southwest has many diverse options available to engage consumers effectively online. Southwest has done a good job improving its’ reputation by working with social media demonstrating trustworthiness and credibility through interactivity.
Everywhere I go, I hear people talking about Twitter. Twitter is a new social network application where you can ‘follow’ people and be ‘followed’ by those you may or may not know personally. Information is updated by answering the question, “what are you doing?’ Answers can range from a simple, “I am eating a sandwich” to providing breaking news on any type of situation. There are many opinions on whether this microblogging site really can be useful in the corporate world. Some people think the 140 character limit is too restricting, while others think it is a chance to really learn to write concise and relevant material. Twitter has only been around for three years, yet there are many companies who have turned to Twitter for extra support with their social media objectives.
According to a cision-twitter-conversation, Twitter should be used to establish relationships and create dialogues with audiences. Public relations can benefit from using Twitter because the format makes conversations simple and direct. Listen to your audience and decide if and when you should pitch an idea. If you are not trying to pitch a story, just try to find out what your audience is interested in and improve the way you communicate with them.
One company that has really explored Twitter is Zappos. An online shoe and clothing retailer, Zappos.com, has found a way to excel as a company with the help of social media. Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO, uses Twitter regularly to update on anything from work travels to what he is eating to company news. The way Tony writes, as well as the links he provides, gives a personal insight into the company. On his blog, Hsieh lists the reasons he loves and appreciates Twitter.
The Zappos CEO is not the only one ‘tweeting.’ All of the Zappos employees are allowed to join Twitter and/or write for the company blogs. On Twitter, the picture identifies them as employees, so they are immediately showing transparency and authenticity with their followers.
Marshall Kirkpatrick on Read,Write,Web discusses how Zappos is using Twitter to engage with customers and provide personalities for the people working at Zappos. The post is from almost a year ago and the numbers of employees using Twitter and CEO followers has increased by a huge margin since then. Kirkpatrick discusses in depth the importance of Zappos including public brand mentions, employee tweets, employee twitpics, and employees who Twitter. Also, Hsieh has created an introduction guide for using Twitter.
As I have discovered in my previous posts, it doesn’t matter who blogs (or tweets) for your company as long as that person is willing to take on the commitment and deliver relevant information to their audience. Twitter presents a chance to really show a personality and have fun with the character limit. Zappos has found a strong personality and is recognized as an innovator in social media technology.