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New Media Journal

All the tools, methods and best practises


for a better conversation.
Issue 1 March 2009
Published by Eve Dmochowska for Two Jumps Ahead.com

Illustration by Brian Sollis


New Media Journal | Published for www.TwoJumpsAhead.com by Eve Dmochowska | March, 2009 | Volume 1 | Page: 

Letter from Publisher


Eve Dmochowska is a web
strategist working from
South Africa. She helps
companies get the most out There are over 20 proven methods or techniques for a product or service to
of the web, and is passion-
ate about spreading her be marketed online. Most of them didn’t exist in a very sophisticated form
knowledge. 12 months ago, and all of them have subsets that make the field of online
You can read more about marketing a vast and, in the South African context, a widely unexplored one.
Eve at www.evedmochows-
ka.com..
How many of the 20 methods do you use? In fact, how many of the 20 can
you even name?
Email: eved@ideabank.co.za

Twitter: @EveD The good news is, that just by reading this monthly Journal, you are already
ahead of the rest of marketers. You found it online, or someone passed it
onto you. You have enough curiosity in the subject of online marketing to
read what this Journal has to say. You obviously have some sort of incentive
to learn more about online marketing, and in the coming pages I’ll prove to
you that you are on the right path.

The world of online marketing is complex and ever changing. New methods,
best practices, applications, tools, trends and cost models crop up every day.
Simply to keep up could be a full time job. Conveying your research to your
team and selling them on the different concepts requires time and effort
you might not have. Making sense of all your options and choosing the
right strategy with confidence can be difficult and time-intensive.

This Journal is here to help. It condenses all that you need to know in the
world of online marketing to a manageable 32 pages, (approx) sent to you
as a .pdf on a regular basis. You can copy it, and pass it along to your entire
team. You will then have the confidence that you are all on the same page
when it comes to setting strategy. (Please read the license terms carefully).

If you are a seasoned new media veteran, the information in these pages
might not be news-worthy to you. But in your line of work, you will defi-
nitely meet people who would be well served to bring themselves up to
speed as far as new media is concerned. This Journal is for them, and I hope
you pass it along.
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This issue is an introduction to social media, and a brief one at that. One
could write books on any of the tools covered here, and I have purposefully
tried to not do that. The most common lament I hear from people who are
trying to understand this industry is that they find it difficult to get com-
prehensive help, because they don’t even know what questions to ask. This
issue aims to address that problem.

There is also a more in-depth look at social networks. It should give a be-
ginner a clear guideline and idea of the potential that these tools bring
to online communication. For a far more comprehensive and even more
in-depth look, there is a premium guide available on the www.twojumpsa-
head.com website.

And in the true spirit of the game, the site has a mini social network of its
own. It’s early days, but please do sign up and join in the conversation. Once
again, the underlying aim is to provide help and encouragement to those
Two Jumps Ahead: who are beginning to get an interest in new media.
www.twojumpsahead.com

I am a web strategist, working out of South Africa. The world of new/social


media is slowly opening up here, and there are great predictions for a sud-
den spurt this year. I look forward to it, and I hope this Journal will play its
part in fanning that growth.

Of course, social media knows no territorial boundaries, and the information


contained here will apply, at least in principle, to any region in the world.

For my daily musings on social media, please visit my blog, www.TwoJump-


sAhead.com There you will also find links to other content I have written,
including in-depth studies and guides.
LinkedIn profile:
www.linkedin.com/in/eved-
mochowska
I look forward to receiving your comments re this Journal. You’re also wel-
come to link with me on Linkedin.

Eve Dmochowska

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Illustration by Matt Hamm

Introduction to Social Media

Why is it important?
Old Media: Traditional
media such as printed
Social Media, New Media, Web2.0 : these terms have almost become interchange-
newspapers, television, able when we talk about the new way we communicate online. There are a mul-
radio, magazines etc.
titude of online tools that people can use to talk to each other, and the trick of
New Media: Media that Social Media marketing is for companies to figure out how to use these tools to
is presented in the
online space. Can be an engage with their customers.
extension of traditional
media, or exist solely in
the online space. It’s not an easy task. Since the social media phenomenon is a relatively new one,
Social Media: New me- mistakes are being made all the time, and lessons are being learnt slowly. But the
dia with added features basic rule seems to be quite clear: companies must find a ways that allow their
that allow interaction
between reader and (potential) customers to have a meaningful dialogue with the company, or with
producer. Almost (but each other about the company. That is very different from the ways things were
not quite) all New Me-
dia fall under the Social done in the past. Now, the company is no longer in charge of the message. At
Media umbrella.
best, it is in charge of the tool that is used to convey that message, and maybe
Web 2.0: Controversial some of the content.
term, broadly used to
refer to any online site
that has social net- As a member of your company’s marketing team, you need to understand the
working / interactive-
tools and capabilities, importance of initiating, maintaining and monitoring an online conversation
whether it is a media about your company. There are three key reasons:
site or not.

A conversation is happening already. Even if you did not start it, or even if you
aren’t aware of it, the chances are that somewhere online there is a conversation
happening about your product. And if it isn’t about your product per se, then it is
about your product’s category. Best you get in as soon as possible to spread your
news and learn from your customers.

If you think your target market is not online yet, then focus on the word “yet”. For
example, in July 2009 South Africa is going to get a huge burst of bandwidth.
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The cost of connectivity is going to plummet. The size of available band-


width is going to increase drastically. Universities are going to get 50 times
their bandwidth for 2% of the current price! A new audience will go online.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you were there to greet them?

Your competition has the same goals as you. They also have the same tools.
There is nothing preventing them from cleverly applying a good strategy to
the tools available, and forcing you to catch up when you wake up. Don’t let
that happen. Rather be seen as an industry leader.

Is it worth it?
List of case studies:
http://twojumpsahead. The web is full of success and failure stories of social media campaigns. Fol-
com/2008/08/18/social-me-
low the links on the left for some good reading material. You’ll find stories
dia-case-studies-a-collec-
tion-of-links/ of companies that increased their turnover 5 fold because of a clever viral
Will it blend?
video (Will it blend?) or wineries that increased their distribution channels
http://www.willitblend.com/ three fold with zero budget (Stormhoek). Those stories are encouraging, but
Stormhoek: they distract from the main point: you don’t have to have mind-stopping
http://www.quirk.biz/arti- statistics just to make social media worthwhile.
cles/stormhoek

Consider the story of this Journal. This is the first edition. If it was going to
be printed, distributed and marketed only through offline channels, we
would really struggle to get it to you. In fact, you would struggle to get it
from us, even if you made a direct request. Aside from the phenomenal
costs of production and distribution, the marketing costs would be over-
whelming.

But I am confident that by the end of March 2009, this Journal will have
been downloaded at least 1,000 times, with zero expense on my part – and
minimum marketing effort. Equally important, although you might not pay
for it, the incidental revenue from this Journal will make creating it worth-
while. It’s all part of a web strategy.

And it works for products that are offline too. Think quickly: how would
you communicate with 500 potential clients, who are a part of your target
market, using traditional media, by the end of tomorrow? How much would
it cost? How would you measure its effect? And most important: how much
is effective communication like that worth to you?

Clever use of social media can do this. And when I say clever, I don’t mean
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“three-year-marketing-degrees-and-a-team-of-twenty” clever. I mean com-


mon sense, a bit of out of the box thinking, a desire to learn, to have fun and
a commitment to the medium.

So, is it worth it? You tell me. Is it worth exploring a new channel of com-
munication, that will allow you to interact with your audience like you have
never been able to do before, and use that advantage to drive revenue?
Even in the best economic climate that would make perfect sense. Now, it is
simply imperative.

OK, so what exactly is this Social Media Marketing?


Successful social media marketing is marketing that makes use of freely
available online tools and methods to execute a well honed web strategy,
that has dialogue and interaction as its core component.

Basically, you are using online stuff to talk with – or listen to – your custom-
ers. Once you’re on speaking terms, you might sell them something. Or you
might just listen, so you can sell them something better in the near future.

The landscape is fast moving. Quick adaptation is crucial. As is the absolute,


unconditional understanding of the online climate. That includes some ba-
sic building blocks, which can be used to create a campaign of your dreams:.
Each of these blocks can have a book written about it (and some do!). Below
is the briefest of introductions. Each tool will be explored fully in future is-
sues, or you can use the links to find out more information now.

Blogging sites: Blogs


http://www.wordpress.com Blogs are websites designed to be updated regularly. They are easy to set
http://www.wordpress.org
up and easy to use. Honing them into marketing superstars will take a bit
of effort, but they are an excellent tool for communicating with an audi-
http://www.typepad.com
ence.

Since blogs posts allow (and encourage) comments from the readers,
you can start engaging with your audience immediately. Blogs are an
excellent way to keep your fans updated with your latest news, and can
be used effectively to improve your search engine ranking.

Example: The CEO of Sun Microsystems has a public blog, that gives
the company a “familiar face”. He has over 500,000 unique readers per
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month. So every morning, he decides what, if anything, he is going to


tell half a million people about his company. His engaging style and
relevant content ensure that people continue to listen to what he has
to say.

You do not have to have a blog to make use of the blogosphere’s mar-
keting power. You can simply become an active reader, and comment on
other people’s blogs. Good relevant comments, with an occasional link
back to your site, can do wonders for your online reputation.

Websites
Your website can be a very powerful tool in your social media market-
ing strategy. Even if you do not have regularly updated content (as you
would with a blog), you can still apply certain tools to your website to
make it socially friendly.

For instance, you can encourage newsletter signups, polls and surveys.
You can ask for feedback on a product, offer downloadable content
relevant to your audience and use it as a host for your social media press
releases.

Your content can be formatted for best SEO (Search Engine Optimisa-
tion), and the site can act as a hub to your full online presence (by provid-
ing links to your Facebook account, Twitter stream etc).

Social Networks
Explore Social Networks: These can be the most powerful tool for social media marketing.
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.ning.com You can make use of an existing, wide-scoped social network such as
http://www.kickapps.com
Facebook, and use its existing members to create interest around your
product, or you can create your own, white label social network that you
control fully.

There are also an infinite number of niched social networks that you can
harness by means of setting up groups, fan pages, forums etc.

Example: Flying Solo, an unconference for freelancers in South Africa


has set up a free social network on Ning.com so that conference at-
tendees can stay in touch after the conference. The conference is spon-
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sored by Freelancentral, an online site that connects freelancers with


job offers. The owners of Freelancentral can use the social network to
stay in touch and interact with the freelancers they represent. There
are 311 members on the social network.

Social Networks are covered more extensively on page 19.

Twitter
http://www.twitter.com This is a micro-blogging tool, which allows you to post very short updates
Wiki of South African Twitter (140 characters) to a selected network of people. You decide whose up-
users:
http://satwitter.pbwiki.com
dates you want to listen to, but it’s a one way street. Just because you fol-
low someone’s “tweets” does not mean they follow yours.

However, with relevant content you can build up a large network that you
can use to occasionally promote your online presence.

You can definitely use Twitter to engage with your customers, if they
choose to be a part of that conversation.
Example: Grant Thornton, an audit and tax advisory firm has 113 peo-
ple who are listening to its conversation. This is not a random audience:
it is 113 people who have gone out of their way to sign up because they
believe they can benefit from what Grant Thornton has to say. Even if
only a small percentage interact with the firm on a daily basis, it is not
hard to imagine an eventual financial benefit for
the firm. And Twitter is completely free.

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Video
Video has two main roles: it can be used as an instructional video for a
product or service, or it can be used as an ad that is distributed online.
The latter can be quite an effective way to spread your message. If the
video becomes popular, it will be distributed by the initial audience to
their friends, who will then pass it onto their friends. In this case, the video
goes “viral”.

The benefit is obvious: the marketing of the video, and hence of your com-
pany’s message is put into the hands of an audience that grows exponen-
tially as the popularity of the video increases. People whom you’d never
have a hope of reaching on the small budget that it took to produce your
video are learning about your company.

Video production need not be expensive. In fact, some of the most popu-
lar videos are “home made” jobs. Some are professionally produced ads,
but with no cost of distribution. You can host your videos on YouTube for
an international audience, or Zoopy.co.za for the South African audience.
You can also include the video on your site, or blog.

The links will take you to some of the more popular and effective videos
for inspiration.

There is one other avenue worth pursuing when it comes to video: asking
your existing customers to create videos promoting or using your prod-
uct. This would most often be around a competition of some sort, but will
get the social media buzz going as third parties create content to promote
your product. But it can backfire! (See the Chrysler link for an example).

Even if you do not specifically produce online videos, but you do have
TV ads, make sure you post those online too. Remember - distribution of
video is free.

Images
Not all companies will be able to harness the power of image sharing as a
social media marketing tool, but those that do can see very good results.
Photo sharing is the process of making photos available for viewing (or
download) by the public, who can then share the photos or the links to the
photos with their network of friends.
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There are plenty of websites that allow online storage and distribution of
images, but the most popular is flickr.com.

Wikis
Wikis are web based content pages that can be edited by many people
via an online connection. Permission for editing can be monitored, or it
can be fully open. The most popular application of wikis is the online
encyclopaedia Wikipedia, which is a collection of articles (wikis) that are
written, amended and expanded by the public.

The applications for wikis are endless. For instance, you can use them as
white board for ideas for team members who are scattered around the
world. They can access the wiki, see who else wrote what, and add their
own thoughts.

But wikis are useful in the marketing world too. They allow you to effec-
tively create an online focus group, that collects input from your cus-
tomers with whom you’d otherwise not be able to interact. As the wiki
owner, you set the topic, and invite others to submit content. Then you
watch the wiki grow.

Podcasts
Podcasts are mini radio shows, produced with the aid of a computer and
microphone, and are distributed online usually as MP3 files. They are es-
sentially radio shows on demand..

Listeners can subscribe to podcasts as easily as they subscribe to a news-


letter. As soon as a podcast is created and launched, listeners who have
signed up for the podcast will have it sent to their computers. They can
listen to them on their computer, and transfer them to an MP3 player, like
an iPod.

It’s a good marketing tool because it is cheap to produce, and can be


very entertaining. It can be listened to while a listener is stuck in traffic,
thus making best use of their time. It can propagate a company’s mes-
sage, while also associating it with entertainment, or at least provision of
relevant information.

There are many more tools that we are not going to mention just yet (mo-
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bile, email marketing, presentation sharing, banner advertising, sponsor-


ship). But there are two more items I’d like to discuss under this section,
although they are more methods than tools: SEO and tagging.

SEO
Search Engine Optimization is the backbone of an effective online pres-
ence. In essence, it is what controls whether your company shows up in
the top results when people search for a relevant search term using a
search engine.

It should be relatively simple to have your company appear in the top


5 results when people search for your company name (although some-
times it can be notoriously difficult). But the reality is that people will
rarely search for you that way. They might not even know you exist.
Rather, they will search for a product or a service. If your company pro-
vides either, it is in your best interest to rank highly on search engines for
that term.

If it sounds simple, rest assured that it is not. Books have been written on
the subject, and those who claim to be SEO gurus make a fortune sell-
ing their skills. We’ll tackle the subject in great depth in future issues, but
what you should know is that SEO should be a core component of your
social media marketing strategy, since it could be responsible for a core
of your traffic.

Tagging
Tagging is a system of labelling your content with relevant keywords so
that it can be easily found either by search engines, or other sites that
host your content (such as YouTube or Flickr).

For instance, when we post this issue of the Journal on various sites and
promote its online distribution, we will tag it with keywords such as “so-
cial media” , “white paper”,“marketing tools” etc. Then, if anyone visits the
sites that host the Journal and searches for those terms, the Journal will
appear in the result.

Tags can be set by the content creators, but they can also be set by con-
tent users. They are an excellent way to ensure wide spread of informa-
tion that your company producers, and are an important component of
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any social media marketing campaign.

Putting it all together

The previous section was a mere introduction. We will tackle each tool in-
dividually in due course, and you will get a good idea of how it can be used
by your company. But to get a general feel of what a social media campaign
can entail, let’s briefly examine how each of the above mentioned tools and
methods could be used by a manufacturer of a 4x4 car.

Scenario: A car manufacturer, is launching their state of the art 4x4 ve-
hicle in South Africa. The company has set up a strong offline campaign,
but now want to tackle the potential of the online space, with a focus on
social media, to create awareness and hype around the product.

Blogs
A blog is set up by the marketing team that documents the 4x4’s “road
to South Africa” . Regular posts can be written during the launch cam-
paign to highlight venues where the car can be seen, and comments can
be encouraged from the readers. The blog can also include links to all the
other online presence points of the campaign, as outlined below. In addi-
tion, the blog can act as a press room for the media.

Website
An interactive website is created, that allows the user to create a custom
look of the car and save it as a computer screensaver. The website is also
used as an information hub for the car specs, and an easy place to book a
test drive. Sale leads can be collected here, and a forum can be set up to
monitor questions and opinions. The blog and website will be linked.

Twitter
Moving away from direct sales, a Twitter account can be set up that
would provide followers with tips on good 4x4 driving techniques,
promote special 4x4 events, give links to images featuring the car in a
natural habitat etc. The aim would be to gather the attention of all 4x4
enthusiasts, so as to start building a relationship for down the road sales
potential.

Video
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All TV ads, as well as special videos produces by a professional produc-


tion team should appear on Youtube, the website and the blog. In addi-
tion, the company should encourage drivers of the car to create short
videos of tough driving conditions and how the car handled the chal-
lenge etc. Prizes should be awarded for best videos of the month. This
will be great for sales, because it will show potential buyers how real driv-
ers handle the car, and will measure their enthusiasm for the vehicle.

Images
Similar to video, the manufacturer will post images on image sharing
sites of the car, and will encourage regular drivers to post their own pho-
tos of the car in natural terrain. Once again, this will make the car seem
more personal than just a professional photo on a magazine spread.

Wikis
A wiki will be set up to list all the great areas where any 4x4 can be taken
for a challenging ride. This list will be updated by actual owners of 4x4s,
and will allow their commentary. The wiki will be clearly sponsored by
the car manufacturer, and will include links to the other online proper-
ties.

Podcast
Entertaining podcasts can be created for various driving situations,. For
example, a podcast that entertains small kids on long drives. It will in-
clude material that will keep the kids interested, while also reinforcing
the car brand. Driving and off road tips can be included. The podcasts
should be promoted as downloadable entertainment that can be played
in the car. In all likelihood, the podcast will be downloaded by owners of
other brands’ cars, thus slowly building awareness and a relationship for
future sales.

Social Networks
Fan pages and groups will be set up on all social networks,, encouraging
comments, questions, advice and content propagation. These should
be used as a foundation of an online database that can be later used in
further marketing efforts.

All the tools should be cross-promoted, the brand in each toll should be
prominent, and the concept of community and collaboration should be
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strongly encouraged every step of the way.

There’s more!

Obviously, the scenario of the 4x4 campaign is the simplest version of a


social media campaign, and there is plenty of scope for an in house team
or an ad agency to apply out-of-the-box thinking to make the campaign a
memorable one.

The overall point is to show you what the potential of a social media cam-
paign is, how it can be implemented on a low budget, and how it can
quickly create a lasting effect on sales and brand perception.

By now, we hope you have at least a general idea of the tools and methods
involved. Continue reading this issues and the future ones to learn about
the intricate details of each tool,. It should help you figure out how to apply
it to your own marketing campaign.

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Legally creative
There is a marked disconnect between creative agencies and lawyers which
could spell doom for agencies’ clients. To put it plainly, creative agencies
develop and implement innovative campaigns without taking into account
the legal considerations and, in the process, place their clients at unneces-
sary risk.

While this sounds fairly alarmist, recent events have revealed just how risky
marketing campaigns can be in the absence of adequate and appropriate
Paul Jacobson is a web and
digital media lawyer working legal guidance. You are probably aware of the controversy over a version
in Johannesburg and is the of Facebook’s terms of use recently. Without going into the matter in great
principal attorney and founder
of the new media law firm,
detail (I published a more detailed post on my firm’s website with specifics),
Jacobson Attorneys (http:// Facebook published a new terms of use which bound all Facebook users,
webtechlaw.com). Paul speaks personal and business alike, by virtue of their continued use of the service.
at universities and conferences
about new media and the law The revised terms of use included a broader license than the one that ap-
and writes about these issues peared previously and, unlike the previous version, the overly broad license
(and others) on his firm’s web-
persisted even after the users account was terminated.
site. Follow him at http://paul.
myplaxo.com or http://friend-
feed.com/pauljacobson. One of the reasons the license was too broad was that Facebook sought to
exercise an “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid,
worldwide license” over not just content uploaded to its service directly but
also to any content Facebook users linked to from within Facebook or using
a “Share” button or link on external websites to share content from those
websites in Facebook. This formulation presented a number of difficulties
ranging from Facebook’s efforts to take a license over content the person
sharing the content had no right to give (typical in the case of third party
content shared on Facebook) to a total disregard for the license (or lack
thereof ) applied to the content in the first place before it entered Face-
book’s ecosystem. The irrevocable and perpetual nature of the license only
aggravated the matter.

What does this mean for businesses? Well, for starters creative agencies that
develop marketing social media marketing campaigns frequently point out
Facebook’s tremendous potential as a platform for part or the whole of the
campaign. They are not wrong. Facebook can provide access to a recep-
tive and engaged audience for a business’ brand but how a business makes
use of Facebook should be carefully planned. Often a Facebook campaign
involves making content or services available through an advertisement on
the site or a Facebook Page which fans would join and (hopefully) use to
engage more directly with the brand and the business behind it. It is a very
appealing opportunity on paper but what agencies rarely include in their
planning is provision for the licensing implications for their clients’ content
posted to the site.
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Not only does Facebook take a particularly broad license over a business’
content posted to the site (the license permits commercial use of the con-
tent in addition to what I have quoted above) but provisions dealing with
shared content potentially bring a business’ content within the license’s
scope where the a user shares content on an external website with other
users on Facebook. An example of this is where a “fan” links to the compa-
ny’s website from its Facebook Page, finds an interesting blog post or video
and, using a “Share” link or bookmarklet (usually through a web browser),
shares that content with other Facebook users. At first blush this is precisely
what a Facebook campaign may be intended to achieve. On a closer look it
becomes apparent that by sharing that content with other Facebook users,
that shared content becomes subject to Facebook’s license, irrespective of
the company’s wishes. If the company publishes a “Share” link on its own
website with the intention that users share its content on Facebook then it
is similarly bound to license its content to Facebook under the same license.

It is important to note that with all this attention on Facebook’s terms of


use, it isn’t just Facebook that has terms of use with these implications.
Facebook, itself, reverted back to a previous set of terms of use after a public
outcry online but its current terms of use don’t address all the concerns
about the previous set, particularly the licensing concerns. A number of
other platforms have similar broad licenses but factors which distinguish
some of those services from Facebook include a user’s ability to remove
content from the service and revoke the license in the process as well as a
materially narrower license over user content which grants just sufficient
rights to enable the service to continue to operate effectively. Overall,
though, almost all of these services publish terms of use and even privacy
policies that can have profound implications for a business’ content.

I’m not arguing against using these services as part of a marketing cam-
paign. These services can be tremendously powerful marketing tools. What
I am suggesting is that agencies and their clients should involve lawyers
when they plan a campaign as well as when they execute it to ensure that
the legal concerns that apply to the particular platform are highlighted and
catered for. The relevant terms of use bind the user when the user registers,
indicates agreement to the terms and uses the service. It is far too late to
read the terms of use in the middle of a campaign, the damage will have
been done. As the saying goes, prevention is better than the cure so insist
that your agency takes appropriate legal advice before launching your
campaign.

How to get the most out of Groups

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Social Networks

What are they?


Online social networks allow people to create their personal profiles, and
share that information with a chosen group of friends or colleagues. The
purpose can be two fold: the online relationships can be purely social, or
they can have a business motivation. Either way, a successful social network
creates an environment where a person feels comfortable enough to inter-
act, collaborate, communicate and share information with others.

For a company, the challenge is in harnessing that overall willingness of


people to communicate and channelling it to a direct communication
with the company. Different social networks offer different ways to do this,
although there are common threads that run through all of them.

How can a company get involved?


There are about 200 general social networks, and an immeasurable “niche”
networks that focus on a specific common interest. If your target market is
South African, you only need a presence on about 3 general social networks,
plus all the relevant niche networks. If your audience is global, that number
is significantly higher.

There is also the option of setting up your own social network. When you
have a presence on a third party site, like Facebook, you are a guest. You play
not only by the generally accepted rules of social networking, but also by
the rules set out by Facebook (See Paul Jacobson’s article in this Journal). On
your own social network, you set your own rules, as long as they fall within
the parameters of accepted protocol. You also have far more control of the
conversation.

There are two main ways to gain maximum benefit from a SA: becoming an
active “real person” member who represents the company on the network,
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or creating a corporate profile (usually by means of setting up a group) and


interacting with members that way.

“Real Person” approach


This is when you communicate with other members of the social net-
work using your real name, but while wearing your corporate hat. In
other words, you do not include pictures of your daughter’s birthday
party, but do load images of your company’s products. Not all social net-
works lend themselves to this approach: Facebook, for instance, does not.
The more niched the network, the more this approach applies.

Corporate presence
This is the approach you will use most often. It entails setting up groups,
fan pages or corporate profiles to spread your message, attract listeners
and create a platform for a conversation. A corporate presence

What can you get out of a social network presence?


A new audience
It is far easier to get a network member to connect with you as a col-
league or to sign up as a member of your Group , than to get a person
with whom you have no connection to continually visit your website. In
addition, the social network offers a perfect opportunity for your “friends”
to recruit their friends on your behalf.

A new channel of communication


It is increasingly difficult to get your emails read. There’s a good chance
that a newsletter will end up in the spam folder, or that it will get deleted
before it is even opened. People are being overwhelmed by their inboxes.

A message sent via a trusted social network, however, fares a far bet-
ter chance. Not only will a message sent via, say, Facebook appear in the
recipients email inbox, it will also appear in the inbox on the actual site.
Double the chances of getting read, and an automatic perceived value of
the message content.

And email is not the only way to communicate on a social network. You
get to interact with your audience in the blogs, forums, status updates
and shared content. With only a little bit of work, you could be seen as a
valuable source of information in no time.

A hub to promote your other online properties


You can entice your network members to visit your other online proper-
ties (your website, your blog, your twitter stream) by including content
from those properties on the network itself. Clever use of links like “Visit
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our website for more” will drive traffic.

All the benefits of viral marketing


Good content can be shared on these networks by others! For instance, if
you write a valuable blog post , readers might share it with their network
on Facebook. They do so with a simple click of a mouse. All their friends
are then shown the content, and if they deem it valuable they will inter-
act with you on your site, your network profile or any other online prop-
erty.

Feedback
Your network profile, whether private or corporate, should have the abil-
ity for others to post comments. This is an important source of feedback
for your customers, and one that should be encouraged. It is a great way
to develop a strong relationship.

Increased awareness and Improved reputation

What goes into a successful social network presence?


Abiding by the rules
Do not start becoming active on a social network with the hope of sell-
ing stuff. That is not what social networks are for. Rather, focus on build-
ing relationships by offering value, and put in place a good strategy
to convert your network into driving the bottom line. But not through
direct, insistent pitches. That goes against the ethos of a social network.

Consistency
You will be active on more than one network. Have a consistent presence
on all of them: use the same profile picture, contact details, and ap-
proach to the members.

Active participation
Do not leave your network stranded. Engage with you members often,
on a one-on-one basis whenever possible. Ensure that all communica-
tion adds value i.e. do not tell them what kind of a day you are having.
Update your profile often, so you do not fade from memory. Give your
members (good) reason to talk about you to others.

A killer profile
You have seconds to grab somebody’s attention. Make sure your profile
is clear, succinct and appealing. It must convey as quickly as possible
what your company does. Equally important, the profile must convince a
visitor that connecting with your company will add real value to him or
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her. Both copy and visual appeal are important here.

Getting started
Explore
Once you decide to become active on the social networking scene, start
exploring the different sites that are open to the public. Start with Face-
book, Linkedin and Ning.com. The latter is made up of hundreds of thou-
sands of niche websites: search for some that reach your target market.

Observe not only how the network itself works, but also see which are
the more popular groups on the network, and what differentiates them
from those that are languishing. See who the prominent members are,
how people promote themselves and the general mood of the network.

Shortlist your networks


Don’t overdo it in the beginning. Sign up for three or four networks, and
include Facebook in that mix. Read the networks’ terms of use carefully,
and make sure you abide by their rules. If you are signing up for a niche
network, or Group, see if there are rules that apply solely to that niche.

Create profiles, pages, groups


Select one person to represent your company on all the social networks.
More than one company person can become a member of the company,
but you should have a designated driver so that you know that no balls
will be dropped.

Select one personal profile picture, and prepare a small image of your
company logo that you can use for groups. Write a five line punchy bio
on yourself, and one on your company. List all the other online proper-
ties you want to promote, but do not cross-promote social networks that
compete with each other (like Facebook and Myspace).

Take a special look at your notification options on each network. You


don’t want to be overwhelmed by email, but you also don’t want to miss
out on marketing opportunities. Make sure that any updates to groups
and forums that interest you will be conveyed to you via email,.

Connect with community


Save links to your profile pages in a bookmark folder, and get into the
habit of opening the folder every morning. Glance what has happened
where on the networks, and submit some content (comment, new post,
images, etc) to each network at least once a day.

Make sure you acknowledge and respond to any direct communication


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from the networks.

Aim to connect with new people every day. Depending on the size of you
niche, and your available time, this could be 3 - 20 new people per week.
Don’t add anyone without having one-on-one interaction with them.
This is how you become memorable!

Don’t sell or push!

What is a Social Network Group?


A Group is created by a network member, and is used to bring together
other members of the network who have a certain shared interest in com-
mon. Groups most often represent companies or ideals, For instance, a tech
focused social network might have a group for “Apple Product Distributors”
or “Lower the price of bandwidth!”. If a Group seems applicable to a network
member, he can join that Group, and participate in further discussions.

The Group manager, the person who starts the group, is able to control the
different aspects of the Group. These include the obvious things like name
and description of the Group, but also involve the setting of membership
policies and privacy settings. Groups can be open, which means anyone can
join the group at any time, or moderated to different degrees. Membership
can also be by invite only, and the Group can even be private so it is not
seen by non-members.

Why have a group?


Allbusiness.com gives an example of how a product manager uses Groups:
Jiyan Wei, product manager at PRWeb, an online press release mar-
keting service, is a fan of social networking sites. He has formed
a group for PRWeb that includes journalists, bloggers, and others
in the media industry who use PRWeb as one of their sources for
information. Rather than sending this group traditional, impersonal
press releases, he uses it for smaller announcements. “If we’re going
to have a booth at a trade show I’ll send out a note to the group and
invite them to stop by,” he says. “Often someone will post a casual
comment or ask a question. If it’s too long, I take the conversation
offline.”

Having a Group allows the company to be represented on the network


as a brand, and not just as a collection of employee profiles.
Although your company will have individual members active on the net-
work, any time a member wants to interact with the brand (or company)
directly, the Group will be their main point of contact.

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You can set up more than one group, and spread a unique message to
segments of your audience
If you have distinct segments in your audience (wholesalers versus dis-
tributors, for instance), you can set up a separate Group for each. In fact,
you can have one open Group for your entire audience, then closed, pri-
vate groups for your segments. No one but you will know which groups
you actually manage, and membership can be by invitation only.

The Group acts as an opt-in PR channel


You can use the Group to post all your press releases, and can even invite
comments on them from your audience. You can send different releases
to different Groups, and keep all such communication private, or you can
manage an open Group and make the information available to everyone.

The Group acts as polling and forum tool


You can add polls or forums to a group, which means that you can get
feedback on specific issues from a specific group. This will help you align
your services and offerings to your target market. It is one of the most
powerful tools of a well honed network presence. You are given the abil-
ity to listen, and react.

It will grow your audience


Group membership is organic, especially if the Group is open. You will
get new members on the recommendation of their peers, or as a result of
posts you make on the site. And remember, this is the most valuable type
of audience, - the type that actually opts-in (or asks) for you to communi-
cate with them.

You can market events


A Group is a great tool to market an event, and encourage RSVPs and ac-
tual attendance. You can provide plenty of info on the event from within
the group, but best of all members will see who else is attending, and will
be encouraged to do so themselves.

How to get the most out of your Group


In order for a Group to become an effective communication channel, it
needs to be maintained and promoted. Content needs to be added regu-
larly, members’ comments and issues need to be addressed timeously and
the Group needs to be promoted on the network, as well as in other online
and offline spaces.

The audience also needs to be respected: there is no reason to try and sell
to them all the time. Better balance your pitches with other information that
adds value, and makes the members feel as if they are benefiting form the
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Group. The best way to get that right is to actually ask the members what
they want from the Group. They’ll be quick to tell you!

Have clear rules for what type of content will be tolerated, and how inap-
propriate content will be dealt with. Don’t expect to only have wildly posi-
tive things mentioned about your company – there are bound to be some
gripes. Set out a clear policy for how you will deal with those, and stick to
them. Explain up front under what circumstances comments will be re-
moved, so the rules are transparent.

Interaction amongst the members is where a lot of value is received. Thus


you want as many members on your Group as possible. Not only will the
quality of conversations be improved, but you will have a larger sample to
poll and survey. Invite your existing database to join you in the Group, and
watch them invite their friends! Also, promote your Group in other commu-
nication channels, such as newsletters, invoices or websites.

Make sure your Group has the right title, category and description. Include
contact information for the offline world, and be clear about the purpose of
the Group. Use key descriptive words in the “About the Group” box, so that
you Group will show up in results for your brand name, product sector and
industry.

Be an active network member in other groups and forums. The more you
interact, the more friends or colleagues you will make, and the higher your
probability of a growing membership of your Group.

Your own social network


In order to have a successful social media campaign, you definitely need a
presence on third party social networks, such as Facebook. But you can also
opt to create your own social network, that you control and manage. You
can even earn a revenue from it.

There are various options. You can start by using a platform such as Ning.
com which allows you to host a niche network for free (you pay for pre-
mium features, but you don’t need to) or you can pay a monthly fee based
on your network size to kickapp.s.com and similar sites (see links on left).
For serious solutions, you can even expect to pay $100 000s. You can also
develop your own social network on an opensource platform like Drupal.

Read the license agreements very carefully before using third parties to
start a network. Be especially careful to see who owns the data: you or
the vendor? And how mobile is that data? Can you swop vendors after six
months without losing any members?
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It goes without saying that starting up your own social network implies that
you are very familiar with the workings of a network, and can create and
manage something as functional and robust as Facebook. If you are new
to social networking it is best to stick to third party sites until you become
familiar with the medium. And since you will not have the advantage of a
ready made membership base with your own social network, plan to have a
full time community manager to drive interest and repeat visits.

Want even more information?


If I have whetted your appetitie for social networks, the web is full of more
resources to teach you how to utilise them for best effect.

If you are looking for a condensed, comprehensive guide that will answer
all your questions about social networks, you might like to take a look at my
Premium Social Network Guide.

This is an indepth look at the social network’s marketing power in the on-
line world. This guide has over 120 pages of everything you ever wanted to
know about how to start playing the social network game, and gives you a
step by step guide to getting started, and gathering an audience.

To read more about the Guide, and its cost, please visit the Premium Con-
tent tab on the http://www.twojumpsahead.com website.

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RSS feeds
As more and more user generated content is created, it is becoming increas-
ingly impossible to visit sites regularly to keep up with new content. That is
where RSS comes in handy,

RSS (really simple syndication) brings the content to you, rather than requir-
ing you go to the content. It’s really the only way to stay up to date with the
Newsreaders:
latest news on a specific topic.
http://www.google.com/
reader RSS feeds are great news for those who read a lot of online content, but
http://www.bloglines.com they are also great news for those who create the content., since they make
it easy for the content to reach its intended audience.
http://www.netvibes.com

This is how it works:


• You sign up for a RSS reader (most are free, and are listed in the links
column. I use Google Reader)
• You tell the RSS reader from which websites you want to pull content
(otherwise known as a feed)
• As soon as new content is published on those sites, it gets delivered to
your RSS reader
• Your job is to them visit your RSS reader, and read the new content.
Most content is delivered in its entirety, so you don’t, in theory, ever have
to visit the original site!

How to choose a RSS reader


First of all, choose a free one since it will offer you all the features you will
probably need anyway.

The decide if you want an online (web based) news reader, or an offline one,

The advantage of a web based reader is that you will be able to access your
feeds from any computer that has an Internet connection, or even your cell
phone. On the other hand, you cannot use it in offline mode.

An offline reader will require an internet connection to get the feeds, but
you can then read them at your leisure without requiring a connection.
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