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I was blessed to attend the BPMA event tonight on Real-Time Marketing & PR with David Meerman Scott, author, speaker, and member of the Hubspot board. However, as it is early 2011, and rather than be too blessed, I write this post several hours thereafter the event. I’m just one person. I have yet to read David Meerman Scott’s book, but I imagine tonight was a good overview. And upon skimming the table of contents, I notice there are sections of chapters named things like “who the hell are these people?” then I am suddenly filled with confidence, that despite the many books in my “on deck” pile, I will read this one asap.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program, scribbled on my Hubspot 9-509-049 HBS case from Marketing Services class last summer.

David spoke quite a bit about the Dave Carroll “United Breaks Guitars” YouTube video. In sum, we know: Dave sung happily about the guitar break, while United probably went about their day-to-day. United never responded. Probably most of us would find that to be supremely rude. What should United have done? It would not have happened, but if I were at United, I would have created a humorous video that showed a series of travel throughout the years, highlighting things they have broken, with ridiculous flair and humility. It happens, so admit things you’ve actually broken, and be human. Doing this is powerful and most people will forgive.

Then there are perhaps some truisms:

  • Being clever, with speed and agility, will position you well. Not that it’s easy, but thinking creatively, there are many more opportunities than you might realize, e.g. the coverage of Paris Hilton being banned from Wynn Resorts (hey I’m fine with that). If I google “Paris Hilton” and “Wynn resort” (yes, I use quotes) I get 43k+ hits today. Not too shabby in terms of coverage for Wynn. And, due to my lack of interest in California politics, I was formerly unaware of the Zake Starkewolf Phone-Sex Robocall and the pickup by stoppoliticalcalls.org. But yes, another great example of taking advantage of the opportunity without spending any green.
  • Always respond in the same media, in which the customer responded to you. In other words, customers, especially the over-analytical types like myself, choose to respond in a certain medium for a reason. To effectively respond to concerns raised, in another medium, is to negate part of the message and devalue your brand equity.
  • Social media are the tools; real-time is the mindset. Although, actually, we shouldn’t say “social media” or the like, too many negative, overused connotations when you’re trying to move others to a way of being that seems so foreign. But the time is now to take advantages of the opportunity that will fade so very quickly. Who will think of this? David suggests having a “Chief Real-Time Officer.” I’m not sure where this person would sit in the organization, because first of all, this person will get no sleep. Hence we shall pluralize the term, but please, no committees. But I imagine this person would have to be very knowledgeable about most all facets of the company: history, competition, industry trends, products & services, and so on and so forth, to be effective and also communicate internally about “our real-time communications.”

So how to act in real-time, besides get that chief person David mentioned?

  • Develop real-time guidelines. These should be “ready to go” and give people the permission to react. Not to sound all tied up in a bun and planning-oriented with my xls spreadsheets, but to think about this, agree on guidelines, document the guidelines, and communicate them, well in advance of the fight or flight moment, will calm the troops and allow the organization to react best.
  • Implement real-time systems for your real-time business. Maybe these are complex or simple suite of tools, but the good part is, there are tools and plenty of them.
  • Develop a real-time mindset about how to react when the time is right! Probably most of us would agree with David, this is most difficult. If most organizations had free time, some green, and resources, real-time marketing is still probably not what would happen next.

Some additional hints, tips, and tricks:

  • When individuals speak on behalf of the organization, say “I” and only let that special chief person(s) say “we.” This will go a long way to avoiding the concern that every person is a spokesperson for the company. That just isn’t the case, even when the aforementioned guidelines are in place. Again, we are human and I think this brings that element back to the conversation as well.
  • I’m sure I’ll love the stock data and graph loveliness in the book, but use that stock price data to demonstrate ROI to the c-suite, i.e. Companies who were active in real-time marketing & PR, had greater stock prices (over the period that David used this as a proxy to measure ROI of real-time marketing and PR). I’d find the chart right now in the book, however I notice the index does not contain “stock” in the index.
  • I think there was the crowd comment that doing real-time marketing & PR is “freakishly hard.” Hats off to doing it in the first place! David suggested that he hire some journalists to do the real-time well, as they can field the reactions and opportunities well, with certain maturity and dedication that is perhaps lost on some of us.

For now, I look forward to reading the book, which I probably won’t comment about, in real-time.

So last week Facebook posted this neat little piece to their blog about the public Facebook status update. Yes, you read that right. The gist of it is that those users out there who have set their status privacy to “Everyone” will see your status updates. This post states: “if you have access to this beta version, every time you publish content into your stream you are able to control which people can access that specific piece of content.”

Most of the uproar, as you can see per comments, is that users don’t want to have to select who will see their status update, each time a status update is made. In that way, it seems a little similar to email and reply all: make sure you don’t reply all when your really mean to just reply. But it seems this intial uproar was before Facebook qualified its post to note the following:

The beta is only open to people who already chose to set their profile and status privacy to “Everyone.” For those people, the default for sharing from the Publisher will be the same. If you have your default privacy set to anything else—such as “Friends and Networks” or “Friends Only”—you are not part of this beta.

You think FB would have learned from previous privacy issue announcement debacles, like the few months ago TOS incident, in which they own all your content, or wanted to (if I recall, they revised the TOS after outcry and shaming). Of the 200 million plus users today, so many of them already get upset about various privacy issues, although controls do exist. (It’s on my to-do list to invoke some further FB lockdown.)  Will the bulk of these users realize that they have set their status updates to “everyone” and realize the consequences? Surely, yes, now with the post we are all clear about what Facebook is doing, theoretically. But in practice, would some unintentional “everyone” posting be the nail in the coffin, driving users away from this platform? In other words, has Facebook set up the opportunity for too many people to finally foil themselves and run away? This game of connect the dots about my public persona may just speed up.

I can’t imagine wanting to post a Facebook status update as public for everyone and if I had done so by mistake, oh the horror. With Twitter, I post to Tweetdeck and usually autopost to Twitter as well, although it’s a more tech-oriented tweet for which I receive ridicule. But creating a status update precisely for Facebook – I’d like the post to stay there. So argh, argh, argh, argh. There’s just one and only one, Facebook status update, for you.

I’m getting back to the blog. I found this article this week called “Paid Twitter Streams Are Here: Super Chirp.”  In sum, one may have the priveledge of being paid for their tweets. Who would like to pay for my tweets? Nobody, I am not glamourous.  Let’s move onto Britney Spears. This service will allow you pay for her tweets and receive her tweets as DMs. This is a publishing model for celebrities. Hmmm, I don’t think Super Chirp will receive my payment for tweets. You however, can pay 0.99 to $9.99 per month to get these kind of tweets. Why am in disinterested and having more fun without this noise?

  1. DM messages – I haven’t found anyone who likes these. This service makes me tweak, it’s like paying someone to provide you with email overload.
  2. Real-time – In my real-time, I can find amazing tweets already, for free. Will this always be the case? I don’t know, time will tell. But since I am already enjoying this, why rock the boat. Also, real-time need not be consumed with knowing about Britney’s latest hairstyle. If I am in the mood, a two second glance at the latest trash mag in the grocery checkout lane will fix that.
  3. Who Will Super Chirp? – It’s a nice idea for charities, in theory. i.e. That is you would pay for these charities tweets and aid the cause. In reality, it’s just another textual item in your day, whereby the real message becomes a fleeting thought.

For me, it’s a hard sell. Now back to my fab free tweetastic fun.

A few months back, I downloaded Tweetdeck on my home laptop and I had yet to tweak it for the productivity gains that it might provide. Today I took the first step, setting up the following features below for my use.

  • Groups – Where can you make a group for Twitter? Tweetdeck. Examine why you use Twitter and what are the kinds of folks you are following. How would you aggregate them into top groups? In sum, overall the folks I follow may be these: librarians, social media users, entrepreneurs, web geeks, marketers, business leaders, people I know personally in real life, healthcare news and advocates, nurses, physicians, and others that just bring a bite of humor to my busy life. Given that, I created these groups: Social Media (top social media tweeters I like); Twitter (tools and tweets on using Twitter, may have overlap with SM category); Librarians (including libraryland stuff); Work Related; and Fun and Entertainment (my personal miscellany).  The limitation: You can only have 10 groups. Try to create another one, the following message is delivered, “you are already using 10 columns, you could delete one and try again.” Also, there are only so many friends you might see available as adds to your group, see this post on why that is the case.
  • Frequency – I reorganized the columns so the ones I want to see the most are at the left, less scroll. I set up a time limit filter for the last 24 hours for each column – see great details on this here, question #16. I’m trying to just use Twitter when I can – I get the updates I can get, when I get them, other updates I just miss, such is life.

It’s a start…

If you are uniniated to the lingo, an auto DM is a direct message that you get when you start following someone. Now that I am following 200+ people, I can say that I have a sense of what these are now, as I have received many a DM post-follow. And naturally, I wonder if I should have a DM set up for myself? If so, what should it be like?

Let’s first look at some characteristics or categories of DMs that may exist, based on the ones I’ve received.

  • The “free” offer – I sometimes get the “hey check out my free e-book” or some other offering. On occasion, I might like to do this, although I haven’t yet for those who have sent me some interesting item. In other instances, there is a button named delete.
  • “thanks” for following – that pretty much says it all. IMHO, I don’t think these are necessary, although it is nice to see such thankfulness ins social networking.
  • More Twitter – Since we connected on Twitter, if you have something Twitter-like you can share with me in your DM, that might be useful. I’ve received a few messages with other Twitter references or followers on Twitter, I like that.

Here are my thoughts on why an auto DM, although seemingly destested, might be worthwhile, if done right:

  • In this DM, you share something that you haven’t already shared in recent tweets or in your basic profile space. Perhaps it is a tip, a link to check out your friendfeed, Linkedin profile, a slideshare deck, anything else new and exciting.
  • You actually do want to build your Keith Ferrazzi quotient for the day and offer yourself as a resource to people. You want to help other people succeed. Provide some information about how you might do that.
  • Could it be a forum for asking a question, which you hope will engage the user and write a @craftydlib replyback to you? Of course, if this is the course of action, you might want to change up the question in your DM fairly frequently, in-line with your number of new followers.

Thus far, I think I received a few post-follow message that was personalized, or so I think, as it contained my name. Since my first name is not in my Twitter handle, I assumed this was a personal message, but there is probably a tool that would extract my name from my profile for input in the auto DM message. Of course, I just found TwitterDMER that will perform this function.

No worries, I haven’t set up my own DM yet, so you can follow me without fear. I’m not sure that I will. I haven’t received too many that are overwhelmingly useful yet, well for my purposes anyway. But if you need me, you know were to look.

Random: Since I have not posted this before, take a moment to regress and watch Tim Ferriss in his YouTube pen flicking stunts and then you can practice yourself.

Ok, onto the post now: So my lack of blogging is of course because it takes so much time. Hence my research project into productivity and Twitter. Of course, it can be a time sink, or not. Let’s assume the latter. Lately, I have been examining at various Twitter tools, including but by no means limited to the following:

Yes, most people in my daily life still think Twitter is useless. In fact, who out there is surrounded only by people who think Twitter is useful? Well, maybe a few select social media strategists. Below are some recent findings on Twitter or about Twitter that have proven productive for me.

How Twitter Has Helped My Frantic Life in the Last Week:

  • I found out that people were reading reading a certain marketing communication from work, as the essence of the message was tweeted.
  • I easily located highly applicable information for my Twitter productivity project, from well, Twitter.
  • I started following my classmates in social networks and virtual worlds class (Sundays at 6pm in Elluminate via Babson or Second Life). It would be cool if we had a Tweetup since we all meet just virtually for this class.
  • In a moment when I post this, my post should auto-populate over to Twitter, if I used Twitterfeed correctly ;)
  • I got my first iphone this week (yes, I’m feeling some major glee) and so set up my apps and will start experimenting with productivity from the mobile Twitter suite of options – no dearth here.

Well – it’s nearly time to adjourn as I’m heading out to a productcamp tomorrow for a good time, surely to include Twitter in there somewhere.

So without muche delay, post numero uno in 2009! Let’s get going. So I am reading through some examples of corporate media social network usage. Today I took a little look at MyStarbucksIdea, a site that wants customers to post their ideas for improvements and vote on them. I posted a few ideas and comments, based on clover-ordering flop yesterday in Boston. But I was also prompted to post given my read of the Starbucks customer service business case I just read as well. (It’s HBS 9-504-016 “Starbucks: Delivering Customer Service” in case you are interested.)

Some observations on Starbucks particular use of social media to capture ideas:

  • Good, they have some divisions of ideation: Products; Experience; Involvement. There are subcategories within these.
  • The site also links to the Starbucks idea blog, where they comment on implementation. Yes, make it easy for customers to see exactly what you are doing on our behalf. Will they also comment on any commentary where they have decided not to implement the suggestion? Without reading all the updates in detail, I’m not sure yet.
  • Of course, there is a huge volume of postings. I did some searches to see if some topics I would post on are already covered by other posters and many of them were.
  • I wish there was a tagging capability for the posts. The subcategories are just not enough.
  • For hardcore users, some might like an RSS feed to follow certain subcategories.
  • With the multitude of postings on particular topics, you can clearly see where sentiment runs high – i.e. just don’t discontinue decaf in the afternoon, you heard me! Please bring back using SILK soymilk in the drinks, the new soy milk brand you are using is just gross.
  • Random, Odd – I can’t seem to click on the names of the folks in the comments leaderboard. JavaOcha, who are you?
  • Starbucks says they can’t read and/or act on every post. Ok. But it might help to review them if they were organized better. The commentary form could also ask customers to provide some optional demographic data. In that case, I can comment on others comments more appropriately if I know more about them as a customer. And you know, Starbucks could mine that data that folks want to offer.
  • Fun – perhaps I’ll post more once I get my Clover small batch cup soon. Cheers!
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