Key Advice Blog

Archive for August 2009

Many people (read: bosses, organisations) still think the web delivers virtually – without needing an investment in resources.  But, you get what you pay for. If you don’t invest time and human resources into social media, you won’t get a measurable return on your investment. Organisations wouldn’t design a brochure without a designer. Build a website without a website developer. Put on an event without a venue and entertainment. So we must get them to move beyond the virtual to the reality about social media.

The success of social networking sites involves building a loyal following by:

1. regular posts or updates geared to an identifable target audience.

2. communicating news/information/updates in real time.

3. interacting.

This is all accomplished with a drip-drip effect – a little bit regularly. Admittedly this is in contrast to the print version of client communications, which generally involves one big wave of effort. But, if you want to go with the flow, you have to jump in with both feet, and be prepared to invest in social media.

Considering there are so many fantastic social media platforms out there for FREE; clients – existing and potential – appear hungry to be plugged into social networking sites; and the Web offers a reach, feedback and interactivity in a way no print product can, the ROI potential is big.

Groundswell evaluates an ROI on a blog measuring such things as Advertising value (visibility and traffic); PR value (press stories from blog content); word of mouth (referring posts).

If your organisation gets behind social media in the same way it gets behind advertising, marketing and customer service initiatives and provides the right amount of resources, you can reap the benefits of being a leader.

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A meeting with a client yesterday was extremely satisfying because when I asked ‘Who is your target market for your website?’, they knew the answer.

If you are having trouble planning or evaluating a project, it could easily be you have not clarified ‘who’ you want to communicate with, sell to or involve.

‘Who’ is defined by a number of important qualifiers. Keep asking questions to get the right answer.

Geography. Age. Social and economic demographics. Interests. Behaviours. Relationship (with you). Education. Language. Culture. Habbits.  This is a starting point in drawing a picture of who you are trying to reach with your service or product. No matter how small or large the initiative – a news release or a new building – ask.

Then you want to ask: What do I want to do for this client? and What do I want this client to do for me?

Remember: It is never too late to clarify ‘Who? It will always lead you to answers.

If the doom and gloom of the current economic news is getting you down a bit, why not follow the movers and shakers in the online and new media worlds. They are not sitting back and watching the action, they are leading the charge for change. But how do you keep up on all this activity?

There are a few key sites to put in your favourites.  Mashable.com reported on both the launch of Google’s newest version of their search facility and Facebook’s acquisition of Friend Finder (3F- could this be a rival to 3D). And that was just two items from yesterday. Favourites.

CNET tech news covers the whole spectrum from software to hardware. It’s a great place to stop if you want to get a bird’s eye view of this great big world of technology.

Every news site has a technology, new media section, or for the smaller ones – at least a blogger talking about new media. The Westmorland Gazette recently covered a story about a new Lakes Internet TV channel starting up. It’s important to read print (or the online version of) to find out what is happening in your area.

But, bloggers can also be a great source of ‘keeping up’ with developments. Kevin Tea, Cumbria, is a a keen, experienced and well informed advocate of Web 2.0 – and his latest piece is about using Cloud computing. He also has a Twitter feed into his blog, so it’s a two for one visit. I recommend you add it into your tech news favs.

It’s worth doing a few searches to find key sites with the information that is important to you – then pour a cup of coffee and go surfing.

The race is on to charge for online media content. In Olympic style moves, Murdoch and crew are jumping into the deep water, pushing and shoving each other to get to the paid-for-content finish line first. Perhaps they should spend a few minutes on shore to consider the following.

People don’t react well to having something for free, then having to suddenly pay for it. The comments on The Guardian story are a good barometer.

Charging for general news flies in the face of a decade-old tradition of free news. Those paying for content, like for FT.com, are getting specialised content, and the target market is businesses, which can write off the expense. The average person in the street doesn’t fit this ‘willing-to-pay’ profile.

Digital journalism guru Paul Bradshaw, at onlinejournalism.com, hosts an insightful article on charging for content, pointing to the need to offfer something unique (read: worth paying for). And the tide is turning in how and where people get news.

Many savvy news hounds are turning to Twitter and other ‘person-on-the-street’ platforms to find out news. It’s free, it’s fast, it’s full of helpful links. Can the media sites that are charging, race past the new medias sites that aren’t?

If you are looking to make money from an online venture, don’t forget to go back to basics. Clarify who your audience is. Ask them what they need? Want? Are willing to pay fo  r? Ask your in-house experts. Have a brainstorming session of all the alternatives. And develop a very sustainable strategy.

Dip your toe in the water, before you jump in over your head.

A film instructor spoke of the ‘democratisation’ of making movies with the advent of affordable, portable, usable technology. That was two years ago. Even he couldn’t have predicted the gains video communications has made in the past few years.

In the past week alone I have received an email from someone (1 of over 4,500) who had posted a comment after watching my silly sheep video on YouTube ; recorded a one minute video tip in my new series on Key Advice.net; and  talked to my cousin on a Skype video call.

There is no doubt – with the fusion of technology, fingertip mobile recording and uploading video and our insatiable appetite for seeing things – video is here to stay.

Just search ‘tips on using video’ and you’ll find no end of advice from the likes of YouTube, Churchvideo.uk, and VideoJug, and that’s only page one of the results.

Take One!


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