flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘social media strategy

3 reasons to self-host a WordPress blog

I am planning to migrate my two year old blog on WordPress.com to a self-hosted version (WordPress.com).  The advantages of self-hosting are three

  • I can choose any theme I like
  • I can link up to Google Analytics that will tell me lot more about my traffic
  • I can add advertisements

Online strategy

I prepared for the big migration by thinking about my online strategy.  Despite wanting to put some adverts on it, my blog is not part of my commercial strategy.  I use it think things out and to write regularly.  It is a notepad where I develop, rather than sell ideas.

Ideally, I want it to link to my “CV” sites and to use its page rank to boost other online ventures.

Online organization

As I dallied, a tai chi outfit in the states snapped up flowingmotion. com.  My names is rather common as well.  So I settled on this strategy.

  • Buy a domain in my name (jojordan.org)
  • Take up jojordanorg on Facebook
  • Set up an central organizing point on a free Posterous blog and redirect it to jojordan.org
  • Make my blog a sub-domain of jojordan.org (flowingmotion.jojordan.org).

The reason I did this is because Posterous makes a good-looking front end CV site where I can link out to all my CV assets – Linkedin, Xing, Slideshare, etc.  It’s easy to redirect the Posterous blog to my domain jojordan.org which is hosted by Dreamhost.

I thought for a moment that I could host the blog at jojordan.org/flowingmotion and take full advantage of its page rank; but it seems not.  So a sub-domain it is:  https://flowingmotion.wordpress.com.

Costs and maintenance

In summary,

  • I’ve purchased a domain name http://jojordan.org.  I bought it through Dreamhost and will need to pay for an annual renewal.  At the time of the renewal, I could move it to another host/registrant like GoDaddy, if I want to.
  • I set up a “permanent” CV front end with Posterous.  That blog stays with them for free and I redirect it to the domain at Dreamhost.  This seems counter-intuitive because it is working the other way. People go to http://jojordan.org and they are redirected to Posterous.
  • I am now taking my blog hosted for free at WordPress.com and I am moving to Dreamhost.  I will pay them a monthly fee for hosting my blog on their computers but the software will come for free from WordPress.org.  I will use a free theme which I have edited to suit me.

Clear so far?  I need to add the instructions for redirecting the Posterous blog to Dreamhost because that tripped me up the first time I did it.

Now I am going to set up the “full hosting” for the WordPress blog.

So President Obama has never used Twitter?

Last week, President Obama told Chinese students that he had never used Twitter. Shock! Who sent all those tweets under his name?

I tweet

I am a Tweeter. I enjoy tweeting because I work alone and in a small town. Twitter keeps me in touch with the world beyond my daily existence. It is also a handy diary. I often go back to me tweets to look up something that turned out to be more important than I thought at the time.

But I don’t think everyone must tweet

But I don’t think everyone should tweet just because tweeting is there. I’ve find it strange for example if a surgeon was tweeting. I hope surgeons are concentrating. To tweet about a patient who is unconscious could hardly be done with their consent!

Some people should not tweet, particularly when they are working

I don’t want pilots tweeting while they land a plane. And as a university lecturer, I wouldn’t tweet details about the quality of exam scripts – not because they are private – but because announcing the results is the prerogative of the Registrar. Only the official registry can announce a result.

I don’t expect a President to tweet

Here in lies why President Obama shouldn’t tweet. We voted for Obama, true (or rather Americans did). But we didn’t vote for Obama to do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

We voted him to work within a system and when we voted we assumed that he would be working within a system.

Just as I might ask a pilot to fly a plane, I haven’t asked him to fly any plane. This is a package – you and that plane. Obama and a set of institutions. He becomes part of the institution and it is the institution that is tweeting just as it is the “plane” talking to airtraffic control.

Public office changes the rules

Public office cramps our style! When we accept public office, as President, surgeon, pilot or university lecturer, then we accept that our behaviour is no longer private. And we comport ourselves accordingly. We will say no more on Twitter than we would in the pub. And people are more interested in what our institution does then us personally, it is better not to tweet. Let there be an official tweeter!

Let official tweeters work!

Of course, that means people in high office are not part of the river of information that is available to me and you. Let the official tweeters brief them then! Just as they do about what is being said in newspapers and on the streets.

It is no biggie. But not understanding our institutional role is a biggie. We shouldn’t be in the job if we don’t understand the constraints on our personal lives.

Authenticity means me & my job

And sometimes that means I will be silent

View of Wall Street, Manhattan.
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Social Media Strategy

Social media strategy is like our marketing strategy, our HR strategy, our IT strategy, or indeed, strategy for any part of our business.

Our social media strategy is part of our overall business strategy and it looks specifically at the events, opportunities and difficulties that we expect to encounter in the next five years.  Our strategy plan and document describes what we intend to do about the challenges and events as they occur.

Because social media strategy is so new, our social media strategy is likely to begin with “we don’t know what will happen in social media but we do know that we will use it more”. “We also know that younger people will expect us to use it and older people may have difficulty understanding it”.  We know that we are going to need resources to monitor developments, develop policies, and deliver training.

A loose structure is probably the best to use.  In a large corporation, I would pull people who are interested in working in social media into one place.  I would survey our skill levels across the corporation, and I would organize unconferences to suggest ways to use social media in part of the business.

Far from banning Facebook at work, I would encourage it – but in a thoughtful way.  I would ask associates how they would feel if our business encroached their personal space.  I would ask them which of their friends are interested in our business.  I would bring together their ideas about how we would use social media, and their thoughts on the opportunities and risks that social media brings, and about the policies and training that we need.

Social media as business strategy

The wider question about social media in our business strategy is a lot more interesting.  When we jump up two levels of management to the Board and ask “What business are we in?”, we find that businesses are changing dramatically because of social media.

At this level, the specifics of social media are less important. At this level, the general principles help us think about the way whole businesses will change.

Now if we are in a business like deep water oil extraction it may be quite difficult to imagine how social media will change our business.  If we are in a knowledge and service business like universities, it may be hard to take in that our industry may just get trashed by this emerging art form.

It is very likely that our Directors, being older, have little ‘feel’ for changes on the horizon. It is also very likely that the Gen Y in the business have neither a ‘feel’ for our business nor indeed, the conceptual understanding of social media to be able to brief the Board on the possibilities.

Herein, therefore is another task for the ‘social media function’ – to gather ideas – wild and woolly or concrete and specific – any ideas about the impact on our business.

The purpose of a social media unit

The purpose of that unit is not to define the answer.  That is the work of the Directors.

The purpose of the unit is to structure the conversation so that Directors can start to ask better questions.

We are winning once the Directors are asking good questions for the social media strategy group to answer.

Wouldn’t it be fun to do this work?

And for your business and mine?

  • What are the questions that you ask about your business and social media?
  • What questions are you asking?
  • What puzzles you?
  • What would you like to know more about?
  • What do you dismiss with a wave of your hand – and so really should put back on the table?
  • Where will social media put your business significantly ahead of your competitors?
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How can we send one message to the fans about what is happening and why it is important?

This rule looks innocuous. After all, how hard can it be to write one short message of 100 or so characters that sums up what you want to say and why it is important?

Do we convey our understanding of the world – or do we get distracted?

The original example was provided by Umair Haque when he wrote his rules for 5G warfare in the current healthcare debate in the States.  Often we start rebutting another version of reality when we should be stressing what is important.

We get a sense of what is important or not in the way a message is framed.  Framing a message tells us which facts are important.  Once we see which facts take us where we want to be, we can ignore the noise.

An example we all know too well

One of my favorite examples of lousy “feed forward” is the progress map that passengers are shown on a long haul flight. Bad, bad idea. We do not want to be reminded that we have 10 more hours in a sardine can. Personally, I don’t want to be reminded that I have no control. So I switch off and don’t look.

But if the message were overlaid with colours that related to “lights dimmed for sleeping” followed by another colour for “lights brightened & breakfast” and another for “seat belts fastened and preparation for descent” and another “descent and landing”, then we would have a sense that of what happens when and even a sense of urgency about curling up and having snooze while we get the chance.

Then I would look. Then I would experience as sense of comfort and relief.

Who drew the map?

It is the framing of the message that digs deep into professional expertise.

Novices are famous for noticing superficial detail A medical student remembers what you wore. The consultant remembers what they diagnosed and prescribed (they don’t even remember your symptoms!)

An expert chunks; relevantly.

Our job as leaders, influencers and communicators

What we are going to do is supply our expertise in a chunk that is intelligible to our fans – and yet adds tremendous value because it is the right chunk.

What are the chunks that matter? Make sure you know. Then you can package them easily.

And this is what you, as the expert about your product and service, knows best.

The social media component comes with framing those chunks in language your clients can understand in re-tweetable messages of 100 characters including a link back to resources for your fans to dig deep.

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NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 14:  Music fans ...
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Laying out your social media campaign

Yesterday morning, I posted 10 Sun Tzu rules for the networked world.  These are 10 questions to guide our social media strategy – beginning with describing our fans and ending, with  issues which confuse the fans and which we need to address.

Startups have special issues

Start-ups struggle, or rather panic on the first question.  Who is my fan?  I know who speaks to me now, and I have a vague idea about who I want to speak to – and there is a biiiiiiiiig gap.

Pupils dilate.  Heart pounds.

How can we define the fans we have never met?

All is not lost.  We have a hack.

Last night, I posted a really simple way to imagine speaking to that customer that we haven’t met yet.

It’s a really good technqiue for describing fans and customers we hope to have but don’t have yet.

Get our scenario-writing going

Try it.  Get rid of that anxious feeling !

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can  imagine the scenarios.

Once you are imagining meeting your customers, you can start defining your sales process

Once you can imagine your customers, the next important step is to figure out who is ready to buy.  And if they are ready to buy, do they have the money and when will they have the money?

Finding the best customers

For those of us not from a sales background, approaching customers is seriously intimidating and meeting with dead-ends is disheartening.

BNET came timeously to the rescue yesterday.  Here is their step-by-step “prospect qualification” system.

It breaks these larger 4 questions into baby steps.

  1. Do they need what you sell?
  2. Do they have the money to pay?
  3. Who does the buyer have to consult and who makes the final decision?
  4. When might they buy and what determines when they might buy?

It’s a very good idea to take one of the fans you described and step through these questions.

The questions seem to loop into each other towards the end so just revert to the pages 1-17 and click throught to the end!

Making progress?

Is this coming together for you?  It should be.  Do let me know!

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On Saturday, Umair Haque published the ‘Sun Tzu’ rules for the networked world.  It is an important list.  I am sure people who need to defend themselves against networked attacks will study the rules closely.

I wondered, if the rules could also tell us something about social media strategy in non-crisis situations.

So I’ve re-written the rules for normal engagement.

What do you think?

The rules are in very straightforward language – I hope. I say this to alert you that in each rule is a critical point that must not be lost. In the first, for example, the issue is speed. If you can reach every one faster by sending out runners, then do that. Don’t use social media for the sake of seeming modern!

Sun Tzu rules for the networked world

1  Who and where are our fans? How quickly can we reach our most remote “fan”? Could we reach them faster through Facebook, Twitter or any other social media channel?

2  What is the smallest chunk of information that makes sense? Can we break up our information into sensible small chunks preferably less 140 characters of a text message?

3  How can we send one message about what is happening and why it is important to the fans?

4  How can we break up our communication into cells so that if anyone part goes down, other parts are unaffected?

(Test: is there any one break that would crash the whole communication system?)

5  Can our fans quickly access resources and tools for them to respond to any meaningful scenario without referring back to us?

6  How do we monitor trending topics and join in relevant conversations?

7  What do we think are the appropriate ways for us to behave online and do we explain to our fans why we choose to behave as we do?

8  How do we help off-line groups and what resources do give them to help them organize themselves?

9  How do our fans remix our resources creatively and which formats help them do this?

10  What confuses our fans and where does confusing information emanate from? How can we counter the confusion at the source?

My first test of the Sun Tzu rules for the networked world

My first attempt to use the rules tells me that startups feel stressed on the first point. Startups understand too well the gap between their actual customers and the customers they desire.

The solution I will try is to help them draw their graph. I am going to write out a scenario for them (write out not just imagine) describing an existing customer or prospect.

  • How does the startup contact the startup and how does the customer or prospect talk to other people?
  • How does the customer or prospect reply to the startup?
  • Should someone hear a good word through word-of-mouth, how would a new prospect ask existing customers about the startup?
  • And what would they approach the startup about?

I will keep it concrete to avoid panic.  Write, write, write will be my plan because activity relieves anxiety.

Any comment about the rewrite?

Have you been able to use the list?  I’d be be interested in your experience.

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