Marketing

How To: Kill A Brand With Social Media

Posted on May 14, 2009. Filed under: Facebook, Marketing, Social Media, twitter | Tags: , , , , , |

Brand_AxeSocial Media is the new darling of many brands, the silver bullet that will fix all ills. While some brands have made major in roads in discovering a new method of expanding their ability to reach their customers and potential customers some have quite obviously become so over enamoured with Social Media that they have forgotten the basics of managing a brand.

Lack of Alignment

While most Twitter users are aware of the amazing job that Frank Eliason has done for ComCast on Twitter, acting as a one person rescue squad for their customer service issues, the rest of the brand has not aligned with this new way of doing business. A quick search on google for customer service at ComCast continues to result in many more horror stories than it does in success stories. Why? Because having one or two people creating a good impression on one platform is not enough. If there is no brand alignment behind the philosophy of listening and responding then all of the Social Media efforts in the world will not turn a brand around.

A search on Facebook brings equally crushing results, of the first ten (page one), one is fairly obscurely related to ComCast, Six are Anti-ComCast groups, One is a fan page for ComCast technology, one is a fan page for ComCast Interactive Capital and one appears to be a group for past employees.

Twitter is Not Social Media

As popular as Twitter is, it still only has a 5% penetration, being on Twitter, even if you do it well is not a Social Media Strategy. Twitter is at best a small part of an overarching strategy that includes not only the tool set, comprising tools like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube etc but also the internal education and alignment that ensures these tools are part of a much broader “Social” focus within the organization.

Brands like Zappo’s aren’t good at things like Twitter and Facebook because they have some awesome marketing department working 24/7 to provide thrilling content. They are good at Social Media because their stated aim is to be the best service company in the world, they just happen to sell clothing and footwear. When you start with a socially focused goal like that, it’s hard not to be a success in Social Media.

Which brands do you think have focused too much on the platform and not enough on the philosophy?

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You’re A Competitor – I’m A Fan

Posted on April 9, 2009. Filed under: Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

Rally Towels

Social Media has brought a lot of new opportunities to build stronger connections with customers. That’s what everyone talks about. How wonderful all this transparency is and how being able to engage with customers will only strenghten the buying relationship. While all of that might or might not be true (a lot of variables involved in that broad statement), what is certainly true is that it is now to get a greater level of transparency into companies than it was before.

Friend or Foe?

More and more companies are including things like a Twitter stream and a Facebook fan page in their marketing communications strategy and while it has always been possible for your competitors to read your sales material, now they can become fan’s too. Why would you choose to do that? What possible benefit is there to you to becoming a fan of a company that is your competitor, especially in a recession when everyone is scrambling for the dollar spend?

Actually there are several reasons to become a fan of your competitors and this is a lesson that brands can learn from watching the behavior of their latest media darlings – bloggers. One of the most common practices of bloggers is to leave comments on the posts of other bloggers, some of these other bloggers are in the same space as they are, they are in essence competitors for readers. So why leave a comment? because it includes a link back to their blog and is an open invitation for readers of that post to take a look at their blog.

Become A Fan

Apply the same philosophy to becoming a fan of your competitor and suddenly you just gained visibility to all of your competitors current fans, some of whom are probaby customers. Now you just provided them with an alternative. On facebook there is no way to control who becomes a fan of your page, unlike friending, there is no request, it is a user based choice to become a fan or not. Now of course, your fans can see who you have become a fan of and that provides your own fans with an alternative doesn’t it? Well they could have found them on their own but now you have found them for them, score one for you and your transparency. Rather than offering them an alternative provider you just proved that you are willing to show them how transparent you are, and after all isn’t that what Social Media is all about?

Image by alykat via Flickr
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Tasting The Rainbow: Skittles & Brand Ownership

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Facebook, Marketing, Social Media, twitter | Tags: , , , , , |

Skittles.

Again this week I am provided with the thoughts for my post by Marketing Profs newsletter – “Get to the point”. Last week it was their coverage of the Cenk Uygur story and his view of the branding issues surrounding Michael Phelps and Kellogg’s.

Today, I was equally amazed to read the following comment in their newsletter, entitled “When the Crowd Attacks”, it tells the story of how Skittles tried to be involved with the Social Media crowd and got their fingers burned, Marketing Profs close the newsletter with the following advice:

What’s the lesson here? Simple: Don’t be afraid to let users help shape your brand, but remember it is still your brand. As in any healthy relationship, sometimes even prospects need a little pushback.

“Your brand”, if it were their brand then why would companies try to court public opinion and why would it apparently impact brand based organizations so heavily?  Just as companies have very little sway over their stock price because the value is controlled by those willing to buy or sell the stock so companies have little or no influence over their brand. Far from being “your brand”, in the world of Social Media, a brand belongs to whoever wishes to use it to exert influence.

A company that thinks they own their brand are likely to face a very sharp wake up call – Motrin anyone? Motrin displayed all the traits of a company that thought it owned its brand, the influential “mommy bloggers” proved them wrong. So did Skittles get their fingers burned by trying to play along with the Social Media crowd? As far as I can see they got some mileage from their campaign and then it ran its course, what they were guilty of was not recognizing the limited life that their campaign has. This is the world of Twitter, blogs & Facebook. It moves at the speed of crowd-thought, which is much faster than most organizations can compete with. In my opinion Skittles did the right thing, they tried something new, different and hopefully they have learned from it. That’s a lot better than many companies who are currently paralyzed trying to work out how to be involved with the “cool kids” at the Social Media party and not end up with a virtual wedgie.

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Why Kellogg’s is Right & Cenk Uygur is Wrong

Posted on March 6, 2009. Filed under: Business, Marketing, Observations | Tags: , , , |

Marketing Profs sent out their Marketing Inspirations today with a message from Liberal talk show host and blogger for Huffington Post Cenk Uygur.  In that article he argues that Kellogg’s decision to drop Michael Phelps as a brand spokesperson is a major marketing error.

I have some major issues with this article, Cenk Uygur is a political commentator not a marketing or brand expert, so I am not sure what his qualifications are to talk about branding decisions are. His position is that Kellogg is going to alienate a large portion of its customers and potential customers by deciding to drop Michael Phelps.  He bases this on his claim that 42% of the US population has smoked marijuana. He further claims that even those who have never smoked it see nothing wrong with it.

He of course doesn’t supply a source for these claims, he also fails to point out the difference between those people who may have admitted that at some point they once tried marijuana and those who are currently regular users of the drug. Because Omega & Speedo have decided not to drop Phelps, apparently that is enough reason that Kellogg should. Here are my questions. Do Speedo and Omega perform drug tests on their prospective employees, in their contracts do they have a clause that allows the company to have unannounced random drug tests? Many large employers do, my own company – which is still less than 10 people conducts drug and criminal checks before hiring. So if those companies do the same what message does it send to their employees? Oh we will test you but Michael Phelps is different because he is famous.

I have heard the defence that he “made a mistake” – how do you accidentally smoke marijuana? The mistake he made was getting caught. Cenk Uygur is trying to promote a political agenda and proposes that brands, by taking a stand on a particular issue will alienate potential customers. Did I miss something or did he just become a raging capitalist – profits at any cost?

Will 42% of the buying public in America suddenly decide that they are not going to eat Kellogg products because they dropped Mr Phelps for smoking dope? Will they suddenly see Kellogg as not being “cool”? Uygur is quoted as saying “You are no longer protecting your brand when you are prudish and overly careful,” he says. “You just seem out of touch.”  Out of touch with what precisely? Parents who are buying cereal or the kids who eat them? Is the premise that kids see a role model smoke dope and endorse cereal therefore the cereal is cool, or that adults who smoke dope will get the munchies for Kellogg cereals because of their fellow marijuana user?

Either way, I think it is Uygur who is out of touch. Stick with the political commentary and leaving brand advice to those who know better.

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Paying Bloggers – Right or Wrong is Not the Question

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: blogging, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

An article on Read Write Web caught my attention yesterday because of its position on a Forrester report on why companies should pay bloggers to write articles about their products.

Now my first impression is that the RWW article is an “opinion” post, these are always good for driving traffic. Take a stance and put it out there, some people will agree with you, some will disagree, hopefully some of them will leave comments and therefore you increase your audience. So when we get into “tactics” used by organizations whether they are branding companies or “blogging” companies like RWW we should examine all the tactics used.

That out of the way I think that the RWW post ignores the “Why” question and takes a too simplistic view of how brands are trying to cope with the surge in interest in Social Media and their efforts to keep up or in some cases catch up.  They are taking the stance of blogging as a pure art. To that I say “nonesense”, blogging is no such thing, if it were Adsense wouldn’t be available to bloggers. Bloggers have utilized different ways of making money since they first started to produce blogs. The very fact that there are so many posts out there on how to position ads, how to get the most out of ad based systems is testimony to that.  The argument that As are not the same thing as paid articles is to some how elevate the blog post.

All bloggers, by their nature are opinionated, therefore all blogs have an angle.  For example, anyone who reads my updates on Twitter knows I don’t like iPhones. So there is not much point in reading my blog looking for something great about an iPhone here. I have an opinion and I am not afraid to share it. Therefore it would come as no great surprise to my readers if I were to make a post about the Blackberry Storm and disclose in the post that RIM had paid me to do the post.

What the RWW article misses is why brands are doing this and why Forrester would tell them its ok to do it. Its a very simple reason – scalability. Large brands are still struggling with internal discussions over where Social Media Marketing sits within the organization – I know this because some of our own clients are still having these discussion as they engage us to help us solve that question. Is it a MarCom activity, is it PR, is it Online? When you are dealing with organizations that employ tens of thousands of people and have had only one way communications for decades, figuring out how they truly engage their customers is extremely difficult. People point to companies like Zappo’s and say thats how you do it. Zappo’s employs 250 people, even at that level its still relatively easy to make it a company wide activity, try doing that with 25,000 people not all of whom are there because they love the company but because they need a paycheck.

Hiring an enthusiastic blogger to write about your product, giving them a free sample, or even, heaven forbid, actually paying them for their efforts, is a scalable way to get the word out while making adjustments internally. Is it a long term solution, in my opinion no, is it particularly imaginative, again in my opinion no. Does it work? If done right, with the right disclosure, undoubtedly.

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Freelance Camp

Posted on February 11, 2009. Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , |

San Antonio recently played host to the Freelance Camp. It was my first experience of an unconference. For those of you not familiar with the concept here is how it works:

All the attendees are encouraged to be session leaders. A timetable is put somewhere accessible, each person that wants to lead a session puts their topic against a time and room slot. After about 5 mins you have yourself a schedule of sessions that people can attend.

I didn’t have a lot of faith in this as a concept when it was explained to me. My guess was no one would sign up to do anything and there would be a hundred people just sitting around chatting. Wow was I wrong. It was an extremely energetic day. I found myself leading two slots. The great thing about this is you act only as an enabler. The whole point of these sessions is that everyone in the session has something to share and that we can all learn from each other.

I came away very energized, very tired and full of lessons learned.  Big thanks go to Luis Sandoval and team for making it happen.

The two sessions I led were Big Tools for Small Business and Finding Time for Social Media. I hope you like the videos.

One of the tools that I talk about in the first session is Qipit.  Using that tool I was able to capture the notes from each session:

Big Tools for Small Business – View the notes here

Social Media Map – View the notes here

Without giving too much away, watch for one of these Camp’s coming to Austin soon!

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How To:Combine Social Media & Traditional Media

Posted on February 9, 2009. Filed under: Marketing, Social Media, twitter | Tags: , , , |

I was recently fortunate enough to attend the FreelanceCamp in San Antonio,Texas. One of the sponsors for this event was an Austin based company called Sweet Leaf Tea.

While I was familiar with their product I had never actually tried it. No particular reason other than I am not a huge fan of cold tea. Coming from England cold tea has never been particularly appealing.

I decided to give Sweet Leaf Tea a try – after all it was free. Six bottles later I was hooked, it was both really refreshing, tasty and didnt at all remind me of cold tea.

So what has this got to do with Social Media?  Firstly, the disclosure – I am in no way associated with, being recompensed by or benefitting from talking about Sweet Leaf Tea.

So back to the topic. The Social Media piece comes into play because whilst at the conference I was using Twitterberry to update my thoughts on the conference or unconference as it is better described.

One of my updates was a comment on Sweet Leaf Tea and how much I enjoyed it.  A few minutes later Sweet Leaf Tea responded to me on Twitter.  They then Direct Messaged me and asked if I would like a coupon for a free sample to simply drop them an email. Free is my favorite price, so I emailed them and asked what did they need from me.

They said just my mailing address. They could have left it at that. But they didn’t, by this time I was in Orlando at another conference. April from Sweet Leaf Tea engaged me in a conversation about where I was, what I was drinking at that conference (Arizona Tea) and sent a couple of emails back and forth.

When I got back from Orlando a couple of days later, what was waiting for me, an envelope with Sweet Leaf Tea on it. I opened it expecting a coupon and maybe a compliment slip. Nope, not close. Sure they had sent me a couple of coupons for their product. But what really made the difference was the hand written note (Shown below) from April.  What a great way to combine Social Media with Traditional Media. They now have a converted customer, and an evangelist for their product.

Sweet Leaf Tea

Sweet Leaf Tea

So follow their lead, combine your strategies, reach out to your customers and drink Sweet Leaf Tea 🙂

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5 Things I Asked Guy Kawasaki and What He Replied

Posted on January 7, 2009. Filed under: blogging, Marketing, Observations, Social Media, twitter | Tags: , , |

Guy Kawasaki, American venture capitalist and ...

A few weeks ago I decided to go out on a limb and see if I could get the person I admire most in Marketing to take part in a very brief interview with me.

Obviously you know that person was Guy Kawasaki. Guy has a reputation of being accessible, but he is also extremely busy, so I figured you don’t know unless you ask. To my surprise and delight he agreed. To make things simple for both of us, I conducted the interview via email. What follows is that exchange:

~

Me: Recently, Chris Brogan & Seth Godin received a lot of negative comments for their particular positions on business. Are you ever concerned with how your thoughts in one of your books or on your blog will be received and what is your advice for writers who might be on the receiving end of this type of negativity?

Guy: I’m always concerned, but I usually go ahead anyway. You never really know if “everyone” is pissed or just a few nut cases. If you run your business or life based on making sure that absolutely no one disagrees with you, you’ll fail at both.

~

Me: William Zinsser in ‘On Writing Well’ says authors should write for themselves, that thinking of the “one” reader will drive them insane who do you write for?

Guy: I write for anyone with $19.00 plus shipping and handling who wants to change the world.

~

Me: You shrug off the suggestion that you are a ‘rockstar’ in the business world. How would you describe your role in business for those who follow your thoughts, comments, blogs and Tweets?

Guy: In my book, no pun intended, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, John Chambers, etc are rockstars. I’m more of a fairly well-known lounge lizard who cannot lay claim to a mega billion hit. My personal mantra is to “empower people” with my speeches, books, blogs, tweets, and Alltop.

~

Me: In Reality Check you discuss survivorship, that aloneness can kill. Do you see Social Media platforms such as Twitter as a way of new entrepreneurs surviving, not necessarily in the sense of finding funding or partners but just being able to share the human state with others, or is Twitter a way of these people avoiding the Reality of doing?

Guy: Twitter is many things to many people. There is no single definition of Twitter. For some, as you mention, it is a way of sharing the human state. For others, it’s an escape. For me it’s a weapon–a way to reach hundreds of thousands of people.

I like to think of my tweets as a push version of StumbleUpon intermixed with ads for Alltop. I have to push out very interesting tweets that have nothing to do with Alltop in order to keep my audience just as PBS needs great content or people won’t tolerate the telethons. Some people vehemently disagree with this utilitarian approach to Twitter. They would like my high-content tweets but no Alltop ads.

That’s like telling PBS to put all their shows on one channel and run the telethons on another. There is no right and wrong with Twitter–there is only what attracts or repulses your followers, and everybody’s followers are different.

~

Me: Reality Check gives quite a lot of pages to behaviors ­ sucking up, sucking down, schmoozing. All valuable skills. You give the example of your own interests should someone meet you in person. A lot of Social Media users seem to talk a lot more about their own uses of the platforms than they do about themselves. Given you have so many Twitter users following you what type of Tweet is most likely to catch your attention?

Guy: I know you mean this in a philosophical sense: What common ground can you create? Honestly, though, I have a very pragmatic answer. I almost never look at the timeline of the people I follow–the volume is simply too great.

However, I monitor every instance of the terms “Alltop,” “Guykawasaki,” and “Guy Kawasaki,” and these tweets are almost guaranteed to catch my attention. Many people approach social media such as Twitter, email, Facebook, and MySpace as a hobby, diversion, or fun. These services are what they do in addition to their job.

For me, it’s different. Twitter is my job–albeit a fun job–but a job nonetheless

~

Given the opportunity what would you have asked? Who would you like to ask 5 questions of?

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5 Things Reality Check Taught Me

Posted on January 6, 2009. Filed under: Business, Management, Marketing, Observations | Tags: , , , |

Cover of

I took part in the Alltop promotion by signing up and allowing the site to send Tweets out under my name. I did this for a few reasons, I thought it was a neat way of marketing something and I wanted to see if it worked, I like Guy Kawasaki’s approach to business and figured this was a way to be a part of something he was setting up and because I couldn’t see the harm in it. I believe I got all of those reason correct. What I also got, which I wasn’t expecting was a free copy of Reality Check, Guy Kawasaki’s book.

I am on my second time through it at the moment. Now I am a voracious reader, but to be honest, I don’t much go in for business books. I see them in the bookstores, I see them at the airports, I even occasionally see someone reading one of them. For the most part I have always felt they were part of the “must be seen to be doing” effect. Like owning certain gadgets, or other brands.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not disrespecting business writers or business books per se. I am sure many of them have a lot of value. I just prefer to get my business knowledge by doing rather than reading. Of the few business books that I have read, which include things like “In Search of Excellence”, Reality Check is a stand out book. Most notably because it isn’t a business book. Although it is sub-titled, quite cleverly, The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition, I would have sub-titled it (with a nod to Dr Reuben’s book) “Everything You Wanted to Know in Business School – But Were Too Afraid To Ask”.

I have never been a fan of B-School. There, I have said it out loud, go on get over it. Perhaps its a cultural thing, the MBA has yet to really catch on in the UK (we are perhaps more like Missourians – we are the Show Me country). I’d rather hire someone who has actually done it than someone who has sat and listened to someone who hasn’t and then taught them how it might be done.

That’s not to say I haven’t encountered some very smart people who have MBA’s, Guy Kawasaki has one! But it is my belief those people were smart before they went to B-School, not because of going to B-School.

So having set the stage, what did Reality Check teach me?

  1. Its cheaper than an MBA and a lot more useful: Ok so I have already shared my thoughts on MBA’s, not going to beat that subject. Reading a book that so encompasses the business mind set like this, that takes you from concept to launch to daily operations, do you really need $000’s of student debt and two years out of your life, why not read this book and then invest that money in yourself and your idea. You will learn a lot more from reading the book and then actually doing than sitting in a classroom.
  2. It isn’t just about the technology: My company is a service provider, we don’t develop or produce technology (although that is my background – yes I am a geek). So does any of the start up part of this book really apply to me and my company? Yes absolutely. Just because the references are to technology ideas, the principles that Guy shares in the book apply to any organization of any size, from a tech startup to a florist. The product you are developing is going to go through all the same stages.
  3. Whether You Believe You Need Funding or Not, You Need To Know How VC’s Think: A lot of focus in business writing concerning VC funding centers on the next great “killer app”. Well if you aren’t in the business of producing the next great killer app or you have a big enough bank account of your own to bank roll your idea why do you need to know about VC’s. In my opinion what Guy shares about VC’s is not just about investors in the traditional sense, its about anyone investing in your company, and that most certainly includes your customers – especially your early customers. Treat them like VC’s, talk to them in a way that recognizes the risk they are taking and be aware that they are quite likely experienced and can smell Bull-Shiitake from a considerable distance.
  4. Why Money Isn’t All That Important: Ok we all know this is a lie, money is the one thing every business, especially new businesses need buckets of, or at least that is the conventional thinking. Guy points out how that paradigm has changed, how he started Truemors & Alltop for less than the average “traditional, VC funded” startup spends on having their business cards designed. Guy shares that it cost him approx $10,000 to start Alltop. How many credits at B-School would that buy you?
  5. Entrepreneurs are everywhere: This is the really interesting part of the early chapters of the book for me. It recognizes that not everyone either wants to or has the drive to go out and start their own business. However, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t think and act as though their piece of whatever organization they work in isn’t their own enterprise. Invest in it, not with money but with time, attitude and approach. If more organizations encouraged rather than stifled their Intrapreneurs, as Guy calls them, then they would find a resource that would truly help them Outsmart, Outmanage and Outmarket their competition.

Of course to some this will simply seem like a lovefest for Guy Kawasaki, it isn’t, though I happen to think he is one of the smartest marketers in the world, mainly because he is so honest about how and why he does things. Don’t believe me, come back tomorrow and read the five things I asked Guy Kawasaki and what his response were.

image via Amazon
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Social Media Evangelists – The Special Forces of New Media

Posted on December 18, 2008. Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , |

Cover for the 2007 reprint of The Green Berets

2008 has seen the rise of the term “Social Media” appearing in a variety of places that it hasn’t appeared before, most notably in the list of skills claimed by individuals, whether as in house evangelists or external consultants. So what does it take to be a Social Media Evangelist?

Special Forces Training

This might seem an extreme analogy, what do gun-toting, clandestine troops, featured in movies & TV shows have to do with New Media?

Well firstly put aside the images from TV & the silver screen. Special Forces are not sneeky assassins they are called special for a reason, that reason is the breadth of their skills. To be selected they must pass a testing assessment course, much of which has little or nothing to do with “soldiering” directly and more to do with being able to cope with ambiguity. This is where the analogy starts. Often having positioned themselves within an organization or branded themselves as an external consultant, a Social Media evangelist will be told, “We need to do something Web 2.0” – how is that for ambiguous?

The Skills

Linguist

One of the first things that a Special Forces operator has to be is a linguist. They learn at least one and sometimes several languages relative to their area of operation. Social Media Evangelists have to be linguists as well. They need to be able to communicate in both the language of the organization and Social Media and build a comfort level that bridges the gap between the ability of the “locals” to speak the new language and do it in such a way that is perceived as threatening.

Negotiator

This is an incredible important skill, for both SF Operators and SM Evangelists. Whilst the “locals” might have series of demands, needs & desires, the specialist needs to be able to filter this wish list and establish what is possible, what is advisable and what needs to be removed from the list and most importantly be able to negotiate this new list and define why this is the way it should be done. There are bound to be internal conflicts as different parties want to be involved in the changes, working out these conflicts is where the negotiator excels.

Educator

Hollywood & TV often portray SF operators charging in to save the day, whilst there can be no doubt that these situations have existed, most often SF operators work behind the scenes, providing amongst other things education. This again is a primary role of the SM Evangelist. It is not enough to have knowledge of the SM landscape, to know the tools or how to use them. This knowledge must be shared and shared in a way that makes sense to the recipients. Using knowledge only to inflate their own sense of worth diminishes both SM in general and the SM evangelist in particular. The ability to teach new users not only of the benefits of using SM but also the tactical use of the tools, their appropriate use builds not only a broader user base it enhances the user experience of everyone involved in SM. Properly educated organizational users will be better able to engage with their customers and prospective customers – that means us.

Weapons Expert

Ok, so you knew it had to be here somewhere, no mention of SF operators could be complete without a mention of their weapons expertise. No I am not suggesting that SM Evangelists suddenly go out and arm themselves, at least not with guns & knives. However, they do need to be experts in the weapons of their trade, SM Tools. This is difficult, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, FriendFeed and all of the other services, platforms and tools that are available is it truly possible for one person to become experienced in all of them? I would say probably not for every situation, however, knowing the capabilities of these tools, and more importantly the limitations is essential. A SM Evangelist is quickly distinguished from a SM Enthusiast by their recommendations. If they propose that all platforms suit all organizations and all strategies, they are not a specialist. Knowing when & how to deploy particular tools, who within the organization is best placed to utilize the tool and for what purpose is the skill of the SM Evangelist. This is where they can bring real value to an organization.

Anthropologist

The ability to meet the “locals” who have perhaps little or no knowledge of your “country”, or worse still they have only a media presented version and have already determined what you are capable of is the challenge facing both the SF operator and the SM Evangelist. How they overcome this will vary on the situation but a strong sense of cultural sensitivity is essential. Knowing why you are there what the “locals” are looking for and assisting them in meeting their goals will only come from a truly anthropological perspective. The ability to stand outside the internal politics, social pressures, and the vested interests of certain parties to see what is really needed, what will really work and then being able to translate that in to an actionable plan that takes into account all of the knowledge gained through observation and interaction.

The list of skills is not meant to be exhaustive. The skills displayed and used by SM Evangelists will vary from case to case and different skills will be called for in every situation. These are the basics. It should also be remembered that SF Operators do not work in isolation, they work in teams, with specialists spreading the knowledge across the team. Perhaps this is the most successful model for SM as well. An organization seeking to develop real advantage through SM will build strong teams that encompass all of these skills. Equally individual consultants might be advised to recognize where their own skills are not complete and partner with others who have the skill set they are missing, combined they become a phenomenal force.

The whole point of developing and deploying SF teams is as a “Force Multiplier”, this is and should be true of employing, whether internal or external, SM Evangelists. They should act as a force multiplier for an organizations SM strategy.

Are you an Evangelist?

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