what a name, right? i was honored to be invited as a member of the panel (with such an exciting name!), talking to local businesswomen about social media last night at the TRAK office in downtown dc. here’s a recap of the experiences i relayed, some pictures (yes, i whipped out my extra-large camera while on the panel to get some shots of the event) and links to my fellow panelists who were all fantastic. big thanks to deborah agor and deanna mcneil for organizing the event and to jill foster for creating this direct link to all the twitter posts around the event (we used #smExtra): http://bit.ly/Xmba6.
Social Media from the Corporation to the Scrappy Startup
My history is working in product development. I’ve worked on building social media/community tools but also leveraged social media for other products I’ve worked on.
In 2006 I was mananging RSS products at AOL, trying to advise others on syndicating content and beginning to build out a new myAOL product.
- We had an innovative team, including a new hire who was already known in the blogosphere
- Our team was at the forefront; we charged forward and asked for forgiveness later if we needed to (with great support from our direct management)
- We started with blogs – our own and participating with others – getting involved in the space well before the launch. We did the Facebook page, videos on YouTube, got great coverage across the blogosphere, which then led to traditional media coverage such as the Washington Post. It was great for awareness and trial and internally it led to more friends in CorpComm and across other product teams within the company.
I left AOL at the end of last year to start work on Shiny Heart Ventures as well as some photography and writing projects. The variety of tools out there has made this transition very successful and comfortable for me:
- Linked In and Plaxo were like announcement to the world of the changes in my job status
- My personal blog is where I showcase my various projects and make myself accessible to others
- Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve been able to stay in touch with all my old coworkers and industry friends
- I’ve slowly introduced SHV to my network to begin building supporters and advocates
- We just launched the SHV blog and are planning to use it for communication about our company but also to start a dialog about building a company with great values. We want to use it to highlight other companies we admire, share our discoveries and challenges and hopefully get some good input from the community.
- Important not to just charge into conversations but to observe, introduce yourself and then join into relevant conversations
- Excitement can lead to dozens of accounts across social media tools – and the downside can be lack of follow-through and ownership. Abandoned blogs and conversations.
- In a large company it’s easy for those details (which sites are we on, account access, etc) to get lost but if it’s your business, you must own all the accounts and be responsible for them.
- Don’t begin to build a community area and then leave it. Bad bad bad – but very easy to let happen.
- As a company you must decide how transparent you want to be.
- Within a company, if the boundaries aren’t clearly defined, people are left to make up their own rules
- Have seen some companies empower their people on Twitter to use it for promotions (like Kodak, Starbucks, and several others)
- There’s always a challenge between the “brand” and the “individual” – what’s right for you?
- Just like a door to door salesperson, every online social media interaction is real human to human contact. Powerful opportunity – people always remember how you make them feel. We’ve seen brands erode because people don’t feel connected anymore. The opportunities to make people feel heard, important, appreciated are endless! Be responsible for your interactions and how you treat them online. Figure out where you need to be, how often, develop your plan and follow through – make it part of your daily operations.
- Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO who has been all over the media lately, has talked about the importance of having greater purpose in life (person and company) and ultimately tying it all back to happiness (my favorite topic!). Zappos interactions with customers have a goal: to make the best impression possible. You can watch him in action here.
i ended on the happiness note because i truly believe when your motivations are right and paired with a great business, you can’t go wrong. my talk was live-streamed – here’s the video if you missed it!
you can find my fellow panelists at their sites – make sure to follow them on twitter too.
- Beth J Bates at BethJBates.com @bethjbates
- Jill Foster at Women Grow Business @jillfoster
- Terri Holley at Creative Blog Solutions @creativeblogs
- Mayra Ruiz-McPherson at MayraRuiz.com @marketingMisfit