Tag Archives: Brian Solis

“Preview: NewComm Forum 2008”

If you’re a new media fanatic living in the SF Bay Area, this week is like Christmas. With all the new tools being shown off at the Web 2.0 Expo, and all the great minds talking at the NewComm Forum, it’s pretty easy feel over stimulated. socialTNT makes it easy by giving you our top picks at NewComm.

http://newcommforum.com/2008/?p=25Put together by the Society for New Communications Research, the NewComm Forum is now in its fourth year. After last year’s rocking event in Vegas, this year’s event in Sonoma County should offer a more relaxing–but equally stimulating–experience. Check out our top 5 “must sees” at the year’s event:

5. Opening Keynote with Joseph Jaffe

We’re big fans of Joseph’s Jaffe Juice and its fully-integrated approach to social media. By Looking at conversations with consumers through all media and across the marketing and advertising departments, Joseph helps us understand the true impact of our campaigns. We also like his sense of humor.

Session Mood: Let’s give ’em something to blog about…

4. Detour Ahead: Closing the Road to PR 3.0 featuring Darren Barefoot, Constantin Basturea and Brian Solis.

Always ahead of the curve, Constantin’s New PR Wiki has been a staple since 2004. We hear he’s also doing some pretty cool things at Converseon. If you don’t know, Brian Solis is on the forefront of fighting for “2.0.’ His man-on-the-scene bub.blicio.us blog, combined with PR 2.0, might make you think he spends all his time at his computer, but somehow he manages to be EVERYWHERE.

Session Mood: Futurama

3. A Conversation With Jim Long, Tom Foremski, and Shel Isreal

Brilliant. New media. Line-up. Mad props to Jenn McClure and crew for getting NBC to let go of Jim (aka newmediajim) long enough to appear on stage with these two pioneers of the new media space. Tom gave us some valuable insight last fall when he appeared on socialTNT’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” and Shel is such an icon, he has people lampooning him with puppets. Expect nothing but an interesting discussion on the state of the media.

Session Mood: Eureka in the Tweet

2. Building Your Brand With Conversational Media featuring Kami Watson Huyse and Geoff Livingston

Kami Huyse and Geoff Livingston are some of the top feeds in our Google Readers. Check out Kami’s recent case study examining the ROI on social media and the launch of a new roller coaster at Sea World. She’s a stickler for tracking and measurement, and is therefore an important voice in the progression of social media PR and marketing. Geoff’s Buzz Bin is like a workbook for new media marketers and PR peeps–and don’t forget his book!

Session Mood: Energized

1. Perspectives on the Social Media Release featuring Todd Defren and Maggie Fox

This, to us, is without a doubt, the social media PR Thilla in Manila of 2008. That makes Jenn McClure into Don King, and we’ll let you decide who is Muhammad Ali. Todd Defren is the inventor of the social media news release. He’s also our colleague at SHIFT. Maggie Fox from Social Media Group has worked on Multimedia Releases for Ford Motors (See our analysis of one of her campaigns here). It will be interesting to see what Maggie thinks of Todd’s SMR version 1.5, just released last week.

Session Mood: CATFIGHT!

These are just a sampling of the amazing sessions in store in Sonoma. We also hear there will be some great research released this year, with topics including new media influencers and implications for PR, customer care and brand reputation in the social media age, and how to measure progress in communities.

Sadly, socialTNT will not be able to make it this year. Due to client work, we will both be at Web 2.0 Expo. You can, however, catch us at the Social Media Club Tweet-up tonight at Adobe. Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis will be there to talk about their book. Hope to see you there!

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Filed under Citizen Reporter, Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Killing the Buddha: PR 2.0 and Social Media Marketing Nirvana”

“Embrace nothing:
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
If you meet your father, kill your father.
Only live your life as it is,
Not bound to anything.”

–Buddha Shakyamuni

Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr. What do they have in common? They’re all amazing tools for increasing communications and strengthening connections. Nothing more.

Sometimes communities get so distracted by the messenger that they forget the message. Yes even we purveyors of messaging in the PR and marketing trades are fallible to shiny things. Taking some queues from the Buddhist philosophy, let’s take a step back and make sure we are all on the same page.

As Brian Solis discusses in this post, PR 2.0 is the evolution of public relations. At its fundamental root, public relations and marketing in the new media era is about building relationships. The tools and technology come secondary.

According to my “Effective Public Relations” text book, “Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whoms its success or failure depends.”

Let’s compare that with Brian’s definition of PR 2.0:

PR 2.0 is the understanding and practice that communications is a two-way process and incorporates the tools, principles, strategies, and philosophies for reaching, engaging, guiding, influencing, and helping people directly in addition to the traditional cycle of PR influence.

Public relations has always been about building relationships. At one point, the press release was an effective way to reach target audiences. Then it moved to broadcast and print, both one-sided forms of communication. Now, the public has the tools to write the news and create the content.

The once silent masses now have a voice, and that voice is found on social networks, blogs, and forums. That voice is in the form of audio, video and text. That voice has the potential to spread ideas rapidly and more effectively than ever before. Instead of talking at an audience, public relations and marketing now have to engage and build a relationship with that voice and all its praise or critcism.

PR 2.0 is about listening, knowing your audience, what they talk about, how they communicate and meeting them on their court. It’s not about using Twitter cause company XYZ is, it’s about finding the best way to interact with and engage your audience and those talking about your brand. It’s about figuring out the best way to ignite those communities into rapid discussion about your brand. That’s the philosophy; the tools come secondary.

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[The above photo, “Thailand – Ayuthaya 5 – Buddha head” by mckaysavage on flickr, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Community Relations, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Chris Heuer, The Conversation Group”

Like the cold winter wind, today’s biting “3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min” will chill your bones!

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This week, socialTNT met up with Chris Heuer, partner at social media communications firm The Conversation Group. He’s also an executive and cofounder of the Social Media Club. In today’s episode, Chris tells us his definition of social media and proclaims that PR is dead.

When Chris and I met, we started talking about his book, a discussion of social media tools for internal communications. He enjoyes bouncing ideas off of people to spawn creativity. He also prefers working in collaborative, Socratic environments, so it’s not surprising that Chris cofounded the Social Media Club as a venue to share ideas about emerging media. This manifested itself throughout out our conversation; every time one of us would say something clever, he’d jot down notes in a a Moleskine notebook, potential ideas for the book. After a few minutes, our chat diverged away from his book and into a discussion of social networking, disposable attention, and brands.

As Brand managers everywhere try to stifle social media and maintain a uniform brand image, Chris promotes opening up. Instead of silencing employees, companies have to let go. To maintain, companies have to trust and educate their employees. To support his theory, Chris broke out a power point slide with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but
people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not
to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”

Fun Facts About Chris

  • Once taught Interactive Advertising at the Miami Ad School
  • Has a Virtual Assistant outside the country
  • Does not have or use an RSS reader
  • Is a hit-and-run Twitterer
  • In July 2007, married Kristie Wells, VP of Customer Advocacy at Joyent, the company that used to host Twitter
  • Prefers in-person, real world communication over its online counterparts, but you can still find him on Facebook and LinkedIn

Ever wonder exactly what social media is? Chris’s succinct definition is not to be messed. He also explains what changes Public Relations and Marketing will need to make in order to stay alive. Check it out:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wow. A lot to chew on. Is PR dead? Has social media killed it? What do you think PR will need to do to evolve? Is Schizophrenic Branding a problem? How do marketers deal with multiple voices coming out of their company? Let us know in the comments.

Quick Note: Today marks the first day socialTNT’s “3Q’s in 3Min” is available for download on iTunes. Yup, that’s right: Now you can view our video interviews with today’s top reporters and social media experts anywhere you want. Watch us on the train, at the gym or even at the break room of your stodgy PR or marketing firm. The last seven episodes are currently available in high-quality video, with the full library coming soon. Oh, and it’s all available to you for FREE! 🙂
Christopher Lynn - socialTNT - socialTNT

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[The above photo, “Utterz Meetup House of Shields – Chris Heuer” by Brian Solis, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Enterprise Public Relations, Internal Public Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“Zuckerberg Plays Jetman While Facebook Burns”

romeburns.jpg

[UPDATED INFORMATION BELOW]

On Tuesday, Facebook took the hardest bashing of its short history, with FORTUNE’s Josh Quittner echoing the rest of the blogosphere in a post ruefully titled “RIP Facebook?” This follows Monday’s news that Facebook confirmed a finding by security firm Computer Associates that Beacon still sends information back to Facebook even when you are not logged in. (For a complete history of the last few weeks, check this New York Times article by Louise Story.) Subtract a few key advertisers, add a lawsuit questioning the allegedly shady history of Facebook’s founding and an attempt by Facebook to block First Ammendment rights, and Facebook seems to be embroiled in a PR quagmire.

The question on everyone’s mind is: Where is Mark Zuckerberg?

He’s playing Jetman, of course. Take a look at the below screen cap I grabbed from his Facebook profile (click to enlarge):

Mark Zuckerberg plays Jetman

WOW! A score of 1942! Congrats, Mark!

Was he working off a little stress while in between Crisis Control sessions with his PR team? The blogosphere doesn’t think so. Just look at this post by Robert Scoble advising Zuckerberg to say something (this is just the nice stuff):

Facebook’s PR machinery is hiding its head in the sand and hoping this story goes away.

Hint: it’s not.

Do the press conference. Admit you screwed up. Take your shots. Look into the camera and say you’re sorry.

Crisis PR hint: don’t answer company bashing with text messages. Do it in video and with live events. Have the CEO do it.

Henry Blodgett, Todd Defren (satirically blogging as Fake Mark Zuckerberg), Brian Solis, and several other key PR bloggers all offered similar advice: Fess Up.

So what exactly can Facebook do to pull themselves out of the muck:

1. Zuckerberg–not a PR spokesperson–needs to admit to the community and advertisers he made a mistake.

  • Explain that FB learned the hard way that privacy is important.
  • As a result, FB wil allow a members to Opt-In (as opposed to currently being forced to Opt-Out) to Beacon.
  • FB apologizes profusely and promises to make the selling and use of member data a transparent process.

2. Utilize the social media upon which FB is built.

  • Eat the loss of prime Ad real estate and post the video apology in a banner over the newsfeed, not in the New Features” group.
  • No blog posts since mid-November. Fix that.
  • If you are feeling a little more hip: Create a live videocast (to be archived) with live questions being submitted through the community and Twitter.

3. Send an open letter to blogs and top-tier publications. Reach out to the reporters and bloggers who feel used and lied to.

  • Better yet, do a video blog tour with top bloggers (ala Don Imus, et al.)

4. Appoint a User Privacy Guru to launch an educational program on how member data is handled and what members can do to protect their privacy.

  • Create a Privacy Rights/User Data partnership with other social networks.
  • This transparency and education will regain user trust.

5. Community Managers address bloggers concerns as they come up.

  • Don’t hide behind your PR spokesperson. Get involved!

Don’t forget your community (and your financial success) is based on the users. You have to listen to them and respect them. If they aren’t happy, they’ll easily move on to the next big thing. Part of me hopes that FB really thought users would see the value in Beacon. The other part thinks that FB only saw the dollar value it could gain from Beacon.

Social networks are trusted spaces. Facebook differentiated itself as the social network where members could control privacy settings, thereby allowing only some friends to see certain things. We felt like Facebook was a safe place where we could share our lives with our friends. Beacon violated that trust. It’s sad and I feel completely used.

A quick Twitter poll asking what Facebook could do to regain trust yielded several responses, all easily summed up by Kyle Flaherty‘s Tweet:

picture-8.png

What can Facebook do to regain your trust? Or do you feel Facebook has done nothing wrong?

[UPDATE: This morning, Mark Zuckerberg posted an apology on Facebook’s Blog. Is that enough? Do you trust them again?]

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Filed under Best Practices, Community Relations, Democracy and Media, It's A Conversation, Rants, Social Networking, WTF?

“From the Backseat: Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?”

Hats off to Ford and Maggie Fox at Social Media Group for making an exciting press release. It is another example of the changing evolution of the traditional news release. My question from the backseat is: “Are we there yet?”

When I was a kid, I used to love going to the car show at the State Fair. My favorite part was climbing into the cars, playing with the knobs and pretending I was driving my little brother. Running around the showroom floor, I would grab as many promo books and posters as possible. At home, I’d put the poster up or look at the glossy pictures or the stats in the promo books. Yes, sometimes I’d even cut out some of the pictures and make collages (hell, that Geo Metro looked pretty hot when I was 10!) My friends would come over and we would talk about the cars, but, after a while, the books would eventually end up in the trash.

I love the Ford Focus release. I am excited that we are finally shaking things up a bit. The release has tons of high-def pictures of the interior and exterior, as well as videos of the cars in motion. There are also bullet-pointed stats. It looks nice. You can post the pics and videos on your preferred social network and maybe mash it up. The kid in me loves it, but, ultimately, it feels like a multimedia version of the marketing schwag from the car show.

It’s nice to see big companies embracing change. It’s a learning experience for all of us. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the elements that were executed well and then look at how the release could have been beefed up.

First off, kudos for the Flickr pics and YouTube videos. Pluses for allowing these to also be embedded and distributed. To me, what really stands out is the video of the UCLA students playing with the cell phone/music player integration feature found in the new car. While obviously edited, it didn’t feel overly produced. Also, Ford gets a lot of respect for disclosing that these students were Ford “ambassadors.” Finally, the ability to bookmark the release in del.icio.us and add an RSS feed gives this release the feel of a sporty, fully-loaded SMNR, but something is missing.

I feel the Social Media News Release is not just a tool for content sharing, it’s about facilitating discussion. The ability to share content is one aspect. Ability to easily find content is another. For me, however, the ultimate goal is to create an exchange of ideas, opening up, and sharing between the company and the consumer to build increasing discussion around the product/brand. This release, to me, looks like a one-sided conversation.

On her blog, Maggie Fox at Social Media Group tells us:

“…with this implementation we were aiming for simply a way of sharing content with people who wanted it in formats they could use, all conveniently located in one place. Period. We didn’t include the ability to comment or trackback because not every interaction has to be a full-on conversation, sometimes sharing and enabling are enough.”

I know the fear that Maggie talks about. It’s scary to open up the conversation because you might not always like what comes out. The discussion is happening whether we like it or not. How are some ways that Ford could have used this release to create a voice that gives back to it’s consumers in a way that shapes the conversation?

My first idea hearkens back to the DVD era. Remember the value-add on DVDs? Besides the great audio/visual, it was also the Behind-the-scenes footage. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Ford had some videos made by the engineers or designers that lead us through the whole development process? I would share that with my friends and I think any tech/engineer/design geek would love it, too. What if they blogged during development? What about user submitted questions to the development team with digg-like voting? Or Twitter?! OMG!!

Ford has a massive following. Just doing a quick search on Facebook yields 500 hits with a handful of really significant user groups. What if Ford had harnessed the power of the user groups? They are already discussing Ford. It’s nice that Ford has it’s own (sponsored) group with a significant following. Wouldn’t it be cool if the Ford release linked to the Facebook group?!

Finally, what about blogger outreach? Remember those UCLA kids in the videos? What if real bloggers and vloggers were invited to try out the car and it’s features? [Oops, Trumped. Maggie Fox posted this comment today. However, the addition of a link to a del.icio.us page with coverage would help see what others are writing.] What about man on the street videos testing things out?

So that’s my take on the Ford Release. What do you think? Brian Solis and Todd Defren posted their joint “State-of-the-SMNR” slash response here. Stuart Henshall posts his here. You can also read more from Maggie Fox here.

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Filed under It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Rants, SMNR