I did a presentation to the Women’s Bar Association of Greater Boston over lunch today where I met a lot of interesting people who are practicing law in a number of different areas. Below is the “Social Media for Lawyers 101″ presentation that I created for the event.
For the women who may be coming here for the links, there were two I mentioned.
The Boston Herald today kickstarted a local discussion about social networking at work. In usual tabloid fashion the Herald created a sensational story about the fact that some city employees, like Amy Derjue are updating their Facebook status from city-owned computers, some even going so far as *gasp* playing “Mafia Wars.”
It’s easy to find people who will be outraged by this, saying “my gosh, how can people do that?!?” But honestly, if you think about it, the time it takes to update a status is little more than a few second out of every day.
From the macro-level, the idea of using employer resources (computers, internet access, etc.) for personal use is nothing new. But a spate of studies out recently try to make the point that social networking use at work reduces productivity, causing many to completely ban social networking.
The studies, such as the one from Nucleus Research making the argument that a few minutes a day on Facebook amounts to lost productivity, are based on the idea that if the people weren’t on a social site then they would, by default, be productive. Anyone who has ever worked in an office can tell you that’s simply not true. Also, it assumes that because of social sites that work isn’t getting done.
Many of these companies also hand their employees Blackberries and laptops so they can work from home, on time that used to be called “personal time.” The line between personal and work time are certainly blurred, so giving up a few minutes during the work day to Tweet or update Facebook certainly seems to be a fair trade-off.
This is, however, a management issue. If, as a manager you see that an employee isn’t doing work, then it’s your job to figure out why that work isn’t getting done. If an employee spends an hour on the phone with their girlfriend everyday, do we take away their phone? Of course not, because it’s a useful business tool. The same goes for social networking sites, they can offer a lot of value to organizations if used properly.
The answer is to work out a policy that clearly states what’s accepted and what is not and also to have a little trust in the employees.
Today I heard about a running store called Greater Boston Running in which the owner, Steve Meinelt, has encouraged the employees to get on Twitter and Facebook. The employees, also runners, were given direction about how to search for the right discussions and interact with others, then told by the owner to “be smart” and not use this opportunity to fool around, but help the store.
Inside a Greater Boston Running Company store
In this instance social media is as much a part of their job as folding the shirts or stocking the shoes. Employees know not to get caught up on Facebook when they should be helping customers, they’ve learned a balance. The result is a few sales that have come through Twitter and even an increase in community. For example, if employees are going out for a run they’ll tweet about it and some customers may come by to join them.
They managed to take the expertise of their workers and turn it into a marketing asset that extends well beyond the confines of the store.
Yes, there will be companies that work in fear and shut down access for a variety of reasons, including legal issues. That doesn’t mean they’ll cut off access, as many employees will simply pick up their mobile phones to do the same tasks.
However, I believe the CEOs at these same companies are turning to their communications teams and saying “how do we better utilize social media for marketing purposes?”
Truth is, they’re probably shutting down the answer.
Today the name of the game is to create compelling content that gets your community (customers, partners, investors, etc.) interested and invested in your brand.
What’s interesting about the campaigns profiled in the piece is that social media does not play a supporting role, it is the main focus. Most PR agencies are still media relations agencies that are tacking on social media programs to simply support what they’re already doing.
These programs took a different tact from day one, though for large brands. That’s similar to the work we at Fresh Ground are trying to bring to the SMB audience. Of course, this doesn’t mean throwing out traditional influencer relations completely:
And while they haven’t completely abandoned traditional media outlets, big-name marketers such as Procter & Gamble, Best Buy, MasterCard and Coldwell Banker are among those who have taken matters into their own hands by creating content and bringing it straight to consumers.
The great part about social media is that size doesn’t matter. Even a small real estate agency can create localized content that would put them on the map, it doesn’t have to be Caldwell Banker. The goal isn’t always to reach the largest audience, just the right audience for you.
When Todd and I set out to create a content strategy we first want to understand the corporate marketing goals. It’s the only way we can measure what’s working and what painpoints the content must answer. All these pieces are intertwined.
And for you, the right content strategy will help reach the right audience like nothing else.
In my very first post on this blog, I wrote that “social media is about change management. It’s really about changing the way you do business.” I went on to argue that “integrating social media across the many customer touchpoints (not just the website and phone system, but every single employee of your company) requires a new way of thinking about your business. In reality, it needs a few key characters. In that vein, and with all due respect for the Social Media Breakfast, the Social Media Club and John Hughes (and with all credit to Adam Zand, who first mashed up social media and high school and who lately specifically mentioned The Breakfast Club), I offer:
The Social Media Breakfast Club
“The Change Agent” When you first look at the change agent, he might seem like “The Criminal.” He’s not satisfied with the status quo and is willing to go to lengths to challenge the system, even if it causes a little trouble. But he’s a necessary character in the Social Media Breakfast Club.
“The Champion” Call him “The Jock” if you want to, but you’re still going to need him, because he’s the guy who can rally the troops and, if necessary, force some of the change that needs to happen down the team’s collective throat.
“The Creative” She might seem like “The Kook”or “The Basket Case” to some, but that doesn’t mean you should lock her up and hide her from the world. Tap into her creativity to help lend some authenticity and originality to the content that you develop.
“The Nerd” While social media is getting easier and easier, it doesn’t mean that throwing a little technology savvy at it can’t significantly improve the end product. Tap “The Brain” — or find your inner nerd — to work with The Creative to find some news ways to do old things, and maybe even some new brand new things!
“The Collaborator” She may seem like “The Princess,” but she’s not as stuck up as she seems — she’s just intensely aware of what others think and feel. In reality, she’s an incredible collaborator, and can be great at finding and working with others to achieve a common goal.
None of these characters can, by themselves, succeed at implementing social media across an organization. But together, they can find common ground and work to make a much better place for everyone.
I love the excitement just before a big change. It’s like those butterflies you had as a kid before the first day of school, or the night before a big vacation. It’s that feeling that says “something exciting and cool is about to happen.”
I feel that now and it’s all about mobile.
Mary Meeker’s presentation at the Web 2.0 summit (below) has a lot of people making blanket statements about the mobile industry. Yes, the growth of mobile is huge and yes location based services are about to change everything. But what does that really mean?
For marketers it’s a channel that’s about to open. Today we all talk about social media and content, we develop strategies for using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, videos, podcasts and all sorts of desktop-based strategies.
But if you’re in retail, how are you using tools like Foursquare? How will you deal with the location information that Twitter is about to unleash on your business? What will you do with that information? Should you develop a mobile application to deliver information to your users? What devices are used most by your audience?
I often I read the New York Times on my iPhone, changing the format changes how I interact with the information. I read stories in a different order and I’m not as driven by pictures. I’m also more likely to check the “popular” stories, as that is one of a few buttons I’m given on my application.