Animated gifs have become a mainstream part of the social media experience. Often used to provoke laughter, communicate sarcasm or convey an emotion like grief, it's hard to imaging how they could be used to convey serious corporate content.
Don't miss this HBR piece by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychoogy at University of College London, where he explains the imporance of branding for today's executives. He notes:
"Welcome to the new era of work, where your future depends on being a signal in the noisy universe of human capital. In order to achieve this, you will need to master three things: self-branding, entrepreneurship, and hyperconnectivity."
No doubt this will have many executives Googling themselves to see what their online brand says about them.
Casey Meraz has a great post on How to Use Google+ Hangouts for SEO. Following some experimentation, he found that you can rank relatively easy by creating a video through a Google Hangout, placing the keywords into the title and then broadcasting it through YouTube. His eight-step process is now posted on my wall, and it provokes the thought: what kind of litmus test should be applied before using this for B2B companies? Here are three questions to ask:
1. Is this content right for video? Sure, this technique will make your content rise higher and faster in SERPs, but is video the best format to convey the content's meaning? If not, it will deliver an inferior user experience and fall in ranking as people navigate to competing text, pictures, audio or whatever medium they find most convenient.
2. Does the content lend itself better to a hangout than to your average interview video? Frankly, a hangout with a bunch of people talking, interupting and taking time for honorifics might veer over the line from authentic to annoying. So in what cases will these added people bring added value? How about when they're thought leaders the viewers will already know, such as those with large social media followings? Or those that are well respected given industry credentials? Or where the group offers a unique combination of expertise? (You rarely go wrong adding an economist, an attorney or a regulator to a B2B chat.)
3. Is the content searched enough? A hangout video will likely require more time to set up than your typical interview-style broadcast. You'll have to research and recruit the right attendees, and the more people you have on the line (up to 10) the longer it will take to sync schedules. That added time means added cost, so if your keyword is too far down the long tail, the costs will exceed the benefits.
What other factors are good to consider for B2B Hangouts?
MIT's Center for Digital Business is trying to quantify the economic impact of digitization. Sure, we have measures like the price of tech stocks, but what about the value of the free material we consume online, like Wikipedia entries and TED talks? Their solution:
"Consumers pay with time, not just money…our research is calculating a demand curve for time and estimaing how much consumers implicitly value free goods based on use of their time, not in dollars, spent on the internet."
Based on this approach, researchers found $139b in value, which comes to more than 1% of GDP (2010).
All of which takes us to the CFO's balance sheet. We can accurately project the costs of giving employees bandwidth to use social networks. (This is a big expense for companies with tens of thousands of workers, especially when many are in emerging markets with limited infrastructure.) We can then measure the time spent by those employees using social media. Those figures can be taken a step further, matching up the time spent to salaries in order to express how much social media "costs" the company in dollars. But nowhere in there do we measure the productivity gains that free, high quality content delivers to those workers and ultimately the botttom line.
Let's assume for the moment that we'll never be able to track the ripple effects that a single useful fact learned online has across an enterprise. We could still see its impact by tracking everything else and looking at the unaccountable variances. If 99 out of 100 other components of work could be tracked, then that which remains — the value of all this free information — could then be said to be the cause of the productivity change. Or as Sherlock Holmes said more elegantly a century ago, "eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth."
Well now, THIS has potential. Imagine taking your CEO's YouTube speech and overlaying it with curated tweets, images of schematics or charts, links to traditional media clips with more info and even maps. And it's super easy to embed the result into blog posts. You've won our gratitude, Mozilla.
Social media data shows where a company's ideas appear online and network analysis reveals how they got there. But neither tool explains why an idea goes viral, dies or mixes with others to create something new. Enter memetics. Memetics posits that ideas — referred to as "memes" — behave like genes. They're subject to Darwinian forces, competing for resources and evolving so that they can propagate as widely as possible. In "Virus of the Mind," Richard Brodie dissects what memes are, how they work and the ways in which they can be applied to communications. As he explains:
"They are infectious pieces of our culture that spread rapidly throughout a population, altering people's thoughts and lives in their wake. Mind viruses include everything from the relatively harmless examples, such as miniskirts and slang phrases, to those that seriously derail people's lives, such as the cycle of unwed mothers on welfare, the Crips and Bloods youth gangs, and the Branch Davidian religious cult."
Where to begin with an idea that encompasses every idea ever? Brodie offers three buckets to put memes in:
Distinctions: Help people categorize their world (i.e. the difference beween a slice of cake and a muffin)
Strategies: Rules of thumb that we follow; mental short cuts that help us make our way in the world (i.e. rules of driving)
Associations: Link two or more memes together (i.e. a memory associated with a location)
This framework gets you set for the rest of the book, which delves into how real viruses work and the modern principles of evolution. Like any tool, memetics can be used to good or bad ends. On the dark arts side, the author explores neurolinguistic programming, the use of fear in political discourse and how cults work. He concludes with the many benefits that an understanding of memetics provides, such as the ability to "deprogram" yourself in order to see the world in new ways and solve its problems.
If you work in communications, and especially if you work in social media, Virus of the Mind is something you definitely want to catch.
It's the most wonderful time of the year: BDI's "Financial Services: Social Communications" conference is happening November 15th. I'll be moderating a panel on "Measuring & Monitoring Financial Social Communications" where we'll be talking about a host of issues, including:
1. How to definitively link social media metrics to KPIs (yes, lead generation and AUM!)
2. Content marketing and SEO
3. How to stay compliant with FINRA, SEC, CFTC and other regulatory bodies in the process
What topics would YOU like to see addressed? Have any great stories to share or challenges to bring to the group? Leave a comment here or drop me a line via email and I'll make sure it gets spotlighted. I'll also be live-tweeting at @davidhrosen.
Sure, it was meta to live-tweet a Biz Stone speech, but that feeling dissapated as he shared some funny stories and, well, offered an alternative vision on what capitalism. Bonus: there's a strong corporate communications message in there.
There's too much to fit into 140 characters, so how about a Storify of the best bits? My thanks to all the tweeps who captured these moments.