2010 Social Media TrendsSpotting

I’m kicking myself all the way to Sunday for not getting on the Trendsspotting bandwagon this year.  TrendsSpotting CEO and Founder Taly Weiss reached out to me on December 14th asking me to participate in this year’s predictions.  I actually started drafting my thoughts and still have my draft email, but got sidetracked when I decided at the last minute to visit my parents in Ohio before Christmas.

So, I never got around to sending my predictions to Taly.

But if I would have followed up, here are the predictions that would have been included:

  1. Facebook will continue to gain ground as the top social networking site while MySpace sinks further into oblivion
  2. Mid-to-large companies will continue to struggle with implementing social media because they aren’t hiring experienced people with the right type of experience
  3. Somebody will come up with a better and cheaper mousetrap to track activity across all social media channels
  4. Slideshare will emerge as the dominant social document sharing site and will be acquired by somebody
  5. Apple will come out with a tablet product, but it will be too expensive for me to purchase

Some common themes emerged across the predictions including innovations around location-based and mobile services, and the emergence of 3D augmented reality and exclusive social media sites.

My favorite predictions came from Seth Godin, Drew McLellan and Charlene Li, who said respectively:

Folks that put in the time and energy to build a foundation over the last 2 years will be rewarded while latecomers will merely whine

Content marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and many CFOs will prematurely pull the plug on their efforts because the results are not instantaneous.

Social media in 2010 will cease being the shiny new object and instead, become part of the everyday lexicon of business

Here are the predictions of the 30 visionaries, notables, marketing and social media experts that did submit their predictions:


Laying Out A Framework for Social Media Strategy

In my Social Media 101 presentation to a group of marketers from E&Y last week, I included the beginnings of a social media framework that has been on my mind recently.  This post explains how I will be using the framework to address social media strategy needs for my clients.

One more thing – the tables below are slanted toward a B2B social media strategy, but could easily be modified for a B2C or hybrid strategy.

The first table looks at the six primary social media functions.  I first saw this list of functions in a presentation by Marta Kagan and have been using  them to explain the different areas that social media can address.  Against the six social media functions, I mapped the key social media tools that can be used to address these functions.  I could have used generic categories such as blog, video, social networking and bookmarking and I omitted some categories for my audience such as wikis, user review sites and forums.

Once I plotted the intersections, it is interesting to see that not every tool addresses each function.  Some people may argue that if you make the bus big enough, you could probably justify any of the tools for any of the functions – but I have limited the intersections to their most typical usage.

Mapping Social Media Functions to Tools

After mapping the social media functions to tools, the next important step was to assign priority to each tool.  Along with the priority, it is also key to understand both the upfront effort and the ongoing effort for each tool.  For example, creating and maximizing your LinkedIn profile is a high priority that has moderate upfront effort and a low ongoing effort score.

There are better ways to to quantify effort, but they are difficult to document without further knowledge of the situation.  After spending some time doing discovery with a specific client, I would most likely assign hours or days of effort.  For now, the table below just identifies relative effort levels.

Social Media Tools - Priority and Effort

As you can see above, I would rank LinkedIn Profiles and Groups,  a blog and Slideshare as high priority implementations.  But each one comes with different levels of both upfront and ongoing effort.  And I would put blogging and managing a community in the high category for ongoing effort which explains why many companies choose not to implement these tools despite their relative priority.

The framework is also a work in progress so any comments are welcome.

Social Media 101 Presentation for Ernst & Young

I gave a Social Media presentation for a group of marketing managers at Ernst & Young yesterday and want to share the presentation on my blog.  The particular team I presented to is primarily responsible for marketing and business development for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year program in the Western US.  The presentation

Some interesting insights from this group include:

  • LinkedIn – Most members had a LinkedIn account, but were not using it effectively for business and only a few had joined any networking groups groups
  • Twitter – A couple had Twitter accounts, but didn’t really get it yet
  • Facebook – most people had a Facebook account that they used for personal use
  • Slideshare – no one heard of Slideshare, but were intrigued with what could be shared
  • Social bookmarking – no one had heard of Delicious or Digg, or had any idea how to use it
  • E&Y social media sites – most of the participants had not seen any of their own company’s social media sites

The last bullet brings up an interesting point.  As far as I could tell based on my limited research, E&Y is not doing very much in social media yet – which seems to be consistent with other similar firms in the auditing/consulting/tax services market.

For example, E&Y does have a popular Facebook page, but it is only used for recruiting college graduates.  They have a couple of Twitter accounts, but they are definitely underutilized and are not being used to set up E&Y as a knowledge leader or to promote their very popular Entrepreneur of the Year program.  There is an Ernst & Young LinkedIn group with 8,000 members.  Videos of the annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards are posted on a branded YouTube channel, but the videos are not promoted through any other social media outlets.  I also learned that E&Y created a Pandora Music Channel called EverybodY Rock, but the irony is that Pandora is blocked in E&Y offices.

There is so much great content from the Entrepreneur of the Year program that could be shared if E&Y did a better job with leveraging social media to promote and set up E&Y as the thought leader and champion for entrepreneurs.  At the end of my presentation, I came up with some recommendations for E&Y to consider which includes:

  • Start up a blog to disseminate information
  • Set up an Entrepreneur of the Year LinkedIn Group to promote and discuss the program
  • Create an Entrepreneur of the Year Twitter account to listen, find entrepreneurs and send out updates
  • Set up an E&Y Slideshare account to post and share information
  • Set up an Entrepreneur of the Year Facebook Fan page to attract and inform people about the program

Attention Ernst & Young Senior Management  I think you need me and I'm here to share my social media knowledge!  Just give me a call...

After that short ‘commercial’, here is the social media presentation I delivered yesterday:

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile – Advanced Version

One of my more successful blog posts has been 5 Ways to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile from July 2008.  While looking at this post recently, I realized that there are some additional and more advanced ways that many people are not taking advantage of yet.  So, I decided another blog post was in order to discuss the advanced features of joining groups, adding your Twitter account and LinkedIn applications.

Join Groups – LinkedIn Groups can help you stay informed and stay in touch with people who similar interests.  You can start by searching for Groups under at the Groups tab.  You can search by keyword and also limit your search to specific categories or languages.  Once you click on the Join Group button, you are placed in a queue for getting approved.  Some groups have automatic approval and others require you to be approved by a ‘human’ group moderator.

Within each group, you can start or participate in a discussion, share news, search or post jobs or join subgroups.  You can also get a daily or weekly digest emailed to you with all new activity in case want a reminder of what you missed.  The greatest thing about groups is that it makes it easier to connect with people you may not know directly.  You can select a Group affiliation when you are sending a request for connection to someone.

Example of Groups Page – Social Media Marketing

Add your Twitter account – LinkedIn just started a new feature in the last week where you can link your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile.  Previously, you could do this by adding your Twitter stream as an “Other” website in your profile.  But the Twitter integration goes one step further by letting you have your Twitter updates post automatically to your LinkedIn status update.  If you put either #in or #li in your tweet, it will pass directly to LinkedIn.  If you are an active Twitter user, you may not want all of your tweets showing up in LinkedIn.  But you may want to select one or two per week to make sure your LinkedIn status is always ‘fresh’.  For more information on this new feature, check out the LinkedIn blog post by Alan Blue.

Twitter Integration on LinkedIn

Add applications – LinkedIn offers several add-in applications to make your profile even more robust.  You can find a list and description of each application at this link.

My favorite applications are:

  • WordPress Blog
  • Amazon Reading List
  • Slideshare

WordPress Blog – If you have a WordPress blog, this is a must-have application.  The application syncs with your WordPress blog and displays the last 2 or 3 posts within your LinkedIn profile.  If you don’t have a WordPress blog, there is another application called BlogLink that lets you bring in any blog and it also displays the blogs of your contacts who are using the application.

WordPress Application on LinkedIn

Amazon Reading List – I like the Amazon Reading List for several reasons.  First, it lets me keep track of the books I’ve read or want to read.  Plus, it gives people more insight into my literary likes and dislikes which personalizes my LinkedIn profile.  If your connections use the application you can also view their lists.

Amazon Reading List Application on LinkedIn

Slideshare – The Slideshare intregration in LinkedIn is also a great feature.  The application allows you to display up to 3 of your presentations.  Other options include viewing all of your presentations or viewing the most popular presentations from other users

SlideShare Application on LinkedIn

Good luck with updating your LinkedIn profiles.

Using Slideshare to Post “Best-of” Blog Posts

I started an experiment last week on Slideshare and so far, it seems to be working better than expected.  So, I am sharing the tip and results in this blog post.

Since I wrote a blog post on “Using Slideshare to Promote Your Business” 2 weeks ago, I’ve been spending some time on Slideshare.  My post discussed how businesses could use Slideshare to post marketing and other collateral to broaden their exposure.  This got me thinking about other ways I could leverage content on Slideshare.

My latest idea is to re-purpose some of my more popular blog posts and convert them to standalone documents that I can upload to Slideshare.  First,  I copied the posts individually to a nicely formatted Word document and then saved them as a PDF file using the freely available PrimoPDF software.  My formatted blog posts include the blog post title in the header and my name and blog link in the footer.  Users can then view, download or print the blog post as they see fit.  Since Slideshare incorporates the title of a document in the URL, I also get extra search engine link juice love – and it broadens the exposure for my popular posts.  And if people want to find out more about me, they can follow the link from my SlideShare profile back to my blog.  I have also included links to these posts in the About Me on my blog so people can easily access my best blog entries.   Since I have tied my Slideshare account to my LinkedIn profile, these best of blog posts also appear on my LinkedIn Profile.

In just a couple of days, I have already received 71 views on my Social Media Job Description document and 32 views on my 5 Ways to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile document.   I am not planning on doing this for every blog post, but I easily could.  It takes me about 10 minutes from end-to-end to convert, format and upload a blog post.

Note that this tip works for both individual and business blogs.

Documents View from My SlideSpace Page

I would be interested to hear about the experiences of others – let me know after you give this tip a try.

Using Slideshare to Promote Your Business

Another great and easy way for small-to-medium businesses to leverage the social media channel is set up a company account on Slideshare.

Slideshare claims to be the largest community for sharing presentations and other documents with over 23 million visitors  who view more than 60 million pages per month.  It’s free to use and it is a great place to store company presentations, whitepapers and other marketing collateral.  Presentations and documents can either be totally open to the public or you can set the privacy to only you or to people with whom you share the secret URL .  Slideshare is a great way to promote and broaden your company’s exposure with a fairly low level of involvement on your part.

I also find many great presentations and documents on Slideshare, so it is worth your time to explore some of the great content.  You can easily embed a presentation in a blog or share it on other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Delicious.  Slideshare  has many other features like events, slidecasts, groups, a community and widgets that are worth checking out too.

After completing your profile page, uploading content to Slideshare is very easy.  Simply click on the Upload button, locate the file or files you want to upload from your computer, then add a title, description and tags.  Within a couple of minutes, your files will be ready to be viewed on the Slideshare site.  It is really important to include a complete description and as many relevant tags for each file as this will make it easier for others to find it and to get picked up by search engines.

Some quick tips for using Slideshare for your business include:

  1. Create an account with your company name in it
  2. Make your profile as complete as possible and include a logo, picture, address and URL
  3. Upload great content and make sure that the title, description and tags are complete
  4. Tell people your content is on Slideshare by sharing with prospects, customers and others,  and by sharing on other social media sites

As you can see from the example company profile below, you can include a fairly detailed profile including address, phone number and website.  All presentations or documents that you upload are also displayed on your “My Slidespace” page along with the number of times each document has been viewed.

Slideshare Company Profile

Example Company Profile from One of My Clients on Slideshare

For businesses that want to use Slideshare as a lead generation channel, there are now two options called Adshare and LeadShare that were launched in October.  I have not had an occasion to try either service, but I did explore the website to see how they work.

AdShare is a way to get targeted visitors to view your content.  When you sign up you get to pick which documents you want to share and the type of content or category that you want to sponsor.  You only pay when someone clicks on one of your documents.  The current rate is $.25 if you don’t select a geography and $.35 per click if you select a geography.  AdShare works a bit like Google Adwords but your message can be longer than 50 words and documents on Slideshare are viewed as ‘content’ and not ‘advertising’.

LeadShare allows you to leverage your content by capturing the viewer’s contact information.   Pricing starts at $1 for a call to action and moves to $3 per lead if you want to capture contact information.  As you add additional information you want to capture, the price per lead increases.  For example, it costs an extra $2 to get a phone number and $2 per qualifying question.

I am sure I will experiment with one or both services before the end of the year.  For more on these services, I have embedded Slideshare’s presentation that explains the programs.

While there are other file sharing solutions on the market today including Scribd, DocStoc and Yudo, I think that Slideshare is the current gold standard and definitely worth using to promote your business.


November 21 Update

I wrote a follow-on blog post about using Slideshare to promote your “best of” blog posts. This is another business use for Slideshare.

Are You Thirsty?

Slideshare.net recently held the “world’s best presentation contest” and entry titled “Thirst” was the overall winner.  Having run a user-generated contest, I am always curious about their process and results – and want to share the winning presentation in my blog.

Jeff Brennan describes his presentation as:

…an educational presentation exploring humanity’s water use and the emerging worldwide water shortage…

The presentation does present the facts about our water use in a very eye-catching and simplistic manner – and Jeff effectively makes his point that we all need to do more to conserve water and be aware that it is not a limitless resource.

The winning presentation is available below and all of the winners are available from the contest website.