Social Media Artists

Social Media Artists
Happy campers, helping clients

Smart Group

Smart Group
Not exactly a rock band, but close!

Smart Group Associates

Smart Group Associates

Social Media Discussion Board

Be part of the discussion about Social Media. Here is your chance to promote your business, your product, your knowledge. Follow this link and leave your thoughts!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

We the Social Media

The Canadian government has learned to use social media to help promote its tourism. The Department of Tourism and Parks in Canada has jumped in with both feet in its mission to spread the word about Canada being a great place to visit by using Facebook, Youtube, Flickr and Twitter.

"Obviously there are other options out there, but we took the four biggest ones for now," department spokesman Ryan Donaghy says.

In the U.S., a memorandum was issued by the President's office in April of this year and here is a quote from the memo:

To engage the public, Federal agencies are expanding their use of social media and web-based interactive technologies. For example, agencies are increasingly using web-based technologies, such as blogs, wikis, and social networks, as a means of “publishing” solicitations for public comment and for conducting virtual public meetings.

Last week in Washington D.C. a convention was held called Gov 2.0. Here is a presentation from NASA's Linda Cureton, dealing with cloud computing (which provides the space for social media networks to exist in):

And here is the website for more info.

While it interests me that governments are turning to social media to expand their communication channels, I wouldn't want governments to try to control the networks or to some how add layers of bureaucracy to what has evolved as the most important open source of communication which has ever existed. There is evidence that Facebook has infringed on privacy and the government has stepped in. I wrote about that in the last post. The post before was about the ban by Pakistan of Facebook because of a protest for religious reasons.

Those of us who are making our living by teaching others how to benefit by using social media or by helping clients market using social media are part of the "collaborative creative class" or C3. Our greatest work will be to help each other and to set clear standards of ethics and best practices. Please join the conversation by leaving a comment here or by posting on the Interactive Social Media Discussion Board

I hope to personally engage you in a conversation to find out how we can help each other!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Privacy Is You

It is a popular conversation topic right now. PRIVACY ISSUE.

In today's on-line PC World, poll findings were announced to the question:

Facebook's Privacy Changes--Are you Satisfied?
73% NO, 23% YES.

In this week's Newsweek (paper edition)they reported the old news from weeks ago. Remember when your friends were complaining that Facebook was strong arming them to either make their hometown interests and friend's names public or else not list them?

Newsweek reported that the biggest problem is that Facebook keeps changing the rules. Yesterday, I read the blog post by Facebook CEO Zuckerberg and he said,
"We don't pretend that we are perfect. We try to build new things, hear feedback and respond with changes to that feedback all the time."

It seems to me that the controversy is whether Facebook is selling or using the wealth or our personal information without us knowing it.

Personally, it seems like things are moving so fast that no one really knows. If we each monitor our own posts, including the personal information we share in INFO, we will do our best to protect ourselves from problems arising from information which can be used against us. The BIG BROTHER issue has been with us forever. Remember the movie with Sean Connery, ANDERSON TAPES? It seems though that the tables have turned and Big Brother has a new uniform. The communication network is called "Open Source," and when you think about it, all information is out there. It is just a matter of learning how to use the tools to find out what you want to know.

What is your feeling? Do you think Facebook is out of line? How would it affect you if Facebook wasn't there and didn't offer the free services that it does? What if all this leads to us having to pay a monthly charge to use Facebook? With the government and Fair Trade Commission poking and prodding Facebook, there is sure to be "tax," in some form or another.

Share your thoughts. We're interested!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Third Largest Country Blocked in Some Countries

About a week ago it was announced that Facebook now has more than 500 million users. That officially makes the population of Facebook the third largest country in the world, bigger than the United States by almost 200 million but still half the size of both China and India.

Ironic now is that in a country half the size by population of the United States and lying geographically next to one of the largest countries, that Pakistan joins the largest country--China--in a block of Facebook.

What is going on here? Well, the situation is different between China and Pakistan. And the Pakistan blockade is supposed to be lifted in just a week or so. But still the situation bears consideration.

In China, the ban is permanent or at least there is no foreceable date of the ban being lifted. In China the ban includes Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube and is part of the government's communist block against free speech. In Pakistan the ban includes Facebook and YouTube and is a temporary block in protest to a Facebook page which promotes the drawing of Mohammed, which is against the Muslim faith.

What is very interesting to me is that Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik turned to Twitter for his social media "fix" after his son explained that Twitter should work for him. By the way, it was reported on NPR four days ago that the original Facebook page which was offensive to Islam has now been removed, possibly by the page creator.

Social Media is more than a past time. For many of us it is the most important tool for our business communications and marketing. What is your view about the Pakistan blockade?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Branding YOU

How are you doing at marketing yourself? You know when it comes right down to it, whether you're teaching school, leading a corporation, or heading up a non-profit, your effectiveness will be based on your relationships.

I've discovered that it isn't your level of education, the size of your bank account or even how cool your website is (though of the three things listed, I'd put my money on your website!)--it is how much people dig where you're coming from.

This will be a short post but a few things I want to share with you. One is the excellent social media website called Alltop ( Watch their explanation video here

It was at Alltop (an on-line magazine rack for your favorite topics) that I found the well written article on seven people who have marketed themselves very well. The article is on another great site called Social Mouths and can be found RIGHT CHERE

So go brag about yourself, in the right way. Help people. We need to be doing that!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More on the Like Button and Why it CAN be great for marketers!

No need to rewrite this article. Ben Cohen has done a fine job. Let us know what you think.

The discipline of relationship marketing is already facing waves of changes with social media providing a variety of new approaches and opportunities to communicate with customers. Optimizing communications with email marketing alone has been an ongoing challenge for companies of all sizes. Developing an appropriate communication strategy requires understanding the needs, attitudes and behaviors of customers, fine tuning copy and frequency that will resonate with customers a business is trying to reach.

Clearly social media is already having an impact. Customers opting to follow Twitter streams, join community programs or become “fans” on Facebook are signaling they are opting in to some sort of communication. I met recently with a financial services company who is leveraging these opt-in communication points to offset email marketing – literally, they are sending less email because customers are choosing to interact with their brands through different vehicles.

Facebook just threw yet another a monkey wrench into the mix. With the ability to “like” any page or content out there with a unique URL, a communication strategist has another dimension to manage. When a customer “likes” a page, or perhaps even a specific product, the brand then has the capability to communicate directly with those fans. For example, as a reader if you “like” this blog post (you can choose the verb “recommend” instead, in the settings for the API), I have the ability just like a normal fan page in Facebook to communicate to just the fans of this post. Facebook creates a ‘ghost’ page only available to the admin, which will allow me to track statistics and see an explicit list of people who “like” or “recommend” the post.

Imagine the applications. Companies in all industries could consider implications around targeting through Facebook for specific brands, product lines or individual products. A pharma company, for example, could leverage this function to communicate with Facebook users around specific conditions if they happen to “like” a specific treatment. Retailers could too, except they need to be careful – do they really want to manage communications and fans at a SKU level? Nike could integrate communications via Facebook likes for fans of Air Jordan, but it’s probably not sustainable for each shoe. Bookstores could manage communications with folks who “like” historical fiction different those who “like” Manga.

At the big business level I think there is going to be an emerging emphasis on communication management, copywriters and ongoing relationship marketing strategists to digest these technologies and build case studies to drive business results.

The magic sound of the cash drawer opening

There's always a story to tell. The trick is getting people to listen.

Do you have a product or a service that you want to promote? Are people beating a path to your door?

What we do, at the Smart Group, is lovingly package your story into a compelling form of communication. Then we go find the conversations that are taking place, which are likely to be gatherings of your target audience. We then introduce your story as part of that conversation and lead that audience back to your door.

Come share your story with us so we can deliver more customers to your cash register.