Here is an interview with John F Moore, social media adviser,technologist and founder and CEO of The Lab.
Ajay- The internet seems to be crowded by social media experts with everyone who spends a lot of time on the internet claiming to be one? How does a small business owner on a budget distinguish for the correct value proposition that social media can give them.
John- You’re right. It seems like everytime I turn around I bump into more social media “experts”. The majority of these self-proclaimed experts are not adding a great deal of value. When looking to spend money for help ask the person a few questions about their approach. Things you should be hearing include:
- The expert should be seeking to fully understand your business, your goals, your available resources, etc..
- The expert should be seeking to understand current management thinking about social media and related technologies.
If the expert is purely focused on tools they are the wrong person. Your solution may require tools alone but they cannot know this without first understanding your business.
Ajay- Facebook has 600 million people, with people preferring to play games and connect to old acquaintances rather than use social media for tangible career or business benefit..
People are definitely spending time playing games, looking at photos, and catching up with old friends. However, there are many businesses seeing real value from Facebook (primarily by tying it into their e-mail marketing and using coupons and other incentives). For example, I recently shared a small case study (http://thejohnfmoore.com/2010/10/07/email-social-media-and-coupons-makes-the-cfo-smile/
) where a small pet product company achieved a 22% bump in monthly revenue by combining Facebook and coupons together. In fact,45% of this bump in revenue came from new clients. Customer acquisition and increased revenue were accomplished by using Facebook for their business.
Ajay- How does a new social media convert (individual) go on selecting communities to join (Facebook,Twitter,Linkedin,Ning, Ping,Orkut, Empire Avenue etc etc.
How does a small business owner take the same decision.
John- It always starts with taking the time to define your goals and then determine how much time and effort you are willing to invest. For example:
- LinkedIn. A must have for individuals as it is one of the key social networking communities for professional networking. Individuals should join groups that are relevant to their career and invest an hour a week. Businesses should ensure they have a business profile completed and up to date.
- Facebook can be a challenge for anyone trying to walk the personal/professional line. However, from a business standpoint you should be creating a Facebook page that you can use to compliment your other marketing channels.
- Twitter. It is a great network to learn of, to meet, and to interact with people from around the world. I have met thousands of interesting people, many of which I have had the pleasure to meet with in real life. Businesses need to invest in listening on twitter to determine if their customers (current or potential) or competitors are already there discussing them, their marketplace, or their offerings.
In all cases I would encourage businesses to setup social media accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
, and Flickr. You want to ensure your brand is protected by owning these accounts and ensuring at least the base information is accurate.
Ajay- Name the top 5 points that you think make a social media community successful. What are the top 5 points for a business to succeed in their social media strategy.
- Define your goals up front. Understand why you are building a community and keep this goal in mind.
- Provide education. Ideally you want to become a thought leader in your space, the trusted resource that people can turn to even if they are not using your product or services today.
- Be honest. We all make mistakes. When you do, be honest with your community and engage them in any fall-out that may be coming out of your mistake.
- Listen to them. Use platforms like BubbleIdeas to gather feedback on what your community is looking for from the relationship.
- Measure. Are you on track with your goals? Do your goals need to change?
Ajay- What is the unique value proposition that “The Lab” offers
John- The Lab understands the strategic importance of leveraging social media, management and leadership best practices, and our understanding of local government and small and medium business to help people in these areas achieve their goals. Too many consultants come to the table with a predefined solution that really misses the mark as it lacks understanding of the client’s goals.
Ajay- What is “CityCamp in Boston” all about.
CityCamp is a FREE unconference focused on innovation for municipal governments
and community organizations (http://www.citycampboston.org/what-is-citycamp-boston/
). It brings together politicians, local municipal employees, citizens, vendors, developers, and journalist to build a common understanding of local government challenges and then works to deliver measurable outcomes following the event. The key is the focus on change management, driving change as opposed to just in the moment education.
John F Moore is the Founder and CEO of The Lab (http://thelabinboston.com). John has experience working with local governments and small and medium business owners to achieve their goals. His experience with social media strategies, CRM, and a plethora of other solutions provides immense value to all of our clients. He has built engineering organizations, learned sales and marketing, run customer service teams, and built and executed strategies for social media thought leadership and branding. He is also a prolific blogger as you can see by checking out his blog at http://thejohnfmoore.com.