Tag Archives: Transparency

Blogging Transparently- A Lesson From The Weekend!

Over the weekend I was invited by a fellow LinkedIn Group member to join the conversation on her blog. I get a number of these requests, but the content of the blog revolved around Baby Boomers and is relevant to retention management.  Not to mention, the way she asked me to join the conversation was passionate, well thought out and did a great job of drawing me in. I thought this would be a stellar opportunity to document how to blog successfully in the business world.

The blog she posted was politically sparked and had a great deal to say. Most of it being her opinion backed on some fact. The comments that followed seemed to stay within the friendly confines of her political outlook, so I decided to post my two cents. I disagreed with some of the blog as well as the comments- but it was a very good conversation. Not being a Baby Boomer I felt like I was a bit disqualified to comment, but because she asked I threw my comment into the ring.

My response was four paragraphs of my experiences and opinions based on my 12 years in the work force. What followed saddened me!

The blogger followed up my comment with a email diatribe of how she was not going to allow my comment to be posted and went into how I was dead wrong with my opinion. Also my stance on her political view was also simply put- wrong!

I spent yesterday processing what she wrote. I was so impressed with how she drew me into her blog. Yet- because I didn’t match her opinion and political view I was banned? Instead of allowing my comment and posting her opinion back she simply stifled the conversation? I am not going to live in a world of absolutes and say what she did was wrong. But it certainly did not spark a positive response from me.

When blogging you want to be as transparent as possible! Unless the blog comment is spam, or has defaming qualities- there is no need to moderate blog comments. In my time as a community manager and running numerous blogs for Fortune 500’s, I have never once edited or deleted a comment or user blog- even if I whole heartedly disagreed with the message. The reason being is it creates the exact feelings I was feeling yesterday. Under appreciated! Annoyed that I wasted my time! Not to mention, I will never go to this person’s blog again to comment, nor will she receive any form of link back from my blog.  No Tweets! I am not doing this to be vindictive, but the fact of the matter is that Social Media is supposed to be empowering. Not stifling! If you empower interactions you will see business value! I see it every day with my clients. Empowering will help you build better relationships! Empowering will build affinity with your peers, customers and partners. Being transparent and respectfully disagreeing is far more productive than simply ending the conversation in a direct message. Spark the debate and let others with different opinions be heard. This will build mutual respect and stronger bonds that will help you and your business down the road. Agreeing to disagree in the new business world is even more valuable then agreeing.

To the blogger: A+ on marketing to your group! Kudos! Being a transparent blogger that allows free flowing opinions and interactions= Fail!

My hope is this post will help both companies and individuals alike think about Social Media in a more transparent way. Corporate policy on Social Media to me inhibits critical 2 way conversations. The blog experience from this weekend only proves that “policy” or imposing restrictions ends the conversation before it even starts. What is more important is how you spark those conversations and react to negative sentiment or disagreeing points of view. Don’t shut it down, put the resources in place to react and inspire- even if it doesn’t jive with your opinion.

Here is a little graphic I put together that sums up the post.

social media transparency

A Nine Inch Nails Social Media Strategy Plan- Don’t Give Up Yet Trent!

nin_with_teethTrent Reznor’s (from Nine Inch Nails) recent announcement that he is leaving Social Media because of trolls sums up the need for all business to- “have a plan”. Whether you are a musician or a corporate giant – a Social Media marketing strategy with a clear map to real business objective is necessary.

Reznor (@trent_reznor )says:  “The reason no record label knows how to market anything to new media is they don’t live there. They don’t get it because they don’t use it. What up-2ninyou’ve seen happen with the marketing and presentation of NIN over the last years is a direct result of living next to you, listening to you, consuming with you and interacting with you. Directly. There’s no handlers or PR people here, it’s me and my guys – that’s it. There’s no real plan, even – it’s just trying to do the right thing that respects you the fan, the music, and me the artist. That’s the goal – a mutual and shared respect.”

He is right! In a perfect world he could engage his fans transparently and be free and clear of negative sentiment. But the fact remains- transparency will lead to as much negative as positive. But to combat it, businesses need the resources to answer to both the negative and the positive. Reznor’s comments are nothing more than a call for help- not a white flag!

Here are 5 action items that Trent can do to remedy his troll problem and create a solid foundation fora  true Social Media Strategy Plan:

  1. Hire a Social Media Director – I am sure there are a great deal of recent college grads that would kill to put Nine Inch Nails Social Media Director on their resume. I am also sure this person would work on the cheap! They would be in charge of monitoring, responding, engaging, and consistently push/pulling relevant content to Nine Inch Nails. Essentially being the overseer of the NIN brand in Social Media channels. Instead of Trent doing it, this person will carry out  tedious tasks and put the most important content in front of Trent daily to respond to. Everything between the good ideas to negative sentiment!  This essentially removes the trolls and lets Trent focus on making great music. Lastly, this person will work under NIN’s PR folks.
  2. Purchase a Social Analytics tool– these tools help track, reply, document and recognize real ROI. For $500-$750 per month a business can have a birds-eye view of their social media presence. I recommend Techrigy – although the marketplace is becoming flush solutions. I would suggest demoing several and deciding what would work best for a music artist.
  3. Migrate to Modlife: Because Modlife is fee service for fans to join, it eliminates trolls and allows musicians to create almost their own safe market research community. They can share, test, and interact with passionate fans. My suggestion is to utilize Modlife as a musicians center location, and use Myspace, Twitter, Facebook and Social Bookmarking sites to push information, take information- but most importantly to draw in the “real fans”. The innovators if you will- NIN’s very own market research community. Look no further then what Angels & Airwaves have done here: http://modlife.com/angelsandairwaves Perfect for NIN!
  4. Create a Recognition Rewards Program– Use meet and greets as a way to build a group of online body guards. Dangling a “meet Trent Reznor opportunity” is a stellar reward for being a pro-NIN presence that pushes the band in the social channels. This is enabling and empowering and can be done with nothing more than a bit of organizing and a brief shining of the spotlight on these do-gooders electronically. It is amazing what a simple tweet from rock star can do from an ego perspective.
  5. Build a Content Schedule & Engage– Start doing chats on TinyChat. Conduct monthly webinars and podcasts where fans get to hear new material or offer feedback on what artists NIN should tour with. The content schedule should be focused on the business goals of  fan feedback and innovation to their voice. When you give your customers what they want, you will win their business repeatedly. Once again, the content schedule is geared towards enabling, empowering and organizing NIN’s own market research community. It is no different then what Barack Obama did to get elected.

My life as a social media consultant consists of creating plans such as these-although much more in-depth than this blog. But every business is different in their needs, desires, and objectives. In fact, how each business measures ROI is vastly different.  In Trent Reznor’s case, his ROI is to be able to engage Social Media effectively so he can listen to his customers (the fans) and innovate his music based on their feedback. His desire is no different than a billion dollar corporate empire- to be able to go direct to consumer with new products-thus lowering marketing churn, while having a product that is created based on the voice of the customer. Trent just needed a strategy plan….

Technorati: hjfhkfu8v5

%d bloggers like this: