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Anya and I attended the WorldRG-sponsored Business of Community Networking conference in Boston last week.  The setting was very intimate, and there was a great line-up of speakers.  I’ve given a run down of several of them below, with some of the main takeaways.

Clara Shih on her thoughts on Facebook and Online Communities

Panel on how various online communities and community platforms have worked or not worked

Lena West on Viral Marketing

Liz Strauss on Successful Blogging

Michael Cayley on Social Capital Value Add

A panel discussion on ROI measurement

Susan Getgood on Social Media and Customer Service

Marketing, Branding and Community: How social networks are rewriting the rules of marketing, branding and community

Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era

  • Facebook is a way for humans to interact with each other, it’s not just a tool.
  • How can collaboration/productivity tools be incorporated into Facebook? Can it be used as a CRM?
  • It’s now become a social norm to share personal information publicly.  Facebook can be used as a channel to access information via “trusted online identity.”  You can connect with friends about what’s important to you, both personally and professionally.
  • How do you as a company insert yourself in the conversation in a way that’s valuable and not invasive?
    • Know your customer: use transitive trust, a personalized interaction.  It’s up to the individual to share their information.  Customers expect that you know them and that you’ve done your due diligence on them personally.
    • Weak ties are very important in this setting, leverage them.
  • Facebook offers a personal contact database.  A traditional CRM is uni-directional (companies push), now it’s bi-directional (the customer is empowered).

[Faceconnector demo]

  • There is a loyalty magnification effect in Facebook: Passive word-of-mouth (you can become a fan of something right from your own newsfeed.  If one of your friends becomes a fan, it’s very easy to follow suit).
  • Facebook offers precision marketing with hypertargeted ads
    • You can minimize wasted ads
    • Leverage latent interest
    • Test new segments and messaging
  • How do you reach them before intention sets in and get them to become intention-based buyers?

[Resources: You can install Faceconnect here on the apps page of salesforce.com and learn more about The Facebook Era here.]

Learnings from a Facebook Group in Business Investigation

Jenny Ambrozek, Victoria Axelrod, Francois Gossieux

  • You can now tap communities once only reserved for companies with deep pockets
  • Community development/management has to be considered a real investment
  • Facebook isn’t great for managing huge groups
  • Ning provides a platform for rich conversation (discussion threads, blogs, subgroups, etc)
  • Fundamentals
    • Good content
    • Allow for members profiles
    • Don’t think market segments, think tribes
    • Think about behavior, not demographics
    • Don’t think of the tool as a channel, think about it as a conversation between you and them
    • Content must be picked up to become part of the conversations
  • “Whether there’s an ROI or not, [social networking] is something you have to do.”
  • “We haven’t been able to assign a dollar amount to [social networking], but you still have to play.”
  • What is the relationship of new people coming to the site to those current members?  How did they get there?
    • Known name
    • Known friend of a friend
    • New face
    • New member, source unknown
  • Align your activity measurements with network measurements and analysis
  • It’s about behavior, not attributes
  • Reciprocity in people is a reflex
  • We either behave in a market framework (contract, employment, cold, calculated) or a social framework
  • Provide structure and house rules (top-down) while nurturing the bottom-up interactions
  • Facebook ends up being a lot of work
    • Much harder for B2B to get companies to interact
    • People don’t want to necessarily go to Facebook to do business
    • It’s still difficult to put a “face” to a company
  • Find out where your trive hangs out, go there, and deliver results

[Resources: Tribalization of Business Study (Beeline Labs)]

The Chicken or the Egg: The real deal about “viral marketing”

Lena West, Founder & CEO of Xyno Media

  • Viral Marketing is any marketing tactic/content that encourages “pass along” sharing, which then changes that messages level of influence.
  • 3-7-3 Frameworks
    • 3 Rules
      • Viral marketing is created, not born
      • People hate the term viral marketing, and probably always will
      • Not all viral marketing is good
    • 7 Criteria
      • Free & short rule
      • Doesn’t force behavior change, but allows for it
      • It’s not just entertaining, but people can see themselves doing it
      • Feeds off how people work
      • Scalability is hardwired (support structure needs to be there)
      • Facilitates easy sharing
      • Leverage Other Peoples’ Social (OPS)
    • 3 Imperatives
      • Listen/Monitor (if you don’t listen, you don’t know what’s going on)
      • Set the kill switch (how can you pull the plug if you need to)
      • Once your campaign goes viral, it no longer belongs to your brand

Understanding the Conversation Online Between Consumers: Focusing on blogging

Liz Strauss, Social Media Strategist and blogger at Successful Blog

Please see separate post complete with video for this presentation.

Social Media Reality: Achieving cultural shifts

Michael Cayley, Founder of Social Capital Value Add

[Video coming soon]


  • Two main points of this video:
    • We’re going through exponential change
    • Bandwidth is one of the key drivers
  • What’s In It For Me (WWIF Me) has become WIIF Them
  • There is an authentic connection and self-fulfillment found through organization
  • Would some companies survive if they weren’t aligned with CSR?
  • Shared perception is mediated
  • The medium is in the message
  • The scale of human beings has changed, so how we architect around that will change
  • Brand Valuation is an estimation of the future earnings of products and services
  • Social Capital in not based on a product line

[Resources: Introducing Social Capital Value Add e-book]

Understanding the ROI with Community Marketing

Chris Carfi, CEO of Cerado (Moderator); Myles Bristowe, President of Boston American Marketing Association and CMO of Commonwealth Creative Associates; Michael Cayley, Founder of Social Capital Value Add; Jenny Ambrozek, Founder of SageNet; Erica Farthing, Director of Social Media for Condodomain.com

[Video coming soon]

  • Anything in marketing is a risk
  • Measure everything you can
  • You can measure so much more now than you could
  • Give your members a reason to join your network (for AMA is was to communicate with professionals in their field and get relevant information)
  • Instead of just having events or a newsletter, an online community offers value from the association or company every day
  • For AMA, in order to convert people from community members to Association members, there needed to be someone who reached out to them, they needed to find continual value, and they needed to participate in order to convert to membership.
  • Integrate the back end of your community for data capture
  • Most measurements are happening ad hoc, but creating a company picture with the most applicable measurements is key
  • Set realistic goals

Examining Social Media & Customer Services

Susan Getgood, Principal of Getgood Strategic Marketing

  • Your starting point is your customer
  • Customers are online talking about you
  • It’s about the social part.  The tool is just a medium and they’re changing every day
  • Public social netowkrs are where discussions are taking place
  • 85% of social media users say that companies should be online in a social networking way
  • It’s not just about outbound marketing, it’s about engagement and what the customers do once they reach you
  • 4 Ps of online engagement: Prepare, Participate, Pitch or Publish
  • Constistency, Honesty and Value

If you’re anything like me, you get inefficient when things aren’t organized. And if you’re anything like me, the number of networks/groups/randomness that I’m connected to online is huge, and can sometimes feel unwieldy. To me, better organization means more time and more focus of energies. I also know people who shy away from some of the great online tools because it’s “just too much.” What a pity, if only they streamlined it, it could be quite rewarding.

So I’ve devised a few ways that I organize my online life.

  1. Mimic your communities across platforms as much as possible
  2. With all the Twitters and the FriendFeeds and the Facebooks and the this-and-thats, how do you keep up? What I try and do as much as possible is make my communities the same across each platform. Most of them have ways of searching other platforms to see if some of your connections crossover. Remember, if you’re up on new place to be, a lot of them are too (or you’re getting referred to new places by them!). This way you communities are generally the same.

    To me, this means I don’t need to be so concerned about keeping everything, everywhere, immediately updated, or that I’m losing large portions of my network in one place, or that. Plus, the developers of “new things” know that there’s a switching cost for users, so they try and make that as easy as possible. This brings me to my next suggestion.

  3. Whenever possible, link your tools or communities together
  4. Most of the tools you’re using offer linking capabilities. Your Twitter will update you Facebook, FriendFeed will post your Diggs (and 34 other “things” you might be using).

    This allows you to kill two birds… or three…or ten… in one stone. Why WOULDN’T you do that? Usually this is in the preferences or settings tab.

  5. Read the website of each tool you use
  6. At least in my experience, these “things” can do a whole lot more than I think they can at first. So every time I get a new one, I spend 10 or 20 minutes reading about it, and reading reviews about it, so I have a much better handle of what it’s doing for me. Would you install a microwave without reading what all those darn buttons do? Well, ok, not gunna lie, I do that, but then again, maybe I’m not the most efficient microwaver (touche to myself…. and I don’t use the microwave much).

  7. Have one central place to organize the links
  8. The way I so this is old school. I have a folder on my bookmarks toolbar, labeled simply “Online Tools” (tricky, I know), and I have the links to all the networks or whatever right in there. When you get upwards of ten (which is low for some people!) you forget some sometimes. It makes for a pseudo To Do list. You can figure out the best way to do this on your computer depending on how you use it. The idea is just that there’s one place where their all cataloged and easily accessible.

The last two items I’d like to throw out have less to do with organizing your online life, but how to fit it enjoyably into your “real” life (you know what I mean).

  1. Make your online community into your “real” community as much as possible
  2. Many of the people you connect to online, you’ll know in person. But there may be a lot that you don’t (Twitter makes this very easy!). To make those connections more meaningful, try and meet up offline with as many people as you can, even it’s just for beers at a Tweet-Up (I missed one last night organized in part by Chris Brogan, who I’ve been following on Twitter. It seems that close to 30 people went).

  3. Unplug sometimes Last night, I went unplugged from 6pm onwards, and it was awesome. I read a magazine, made dinner and relaxed and my mind unwound. I highly suggest this to anyone

What tips do you have for organizing yourself online? Please comment below.

Also, I would like to extend this challenge to anyone. I’m only going to give you my Twitter name (just_kate), and see how many different places you can connect to me from (hint: I’ve mentioned a few tools above…..).

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