This is a guest post by Robert Purcell. Robert is a member of the IIA Social Media Working Group which seeks to support businesses in the development of strategies for engaging with social media. As Marketing Manager for Post Consult International Ltd. (PCI), Robert’s main focus is developing the marketing and product strategy for the company’s Security Solutions offered under the corporate brand, Post.Trust. Post.Trust is a national-level Certificate Authority, wholly owned by An Post, providing security solutions that enable organisations to communicate with one another more securely and confidently in a trusted environment. You can find him on LinkedIn or @robgerard on Twitter.
Engage! Revised and Updated: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web
Brian Solis (Author), Ashton Kutcher (Foreword)
The second edition of Engage! written by social media thought leader Brian Solis really is a fascinating read. I haven’t read the first edition, but this instalment focuses more on enabling you to design a new media engagement program specific to your business and your customers. It empowers you to develop metrics and KPIs to measure the success of your activities and translate that data into bottom-line benefits. As anyone who has ever tried to champion a social media program within their organisation knows; the first question you are asked is, What’s the ROI of social media? This book will help you answer that question.
A word of warning though – Engage! is not a book you can pick up and read from cover to cover. Sections of the book are quite dense and academic – but then isn’t that what you would expect a Complete Guide to be? The book doesn’t define its target audience but whether you are new to social media or experienced in social media marketing, this book has plenty of substance and will serve as a source of reference in your social media activities. As Solis says, this is an opportunity to “hit ctrl-alt-del and restart with a fresh perspective”.
The book starts by defining social media and introducing the arsenal of social media tools available for creating touchpoints across the Social Web. It explores building a framework to amplify the visibility of your social objects, extending the reach of your online presence to new audiences, and defining the end game, ultimately guiding people to action through participating, listening and engagement.
Solis reminds us that understanding the rules of engagement is critical in this new world of socialised media. It’s about training and putting the necessary policies and guidelines in place to ensure everyone is singing from the same hymn book. The latter part of the book looks at the realignment and restructuring the organisation as part of this socialisation process. Finally, it focuses on the management of this social media activity; how to track, measure and translate that social data into tangible value for the business.
Solis discusses the concept of unmarketing as one of the most effective forms of marketing in this new genre of socialised media and really unmarketing underpins the ‘How’ organisations should use Social Media. Marketing is no longer about broadcasting brand messages – it’s about embodying the characteristics of your brand, being an active participant in the conversation, contributing value to earn relevance, build influence and create brand advocacy and loyalty toward a desired outcome.
At times, reading the book was a bit of a slog and I found myself going back over passages each time I picked it up because there was a lot to absorb. But on the whole, I found it uplifting and insightful, reaffirming my understanding of the real power of Social Media – so stick with it. Solis’s voice comes through the words on the page, inspiring the reader to embrace the social web, to champion new media engagement and become the expert to drive change within the organisation. The book is ‘peppered’ with frameworks, methodologies and tools to assist you in your journey towards building a two-way information bridge between the organisation and the online communities in those networks you choose to participate.
As Solis says, “The future of business is social”. Social Media cannot be confined to one person or department. The entire business must socialise. Organisations must embrace and ride the social wave or risk being engulfed by it.
“The greatest advantages of social media reside in its ability for worthy individuals and companies to shape perception, steer activity, incite action, and adapt to the communities that establish the market. Engage or die.”
While I was on leave* the IIA Online Marketing Working Group produced a series of guides to Online Marketing and they are well worth a look for the both the new business owner and the seasoned marketer. The guides are easy to read and to the point and I, for one, have a little refresher course planned.
Here’s a listing of what’s on offer from the Online Marketing Working Group:
- Content is Still King
This article provides you with the fundamental guidelines for writing for the web, enabling you to take control of your company’s online content and communicate your brand more effectively.
- Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning
A framework to help align and structure your digital marketing strategy and planning.
- Tips for eNewsletter Content
A guide to creating and writing great email newsletters.
- Tips for Video Content
How to create compelling & successful videos as part of your digital marketing strategy.
- Web Content Inverted Pyramid
Guidelines for writing for the web.
Check them out now in the Resources section of the IIA website. These resources are member only: if you would like to join and get immediate access to these resources please do!
If you find however that you are the type of learner who needs instruction an upcoming IIA event might be just the ticket for you. On 3 December the IIA in association with Irish Times Training are running Twitter and Facebook for Business. This day long seminar will help you learn how to build the visibility, reputation and profits of your business online using Facebook and Twitter. This seminar takes an in-depth look at case studies of Irish and global businesses using Facebook and Twitter effectively to enhance customer service, attract more business and boost bottom line profits. This seminar is being delivered by Krishna De who regularly shares Facebook tips on her blog.
*By the way I am full time again since Monday so don’t be a stranger!
The IIA International Strategy Working Group had their inaugural meeting last month and they were straight out of the starting blocks!
Many Irish organisations are already generating significant revenues from International markets, but could we help you improve on this and how are you performing compared to the market?
The IIA International Strategy Working Group will be holding a seminar in the Autumn to help organisations better tap into international revenues using the Internet. In advance of this seminar, called “Growing international revenues using the Internet”, we are looking to identify how we can best meet your areas of interest. It would be great if you could complete our short survey.
Your responses are private and anonymised and will only be used by the IIA and the working group for this purpose.
Check back later in the summer for more details of this event. The Working Group will also post here regularly to keep you updated.
One thing that many of the delegates at our previous congresses asked about was the chance to get some one-on-one advice about website strategy. As the IIA is a member-driven organisation we take these suggestions seriously and so this year we developed a brand spanking new feature of Congress 2008. This year we bring you Web Strategy Clinics! We have organised 5 different clinics with experts from among our membership. These clinics will allow you to sit down for half an hour and pick their brains on your choice of the following:
You need to register for the clinic of your choice* and give some details about your current situation so that you and the expert can kick off and waste no time on formalities. If you leave a comment below saying “hellohowareyou!” you can consider that done and get right into the meat of it!
* You can attend as many as you like – you’ll just have to register for each seperately. Enjoy!