ROI and measurement


“Listening” graphics have a long way to go

blog world grafic

The big BlogWorld Expo was this week in Las Vegas and I was anxious to learn as much as I could about what was going on out there.

One of the outputs was the above image.  It’s supposed to tell us what conversations are going on and the relationships between the keywords.  I’m tiring of these ridiculous graphics.  Am I supposed to oooh and aaah that this graphically depicts that “Vegas” and “blogger” were the two key terms from this conference?  What insight does this chart really provide? And yet, I see more and more meaningless stuff like this every day.

I’ve been spending time studying the trends in social media monitoring and have been impressed with the rapid progress.  But there is still a lot of noise like this chart that really tells us nothing.  The fact is, the most meaningful keyword and sentiment analysis is all still being done MANUALLY.

For all the social media “listening” we’re supposed to be doing, we had better come up with better ways to show our company managment what’s going on.

Is social media the new corporate star-maker?

bewitched darrin

A few months back I did a fun interview with Susan Wassel, the social media voice for Sharpie pens.  Susan made me a believer. If you can bring pens to life over Twitter, just about anything is possible.

So here is a debate I have with my customers: Do you have a real person (like Susan) represent your company on social media or a corporate logo with a rotating line-up behind the scenes (like most companies)?

Susan represents the ying and yang of this argument.  On the positive side, she has built a faithful following of nearly 4,000 who tune in to hear the latest Sharpie adventures of her friends and family.  She is an enthusiastic, charming woman who has come to personify the brand online.

Now the downside.  Some day Sharpie Susan will move on.  Remember the feeling you had when they replaced the first “Darren” on Bewitched?   That was hard to take.  There was a pretender in the role.  I don’t want a SharpieKim or SharpieFred or even (gasp) SharpieDarren.  I want my SharpieSusan dammit.

This is the ultimate two-edged sword of establishing your company’s voice online.  What happens when a solitary person BECOMES the brand?  Where do all those followers go when your spokesperson leaves … and joins your competitor for more money?  Sure, the company will survive, but why make the investment in developing the talent when you don’t have to?  Avoid the risk.

If you’re a talented communicator with a great personality interested in being a corporate social media persona, this is great news by the way.  Becoming your company’s social media rockstar may be the ultimate job security.  Or, you might be sentencing yourself to social media hell. Do you really want to be the company Pat Sajak for the next 20 years?  Any way, we will certainly see a growing number of popular corporate bloggers whose importance and value to the company will grow exponentially.

To close the loop, my recommendation to my customers is to provide a real face to the world. Nobody wants to relate to a logo.  But I don’t have answers to the hard questions I’ve raised here, either.  Let’s hear from you on the subject …