Tag Archives: blogging

Awkward Silence: Recovering From a Social Media Content Lull

Okay, so it happened. Our blog has been silent for six-months, and despite what we tell our clients about planning and teamwork and the importance of keeping momentum, we blew it. It took a potential client who decided not to talk to us because our social media had “flat-lined” to be hit over the head with it.

If a social media marketing firm can’t keep it going, then who can?  Our reasons (excuses) are the same you might have- lack of resources, clients come first, and always a lack of time. We have no shortage of ideas, and we have always had a sustainable content strategy, but we lost our way.

When we started this blog in 2008, we posted twice/week, then went down to once/week, and finally, maybe more like once/month. I assigned writers from the internal team, I found guest bloggers occasionally, but in the end, it fell to me, the face and voice of the company, to get it done. Today, when I heard that the prospect passed on us, I was truly humbled. Our ability to keep their content going for the long-term is brought into question.  I could only agree with their decision to pass.

Now that I have confessed,  what can I do about it? How can we redeem ourselves and build trust for new clients to see? The only way I know how: own it and make good on it.

So, as I drove back to the office to write this post, I decided to use this learning experience for a series of posts that help marketing professionals keep on track.

I plan to address the following:

  • How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?
  • What have other companies done and have they regained their position?
  • What are realistic goals for small shops?
  • Why you MUST get back on the horse.

If you have a story to share, contact me. I’d love to hear it.

Now, finally, I am going to push the publish button and finally get back on the horse.

How Can Quora Fit Into Your Social Media Marketing Toolbox?

Now that you know all about Quora and how it works, Weber Media Partners gives you three ways that it can help you and your business manage and build its online reputation.

1) Monitoring Your Brand

Quora is a unique way to monitor your brand’s online reputation. The site’s “Account Settings” provide a comprehensive list of options for e-mail notifications. You can choose to receive e-mail messages alerting you to new questions and answers, actions of specific users, and summaries of actions relating to a specific topic. Silicon Valley analyst Jeremiah Owyang recommends tracking brand and product mentions, for it is “likely if one customer is asking questions in Quora, it’s an indicator others are too.”  He further suggests escalating recurring questions or problems to the correct group within the company.

Weber Media Parents agrees, and we would be happy to work with you to develop a Quora monitoring program. We’ll help you identify FAQs, desired product or service changes, potential blog topics, or other industry trends. Contact us for more information.

2) Sharing Your Expertise

You and your colleagues know a lot about your industry – why not share this wealth of wisdom? Since corporate accounts are not possible, companies should instead encourage interested and knowledgeable parties to set up Quora accounts, identify themselves as employees, and comment on questions in their chosen area of expertise. Quora gives employees the opportunity to share valuable information with their contemporaries across the globe, and perhaps even become thought-leaders on a given topic.

These experts can be powerful spokespeople for the company, but they can also cause headaches if they are not given the proper guidelines from the beginning. A meeting among managers and the marketing team to establish ground rules – such as style guides, the discussion of new product details, or non-work-related submissions – is highly recommended before introducing Quora to the social media plan.

3) Responding to Your Customers’ Queries

Quora revolves around questions and answers, making it a powerful customer service channel. Mashable blogger Heather Whaling singles out Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom as one user who is performing this task particularly well on the site. Systrom, who created the popular iPhone photo app, provided in-depth answers to a number of questions about his company. Thanks to his clear authority and knowledge, his responses have shot to the top spot on the pages. By answering his customers’ questions thoroughly and openly, Systrom has both ensured that the correct information is distributed and garnered good will for himself and his company.

The Weber Media team is excited about this newest tool, and we hope you are, too! Share your thoughts on Quora here or via Facebook or Twitter. And please let us know if you have any questions about integrating Quora and social search into your social media marketing program.

Quora: The Social Search Engine

It’s 2011, and Quora has emerged as the latest social media tool that has marketers buzzing. The site, which was launched in January 2010 with Facebook’s former Chief Technology Officer serving as co-founder, has already attracted significant attention from the top social media blogs and from venture capitalists. Quora’s innovative “social search” is being touted as “future of blogging“ and “much, much bigger than Twitter.”

Yet what exactly is Quora, and how can it fit into your social media marketing strategy? Weber Media Partners will answer these questions in a two-part series. Today, we will introduce this increasingly popular new search site. On Friday, we’ll take you through the three ways Quora can help your business.

What is Quora?

Let’s start with the basics. Quora defines itself as “a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” Users can search the site for specific questions, browse questions by category, or post questions that have yet to be posed by a user. All users can also contribute to the answers, responding themselves or “voting up” their preferred response. Registration is free, and it is easy to connect your Quora account to your Facebook and Twitter profiles, and your blog.

Quora is a powerful tool, but it is not the most user-friendly one. The best way to learn is to practice. After creating your account, start following topics of interest to you. To do this, simply begin typing the topic into the search bar and select from the resulting list. Once you follow a topic, questions relating to the topic will appear in your activity stream (similar to your Twitter stream or Facebook news feed).

The next step after selecting your topics is to post answers or questions of your own. Click on the image at right to see an example of a Quora question and answer page. The answers appear on the page in descending order based on user votes (e.g. “up” votes make an answer rise up the page) and the author’s previous record (e.g. the higher their previous posts, the higher their answers appear).

The Quora team is quick to note that it has protections in place to prevent users from “gaming” the system, and thus negating the accuracy and value of its content. In addition to monitoring its users’ submissions, Quora requires you to use your full name to register. While it encourages users to share titles and employers as a way of verifying the source of the knowledge provided, the site does not permit the establishment of business or brand accounts. Quora has been actively removing accounts that violate this policy, including the blog Mashable‘s account. There are currently no plans to add this feature to Quora.

To learn how this new tool can help your business as part of your social media marketing plan, check back with us on Friday for the second half of our Quora series. And as always, share your thoughts here or via Facebook or Twitter.

Blogging Your Way to Happiness

There’s been a lot of interest in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project which was published in late 2009 and became a #1 New York Times Bestseller. The book is a memoir of the year Gretchen spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from the popular culture about how to be happy–from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah.”

As a blogger, and someone who derives a great deal of pleasure and happiness from blogging, I loved the part of the book where Gretchen describes launching her blog.

While my blog posts usually have more of a business focus on topics such as social media marketing, I wanted to take this opportunity to share Gretchen’s perspectives on blogging—mostly because I identify. And, because I often talk with people who are contemplating starting a blog and wondering how it will be for them. These passages describe my experiences so perfectly. I believe that if you want to blog, once you get through the initial steps,  you too will reap the benefits which come from blogging.

In Gretchen Rubin’s words from The Happiness Project:

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3 Tips for Something or Other Social Media Related

where's waldo

Three social media tips which may seem obvious on the surface, but can easily be overlooked.

Tip #1: Our Minds aren’t Computers or Smartphones
Like great writers of all times, carry a notebook with you wherever you go. 
When an idea or a line comes to you, write it down, otherwise you may lose the pearls of wisdom you had been writing in your head. 

My favorite notebooks are moleskin. I have them in lots of different colors and sizes. If you’re not familiar with moleskin their claim to fame is how for two centuries they’ve been “the legendary notebook of artists, writers, intellectuals and travelers.” I keep a small one inside my bag with a mini pilot G-2 pen. I’m always pulling the journal out and making a notation. Recently I’ve started using my iphone for quick notes too, but sometimes there’s nothing like a quick scribble in my moleskin. For some inspirational uses of moleskin journals check out these stories.

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Impressions through Media Blog Celebrates 1st Birthday

Our first blog post appeared a year ago this week. Even though we started with a mission, objectives and a carefully crafted plan—like many new endeavors, sometimes you don’t know what to expect.

Years back I’d been a fan of old Bette Davis movies, and to this day I can still hear her say (in All About Eve), “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

Blogging is a GREAT ride, and here at Impressions through Media, we’ve become passionate bloggers.

Thank you to our loyal readers, new visitors, guest bloggers—and to the vast blogosphere where we continue to learn and exchange information, and stumbleupon new blogs (literally and figurately.)

If you’re on the fence about starting a business blog, believe me, take the leap—it’s a great way to be part of the conversation, and well worth your time and energy!

If you’re already a blogger, we’d love to hear about your experiences!

hello world, Belated BlogDay Wishes

I’m not usually one for belated Birthday cards. For me, it’s more meaningful to  acknowledge the birthday on the actual day. But as we know, it happens.

BlogDay 2008

August 31st was the 4th BlogDay– a day when bloggers were encouraged to find 5 new blogs they find interesting, and to notify the 5 bloggers that you’re recommending them as part of BlogDay 2008. So, I’m sending these belated wishes and to express my gratitude to the countless bloggers from around the world, who I read, communicate with in one way or another, and to the ones I haven’t yet discovered.

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and my education in social media wouldn’t have happened as rapidly as it has, if not for all the bloggers who’ve come before me– who’ve shared their knowledge, two cents, and recommended valuable links and resources. Special thanks to all the bloggers who create unique content,  those who put their own unique spin on it–and all of the folks who’ve been out there conversing, even when they aren’t sure if anyone is listening.

I remember the first time I saw the words “hello world” on my clunky ms-dos based PC in the late 80’s.  Then a few years later,  I saw those words again on the trail-blazing websites I visited through the browser, Netscape Navigator.

The world has become much smaller as a result of the internet, our wireless connections and mobile devices. Every person who publishes content can have their own voice and niche perspective–can say “hello world” as often as they like.  But just because we can communicate in a flash, across oceans and languages, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should.

As Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis write in their book, Now is Gone:

The Internet’s littered with failed corporate blogs and discontinued social media initiatives. Many simply can’t think of new, interesting content to post, and with the time necessary to commit to a blog, many simply decide to stop. Content creators must diligently engage the community with appealing content for the life of the new media initiative, not just for the first few months. Having a unique look helps catch the reader’s eye. Keeping them there requires a constant creation of appealing content that only comes with a significant time and thought commitment.

In the spirit of BlogDay, I’d also like to thank all of the bloggers whose posts we’ve included on our delicious list,  blogroll, and others who we’ve linked to– and those who have linked to us.  Special thanks to Merlyn Sanchez for the honorable mention on her insightful blog, Smart Business Owners.

Content creation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, we need one another.

If you missed out on BlogDay, it’s not too late–you can tell us about bloggers you’d like to acknowledge!

ScribeFire Takes Blogging One Step Further

Sometimes when I find information on news sites and blogs which I’d like to share with our readers–I want to do it before it escapes my mind.

ScribeFire Blog Editor is an extension for the Mozilla Firefox Web Browser which integrates with FireFox and your existing blog software, to let you “drag and drop formatted text from pages you are browsing, take notes, and post to your blog.” I was able to get ScribFire set-up and working with our wordpress blog in no time–and the best part, no snafu.

ScribeFire Blog Editor makes posting a draft, or final piece, a very easy process–and one I’m excited about. In a recent post I described different types of blog writers, and as much as I’d like to be someone who has several works-in-progress at a time, I’m more the “epiphany writer” who taps away on my keyboard when inspiration strikes.

I think with ScribeFire I may make better use of my time and be more productive. Sometimes it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I have hope!

Are you using ScribeFire-what have your experiences been like?

Strategies for Blogging

strategy

I find people like Jeremiah Owyang a true inspiration– for his originality, innovation and sticked-to-it-ness. Jeremiah is a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research’s Social Computing and focuses on Social Computing for the Interactive Marketer. He’s been writing the widely successful Web Strategy Blog which celebrates its second birthday this month. In a recent post, Jeremiah describes his blog strategy.

In particular here’s what I like most about Jeremiah’s focus:

  • Creating “how to” posts which can serve as a resource
  • Budgeting time in the morning through “paying himself first” by researching, reading, and writing blog posts…before “diving into email hell”
  • Joining in the conversation on newer and older posts
  • Developing mainstay type posts (e.g. his digest series, index lists and on the move series which he says helps to reduce his time coming up with constant original ideas)
  • Having passion about his web strategy work
  • At the end of Jeremiah’s post he asks “So what’s the future to hold? Well for one, I’m starting to ask people to follow me on Friendfeed.”

    To be honest my immediate reaction was—oh no, not another thing I have to keep up with! But I got over it fairly quickly. Hey, we can jump into Friendfeed together.

    P,S. If you’re already using it, we’re curious–what are your impressions of Friendfeed?

    Blogging for Smarties

    cartoon of shakespeare deciding whether to blogIt was in the upper 90s the other day here in Boston and to get out of the sun while I was waiting to meet a friend, I ducked into one of my favorite bookstores, Brookline Booksmith.

    On the bottom shelf of the computer section (yes, I do browse computer books) was one of those For Dummies books, this one all about blogging, Blogging for Dummies. After I read the front and back cover, I did what I almost always do– look for the publication date. As you well know, the world of technology changes every second, and computer books can become outdated while you’re standing on the check-out line.

    I was pleasantly surprised to learn it is the second edition of the book and launched in February 2008– and even more delighted to discover what a great resource it is.

    If you’re new to Blogging, or even if you’ve been around for awhile, there’s a lot of information packed into this book. The authors, Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley, practice what they preach and maintain a blog with some informative posts. They also know how to do some great viral marketing– the table of contents and first chapter are available online in pdf format.

    Let’s get back to my point about books becoming out-dated. I should clarify that there are always some great classics on a topic like blogging, one being Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright published in 2006. In chapter 5, “What type of blogs are best for your company,” the author discusses the top seven types of business blogs and personalities who he describes as– The Barber, The Blacksmith, The Bridge, The Window, The Signpost, The Pub, and The Newspaper.

    Seven Types of Business Bloggers

    I love Wright’s examples:

    • The Barber as a prominent citizen, who knows the people and has wisdom from years of listening to customers.
    • The Blacksmith, knows the industry and is typically inside a company and is thus hammering industry and opinion through the company forge.
    • The Bridge, a blogger who makes connections, influences and helps bring people together.
    • The Window blogger similar to the blacksmith who works in the company, but this type of blogger talks about things inside and outside the company.
    • The Signpost blogger doesn’t share her opinions, instead points out cool things of interest in her industry.
    • The Pub blogger creates discussions designed to bring in people from all spectrums of a particular issue to talk through something.
    • The Newspaper blogger functions in many ways like a journalist-attempting to do more reporting then opining, doing her best to stick to the facts.

    Okay, I’m going to be the voice of the Signpost blogger here and tell you my opinion, I think smart businesses embrace writing and reading blogs!

    And like a good Pub blogger I’m going to create a discussion here and ask you– what you think about the role of blogging in business? If you’re already a blogger which of Wright’s personality types best matches your blogging style? Or if you’re starting out, who do you hope to be?