Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Political Organizing for 2010 & Beyond

Reaching and Activating Voters with 
Social Media and the Next Web

by Mica Cardillo


Political campaigns are beginning to tap into the social graph, and they are doing so with a variety of  new technologies which leverage the supporter’s unique digital IDs (email addresses and/or mobile phone numbers) of supporters.  In conjunction with a strong Facebook program, individual campaigns can use these technologies to improve campaign efforts and build long lasting connections with supporters.  

Once the campaign has its supporter’s email addresses, cell numbers, and/or Facebook connections,  a whole new world of targeting, social media outreach, and polling is possible.  Organizing for America has mastered the art of collecting and leveraging this key information by couching it as a pledge of support for a particular issue, cause, or even to sign the President’s birthday card.  See latest example.  Notice that in addition to collecting the supporter’s name, email, mobile phone, they also ask for the address information needed to geo-code the supporter’s location.  Geo-location comes into play for targeting, blended events, and looking for patterns in data.  Additionally, the more data that can be appended or merged with an email address and/or mobile phone number, the greater the ability to micro-target messages on social networks and digital advertising networks.  

Expected Benefits of Social Organizing to Campaigns:
  • Improved awareness, trust, and lasting connections with voters.
  • Improved targeting.
  • Improved communication between supporters.
  • Increased ability to quickly reach supporters when and where they hang out online.
  • Reduced the overhead costs of collecting donations and encourage more frequent giving and smaller donations from those who might not otherwise give.
  • Increase efficiency and effectiveness in GOTV efforts.
  • Create a community that has lasting value (decrease costs of re-election).
  • Build something that does not end after Election Day (improves the candidate’s public relations and positive constituent involvement).

The Facebook Factor

If the campaign has not been actively collecting the digital ID (emails) of its supporters, another avenue for connecting with new supporters on the web is to deploy a comprehensive Facebook program.  The program should involve a personal Facebook account, a political Facebook fan page, Facebook advertising, proper frequency of messaging, timing of those messages, commenting on other people’s posts in the News Feed, “liking” other people’s posts, and proactively posting to the walls of the most influential supporters.  Additionally, one can send direct messages to “likers” that take on a more personal, urgent, or exclusive nature, such as to offer VIP tickets to an exclusive campaign event.

There are many technical quirks and points of confusion to contend with in maximizing one’s impact on Facebook.   Keep in mind there are two categories of connections in Facebook, “friends” and “likers.”   When someone “likes” a fan page, they are essentially subscribing to anything that occurs on that fan page wall.  When someone “likes” a post from someone’s personal account, however, they are not automatically becoming a friend of that person.    

Many of the candidates already have connections with hundreds or thousands of friends on Facebook  The challenge for the campaign is to reach and leverage both “friends” and “likers.”  One quirk with Facebook is that when a personal account has administrative connection to the campaign fan page, he/she takes on the persona of the fan page when posting updates or response to activity generated from that page.  In order to have fan page activity show up in the News Stream of the candidate’s personal friends, we need to remove the administrative connection between the candidate and the campaign fan page.   

The Roll of Social Networking and the Social Web

In the past, a lot of effort has been spent on building and then driving traffic to campaign’s official website.  However, the social web is changing this equation.  With Facebook, having friends and “likers” provides a powerful opportunity to stay fresh in the supporters News Feeds .  The News Feed has become one of the best places to have conversations and extend awareness of the campaign.  The News Feed is also the place where a compelling piece of content is more likely to go viral.  Every post in the News Stream includes an opportunity for people to comment and “like” the post, which in turn makes the post visible in his/her network of friends.

While everyone seems to agree that social networking is important, the majority of campaigns and businesses are doing a really poor job of being social and building relationships with their followers.  To address this problem for our campaigns, I am recording a series of short video tutorials on how to best use Facebook for political organizing.  These tutorials will help our campaigns and volunteers better understand, embrace, and leverage Facebook.  Additionally, I am providing hands-on coaching sessions to both individuals and groups.  Once we have actually learned Facebook really well, then I will start coaching campaigns on how to get the most out of other social networks such as Twitter.

Social network organizing should start out by leveraging existing contact database of supporters.   Here are notes on the subject:
  • Send reasonably short email blasts with social features embedded (the “Like” button) and other hyperlinks to the candidate’s social network accounts.  Do not pack everything into a long email newsletter.  Instead, publish extra information as a series of blog articles, Facebook notes, or custom Facebook tabs.   Then, use Hootsuite’s dashboard to update the Facebook walls and Twitter accounts with titles and shortlinks to the URLS where the content was published.  
  • Use existing bank of email addresses to do internal invites on Facebook and Twitter.  For supporters already on Facebook, this will decrease the friction of becoming a friend or “liker” down to a single click.
  • Make it easier for friends, “likers,” and followers to participate in conversations and share information with their friends.  Create fluid social experiences on the web.  Start by making sure the visitor can easily hop back-and-forth between all of the candiate’s online resources (blog, Facebook, Twitter, website, donation page, etc).  
  • Implement social plugins on  the campaign blogs and websites (commenting, ShareThis button, the “Like” box, and Tweet box)
  • More social network updates should occur during peak traffic volume (Facebook = weekend, Twitter = lunchtime on weekdays).
  • Note that social media does not occur in isolation from other marketing efforts.  The campaign is best served when it has a team that is tightly integrated across the entire marketing effort.  

Acquire New Friends, “Likers,” and Followers in Social Media:
  • Be social (participate in two-way conversations with friends and followers on social networks).  
  • Frequency of posting, comments, links, videos, and other content is critical to making sure the candidate remains visible in people’s News Feeds (Facebook) and Timelines (Twitter).   This is critical for enabling supporters to comment on the candidate’s posts.  Each time a supporter comments on an post in Facebook, it becomes visible in the newsfeed of all her/his friends.  Likewise, each time a supporter re-tweets a message, it shows up on the Timelines of all his/her followers.  However, depending on how many friends someone may have, your social update will flow downstream quickly and get lost.  The average Facebook follower has 140 friends, meaning that something fresh should be posted each day, and ideally when peak traffic occurs for that particular social network.  Twitter is an entirely different animal than Facebook, and requires a greater frequency of posts.
  • Post updates frequently, but not too frequently.  We must avoid annoying our followers, or they may unfollow the candidate or unlike the campaign.
  • For our local campaign efforts, at least one update or post per day.  Can alternate between candidate’s personal wall and campaign fan page.
  • Have your personal Facebook account do proactive socializing with at least two or three interactions per day.
  • Focus interactions during peak volume (Saturday, Sunday, and early weekday evenings).
  • Collect emails along with other useful targeting data via a custom “Subscribe” or “Join” tab on the campaign’s FB fan channel.  Of course, also collect email information on the campaign’s website and blogs.

Social Content Strategies:
  • Cater to the type of experiences people expect on a specific social networks.  Facebook, for example, should involve the use of images and videos as much as possible.  Twitter, on the other hand, should focus on making impact with just a few words or phrases, shorthand, Tweet lingo, texting lingo, abbreviations, shortlinks, and publishing a series of updates (in which meaning is derived from following the tweets over a period of time).
  • People on Facebook don’t necessarily want to leave the Facebook experience.  Provide supporters on Facebook with many opportunities to “like” and comment on your updates (thereby showing up in more people’s News Feeds) without always linking it to a website.
  • Another element of social is humor and fun.  Avoid being serious all the time.   Also, try to make it as fun as possible, when ever possible.  
  • Help steer “buzz.”
  • Build recognition, familiarity and trust with audience by posting regularly.

Social Advertising

Advertising on social media is an important part of a social media program.  Facebook ad campaigns are best leveraged if the focus is on getting the target audience to click the “like” feature.  The like feature is the number one priority when ad bids are reasonably priced.  If campaigns are expecting to use social ad platforms to activate key votes, the cost of those ad bids may increase as it gets closer to the election.  My recommendation is to get as much of your target audience on board as likers, way before you need to activate the vote.  Once you have them as likers, you can send direct messages in Facebook to remind them about specific actions, events, deadlines, etc.  Facebook’s ad platform offers at least eleven different targeting options, so the best thing is to just start testing ads with very specific audiences and then start re-allocating your budget to the ads that work the best.  If your ad is not adding to your rolls of likers after reaching 25 unique impressions per person, stop running the ad.   Its a waste of your impressions.  To dive any further into ad targeting on Facebook and/or mobile devices, I encourage you to contact me to discuss your unique campaign.

Data Management and Social Targeting for Local Elections

Campaign email and SMS management services have yet to be integrated with VoteBuilder or other GOTV tools, making it logistically inefficient for small campaigns to track, merge, and utilize social network data in GOTV efforts.  However, this should not preclude the campaigns from gathering the data and building community in social networks.  The data and social connections will certainly pay long term dividends.   I am confident that political strategists and technologists will get together soon and address the need for an integrated tool that helps campaigns manage everything from a single dashboard.

The Roll of Email and Email Management Services

The campaign with the most success in collecting and managing emails from existing supporters will have the best foundation for building community on social networks and reaching new voters throughout the campaign.  Emails are not just about sending out the latest news.  Email newsletters and “E Blasts” should be used strategically in terms of timing, frequency, the email’s title, the “calls-to-action” within the body of the email, the hyperlinks in the email, and now the integration of the “Like” button.  Campaign emails should be coordinated with social network messaging so that one does not detract from the other.  

The continued innovation of email management services and tools such as MailChimp are also making it possible to gather additional data and send out very targeted E Blasts to sub-sets of the email lists.   For example, MailChimp’s integration with RapLeaf gives the ability to automatically recognize which email subscribers are already on social networks, and which of those supporters have already started following the candidate on one of the big social networks.   This integration also allow for further segmentation by the specific social network (ie, Twitter).   People ascribe certain relationships and behaviors to different social network accounts, and those typical behaviors usually vary from one type of platform to another.  With Facebook, the average person expects photos to be a part of the core experience.  Twitter, on the other hand, involves only text and shortlinks to other resources.  The type of person who actively uses Twitter is more likely to expect and respond to text messaging on their cell phones.

With fragmentation will come focus. Inboxes are everywhere! From Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and the Web, more inboxes will increase competition [for their attention]. But this will also create opportunity for marketers to create targeted experiences as subscribers delegate certain functions and habits to different inboxes. – Stephanie Miller, on Clickz

As mentioned earlier, emails are also serving as unique digital IDs.  Emails are the key information needed to send out a mass group of friend requests from inside of a social network and is extremely valuable for seeding the candidate’s online community.   Large email databases present some technical challenges and must be broken into smaller chunks of data, formatted as a tab-delimited .csv files, and carefully uploaded to Facebook.  For Twitter, all of the above is true, except all of the contacts must first be uploaded to a major cloud-based email service like Gmail.  Twitter will then extract the emails from Gmail and determine which of those emails already have accounts on Twitter.  There are limits (determined by the way Gmail and Facebook have set up their databases) to the amount of emails and friend requests that can be activated at a given time.  Also, when uploading emails to Twitter, the entire Gmail contact list is brought over.  If uploading emails in chunks to Gmail, be sure to delete those Gmail contacts before uploading the next chunk of email data.

The Roll of Text Messaging

Effective mobile marketing brings a rich, personalized experience for voters.  Text messaging reaches over 85% of all mobile phones, and nearly 90% of those who receive a text message will read it.  SMS blasts are effective with campaigning, campaign events, polling, crowdsourcing, and activating the vote.  Campaigns who are not already collecting mobile phone numbers from supporters should begin doing so immediately on their website, Facebook, and event sign-ins.  Another possibility is running a phone bank via SMS.  A service from realGood Technologies already enables campaigns to run phone banks through a network of supporter’s cell phones, which reduces the need for volunteers to be physically present at phone bank location.

The ability to leverage text messaging with supporter’s smart phones is becoming more and more significant.  Google recently released numbers indicating the number of Android smart phones being activated each day is in excess of 200,000 units per day.  As smart phones begin to proliferate the market, text messaging becomes an even more important tool for calls to action and pointing voters to strategic campaign resources on the Web.


I recommend the use of SurveyGismo because it integrates with MailChimp and has an API for web developers.   There are other similar options also available.  There are also several options for SMS surveys, but more research needs to be done on which service provides the best polling options and API for integration with a future “social bank.”  I will publish an article specifically on this subject once I’ve done the groundwork.

Concluding Thoughts

This article only scratches the surface, as I could probably write an entire textbook just on using and leveraging Facebook.   Hopefully, I have provided some of the ammunition needed for political strategists, campaign managers, and candidates to embrace the social web.  Additionally, I want to start a conversation between political strategists and web technologists about the architecture of the tools we need to integrate real-time social data into voter targeting efforts.   I also highly recommend that campaigns start looking at social networking as a place to actually be social.  Too many small businesses, small political campaigns, and marketing professionals think of social media as simply an opportunity to publish highly scripted outbound messages and links to the campaign’s website.  

About the Author:

Mica Cardillo is Marketing Director at Trilobyte Games and the founder at Grizzly Peak EdVentures. He was previously the social organizing samurai at McHenry & Associates.  He lives in Phoenix, Oregon with his wife, daughter, and dog.  When he is not working, Mica enjoys getting outside with the family, learning about places, and learning new things.  He only reads non-fiction because he says “I’m literally never bored.  I never have enough time to satisfy my curiosity about how and why things work.  Its all just too interesting...more interesting to me than any novel.”

New Project Tease

The Author is working on a top-secret (almost), new project in the electronic gaming space. That's right, the lights are on in the skunk-works. Codhissatva is busy byte moving; marketing & operations maven (that would be me) is busy strategic planning; social network Samurai is busy architecting anticipation threads; and world-famous creative director is busy, well... being creative (when he's not playing golf). We'll be teasing this out over the next few weeks, starting now...right here.

Update: The 7th Guest was launched on Dec. 15th, 2010. The video below is our first "fan review." We are gratified with the response of our long-term fans and the marketplace in general. More to come.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Indie Pop Tunes

Updated the Indie Pop playlist on my YouTube channel. One of 15 playlists, this is where the newest "discoveries" go. With the usual attention to female vocalists. From Mumford & Sons, to Uffie and Net favorite Pomplamoose...the collection now numbers 34 videos.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MC Escher Panorama

Play with this! It's about time. I've been waiting for a talented artist/coder to render the fabulous graphic art of MC Escher into more accessible and user-involved models. My wait, it appears, is over.

Tribute to Escher in Barcelona

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Role of Social Network Organizing...

The Role of Social Network Organizing in Political Campaigns

by Charlie McHenry

Background:  The advent and proliferation of hand-held mobile "smart phones" with access to the Internet and email has changed the way America communicates. Paired with the explosion of participation in online, digital social networks like MySpace and FaceBook, a powerful set of new organizing and communication tools is emerging.  Savvy political campaigns are already leveraging the technology, indeed they led the way in many cases. One has only to look as far as, ActBlue or Democracy for America for case studies in social network excellence.

Importantly, it is predicted that by the year 2013 more Internet users will access the Net from their hand-held devices than from desktop PCs. Campaigns can now literally reach their base of supporters anytime, in any location.

Proposition: Successful political campaigns of the future will depend on the reach and power of the social networks on the Internet, leveraging these sites, services and hardware technologies that support them in a variety of creative, mission-critical ways.

Challenge/Objective: To strategically design and build an Internet and social network presence to provide a comprehensive and robust platform for organizing, fund-raising, canvassing, event management and GOTV. To use the platform in the most aggressive, technologically advanced and creative manner to win the campaign.

Caveat: Wise professionals and serious candidates appreciate the dangers of over-communicating. The tools discussed must be deployed with care and study, in a strategic manner. Reactions and feedback need to be monitored to ensure the desired results. Campaigns can talk too much, and that is sometimes a fatal flaw.

Discussion:  The Internet and bevy of new, social networking and metrics sites enable the flow of information in two directions: outbound and inbound.

Outbound strategies and communications are used to identify, cultivate and organize campaign supporters - the base.  These are conversations the campaign initiates and maintains with constituents. Conversations that are then continued, amplified and given voice throughout targeted social networks.

In most cases, outbound conversations are initiated from the campaign Web site; the candidate's blog; the campaign YouTube channel, FaceBook fan page or Twitter account. Begin with attention to "share" functions and opportunities. For example, the candidate's principal Web site should offer readers the opportunity to Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, or bookmark and share the site with Technorati. These are online, shared bookmark sites that allow other users to "find" and participate in your conversations.

Next, it is very important for campaigns to have mobile versions of their principal Web sites. Mobile sites take the content, links and branding from the principal site and adjust the data to conform to the smaller screens, touch-screen navigation, and positional aspect hand-held devices feature.  Standard sites often do not translate well to iPhones and other hand-held devices, so this piece is important to outbound communications.

Web sites, by themselves, are simply not enough anymore. Effective Internet communications requires multiple sites broadcasting information, all linked together, to maximize visibility, add "weight" and increase traffic. 

A candidate or campaign blog is an important additional piece.  Blogs are journals, they engage readers in different and compelling ways. They offer moderated comment fields to increase user engagement and provide a platform for discussion. And easy syndication through RSS feeds. Blogs contribute to Technorati ratings and referrals.  A minimum of two-to-three posts per week is necessary to keep blogs fresh and appealing to readers.

Perhaps most important, in the new social network space, is a presence on FaceBook. Over one-half of your targets, in most cases, will have a FaceBook profile and spend time on the site. Building and leveraging a FaceBook "fan page," then extending your messaging from that site through the network is an important component of social network organizing.

Twitter is another way for Candidates to communicate with their base, especially from the road and at events.  In the new world, news is first Tweeted to followers, then broadcast to the traditional media. Tweets can highlight appearances, and be used to fill the room.  They can be used to build anticipation, recruit volunteers, and provide short campaign updates.  Campaign ambassadors and evangelists can be instructed to re-tweet important news and include the campaign account on Follow Friday's.   We're still plumbing the depths of this extremely important new tool, but one thing is certain. Twitter is a necessary ingredient in successful campaigns.

Email action alerts coupled with SMS messaging are powerful organizing and communications tools.  Each has its role in a robust digital strategy.  It has become clear through practice that email alerts, tied to opposition statements and strategies, can be leveraged on multiple occasions during a campaign to encourage/motivate donations.  For example, if one candidate makes a statement supporting vouchers for public education in the course of a campaign stop; an email alert can go out the next day to teacher's union members and votes for whom public education is a high priority highlighting the candidate's position and soliciting donations to "...prevent the wholesale dismantling of the public education system."  Quick response, great targeting and compelling copy make this tactic successful in most cases.

Inbound information is leveraged to monitor external conversations about the candidate/issue and campaign. In this manner, campaign management can track trends, intercept rumors and intervene early on, and respond to criticisms when indicated and appropriate. The campaign can also monitor conversations to identify and recruit natural ambassadors and evangelists, then deploying these assets in key roles.

How does one build an online information monitoring system?  The good news is that there are plenty of building blocks to employ.  Google Alerts is a great place to start.  Google allows users to configure automated email alerts around selected key words.  It's not hard to see the potential.  Multiple permutations of key campaign words can be created with a Google Alert tied to each one, providing a wealth of information to sift through on a regular basis.

Twitter is another great tool for monitoring "outside" conversations.  Twitter has a great "search" function and a system of hash mark tags (preceded by #) that permit one to follow topics. Once topic to follow have been identified, individual users who post frequently on targeted topics can be "followed" to ensure a steady stream of real-world feedback.

Technorati's site ranks blogs and documents trends in blog posts.  It also has a search function and one can mine the data contained in the site for candidate or issue mentions in the blogosphere. In these ways, campaigns can keep track of the chatter...what the outside world is saying about the issues, candidate and race.

Implementation:  First things first. It is imperative to be proactive and assertive about collecting email addresses and cell-phone numbers (for SMS messaging) of campaign supporters and targets. 

Second, it is critical for campaigns to inventory their digital and personnel assets up-front to determine what is available for online use and who is ready to use it for the campaign.  That means the campaign communications manager/committee collects all images and graphics to be used in the campaign, all audio and video assets, issue-based information, party-based information, and the like and archives it after approval.

Next, build the principal campaign Web Site.  Avoid "Flash" and any elements that slow-down the page load.  Make the site clean, simple and easy to navigate.  Ensure there is a share and a donate button on the landing page - with links to the campaign blog, YouTube Channel and contact information. It goes without saying that consistent graphic standards across all campaign literature and online resources is essential to avoid dissonance, inconsistency and confusion.

Build the campaign blog. Link to all other on-line resources. Establish an RSS feed from the blog and make sure to use Technorati Tags, in addition to labels, on all posts. Each post should feature a share function at the conclusion of the article with all bookmark and social network sites accessible with a click.  So readers can bookmark the post on the Net and instantly share blog articles on their own FaceBook page or with their own Twitter account.

Open a campaign Twitter account and designate an individual or team/committee to monitor inbound data and manage outbound communications.  Make a strategy and a schedule for outbound Tweets.  Encourage supporters to Re-Tweet campaign Tweets.

Create a campaign YouTube channel for relevant video clips. Clips on YouTube can be embedded easily in blogs of all sorts (encouraging supporters to add clips to their own sites) and once uploaded, get a URL of their own for linking.  A YouTube presence with links back to the campaign Web site and blog add weight to both. Google search bots use "weighting" to determine the page rank.

Set up your campaign Internet monitoring model, leveraging the sites and services referenced previously.  There are additional metrics and analysis sites that will provide an even deeper view into the characteristics of your site visitors, blog readers and Twitter followers. To the extent possible, leverage these (free) resources as well.

Leverage user data:  to identify and recruit campaign ambassadors, evangelists, donors & volunteers;  for fund-raising campaigns and to identify supporters willing to hold events like candidate coffees; and to "discover" and confirm lawn- and field-sign locations.

Create blended events using the Internet to identify geographically proximate supporters, organize events, distribute agendas & literature, and collect donations.

Use Action Alerts judiciously to mobilize supporters for a variety of purposes from canvassing to LTEs and GOTV.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ten Steps to Integrate Social Network...

Ten Steps to Integrate Social Network Marketing into Business and
Non-Profit Organizations

Preface: Working with an original list created by Brian Solis of FutureWorks, a new media company, The Author has modified and redefined a few of the original bullet points, added background from his knowledge-base and experience; and, included the vital role of IT and data mining in effective Social Network Marketing.

Step 1. Discovery, validation, integration and documentation. The first stage of integration involves discovering and documenting information key to the process. For example, does the organization harvest and store customer/client information including email? How does the firm describe its community of interest? What are the "internal" conversations that underlie business processes in the company? What do the firm's key decision makers consider significant? What are their goals and objectives in the marketing and social networking space? Data gathered in this process needs to be paired with complementary information gleaned from "outside" conversations. These conversations can be monitored using Google Alerts, Twitter Search, PR Newswire's Social Media Metrics...amongst other tools. From these conversations, management can glean what is being said about the company; its products, services and positioning. Trends can be identified and described.

Step 2. Develop a plan. The process and findings in Step 1. are documented in a report designed to provide
the underlying, relevant data; analysis and interpretation of the data;
and, recommended objective-oriented action plans with suggested
timelines and monitoring. Key questions that need to be answered in
this stage include: What do you want your social network marketing to
do? How do you want it to 'work' for your organization? It is important to ensure that your organization's commitment to leverage social network marketing (SNM) is data driven, informed by the behavior of your marketplace, your business and your customers. One way to ensure that happens is to integrate this process into your data collection and mining efforts, involving your IT group in each step of the process. If you are a small business or non-profit, a thorough brainstorming session will assist you in making these decisions. A couple of examples come to mind. A downtown restaurant with a Facebook fan page and Twitter presence analyzed its data to determine which days were slow, then implemented a SNM customer incentive program around giveaways and discounts to fill the seats on those evenings. A local vineyard is using Twitter to turn out a crowd of adoring fans when the regional wine critic visits. The wine industry statewide is inviting Oregonians to tweet about their evening glass of wine, fine restaurants and good pairings; then, retweeting all of the individual tweets to create momentum around the state and the industry. It's not enough to have a profile, the key is a strategic plan.

Step 3. Establish a beachhead, engage your targets, test your platform and process. Take the plunge. In this stage, organizations are encouraged test the waters by defining the kind of presence they desire and creating a test-bed for strategic programs. Start with a presence and strategy for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. Later, you'll be adding the company web site, a new or updated blog, and additional social networking resources to your effort. But for now, just get the basic four (referenced) up-and-running.

Step 4. Socialize your presence. Join the conversation, as Solis advises. As you do, you begin to build community - while learning the rules of the road.

Step 5.
Establish your voice and a sense of purpose. Once you've begun the conversation, your company/brands need to find and exercise their voices - with a sense of strategic purpose.

Step 6. Act: Turn your words into actions - both inside and outside the organization. Because taking action moves people. Build momentum, show progress, refresh often.

Step 7. Build and manage conversations. As Solis says, " direct traffic and build perceptions." This step is key to facilitating the emergence of community - which is earned through shared conversations and shared experience. As your sense of community grows and your familiarity with key players is enhanced, reach out to potential ambassadors and evangelists to leverage their enthusiasm. Engage negatives with strategically crafted counter measures, including proactive messaging.

Step 8. Monitor, adapt and scale. Track program reach and effectiveness; monitor trends; and, scale the platform and programs to sustain and evolve. Involve the IT dept. in mining databases to identify new opportunities.

Step 9. Formalize with a sCRM program. Tie-in to IT and management Decision Support Systems (DSS). Integrate across business processes, including departments, brands, product lines and strategic partners.

Step 10. Metrics, analysis and reporting. Be real. Be data driven. Be transparent.

Credit (for the "bones" of this list): Brian Solis, FutureWorks. This guy's a genius.

Technorati Tags: marketing,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bankers - America's New Thugs

It's true. The new wise guys in the neighborhood are the big banks. The thugs roughing us up, shaking us down, and stealing our hard-earned dollars (think fees, charges and soaring interest rates) are Wall Street Bankers. You know the names: Citi; JP Morgan Chase; Bank of America; Wells Fargo; and of course, Goldman Sachs. These are the guys who destroyed our gold-standard economy through wildly speculative investment instruments paired with aggressive marketing in an grossly under-regulated environment. The same ones. These arrogant, masters of the universe bet heavily against their own instruments and ultimately profited from our loss. That, after begging for and receiving the largest bailout in history. Our thanks for the material support we provided? Frozen credit, a refusal to loan, and, obscene bonuses. Uh-huh.

So it turns out this financial calamity was foreseen, predicted by presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Just watch this blistering video and see what you think. Thanks, Air America, for the vid.

Technorati Tags: Banks, Finance, Economics

Friday, January 8, 2010

Learn to Speak Tea Bag

It's easy. You can do it. Doesn't take long at all. Just about a minute-and-a-half to be precise - thanks to the video below. The animated cartoon, BTW, is courtesy of Mark Fiore, the master of the art form according to the Wall Street Journal.

I'm sharing this video with Pop Impulse readers because it has generated an inordinate amount of death threats. That's right, conservative right-wing Republican teabaggers are very upset. And they want Mark (and you) to know they'll kill anybody who scorns their pitiful positions or makes fun of their ignorance. You remember the famous pic of the guy with a mullet holding a sign calling Obama a "moran?"

You see, the thing about Democracy is that it effectively puts power and authority in the hands of the "common" citizen. If a culture is not committed to education, honesty and transparency, it is easy for wealthy interests to exploit, deceive and manipulate the masses.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hand Held Mobile Devices Rule

Personal computing has given way to digital communications and connectivity, on whatever platform is the most convenient and robust at the moment.

Most of us have a "base" desktop computer at home or work -- where we store our personal and business data that is not already in the cloud. Our "personal computer." This machine is also where a lot of our heavy-metal applications reside. It is no longer, however, where most of our actual work gets done. That would be on our mobile devices, hands down. As the editor of said in an April blog post: " computers grow smaller, they are 'disappearing' into the devices that they power, everything from automobiles to netbooks to mobile phones."

That trend will intensify, with the addition of new hardware (think: tablets) and a storm of new, low-cost applications. The battle to watch, therefore, will be between iPhone and Android-based devices - rather than the continuous and familiar struggle amongst chip-makers or OS providers. They are so "last century."

Part of this generational revolution in technology is the convenience and functionality delivered by the new model. Need to do...anything? "There's an app for that." This emphasis on meaningful, new functionality is driving the market. It impacts traditional notions of web communications and has implications for designers, marketers and managers.

I've been reading a lot of "mobile marketing" articles recently, and though I agree it is an important and exciting new market communications and design professionals need to serve, I've not been reading much about the evolution of the model that is driving the explosion in mobile communications and connectivity. I would argue that it is the "functionality," not necessarily convenience or portability that is the engine of this change. There's a reason that the revolution is being sold with the tag line: "There's an app for that." Ultimately, this trend will change the face of computing and impact even the biggest players - like the search engines. As Clint Boulton put it in e-week,
But first-things-first. Businesses and organizations need to immediately pair their traditional web sites with new sites optimized for mobile devices. That is a given, and an urgent mandate. We've all experienced the frustration of dealing with sites that are not optimized for our hand-held devices: the unintentional linking, new windows launching, and navigational nightmares. No one should be surprised.

User interface design is a science involving human factors engineering and ergonomics. Platform-based behaviors, size constraints, hardware challenges and opportunities are all part of the equation. The best and most effective corporate and organizational sites feature mobile device-optimized versions. It's that simple.

Savvy business strategists will also be looking at leveraging the enhanced functionality offered by mobile, hand-held devices. These devices can communicate; display information in stunning HD color with multiple scrolling options; store Gigabytes of digital audio, video, image and application files; and effectively serve as a mobile office and connectivity hub. Most have cameras, many now offer GPS. The most successful mobile sites and applications will leverage these capabilities and address all of these roles, by providing meaningful new functionality. I'm pleased to be a participant in the industry at this moment, and look forward to contributing to this technology and market evolution.