Social media toolkit: I have been complicating things far too much

Any of you following my blog posts recently will have seen my vague attempt to create a simple social media toolkit for people to use in order to join in the fun.

Whilst on holiday in Kenya, I spoke to lots of people about the stuff I do, particularly this: www.justicefortom.com.

Many of them considered themselves novices in all things web, and certainly thought that Web 2.0, or social media, was beyond them (except for Facebook, of course!). So, over many suppers with a variety of people I explained that it was not a thing, rather a more effective use of online communities – and your interaction with them. (I am a fascinating guest).

The theory behind your web presence is no different:

1. What are you wanting to do?

2. Who are you doing it for?

Now you need to find out where the communities are that exist online already. At this point I recommend you use a listening service such as Addictomatic. (In a previous post I have explained how to use this – although it is really simple so you don’t need to read the post unless you love my prose so much you can’t get enough – understandable of course :))

Once you have spent some time listening, finding the places where your target market are already conversing and collaborating, you can then begin to join in the discussion. This will enable you to really understand how you can effectively meet the needs of your audience and refine your own offering online accordingly.

At the same time as doing this, you are establishing a solid piece of online real estate – proving that you are not just shoving stuff out there. People will begin to recognise you if you join in the conversations online, (the simplest way of doing this is by commenting on blogs – yes it is that simple).

Finally, you need to start your own conversation.

An example

Let me run through the Soy Sambu conservancy online offering:

Kat Combes, the Director of the conservancy, had set up a website and was looking to start a blog to:

  • raise awareness of what the conservancy was doing
  • attract funds
  • share experience and learn from others

Kat is web savvy, however considered setting up and running a blog way beyond her abilities. In fact the more she googled, the more scared she became. I sat with her for about an hour and ran through Addictomatic and WordPress; showed her how I manage my own blogs and how simple it actually was – even for the technically impaired like myself. We then created the conservancy blog and I walked away. Kat has since then played extensively and here is the fruit of her labour: http://soysambuconservancy.wordpress.com/

Now, the blog will stay pretty much as it is, whilst Kat ‘listens’ using Addictomatic and a variety of key words. However, please do comment and send links to any other websites that you think would be good to look at, and keep an eye on how it grows from here (on the conservancy blog of course not here!).

Whilst talking about the conservancy site, Graham Vetch – the manager – spoke about how the conservation was not just about the land and animals, but also about the people living there. How part of the challenge was to take the indigenous people from poverty to self-sufficiency. He is frustrated as he has many plans and is not sure where to start. Now this is where I believe blogging really can come into its own. We discussed how Graham could just throw his hat on the ground, sit down and start blogging about his plans  taking us with him on his journey.

Now this will achieve two things:

  1. Share a journey that could help numerous communities and community managers
  2. Give Graham access to feedback on his plans – enabling him to find out where to start and learn from others’ experience

I am very excited about this and as soon as we have set it up – I will show you.

So, the tool-kit?

Addictomatic and WordPress are the tools I recommend for the moment. However, it is less about the tools and more about changing the way you think about your online presence – use the community, share your knowledge, take people on your journey with you rather than simply talking about it after it is done.

How can you use Addictomatic?

New fave tool referred to in previous post is: Addictomatic

I have had a few private messages about how it might be used in corporate (or other) comms, so here’s my 2pth – please do add/alter/moan.

How to use it

Put in a keyword | Hit Create | Read the category results

(Whoever said that I was not the most useful girl on the planet?)

Easy right? (Not me, Addictomatic.)

Think first

It is very easy to get distracted. The first time I used it I was needing to listen to what the www was saying about printing and how collaborative tools could be best used to increase the value and relevance of offline printing. I tried all sorts of keywords that made sense to me: online printing, printing collaboration, printing, printing new… you get my drift – I was being a bit rubbish. Anyway, quickly tiring of the results, I decided to Addictomatic me – shockingly poor results, then my online persona: mulquem, similarly cr*p, then onto people I know, stuff I liked, er even things on my desk… hmmm displacement activity at its best.

Tips

1. Be focussed before you enter the url into your toolbar

2. Have a series of options for keywords you think will work

WARNING: THERE IS NO ACCOUNTING FOR MISSPELLING: IF YOU SPELL YOUR KEYWORD/S INCORRECTLY, ADDICTOMATIC WILL NOT CORRECT IT

3. SCROLL there is lots of good stuff below the line on the results page

4. Explore – click through on the group footers, where it says ‘more at…’

This will give you a wealth of information to digest, conversations to listen to and show you places where you might like to build your profile, or begin to engage.

That is enough for now.

I feel as if I have competely ruined the simplicity of a cool listening tool, a bit like this Microsoft/Apple battle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeXAcwriid0 apologies 🙂

Emma the apologist

After having written about the tool kit we are preparing, I have gone horribly quiet, whilst many of you have been being deliciously helpful in the comments here.

Do not fret, I have not vanished off the face of the earth, I am making sure that I do not screw up the next step.

I will update this blog as I inch forward, but what has become clear is how much is being done by Steph Gray in DIUS – and I need to assimilate this, rather than dupe effort. (Proving harder to achieve in real life than you would think!) Steph and I run around each other in ever decreasing circles, so hopefully next week I will be at stage two.

Two things that bring me comfort:

1. Looking at where we are now and where we want to get to in departmental communication online; is the ‘stuff’ I am doing going to get us to where we want to be? Yes. (Phew)

2. The first step to take in collaborating in the social media space, is to listen. Oli Barrett showed me easily the simplest listening tool I have found to date: addictomatic. The only downside being that you can only listen to one ‘keyword’ at a time – good way to filter what you are really trying to achieve. So, you can either have many people listening, or you use a multiple listening tool like Pageflakes. Pageflakes requires a teensy amount of technical knowledge (to make it look good mainly) and I can recommend Dave Briggs as a good person to set one up for you in about… er half a day 🙂

So, I am getting there. It is complicated – by the day job as well as the wealth of information available.

Even better news is that Beth Kanter and I have touched base… I will keep you updated.

Next week I will also update my roll call, as I have recently received several formal complaints (sorry!)

Update sinning: sorry I do know the rules, but I have just realised that I posted without checking my reader first. Jeremy Gould has talked about both things I have mentioned here on his Whitehall Webby blog – h/t