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.

Newspapers are dead long live journalism – or somesuch

Last night I watched a live stream thing on Frontline called: Media talk – Print online: making it pay. You can watch it here http://www.frontlineclub.com/club_videoevents.php?event=2387

It was good, so good that I have been thinking about it on and off ever since I watched it. The basis of the discussion was initially blogger vs desktop publishers. How the hell can we transfer the superb journalism supplied by print newspapers, to online? Alongside the question about whether blogging is a recognised form of journalism, and if so, how to make cash.

This was interesting, but what piqued my interest most was the argument about brand, and how valuable that can be. Paul (Guido) argued that although a print media brand: Telegraph etc might be strong, the value of Jeremy Clarkson, for example, is equal to if not more effective a ‘brand’ online. If people want fun news about cars, they will subscribe to JC (no pun intended), rather than any strongly branded offline publication about motoring, whether it is available online or not.

Made me think. I read the free newspapers (not represented at the talk, sadly) on the train, I read the online newspapers at work, and at the weekend I buy the Sunday papers to read all through the week. I subscribe to the blog feeds that interest me, and more recently those that interest you. This is enough, I make an active decision when buying the paper, signing to a blog feed or grabbing a Metro, but it has nothing at all to do with brand. At all.

So, this discussion was not so much about journalism, or print, or profitability, it was an exercise in ignoring the elephant in the room: the value of brand in this new great age.