Monday, July 28, 2008

Blog Guidelines... A 3 Part Harmony

I have just begun to get to the part that I have been waiting for since I started this job....Developing the blog. I have submitted the project request and it is "in the queue"? I have crafted the "pitch" slide deck, that I am scheduled to present to all of the major stakeholders.

I wrote the first draft of the guidelines document.

Let's stop there. I learned the most about this blog by writing the guidelines document. I started with the assumption that I would be writing one document explaining to people how the could and could not use and comment on this blog. It was shaping up to be a multi page monster that would probably be further beefed by our legal department and never be read by anyone who it was intended for.

So, during my vacation, on the train trip between destination 3 and 4, while waiting for my daughter to finish with my laptop I began with ancient tools... a pencil and paper to write a list of the audiences who would need some guidelines for use of this, and the list of things each audience would need to know.

So finally I began to craft a set of rules for ;

  1. Commenting from the outside world
  2. Commenting from employees
  3. Writing posts for the bloggers that would be participating

The result was a pretty succinct 3 page document that address the needs of most anybody who would use this blog for communications to or from "the institution". It has not passed through legal yet. So there will probably be a part 2 of this post.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where to Find Me

Big Brands, Big Plans Keynote Panel: July 29, 3:30-4:45

Get the inside scoop on how leading brands are driving success through social media,
SEO, Websites, and Testing, and apply the principals to your own initiatives.

Panelist include:

Steve Latham, CEO, Spur Digital;
Enrique Gonzalez, Web Analytics Manager, National Public Radio;
Susan Allen Farrell, President and CEO, Eventigy;
Aaron Kahlow, Founder and Chairman, Online Marketing Summit;
Scott Blair, General Manager, eCommerce and Web Marketing for Retail Concepts;
Jennifer Texada, Digital and New Media Program Manager...

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is it time to have "The Talk"?

Communication about your social media program is essential to having a social media program. It definitely should not be left up to one team to generate all off the communications that goes out through social media channels. In a diverse organization like ours, there are so many voices, and forcing all of them through one channel would lack authenticity.

However social media is not something that you want your organization learning about “on the street" and then just digging in and participating on your behalf. I hear lots of people telling me that they know enough to be "dangerous". In social media we really do not want our representatives out there “being dangerous”. This is the type of behavior that makes communications groups nervous about opening the social media gates.

I was on the phone today with a fellow communications professional. We were talking about training for a group that wants to use Facebook or something to reach a broader audience than they are currently able to. She told me to be careful…A little information can be dangerous in the wrong hands. There is that word again…Dangerous.

It was at that moment I realized what had to be done.

As many of you know, I have a teenage daughter. At the beginning of middle school I sat her down to have “the talk”. Some may say, she was too young to hear this, or that I was giving her information that she could turn around and use to make poor choices. My answer to that was...I would rather her hear the truth from me than learn about it in the streets. The advice her friends may give her will most likely not mirror my goals for her and the morals of our family.

I would rather her learn about this stuff at home, that way if she has questions she knows who to ask, if she makes a mistake, we can deal with the consequences, and she can't say that she didn't know.

So I expect to spend lots of time this year having “The talk” with anyone who will listen. My goal is to teach them how social media works from the perspective of the institution's core values and strategic vision. I think the institution is mature enough to hear this now. Plus there is so much talk, and incorrect information on “the street” about what we are doing, who is allowed to do it, and what we should not do. If we teach them the rules, the benefits, the consequences and how to do it the right way maybe we communicators won’t feel so endangered by their desire to explore these new options.

I think the talk will start like this...Ladies & Gentlemen social media in the context of relationship building can be so very good. But it takes a commitment to see positive results.