The Q&A Post Event

It was a wonderful trip to Washington, DC.  A trip I will never forget thanks to my friends at the PRSA CHE Summit and Shonali Burke (@shonali) for putting together the IABC Tweetup at Ceiba.  I even got in a little sightseeing, which for me, when I travel rarely happens.

Another favorite part of my trip was the Q&A that came out of the conference.  I thought the questions during the CHE program were very good and they included (with my responses attached):

I’m just starting out in social media, how do I evaluate which bloggers to follow and who to build relationships with?

My immediate response to this question: listen closely to the conversation that relates to your organization and see which influencers are passionate about the topics or issues that are relevant to you or your company (or which bloggers are actually discussing your brand).  You can also check out blog search engines including Technorati and IceRocket to find the bloggers with the most authority and highest rankings.

Our organization has a lot of content including videos, but we have a small team to handle the social media communications.  How do we move forward and how much should we share?

If you have a lot of great content, but a small team managing the effort it’s really important to evaluate how you will handle social media communications so that you don’t spread your resources too thin.  It’s always best to start out slowly with blogging and set your own pace and build up to more social networking as you find that you are handling the flow of communications well.  This way, you are not starting something that you will abandon because it’s very difficult to keep up with the conversations.  It’s always better to go slow, see results and then add more resources as you go along.  Often, executives want to see results first and then will invest more in your communications program.

We are using Radian 6, Klout and TweetDeck to measure, what else should we use?

Radian 6 is very good to monitor the conversations across platforms. TweetDeck is great for communications with your Twitter community (and you can also update to other networks) and filtering to specific conversations. Klout works well when you want to see someone’s influence on Twitter.  Klout lets you know if the influencer is a connector, a persona, a casual or a climber.  It also tells you the stats on the influencer such as reach, demand, engagement and velocity. However, I mentioned that I would have to know where a person or brand was participating in the social landscape to make sure that the tools capture the mentions and conversations on each and every social platform where they engage.

Now for the question that gets the gold star!  This question was actually asked after the conference was over, during the book signing.  The question was:

Is it okay to use a recognition or incentive program to get employees or sales people involved in social media?

Great question! My immediate answer is yes. Employees respond very well to both recognition/rewards, as it helps to create productivity, motivates people to move toward a desired behavior and people feel as if they are celebrated when they are rewarded for achieving goals.

On the incentive side, yes, sales teams, in many companies participate in incentive programs, which also motivate and drive participation toward a particular goal.  I think that employees, when asked to do something new say, “What’s in it for me?”  It’s no different than the consumer, when you ask them to participate with you in a social community. They say, “Why should I participate and how are you helping me?”  That’s why companies work so hard to become meaningful resources rather than marketing messages.

A little more about incentives … I’ve been involved in programs that are fun, motivate and are built around creative themes. Some of the programs were simple with gift certificates for participation and other were very elaborate programs with websites that launch the initiative, and then continue to motivate people and drive their participation during the length of the campaign.  These programs have several components including: goals/tracking, complete program Information, updated news, trivia contests, and award redemption right on the website.

I know that many will question why they should use recognition or incentives when the desired behavior is within the scope of the employee’s job and “this is what they are supposed to do.” Yes, that could be the case.  But there has been tremendous success with both recognition (celebrating the employee for length of service or great performance) and incentive (giving some type of incentive or reward to reach a goal) to reveal that these programs work.  I’ve seen them in action and I think they work too. I believe they should have a place in the realm of internal social media participation, if needed.

What do you think about this question? I think it raises a few more.