Posts tagged ‘communications’
I have lot more to report from the World Social Marketing Conference, however, this news bit is too good not too share. Last week, I connected with Holly Grande on Twitter, and this girl is smart. Not only is she a rising public relations star, but you may not know that she is also rising singing sensation.
So I might have exaggerated a bit (though she has done voice overs for Radio Disney), but Holly took the usual ‘resume’ section on her blog, and instead of posting her actual resume, Holly provided a new range in entertainment. Literally. Check out Holly’s “Sing-A-Long Resume” below. Who wouldn’t hire someone with this innovative creativty (and bravery)?
**This article I wrote was originally published at ReadWriteWeb on September 10, 2008. And P.S., I still don’t have the internet, but the install is scheduled for Wednesday…hence the blogging delay. Thank you for your understanding!
And we’ve got the answer. Three of them actually: Listen, learn, and let go.
Let’s face it, Web 2.0 is a buzzword. And when it comes to government, change, and innovation, we have to reach beyond buzzwords. Surprising to some, the government isn’t too far beyond.
The other week Mark Drapeau, Government 2.0 columnist for Mashable, suggested that the government is currently in a state of 1.4, at least when it comes to Twitter.* I would agree, however, as my lovely professors back in grad school taught me to say, “it depends.”
Government is doing some amazing social media initiatives to better serve their constituents, and why not – social media is all about increasing the democratization of communications. The government serves its people, and thus, it’s a perfect match.
We government-familiar types know of the greatness that is CDC – from their virtual world explorations in Whyville and SecondLife, to their numerous podcasts, e-cards, MySpace page and blog, and their CDC-TV channel, they are leading the way. But there’s more.
The EPA has its own cause on Facebook for its EnergySTAR program to stop global warming. The U.S. Intelligence Agency has it’s own data-sharing and social network-esque called Intellipedia. TSA uses its blog Evolution of Security as instrumental to its customer service abilities. Not to mention, there are currently 7 head directors and decision makers with their own blog. But, I will admit that some areas in government just need some more coaching.
If you are within government or outside of government, here are three helpful strategies to be the social media maven for your agency: Listen. Learn. And Let go.
These three strategies are listed in no particular order as they all circle one another. Think back when you learned how to ride a bike. You did not let go of the training wheels, until you have learned how to ride the bike. But, you couldn’t learn how to ride the bike, until you listened to the instructions. Same deal.
The more you learn about the space, the more comfortable you will become. This will involving listening to webinars and speakers on the topic. For starters, the CDC is having a live web dialogue on September 18th with an expert panel to talk about how government health agencies can integrate social media practices into their initiatives. There are currently 217 people signed up!
Listening also involves learning how to search, and how to search effectively. Largely, learning how to navigate the RSS feeder. I know it looks intimidating. I was at first too. But, it’s called Real Simple Syndication for a reason, because it really can be simple. Check out Google Reader or Bloglines or email me, and we can work together.
While listening, you will learn. It’s inevitable. I have best found that learning is maximized when you live with what Geoff Livingston said best in one of Buzz Bin blog posts, “You cannot underestimate the value of remaining teachable.” Attending speakers, applying your knowledge and participating in the space as an individual all help facilitate learning.
For example, Sec. Mike Leavitt and a group of world leaders came together in 2007 to create the Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog. Through this short-term blog, conversations and discussions were shared leading up to an offline Leadership Forum. Taking the lessons learned from this experience, Sec. Leavitt launched his own blog on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in August 2007.
As your listening and learning combines, eventually, you will feel more comfortable in letting go. And letting go can include baby steps. Like, the case of Sec. Leavitt, you can build upon past activities. Do gather the statistics. Do highlight other case studies.
• Perhaps, instead of creating your own social network, it begins with placing a web badge or banner about your initiative on a social network.
• Perhaps, instead of creating a Twitter account feed, you conduct Twitter searches for your government agency’s name and important keywords.
• Perhaps, instead of creating your own blog, first do a guest entry on an already established blog.
• Perhaps, when pitching new information or publications to traditional news outlets, see if that media organization has a relevant blog column or social media reporter and share your information with him or her.
The ideas are endless, which is why being relevant is core. Let’s not be doing things for the sake of doing them. Let’s connect in meaningful ways. The tools may be new, but the importance of relationship-building and support remain constant. I’m excited to have the opportunity to highlight in this Government 2.0 column ways our government is being innovative as we all listen, learn and let go together.
*Context and attribution corrected.
This post provides some answers to these questions and some points to ponder.
First, the term greenwashing is taken from the term whitewashing. Whitewashing means to hide, cover or conceal unpleasant facts or details, especially in a political context or to manipulate. According to the Greenwashing Index, Greenwashing is:
“It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush.”
Knowing this information, enter in the Greenwashing Index, promoted by EnviroMedia Social Marketing and University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. The purpose of the Greenwashing Index is “to educate consumers about how to “read” an ad and encourage them to decide for themselves if what they’re seeing is greenwashing.” The index hopes to curb the growth of greenwashing and encourage real environmental responsibility and change.
The index measures and scores advertising claims based on the following five criteria:
- The ad misleads with words.
- The ad misleads with visuals and/or graphics.
- The ad makes a green claim that is vague or seemingly unprovable.
- The ad overstates or exaggerates how green the product/company/service actually is.
- The ad leaves out or masks important information, making the green claim sound better than it is.
To detect greenwashing, Sourcewatch offers the following tips:
- Follow the money trail.
- Follow the membership trail.
- Follow the paper trail.
- Look for skeletons in the company’s closet.
- Test for access to information.
- Test for international consistency.
- Check how they handle their critics.
- Test for consistency over time.
As my previous post mentioned, the FTC began a workshop of hearings yesterday a year early about the growing buzz and concerns regarding green marketing. To listen to the FTC hearings about the, click here. The workshops could results in updating the FTC’s green guides, which outlines the FCC’s laws regarding environmental claims for advertiser, marketers and consumers. These guidelines were originally created in 1992. Though the green guides were updated in 1998, they haven’t been changed since.
Now the final piece: What does this mean to us….as social marketers?
Personally, I think evaluation tools are great, despite the lack of them and the lack of priority in evaluation processes. The evaluation step is one too many organization and marketing directors overlook or skip. I see the Greenwashing Index as another great evaluations tool for us, and I offer up the suggestion that perhaps we should have more such evaluation tools to help keep the private sector accountable and responsible. Doing such, I think, would increase our success in our social marketing endeavors.
More on evaluation procedures and steps in the next post. =)
As the debate on the creation of a National Social Marketing Association continues, future social marketing and SM-related students/practitioners should check out FLiP (Future Leaders in Philanthropy). It is another online community that offers many great resources and connections for those exploring philanthropic related fields. According to the its homepage, FLiP’s mission statement includes:
We are the future leaders in philanthropy. By working together, we will further our careers, serve our organizations’ mission, and change the world. FLiP is dedicated to creating a community and a network where other future leaders can meet, learn, exchange ideas, and contribute to each other’s success.
They offer interviews with young professionals in a variety of social change/philanthropy related careers. They offers resources for further education, career guides, views from fellow interns, opportunities to network, online presence on Facebook, MySpace and AOL and much more.
This community is great for making connections with those who have related interests and goals. In the meantime, there is a Massachusetts Social Marketing Association and WOMMA (Word-of-Mouth-Marketing Association). However, a national social marketing association is still in progress. Nedra Weinreich, on her blog Spare Change, offers a better history about the creation of a professional social marketing society. Weinreich also offers her views on the status of such an organization. The big debate seems to rest on whether or not the SM Association should be underneath the AMA (American Marketing Association) or be its own separate identity.
As this blog has hinted at, I believe this relates to the ‘identity crisis’ that all of strategic communications is facing, whether commercial or not, in seeking universally accepted definitions. How do you draw the lines between what is and what is not advertising, marketing, dare I say journalism, corporate social responsibility, word of mouth marketing, social marketing, viral marketing, sponsorship, etc. I have my own ideas, of course. But, I’m more curious about learning what others think about this topic.
- Should social marketing have its own professional organization?
- How would you decide who could and could not join?
- Should it me under the AMA? If so, then should word-of-mouth-marketing also be under the AMA instead of having its own organization?
- ETC. There are much more questions than answers about this topic. Feel free to leave your own questions as comments.
After my last post, I received an email asking how other non-profits or social causes could also use blogging technology for its purposes. Below, I list someways blogging can be used by non-profits as well as some strengths and limitations of the technology.
First Things First
I come with the view that like in the commercial sector, finding an umbrella term to put all non-profit marketing and advertising under is difficult. Research studies have been explored, textbooks written, debates held and still universal definitions are lacking. Some used to think a few years back the IMC, Integrated Marketing Communications would be the end-all classification system for advertising. Yet, this debate still continues. Do we put public relations under this? Why the term marketing? Where does viral belong? etc.
Therefore, just like the commercial advertising arena suffers from an identity crisis, so does the community of non-profit/health communications/social causes/etc. Though, I might classify many of these as social marketing. But then, where do we put corporate social responsibility or cause marketing? (These both have profit aims…) So, yikes! Is there overlap? Is overlap the right word? What are we to do? The questions and debates continue. In discussing these terms and looking at definitions, I am going to offer up that is depends largely on your end objective. I agree there’s more to this debate, but for practical considerations (and when looking to use blogging technology) I say, first determine your end objective to decide if, and what type, of blogging is right for you.
Examples of Blogging Being Used by Non-Profits:
Citizen’s League in Minnesota. They have two blogs. One that is updated with public policy news, trends and updates. The other who is from the point of view of a person which has similar content, but the first person point of view adds relevance and personalizes the stories.
Children Matter. A Christian non-profit ministry who uses a blog for its message.
Strengths of Blogging
1. A blog can provide an outlet for stories to be told regarding the issue or project. This can also be created as a way to get more involved and to increase participation. It can also make the message for personal and relevant. Interplast has their volunteers upload information and share stories about their experiences regarding their work site.
2. Helps build an online community. This includes expanding your traditional media lists to include other bloggers, online social networks, websites and more.
3. Blogging has no geographic limitations unlike a lot of traditional media (tv, radio, magazine, newspapers).
4. Requires small tangible finances. But, may require more employee/volunteer hours and time to manage.
5. Can boost media coverage by expanding your traditional media list to include fellow bloggers, social networks, online communities, websites and more.
6. Put your already-drafted press releases to good work by setting up an RSS feed on your blog to provide up-to-date news about your organization. this allows others to know what the organization is up to, gives those interested more information to talk about and can increase your media coverage.
7. Provide information and resources via a blog. A blog is one way to provide the same information you could on a website or brochure, but in an interactive, fun, and personal manner. For example, instead of telling what the participants do throughout the year. Have the voice of your blog be told through the ‘Volunteer Sarah’ and give it a diary feel.
8. From your blog, you can also provide information on how to get involved, donate, volunteer, and participate. This could include a sign-up page for the weekly email blasts.
9. Blogs also are a way to track, organize and build a resource for an organization/cause. If it comes time to write a report, you can search your blog for all relevant information regarding ‘XYZ’ and poof- you have all the information you need already written.
10. Use a blog as your organization’s website.
11. For good feedback, use your blog as a sounding board or discussion forum. Also, blog stats and analytics could help you find more target audiences interested in your cause.
Limits of Blogging
1. If you use a free service (blogger, wordpress, etc.), sometimes you are limited with the type of content you can post. Examples including: limitations for customizing options including how you organize content or the design unless you have someone with the expertise to do so, or upgrade your blog service.
2. The domain name can be tricky. Unless you want to purchase a domain, your domain name will (usually) include the blog service you are using. However, domains can be purchased for something like $10/year. This blog also provide many helpful tips and resources for creating your own domain.
3. Must provide quality information at a consistent rate.