I spoke on a panel last week for the Columbia Business School Alumni group about Social Media and the election, and while we suspected it, we didn’t know for sure if many of our predictions would come true. However, with Obama as President-Elect, many social network commetators are discussing what the key elements of the success were, and how they can be used by your company or organization.
Many of my Social Media colleagues note that brand is no longer about “what you say your company stands for, but what your customers tell you it stands for.” (I can’t find the original reference for this quote, but it is constantly repeated. Personality Not Included by Rohit Bhargava is a good place to look for info about this concept.) Continue reading Social Media and the Election→
This post is party-neutral, but 100% American. Here is an example that DeTocqueville would have been happy to report on, had he lived several hundred years. Twitter Vote Report has enabled people to directly report on their voting experience, including if they had issues with machines, polling places, how long the line is.
Look at the Americans, from all over the country, letting people know that they have voted, and more importantly, pointing out the flaws so they can be quickly fixed to ensure fair elections. I’ll be Twittering my vote report today.
On November 4th 2008, millions of Americans will go to over 200,000 distinct voting locations and using different systems and machinery to vote. Some voters will have a terrific experiences, and others will experience the same problems we have been hearing about for years – long lines, broken machines, inaccurate voting rolls, and others will experience problems that we haven’t heard about before. That’s why a new citizen-driven election monitoring system called Twitter Vote Report (www.twittervotereport.com) was just launched. Using either Twitter.com, iPhone, direct SMS, or our telephone hotlines, voters will have a new way to share their experiences with one another and ensure that the media and watchdog groups are aware of any problems.
And YOU can help! Be a citizen journalist! Submit a report about conditions at your polling place.
Clients sometimes ask what value Social Media brings to our society. This is a great example of collective, mostly de-centralized action for a cause. Imagine what your company could do for its customers if some percentage of them had a reason to care this much about something.
I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Association of Junior Leagues International‘s Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. At the conference my talks were on using Social Media for recruiting new members, retaining existing members, and promoting the excellent work of the organization does. One talk was on the Basics of Using Social Media for Non Profits, the other on Implementing Social Network Strategies.
One of the stories I heard there speaks to exactly the way that I believe all this new social networking technology can be used. In one of my sessions, a woman from the Junior League in a mid-western city mentioned that on her way to a new-member recruiting meeting, she changed her Facebook status. She wrote, “Heading to the Junior League recruiting meeting, contact me if interested or go to website” (with the actual website listed.)
From this 30-second action, done on her Blackberry, she got ten inquiries. From these inquiries, the Junior League in her area brought in three new members. That’s a ten-second per member recruiting return on investment of time. There was no cost. The best part of her story was when she said she told her board, “If you had all done this simple action and changed your Facebook status, imagine how many more members we could have had.”
This doesn’t mean I’m saying Facebook status is the new advertising or a substitute for your regular outreach. Certainly, your mileage will vary. But it is a clever way to use something people do every day to positively promote a good cause.
A different group of women at the conference told me that they keep a blog for their League, and update it 2-3 times a week. They found that this simple process was enabling them to avoid what they said was hundreds of e-mails, every week. Plus, people were attending events more often, and they credit this to the regular messaging and communication. Even though they also have a regular newsletter, the blog is helping them to get their communications out quickly and broadly.
Often, I hear people say, “I don’t have time to spend on Facebook, I don’t have time to write a blog”, or “I don’t have time to learn how that stuff is done.” It is real-life stories like these that show the advantage of using just a short amount of time to get a very large result.
Finally, to the point that “I don’t have time to learn how these networks work, or how this stuff is done” – ok, you don’t have to. But don’t block it. You’re a leader – enable one of your trusted people to do the communication for your organization, with regular reports and feedback so you know what’s working and what isn’t. Let them help you understand as much as you can. While you may not use these tools, your up-and-coming future members will be using them, and your success depends on communicating with your constituency where they are, in the manner in which they want to get that message.
Send me your success stories in the comments of this post.