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March 10, 2010

WEBER ON ONE OF COMPANIES' BIGGEST
MISTAKES IN SOCIAL MEDIA
 

Tech PR pioneer Larry Weber, who now chairs Racepoint Group, said one of the biggest mistakes companies are making with social media is "dipping a toe" in to test the waters.

"Companies ... spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research before they do advertising programs or PR programs, and then they measure them," he said in a video interview. "With social media, which will be more impactful to our society than television has been, they're dipping their toe [in social media]?"

Racepoint Launches Racepoint Labs from Kyle Austin on Vimeo.

Racepoint today launched Racepoint labs to help clients leverage the more than 150 social media tools that the firm says are influential in the space.

Said Racepoint's Kyle Austin: "Companies and brands are focusing too much on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube -- the big three, if you will -- and not really coming to a holistic view of programs and campaigns that they should run in social media that tie back to their marketing objectives."

Weber says marketing and PR planning should now start with social media in the center because of consistent research that says peer-to-peer recommendations, whether in business or among consumers, carry the most weight. Other disciplines like advertising and direct marketing should flow from there, he said.

"The more that PR evolves into that sort of purveyor of content that influences opinion, the more important we're going to be that our clients' success," he said.

 
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Responses:

Sam Waltz Wilmington, DE (3/12):
A few thoughts briefly for folks interested in using Social Media for their organizations, or adding it to their capabilities…

1. At PRSA, where I’m a past National President & Board Chair (1999), at our International Conference in San Diego in November, 2/3rds of the presentations seemed to be about advancing organizational goals with Social Media & Engagement, up from virtually zero presentations on the topic just a couple years ago.

2. In his great book TRIBES, author/marketing guru Seth Godin writes about the creation of Cyber Communities as the great new Marketing tool of the future, moving the industry from Awareness-Bldg to Engagement-Bldg, since 2010 will be the year of its emergence.

3. COMMUNITY MANAGER appears to evolve as the next great PR/Communications job specialty, organizing the site, leading top-down communications and encouraging bottom-up member communications. The COMMUNITY MANAGER makes certain that value is added in the community, so that whoever organizes and sponsors it enjoys some strategic and business benefit from that leadership.

4. http://www.Kiva360.com via a Greater Philadelphia-based Strategic Partner we’re using, where Kevin McCann is the principal, (Kevin@Kiva360.com 610.675-7127). Kevin’s firm seems to be the state-of-the-art leader in a not-very-crowded niche of custom “Private Network” Social Media platforms. We’ve found this platform for the creation of Cyber Communities to be ideal on which to build and engage Stakeholder Communities.

www.Kiva360.com launched in 2009 as www.CommunitiesOnLine.biz. Its new name is a nod to the Kiva – North America’s earliest room where the ancient Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, the Anasazi of the Mesa Verde area, located their community and ritual activities. Kiva360.com is based on IP (Intellectual Property) built by $4 million in venture capital in 2008-09 at the Philadelphia Science Center campus at the University of Pennsylvania.

5. For illustration, Private Networks move past the obvious limits of a Universal Social Media Network like Facebook or LinkedIn, where your ONE profile must by necessity be general and all-purpose, since it’s shared with Family, Friends, old School Buddies, Drinking Buddies, CoWorkers, Club Members, Neighbors, etc. The Private Network – a network that looks / feels like both a Facebook and a website, but with richer features – is built around an affinity, or an existing group, e.g., just for a School, non-profit Association or Club, a Mommy Blogger network on a particular topic or region, a Corporate Car Pool, etc.

Per Godin’s TRIBES, some people are using it as next-generation business entity structures. As someone who has worked for more than 30 years in this field, at the DuPont Co. first and since 1993 in my own firm, it’s my view that… More work of PR professionals & firms will be built on counseling people on the creation of Cyber Communities, where the PR person is the COMMUNITY MANAGER / LEADER, reaching and building / hosting a dialogue that benefits the “sponsor,” her/his employer, organization, company, not-for-profit, whatever. 6. And for Firms / Agencies / Consultants, Social Media gives you a chance to go to the clients with whom you work, or with whom you’d like to work, and “engage” them on the Social Media topic. Interestingly, some offer a ReSeller Program (akin to Commissionable Media that Ad Agencies may sell/place) that generates incremental revenue, not to mention the consulting revenue from communications programs that Agencies build around the Social Media technology implementation.


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