The Affirmative Position:Proponents of C-level social media participation believe the digital universe provides the CEO with the ultimate platform to evangelize the corporate brand, and to effectively communicate across multiple constituencies. They are opportunity managers who believe engagement to be more valuable than silence, they believe in dialog not monologue, they believe in change and innovation – not in status quo.

The Dissenting Position:

The stance of the risk averse is there is little to be gained, but the potential for much to be lost in social media initiatives involving C-level executives. The fear of exposing executives and the corporate brand to public criticism, along with disclosure concerns with regard to forward looking statements, and other confidential information have caused concern for boards and legal departments. They are risk managers who believe in protecting what was rather than embracing what is, and what will be.

The Truth (as I see it)

A main point of consideration for CEOs is that social media transforms you from an enigma (the stereotype of the uncaring corporate executive) into a human being that people can relate to…social media personalizes you in a way that few other mediums can. Whether you Tweet, Blog, Facebook, YouTube, etc., these communities allow you to be known for the whole of who you are as an individual, not just as a bio on the corporate website. The following list is comprised of a few representative examples of reasons why all CEOs should be actively engaged in social media:

  1. Leadership Benefits: As CEO, you’re not supposed to be the relic, but the visionary. This may hit a little close to home for some, but the message needs to be heard. Great leaders lead by example. How can you ask members of your team to be innovative, engaged, proactive, creative, authentic, transparent, and communicative if you are none of those things? You cannot be an effective leader if you don’t model the behavior you seek in others. Be a leader or be a disingenuous hypocrite – the choice is yours.
  2. Learning Benefits: Social media is not just a tool for pushing out corporate propaganda – use it as such and you’ll pay a steep price. What it is, is open access to people, relationships, communities, and constituencies. Put simply, it’s a chance to observe, listen, process and learn. A CEOs needs to understand that in addition to affording them with the benefit of directly engaging consumers of their goods and services, social media also provides a window into the insights or their employees and allows them to monitor the pulse of their culture. Social media also allows you access to business, market, and competitive intelligence in real time.
  3. Business Benefits: Yes, I know, you’re the CEO and you have to pay attention to business. Well, social media does have significant ability to drive revenue, increase personal and corporate brand equity, open markets, create relationships, drive innovation, improve morale, build partnerships, attract & retain talent, and to generate communications leverage. Not only does social media work, but it works even better when the participant has a bit of cache. The truth is the farther up the org chart one resides, the more influence one possesses, the more leverage one creates, and the more one can accomplish via social media. You can do none of these things effectively by sticking your head in the sand and pretending social media doesn’t matter.
  4. Communications Benefits: I hesitate to mention this becasue it’s been so overused, but becuase it’s true, here goes: “The conversation is already taking place, so you might as well be a part of it.” Social media gives you the ability to be proactive in your communications, or if needed, provide a rapid response to crisis. Unfortunate things happen in business, and sadly, they’ll likely happen to you at some point. Having strong relationships, supporters, and fans created through social media is invaluable – so is having a channel to quickly and credibly communicate with those who are not.
  5. Legacy Benefits: I’ve often said the best legacy is one that can be lived before you’re gone. A legacy is shaped by the sum total of your personal and professional contributions, and most significantly by those contributions which have been the most beneficial to others. Social media takes your personal interests and your professional body of work and gives them access to a larger community. Social media can enhance the value of existing relationships and create new ones, it can help you evangelize your passions, recruit people to your causes, and to help others with their causes. Social media can help you and those you care about make significant contributions.

To those of you reading today’s post who still haven’t seen the light, and believe that social media is either insignificant, or that the window of opportunity has passed you by, I put forth the following demographics as proof of the power of the social media as a medium:

  • There are nearly 150 million social media users in the U.S. alone, which is more than 60% of the U.S. internet population.
  • According to eMarketer, the average time spent per user on social networks as of late 2010 exceeded 5 hours per month. Remember this is an average number, many users eclipse this number by a significant amount. As an example, according to clickZ, Blog readers average 23 hours online each week.
  • Nielsen data shows a 2x lift in brand metrics around social ads vs. non-social ads.
  • GroupM’s research reports a significant lift in search behavior from users exposed to a brand on social networks.
  • Over 12 million American adults currently maintain a blog.
  • I have clients who have tens of thousands of Facebook Fans, oodles and oodles of Twitter followers, popular blogs, have driven huge increases in revenue, and have quite literally changed the dynamics of their businesses, brands and cultures via social media.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, let’s look at what some other CEOs said just in reference to Blogging in a recent issue of Inc. Magazine:

  • “More effective than any marketing budget for getting our name out there.”
  • “Within 60 days of launching our blog, it is our top referral source.”
  • “Results have been great – we had more than 100,000 visits in May alone.”
  • “Our clients love it, and lots of people in our industry pay attention to it.”
  • “The blogs are 50 percent of website traffic. Great participation.”

by Mike Myatt

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Confusion abounds! There is a difference between a FaceBook Profile and a FaceBook Fan Page. My most-oft question this month concerned creating a FaceBook Fan Page for a business. First, let’s explain the difference between FaceBook Profile and Fan Page:

FaceBook Profile: This is strictly for humans. Hey, that’s you! You’re putting your “Face” on facebook! It’s your picture! It’s your name! It’s your profile! Posting this info makes it easy for you to connect with your friends! You’re posting your status updates, videos, pictures, sending messages, writing on walls, and socializing within the FB environment. For example, here’s my FaceBook Profile Page.

FaceBook Fan Page: Now that you have a FaceBook profile, use it to create a Fan Page for your business. This is where you can post business information: events, videos, photos, specials, promos — and encourage your fans to post testimonials and help spread your business stories. (Since I’m also my own business, I started a FaceBook Fan Page. I also create & administer Fan Pages for other folks & businesses, too.)

Got it? One FaceBook account can create several Fan Pages and assign administrators for different businesses. No need to create separate accounts for each business you rep! But now you want to know — what’s the business advantage of a FaceBook Fan Page?

Energizing and Supporting. A FaceBook Fan Page can help a business find its best customers. The business can then energize its best customers to engage in word-of-mouth marketing. Further, a Fan Page can also be a place where customers can support each other.

Here’s a favorite example of how a FaceBook Fan Page lets the customers of a small business:

a) energize the business with powerful word of mouth marketing and

b) support each other with after-visit care.

The Dolphin Journeys Energizing + Supporting Example. About 14 weeks ago, I helped create a Fan Page for my client, Hawaii-based Dolphin Journeys. Here’s how the customer self-support function of a FaceBook Fan Page works: when you go on a dolphin or whale tour in Hawaii, you often don’t get a great shot from the boat — maybe you’re too excited or having too much fun! But chances are, someone else on the boat captured a terrific video or photo. When you become a fan of Dolphin Journeys, you can upload your terrific shots — and share them with other folks on the boat.

When customers share photos or videos on a Fan Page — they can also spread stories to THEIR friends and families when they return from vacation. And people who didn’t get the shot? They become fans, too — and share the videos, photos, and stories with their friends. And of course, there’s a Wall on the Fan Page where people can write about their experiences — authentic stories that can help spread the word that Dolphin Journeys is a terrific vacation experience.

But wait, there’s more! A FaceBook Fan Page also lets you track metrics, so that you’ll know the number of visitors to your Fan Page and their demographic data. You can also incorporate reviews, events, notifications and more into your FaceBook Fan Pages. Worried about administration? Don’t be. You can assign several administrators, so that when you go on vacation, someone else can be in charge of the Page.

For many businesses, a FaceBook Fan Page may make a great deal of sense. It depends quite a bit on a) how ready your audience is to participate and b) your business objectives.

How has a FaceBook Fan Page helped YOUR business?

Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

Social networks have proved to be incredible distribution platforms for real-time news and continue to fascinate journalists as communication tools. It’s no surprise that many media professionals have jumped quickly on the Google+ band wagon to explore its potential for journalism.

Some are updating personal accounts while others have created profiles for their organizations. They’re in experimentation mode, testing out which features are most beneficial for messaging and engaging with their audiences.

Google+ has yet to be defined. For the news industry, it will become what the early adopters of the field make of it. Here are a few ways we’ve seen media professionals using the platform and what that might mean for the future of Google+ in journalism.


Talking About Google+


It’s no surprise that Google+ users want to talk about Google+ — and journalists are no exception. Many have been posting tips and tricks for using the platform, such as how to get a more accurate circle count and ways to bring your Facebook stream into your G+ stream.

Even conversations about Twitter and Facebook seem to steer right back to Google+. For example, Matthew Ingram of GigaOm started a discussion about ads hitting Twitter feeds. While some responses stayed on topic, many started talking about whether Twitter users would run to G+ or if Google would begin including ads in streams.

As journalists continue to join the platform, further discussion and collaboration around Google+ as a communications tool will shape the way it’s used for creating and distributing news content.


Hosting Audience Hangouts


Sarah Hill, an anchor for KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri, has been inviting her Google+ fans to join her in Hangouts, the network’s video chat service. KOMU hosts a Hangout during the 5 p.m. newscast to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the newsroom. She then interviews people in the Hangout on-air about their reactions to the day’s news.

“G+’s video chat feature is turning into KOMU’s own version of a satellite window,” Hill said. “It’s free. The video and audio are of air-able quality — no lugging gear to 9 different places to get 9 different opinions. You simply invite 9 viewers to your Hangout and the news comes to you.”

One chat brought in people from Pakistan, New Zealand, Orlando, New York, LA, Missouri, Iowa and England. Hangout participants were floored by Hill’s ability to multitask.

“It was quite amazing. There’s Sarah broadcasting on live TV with one earpiece listening to us folks on G+, the other to the TV station folks; she’s probably reading a teleprompter as well,” wrote Christopher Scott, a viewer from New Zealand who joined in. “She even welcomes new folks to the Hangout and chats to them like she’s home enjoying a drink with friends. I was seriously impressed.”

Only 10 people are allowed in a Hangout, so spots fill up quickly and some commenters are bummed when they miss out. Still, Hill’s experiment illustrates the reach of the Google+ community.

“It’s like we have viewers from around the world on a video speed dial,” she said.

Hangouts could be a great way for journalists to get audience reactions to news events in real time or find story ideas by asking Hangout participants what’s important in their communities.


Engaging Readers


Despite Google telling brands the platform isn’t ready for them yet, media organizations have quickly jumped on board. Like many of the early adopters from the journalism world, Canada’s top news source CBC has been posting links to stories with prompts that solicit reader feedback. They truly tested the engagement waters with a caption contest. The contest was also posted on Facebook, Twitter and the CBC website.

“We’ve noticed that there’s a bit of a competition to be witty right now on Google+,” said Kim Fox, senior producer for community and social media at CBC. ” We figured our daily photo caption challenge would play into that, and it has, outperforming other platforms.”

Fox said she’s seen smart dialogue and a deeper level of engagement with the content on Google+. She and her team plan to avoid replicating their Facebook and Twitter posts, and figure out what works for the Google+ community specifically.

With the natural enthusiasm for engagement and intelligent conversation, Google+ could become a place for journalists to generate solid feedback from their audiences. It’s important journalists grasp the full potential of the platform. From there, they can optimize its features to create a social dialogue around news content.


Analyzing News Coverage


Google+ is fostering rich conversation about journalism. It’s cultivating a community of thought leaders who rely on each other for feedback about their opinions on news events and the media industry.

When tweeting news commentary, a journalist is limited to 140 characters. Unless the discussion has a hashtag, it’s tough to see the full scope of the conversation as respondents may not be following all involved. With Facebook, conversations on journalists’ personal profiles don’t take off because many don’t friend professional contacts. Even if the journalist has a public page, his or her discussions are competing with updates from their fans’ friends and other pages because of the news feed algorithm. Google+ brings conversations back to the top of a stream when new comments arise. Though Facebook has a number of groups self-organized by journalists, grouping and sharing to professional contacts is more intuitive on Google+.

It also seems Google+ posts inspire more engagement than those on Facebook. For example, Mashable started discussions on both platforms about a study that claims 34% of iPhone users think they have 4G. The posts were published at roughly the same time and had similar prompts, posing questions about the study’s results. On Facebook, there were 57 likes and 40 comments, while the Google+ post had 183 +1′s and 116 comments. Granted this is only one post of many, but it’s still quite telling.

Though starting discussions about the news and their analysis of the news is nothing new for journalists, Google+ seems to be a more natural platform for these conversations.


Showing Personality


The media industry’s focus on journalistic objectivity makes some reporters more apt to withhold their opinions, beliefs and other details about their lifestyle. But Google+ is about people and has become a place where journalists can let their personalities shine.

Amidst the news links and discussions, streams are peppered with jokes, photos and anecdotes about life. Not unlike his Twitter feed, Jeff Jarvis is making people laugh with zings like “LAX Continental terminal isn’t 3rd world, it’s 5th or 6th. Expect to see pigs and goats running through.” Others are re-sharing posts from followers they can relate to, such as Evonne Benedict of Seattle’s KING-5, who was touched by a story from a fellow University of Washington alumnus.

We sometimes forget that journalists are people too. Google+ is a good reminder that for media professionals, there’s more to life than the news.

Overall, the future of journalism on Google+ has yet to be determined. What are some other ways you’ve seen media professionals using the platform? What effect might it have on the news industry?

Image courtesy of Sarah Hill.

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Yesterday was certainly no ordinary day. I had the good fortune to be able to visit Facebook Headquarters after some meetings in Palo Alto, California. (Silicon Valley). After taking a few photos in the front foyer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg walked right by us with 2 of his colleagues discussing some problem they were trying to solve…

O.K.  I have had my fair share of celebrity sightings over the years, but to see the most influential person of our generation just casually walking in to his office, with grey T-shirt, jeans, white reeboks, & his security pass to the worlds largest social network – was definitely a moment I will never forget.  600 million say he’s done a great thing, it’s working…that’s how many users Facebook now has.


…I’m not sure why that heading emerged from my head…because I really hope you do join the Mad Scientist Social Media Group but I got your attention right?

Joining the GROUP will guarantee you wont miss any humourous Mad Scientist happenings along the way, we also promise to keep you informed of all the latest Social Media news and developments. You’ll be on the crest of the wave with us.

If you get ultra excited we also have a FAN page. So do some ‘like’ing (I think I just invented a new facebook spelling)…

In 2009, when Facebook introduced custom URLs (also known as vanity URLs) for your profile and fan pages, Facebook claimed that the custom URL you choose can be only set once. Once the custom URL (example http://facebook.com/MadScientistSM) has been set, it cannot be changed to another URL. But it looks like Facebook is giving a second chance to people who didn’t wisely choose their custom URLs for their profile page.

To change the custom URL of your profile page, simply go to Account –> Account Settings –> Username and click the link change. You will be now able to change your username for your profile page.

If you want to change the custom URL for your fan page for a second time, then you may be out of luck. I haven’t figured out how to do it.

Transferring the Profile Page URL to Fan Page URL

When Facebook introduced custom URLs last year, I secured the custom URL (MadScientistSM) for my profile page as I couldn’t secure it for my fan page. In 2009, you should have at least 100 fans in order to get a custom URL for your fan page. Now this number has been reduced to 25.

Given that Facebook allows me to change the username for a second time, I was able to change my existing username (MadScientistSM). By changing my username, I was able to release the URL MadScientistSM.

Soon after I changed my username, I went to http://facebook.com/username and set the URL techthinker as the URL for my Facebook fan page!

The ability to change username for a second time gives you a chance to trade usernames with others. It also gives you a chance to transfer your profile page URL to your Fan Page URL.

(Courtesy Of TechThinker)

…don’t say anything.”

Even before computers, the internet, or social media existed, mum’s across the world were lending this phrase to their children. My mother definitely said it on many occasions and if she understood the ins and outs of social media, I reckon she’d say it applied here too, particular in promoting your business online. It’s so tempting to just talk about nothing in particular and neglect to engage people in some riveting topic of conversation. If you can’t do this, it’s best to put that topic or idea on the back burner until you think it’s got something special to offer. Otherwise your social media presence becomes a big bag of hot air. A pretty dull place to be. You don’t have to say something every day, just make it quality and no less than once a week.