It’s clear from previous posts how much I love kids’ creativity, especially when adults go back to school on creativity they may have lost from when they were kids. As a result, it was a joy to have David show me the building, highlighting various pieces of kids’ creativity and artwork throughout the facility.
I shot the video below with David A. Smith on a rather impromptu basis. That fact caused me to revisit a creative activity I had not explored in several years: video editing. Beyond the great artwork, getting back to more involved video editing is a good thing, albeit a skill I need to keep working on and improving.
Enjoy David’s tour and insights about the artwork inside the Central Office and Training Center! – Mike Brown
Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us email@example.com call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.
Several events (handling online community management for a new organization, returning to a bar where I was a DJ in college, creating a cross-school Facebook group for kids of my era in Hays, KS after a high school reunion) have all put me back in the heart of thinking about and handling start-up online community management.
You might think you are not doing community management, but if you are on Facebook or Twitter, community management is either what you are, or should be, doing.
Thinking back on my DJ years, organizing intriguing content has fascinated me for a long time. The successful practices for being a DJ or an online community manager are very comparable. In both cases, you are bringing together and arranging the best mix of content from various sources to create an intriguing content stream. The content can predominantly originate with others, but has to include self-generated content, too.
Approaching Online Community Management as a DJ Would Do It
Here are 10 ways a DJ would approach online community management:
1. Create a signature style for your content
Decide what content topics you’ll feature, how you want to intrigue your audience, and the actions and reactions you want audience members to display.
2. Develop a source list
Continually cultivate websites, RSS feeds, and people that offer intriguing content in your focus areas. It’s okay to share content from popular sources, but there’s distinct value to sharing information off the beaten path. (As a side note, launching a community outside our industry has demonstrated a value for those stupid Paper.li online newspapers: when very topic-focused, Paper.li newspapers can be a decent source of industry content to share.)
3. Have an adaptable content approach
Know what you plan to program (using even a loose editorial calendar), but be willing to share more of the content that’s working right now.
4. Listen for new material all the time
Use all kinds of searches, tools, interacting with others, etc. to listen for and find new pockets of great material to share and promote. Watch the reactions to content and new trends developing. Alter your content stream to take best advantage of what you’re observing.
5. Participate and learn from other successful online community managers
I “got” Twitter initially by observing how others we’re using it. I’m back to doing that with Google+ now. Continually pick up new ideas based on how others are using social media well.
6. Be an engaging personality
Be enthusiastic, inviting, interested in your community, and “smiling” in an online kind of way. Doing these things attracts and grows a follower base.
7. Use and share content properly
Make sure you include proper credit for the original sources. Go ahead and paraphrase and paraquote, but don’t lift copy someone else created. Link to original sources and credit where you’re finding compelling content.
8. Solicit audience feedback
Ask easy-to-answer questions and continually check on what people think about your content and community. Also, find out what they enjoy in other online communities where they spend time.
9. Pace your content sharing for the right mood and type of community
Don’t just blast content with no time for people to enjoy it. At the same time, don’t begin with lots of material, and then disappear for extended breaks. Match what you’re sharing to where the community’s mood is and where you want to move it.
10. Bring variety to what you share
Mix in your own material in the midst of sharing compelling items from others. Whether on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc., create an intriguing social media content stream that’s distinctive and special. That means being anchored in what you do well while also incorporating new areas to stretch yourself and your audience.
What guides your community management?
Those are 10 areas I’ve been pulling from in my DJ experience to manage new online communities. What guidelines from your experience guide you as your build and cultivate an online community? – Mike Brown
Have you seen the 2012 Ford Focus Doug campaign? The integrated social media campaign with an orange sock puppet named Doug driving around with his “official” Ford sidekick (John), meeting and greeting prospective Ford Focus customers, verbally zinging them, and capturing it for YouTube videos?
Yes, that’s right; a smartass orange sock puppet is the spokesperson for the 2012 Ford Focus.
As a brand manager, if someone came to you pitching the idea of a puppet spokesperson who, the few times he does talk about your product’s features, does so irreverently, how long would it take to stop that social media concept cold? Probably not long since a traditional marketing view suggests six glaring reasons why Focus Doug is ill conceived:
1. “The spokesperson isn’t known, and oh by the way, he’s an orange sock puppet.”
“A spokesperson should bring a great reputation, a built-in audience, and a connection to the brand. It’s about being able to relate to the audience. An orange sock puppet, especially one with an attitude, doesn’t relate to anyone.”
EXCEPT can you say, “Tiger Woods.”
Known spokespeople bring fans along with potential indiscretions and falls from grace. An unknown, inanimate spokesperson (with no life beyond the one you give it), provides you complete control and no risk of overshadowing your product.
2. “The story isn’t linear.“
“The characters are ‘introduced’ without any real setup. There’s little rhyme or reason for why only a few videos include potential buyers, sometimes the product is hardly mentioned, and it’s not even shown in others.”
EXCEPT a non-linear story line creates surprise.
It also allows for mini-serializations throughout the videos and the flexibility of introducing the variety necessary to sustain viewer interest through weekly releases and an integrated social media campaign.
3. “There are too many videos.”
“You can’t expect people to watch 40 or 50 brand videos.”
EXCEPT viewers want to come back and see more from engaging characters.
They’re not videos about the brand. The brand is simply another character surrounded by even more engaging characters. Multiple videos provide the opportunity to develop the brand character across multiple dimensions and multiple videos.
4. “The situations aren’t realistic.”
“A puppet offering free (typically poorly ending) rides, unsuccessfully using the features, and being mauled by kittens has nothing to do with selling a car.”
EXCEPT introducing a non-human spokesperson provides tremendous story flexibility.
Only having one foot in reality enables engaging story lines traditional situations can’t offer. A unique character and unusual situations can prompt an audience to sit through multiple videos, cumulatively creating a strong impression of why the product is cool.
5. “There’s so much dialogue, you can’t understand it.”
“With videos inside a moving vehicle and multiple people bantering, it’s hard to understand what’s being said. Viewers won’t even understand the minimal product messages being delivered.”
EXCEPT the challenging repartee forces attention.
The character interaction is so funny and the situations so unusual, it prompts viewers to watch the videos multiple times – in part to catch what they missed; in part to re-hear laugh lines they did hear initially.
6. “The content is PG-13 but the brand is G-rated.”
“A G-rated brand is about family, tradition, and America – not bleeped words. The spokespuppet hits on a female executive, propositions a potential buyer, and suggests a wet t-shirt contest to two young women trying the rain-triggered windshield wipers. That’s WAY off brand.”
EXCEPT when a brand’s trying to get edgier, you actually have to GET edgier.
When cultivating a new less vanilla brand perception, edginess can be essential, especially when trying to reach a younger audience. Moving from G to PG-13 with a small subset of messages the audience will see leads to the right overall message mix.
Now what do you think?
Would you pull the plug on the Ford “Focus Doug” before the campaign even started? I hope not, but decisions like that happen all the time when brand marketers are stuck in the status quo and what’s always worked – even if the traditional things are not working as well as they did before.
For Ford brand managers to move ahead with “Focus Doug” shows a true understanding that future success is different than what’s worked previously, yet not completely brand new either. Finding the right place somewhere in the middle is tricky.
But extraordinary brand managers go looking for it because they know it’s vital to a successful brand staying successful. – Mike Brown
1. My wife unfriended me on Facebook. Seriously. She doesn’t want me reading what she’s thinking about (and by “thinking about,” I mean “plotting,” and by “plotting,” I mean “already decided on and has something underway”). So her other Facebook FRIENDS tell me what’s going on in my own house.
2. The reason I don’t run a lot of videos on the blog is because I don’t like the way I look. That’s the same reason my avatar is usually a cartoon self-portrait. I’m working on this though . . . I mean my level of self-acceptance. The ship has sailed on my looks, and it’s not coming back to port any time soon.
3. Many days, my Twitter stream is more depressing than uplifting. I can’t say the same about my Facebook stream, yet. But I figure it’s just a matter of time.
4. I’m really cheap, so my smartphone isn’t the smartest. It may not even be in the top half of the class anymore.
6. For as much writing as I do, it’s really challenging to consider confining myself to a few topics and keywords to maximize the value from SEO. When you’re writing daily blogs, any topic is a topic.
7. When something’s really stupid, I’ll tweet about it from an account that doesn’t have my name attached. If you don’t have such an account, I recommend you create one and have at it.
8. There are lots of reasons why I don’t follow people on Twitter. It seems like the list of reasons is growing over time. If you’re reading this, and I haven’t followed you, let me know and we’ll correct that.
9. I do persist in following certain people whose behavior on social networks continually frustrates me because it seems important to see what they’re saying. I keep following others because the amusement level just surpasses the frustration level! For the mathematically-inclined:
If ∑ Amusement > ∑ Frustration, then @Brainzooming = Follower
10. I’ve not yet posted a question on Quora.
11. Even though I never go to the site, I do look at Empire Avenue emails to see what my daily earnings are. It’s almost always $64.13. I have no idea why this amount, how it’s arrived at, or whether any checks will ever be issued. One weekend, however, my earnings dropped in half, and in a panic, started tweeting more.
12. It’s important to me to leave trails of helpful ideas if I’m going to invest time on social networks. I expect others to do the same. And it’s always appreciated when you let me know if the ideas I’m sharing are helpful . . . or if they aren’t. Social media silence sucks, as we all know.
13. I pray for a day when social networks undergo tremendous consolidation resulting in fewer, really robust social networks to have to join and try out . . . because I’m running out of time!
That’s my social networking confession for today. Is there any thing you’d care to share and unburden your conscience? – Mike Brown
After writing about extreme creativity for a couple of days, here’s a real-life example: Gulp, the world’s largest stop-motion animation film. It’s extreme creativity in that it takes the skill set (manipulating and filming inanimate objects in a very controlled indoor setting) and scale (small) of typical stop-motion animation films in a completely different direction:
All that plus the film was captured using the sponsor’s product (a Nokia phone…three of them actually), dangled from a crane. This is extreme creativity! Here are both the “Making of Gulp” and “Gulp” videos. It may just be me, but I actually enjoyed the “making of” video more than the actual Gulp video. Then again, I tend to be more fascinated by the “how” of extreme creativity, than the final result. But that’s just me; you can pick whichever one you’d like to watch first!
Enjoy the video and this western Kansas extreme creativity, along with the background information on a plaque at the world’s largest Van Gogh painting! – Mike Brown
Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” for help on how to be more creative! For an organizational boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.
One of my guilty TV pleasures is watching celebrity entertainment news shows. You know the genre; it includes Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and TMZ. Nothing to be proud of relative to TV watching, but they are a very efficient way to feed what remains of my once fervent interest in all things pop culture.
While watching The Insider late one night, it struck me how masterfully the celebrity entertainment news shows exploit a relatively small amount of real pop culture content. Through a variety of storytelling and content curation techniques, they stretch and morph the content they compile to fill 30 minutes of air time on a daily basis.
Hmmm. What content creation activities might you be involved in where there’s an expectation of daily content where stretching out the content you have would be beneficial? Blogging and managing a social media content effort, perhaps?
5 Strategies from Celebrity Entertainment News Shows
Here are five ways to translate strategies TV celebrity entertainment news shows use to make social media activities more entertaining and manageable:
1. Shoot and run lots of video interviews
Video interviews with employees and customers can be easy ways to add new voices and increase audience time spent on your site. If you’re at an event, use it as an opportunity to video multiple short interviews. You can also video quick reactions to other stories you’re covering.
2. Repackage previous material
When it makes sense with your editorial calendar, repackage previously published material in new combinations. You can feature it again for new audience members and as a refresher for regular readers who haven’t seen it in a while.
3. Tease stories before they run
No need to make the daily blog post a surprise. Let the audience know in advance what’s coming up in future posts by sharing a snippet of content, getting anticipation and discussion started in advance. Another variation on the tease is to announce one topic, then start with a completely different one first.
4. Space stories over multiple days
Take a story, tease it one day, and then serialize the post over multiple days. Each daily post does not have to be unique – you can re-run a snippet of what you published previously to re-set the background for the piece.
5. Take the discussion to Facebook and Twitter
Repackage blog content in platform-appropriate ways for sharing in other social media channels, making content work harder for you. You can do this in reverse also, using status updates and comments created elsewhere and curating them to use in a blog.
What Ideas Do You Have?
Will you admit to watching Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, The Insider and other shows in this genre? If you do, what other ideas do you have for how their strategies can help your social media effort? – Mike Brown
If you’re struggling with understanding social media-related ROI and evaluating its impacts, you’ll benefit from downloading “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track.” The article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn about the best time to address measurement strategy, a checklist to identify overlooked ROI opportunities, and using measures linked to 3 stages of social networking activity to create a 6-metric dashboard. If you’re getting tough questions about social media ROI, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!