How to Think of Social Media

To convert a prospect into a client is a special skill. Sometimes you get lucky and the company has already been contemplating the services you offer. Typically, however, a prospect hasn’t envisioned the various ways you can support his brand.

This is why, when we first sit down with someone, we begin by contextualizing what it is that we do for a living. Instead of tossing around lingo such as “hashtags,” “Klout,” or “search engine optimization,” we present five simple slides on “how to think of social media” (see above).

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15 Case Studies to Get Your Client on Board With Social Media

The Conversation Prism

How to sell social media

In business, definitions are everywhere. They’re your first line of defense in mission statements, job descriptions, expense accounts, statements of work, accounting principles, and the like. If you can’t define something, you’re left with Potter Stewart’s famous but ultimately unhelpful maxim, “I know it when I see it.”

Understandably, this is why a plethora of pundits have sought to corner the elusive term, “social media,” within a dictionary. For instance, Duct Tape Marketing defines the phenomenon as “the use of technology combined with social interaction.” Wikipedia prefers “Web-based and mobile technologies.” Booz Allen Hamilton points to “electronic tools, technologies, and platforms.”

Got that? If you don’t follow, your clients won’t either.

While definitions are important, to sell the field that everyone talks about but few can illuminate, we social media strategists need to reframe the conversation. Instead of striving for Merriam-Webster precision, we would do better if we focused on case studies.

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How Do You Get People to Use a Wiki?

Microsoft SharePoint

A version of this blog post appeared on K Street Cafe (September 14, 2010) and GovLoop (September 15, 2010).

A few days ago, a colleague asked for help with a predicament common in Gov 2.0 circles: how to educate her colleagues, managers, and clients to rely more on a project wiki and less on e-mail? (Broadly defined, a “wiki” can be as simple as a folder or set of folders on a shared hard drive or as complex as a SharePoint “component” designed to look and feel like Wikipedia.) For example, how do you get someone to check the wiki for a document rather than e-mailing someone else for it? Then, once user A has the document and needs feedback on it, how do you get her to distribute a link to the wiki rather than distributing the document itself?

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