Blog Against the Machine

Heavy Industry

They say that professional blogging is a dying social marketing tool. The University of Massachusetts revealed a 25% drop in the number of corporate blogs in the Inc. 500 (from 50% of the general surveyed population to 37%).The next generation of trade media — team and professional “blogs” — have risen to the fore and dominated their various niches. Lost in the dust are the individual and small business bloggers who can’t create enough content to compete effectively against the content machines.

In the marketing sector we have strong professional trade media plays from Hubspot, MarketingProfs and Copyblogger. Individual blogs like Jason Falls’ Social Media Explorer have augmented the individual voice with guest posts, providing daily or near daily offerings to remain competitive. In the nonprofit sector, I helped start a similar professional team blog, Inspiring Generosity.

Most individual bloggers — blogs like this one, which feature, one, two, maybe even three posts a week — simply cannot command the traffic to generate competitive market attention in the face of these machines. They don’t cover breaking news like these more professional outlets. Responding to the news cycle requires a dedication to blogging. Most people with jobs that are tied to other activities beyond social simply cannot afford to spend the time necessary to compete.

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Reflections on Dell’s Social Media Facility

Dell continues to be one of the most innovative companies out there in social media. Yesterday, on the one year anniversary of its Social Media Listening & Command Center, Jason Falls and I toured the computer giant’s headquarters.

We met with several critical players on the Dell team, from perennial leader Lionel Menchaca to Amy Heiss, program manager for the Command Center. Along the way we learned quite a bit about how Dell evolves with its clients needs, in the United States and globally.

Perhaps the biggest impression made on me was the experimental and open nature of the Dell social team. When I walked into the cavernous room that houses Dell’s social media group, I noted several things:

  • A wide open space with no cubes or barriers
  • The team sitting together is cross disciplinary, ranging from communications and social media to customer service and legal. They literally have no excuse for silos as they all sit within strides of each other.
  • The Command Center (featured above) is the room immediately next to the open office space, readily accessible by all
  • An ambiance that’s generally light, fun and curious

Dell has become a “socialprise”, and is actively experimenting with the best ways to enable fluid business dialogue in the enterprise, critical to its online success. The company clearly understands that empowering departments to interact quickly extends beyond process. The result is increased access through physical space and location.

Data, Training and Falls

Dell's Social Media Listening and Command Center

Dell is listening to its current and potential customers in a very organized fashion across a wide range of data points. For example, the above video details influence tracking, just some of the incredible data the Command Center tracks. The diverse data points range from products to conversations to global regions to all the industry players involved.

In conversation with Rajiv Narang, executive director for social media and marketing innovation at Dell, it became clear how analytical this company is. We’re talking the ultimate data geeks here. Dell sees data, conversations, trends and corresponding behaviors, and deeply analyzes to distill knowledge. Then it mindfully addresses its business direction to serve the market. It’s fantastic.

Another factor that became clear was how incredibly social the company has become. In meeting with many diverse players in Dell, from enterprise sales to sustainability and social good, almost everyone of them had been certified in the company’s social media program. Knowledge and practice ranged, but it was clear that the 5000+ employees who have been trained are interested, and see social as a critical component to the company’s success.

It was great to do this trip with Jason Falls, too, who will add his insights next week. Jason is clearly doing really well, and is at the top of his game with the release of No Bullshit Social Media. Congratulations, Jason. You deserve all of the success as one of the hardest working people in the sector.

Nine Guest Posts on Social Media

Geoff Livingston & The Fifth Estate

Due to the late release of Welcome to the Fifth Estate, the opportunity to coincide the book with last Spring’s speaking engagements was lost. In lieu of a book tour, it seemed appropriate to go on a blog tour.

The following nine blog posts are Fifth Estate themed social media pieces about different subject threads in the book. Thank you Adam, Jason, Jesse, Danny, Allyson, Gini, Frank, Team Mashable and Brian for the opportunities.

This ends the guest blog tour, though there is more great Fifth Estate stuff coming!