Some More Thoughts on Using Periscope/Meerkat

Periscope and Meerkat are all the rage. Like Robert Scoble I still think these services will create many bad videos. But at the same time, I’d be a fool if I denied that some brands like GE are already using these tools to build a narrative, and actively engage audiences.

So this Tuesday Tenacity5 Media will be experiment with it during GiveLocal America. C.C. Chapman came on board for tomorrow, just to help the team here in DC. I’ll be in New Orleans covering GiveNOLA, and Erin Feldman will be in Kimbia’s office here in Austin, TX and Jessica Bates will be working with C.C. in DC.

All three of us will be providing updates from our various locations about what nonprofits are doing to win their communities’ respective giving days. These updates will be short and spaced out with each oof us reporting every hour, and one of us reporting on the @givelocal15 account every 20 minutes.

Getting ready! Just under 32 hours until #givelocal15

A photo posted by Give Local America (@givelocalamerica) on

So I needed to brush up on live streaming best practices. There have been some good pieces on best practices put together already. A quick summary of some smart tips:

1) Get a tripod for the phone so the video is steady.

2) Make sure your battery is charged.

3) Use the top third of the phone for your head (and shoot vertically).

4) Turn off notifications from your other apps so they don’t interrupt the broadcast.

5) Do your best to schedule your broadcasts in advance.

One thing I’d like to see some more of is using live video to offer citizen journalism broadcasts. So I started thinking about how I was going to use live video in combination with photos from the scene. More often than not, I thought of major events and how networks cover them live

live-streaming-meerkat-periscope

GiveNOLA will offer a live event in Lafayette Square with organizations actively fundraising. So it’s a great opportunity to use live video to execute interviews with donors as well as Greater New Orleans Foundation and nonprofit staffers.

There will be many nonprofit parties, too. So the trip offers an opportunity to show live event activities, parades, music, etc. Then there is the behind the scenes management of the giving day from the community foundation’s perspective, the metaphorical war room shots. Finally, there will surely be good stories unfolding on site, and this is an a opportunity to report on them.

One thing I think traditional broadcast media does well is that they keep video material short. I think livestreaming offers the temptation of continuing to show live coverage when in reality, we know social videos do better when they are brief. Five minute livecasts of in-street action or behind the scenes interviews is probably too long for this purpose. I am thinking two minutes give or take is the cap for these efforts.

What do you think of Meerkat and Periscope so far?

Featured photo by Iwan Gabovitch

Customer Experience Trumps Content Marketing

Content Mind Map
Image by MindMapInspiration

More and more voices state that content marketing overhype has jumped the shark. They’re right. As a primary strategy content marketing is overhyped. Instead, brands should focus on customer experience marketing.

Before we go too far, let me say I love content, all forms of it, too, not just online, but events, print, and music, just to name a few. Brand developed content (cough, advertising) offers a great tactical toolset, one of my favorites.

That doesn’t necessarily mean content marketing should serve as every company’s primary outreach strategy.

Why not just make Facebook your primary strategy? Should we have that conversation again?

A better strategic approach focuses on marketing tools as extensions of the brand experience.

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Lost Your Social Edge? Try JugnooMe


I made the above video at the suggestion of JugnooMe

Normally I am skeptical of web-based solutions like Klout and PostRank that claim to make better social media voices. When my friend and colleague Danny Brown announced JugnooMe, a web based solution that “levels the playing field for the benefit of all,” I opened my mind. JugnooMe promises that small business and nonprofits can use the solution to optimize and further their social presence.

When I started using the application, I was impressed. The list of JugnooMe tasks were strong suggestions that based on my experiences would strengthen a brand’s presence with real community.

It was also a bit disconcerting. See, it made me realize how sloppy and indifferent I have become about my social presence. The tasks were a bit of cold water in the face, and I could see that I had been coasting for a long time. So I started responding more frequently on social networks, and in blogs.
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The “One Strategy” Myth

One tree hill
Image by Chuck Nado

A bubbling marketing conversation states that there are no ad, pr, social media, sales, customer service, HR or any other specific functional strategies; rather that an organization — corporate or nonprofit — only has one strategy. All actions are part of that strategy. What an interesting myth — particularly for larger organizations that have diverse brands, product lines, companies and international operations.

Consider the old GE mission of achieving first or second place in any of the business areas it operates in. Does this mean General Electric has one strategy? Hardly. It’s pretty safe to say that their railroad business has a completely different marketing strategy than its lighting group. For starters, one engages in high-end business-to-business and business-to-government sales, while the other is a consumer products group. They simply share a common goal.

How about a mid-sized nonprofit’s communications department? That department may have direct outreach methods like email, donor development and events, as well as a marketing communications group, including advertising to brand and generate leads, PR for word of mouth and earned credibility, and social media for direct relationship interactions, PR and lead generation.

Do you think the advertising approach will work in social media? How about the donor development effort in PR? No, this is often a problem, forcing a method from one specialty into a second area that requires a different approach for success. Direct marketing in social media without relationships and conversations doesn’t work. Inserting a direct ask for donations into a press pitch usually fails (disaster relief provides an exception to this rule).

Yes, they all work better together as part of a larger whole, in essence forming the larger movement and strategy. We know this. Integrated coordinated action always works to create a larger output. Yet you still need different approaches for each outreach effort for maximum output.

Understanding How Strategies Flow Together

Behold the Potomac River
Harpers Ferry Where the Shenandoah Flows Into the Potomac

Organizational strategies are like flowing water, for example a river. A river has many tributaries, some are creeks, streams, brooks, runs and yes, other rivers. All of this water seeks to find the fastest path to sea, joining forces to create a mighty body of water pushing towards the end result. Consider how many small bodies of water contribute to the Ohio River. Yet the powerful Ohio River is but a tributary of the Mississippi River.

Similarly, an organization has multiple strategies, some specific to a functional area or subset of that area (marketing and advertising, say). These strategies all dovetail together to form one movement towards the organization’s end goals and initiatives. Independently they each have their own approach towards navigating their specific terrain, but together they create the larger result.

A master strategy may involve several strategies. In order to achieve larger objectives, different tasks have to be parceled out and addressed independently. Further, smart strategies do this because to have one plan exposes an organization to too much risk. All or nothing is never a good place to be. It’s better to deploy multiple approaches.

Granted, much of this gets back to a basic understanding of the definition of strategy. Still, don’t believe the hype. One strategy is the equivalent of trying to fit a square peg not just in a round hole, but into many different types of holes.

This post has been added to the Fifth Estate Strategy Wiki.

Shiny Object Syndrome: Don’t Fondle the Hammer

The following is draft material for the second edition of Now Is Gone, which is almost out of print. Comments may be used in the final edition. You can download the first drafted chapter of the new edition — Welcome to the Fifth Estate — for free.

foursquare.jpgWhen seeking to inspire a conversation about one’s initiative — whether it’s product, cause or simply education — the first instinct drives one to reach for the hot tool of the day. Since the first Now Is Gone was written, this has shifted from blogs to Facebook/Twitter to widgets and applications to iPhone apps to now geolocation networks FoursSquare and Gowalla, as well as Facebook again (thank you, Open Graph).

First dubbed Shiny Object Syndrome by PR Squared Blogger Todd Defren in 2005, this phenomenon plagues organizations, companies and individuals to adapt the latest social communications tool. It’s often based on peer pressure, buzz, or a desire to be one of the first. The issue belies strategic approaches to social communications.

Ace social technology analyst Jeremiah Owyang has in time called the phenomena “Fondling the Hammer.” Web strategists oft focus on the tool rather than their strategic approach. While we have a general strategy towards creating a great conversation, we need to best understand how to participate within that community, create an approach that will work with it, rather than just run to the shelf an pick up the latest power tool.

Unfortunately, while in the short term placating a need to play with the newest communications toy, Shiny Object Syndrome can create terrific wastes of money. That in turn, can create terrible consequences for organizations, executives and communicators alike.

In Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff‘s classic book Groundswell the home run statement, “concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies.” The community drives social media, not social media in their many technological forms. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff also note that Shiny Object Syndrome can become a major barrier to success in their fourth chapter.

Getting beyond Shiny Object Syndrome requires the lead communicator to STOP! Then go back to the master communications plan. As unsexy as it is, a blog or a widget may still be your most powerful tool. A healthy evaluation of social media tools should reveal the tools stakeholders and their influencers are using, a critical determinant as these are the relationships you seek to forge.