Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

Archive for the ‘socialnetworks’ Category

A handy acronym for social strategies

Posted by Graham Hayday on January 22, 2008

Forrester Research unleashed a new acronym on the marketing world late last year: POST.

POST stands for People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology and is designed to help companies form effective social media strategies.

I’ve been meaning to blog about this since the end of last year when Forrester’s Josh Bernoff sent me (and lots of other bloggers who asked for one) a copy of a short report introducing the POST methodology.

I’m not normally a fan of acronyms, but this one is actually useful. Josh explains POST in more detail here, but in summary (and to quote from the report) it breaks down like this. (My comments in italics.)

1. People: Review the Social Technographic Profile of your customers.

Social Technographic Profile is Forrester’s own audience segmentation tool which, of course, they would love you to buy from them. I’d argue that it’s not strictly necessary to do so. For many companies, all you need ask is such questions as: ‘Who are my customers? Who am I trying to reach? How likely is it that they’ll use social media?’ The more ruthless the focus on the audience the better, and the more you know about them the better.

2. Objectives: Decide what your goals are.

Can’t argue with that one. When talking about this with our clients, we tend to put objectives first, and audience second. But OPST isn’t an especially good acronym…

3. Strategy: Determine how your objectives will change your relationship with customers.

I like the use of the word ‘change’ here. A new relationship with customers is not something many companies are prepared for when plunging into the world of web 2.0.

4. Technology: Choose the appropriate technologies to deploy.

As Josh points out, the choice of technology should be the last thing you think about. It’s no good starting a discussion about social media by saying: ‘How can we use Facebook to reach our customers?’

As this report was sent out a couple of months ago, I’m not the first person to comment on it. There’s some constructive criticism here and here as well as some positive feedback.

The one thing I particularly liked about the report was the recognition that, of all the social media implementations that fail, most do so through a lack of defined objecives. Another reason for failure is what Forrester calls ‘strategic timidity’. The report reads:

“Unwillingness to assess and address the way that social technologies change customer relationships dooms many a project. Companies that go only half way to letting go of control, primarily because of internal political battles, are most likely to suffer from this problem. By recruiting a strong executive champion to back your efforts, you can make sure your company doesn’t fall into this strategic trap.”

Letting go of control… having an executive champion… these are indeed critical success factors.  

The POST approach will feature in an upcoming book from Forrester called Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social  Technologies, which will be published in April. You can pre-order a copy here on


Posted in blogging, socialmedia, socialnetworks, web2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Get distributed, or get out

Posted by Graham Hayday on January 18, 2008

An old colleague of mine once spoke to an IT vendor who had this recipe for business success: ‘Get big, get niche or get out.’

It is of course a massive cliché, and one we repeated ad infinitum in the office for some reason. But it still rings true in IT, and also in media.

Or at least it used to. These days, you perhaps need to add another ‘get’ to the equation – ‘get distributed’.

Jeff Jarvis (et al) has been going on about this for the internet equivalent of donkeys’ years. Using Google’s business model for inspiration, he insists that media organisations today have to enable their content to be distributed around the web, just as Google-driven ads appear all over the place. Google doesn’t care if you never visit the homepage; it can still make money.

How many media organisations can say the same of their websites? More and more are moving in this direction, and rightly so. A survey flagged up today by Roy Greenslade on his Media Guardian blog shows why. It reveals some interesting trends about American teenagers’ media consumption.

One of the study’s authors is quoted by Roy as saying:

“We found teens are unlikely to follow serious news online, but that they will click on news stories that appeal to them when they find them on other sites… Teen after teen told researchers that they’ll view news stories ‘if something catches my eye.'”

They may well take that approach into adulthood, so it’s crucial even for B2B sites to optimise their content for a web 2.0 world. I noticed today that the CNET-owned now has a branded Facebook page. It may only have two ‘fans’ right now (both CNET employees…) but it is another example of a media brand distributing itself online. (They should have news headlines appearing there perhaps – or at the very least a link to the site! – but I’m sure that sort of thing will come. The Facebook presence of the consumer-focused site is much busier).

The report also found that teens are “drawn to news stories if they are presented with stimulating video or pictures, or if the topic is humorous or bizarre”. Maybe we need to add another ‘get’ to the equation then – ‘get multimedia’.

So… ‘Get big, get niche, get distributed, get multimedia or get out’. It’s not quite as catchy as the original, but it works for me.

Posted in B2B, facebook, MSM, socialnetworks | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Facebook: more popular with women than men?

Posted by Graham Hayday on November 22, 2007

A blogger by the name of Paul Francis is getting a lot of virtual love today for this – a breakdown of Facebook users by country and by gender.

He used the Facebook ad platform to garner the data, and admits that the stats are open to debate. Nevertheless, if you happen to be preparing a presentation on social networking and the like for a client and were struggling to find decent material for your PowerPoint slides, this sort of thing is like manna from heaven…  Thanks Paul.

If you’re after such information yourself, these stats from Comscore about European usage of Facebook (with a focus on the UK) may also be of interest. 

Posted in facebook, socialmedia, socialnetworks | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »