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January 03, 2009

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Louis Columbus

Great comments Dale, thank you. 2009 is going to be a year that forces major change on customer-facing processes due to the transparency that social networking requires. Have a great start to your new year!

Dale Wolf

Louis,

As usual, very thought provoking and helpful to all of us trying to make the shift to the New Media. Not surprising, many of the same principles apply on New Media as on Traditional Media -- just different and often more powerful tools, but the principles of the past still apply.

I am staggered by how many sites I visit that immediately communicate to me that I cannot trust them. The tipoff? Self-serving content loaded with "how wonderful we are" adjectives and, yes, enough jargon to make me gag.

But even worse, after I read the copy and maybe even take a spin through the website, I still have no idea what they are selling and why it would benefit me.

My Golden Rule for web content is simple. Every page should tell me in the first sentence what the page is about. If this is a page introducing a company or a product, please please please tell me what you do in simple words so I get it. Do not hide under self-congratulating ponderous and meaningless words that send me off to another site.

Next, tell me why what you do is of value to me. This is what I call the Value Promise. If possible, this should be differentiating so I know how you are unique from other companies. And this is where the dishonesty typically starts. Louis hit it on the head -- tell the truth cause you will not fool me for long.

Last, tell me why I should believe your value promise. This is the Proof Statement. This is where I am the jury. If I smell a skunk in the Proof Statement, I will pinch my nose and head to greener pastures. You can prove your Value Promise with verifiable facts, with success stories from real clients, with third-party research or analyst reports.

That is not difficult. What do you do? How do you provide value to me? Why should I believe you? Do this and you could be on the short list of companies I want to partner with.

And this works in traditional and new media.

-- dale wolf

Louis Columbus

Steve,

You are a great mentor, thanks for introducing me to so many useful tools on Twitter, in fact thanks for introducing me to Twitter! Based on your recommendation I will use Http://www.peoplebrowsr.com and see how I like it. I like TweetDeck quite a bit, very useful for responding back to others.

Steve, you're right on about the challenges and impediments to making social networking in companies. I think that regardless of a company being inundated with social networking content or having no visible feedback, I think it's clear that for social networking to work at the company level there has got to be a willingness to change. In the end, social networking is about stripping away outmoded processes and approaches to getting work done on behalf of customers.

Steve Kayser

Excellent post Louis (as always). Followers don't mean value or relevance. In fact, almost anyone can get followers just by following a lot of people. A lot of people automatically follow you back. Sometimes starting up with the web 2.0 stuff is hard because 1.) It's hard to see if anything is happening, or 2) too much is happening to keep track of - and it's overwhelming.

I'm using Http://www.peoplebrowsr.com to help with that now. It allows you to post to Twitter and FriendFeed, and follow multiple information streams. Not only the people and companies you want to follow - but it also allows you to sort the stream by posts which include "links" with them. And for me, these are the ones that almost always contain the most valuable information and ideas - at least for what I track. Just jumping in and experimenting is the way to learn the quickest. People will help you if you ask.

You forgot you Twitter address !!! Http://wwww.twitter.com/louiscolumbus

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