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Director of Consumer-Generated Media

April 23, 2009

I’ve always wanted to help people communicate. Communication, done correctly, can be cost-effective. In advertising, communication is a valuable source of information about products and services. Communicating is a two-way street: listening and talking; mostly, listening.

Director of Consumer-Generated Media.

There are many ways to communicate these days, both for personal and business reasons. Before the explosion of the Internet, there were two main methods of communicating: snail mail and land lines.

Snail mail evolved into e-mail. Land lines evolved into mobile phones.

E-mail has lost favor for real-time conversations. The need for real-time responses spawned the growth of Instant Messaging and micro-blogging.

Land lines are anchors. Answering machines are not the preferred method of leaving messages. People are getting rid of their land lines completely, and relying on their cell phones as their main phone source. The purposefulness of mobile phones has not been reached. There is still much potential to be found as is obvious when one looks at the hundreds of mobile phone applications available. Mobile phones have become the smallest of laptops.

All this is nothing new. What’s new is the plethora of networking options available that is constantly changing and which sometimes requires a guide to wade through.

Businesses need a guide to help find the online conversations about their products/services.

Online events attract site visitors. Consider online chats in real-time. The chats can be text or video based. Try “Cover It Live.”

PART I: Strategy to improve business communications, marketing efforts and SEO.

1. Training: Ongoing. I will work with the HR department to determine which employees will be asked to implement social media applications in their workflow. I foresee every department having at least one person trained in the use of social media tools. Two departments that may benefit from the majority of its staff using social media tools are Advertising and the Newsroom. Training will include the use of social media applications. Brown bag lunches, individual one-on-one sessions, online presentations.

2. Work productivity tools: gmail, Google Reader, Google Docs, gchat, Google maps, micro-blogging such as Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed, bookmark sites such as Delicious.

3. Blogging. WordPress, Blogspot, Ning.

PART II: How a Consumer-Generated Media department benefits the business

Case study #1: Jim Durbin blogs on ere.net about Sodexo and how the recruiting company tripled its site traffic by blogging. Sodexo used metrics to track as best they could unique visitors to their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. ROI on social media can be tracked.

Case study #2: David at Figure Four Media notes the video viral campaign by Blend Tec “Will it blend?” increased sales of the company’s product (blenders).

Case study #3: Erick Schonfeld writes on TechCrunch and uses statistics from ComScore to show the tremendous growth just among U.S. Twitter users.

Case study #4: This article in Advertising Age states that ROI in social media may be measured. However, there are some naysayers among the commenters. Biggest flaw is advertising within social networks, NOT truly using social media. Using social media means having conversations with people who have an interest in your products/services. Another flaw in measuring ROI in some cases is the conversion rate is assumed – it is an estimate.

Case study #5: This article by Jeremiah Owyang at Web Strategy focuses on the use of social media by women. There is huge potential for ROI. I propose that a portal for women be created on our site which will create a huge audience and potential for lots of online conversations in the community. Jeremiah points to statistics gathered by iMedia and Forrester relating to the ROI of investing in social media focused on women. A portal for women on our site has immense potential.

PART III: What it will take to implement this position

There is nothing technologically advanced in performing the duties of the Director of Consumer-Generated Media. The IT department will not be impacted a great deal. The infrastructure of the site will remain recognizable while social media applications are added to it. Bandwidth will not increase in shocking proportions.

Audience recognition. Audiences will learn and adapt to social media. Listening to the conversations and giving the audiences the type of online experience they want, adds value and a reason to visit our site.

It is time to move forward and give our visitors what they want. Conversation.

I would like to thank Chris Brogan for his blog post regarding getting senior management on board with social media.

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