Doing good, done well

Mark Farmer  markfarmer@webness.biz  twitter.com/markus64     Today I want to talk to you about what to do. That is, without a doubt, the #1 question I get asked: “what should we do?” The person asking the question might be talking about web design, they might be talking about social media, SEO, online advertising, mobile, you name it. People want to know that there’s a plan or some kind of higher purpose they can use to guide themselves before diving into <insert technology here>. And the first thing I always tell people is that it’s not about the technology. It’s about you. Or, more particularly, what you do with that technology. So today I want to talk to you about the fundamentals that make these technologies succeed. I break it down like this: o Everyone wants to know what to do. o Everyone is being told what to do. o But ultimately, too few people know what to do. o How is that even possible? I think a big part of why so few people know what to do – unfortunately – is because of me. Or, more particularly, people like me: consultants and contractors, columnists and authors, bloggers and speakers. I think fundamentally, we’re at the root of the problem. And on behalf of talking heads everywhere, I’d like to apologize. I’m so sorry. But, I say people like me, because some of us wear white hats and some wear black hats. I like to think of myself as a white hat, because shooting hype in the butt is kind of a hobby of mine. I’m a contrarian and I like taking the wind out of windbags. But ultimately I’ll leave the colour of my hat for you to judge after you’ve heard a little more of what I have to say. And, really, the problem isn’t the black hats – they’re actually easy enough to spot, because they’re trying to sell you something directly, and something usually doesn’t add up in what they’re saying. No – for me, it’s the people who may not even realize they’re giving bad advice that you need to watch out for These are the hypesters, the people urging you to get on the wagon, to sign up, to sign on, start tweeting, go mobile, tap into foursquare, leverage crowd sourcing, optimize the Web 3.0 experience in a cooperative client-facing model right away because it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and you’re losing a tremendous opportunity by not getting on board. Unfortunately, that’s hype, and hype doesn’t lead anywhere, because it’s based on fear, a sense that you’re missing the boat, that you have to get on board RIGHT NOW or there will be dire, dire consequences. So why do some people do that? Because, to slightly modify a phrase made popular by Gordon Gecko in the original Wall Street movie, “Fear works.”

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Doing Good, Done Well 

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© 2011, Mark Farmer 

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Fear is one of the greatest sales tools of all time. And if you don’t believe me, check out a retirement planning ad. Check out the website for a security software company. Go pick up a brochure for homeowners insurance. These are all things that play up to your fears, they all work, and ultimately they all make their respective industries a tonne of money. If you can make people feel they’re missing out on something, that’s powerful - it tweaks something deep inside you. This leaves all of us with the impression that we’re inadequate. That’s bad because when we make decisions based on fear, we end up rushing into things. And rushing into things is rarely a great idea, not least of all with technologies like social media. So let’s hit the reset button. I want to move beyond the hype and talk about what’s really important to know when you’re getting started with a disruptive technology like social media. For everyone’s reference ‘Disruptive technology’ means something that disrupts the usual way you do business. For example, social media is a disruptive technology because it breaks down walls between you & your public. That’s disruptive. Mobile is disruptive because now you can access the internet anywhere, anytime. That’s disruptive. Here’s the kicker, though: technology’s comparatively easy to figure out, and there’s more than enough technology to go around. There’s a technology for everything. If you want the Virgin Mary to appear on your toast every morning, there’s a technology for that. If you want to find dates online for your pets, there’s a technology for that. If you want a wind-powered iPod, there’s a technology for that. There’s more than enough technology to achieve anything you want, online or off, and more than enough people to help you with it. In fact, in every organization I’ve ever gone into, whether they’ve been implementing social media, redesigning a website, internal communications, external communications, big multinationals like TransCanada PipeLines or one-person shops, you name it – technology has never, ever been the #1 challenge. Not even once. Any guesses what the #1 challenge facing an organization implementing a new technology is? Right: the organization itself. Organizational issues are always the issue in these situations. Want proof? Ask yourselves these questions: o Is my organization ready, willing and able to embrace this kind of change? o Do we communicate amongst ourselves well enough to make it work? o Do we have the resources to sustain this project and maintain this technology once it’s in place? o Have we got a champion who’s going to push this whole effort from behind (because trust me, if you don’t have one, it ain’t going to work) o Are you doing this because your organization wants and needs to, or because everyone else around you is doing it, and you don’t want to be left behind? If you haven’t asked these questions, in some way shape or form, you need to. Unfortunately, these kind of questions often get ignored because A) they’re obvious and people think if something’s obvious it’s not worth their attention and B) they’re hard to answer. Unfortunately, they’re also the most important questions you need to come to terms with.

   

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To help you come to terms with these questions, and to start you thinking, I’ve come up with the top 11 things I think you need to be doing with any online communications. This is the wisdom of almost 15 years in the field, distilled into 40 minutes, so hang onto your hats – I’m about to info-bomb you. Here we go, in no particular order:

   

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RECOMMENDATION #1: blow up your strategy. Organizations love strategy. Clients expect one, and experts love crafting them. They’re high value. They’re the big picture. They’re expensive. And they’re the thing you’re supposed to do first and foremost before you do anything else, right? Right? One of the best pieces of advice I could give you about any online communications – especially with social media – is don’t make strategy the first thing you do. Not because it’s a bad idea to strategize. Strategies are important – they tell us what to do and where we’re supposed to be headed. They keep us honest, because they keep us focused on goals and they make sure we keep the big picture in mind. But 9 times out of 10 with these kind of technologies, there’s a tonne of work you have to do first before you’re even capable of beginning to craft an effective strategy when you’re doing something for the first time. That’s why it shouldn’t be your first step. The main reason for this is that you have to learn by doing, which very few people realize. And here’s the shocker: not a single organization I’ve ever worked with has possessed the organizational IQ that would be required to plan something out that they’ve never done before. And I’ve worked with some very bright, capable organizations. So why is that? Henry Ford is why. Henry knew exactly how long it was going to take to produce a Model T because he and his company made a few of them. Anyone guesses how many? Over 15 million. And when you do anything 15 million times, you probably know exactly how long it’s going to take and exactly what to do, and you can come up with a detailed strategy and a plan for how to do it or anything like it. It also doesn’t hurt if you invent the production line. For many of you, this will be the first time you’re embarking on any kind of broadbased social or other media. You have a lot to learn before you should even think about coming up with a comprehensive strategy for how to do it. Because coming up with that kind of strategy requires an enormous amount of organizational self-knowledge – more than a lot of organizations possess. There are a few things that organizations claim they possess in bucketloads that they really don’t: knowledge about themselves and knowledge about their clients. The idea that you don’t know yourself or your clients nearly as well as you think you do is probably not a very popular idea to espouse, wherever it is you work. Unfortunately it’s usually true for any given organization. Which is why it’s important to learn by doing – nobody knows yourself as well as you do, so why would you pay someone money to come in and tell you all about yourself? Even if they’re the brightest consultants in the world, it’s going to take them a large amount of time and money to get to know you even half as well as you already do. Better to take that time and money and figure out how you work and what works for you, then (armed with that knowledge) go find the right consultant to help you. You’ll know yourself and what to look for much better.

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© 2011, Mark Farmer 

I understand why businesses want to pay consultants to tell them what to do – businesses are risk averse. They underestimate their ability and are afraid of screwing up. Fine. I get it. But don’t overestimate what a consultant can do for you in your rush to mitigate risk. They’re just a bunch of regular Joes like you, with a little extra experience in one area. That’s all. In spite of that, there’s a real cult of the consultant out there. I see it all the time. So many places I go are enamoured of external expertise. The thinking goes something like this: there’s someone out there who has this expertise, this special knowledge, in whatever area it is you’re trying to find out about. And they’re a techie, so they’re like some kind of mad scientist hidden away in a basement somewhere, and they understand the secrets of social media or SEO or SEM because they get it and they’ve cracked the code and they’re brilliant in a way other people aren’t, and if we can only locate this guy or this girl, we can access that knowledge, too. We just have to find that one guy....” Unfortunately, that’s rarely the way it goes. There is no wizard, just people with greater or lesser degrees of expertise. And placing too much emphasis on external resources takes away the greatest strength you have: a superb knowledge of your organization, its people, its resources, its strengths and weaknesses and how it works. That’s disempowering, and you need these kind of technologies to empower your organization, not disempower it. If the biggest challenges you face in implementing these technologies are organizational - and they are - wouldn’t you want to have the people who know that organization best on the job? The good news is, you already have them: they’re everybody around you at work. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t seek help when you need it. There are lots of good people out there, and if I seem hard on them, that’s only to keep them honest, to keep you informed, and to help you recognize the strengths you have as an organization. If and when you select one, make sure your consultant plugs into your organization, works with it and feeds into it. Not the other way around. They need to empower you, not vice-versa. So dip your toes into these technologies. Play around. Learn the basics, the fundamental vocabulary of how you do this thing, whatever it is you’re doing. Then, once you have a good idea of what you’re doing, then go into strategy mode. Another reason not to rely too much on strategy is that online communications are extremely idiosyncratic. What does that mean? It means you can’t cut & paste what somebody else does and expect it to work for you automatically. You have to find out for yourself – can anyone see this coming? – by doing. For example, the reasons why a blog works for one organization are usually unique to that organization: there’s a specific set of circumstances that makes it work there. That could be the niche that organization fills, their audience, the internal skillset they have access to, product, scale, you name it. So don’t fall into the trap of assuming that you can come up with a plan to take what works at another organization, copy it to yours, then kick back with a beverage and wait for the success to role in. Doing Good, Done Well  Page 5 of 16  © 2011, Mark Farmer 

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Unfortunately, a lot of organizations don’t understand this and end up getting caught in a cargo cult. You have to go through the hard work of finding out what will work at your organization and what won’t. And that means learning by doing. Try things out. Figure out how to blog by starting one. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it won’t be perfect, even if you plan out a strategy in excruciating detail beforehand. Because– and don’t tell anybody else this, because it’s a big secret – things never go as planned, and when you’re first starting out, you can expect them to go nothing like how you planned. That’s ok. It’s not the end of the world. One thing that will help you in this regard is by learning from the best. Luckily ‘the best’ have already done this for you, and made their wisdom available online: they’re called case studies. The best one I know of is for a craft-supplies company in the US called Fiskars, and I’d be happy to share it with you. The reason why you should pay attention to a crafting company? They successfully used social media to increase in-store sales of their product 300%. I’ll leave some contact information with you at the end of the session – you can get in touch with me if you like and I’ll send you a link.

   

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RECOMMENDATION #2: Accept who you are offline. It’s who you’re going to be online.
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There’s a great quote from Olivier Blanchard, a social media wise man from The Brandbuilder blog: “Your organization doesn’t plug into social media. Social media plugs into your organization.” I think this applies to all sorts of media online, but especially social media, so I’m going to focus on that. Social media is a disruptive technology, not a transformative one. It will change the way you do business, if you use it wisely – what it won’t do is fundamentally change who you are. Your organization’s complexion in the real world is your organization’s complexion online. It’s in your DNA – just because you have the ability to blog and tweet and send out e-mail newsletters doesn’t mean that in the process, you become something you aren’t in the online world. And the challenges that your organization faces off-line are the challenges you’re going to face on-line. For example: if you are a very careful, diligent, slow-moving organization offline, you are also going to be a very careful, diligent, slow-moving organization online. If you are authoritarian, and command and control is very tight, you’re going to be the same way online. Not much is going to change just by simply engaging in any of these platforms – they may change your organization over time, but if so only very slowly and through the process of using these technologies and learning from them. So take a look in the mirror – what you see in the real world is probably pretty close to what you’re going to see in the online world.

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RECOMMENDATION #3: Walk before you run I love it when I go to a session by an online marketing or social media guru. Why? Because they make my life hell. The reason? Because people like you, the rank & file salt-of-the-earth types, go to conferences and hear these guys talk. And they’re talking all about cutting-edge uses and applications of technology
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Augmented reality on mobile devices. QR codes for permission-based marketing. Organizations like Cisco and Zappos and others who are revolutionizing employee interactions through the online channel, who are fundamentally changing the world of online interaction and making a load of money in the process.

And people get very excited attending these events, because these guys are jazzing you up on the world of the possible and what’s out there and the cutting edge and, and, and... Then you get back to your workplaces and you go “OhmyGod I just saw this talk by Seth Godin and he’s talking all about this crazy cool stuff and we gotta get on this and we’re missing the boat, and, and, and….” And then someone raises their hand in the back and says “Cool! How about we start a blog.” And the powers that be say no. We can’t do that. People might write the word “pooh” or “fart” on our blog. We can’t have that. Or somebody says “how about we start a Twitter account.” And you hear “Who’s going to keep that up? We’re short-staffed as is. There’s no way that’ll work.” And nothing happens. Why? Because we get so hyped up on the glittering, shiny cutting-edge stuff that is so tantalizingly out of our grasp that we pooh-pooh all the obvious, easy stuff that’s much more pedestrian, but also much more realistic, much more likely to get done and, ultimately, much more useful to the organization. So walk before you run. It’s great to get jazzed up and motivated by all this cutting edge stuff and what’s going on at Google headquarters and what the latest Facebook thingy is, but it’s not where you begin. You begin with a blog that you commit to keeping up. The discipline and practice of that alone is going to teach you so much and give you way more returns than any augmented reality. Try regular reality first. Or start with a Twitter channel that you make sure to monitor so that when people talk to you, you talk back. Try segmenting your newsletter for different audiences. Try some basic SEO. Start with the low-hanging fruit, the less-than-glamorous stuff that’s fundamental and is going to teach you so much in the process. And most importantly, actually commit. Take the first step.

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RECOMMENDATION #4: Baby steps
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As mentioned, with anything new, you’re going to learn as you go, and some of those lessons are going to be hard ones. They’re not all going to be fun. So take some of the risk and the sting out of the process: take baby steps. By setting a series of discrete, limited, flexible goals, you can deal with that process of learning much better, respond to changes much more efficiently, and minimize the risk that comes with biting off a massive chunk of work. There’s often a desire to create big projects that roll a bunch of deliverables into one. That’s not a great idea because you’re also rolling all the risk, uncertainty, cost, stress and pressure of those projects into one. Guess how fun that is to manage: right, not very. In the software world, this is a big part of an approach called agile development (you can call it whatever you want). It’s a very popular way to get things to market quicker. It’s also a better way to engage a team, because by sprinting towards smaller goals instead of slogging towards one huge one, you achieve results much quicker, and focus people much better. And one of the biggest issues right now in IT is retention. We’re only just getting out of a recession and it’s already getting really tough to fill post-entry to mid-level positions, those requiring 3-10 years experience. The people that have been at it forever, people like me, we’re a dime a dozen. We’ll work for food. The young guns with skills are getting harder and harder to find. Want to find an easy way to make them walk out the door? Create huge projects with lots of bureaucracy, few tangible results, and tonnes of frustration. I guarantee your staff retention problem will evaporate, because you’ll have fewer staff to worry about. Be agile. Be happy. Don’t make online communications an IT project. Don’t make it a marketing project. Don’t make it a communications project. Make it a company-wide project.
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RECOMMENDATION #5: Get your governance right.

Engage the organization: your success depends on it. To engage the organization, you have to make them care, which means giving them a seat at the table (the decision-making table, not just the “we’ll-keep-you-in-the-loop” table). The people inside our organization, as likely as not, are the people who are going to create the content that makes your online communications succeed or fail. So invite them to the table. Go cross-functional. Think outside IT, marketing & communications to the other departments that can help. Another good reason to get your governance right is that if you govern your decision-making with the right people, you get good decisions. If you leave it up to someone in a department that knows nothing about online communications, you risk ending up with some spectacularly bad decisions. Surprise. Get the right people together, most importantly give them the authority to do good work, and set them loose. See what happens.

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RECOMMENDATION #6: set goals & measure success

This can be intimidating for a lot of people for a couple of reasons. Reasons #1 is that setting goals commits you to a specific path of action, and #2 is that a goal can be measured. That can be scary, because people generally want as much flexibility as possible in what they do, while setting goals sets you down a specific path. This is also scary because if you have a goal, your success at achievable that goal is measurable, and that can be intimidating, because it means (ultimately) you have to produce results. So lots of people shy away from setting goals or defining metrics for success online. Which is unfortunate, because if you don’t set goals, you have no way to measure success. Your success. If you don’t measure success, there’s no way to know whether you’ve done a good job and now way to get recognized for the work you do. And if there’s no way of knowing whether you’re doing a good job or not, somebody at some point is going to make up a criteria up and it’s probably not going to be a good one: “We’ve got a blog. Great work! It has stuff on it! Success“ or “The site looks great. Good job. Let’s go for drinks.” Unfortunately, stuff like how good a site looks is pretty much irrelevant. It’s a website, not a flower garden. So if you think it’s scary to come up with goals or measures of success yourself, think for a second about how scary it’s going to be when someone else does it for you and it’s irrelevant or unattainable or unmeasurable. The whole point of any of these exercises I’ve talked about today is to do the right things for your organization. Without clear measures of success, nobody really knows if you’re doing things right. The other side of this equation is, if you don’t set goals, you have no way to make good business decisions.
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Examples of goals include “we need to engage our members online better,” or “we want to increase pageviews on the website” or “we want to add five major sponsors and increase donations 20% this year.” Those are all tangible goals, ones you can measure. And you can make the right decisions to reach them, like “we need an area for members on the site,” or “we need to advertise online to make people aware of the new product,” or “we need a more impactful newsletter to connect with donors.”

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Those are decent strategies to have, in no small part because they’re ones you come up with yourself, they’re discrete, achievable and manageable.

   

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As far as measuring them goes, Google Analytics is a great way to start measuring how you’re doing on your website, and it’s also a great way to get to know who’s using the site and how.
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I can point out some great resources on getting started with Analytics – feel free to corner me after the presentation. I’m also giving a workshop on Analytics at the MyCharity Connects conference in a few months. You can contact me for more info if you’re interested in that one.

For social media, a good start is to use the measurement tools in HootSuite and it’s free. If you want to go bigger, there’s paid solutions like Radian 6.

RECOMMENDATION #7: Wake up and smell the mobile
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Even a few years ago you could get away with ignoring mobile. At the ROM and a few other museums I’ve talked to, the percentage of mobile users hitting the site since Christmas alone has shot up – I won’t get into specific numbers, but the increase is massive. Some museums are seeing mobile use of their sites push 10%. The least you need to do is to make your existing site looks ok on mobile devices. That’s the absolute bare minimum. The good news is that this is relatively easy to achieve if you design your site well from the beginning. It’s actually quite simple to use stylesheets to make a well-structured website usable on mobile devices. What you really should be doing, however, is not just skinning your existing site, but creating a dedicated experience for mobile visitors. Give them something dedicated to their platform. The next level, which may not apply to you, is mobile applications. But, again, walk before you run.

   

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RECOMMENDATION #8: Get usable, get accessible

If you’re an agency of the Government of Ontario, or receive funding from them, you had better know about the AODA and what it represents. Even if you’re not such an agency, there’s similar legislation in place at the federal level. Anybody know what the AODA is? Anyone? The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. As of this year, all agencies of the government of Ontario have to comply with it. The good news is that there’s still time. Even if you aren’t an agency of the government of Ontario, accessibility is becoming more and more of an issue, with a greater expectation that people with disabilities and challenges will be able to access your site. The other side of this is equation is usability. After over 15 years of banging away at it on the World Wide Web, people are finally coming to the realization that look & feel matter a lot less than usability does. This can be kind of tough for people to wrap their minds around, because of the way we look at websites. Very few people have the background, expertise or critical faculties to assess the “usability” of online media. So they assess it with the one capacity they do have, namely ‘does it look good?’ I can understand why people would ask that. I really can. But look & feel are not the most important success criteria online. What really makes your stuff work is usability. That means factoring in usability from the very start, whatever your project is: website, mobile, Facebook, apps, whatever. And if you don’t have the expertise in-house to do that, one of the best investments you can make is to get some advice from someone that knows what they’re talking about. And there are people who can help you – yes, consultants, but accessibility isn’t something you can necessarily learn about by doing, the way that you can with things like social media. And in this field in particular, a little advice up front goes a long way. Don’t wait until you’ve got a finished product before you start planning and testing for accessibility and usability. By that point it’s too late to change much. Some of the non-profits that work with communities with disabilities may even be willing to help you pro-bono, just so that you can understand their constituency better. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. Failing that, there are some really good books out there that are easy to read and can help you build simple, usable interfaces. I’m happy to share some of those with you at the end of the presentation.

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One piece of good news is that there are many ways to build usability, and some of these are extremely inexpensive, such as:
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Hallway testing. You don’t need to conduct a large, time-consuming, expensive test. A hallway test is a great place to start. Anybody know what hallway testing is? Anyone? It means going down the hall and asking some of the people you work with for their opinion. Even better, give them a simple task or two to complete (e.g. make a purchase, book a visit, find out hours, etc.) and see how they do. If you test things internally, even if it’s just an informal, ad-hoc setting, according to some sources you can capture up to 70% of what doesn’t work well on your site. 70%. For very little effort and at no cost. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? If you could paint 70% of anything would you? I think so. If you were painting your house and you knew a way to paint 70% of it for free, would you? Probably. I would! Card testing. This is a great way to get to know how your audience sees you. All it is, essentially, is putting different categories of information – say, the names of web pages on your site – on index cards or sticky notes, and asking people to sort them into categories. It sounds simple enough, and it lets you find out how people think about your information, how it should be organized, and how they want to access it. That turns into navigation and structure for your project. Focus groups are the next logical extension, and this is where the rubber really hits the road. If you really want to know how well, say, a mobile app is going to work, get 6 or 8 people in a room, put them in front of computers or iPhones and get them to complete some tasks. There’s no better way to blow up your preconceptions than this kind of testing.

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Put yourself in your users’ shoes, whether that’s through something structured like a focus group, or something informal like a hallway test. It pays dividends.

   

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RECOMMENDATION #9: Come up with a social media policy
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Now this one’s specifically about social media. One of the better things you can do when embarking on a social media exercise is to create a policy, especially if you’re planning on engaging other people within the organization. A lot of people tune out when they hear the word, “policy.” We’ve been trained to think of policy as a bureaucratic, coma-inducing list of don’ts. A social media policy shouldn’t be exhaustive, and it should NOT be corporate speak. It should set out in simple, everyday language (using real-world examples) how you expect people to behave online when they’re representing your institution. Most importantly, it shouldn’t be a list of don’ts. The easiest thing in the world to do is to clamp down on people and give them a laundry list of what not to do. That’s also the best way to make sure social media goes nowhere in your organization. A social media policy should provide a clear guideline and expectation for people as to what to do and what not to do. It should give people the confidence to start engaging with the medium. There are templates online for what a social media policy should look like, and I’d be happy to send you some links if you want to contact me after the presentation. Even with a policy in place, you still need to train staff and provide them with some support if you expect them to become conduits of information for you. In fact, this is one of the most-overlooked areas in online communications: training and support. This’d be a good time to ask: is anyone here experimenting with content management? Yeah, you want to start thinking about training and support sooner than later if you haven’t already, because it’s an especially huge concern with content management systems.

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RECOMMENDATION #10: Communicate internally
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Be proactive. Be open. Be honest. That’s the nature of the internet, and that’s the nature of communication using the internet, whether it’s internal or not. So as you’re developing these tools, use this opportunity to reach out to people internally and get them excited and involved. You’re going to want to rely on these people eventually to start using these tools for your business, so better to engage them sooner than later. If you only have one person in marketing or communications representing you online, you might think, “Great, I can control the message, I know what’s going on and I limit risk.” Yeah, you do all that – but you also limit success. Recognize that your employees benefit from new media by playing a part in it, whether that’s coming up with ideas and content, being included in planning, or at least being kept in the loop as to what you’re doing and what you’re rolling out. When you’ve got a new communications channel, people both inside and outside the organization want to know about it. And if you don’t let them know about it, they feel disconnected from it. That’s not something you want. Even better, make sure communication flows both ways internally. Again, it’s easy enough to adopt a traditional command & control approach, and turn your internal communications into a one-way medium. Go further than that. It may be a little frightening to actually open up a two-way communications channel, but there are ways to take baby steps that minimize that risk And again – have I mentioned this enough yet? – learn by doing. If only for employee morale’s sake, try opening up that communications channel. And create ambassadors
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Whether it’s internal or external audiences, recruit key influencers, early adopters, ambassadors, evangelists – whatever you want to call them – from within your organization. This stacks the cards in your favour. You really can’t do an exercise like this on your own. You need these people to carry your message forward. These people can help you build momentum, and momentum drives success and adoption.

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Build community, create value, reinforce status. Rinse, repeat.

   

Doing Good, Done Well 

Page 15 of 16 

© 2011, Mark Farmer 

RECOMMENDATION #11: Research

The last thought I’ll leave you with this is this: don’t recreate the wheel. Everything you’re thinking of doing online has already been done a million times. Why give yourself the headache of figuring it out for the million-and-oneth time? Find out who’s already done it and who’s doing it right. Learn from these people. Ask them questions. Ego is a tremendous motivator, and people love talking about themselves and their experiences, especially if they’re regarded as some kind of expert. Look at me – I haven’t stopped talking for 40 minutes! I love it! Finding out what works and what doesn’t can save you a tremendous amount of grief. The lessons I’m learning right now just from calling around the globe and talking to museums that have recently gone through a redesign project is helping the ROM immeasurably and I’m using Skype so it’s free – it’s not costing the taxpayers a dime. BRILLIANT! So ask. You’ll save yourself a tremendous amount of grief and lessons learned. Listen twice as much as you talk, and always ask questions. And everything you do will come up roses.

   

Doing Good, Done Well 

Page 16 of 16 

© 2011, Mark Farmer 

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