Tag Archives: community

SocialDreamium

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I decided to take a minute to highlight my latest endeavor, joining the team at SocialDreamium. SocialDreamium is a privately-held Milwaukee-based company committed to building strong web-based communities centered around a companies products and services.  Started in October of last year by my brother Ryan Graves, and quickly expanding. I jumped on board a little over a month ago to help author the blog, (Get Audience, Get Going, where you will often see my posts from this site as well), assist with client writing (as we start to build a client base), and editorial assistance to what eventually will be a SocialDreamium book entitled,”The Dream in Action”. (I’ll keep you posted!)

At SocialDreamium, we believe in the power of the collective social web. It’s what we love and have a passion for, and want to help others understand.. and then utilize for their brand.  We also love people and we see the internet as a way to meet more people and create value for these businesses. We work to create two way relationships and conversation between our clients and their customers.  I hav posted before about online communities, and what that means. SocialDreamium dives into this concept and works to first create and then managing these communities. It is so much about listening and contributing to the networks that exist, and we help our companies to do this. We also help companies to develop a successful blog for their brand and build a social web presence that they can stand on.  Through these outlets we allow our clients to grow a relationship with their customers.  We also now have a larger team that allows us to build web based software to help you manage your community.  Currently, the SocialDreamium team is made up of Ryan (in Milwaukee), David Abrahams and Dien Nguyen in Sydney, Australia and myself in San Diego. We’re still growing and looking for great writers and developers to join our ranks…(e-mail taylor@socialdreamium.com)

SocialDreamium currently has a working relationship with SOHO Magazine (out of Milwauke), and our clientel includes of SOHObiztube.com and budgetpulse.com — check ’em out! It’s all very exciting I know… just wanted to keep you all in the know, and I will keep you posted as this exciting new start up gains speed!

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Community…not to be confused with Social Media.

Social Media can help foster communities, but it isn’t a community in and of itself.  Social media simply allows conversation around certain content. For example – if multiple people post comments about the new Verizon – Blackberry Storm, to say what they do and do like about the phone – this is conversation centered around a common theme or object. It does not mean, however, that a community is created.   In a recent post by Rachel Happe, “Social Media is not Community”, Rachel lays down the facts that these ideas are often confused.  She outlines communities – what makes them and what their characteristics are.  In doing this, we can separate the ideas and realize that communities can be built, they allow communication, they are continuous and they are based around content.  We must then see social media as a tool that can be used for your brand or company to help the building of a community.

NOW…Realizing that you may not already have a community where you thought you did,  that it was simply discussion around the content of your brand/company etc, the next step is to figure out how you go about building this network or community. Focus on building community first, and then on how to encourage discussion through social media for your community.  In a Now Is Gone post The Seven Principles of Community Building there were a few I thought were the most crucial.

1. Provide value, create content
You need to give your community something value-able to talk about. The content is obviously step one, and as the community continues to grow, and as you work to build it up you should be focused on more than numbers. You should be focused on keeping the value and content evolving. This should be the first focus of any company or brand looking to build a network — you must always be giving valuable content to your users.

2. Participating in your community.
Yes – you create content and put it out there, but if you don’t comment and give feedback on that content with your community – it wont work as well.

3. Don’t talk AT your community.
It is outdated to talk to your audience. Consumers/Users don’t appreciate that kind of marketing or information anymore. They wanted to talk with you, they don’t want to be talked at. This is all about control. You can’t control your community, you need to provide content and then observe and join discussion around it.

Think about it…
What communities would you consider yourself a part of? Are you a frequent commenter, do you join discussion often? Try to draw the line in your own action – are you just part of a discussion – or would you consider yourself a member of certain communities online?

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Online Profiling: Speaking to One vs. Many

There has been a shift in the methods that defines on-line marketing on customer outreach.  Today the efforts are not so much like using megaphone and getting your message out there as loudly and as noticeably as you can —  so that as many people as possible hear what you have to say and know what your brand is.  It has gone from more of an outreach measured by quantity to a direct and personal message outreach towards an individual. This individual is who you have created the message for. You altered and molded that message for what this person likes, what they think about, what they do in their free time, what kind of family they have, and what they are passionate about. Web technology is now more and more geared to collect personal information about you based on what web sites your visiting, and what you are talking about in your e-mails.  Is it invasive or…awesome? It’s a little process called “on-line profiling” and I vote awesome.  (I would much rather see a Michael Kors add pop up on the left of my monitor than one for Home Depot.) Companies (and on-line brands especially) SHOULD tailor our ads to what a customer likes, especially companies that aim to have an active social web presence.   Cater to your audience, as individuals, instead of using broader advertising and marketing to capture a group.  Sometimes you have to figure out what your average individual customer would be like based on your target group.  What would your ideal customer be like? (Someone that would be most interested in the tool/services/products that you have to offer.)   What music would that person listen to while jogging on a Saturday morning? What kind of connection tools are they interested in on-line? What types of circles do they run in? What are their interests and goals? You use those things to connect them with your brand on a more personal and intimate level. Speak right to the heart of what they want and need. The social media tools that currently exist are rapidly developing to allow marketers  to become much more personally involved with their audience and community.  Eric Imbs talks about how giving the customer an opportunity to choose their favorite color or favorite car, then cater to them based on their choice. He says, “colour is… a much more personal piece of information, which if used properly could make an ad much more targeted and….personal.” Through the on-line profiling that is possible today, we are allowed to get to know our customers at a closer level.  Use this.  Stop shooting for the crowds attention, and connect with your customers on a more intimate level.

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Building an Online Community

Social web presence.  Building a brand on-line. We know it’s an important part of Public Relations and Marketing and Branding. But once we recognize it’s importance, the question is…. how do we do it???

Are you sick of hearing the answer that you need to first find your target audience, talk to them directly, so on and so forth.  If so, you aren’t alone.  While these steps are important building blocks, we are constantly hearing them. We need to know more don’t we?  We need new direction. What is the real NEXT step, what do we do after we figure out who to target, and how do we target them? Now that we’ve realized how important it is to build a social network, how do we do it?  We need to help to figure out how to build a buzz about our brand and create our on-line community.

An important question to ask ourselves is how do we want to disseminate information? Do we want to send mailings, do we want to allow consumers to talk amongst themselves via message boards and live chats? What modes of communication do you want to introduce and build your community around? Blogging and twitter, or forums, e-blasts and pod-casts? What combination of networking methods will work the best and make the most sense for your brand?

Mega Star Media wisely says that you need to consider if you can run the community by yourself, you need to determine what type of resources it will take to build the on-line community that you want. This is important to recognize from the very beginning. Hosting a web presence and on-line network can definitely be a full time job! This may mean hiring someone more equip to take on the task and manage the on-line branding.  If this is financially an option, get in touch with those who know more about social media than you and bring them on board to become a part of your brand/company.  For example companies like SocialDreamium who offers a  collection of tools and services that help you take full advantage of the social web for your brand. Think of it as outsourced community management. SocialDreamium works to grow your audience, and is built to help brands who may be struggling with the how to’s of social networking.

It’s sometimes difficult to figure out what comes next, but in the world of social media, many of us are learning as we go.  These are the first few steps, a couple of important things to think about as you begin launch your brand on the social web. So get out there, get started, and good luck!

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