ASAE Annual Meeting – So Social

(My first post!)

OK, the ASAE annual meeting ended almost a week ago … but I was on the beach in SD, so cut me a little slack, OK?

Social media continues to be the major theme at these association meetings. Everyone – not just the techies – is trying to figure out how to do it right. But who really knows for sure? But as a speaker at last year’s ASAE conference said wisely, “Relax. We’re all learning about this together.”

The best we have are good, reasonable models for getting going.

Full disclosure: Our own social media program has been neither a slam dunk nor an utter disaster. Our effort, MMS eCommunities, is available only to our members. Some areas have done OK, and others have not. More on that at another time.

Yet because we started this stuff two years ago, we have more bruises than most. So I think we’re qualified to share something about what we’ve learned.

1. Strategy matters. A LOT. I thought we had it figured out 2 years ago, but not well enough. We need to go back to our purpose over and over and over and over again. Still working on it.

2. Know your audience. REALLY. The genius of Groundswell is that Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff nailed a great method to get that done. We licensed their survey tool and got three results. One, it  validated some things we thought we were true. Two, it debunked others. Three, it blew us away with the unexpected.

One of my personal contributions to the ASAE meeting was sharing the results of our Forrester survey with some folks. Lindy Dreyer interviewed me onsite to talk about the basic findings. (I’ll share more of it with you, real soon. If it helps you think through some things, great.)

3. Execution matters. In retrospect, we may have messed up a few things in the execution of MMS eCommunities (member ID needed). The user experience may be confusing. And maybe we made a big mistake giving it an entirely different visual design from our main website. I think we — no, I — got carried away with the “hey this is new and cool and you gotta use it” thing. I wasn’t the first, nor will I be the last.

So now while we’re upgrading our entire website – from the basement to the attic – we’ve been thinking about how it will use social media. Haven’t yet figured it out … I think we’re getting there.

So let’s learn together.

(Yes – the meeting was lots of fun, too. I think I can say with some accuracy that I was mostly able to keep up with the YAPs.)

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2 thoughts on “ASAE Annual Meeting – So Social

  1. Welcome to the OCD world of blogging, Frank! I look forward to many more insightful posts from old journalistic partner in crime!
    To you point here, Groundswell did an excellent job at outlining a common sense approach to social media. And I’ll wager that there may be a slowdown of sorts in the explosion of social media as (1) companies begin to embrace it more and (2) embrace it thoughtfully, rather than just chasing the shiny objects.

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