Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Is Posterous ready for Corporate Blogging?

There were a couple of blog posts earlier today on Posterous now making it easier for management of group blogs. This is a welcome development for multiple author business blogs (like Tweetdeck’s for e.g.) on Posterous. But, before I go any further. For those of you wondering what Posterous is, here’s a starting point:

What is Posterous? Those of you wondering what Posterous is, here goes: “Posterous is the dead simple place to post everything. Just email us.”

Mashable writes that Posterous has now made it easier than ever for companies to adopt Posterous as purveyor of their social media goodness across the web. Given the past few years of research and practice (as blog editor for LinkedIn), I thought I’ll put Posterous to the test. Let’s figure out if the platform is ready for corporate blogging primetime.

As I’ve suggested in an earlier post of mine, corporate blogging has evolved from its ancestor – the static corporate website, to a far more complex, living, breathing social media portal these days. Take the Top 10 corporate blogs today, you’ll see that nearly half of them have a social media presence that extends far beyond a blog. Even the more traditional, larger Fortune 500 companies are testing the waters, with nearly 30% of them even having a Twitter account.

Eighty-one Fortune 500 companies sponsor public blogs, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Chevron Corp. and General Motors Corp., according to the Society for New Communications Research. Of those blogs, 23 link to corporate Twitter accounts.

To recap: in an effort to reach out and engage with their users, businesses now publish a slew of multimedia content – faster than ever. These include images (flickr, picasa, etc.), video (youtube, vimeo, etc.), microblogging (twitter, friendfeed, etc.), social networks (linkedin, facebook, etc.) that constitute the different sides of a company’s social media presence these days. Enter Posterous.

Five criteria to compare blogging platforms for a business blog

Posterous aims to mitigate the pain of managing these disparate multimedia streams of corporate content and as someone who has a personal Posterous account, I can attest to the fact that they do keep it real simple, so that anyone with an email address could get a blog up and running. Moving  forward, it looks like they’d like to extends that ease of usage to business brands who increasingly have a presence on social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and / or Facebook.

While managing LinkedIn’s corporate blog, I’ve stumbled upon certain basic functionality a business blog must possess. Why don’t we run this checklist through Posterous’ capabilities today:

1. Multiple authors / Review system:

The primary challenge of any corporate blog is the need for a simple system that will allow any or all of the company’s employees to blog and the ability for a blog editor to review that post. The review process is doubly important for many reasons, chief among which is that companies have to be doubly careful about publishing content, especially in today’s world of SEC regulations.

With today’s announcement, Posterous allows company brands to associate their official twitter account (twitter.com/companyname) to a company blog hosted on posterous (blog.companyname.com). So, if you’ve 3 contributors to your company blog, all three can post to the company’s posterous blog via email. This will then be automatically published to your Twitter company pages (for e.g.) if you’d like to. Not sure if it allows auto-population of your company’s Facebook page though. Leave a comment if you know the answer to that.

Multiple Authors posting to company group blog / twitter / facebook accounts: YES
Reviewing posts: NO

2. Ease of programmed publishing (Scheduled Posts, URLs, Scheduled tweets):

One of the most important features for brands using social media is the ability to schedule posts at different times, create custom URLs to enhance SEO and publish tweets from the brand’s twitter account. Currently, I do that using a combination of WordPress (for the blog) and Hootsuite (for Twitter). If your company uses Co-tweet as a customer service management dashboard, you can schedule tweets as well.


Ease of programmed publishing: NO

5. Ease of sharing across different platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook):

This is one of the strengths of Posterous. Its ability to come packaged with auto-publishing capability to a plethora of different multi-media sites is invaluable. Basically, you can hook up your Posterous accounts to your other social media accounts (could be your company’s official Flickr, Youtube, or Twitter account, etc.) to auto-publish to one or all of these platforms at the same time. Posterous also allows you to do the same to your (let’s say WordPress blog), but I did try that for Marketing Nirvana in the past and it sucked.

Ease of sharing: YES

4. Social Commenting Systems:

This would be an extension of the #3. Most blogs today have incorporated the ability for readers to submit comments through one of three ways: Disqus, Facebook or your Twitter id. Posterous is set up so that every blog has this capability. I’d love for them to add LinkedIn as the fourth way to comment on Posterous. Given their recent integration with the LinkedIn API (for status updates), I’m hoping they’ll consider this feature request as well.

Commenting systems: YES

5. Stats

This is the most important dashboard for any corporate blog, since it allows you to monitor the effectiveness of content and craft your blog schedule and content accordingly. Most companies can use a free tool like Google Analytics that lets you drill down into different stats (from visits, pageviews, pages / visit, etc.).

All that Posterous provides are the number of clicks for each post. This may be sufficient for small businesses but the larger companies have the need to integrate social media monitoring into their wider marketing strategy and in that case, this may not be as effective.

Analytics: NO (but provides basic data)

Conclusion. Are they ready?

So, is Posterous ready for corporate blogging? I think the ease of setup and commenting and sharing across multimedia platforms makes Posterous a viable alternative for small businesses and startups getting started on social media, but for larger companies; the need for enhanced analytics and programmed publishing may hinder adoption at this point in time.

That said, I’d guess this is but a first step from Posterous as they continue courting that segment of the market as well. What do you think?

Filed under: Business Blogging

Top 20 CEOs who Twittered in 2009

Since yesterday, there has been some blog chatter about Google CEO Eric Schmidt joining Twitter and the two auto populated tweets his id seems to have generated since yesterday. What’s even more odd are the tweets he’s following on Twitter: Heidi Montag, Diddy, and the Dixie Chicks, among others. Wow!

But, I digress. As you know one of the most popular posts on this blog; actually the post that got Marketing Nirvana initial recognition was a Top 10 CEO blogs post I did. I followed that up with the equally popular Top 10 Corporate blog series. And, I’ve wanted to focus on the next avatar of CEO communication – CEO Twitter ids.

Which CEOs have been naughty or nice on Twitter in 2009?

We have two types of “CEOs who Twitter”. Those famous for utilizing social media the right way – as a means to engage with their users (think @zappos) and on the other hand you have the already famous CEOs who may just be creating another channel to broadcast their “message” to users (think @ericschmidt) as TechCrunch suggests here. Irrespective of the rationale behind their joining, the correct way to tweet is to share your personality and engage in real conversations with your audience (think @padmasree). And, if a CEO’s twitter channel doesn’t possess these traits a twitter channel is nothing more than a meaningless personal billboard.

A final caveat: Before we get into the popularity contest, let me warn you that this ranking is far from accurate partly because it’s comparing apples and oranges. Some of these Twitter ids have had preferential treatment meted out to them, thanks to the much hated suggested users list. So, for what it’s worth – this list should be something you bookmark if you’re interested in checking out the state of CEO communication in social media. And, now, I give you the Top 20 CEO Twitter ids (based on the # of followers).

  1. Pete Cashmore – @mashable
  2. Tony Hshieh – @zappos
  3. Biz Stone (Twitter) – @biz
  4. Jack Dorsey (Twitter) – @jack
  5. Tim O’Reilly – @timoreilly
  6. Padmasree Warrior (CTO, Cisco) – @padmasree
  7. Evan Williams (Twitter) – @ev
  8. Kevin Rose (Digg) – @kevinrose
  9. Richard Branson (Virgin) – @richardbranson
  10. Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks) – @markcuban
  11. Jason Calacanis (Mahalo) – @jason
  12. Loic Le Meur (Seesmic) – @loic
  13. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) – @finkd (Facebook fan page)
  14. John Battelle (Federated Media) – @johnbattelle
  15. Michael Arrington (TechCrunch) – @arrington
  16. Marissa Mayer (Google) – @marissamayer
  17. Bob Parsons (GoDaddy) – @drbobparsons
  18. Eric Schmidt (Google) – @ericschmidt
  19. Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) – @quixotic
  20. Jonathan Schwartz (Sun Microsystems) – @sunceoblog

Executives across the globe are slowly beginning to see how Twitter is easier than corporate blogging (as I’d recommended here) but also demands caution now that SEC regulations will be extended to this corporate social media tool as well. Stay tuned in future posts, for best practices on how executives can adapt their personal and company brand to emerging social media channels like Twitter. In the meanwhile, feel free to follow this CEO Twitter list I created with the above CEO twitter ids.

Question to you: which of these CEOs above are using twitter the right way, and who are not? It’s your chance to separate the naughty and the nice. Leave a comment.

Filed under: Social PR, Twitter

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