Q#6: Are businesses freaked by the thought of negative publicity that launching a blog or other social media effort might attract — like the criticism Dell has received for its blog by some well-known bloggers?
What’s more ‘freaky’?
A) Customers telling other customers negative things about you and you’re not present
B) Customers telling your company negative things about you but you’re there to listen and fix it and bring them closer?
Hopefully you’ve chosen “B”. Simply ignoring negative conversations may not make them go away. Dell is an interesting case, they’ve received negative blogger criticism for about a year prior to their blog entry, You can do a search on Jeff Jarvis, Jeremy Zawadony and exploding laptops to understand “Dell Hell”. They were criticized for having bad products, and even worse support. When the dell blog was launched, the first couple of posts were a positive light on the products and their benefits. It wasn’t mirroring what others were saying in the blogosphere and a extreme backlash occurred.
Not sure if you can blame blogs or bloggers, that’s not the root cause of the issue –it may be the products and service. Dell started to address the flames with the Dell Blog, you can see them evolve.
This is very significant however, as the voice of the customer is now heard, and can influence companies –blogs are changing how we conduct business –Dell is evolving rapidly, and we evolve.
My questions for Jeremiah:
Q#7) I recently re-read your article on “Being a Corporate Evangelist”, but for those who haven’t how would you differentiate between amateur blogging and business blogging?
Q#8) Any tips for corporate marketers ready to venture into blogging?
I don’t understand that term “Amateur blogging”. Is there Amateur email or Amateur instant messaging?Perhaps we should focus on the term ‘personal’ or ‘career’ blogs as a better term? That article I wrote is really intended for individuals or teams that want to blog in a corporate environment where there may be some limitations on awareness of the benefits and challenges. Personal blogs require little such efforts to get started, so there really is little comparisons.
Corporate blogging requires additional finesse as there’s others to gain approval from and then show value. I can pretty much guarantee were at the start of the curve and many will not get it.
I’ve collected many different tips for how to business blog, and this list is only about half of what I’ve learned –Start to listen using blog indexing tools and then get started with a personal blog on the side, before engaging in something with the company name on it.
Q#9) Do you see the principles of the Cluetrain Manifesto seeping into the corporate marketing psyche or do you think there’s still a long jounrey ahead?
Probably the long journey for the entire enterprise to get on board the train. Small pockets of evangelists will be able to start this, while it’s possible other groups may attempt to blockade such efforts in some organizations –change is scary for most humans
Also Cluetrain is written as a revolution “Attention people of the world” –it’s hard for large business to adopt such talk and ideology. I agree with just about everything the Cluetrain doctrine has to say, although I see a new wave of books evolving as the ‘business response’. Cluetrain is the “what is happening” and there are other books showing “how business changes” and a third wave that is written to “How to business blog”. We evolve.
Q#10) Do you foresee wikis and similar collaborative software replace discussion forums/focus groups? Is that the future of customer feedback?
It’s not a replacement but more of an ‘and’, every tool has a specific need, purpose, benefit and use, forums are discussions, most frequently at an ‘even level’ and it may encourage difference in opinion or a topic to solve one individual problem.
Wikis are best used to harness ‘commonly agreed upon’ or may just be the thoughts of the last person who contributed.
Some bloggers are tagging their product feeds with terms such as ‘feedback’ or even ‘freedback’ (Chris Pirillo) in order to get feedback. The clever product and marketing teams will already be hunting down these discussions to find them.
In summary, I hope we can elevate the conversation above just blogs, Wikis and forums –they’re just tools, the bigger conversation is the overall Web Strategy response –what I call “Community Marketing” –more on that to come next time.