Merging onto the Highway of Social Media

Posted on February 9, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting Chicago area PR professionals for breakfast. We were also lucky enough to spend an hour interviewing Allan Schoenberg (@allanschoenberg on Twitter), director of communications at CME Group. Allan’s team has been using social media for several years, and he shared some tips and best practices.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Allan’s objectives for his social media strategy are to create enthusiasm for the CME Group brand, distribute information, provide customer service and advocate for the brand.
  • The team’s primary channels are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and social bookmarking tools like digg and delicious.
  • Allan compares starting in social media to merging onto a busy highway. He suggests joining existing conversations and engage in dicussions around current topics of interest. Eventually, you can incorporate your own messages and create conversations that positively affects your brand.  
  • On Twitter, he follows a 70/30 rule:  70% of postings are focused on market drivers and news, but only 30% is about news and events that are designed to drive people back to CME Group’s website.
  • He recommends that employees understand disclosure rules and best practices. His advice: “If you don’t want your CEO to read it, don’t post it.”

Allan also said Mashable.com was one of the best sources for keeping up on new social media trends and tools.

Diane Thieke is marketing director at Dow Jones.

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I Use Facebook, Hear Me Roar

Posted on November 18, 2009. Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , |

As an officer for a certain women’s business group, I created and subsequently was asked to remove a Facebook group, as it was deemed an “inappropriate social media channel.”

This made me think: Are women’s business organizations missing an opportunity to connect online?

Facebook touts more than 300 million active users, with 50% logging on in any given day. Among US users, women outnumber men in every age group. The gap is most notable in age groups that correspond with prime career years: 26-34, 35-44, and 45-54. Women outnumber men by more than 2 million in each of these groups. In the US alone, that’s nearly 7 million more women than men potentially in the prime of their careers.

So why wouldn’t professional organizations want to reach women through this channel? Using MainStreet.com’s Top Women’s Organizations and PINK Magazine’s Favorite Women’s Business Organizations, plus a smattering of personal favorites like 85 Broads, I compared 62 women’s organizations and their presence on Facebook with LinkedIn, the traditional source for online business networking.

Encouragingly, more than three-quarters of organizations researched have some social media presence, and a slight majority maintains a presence on both Facebook and LinkedIn. There doesn’t seem to be any theme about what “types” of organizations fall into each category – nationals vs. regionals, for example. The only potential stand out is with ethnic women’s organizations. Of the four included, none fell into the “LinkedIn only” category.

Most orgs are on both Facebook & LinkedIn

For organizations with a presence on both channels, there appears to be a positive correlation on group size: the bigger the Facebook group, the bigger the LinkedIn group, and vice versa. So it would seem members aren’t flocking to one channel over the other. LinkedIn groups are usually better populated than Facebook groups at present – this could be accounted for by the fact that LinkedIn is a bit longer in the tooth.

Groups are better populated on LinkedIn, but not always

So what does all this mean for women’s professional organizations, and the use of channels like Facebook for business networking? First, you can successfully promote and recruit members through more informal networks, but you shouldn’t pick one over the other. A good social media strategy combines interesting content and awareness efforts across multiple channels. Click here to see the full list of organizations we reviewed and which seem to be following this best practice.

Jennifer Hoffmann is Manager of Customer Engagement at Dow Jones and is based in New York City.

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