Influencers

Influence

A lot of you would agree with me that this word has been given credit more than it should and has been interpreted the wrong way in a lot of occasions.

I’m a big believer in word of mouth but influencers and word of mouth are two different things and I’m a bit tired of companies and agencies trying to bribe twitter users. Even though I’m one of those people who has been invited to different conferences and events for being an “influencer,” I have to be honest some of these events haven’t added anything to me or people following me or the company or agency that invited me.

Here are some tips to companies and agencies:

1- Are you talking to the right people? You shouldn’t invite people to something they don’t relate to. Like inviting me to a mango festival when I truly despite mango. (I do)

2- True influencers are those who would actually buy your product (but you’re giving it to them for free) and if they really like it they would tell the world about it and be advocates.

3- Listen! I learned this in my early days in social media for businesses. Listening to what people say online and learn about what they like and don’t like can make a huge difference. Spend few days just searching these people and listening to what they have to say then make a plan on how to involve them.

4- Involve “influencers” and don’t just throw BS at them just because you have some lines to say out loud to the world. Let your plan be meaningful to them and hopefully a fun experience they’ll remember for few months.

5- Influencers shouldn’t be names and numbers on your excel sheets. I tried to do this several times but the true people I could rely on are those who I spend time communicating with them rather than writing about them on my excel sheets like a stalker.

Last but not least, your product should talk about itself or it will fail even if the queen herself promotes it. I refuse to be part of a product that I don’t believe in. I refuse to talk about something that doesn’t grab my interest so you shouldn’t expect this from your list of influencers contacts neither.

How I use and don’t use foursquare

Foursquare

Things are changing around us, with facebook check-in and foursquare to swarm, and over sharing on different social networks. I decided to use foursquare differently. I don’t want to use swarm either, don’t want people to know where I am and don’t want to know where people are.

This is how I use foursquare:

1- Locate venues

Very useful to locate restaurants, cafes, or any venue. I use them most when I’m in a new city or going a a place with friends for the first time.

Through maps on foursquare you can navigate using iPhone’s maps or Google maps. Very helpful and 99% of the times very accurate.

2- Read and leave tips

When my friends and I want to decide on a new place, I look into foursquare and read some of the tips and photos people leave. This helps with deciding where to go, the venue’s look and feel so I know what to wear.

3- Venue information

I can find working hours, phone numbers and other useful info that I would need to book or go to a venue.

Sometimes I add places that are not already added while I’m that place and ask employees there for the full info so other people would benefit.

4- Learn about new places

If I’m looking for a steakhouse, sights, outdoor activities, etc, I search in foursquare  and check these places out. Some of them turn out to be great!

Finally, this is how I do NOT use foursquare anymore 🙂

– Let people know where I am every minute.

– Occasionally stalk people.

– Collect badges.

 

Community Managers Appreciation Day #CMAD

Some say they don’t sleep.
Some say they work 24/7.
Some say they’re on the community side and some say they’re on the brand’s side.

Being a community manager makes all the above very true. The fact that they need to take care of their community, grow it, talk to people, write interesting content, keep their community engaged and happy, meet them offline, solve issues, have some exciting promotions and be the voice of the brand online and offline and even more, makes their life a challenging one.

The dedication needed from community managers is huge, yet it will never fail to keep them excited all the time, especially if they have passions for communication and customer care.  When I used to be a community manager, I remember checking my communities all the time and before I close my eyes to sleep and as soon as I wake up. The happiest moment is when I read new comments from fans and followers and observe how they react to certain things or to others. Also it’s very exciting when I meet them offline. It’s like a reunion!

Nothing beats a good compliment from a fan or a follower, but again, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies! There are people that come to community managers with problems, there are others that are very upset and there are those who love sarcasm. The key is how to keep it all interesting and motivating.

I told a potential community manager during an interview that there are no average community managers; you’re either an excellent one or you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. You are either passionate about it or you don’t fit.

Community management is not an easy job. Needs a lot and constant research and dedication, needs someone who, again, is passionate about communications, communities and problem solving.

Today is the Community Managers Appreciation Day. The least we can do is to thank those who are there when we need them, and when we don’t. Thank you for all the hard work and commitment.

Foursquare 3.0 [Review]

The new foursquare has some interesting features and major changes, let’s take a look!

First major change was the Explore tab (ex-Tips)

Here you will be able to search for what you, your friends or the foursquare community have recommended based on a specific or general search.

The search can be according to where you want to go, what you want to do, who you want recommendations from or even how far/near you’re going.

In the Explore settings in the upper left corner, you will be able to expand or narrow the search area, so you can search places within 0.25 miles up to 10 miles. You can also make the search more specific to what your friends have recommended, checked in, or are planning to do.

If you click the globe on the upper right corner, you’ll see the recommended places or the map so you know directions and how to go there.

I have searched for Falafel in Amman and got a recommendation for Al-Osra restaurant and my friends who have checked there.

Very Cool!

Now the second major change was a whole new leaderboard!

Remember the old personal page and boring leaderboard?

Well, the new personal page has the settings on the left corner and “Add friends” on the right corner.

The points system have changed and also was placed as a cool bar showing the best week points on the right. (Not sure about mine I remember I’ve done better!)

The leaderboard shows where you stand this week with profile pictures of you and your friends on the board. As the old one, click on this and it takes you to the detailed leaderboard, It’s displayed in a cooler way showing the pictures as well.

If you scroll down the personal page, you will get the and how many different places you have checked in for each category. You can go further to see what are these places and how many times you’ve checked in each one of them.

Scroll further down the personal page, you will see the top places you have checked in, tips you’ve given and your friends’ list.

The new friend request is displayed as a notification as seen in the picture. Not sure about this, could be a little annoying.

Change #3 was the Specials!

More types of specials and ways to get them from places around you. Open Places tab and you’ll see a notification at the bottom of the specials nearby. I love this!!

Other smaller changes and bugs fixes are in this update. Enjoy!

1st Arab Social Media Forum

Even though I wasn’t there from the start, I could manage to come at 10 and enjoy this event. Some really interesting speakers like Mark Comerford from Linkoping University, Silvia Cambie from Chanda Communications, and others.

I could catch the second half of Rashid Al-Ballaa speech when he listed some reasons why forums are important. As he says forums are a good source for reviews, Q&A like yahoo answers, events, etc and a good platform for chatting, local search and local communities. He also mentioned that anonymity in forums fits well with the Arab conservative culture.

Mark took off his shoes and got on stage talking about changes that will f*uck us up!

My favorite part of the presentation was this comparison between analog and digital networks:

You can find the complete presentation here.

– Other speakers talked about other things, some of the things that caught my attention were:

– With only few channels of media everyone was happy. Samir Issa founder of 4D creative.

– “People will buy but only if you stop selling” Samir Issa

– “Listening analysis enables you to engage and convert fans in buyers” Patrick Atallah

– One of the examples is raising money for Haiti through social media – Silvia Cambie

– 60% of Internet users in Saudi Arabia are women. Silvia Cambie

What does it take to introduce social media to a conservative organization? One Person. Silvia Cambie

and many others.

Now the important part was the announcement of the 2nd Arab Social Media Forum which will be in Riyadh, KSA in May 2011.

Not sure how easy this will be regarding visas and all. but hope to see you all again there.

The Other People

In life, There are two kinds of people; the people you know and the other people. and recently, if you look deeper and closer; you will find that the people you know are those you communicate with through social networks, online. and the Other People are those who are in “real” life. (generally speaking).

Funny, but true to a certain point.

Lately, I have been going out more with people i met through blogs and twitter. (not Facebook because it’s more for relatives, high school friends and co-workers). The other day I went out with the Other People, aka my high school friends, where twitter did not exist back then, not Facebook or even blogs, maybe. (I’m not that old tho) So while i was out, I shared few pics and tweets with people on social networks. at that moment it felt a bit weird. Why cannot I enjoy a complete outing without social networks; foursquare, twitter, Facebook, blogs or even without talking about any of them! (remember when there were no cell phones?)

One question: What’s next?

When I started going to Tweetups; meeting new people from twitter and old ones from blogs, I thought that regardless to what the studies say about social networks vs real life; social networks brought people together in real life, like online people are now meeting offline, having a real cup of coffee or having dinner together. But now I’m thinking that it’s more like the social networks are taking over my real life not just adding people to it!

A “phase” that I’m experiencing but doing nothing about it. (because -I think- I still can control it)

As a result,

No matter who you call the “other people”, this term does exist in your life if you are using the social networks (if you do not, then you would not be reading this i guess).

Split personality is a possible side effect. no worries.

Enjoy it, use it but do not get addicted. It’s a thin line.

Nothing lasts forever, even the facebook itself! Yeah. we’ll see about that.

Have a happy social networking day/night!