Social Media the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (Level 5 – Commitment)

Where Have You Been?
You have used some basic tools and developed some introductory social media skills for building your character and persona online.  You have joined groups, made friends, and found some terrifically interesting people to follow.  Now the hard part; commitment.

The game of social media does not abide part-time involvement.  Your friends will out-level you and be running games you cannot join.  Your guild members will forget that they ever even invited you to join them.  And you will certainly be a patch or two behind after missing only a couple of weeks.

Wow!  That sounds a lot like having a very needy boyfriend or girlfriend.  And that would be a big downer if they weren’t so damned interesting.  So to keep them interested in you, we are going to focus on two habits of social media success, focus and consistency.

You Don’t Need Every Tool for Every Job
The well-known trinity of a good mmo gaming group consists of a tank(damage absorb and aggro control), a healer(to keep everyone alive), and 2-3 damage dealers/support players.  It is no different with social media.  We are going to associate our tools with these roles and we are going to focus on the ones we always need and then fill those extra 2-3 slots with what is necessary at the time.

So let’s start with our tank, the tool we cannot play the game effectively without.  Our tank is going to be Twitter.  We are going to focus our social media efforts on reading tweets, replying, retweeting, and just being an all around twitter warrior.

Then in order to keep us going we need our healer, that one social media tool we can use to convey messages longer than 140 characters.  This time, you get to choose who your healer will be.  It could be Facebook with incredible numbers of fellow social media gamers.  It could be Google+ with it’s new kid on the block polish and the mighty company behind it.  You could however choose to focus on LinkedIn as your number two and focus on your business contacts and persona.

Then the other two primary social media sites and some other sites/tools we will be discussing in further blogs become your support and damage dealers.  They are a dime a dozen, they have their roles and you need them, but you use them when it makes the most sense.

Turning Focus Into Action
Now the math part of our gaming equation; the part where we raise our participation level by being consistent with our commitment and attain level 6 social media novice status.

– Level 6 ONGOING Requirements –

Obtain and maintain 100+ weekly experience points

1 experience point – Retweet or reply 1 time for your area of focus and interest
1 experience point – Follow 1 person on Twitter in your specialty or interest
1 experience point – Create 1 post to your secondary focus site (Your healer site)

2 experience points – Create 1 original tweet with reference to another twitter user and their blog/article
2 experience points – Share another person’s article on your secondary site with your comments
2 experience points – Add a friend, connection, or circled person on your secondary site

3 experience points – Add someone of value to your “Most Influential” Twitter list.
3 experience points – Follow one of the lists of your Most Influential  people.
3 experience points – Read an share a meaningful social media article with your followers and relevant hashtags

Social Media the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (Level 4 – Being Human)

Ignore the Instinct to Pursue the Wrong Metrics
So the levelling has gone well and you have followed my recommendations for joining the big four social media sites and you have followed, friended, connected to, and circled people you found interesting or helpful in your journey.  Accordingly this  process has taught you a little about HOW to make social media connections, but now it is time to remember WHY we connect.

We connect in order to establish, maintain, and progress relationships with others with similar interests or messages that influence, inspire, or otherwise cause us to want to interact with them.  We do not connect only for the sake of establishing connections.  The process of creating connections, though potentially fulfilling, is lacking in the primary value obtained from social media, truly interactive communications for all manner of purpose.

Though I shared with you social media metrics sites like Klout.com, these analytics tools are considered, by most social media professionals, to only represent the ability for you to reach an audience not the quality of the relationships or the value of the communication derived from that connection.  It is very important that you determine what value you derive from your social media associations and focus on developing relationships that increase that value.

Create Lists of People that are the Most Influential to You
After a while you are going to establish numerous connections and many of the interactions you have will demonstrate a greater value with a smaller subset of that group.  Because of the amount of noise that can be generated by interacting with so many people, it is important to separate the ‘best from the rest’.  In game terms you would simply use your ‘/friend add’ command and make these connections special.  In social media terms we create lists of the best relationships so that we can prioritize interacting with those connections before others.

Then you can make those lists public or follow other people’s lists.  This way, we can optimize our social media efforts by finding the best relationships from the beginning.  Now this is not to say this is a foolproof plan for social media success, but some of the best social media minds put this function to incredibly effective use.

Being Human
Humans share, feel, and express all manner of emotion.  This is not to say that social media is the best place to rant, rave, and express all manner of emotion.  It is to say that cold and calculated marketing or sales efforts in social media are going to have absolutely no replay value.  Those messages get shut down immediately.

If you want to have a conversation it is important that you contribute value, be respectful of others, and stay active in the conversation.  Part-time social media input, will give you less than desirable results.

– Level 5 Requirements –

  1. Read on Facebook – Lists for Friends
  2. Read on Twitter – How to Use Twitter Lists
  3. Read about LinkedIn – 26 Tips to Enhance Your Experience on LinkedIn
  4. Laugh at the natural way Google+ circles can be used as lists – 21 Google Plus Circles You Can Actually Use
  5. Create a Facebook List, a Twitter List, and a Google+ circle for the ‘Best of the Best’

Social Media the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (Level 3 – Triggers)

What You Have Accomplished So Far in the Game of Social Media:

  1. You developed your online character by creating accounts and profiles on the big four social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn)
  2. You learned about the different game sites and completed daily quests by finding good social media content and responding, re-tweeting, and sharing, thereby creating buzz and influence for those writers.
  3. You joined guilds (social media groups) and created connections to other people by adding them to friends and circles as well as following them and their blogs.
  4. You completed achievements by exploring personal reach through Klout.com analytics.

Now Let’s Pull the Trigger (HALO Style)

What you may ask is a trigger?  It is a call to action for your reader.  It says to them, “I have something to say with this post, but what I really want to know it what you have to say on the subject.”

Take for example the following two tweets:

“5 Tips for Building Brand Awareness Through Social Media”

Now try this in order to create a call to action.

“Here are 5 Tips for Building Brand Awareness Through Social Media.   How do you build your brand?  Do you have better ideas?”

Pete and Repeat Sitting on a Fence

Constantly creating triggers when posting is a habit you will want to instill in yourself.   There is no need to be flashy or over the top with your triggers.  The best triggers will ask a question that you or your readers really want a response to from other social media game players.

– Level 4 Requirements –

  1. Create 10 posts on each of the four social media sites, perhaps over a 1 week period, using triggers.  See if you can elicit 10 responses and follow or friend the people that interact.  These are people who want to be connected and are good sources for building a .
  2. Pay attention to other posts you see that use triggers and those that do not.  Determine for yourself how valuable triggers can be.

 

Social Media the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (Level 2 – Personal Reach Introduction)

As a level 1 social media noob, you learned to connect to other users.  It is time to see how successful you may have been.  To be honest it is NOT time to see this, but personal analytics is like in-game achievements.  They look pretty, they have a number you can track, but they infrequently give you anything more than personal satisfaction.  So let’s take a look at a little bit of personal reach analytics before we get too good at this social media game.

Social Capital and Influence
You are listening to others now, but is anyone listening to you?  It is likely that they are.  They are reading your comments, your retweets, and your original posts, but are you reaching the same number of people as Justin Beiber or Barack Obama.  You know the answer is a resounding no, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t reaching more people every day.

You have quite a few options for measuring your success, but let’s talk about just one for now, Klout.com.  This site values your ability to reach more people and is not picky about those people necessarily talking about you.  So head on over to Klout.com and create an account, then add your four social media website profiles to your Klout profile.

Klout is like an MMO game gearscore.  It says you are able to do certain things and not others.  In this case it says you are able to reach a lot of people with your message or you are not.   The more reach and influence you have the more potentially valuable your social media input will be.

Is Klout Accurate?
Yes, and no.  These numbers have different values to different people, but if you want to see how Klout.com reached your score, you can.  You can click “show stats” button after your Klout score appears and then click the triangle, play button, next to the graph to see what is contributing to your score.

Why on Earth is this Important?
A person with a Klout score of 70 reaches 4x times as many people as a person with a Klout score of 35 says this report.  When you need to get a meesage to a lot of people, you want someone with Klout to get it there.  That is not to say that this is the most accurate tool for all types of reach, but it is a good introduction.

– Level 3 Requirements –

  1. Create a Klout.com account and add your social media account profiles.
  2. Get your Klout.com score and begin to track it once a week for changes.   Perhaps check it less often, later on, once it stabilizes.
  3. Check out the Klout scores of some people you are following.  Getting high Klout score people to retweet or share your posts makes your Klout score jump.

or check this for a discussion about how Klout is broken.

Social Media the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (Level 1 – Exploration)

You followed the steps from Level 0 and you attained Level 1 by joining the four big social media sites and creating your profile on each.  You are in the game!

Time to Explore
The first thing you do when you enter a new video game is follow the tutorial.  It teaches you how to move around and how to change your view.  That is exactly what you need to do in social media as well.

You have to take small precise steps to get your bearing.  Small steps for the purposes of getting your bearing in social media involves four simple steps:

  1. Join groups(game guilds), you gain experience faster when you work with others.  Search for groups or lists with a social media focus on each of the four social media sites and join them.  Focus on groups with a large number of existing members for now.
  2. Find 2-3 posts in each group that you join that are of interest to you and read them.  Focus on finding posts that relate to social media etiquette, protocol, and organization skills.
  3. Respond to those posts and tell the writer how you appreciated it and further the discussion about the subject.  Making positive connections and show people that you appreciate their efforts to educate and enlighten.
  4. Follow the people who wrote each post or blog on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ based upon which of those networks the writer advertises or where you found the posts.

Add Friends and Establish Long-term Relationships
Follow the four steps above for all four social media sites that you have joined.  Do this every day for all four social media sites.  Your goal is to add 10 new connections daily.  This is your primary daily quest in game terms.

You will be reading 10 blogs, articles, or presentations daily to increase your overall knowledge of social media and increasing your connections rapidly.  This is the foundation of the social media game.  It is the one rule that remains consistent regardless of which game you play.

This is the most time consuming portion of your adventure.  You should allot an amount of time to this quest based upon how fast you want to level up.  You will probably need 5 hours of effort to effectively attain level 2.

– Finding Your First Magical Weapon –
Admit it.  You play they game to find new gear and become more powerful.  Your first magical weapon will be the social media blog site that you find in your exploration that you believe will give you a constant input of social media knowledge.  This is the weapon that will truly make you a force to be reckoned with.

Follow the blog religiously and contribute by responding to the material that others present there.  Soon we will be working on you providing this level of value to other adventurers.

– Level 2 Requirements –

  1. Establish 50 or more connections between the four social media sites.
  2. Find at least 1 blog to follow.

Do you think there should be more requirements for level 2?  Maybe I will include them in the next level so tell me below.

Social Media the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (Level 0)

This blog series is dedicated to taking people from simple social media interest to social media pro.  We will cover social media tools, etiquette, organizing activities, campaign strategies, and much more.

From Zero to Hero
So my efforts to become acquainted with social media skill sets led me to the inevitable conclusion that this effort could be organized like playing video games.  Being an avid gamer may have contributed to this idea and if you are a non-gamer just think of this as a way to organize the learning effort.  But for those of us that are addicted to the instant gratification of improving our skills, getting better gear, and attaining levels, this is going to make a lot of sense.

Starting at level ZERO
Level ZERO does not imply a complete lack of knowledge or social media skills.   On the contrary, it implies that you have been using social media for any number of reasons, but it allows us to gather our base social media setup we will need to move on to higher levels.  From here we are going to create our character and their tools/weapons of the trade.

Game Setup
In order to play the game, first we will need to connect to our game worlds.  In this case there are 4 basic game worlds and later we will join more advanced games.  In order to play the games, we need to create an account on each of the following websites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.    There is a good chance you may have completed this step, but we will discuss how much time we spend on each game site and the rules for each board in order to get to level 1.

Your Playing Piece or Character
This is a very important game decision.   Each game world has it’s own characters and we establish our character by creating our profile on each of the websites above.  Our profile is our way of staying in the game when we are not online.  It let’s everyone know why they might want to connect, interact, or play with us in this massively multiplayer online game without the need to actually converse in real time.  Your character needs to develop over time, so visit these profiles often and update them with your new skills and a new message so that you can play the game with ever increasingly skilled teammates.

Your Opponent
Your opponent is time.  There is just so much time you can dedicate to this game without ignoring your other responsibilities like pizza and Mountain Dew, or in some cases family and your actual job.  The idea is to create a game strategy to optimize your time and efforts.

Game Play
The game is centered around gaining experience points by completing tasks such as reading, writing, and replying.  We will discuss specifics to game play beginning in the next blog, attaining level 2.  I hope you enjoy playing the game, because your enjoyment will actually be paramount to your success.

– Level 1 Requirements –

Establish accounts and initial profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn

Connecting with the World via Social Media

Me and Deb

What is connecting?

I discussed in my first blog that it was pretty easy, if not downright natural, to join all of the new social media sites that began popping up the past few years,  but that connecting to other people is not quite so simple.  There are caveats to the conversations we have online.  There is etiquette.  There is protocol.  There is creating your unique online persona and deciding what face you want the world to see.

So I decided to see what others thought it meant to “connect” online.  The answers ranged from insightful to entertaining and even to cautionary.   But what I learned is the value of “connected” is what it means to you, not us.  We each have different goals and desires and social media is simply a tool for fulfilling them.

I intend to use these tools to find people like you to inspire, entertain, and even protect me from my own idiocy, like writing blogs that are too long without any beautiful pictures of my family or not checking my grammar or spelling before I publish them.

I intend to become a more fulfilled individual thanks to what you, social media explorers, bring to my life.  So allow me to thank you in advance for your wonderful contributions.

@scottsatdell

All Journeys Begin with a First Step

Find out the answer to a simple question, “What is social media?”

That sounds too simple right?  I mean everyone knows what Facebook and Twitter are and many know what LinkedIn and Pinterest are too, but maybe social media isn’t about the sites as much as it is about the point of going there in the first place.

mom and michaelIt starts with family and friends

and most of us started connecting online to share pictures or laughs with them in far away exotic places like Ohio.

Hi mom! (and my son Michael at 1)

We may have wanted to show pictures of the new grand kid,  puppy, car, or house.  We may have wanted to tell them about the new job or the layoff from the old one.  And it was great.  We woke up one day and we were all suddenly social, at least online, while still continuing to shun the rest of humanity.

Then someone wrote something political on my Facebook wall and

I became a political junkie and most if not all of my Klout.com score, the website that says that I’m equally more social and less social than of everyone else, is now attributed to the often passionate political opinions I share on Facebook.

Then I started following politics on Twitter, then on Google+ (scottsatdell), then on Reddit, then…

I decided that this was not helping me connect to the world, but instead causing me to distrust and even de-friend other people.  This was not going to work.  So, I decided I needed to learn how to connect to people and I begin discussing that in my next blog.

@scottsatdell