Train, then Trust

Trust

Warning:  this post is a bit of a rant.

Ronald Reagan made the statement “trust, but verify” famous.  I’d like to throw another one into the mix for your consideration.  “Train, then trust”.

Work with me here, people.  At some point management either has to trust their staff, or not.

There are really only two options.

  1. They need to have faith that staff has been effectively trained to carry out messaging for the brand, and send them forth to do so.  Or,
  2.  They will micro-manage every decision, every message, every post.

The most effective companies and organizations in social media have adopted the first strategy.  The American Red Cross even trains volunteers to represent them on social media channels!  If they can do that, any company can train its own staff.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s the 21st century right?  Aren’t we past the skepticism?  Haven’t we learned by now that social media isn’t just fun and games – it’s a real way to talk to real people who are interested in a real product or service.

Frankly, I’m tired.  I’m tired of trying to convince the powers that be that other people can carry the water now.  And do so competently and effectively.  It doesn’t all have to be a one-size-fits-all or top-down approach to messaging.  Or an approach that requires approval of every post before it is posted.

What many successful organizations know is that if you give your employees the training and the tools they need, empower them, and then TRUST them to do their jobs, they will do their jobs.  They will make you proud.  Not only that, those employee will have a sense of ownership.  Both in the company, and in the message they carry forth.  If they violate that trust, those employees also know that there are consequences.

At some point, corporate has to let go. They have to realize that they really don’t control the message anymore.  Shape it, yes.  But control it?  No way.  Social media has changed all that.  I think for the better.

Train, then trust.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

And while I’m ranting …

There are two fundamental schools of thought when it comes to social media communications.  There is the one brand/one channel/one size fits all school of thought.  Typically, this is where a communications department believes that they own the message and must control it.  Niche products or services under the main brand are discouraged.  My opinion?  I don’t like this model.

The second school of thought is exemplified by companies like Dell.  While they definitely have a solid single brand, they don’t shy away from promoting niche products to niche audiences.  Why?  Because niche is where the passion is!  Dell has no fewer than 13 niche Facebook pages – all Dell branded – that speak directly to the needs of specific audiences.  And they are blowing it up.  Dell knows that just because you like servers, that doesn’t necessarily mean you also like deals from the Dell Outlet.

This is the fallacy of the first school of thought.  One size does NOT fit all.

But here I am.  Beating my head against the wall.  Again.  Still.  They haven’t learned.  Will they?

Tired of Searching for Flickr Photos of Your Destination? Automate It!

Flickr Icon[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]As many of you already know, I am a huge fan of Flickr.  I use it personally to share photos from my life and my travels.  I also use it professionally to help promote the Colorado River Trail region with our Flickr group.  With this group, I’m able to get candid and often high-quality photos from people enjoying my destination.  I’ve used them in blog posts, on Facebook and Twitter, and even in a publication (with the photographer’s permission, of course).

Finding these photos can be very time-consuming – especially when your destination consists of 11 Texas counties.  Manually searching for town or attraction names is tedious at best.  What if there were a way to have great photography delivered to you on a daily basis?

What if you didn’t have to hunt for them any more?  What would that be worth to you?

Now.  What if I told you it was free and just takes a few simple steps to get set up?

Well, wait no more!   Continue reading

How To Treat Conference Speakers Like Rock Stars – #SoMeT Style

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]There’s a lot to like about the Social Media Tourism Symposium.  Like a whole lot.  As a practitioner in the industry, it’s hands down the best education out there.  We get to learn from the best and brightest in the field, and go home with ideas that we can put to work in our own destinations right away.  As a self-proclaimed Tourism Geek, I get to spend 3 days with my people.  We understand each other, both professionally and personally.  I’m home.  Continue reading

National Tourism Week Goes Social – 2011

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]About this time last year I wrote about some cool social media promotions that DMOs around the country were doing to help celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week.  This year, National Travel and Tourism Week is May 7-15, 2011.  Hundreds of events will be held throughout the week to inform the public about the economic impact that travel has in our communities.

Many groups are holding local rallies.  Some are doing outreach to the media.  And others are stepping up their advocacy efforts to elected officials.  Some DMOs are including social media as a major component of their National Travel and Tourism Week activities.

Last year, I featured the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Visit Indiana, and Visit Jacksonville, Florida.  Swing by the U.S. Travel Association for all the information and resources you need to launch an effective campaign in your destination.  And if you tweet, be sure to add #TravelTuesday and #travelrally to your tweets on Tuesday, May 10 to help spread the word.

Are y’all ready for round 2?

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West Texas’ Social Media Rock Star – Shanna Smith Snyder

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]West Texas is known for a lot of things.  Big skies, ranching, oil, rugged terrain …  One thing it hasn’t always been known for is being a hotbed of social media activity.  Until now.  Enter Shanna Smith Snyder with the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB).

Shanna and I first got acquainted on Twitter, where I became an instant fan of her work with the CVB in Abilene.  After building our online relationship for a while, we finally got to meet at a Texas Travel Industry Association function.  Shanna impressed me so much that I asked her to speak at a seminar series my organization hosted called “Social Media for Economic Development and Community Marketing”.  As I expected, she did a fantastic job getting our attendees to realize that social media marketing was not out of reach.

I think her story will really resonate with a lot you out there.  ACVB is a small- to mid-sized bureau that does all their social media marketing in-house.  Yes, it’s possible and yes, it can be done.  Shanna is living proof.

So here’s my one-on-one interview with Shanna Smith Snyder.

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Social Media and Simple Acts of Kindness

KINDNESS[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]This isn’t a cheesy post about how happiness makes the world go ’round.  Instead, it’s a true story about three people who just wanted to help each other out.  This story does have a happy ending, but there’s a twist.  Read on.

A couple of weeks ago I got a DM from David Kaufman with DK Worldwide.  David and I have never met IRL, but have chatted with each other via Twitter on several different occasions.  His DM said that he had a friend living in Austin, TX who was interested in getting into marketing.  He asked if I would mind sitting down with her for a few minutes to see if I could offer her any insight into marketing, and just do some networking with her.

To some of you, this might seem like an unusual request.  To meet with someone I didn’t know?!  On the recommendation of  someone else I didn’t know?!  Crazy, right?  Not to me.  I have first-hand experience with the incredible power of social media – mainly Twitter.  There are several people who I consider to be trusted friends and colleagues who I initially “met” through exchanges on Twitter.  I’ve been fortunate to actually meet some of them in person, but many still remain as mainly online relationships.

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Social Media Marketing for #Arts Organizations

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]I got to do something pretty cool on Monday.  I was asked to present advanced social media marketing ideas to attendees at the State of the Arts 2011: Leading the Creative Economy Conference held in Austin, TX.  This conference was attended by representatives from various arts-related organizations from all over Texas.

Hosted by the Texas Commission on the Arts, City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, Texas Cultural Trust Council, and Texans for the Arts Foundation, this conference brought like-minded people together to discuss issues facing the creative economy.

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