Your Ticket to the Mobile Shakedown Cruise: Sites vs. Apps

Stop obsessing about apps, go back to optimizing sites for mobile --  Google message, repeated at DEMO yesterday.  Here's what I say to that -- OKAY, let's do that. It's less expensive, it's inevitable, and it is really no different from packaging the "whateveritis" for delivery as a mobile app -- whoops, we seem to have come full circle.  I think it's all the same thing, when you apply the advice to the actual real world.

Looking out at my domain of content and interactions available to handling in either way, every single one that I see would start with the same ten tasks, whether aiming at app or access. Here again is another example of the developers of demos and the visionaries creating philosophical discussions that are not very useful for those of us standing in the trench next to the broken pipe.

It's all esoteric development skill sets and it looks like there's a lot of overlap, if you look for it and plan for it. In the real world, I'd rather not choose between them -- I'd rather build the new presentation skin for all this legacy "whateveritis" using the techniques that optimize a platform-straddling stance. I need it available to both as the debate boils on.

It's under the skin that the work needs to be done -- a mobile app, a mobile access are all looking for a clarity of UI that I still need to develop. I'd better get us started on that. 

You guys can keep arguing about apps vs. sites. We have a business to run.

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Managing channels is sooo much easier than managing knowledge: very tempting distraction

People usually ask for the channel, and hope the strategy comes along with it. "We need a Facebook page," is a great example -- It's sincere, but not as descriptive as it may sound. Last time I faced "We need a Facebook page," it turned out that maybe a mobile app would fill the need instead.
The culprit here is our collective feeling that "this stuff" cannot be fully understood, that the ordinary rules of business somehow don't apply...but that's nonsense. Of course they apply. It doesn't matter if you call the online service "spitwad" or "curlylocks" --- it's all still subject to the same rules of business that all the in-place decision-makers should find familiar.  There's a customer with money and there's a company with something to sell. "This stuff" tends to remove the barriers between them, but the basic moves are the same.
It's time to get those iron-jawed executives back to their "show me" position -- or you are going to have a mess on your hands.
First basic move: Unless it moves you towards your objective, don't waste time on it.  Don't rush into a channel before connect it up with how it's going to add value to your business. It doesn't need to be analyzed to death, but you do need to have a purpose in mind, or else you'll just flail around. And you might get hurt. No one would mount even a small ad campaign without a creative brief -- follow the same model for social media.
Second basic move: Use your objective to trim down your scope of effort. This is a massive, seductive world: it's training on the hoof, hot and cold running knowledge management on demand, business associates reaching out to -- well, to sell to you, also. Keep your focus on your purpose as you design your use of these channels. For instance, I increasingly find I don't need a blog in the mix, when the actual objectives are examined. You might be best served via Twitter by itself (are you fly-fishing for topical interest? Poke a tweet out there every other hour; keep it moving), or a Facebook page by itself (does your content stay still and wait for be found? You might focus your effort on a Facebook page and Adwords) -- Hoard your energy reserves, trim your channel use according to the campaign.
Third basic move: Call it a campaign, and pull all the channels under the campaign. Keep the scope under control, but don't miss out on the power of using the same effort to feed multiple channels in different ways. Be expansive as you design your campaign, but then be hardnosed in chosing which elements to use.  Put the metrics under the campaign -- measure what will show progress towards the campaign's objectives, and nothing else. (or keep that distracting stuff for your own late-night examination).
Fourth basic move: Communicate and reinforce your campaign-oriented approach to social media amongst all your stakeholders. Once you've got this approach moving along, crush all directionless channel usage -- or slap a "pilot" label on it asap and set an end date by which the business objectives must have been documented. I pine for an R&D area, but the real moves are out in the real world where there are real risks and real costs, so a minimal justification for the company's use of the channel is not unreasonable.  Use eager employees as trial balloons, but don't attach your logo to anything that's not under the banner of a campaign. 
Maybe crush is too harsh a term. The employees who can help you best with these new channels are those with experience using them. Here's a caution, however -- personal use of these channels has a different weight of consequence than use by a company, however, and these employees are going to need to retrain their sense of what is "okay" -- until they do, best to make sure what's done is done for a reason, just to minimize stupid and unnecessary mistakes -- the stuff on the Fail Blog, You Tube, Facebook Page takeovers, Twitter dustups, unexpected impact on bottom line (Yikes!) 

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Crowdsourcing the Reputation Economy

People buy things because other people recommend them. Seems like the DEMO sessions have suddenly noticed Amazon sitting over there looking well fed. Straighten, shorten, and grease the pipeline of opinion connecting up the dollars and the object -- set up a sturdy margin- catcher underneath the pipe (gravity will pull down a percentage if you set it up right) and watch closely for competitors .... Make it easy, fun, and stand back.

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I found Ping again! I'm using it again. But after this one, that's all for today.

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