Breaking my own rule of not linking to another blog more than once in a given period of time, but for a good cause.

Sam Lawrence at Jive was named on a list of "Seven leading corporate social media evangelists today" over on ReadWriteWeb earlier in the week.  Others on the list included a Forrester Research analyst and the person behind blogs.sun.com.  Some very good examples on that list, but I'm sure there are many more good examples.  That article concludes with:

These are just a few of the most successful recent examples of companies employing social media evangelists in order to communicate with existing users and bring new attention to their services. While many, many companies today know they ought to "have a blog," most are still unsure how to use them and are not sure why they would employ a specialist in making putting these new media to use.

This isn't entirely new ground, though. Many companies are finding the ROI of social media engagement to be essential to their momentum.
Let's come back to that in a second.

Sam Lawrence humbly acknowledges being honored by the ReadWriteWeb list, but then names a list of people "doing just as good a job" as him.  I was flattered to see Sam include me among that list, which includes some real standouts in companies both big and small.  Thanks, Sam!

Anyway, the ReadWriteWeb article raises the point of the ROI of social media engagement.  This is a question I get asked often, and one I would ask about companies that thing that a blog or a viral video are the "keys to success" for participation in social media.  The real question is, how do you achieve results through social media, and how do you measure what those results are?

I get asked often about why I blog or where I get the time to blog (which I estimate to be 40-60 minutes per day, depending on whether a "hot" topic is being discussed or not).  The answer is simple.  Through the blog directly, and through connections made via the blog, Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, or plain old e-mail, I can specifically point to success in improving the performance of the product I am responsible for.  Of course, only a small portion of the improved business results for Notes/Domino could be attributed to my blog, but a larger portion can be attributed to the Lotus community/blogosphere, where it is a lot easier to see through a myriad of voices that the product as viable and improving.  

We have all built that up over time, together, through shared interests and a collective desire for success.  That is incredibly unique and I have been privileged to be a part of making that success happen.  So when a blogger appears on the scene from XYZ company, it's not a given that this will make their product or solution successful.  There is a lot more to the recipe, and community is a key part of that.  In my case, I often express my gratitude to the thousands who read edbrill.com every day, for working together to build on our success.  Thank you.

Link: Sam Lawrence: The new Scoble? >

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