How Microsoft Used Community to Manage Reputation and Drive New Business

Live tweeted from Hit Me Social Media Event re Mel Carson from Microsoft Advertising Live at Hit Me Social Media Event

So Microsoft invest in social media and advertising… are we surprised?

What surprises me and many is how far Microsoft have come in turning around their previous incarnation.  They are increasingly acceptable and, crucially, responsive.

Mel Carson works for the Microsoft Advertising Community.  He enabled the TV program “The Monastery” to recruit their potential monks by positioning the program within search enquiries.

Try Bing ing Social Media White paper for a bit more on their approach which he calls “Learn and earn”.  He seems to suggest that Microsoft have an interdependent relationship with their advertising and search clients – we learn from them as we work with them

A brave question from Mel – “What is the first thing that comes into your head when someone mentions Microsoft?”, alluding to my opening point I suspect.  But the point he is making is that Microsoft Advertising is a specific part of Microsoft.  It evolved out of a negative reaction to earlier advertising efforts on the part of Microsoft.

That reaction was to establish a community and forum – a responsive approach which steps into, faces up to that conflict and criticism. That was back in 2006, and the feedback they invited (and received) was then distributed to other departments.  This feedback has enabled Microsoft to identify changes and possible improvements.

Now, of course, that means more response, more profit for Microsoft and, says Mel, for their advertising clients.

But, the community saves cost as well.  On the forum, Microsoft can rely on contributing experts, not paid by Microsoft, to help other users.

People get recognition if they answer questions and contribute and so they raise their own social capital or profile.

So, an interesting example of an organisation using community to turn its profile around and respond to users.

Is there a role for forums on law firm websites?  We’ll fret about regulation and negligence but I suspect that is not insurmountable.

The biggest worry might be the demonstration that we, as the lawyers, are not the exclusive domain of knowledge any longer, but it really is time that we came to terms with that…

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1 Comment

Filed under An End To Silo Thinking, General Technology

One response to “How Microsoft Used Community to Manage Reputation and Drive New Business

  1. The future belongs to the brave. Brave enough to ask the questions and brave enough to answer them.

    Social media is no different to any other form of communication (other than it being much quicker, immediate), in the sense that if your message is in the right ‘language’ is engaging, focuses on more listening than telling.

    Yes you will make mistakes, say the wrong thing…it is called being human.

    The ‘suggesting’ happens after the ‘listening.’ Leave it to the listener to decide for themselves, they will be grateful for you respecting that.

    You can fret all you like, all that will do is put greater distance between you and your potential customer. Someone else will happily take up the slack in your absence.

    If I was advising on a strategy for law firm online I would suggest this,

    1. Have a central hub, can be formal (as suggested by Jon Bloor)
    2. Create satellite sites, ideally blogs that the individual solicitor MUST write, (DO NOT under any circumstances have it ghost written – if you can’t be bothered then nor can your customer)
    3. On these satellite sites talk the language of your client, don’t become a ‘law bore.’ Tell them what you are up to, what you like, who should win the X Factor or whatever…aka interesting to your audience. That is far more engaging, then you can say “oh and I do a bit of law too.”

    Radical (actually not really everyone else is doing it), but effective.

    But my top, top tip, “ponder less, act more”

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