I just read a post from Gitte Gorzelak called You mean..having 57 blogs is not a good idea? and as I found myself commenting on the post it made me think about when is having too many platforms, blogs and social networks running at the same time is a waste of time. I tried to answer in my comments, but I feel that this question deserves a more thorough examination.
To take ZN as an example we have quite a few ‘digital assets’ running.
First we have the ZN site (www.zn.be). It has a hyperlink on the homepage to our blog (Hyperthinker.com). So far, so good. However we have a page called ‘The Lab’ which links to another initiative which is our NIng platform. The later platform has links to the blog as it feeds it through an rss feed. We also are able to import videos from our youtube channel which means that actually there is a lot linked to the ning platform. We also have two other ’groups’ on Xing.com (actually two: one called hyperthinker and another on emarketing). Interestingly the latter has continued to survive despite being neglected (I had some difficulties with lack of applications and the lack of integration with the outside world). But they both have over 400 members and as I checked earlier, both had posts dated December.
We also created several facebook groups (some private, some public – but to be honest this generated little impact from a business point of view but it was great to connect with old friends).
Finally we created a platform on linkedin. This one is very interesting as it well designed, and has a great facility to share articles (automatically creating a clean title and summary from a url).
All these experiments are very useful in approaching clients (we have replicated a ning platform for client recently around a packaging competition) and we have also started many blogs and facebook communications programmes which have met with some success.
The Xing group actually generated a few leads and some positive referrals and so did some of the other initiatives.
The main puropose of these online ‘assets’ is that they serve as a place of learning. I am also finding that a good blog serves to focus the mind on key questions (like this one) and helps to share your thoughts and feelings, especially with your own team and clients (and perhaps prospects but I feel this is not the main aim of this).
So I guess so far we are making slow and steady progress up the learning curve. I would like to see as much hyperlinking as possible between those different platforms so people can choose how they want to consumer their information, which profile they want to use and what ways they want to choose to express themselves.
The simple blog seems to be the most ‘mature’ of the lot, but it takes hard work and discipline (something that was a missing a little in the past). However I have seen the various communities serve very effectively the purpose of client if the fit with the campaign was right. We will continue into 2009, with more experimentation and look forward to meeting you there…