I had occasion recently to evaluate FarmVille - one of a growing number of phenomenally successful social-media-based games from Zynga - and somewhere inside that jumble of infantile graphics and activities, annoying messages, terrible UI and seriously buggy and lag-prone software, I discovered what I believe are the reasons for Zynga's success in pushing past the hype and harnessing social media for real gain.
What's more, these lessons can be applied to almost any business or organization looking to use social media to increase its impact and/or revenue.
I'll start with a definition:
Content Management System (CMS): a tool or set of tools designed to simplify website maintenance and allow non-technical users to add, change, and remove website content (text, images, pages, articles, calendar events, etc.) as needed. Most content management systems also reduce or eliminate the need for custom code to accomplish many common tasks.
Remember when one of the most important decisions facing a new business owner was "Do I need a yellowpages ad?"
The answer wasn't always obvious. For one thing, it costs nothing to just have your business name and phone number listed. For another, there are often so many ads and "featured listings" that sometimes the more modest unpaid listings are the ones that jump out at the reader. A potential customer might assume, correctly or not, that the savings would be passed on to them.