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Date: Saturday, 19 Jun 2010 07:23

Beet.tv caught up with Tania Yuki from comScore and found out that 80% of all net users worldwide watch video online. Aren’t you glad you were there before they arrived?

comScore of course needs to keep up with the times so they’re offering new features and expanding their areas of coverage. Granted, they still make mistakes in reporting far too often for my tastes and their numbers are still questionable at times as they use panels much of the time to gather the information when they should be focusing on direct measurement.

They’re looking at new metrics that will give a better idea of how online video stacks up against TV as well as better ways to plan and track your video versus others and total reach and frequency of online video and TV campaigns.

But the really interesting thing is that the reason for their continued expansion is the continued expansion of the industry and more importantly, viewing online. Tania stated, in her interview with Beet.tv’s Andy Plesser, that in many regions video viewing itself is “north of 70%” and even 80% in some areas in relation to people using the web.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Blip.tv video.

That’s a pretty massive number and she said a lot of growth is coming from Australia/Pacific but also in Canada, France, Germany and the UK (see my previous post about UK video online) and of course, the US.

She does also state that China and Japan have some heavy usage, even though comScore is just moving into the region and that it’s hard to say how much growth there will be. Personally, I’d be surprised if less than 70% of Japanese Internet users were watching video online.

Well, I guess our work is done right? 80% of Internet users are watching video. In my world, that’s a perfect score because I follow the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle) which states that “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” So now it would take 80% more work to get that last 20%. That’s a lot of energy for little payoff, so skip it and focus on your content and getting the best stuff out there that you can.

And if you’re reading this wondering what I’m on about…you’re already so late to the party that it’s in full swing and finding a dance partner might be rough, unless you’ve got a groovy spaceship to show off.

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Author: "Rod Low" Tags: "Surveys & Research"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Jun 2010 05:28
This is more of a personal rant, and possibly a learning about social media--aka "being part of the conversation".

I joined Twitter approximately nine months ago. I've had a couple of different accounts, 1500-1600 tweets/re-tweets, and I've learned something which I find interesting.

Most of the people I follow work in the SEO or social media field. The social media folks, myself included, habitually tweet about best practices, how to be a good "netizens', social media for business, etc.

Now here's the "rub". When you are a participant in a conversation, when you are addressed, do you respond? I think so. Unless, of course, you are NOT trying to be in the conversation. So, if you are involved in social media, preaching to the masses regarding how to participate, shouldn't you respond?

This being said, if you have thousands and thousands of followers, all actively reading and retweeting your blogs, etc, I understand how you might not have time to respond...but come on! I follow some major "hitters" in the SEO, blogging, SMO, etc world and I DO get responses from them from time-to-time.

So...here's the food-for-thought. If you espouse the joys, follys, learnings, and practical advice regarding social media...then practice what you preach and occasionally, be a part of someone's conversation when they reach out or support you!

And to those I've reached out to, and you've responded...thanks for the quality you bring to social media.
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Author: "bill drews" Tags: "Social Media"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Jun 2010 00:27

Social media engagement takes time, and let’s face it, we all don’t have a lot of time. There are many discussions about outsourcing social media but most will not tell you that you CAN outsource social media successfully. They key to social media outsourcing success is that it’s a partnership between your chosen outsource company and yourself. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts on how to successfully outsource a winning social media campaign.

Do Scheduled (Pre-written) Relevant Content. Outsourcing your scheduled content enables a consistent delivery of quality content on your social media platforms. It is an art, however, and be sure to find the right fit for your industry. All writers are not the same, and writing status updates and tweets is very difficult and requires a great deal of research and intuition. You should look for a company who will write witty, informative content and stay away from very general (common sense) content.

Do outsource finding friends/followers.  This can be very tedious and time consuming if you’re looking for specific targeted profiles.  Outsourcing this task just makes sense.  Make sure the company you use for this task knows their way around such applications such as Twellow.com and have a clear understanding of your target audience.

Do outsource branding of your social media pages.  Having a branded profile page on Twitter and Facebook (and YouTube) sets your business apart and creates a consistency to your company’s brand.  The added polish of custom graphics on your Facebook Fan Page wall and landing page tab, along with a custom Twitter and YouTube page reinforces your branding efforts.  This is a great return on investment (ROI).

Don’t outsource list creation on your Twitter profile.  Take the time to go in and set up lists of targeted influencers on your profile.  This is only something adviseable for you to do–you are the best judge of who you want to listen to and engage with on Twitter.

Don’t just let your scheduled updates ride.  Choose at least 10 minutes a day (5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon) and go into your accounts manually (not through a scheduler) and have something to say to add to a conversation, or add an original update from you.

The most important thing to remember if you’re considering outsourcing part of your social media marketing is that you can’t ever completely outsource all of your social media marketing (at least successfully)  A successful outsourcing of social media marketing requires active partnering and participation from you along side your chosen outsource company.


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Author: "Jennifer Wong" Tags: "Social Media"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 20:50

The ecommerce industry is aflutter with social media buzz. This is understandable – social media usage has grown faster than the adoption of television. With this in mind, many small online businesses are flocking to social media – in fact, one report states that utilization of social media by small businesses has doubled since 2009. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Social media is a cost-effective way to establish relationships with customers.
  • Social media serves as a great source of open feedback and competitor intelligence.
  • Fans/Followers of branded social media pages are more likely to buy from that company and recommend it to friends and family.
  • Everyone else is doing it.

Wait, “everyone else is doing it?” That doesn’t seem like a very good reason to start a social media campaign!

Unfortunately this is the rationale many small online business owners use when entering the social space. But the problem with an “everyone else is doing it” approach is it typically leads to a haphazard social presence.

Sound familiar? If so, it’s quite possible that your social media strategy isn’t a strategy at all. Instead, it’s more of a mix of tactics thrown together under the guise of a strategy. But what’s the difference?

A strategy is a comprehensive plan meant to achieve a long-term objective. A tactic, on the other hand, is a specific action within a strategy intended to help reach the designated goal.

Now that you know the distinction, here’s a step by step guide to ensure your social media efforts form an actual strategy:

1. Set your social media objectives.

What do you ultimately want your business to achieve from social media? Some ideas include: brand awareness, thought leadership, networking opportunities and SEO benefits. While it’s tempting to set your strategic objective to “all of the above,” you need to pick one and stick with it – other positive results will coincide with your growing social presence.

2. Choose the right channels to meet your objectives.

Next, take a holistic approach of integrating various social media channels to achieve your set objective. This means that you need to carefully select which tactics to use within your campaign – you can’t be everywhere at once, so choose the channels that will best help reach your goal.

Here’s some aspects of various social tactics to help guide your pairings:

Blog:

  • Serves as premier outlet for offering fresh content that’s pertinent to your defined audience
  • Lays foundation for spreading unique content across the web

Facebook:

  • Establishes a “face” for your brand via addition of photos and personal information
  • Facilitates an interactive community with wall posts, discussion boards, fan photos and likes

Twitter:

  • Presents chance to expand social network and find influencers in specific industries
  • Lets users share your content, including blog posts, articles, etc.

LinkedIn:

  • Provides location to establish business credibility and share business information
  • Offers place to join relevant groups and make connections with other thought leaders

YouTube:

  • Allows for repurposing of customer videos, product tutorials, testimonials, etc.
  • Supplies vehicle to comment on others’ videos and reach out to those with similar interests

As an example, if the objective of my social media strategy is to establish thought leadership within my industry, I would start with my blog to create unique, relevant content and use Facebook and Twitter to spread that content. I’d also use YouTube to create educational videos related to my blog. As you can see, by purposefully mixing various tactics, I’ve put together a comprehensive strategy to achieve my thought leadership objective.

3. Establish a timeline for completion.

Another integral part of any strategy is creating a timeline to reach your goal. By setting monthly or quarterly benchmarks, you can objectively gauge your progress. The key to this step is establishing smaller goals within each tactic for measurement against your deadline.

Going back to our thought leadership example, you could set benchmarks of establishing 5 blog relationships and posting 8 articles on your blog by the end of July. And by the end of August you could set a benchmark of making 3 guest blog appearances and posting 2 educational videos on YouTube. Of course the numbers will vary on a case by case basis, but you get the idea.

While creating your benchmarks, it’s advised to dedicate a certain amount of time to executing your strategy. Far too many small online business owners strongly launch a social campaign, only to drop off the face of the earth 6 weeks later. Just like any strategy, social media takes time, so make sure you’re ready to make the long-term investment before diving in the pool.

4. Put together your metrics.

To provide a legitimate strategy, you must establish metrics to gauge your progress. The easiest way to do so is creating key performance indicators, or KPIs, for each of your tactics. Some KPIs include: number of Twitter followers, number of YouTube views, number of blog subscribers and growth patterns for each metric.

It’s easy to fall into a trap of setting arbitrary numbers for your KPIs. Hitting 500 Twitter followers sounds nice, but what does that really mean? Instead, it’s best to base your KPIs on your objectives, so perhaps setting a KPI of adding 50 influential Twitter followers is better aligned with a thought leadership goal.

Whatever the case, be sure to track results against your metrics to see how you’re performing in each of your channels – this will allow you to make proper adjustments.

5. Deploy, measure, adjust.

The entire point of setting objectives and benchmarking them is to make sure that your strategy stays on course. If you’re exceeding your KPIs in one channel and are way behind in another, you have an opportunity to evaluate your execution and make alterations as necessary.

It’s okay to shift course if things aren’t working as planned – the beauty of a true strategy is that you can make changes along the way to better achieve social media success.

And there you have it – a five step plan to legitimize your social media efforts! If you haven’t gone through this process or you identified with the “everybody else is doing it” mentality, it’s a good bet that your social media strategy isn’t really a strategy after all.

Fortunately, in this ever-evolving medium, your online business can quickly adjust to better maximize the bountiful benefits social media has to offer.

Happy selling!

Author: Matt Winn, Marketing Associate, Volusion

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Author: "Brian Rice" Tags: "Social Media"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 13:30

I follow people on Twitter for because they either have information or entertain me.  Notice I said people.  Not brands.  Not companies.  People.

I firmly believe all social media is about connecting with people online.  The most massive social media networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, are all about connecting with other people.  Companies are secondary.  I like knowing that the avatar I’m communicating with is more than a mindless PR or marketing slave stuck behind a computer all day.

When I think of brands on Twitter, I want the same things I want from people: information, entertainment and a connection with a person.  Your brand fails because either you’re inhuman, you’re not informing me, or not entertaining me, and I consider myself easily entertained.

If you’re going for the information route, put up something more than just your PR releases and photos.  I can easily see those on a bunch of other websites, and they’re more likely to grab my attention than a short tweet.  Show me a neat fact or photo I’m not going to see anywhere else.  Teach me something about your service I didn’t know.  Find links that will be relevant to people interested in your products.  If you really get into this, you’ll start bleeding into the category of entertainment.

Entertainment seems harder because you’ll need to bring a smile, but I’ve seen great people even make lightbulbs seem cool on Twitter.  If someone can make lighting awesome, you can do it too. Find cool ways people are using your product.  Show what life the fun side of life at your office. Show how your competitor’s product fails.

Most importantly, let me know there is a person behind the avatar.  I want to connect with the person behind the logo.  I don’t need to know their life story, but just the sparkling of a personality behind the corporate facade is enough to take your presence from ordinary to amazing.

Once you can do that, maybe then I’ll start following your company.  Until then, I’ll just talk about you with my real friends.


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Author: "Jay Dolan" Tags: "Best Practices"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 12:50

Interesting how the intersection of what I’m thinking coincides with what others are too. Take for example the Forrester “social maturity” survey which wants to know which companies are ahead of the curve in implementing social technologies for both external use (i.e., for customers/consumers) and/or internal use (i.e., for employees/partners)?

I had been thinking pretty hard lately that the more that I talk to various companies of various sizes one thing is becoming quite clear. My passion and understanding of the power of social is not theirs. They may want to be part of the conversation but it’s not the same as mine, or the same for other similar organizations or competitors.

It’s all over the board.

Part of the reality is that companies want to be like their competition, or may just want to tap into the stream, but they want to do it on a 9-5 basis say maybe 3 times a week. The rub is, they want to enjoy all that socialness has to offer externally but are not as committed as they need to be internally. Which begs the question.

What level of buy-in and to what extent of buy-in internally do you need with social media in order to be successful externally?

Forrester is dead on in where they are going with this. It is clear that many companies have made some major strides in planning and organizing for the use of social technologies. But one of the primary questions we know they are asking is “where does my company stack up  compared to my peers and competitors in the use of social media-both externally and internally?” It’s natural to want to know how you stack up.

Is it a chicken vs. egg thing? Internal or external? Can you do one without the other? Are you doing one and not the other? Are you doing anything? Or do you still think it’s a fad?

Author: "Marc Meyer" Tags: "Social Media"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 12:13


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Author: "Maddie Grant" Tags: "Marketing, Social Media"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 11:37
For the vast majority of social media programs, the focus is external. It’s aimed at customers, potential customers, partners, investors, suppliers and the media/bloggers.

But what about the people inside the company? Where do they fit into the scheme of things as a company embraces and deploys social media?

In many ways, getting employees to buy into social media is as important as the effort and investment made to make sure social media resonates externally. If a company plans to use social media to become more transparent, engage and have conversations, you have to believe this approach will impact how it communicates with employees.

If, for example, a company has a corporate culture in which the lines of communications between management and employees are not particularly open, it would be strange for a company to suddenly decide it wanted to have public conversations with millions of people outside the company.

Another consideration is whether a company is also willing to let is employees embrace social media – based on the idea that what’s good for the goose must be good for the gander. It is difficult for a company to get itself into social media but, at the same time, prevent its employees from getting involved as well.

A good example of a company that lets its employees engage in social media is IBM Corp., which has thousands of internal bloggers, who follow “Social Computing Guidelines” that feature 12 “rules”.

 

When a company lets its employees participate in social media, it’s another way of telling the world that it believes in social media as opposed to simply using it as a marketing and sales tool.

Amid the growing excitement about social media, companies often lose sight of the potential impact that social media could have on its organization and corporate culture. By maintaining an internal and external focus, a company can give itself a better chance of success.

 

Author: "Mark Evans" Tags: "Social Media"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 05:02

What’s SEO and what does it do? Do I need it? What’s PPC?

Those are some of the most common questions I’m asked when I begin working with clients small and large. Let’s start by defining them:

  • SEO means Search Engine Optimization In short, this is getting a site to rank better in search engines using techniques that are both technical and marketing oriented. Some SEO is performed onsite, other aspects are performed offsite.
  • SMM means Social Media Marketing Though this is a broad category including everything from blogging to YouTube to Foursquare and all of the social networks, we can understand it as using social tools on the web to foster interest, engage our target market and ultimately achieve goals – whether those goals are brand awareness, fundraising, sales, thought leadership, etc.
  • PPC means Pay Per Click Advertising! The most common PPC campaigns are through Google AdWords, and this group is also commonly known as SEM or Search Engine Marketing, as many of the ads appear among search engine results.

Did that solve all your problems and answer all of your questions? All ready to go and handle your web marketing? No.

Let’s work with an analogy to understand how these various marketing tools can fit your needs.

Imagine you’ve just moved into a new home, built from the ground up just for you. Now, it’s time to plan your garden. Your budget is tight, what with the new mortgage and all, but you know what you can afford and what results you’d like to see. You want to invest in things that will grow over several years, but you’d also like things to be pretty this summer. And you want to bring a bit of the garden back inside with you, so some herbs are in order. Grab your trowel and gloves and let’s get working.

SEO & Apple Trees

Your first purchase is an apple tree. This tree might cost more than all of the other plants and flowers in your garden, but it’s worth it to you because you’re in this for the long haul. The small sapling doesn’t look like much now, but you understand it’s an investment. That said, it’s not as simple as dropping this glorified twig into the ground and letting it fend for itself. You have to maintain it and meet its basic needs, with water and a bit of fertilizer if you want to go the extra mile, but you know it will in time bear fruit. It takes a few years to mature. Unless it contracts a disease, your fruit tree will continue to provide you with tasty treats. If you really want fruit now, you’re going to have to buy a mature tree.

Search Engine Optimization is like an apple tree. The time and money invested in optimizing your website will continue to bring you results for as long as you have the site. Barring major changes in the way that search engines rank sites (and these changes do occur), SEO doesn’t expire and often costs less to maintain – as long as it gets a healthy start. Unfortunately, like our apple tree sapling, SEO doesn’t bring results overnight. Although technical and marketing changes can make vast improvements in site ranking relatively quickly, SEO is a cumulative – it may take months to see clickthroughs from targeted traffic while the site’s rank continues to rise for relevant search terms. If you want the ranking associated with a powerful domain name, your best bet might be to buy that domain name – but it can get costly quickly.

Social Media & Basil

While you love your garden, you really enjoy bringing a bit of the outdoors back inside with you. You want a close relationship with Mother Nature – and for you, that means fresh herbs for the dinner table. To that end, you’re growing basil.

Though you’ve started from seeds, cultivating each plant, it doesn’t take too long before you’ve got some leaves to harvest. But, if you really like basil and want to enjoy it more often, you’re going to need quite a few basil plants. If you took all of the leaves off of one plant as soon as they were large enough, you’d kill the plant. But if you have five plants and harvest them in rotation, you’re going to have vibrant plants and a steady supply of basil. That means having to buy more seeds and growing more plants at the start, even though by the end of the season you might have more basil that you bargained for.

To further complicate matters, there are several types of basil available and you’ll need to know which plants will give you what you’re looking for – depending on if your goal is pesto or spicy Thai food.

Social media tools are like basil plants. Each network has a niche that it’s best suited for and some media types work better than others for different markets. To get the most out of it, you need to know which tools will help you achieve your goals.

While social networks don’t take as long to develop as search engine optimization ranking, they do take time and commitment – if you pester the first people to join your Twitter feed or Facebook page by constantly begging them to invite their friends or retweet your posts, you’re going to kill your following. Grow your network slowly – and, dare I say it, organically – instead of paying for leads or spamming your potential clients.

If you want to cast a wide net and see results more quickly, you will have to invest more resources initially. This might mean employing a wider array of social networks and media sites to create more entry points for potential followers. The downside here is that you might eventually have more interaction than you could anticipate – which means more to manage.

PPC & Snapdragons

The basil and the fruit trees are all lovely, but your basil doesn’t have any flowers and your sapling is healthy but doesn’t have the immediate eye candy you were looking forward to this summer. In short, you need cheap flowers and you need them now.

You might want snapdragons. Very colorful, with a relatively low cost and short life span. They’re annuals, meaning that they won’t be around to flower next year, but that’s okay by you. You just need something nice to show your mother-in-law this weekend.

While you’re going to put some money into pretty snapdragons, you’re not going to blanket every speck of open soil with them. Their value and beauty are fleeting, so covering the backyard with them would be a huge waste of your budget.

Keyword-based advertising (pay-per-click campaigns) are like the annual flowers in your garden. They provide results right now and have a relatively low investment cost as compared to maintaining social media projects or site-wide search engine optimization. Unfortunately, advertising only works while the ads are in place – once an AdWords campaign ends, your premium slot on content networks or search results pages evaporates.

Finally, to dispel a myth, purchasing advertising through Google does not increase your ranking in search engine results. Those results are organic and cannot be bought.

What do you need in your web marketing garden? It depends on what results you need and when you need them.

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Author: "Kelli Brown" Tags: "Marketing, Getting Started, Social Media"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jun 2010 15:05
This blog was written Aliza Sherman, not Maria Ogneva. Aliza is the co-founder of Conversify, a 5-year-old social media marketing agency offering strategic planning, as well as social media monitoring, management and measurement. She is also a social media pioneer who founded Cybergrrl, Inc. and Webgrrls International in the early 90’s -- and has been named by Newsweek as one of “Top 50 people who matter most on the Internet”. You can join Aliza in her June 23 Attensity webcast for a deeper dive on this topic:



"A blog isn't a business plan.”

I recently saw that tweet on Twitter, and it really hit home for me the perils of using a new technology or communications tool and thinking that mastering its use or even the fact that you are using it is all you need to know and do for your business. Adding new tools to your marketing and communications toolkit is not a plan. There is nothing strategic about blogging, tweeting and updating your Facebook status if you don't have a plan for not just using the tool but integrating it into your marketing mix. Right?

So how do you get started with a plan for social media? Social Media Marketing Plans (SMMPs) can be standalone documents but are more effective when a part of an overall marketing plan for your company. At a minimum, they should reference traditional public relations or marketing tools and tactics. Unfortunately, very few companies and organizations right now are thinking about the integration of social media marketing into what they've been doing marketing-wise. Instead, they tend to cage off social media marketing like a new wild animal in a zoo. It's nice to look at and fascinating to watch, but it doesn't quite fit into any of the cages with their other zoo animals.

When my company helps other companies with their Social Media Marketing planning, we take them back to some basic, foundational questions one might ask when coming up with an overall strategic plan, not just a social media one:

What?

Why?

Who?

Where?

How?

What?

as in...

What are you trying to achieve?

Why are you trying to do this?

Whom are your trying to reach?

Where can you most effectively reach them?

How are you going to reach out to them?

What are you trying to get them to do?

We also remind companies that Social Media Marketing is not necessarily a direct sales tool but is effective at:

  1. Building a brand;
  2. Building brand loyalty;
  3. Turning loyal customers into evangelists;
  4. Leveraging word-of-mouth marketing;
  5. Turbo-charging the feedback loop.

Here are seven steps you should go through (at least) to get to the heart of your Social Media Marketing Plan. This is merely a starting framework for how to think about building out your plan and how to get to the information that should be in your plan.

  1. What are your marketing objectives? Make sure they are attainable and measurable.
  2. Who is your audience? Know where they are online and where they are already engaged in related, relevant conversations.
  3. What are your assets? Examine your social media and online assets to see what you can leverage for full social media engagement. (See assets diagram.)



  1. What tactics will you use? Choose the tactics that incorporate the most logical tools for what you are trying to achieve and who you are trying to reach.
  2. What are your big ideas? Come up with some creative ideas that are repeatable and scalable to attract attention and provide value.
  3. How will you measure results? Establish benchmarks, monitor and be clear what you are tracking and how.
  4. Re-examine over time. What works? What doesn't? What can you build upon? What can you improve? What needs to be scrapped?

Remember: as Jeffrey Hayzlett, former Kodak CMO said: "Social media is not a campaign. It is a commitment." Your plan should cover both the immediate and short-term with an eye to the long term understanding that the technology changes daily. You may find that some of the tools you initially choose are gone by the time you get around to accessing them. Be flexible.

How is your Social Media Marketing planning coming along? What challenges are you encountering?


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Author: "Maria Ogneva" Tags: "Marketing, Social Customer, Social Media"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jun 2010 14:51

Does social media influence the culture of a company? Are employees who are active in social media more influential in their company? And if so why?

These are all questions I've been asking for a while since I started this blog, but reviewing a post about social media changing corporate culture I wrote in July 2004 causes me to stop and ponder those questions again. Here's what I asked:

"Microsoft has over 700 bloggers at the moment. How are those bloggers influencing MicroSoft's audience? How are the bloggers changing MicroSoft?....how will hundreds if not thousands of corporate bloggers change the culture of a company? How will the rise of personality affect power relationships within companies?"

If we are to believe the commercials the latest version of Micrsoft's operating system was influenced by more customer feedback, was that because of social media? Or because the strategy of listening, even if not through social media was in part more widely adopted within the company because of the influence of social media?

Now, what companies have been most influenced by using social media in the last decade?


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Author: "johncass" Tags: "Social Media"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jun 2010 10:44

One of the original purposes of the common law was to provide a forum for the peaceful adjudication of disputes that may have previously led to violence.   The famed case of Tuberville v Savage (1669) 1 Mod. Rep. 3; 86 ER 684, which set the standard for the tort of assault, shows how close violence was to the surface in social confrontations in the 17th century.  Folks used to wear swords as a matter of course, and a random insult could spark feuds and attempted murder.

Today, we like to think that society has grown more sophisticated, but has it?  Yes, we no longer wear swords but we still face the daily dilemma of what to do about insults and brickbats hurled our way, and it has recently gotten worse, thanks to the popularity of social media platforms. 

For quite some time (at least since the collapse of dueling culture) the worst that one might expect from an insult was a barroom fight — after all, how many opportunities really existed for slander and libel for 99% of the population?  Unless you owned a printing press or a newspaper, you couldn’t really let loose your inner Dorothy Parker and get medieval on the posteriors of your enemies.  Today, however, an off the cuff slam like Parker’s “that woman speaks 18 languages and can’t say ‘no’ in any of them” can instantly be published on Twitter and distributed to the known universe in the blink of an eye.

So, you’ve been insulted.  Someone created a Facebook page mocking you or your company.  Someone created a Twitter feed making fun of your response to, say, an oil spill.   What do you do?

This is an issue that comes up with remarkable regularity in the practice of any lawyer who deals with social media and the Internet, and the correct answer (irritatingly) is “it depends.”  There are some situations which demand an immediate cease and desist letter and a motion for a temporary restraining order if the letter is ignored.  If you are actually being damaged monetarily, or being accused of a crime (so-called “libel per se”) an immediate response may be necessary.  If your intellectual property is being harmed, that may justify action as well.  But many other online insults are better met with silence — after all suing someone or publicly confronting libel can often merely draw more attention to the accusations, or make you look like a bully.  In other words, your reaction must not be reflexive, but must instead consider the consequences.  The tales of libel suits that merely lead to big legal bills and no satisfaction are legion, so it is important to think about the cost-benefit analysis of confronting your accuser, and whether (a) your own PR initiative might be more effective and less expensive, and (b) whether there are other, less dramatic ways to deal with either mockery or libel.

So while there is no question that the schoolyard insults of our childhood have been given new life by social media, you should not allow yourself to regress to that level in your response.  Think about your response, consult counsel, and calibrate your response to be proportionate to the harm.  You (and your wallet) will be glad you did.


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Author: "Darren Cahr" Tags: "Social Networks"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jun 2010 09:14

Rewarding badges and points systems on your intranet – social scorecards – could be the turning point for turning your enterprise 2.0 systems from a thing of work to a thing of play. Foursquare becomes Social Work and all the better for it. And don’t be surprised if Facebook comes up with some kind of Facebook Credits/Work Game scorecard integration. If you are new to these concepts you might like Verified Accounts and Leadership Badges or, more likely, The Role of Leaderboards in Online Communities.

Yesterday I attended the Sharepoint geekfest at The Hilton Sydney. I plonked myself down in the front row, iPad at the ready, to listen to Daniel McPherson (danmc) talk about socialising the business with Sharepoint. His company is ZevenSeas which wins points for having a cool name, I reckon.

The Game of Work

One item caught my attention: turning work into a game. Daniel proposed that we set up Foursquare style badges to encourage staff to contribute and use the internet. Just before I go into his concepts, I want to point out that yes, I know it’s not a new concept. But. But. Ideas have their time, and I think Foursquare might just put Achievements (a la World of Warcraft) and karma points (everyone really, starting with Slashdot) onto the Enterprise 2.0 agenda. Before today, and probably still in many companies, the response to Badges for incentives would be met with a sneer and a “who gives a flying fig about stamps of approval?”. Now we can see leaderboards and games played out in social spaces, it’s easier to buy into as a concept. Maybe your work day will soon have a game attached. Badges for no missed sick days would be a good start. *cough cough* Australian winters aren’t that cold but still seem rife with flu. *cough cough*

ZevenSeas and Sharepoint:

What Dan showed us, in prototype was a module – or whatever Sharepoint calls plugins (Wordpress) and components (Joomla!) – which allowed Leaders to set badge names and criteria for meeting that badge. I can’t remember the actual badges but it was something like Video Hero for people who rate or comment on Corporate Videos on the intranet, and so on. I couldn’t find anything on his site, and actually wish the whole presentation had been on this concept, rather than just a few minutes. Though to be honest, given the “But does Twitter have a business use” questions, the audience weren’t quite ready to make the work place a fun and social environment. Mores the pity. :P

Taking Badges Further:

I use incentives to reward influencers in my online communities in three ways:

  • Points for repetitive, ongoing and countable activity. A point for every comment you make, a point for every video uploaded etc. Get to 1000 points to get a new BADGE.  Foursquare give you points for first login of the day, for becoming a Mayor etc. ENTERPRISE: points for logging in, points for updating status, points for completing a ToDo item, points for rating anothers business blog post, points for contributing to the  wiki (I think Confluence has that built in?) and so on.
  • Badges for levelling rewards. Reach a target or goal. Uploaded 30 videos? Get a Broadcaster badge. Commented 1000 times? Get an Oversharing badge. Foursquare has secret World Cup badges (you have to check in at a world cup pub in one of six locations around the world). ENTERPRISE: contributing to an unpopular wiki subject, logging in before 9am, talking like a pirate on pirate day.
  • Titles for acknowledging quality input. Obvious one is Community Moderator for those that volunteer community admin duties. Teacher titles for those that are helpful. Newbie for newcomers. Some of these are manually entered, others are automatic. I tend to use Titles to show that the “Gods of the Community” are paying attention and approving certain behaviours. Badges are automatic. ENTERPRISE awkward because enterprise is hierarchal from top down. Perhaps the future manager is appointed by the “machine” given their contribution, leadership and votes from the employee community. How scary is that!

Be warned:

  • Gaming occurs when people want to climb the leaderboard and cheat – or at least don’t play within the spirit of the game – to get to the top. This is a absolutely hideous yet interesting problem for me in communities. On one hand I want to spank them silly for pushing the envelope. Just wait until some smartypants has posted 3,459 times on YOUR site “thanks for the information, totally awesome dude” by using a bot and you have to hand remove each comment AND their 3459 points from their social scorecard.  Then tell me that violence doesn’t spring to mind! (note: today most community software has a spam removal system). On the other hand, “gamers” (in this sense, “almost cheaters”) are teaching you what you need to clarify, to correct and remove from the “game”. I also have a soft spot for them -they are the true entrepreneurs and pioneers of social behaviour online. The little monkeys. :p
  • The Not Fair Brigade are always around. They will whinge, resign and sue if they don’t get their points that they deserve. Or so they think. Be aware: every member of an online community turns into a lawyer, is married to a lawyer or has a dad that is a lawyer if you don’t give them what they demand when it comes to badges, points or titles. Who knew there were that many lawyers interested in gaming points around *end sarcasm*. This is particularly important if you use the contribution karma points to reward with real world prizes e.g. a trip to Tahiti or dinner with the CEO. Heh the last could be for punishment.

That reminds me: tell HR and Legal what you are doing. Don’t stop because they have a fit, but keep them informed. Don’t be misled by the simplicity of these systems. They may well overturn the industrial revolution into a employee revolution. I kid you not.

Economies of Social Scorecards

Balancing the economy is the hardest thing, as economies dictate behaviours. In one game, we had “he who has the most gold” leaderboard. Suddenly there is no marketplace. In order to save gold people weren’t spending it. If they weren’t spending it, they weren’t buying which means others couldn’t go up the list. Good virtual goods became insanely cheap. The economy crashed. Annoyed customers everywhere. So we implemented a “he who is most generous with gold” leaderboard. Now they were donating gold everywhere. Another set of problems. I failed Economics at High School but more than made up for it trying to work with Devs to get this sort of behavioural economy working right. I really should resit that school exam. Heh.

Trust and Social Scorecards

What’s in it for the User or Member? They get to show off their elite skills in whatever your niche network is about. Social standing, trust, reputation and leadership. And just plain cool. Who doesn’t want to show off their gold star or camel stamp to mum? Well trolls (bad boys) don’t. But you manage them in other ways. Conforming to social rules is something that humans ache to do – it’s what defines community-  and badges and scorecards tell them in much clearer ways than ‘etiquette statements’ or ’social media staff guidelines’ ever can how to behave.

Over time we gain “points” – usually unspoken but now declared through badges and measurable behaviour – and that gains us trust and reputation.

What’s in it for the employer (or community manager if your members are “employees”)? Reward behaviours. Remind people of good acts by having a monthly “double your points” game if they greet a newcomer, or upload something or whatever you want to be highlighted that month. When it comes to stick and carrot, too many companies have big big sticks and the tiny carrot is “well you’ve got a job and a paycheck”.  Better companies had stock options dependent on general overall company behaviours. But badges, points and titles start to allow you to fine tune rewards for results. Salesmen have worked with these reward systems forever. But rarely do admin and general staff get to play. Now they can. Yay!

Have a look at these case studies

Have a look at these content management social systems using reputation badges etc – List of Karma Points

If Twitter is working with Foursquare, why can’t Yammer and other social enterprise communication tools play with badges and points? If we give points to customers for loyalty and service in ecommerce systems why can’t we reward employees for the same behaviours? Maybe the golden handcuffs become karma handcuffs in the future. As in “I can’t resign, I have too many karma points invested in this company”. Oh stop laughing, it’s possible! :D

What do you think? If your company gave you badges and points (and maybe real world bonuses attached) would you sign up for a social scorecard at the office? Or would you sneer, beat up and take the lunch money of those that do want to play the work game?

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Author: "Laurel Papworth" Tags: "Strategy, Social Media"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jun 2010 09:10

Twitter can suck you in to a vortex of counter-productivity like one bite of that KFC Double Down sandwich.

double down 300x220 Is Your Twitter Addiction Paying Off

I love the Twitter culture and community, and I spend quite a bit of time using Twitter. It also continues to be a reliable conduit for new visitors here at Convince & Convert. Maybe you found this blog from Twitter?

But, for about 99.999999% of the world, Twitter usage is not an end, it’s a means to an end. Your Twitter goals may vary. Maybe you use Twitter to see what’s going on (the real-time search engine approach). Maybe you use Twitter to learn about something in which you’re interested. (53% of Twitter users never tweet). Maybe you use Twitter to meet interesting new people?

Whatever your Twitter objectives might be, I suggest you spend some time with yourself figuring out what they are, and how to measure whether you’re accomplishing your goals.

Indeed, I use Twitter for all of the reasons above (especially to meet new people), but for me and my business, I have two core, measurable goals.

  • Traffic to my blog. I consistently look at the number and percentage of visitors to this site that come from Twitter. Over the past 30 days, it was approximately 10%.
  • Followers per tweet. This is a metric I devised to help me determine the efficiency of the time I spend on Twitter.

The Followers Per Tweet Equation

followers per tweet Is Your Twitter Addiction Paying Off

Certainly, you can generate a ton of Twitter followers using any number of schemes, tricks, and other false economies. But really, there’s not much point in that. There is no real benefit to having more Twitter followers per se, just a potentially bigger group of people with whom you can interact in pursuit of a more definable goal.

But, the number of followers you’ve accumulated is a metric that everyone looks at (admit it), and it’s at least a decent barometer of how well you’ve cultivated Twitter. (Assuming, however, that you are not using some sort of @ptbarnum system to generate thousands of followers).

I look at it a little differently. Sure, you can get a ton of followers by doing all the right things (Mack Collier has a great post here about how he got to 20,000 followers). But at what cost? If you spent all day, every day on Twitter you could certainly amass quite a following. But, the corresponding decline in your eyesight, hygiene, and patience for the Fail Whale would be drastic.

So, I’ve started to look at followers per tweet as a metric that focuses on the efficiency of time spent. Certainly, it’s not a comprehensive influence formula like Klout, or other Twitter-influence arbiters (interesting study this week from Sysomos), but it’s easy to calculate, and I think it makes sense.

As I’m writing this, my Followers per Tweet (FPT) is 2.46 (21,395 follower, 8,687 tweets sent – note that some Twitter weirdness has been massively reducing number of tweets sent reported in some cases). Gary Vaynerchuk has a FPT of 39.26. Mack is .60 Certainly, there are many other factors that contribute to number of followers, and I’m not saying this is in any way a metric judging how influential a person is on Twitter, just how efficient their Twitter usage might be.

Maybe FPT will help you think about the efficiency of your time spent on Twitter? What do you think?

(cartoon by Dewald)


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Author: "Jason Baer" Tags: "Social Media"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jun 2010 08:41

Anyone notice that you can now "like" comments?! Facebook's blog posted today:

"So like peanut butter and jelly, we realized these two features would go better together. Starting today, most of you will see a small "Like" button appear underneath comments. We're rolling this out gradually, so if you don't see the new button yet you will soon."

It has been rolled out on my personal account as well as the Fan Page (example below):

So how many of you think there should be a "dislike" button?!


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Author: "Stephanie Wonderlin" Tags: "Facebook"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010 17:51
Online community is like world peace – everyone thinks it is a good idea but it means something different to each person. Companies frequently encounter a core problem when planning an online community; the key stakeholders each hold different views of what the community will be like and what it will accomplish once it is launched.

Because online community and social media is fairly new to business, we are still in the process of creating a language to communicate.Inherently, in the absence of well formulated definitions and shared experiences, people often draw from their personal experiences to fill in the blanks. So, when business sits around the table to talk about an online community for their company, product or service line, each person hold a different model; that is largely shaped by their relationship with one. A golf expert could evoke a community where many people share information and experiences, facts and figures about their sport. Another stakeholder who may have a medical issue and uses online channels to keep informed may think about a deeply personal exchange of information, and someone else may recall the technical help forum they recently relied upon to solve a networking problem quickly. All of these kinds of experiences are valid and valuable, but they each represent a different model for the online community.

When planning an online community it is so important that all the stakeholders are able to clearly articulate the business goals that the community will serve and understand how the members will be able to benefit from it. When stakeholder expectations are varied, it is likely (regardless of whether the community succeeds or not) that a certain percentage of stakeholders will not be pleased. Mismanaged business expectations gets in the way of community growth and development and can cause a fair degree of confusion at a critical time-period for the online community.

In order to help normalize expectations during the business justification point in an online community strategy, I find it helpful to work through the various forms of b2b communities to help wrap greater clarity around the vision. It is important to focus on the goals of the community in order to identify which model is the best fit for the business. Examples are often helpful along with a framework for thinking about the three different types of online community the company has to choose from: Information Dissemination, Shop-Talk and Professional Collaboration.

Information Dissemination Communities
The first type of online community, Information Dissemination, is where the organizing body creates content, messages, and really shapes the outcome. They’re really controlled or paternalistic environments. One great example that comes to mind is WhiteHouse.gov which offers the public an interactive space: there are feedback forms, polls, videos, and a followship of Twitter, LinkedIn and a number other social tools in order to encourage participation. I think I even saw a blog on there a couple of weeks ago. But they don’t really care what I think in that deep customer care sort of way. The site has some collaborative experience built in, but really the goal and mission is to share and disseminate information outwardly.

Another example is Method Cleaner’s community.  OK, I admit I am a very clean person and have joined this community as I love to learn more about effective cleaning with environmentally sound products.  This site gives me a channel for my cleaning love and serves to educate and inform me. I occasionally get to vote on a product but I am not connecting with the other members in a meaningful way – not do I want to. The community serves it purpose but there is no driving engagement among the participants.  However, the information channel is strong and useful.

Shop Talk Communities

The second type of community is Shop Talk, where discussion groups focus on accomplishing a task, or exchanging transactional information, or getting help, like “How can I do this?” or “Where can I find that?” (Customer support communities would fall into this category.) Technical communities, or even WebMD or Dell, are great examples where a deep community of practice isn’t necessarily being formed. People come on a need basis, and, while they may have an ongoing relationship with these communities, it’s not in a deep, professional, and longstanding way among the majority of participants and members- although there are regular participants. They’re not really trying to deepen their practice, they’re trying to solve a burning problem or issue in the moment and only a small percentage of the visitors or the constituencies actually create a true network or community.

These Shop Talk communities are great for a business to learn about important trends and issues with their product base, gain ideas around future innovations and fixes for prevailing problems and also serve to drastically lower their customer support costs and users tend to do a pretty darn good job of helping each other- thus reducing call center burdens. (For those interested in this topic here is a great article about how to calculate and manage call center costs.)

Professional Collaboration Communities
And, the third type of community is Professional Collaboration. Those are often found in communities of business professionals. A lot of these communities are smaller by nature. They are safe and somewhat private online spaces designed to foster conversation. They tend to be more membership driven or subscription based; they tend to cost money or have sponsors; and they consist of people who meet on a longstanding basis in order to learn about and engage in a certain practice.

An example is Palladium Group’s Execution Premium Community- XPC. Here is a community of strategy professionals who are sharing information and best practice about the art and science of leading strategy.  The goal of this community is to facilitate discussions and offer resources to the profession. I have covered this client’s case study in an earlier blog post. Client retention, brand management, thought leadership and deeper awareness of products and services are at the root of this community.

Another example of a professional community is Martindale-Hubbell Connected.This community of 30K+ legal professionals focuses on connecting people with each other and the LexisNexis products that serve the industry. Professional collaboration communities come in all shapes and sizes, from professional peer groups, to client communities, to those driven by news or information. But they all have a shared vision - to connect people over time to share ideas and experiences.

All three of these types of communities are very important; they all serve important roles. When people talk about online communities, they tend to think of them all rolled up into one single model driven by their personal expectations. But really there are three different types, and they serve three different purposes. And they have three different sets of metrics, goals, outcomes, and revenue models as well. So while that business community idea is still hot on the executive agenda, it is a good time to examine and refine what you really mean by online community so that your outcomes can match the goals – which is the very definition of success.
 

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Author: "Vanessa DiMauro" Tags: "Communities"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010 16:46

No, it’s not one of those ‘Try this e-course and get rich’ blog posts. There aren’t any magic answers or selling systems on the way.

 

Just a few nuggets of advice for those looking to actually create some cash from the burgeoning social media platforms.

 

Here’s what I did.

 

Back in the Autumn of 2009, I consulted a digital marketing agency up North, setting up and launching a social media services division for them. The idea being to then take this to their key corporate clients, a couple of whom had already been asking for advice and inputs on such areas as generating interest from Twitter and whether a corporate blog would be worthwhile in 2010.

 

The social media services division included, essentially:

 

Social media content

Social media monitoring

Online PR

Social media participation

Social media bookmarking

 

Core services revolving around the basic premise that content must be the driving force for successful social media activities. Within 4 weeks, the division had been launched, following an intensive overhaul of the agency’s social media engagement: this included getting the Team writing articles for online publishing, blogging to a set schedule, tweeting across core sectors and to target audiences, social bookmarking across the main platforms including Friendfeed, and inviting clients to take a closer look.

 

Weeks 4-12 were essentially about putting together killer presentations, getting pitch dates set and planned in, meeting marketing managers and delivering the ‘hook & hold’ element of the social media services. And the results?

 

Client 1:

A leading national insurance firm. Inputted on a range of services, including corporate blogging, online PR, social bookmarking, article placement, content development, protecting brand names on Twitter and overview strategic inputs for 2010. The client had contacted the agency directly regarding assistance on social media services. Prices and strategy delivered. First sale.

 

Client 2:

A global brand supplier of bottled gas to domestic and commercial markets. Pitched on online PR, social bookmarking, developing a range of corporate blogs, social media content, social media monitoring and promotions across Twitter. Integration of content across multiple platforms was a key consideration. Again, the client inquired regarding utilising social media services to win more online attention, drive higher traffic, and deliver greater sales. Prices and strategy delivered. Second sale.

 

Client 3:

A global brand name in heating solutions and hot water technologies. Required full service solutions, across the entire range of social media, including setting up and running a number of corporate blogs, Twitter promotions, online PR, social media bookmarking, social media monitoring, and production of a colossal amount of social media content during 2010 to engage new audiences during product promotions. The pitch came about from a conversation about blogging. Prices and strategy delivered. Third sale.

 

So, what’s the message here? How did a senior editorial guy with limited technical expertise manage to engage three very different corporate clients for an agency, to the point where £250,000 sales were returned to the agency within 3 months?

 

Simple answer.

 

Passion and belief in the fact that social media represents the best opportunity for companies, individuals, PRs on behalf of clients and anybody who finds online content valuable as a means of communicating key messages, to deliver and keep on delivering into and beyond 2010. Passion and belief that sales will result from killer content across social media platforms.

 

The days of standard marketing DM pieces to a database-driven audience offline? Gone.

 

The days of cold-calling new customers using call random centre staff from 6-7pm? Gone.

 

The days of broadcasting your selling messages in the hope of an ROI at some point? Gone.

 

Well, not necessarily gone, You can still use these methods of course. Chances are, however, your competitors will be online, in a faster, more cost-effective, engaging and profitable way, utilising the best commercial opportunity in 20 years. Social media, baby. I saw this commercial opportunity back in 2005, when I started managing corporate blogs for UK clients.

 

Sorry I can’t give you the Agency or corporates’ names – protecting their commercial anonymity is an essential part of the deal. I’d say it is an interesting recent consultancy project example which may well give a few marketers food for thought. Maybe.

Author: "chris street" Tags: "Social Networks, Strategy, Best Practice..."
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010 15:08

These four questions are a great way to hone in on the value you provide, and ensure that your network’s perception of you aligns with your perception of yourself. Once they are the same, and you are delivering on your brand promise, I guarantee you will start attracting more opportunities into your life. I believe it because I see this alignment in action every day. Here are some questions I ask myself on a regular basis to make sure my self perception and my network’s perception of me remain aligned.

Is your self perception and network’s perception aligned?

Question! by Stefan Baudy.

1. Do you have a brand promise? If you’re not sure what you’re promising people at the most basic level, take a step back for a moment. What makes you unique? What is your way of doing things? I recommend starting with Meg Guiseppi’s personal branding worksheet. If you already know your brand promise, do you live up to your brand promise? How can you be sure?

2. Does your immediate network understand your brand promise? Leverage your immediate network of family, friends, and colleagues to grow awareness of your promise. Your closest contacts – truly, all of your contacts – should understand why people would want to work with you over someone else. How do you know if their current understanding of your brand promise is accurate?

3. What are the emotional reasons why people will work with you? The brand of Nike is the feeling inside you have about Nike. As humans, we’re emotional first, and rational second. Does the messaging of your brand promise appeal to the most basic human emotions, or is it too focused on features (what you provide) rather than benefits (how what you provide helps your customer/employer/client/etc.)?

Nike TiEMPO by ErBit26.

4. Do you know how people describe you after they meet you? The taste left in someone’s mouth when they first meet you is the most important taste to get right. It forms the foundation of the rest of your relationship. Some people close off immediately if you push them the wrong way. Understand how your brand interacts with others’ by asking people what they thought of you when they first met you. Open up a continuous feedback loop so you can constantly improve.

Bonus quick tip:

Do you have a logo or professional headshot? Most people are visual by nature. Sights evoke emotions, emotions solidify memories, and collective memories fuel brands. Is your logo or headshot consistently applied to all your personal marketing materials (online profiles, email signature, resume, etc.)? If not, you’re missing out on opportunities to strengthen your brand touchpoints. Only focus on promotional steps after you can confidently answer the first core questions above. After you’ve put some thought into them, continue the discussion: which question was hardest for you? Why? What tips do you have based on your own experience?

Author:

Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com.

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Author: "Dan Schawbel" Tags: "Best Practices"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010 12:19

Social networks and blogs are changing how consumers find places and services, how and where they share their experiences, and eventually, where they will spend their time and money. Without an understanding of, and participation in, social networks, you can miss shaping and contributing to the decision-making process of those who define the success of your business.

While social media cheat-sheets and short cuts are available almost everywhere you look, the truth is that we have some work ahead of us. To help, I’ve assembled a list of five best practices to help you build, cultivate, and measure success in the new web right now.

1. Dedicate the time

We’re all very busy and our to-do list is never ending. Because time is a big concern, think about social media as an opportunity cost. Will your investment in identifying and connecting with prospects, customers, and influencers outperform your other activities? The answer is yes for most businesses, so carve out time for strategic experimentation. In short, you get out of it, what you invest.

2. Conquer your fears

Many business owners believe that social media gives people a chance to criticize their business. That’s true, but avoiding social media doesn’t mean that their opinions will never see the light of day. Your brand is at the mercy of those who take to social media to share their experiences, so you might as well take an active role to contributes to the stature and perception of your brand. You might even learn how to improve your product and service in the process.

3. Listen and research to learn and contribute

Social networking is far more effective when you realize that creating profiles and updating social networks aren’t arbitrary. There’s an art and science to all of this, and the process begins with listening and research. Step one: create a list of keywords that represent your market and then use the search box in each social network to see what people are saying about you. As you examine the results, you’ll identify the people who are leading conversations and the dialogue that invites and inspires participation. If local business is paramount to success, use services such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn. Also monitor location-based networks such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and Loopt.

4. Establish an attractive and expansive presence

Your presence online is far more valuable than you may realize. While you may think that you should focus on your website, your social-media presence also represents you and what you offer. The ability to showcase your products and services to attract customers and spark conversation is arguably greater on social networking sites than your own website. In any case, connecting the dots between social networks, websites, and the real world is now as important as the service and products that you offer.

5. Use engagement as the new customer service and marketing

It’s not what you say about you, it’s what they say about you that counts. Customer service and engagement overall is a new and genuine form of unmarketing. Customers, prospects, and influencers are already engaging with others to contribute, learn, and discover. They are forming and sharing opinions and making decisions based on the information they find online—with or without you. You should use engagement as a fast, free, and powerful way to reach and serve customers.

This is your time to engage! Doing so will earn you permanent residence in the hearts and minds of the people who make up your markets. This will expand market opportunities, build brand awareness, stimulate demand, and engender loyalty and advocacy.

Originally published on American Express OPEN Forum

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google Buzz, Facebook

Please consider reading, Engage!: It might just change the way you think about Social Media


Get Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and The Conversation Prism:



Image Credit: Shutterstock


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Author: "Brian Solis" Tags: "Marketing, Best Practices, Social Media"
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