Archive for the Social Media Category

Five Rules on How Not to Use Social Media

Posted in Business, Social Media on October 23, 2012 by wolfwomyn

Social media is a very powerful thing, but like any powerful thing it can wreak havoc if misused or misdirected. First of all, always remember that social media is built around being social.
Being personable, honest, and entertaining is the best way to get users to interact with and about a business. You want users to trust and be entertained by your company, product, slogan, or marketing campaign, so then they turn around and do the rest of the buzz work for you.
The five rules that follow are fundamental to building users’ trust, interesting them in your business, and getting them to talk among themselves about it.
Rule No. 1: Don’t be dishonest
Most of us have been taken in by a false post a time or two. Discovering our credulity, we felt embarrassed and disappointed, and in response developed an acute awareness of duplicity: We are on the lookout for it, and we hate it when we see it. Overtly dishonest posts, comments, and reviews that are thinly disguised promotions… we don’t like them and our customers don’t either, so just don’t go there.

The flipside of this distaste for fakery is that Internet users appreciate straightforwardness and honesty. So rather than respond to a negative review with fake positive reviews, publicly respond to the reviewer. Offer her discounts or a way to fix the problem, and you might win over a vocal customer who can potentially do far better work for you than any PR department or reputation manager.

Rule No. 2: Don’t be annoying
Remember the chain emails of the early 2000s? Sure, those things went viral quickly, but nobody appreciated them. In the same way that you don’t lob useless information or advertisements at your customers’ inboxes, don’t spam their Twitters with less-than-brilliant blog posts or promotions. If you focus on making your promotional content engaging, Internet users will do most of the promoting for you.

Look around to see what promotional techniques other companies are using to get users talking. A popular tactic these days, for instance, is to give away a free service. What service could your business give away that would likely interest those who subscribe to your Twitter feed or who have “Liked” you on Facebook? A generous promotion builds trust and loyalty with users, and can be a great way to get them talking about your site with friends.

Rule No. 3: Don’t fight the nature of the Internet
Promoting a product or a service online is a tricky business, as piracy, theft, and sharing are rife. If your product or service is threatened by the openness of the Internet, then try a different approach.

Look at how the music industry has responded to the widespread availability of free music. Musicians have shifted their emphasis to live shows and even give their recorded music away for free, in an effort to gain a following and get their name and their sound out in the world. They depend on their fans to talk them up on social media and get people to their live shows.

Think about it: Many of the biggest companies online—including names like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and Pandora—offer their services for free. Is there a way you can make money by offering a free service? See where you can adapt your business to fit to this new model.

Rule No. 4: Don’t think social media will solve all your problems
Social media is merely one tool for a business. A great one, to be sure: it can be used for advertising, for gathering customer feedback, for getting your brand out there, and more.

But it works best in concert with other efforts. Consumers will get tired of your products and services if you simply keep promoting the same ones. So encourage creativity in all parts of your business—product enhancements, new products, new ways to provide a service, new markets—then use social media to promote all that is fresh and exciting about your offerings.

Rule No. 5: Don’t treat each new social media sensation as the Holy Grail
Of course, it’s great to have as many promotional outlets as you can, but the risk is that you grab more than you can really handle and let one or two fall by the wayside, doing damage to your image as an active, living, customer-focused company.

The other danger is running after each social media fad of the moment. Focus on what works and then pick up new channels deliberatively, after you figure out how best to use each new one.

* * *

Remember that users of social media want to interact with people, and they all have their own motives and goals (whether that’s to impress their friends or find a job). If business professionals and marketers can remember those two fundamentals, plus the social media Golden Rule—to treat their users as they themselves would like to be treated–they will be well on their way to making social media work for them.

Source:  Randall Gates ~ Marketing Profs

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Four Lessons From the Social Business Trenches

Posted in Social Media on February 28, 2012 by wolfwomyn

On CMSWire, Web engagement strategist Dion Heathcliff shares what he has learned from successful—and not so successful—social businesses in recent years. The lessons he offers address “what to focus on and what drives improved outcomes when applying social media within a large organization.”

Read the full article for the meat, but here are a few observations to whet the appetite.  (http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-collaboration/seven-lessons-learned-on-social-business-011880.php?)

Changing staff behavior is more important—and harder—than selecting social tools. Today’s workers multitask over a wide array of tools—too many, actually, Heathcliff says. Your task is to get them to change their habits in a natural and intuitive way. Imposing more tools is the typical approach to doing this, but it’s an ineffective shortcut, he argues. Work processes must become more open, shared and transparent in the social business world.

The more control over social you seek, the less you’ll have. It is imperative that you design your social outreach for how you want users to behave. Create their paths in ways that take your needs, legal and otherwise, into account from the very beginning of their engagement journey.

Help people help each other. Successful social communities aren’t purely self-organizing. They still need leaders and effective support systems (like community management and well-integrated CRM that acknowledges the most pertinent current user needs).

Don’t lose the observable value your social business creates. Store your activity streams, and make them accessible, discoverable and trackable. Most of their value lies in the information accrued, so make sure you employ resources for distilling trends and market signals from all that conversation.

The Po!nt: Implement intelligently! Social business has matured enough that we can glean what works and what doesn’t from past experience. It’s time to take heed of the lessons of those who have already walked the path.

Source: Get to the Point/Social Media

Socialize Me! In Stages, Though, Please

Posted in Social Media on February 15, 2012 by wolfwomyn

The journey to complete socialization (the connected kind, not the 1984 kind) takes time, and it’s okay to do it in steps.

Sometimes it helps your advancement in the social direction when you can clearly see where you’ve been—and how that affects where you could be headed.

That’s why Chris Carfi of Ant’s Eye View has put together the Social Engagement Journey, which takes you through five social stages—from basic broadcast to fully engaged.

Let’s go through ’em together:

Traditional. This is about one-way communication driven by command-and-control businesses. Still here? Get movin’! This model won’t be sustainable for long.

Experimental. There’s some social dabbling, but it’s disconnected from overall business operations. This stage is characterized by fractured tools, silo’d efforts (the “social media intern” in the marketing department ring a bell?). Well, it’s a start, anyway.

Operational. Social engagement becomes more embedded in everyday ops, including business training, channel alignment, and campaign integration. Things are starting to take shape!

Measureable. Real business results are beginning to flower as a result of your social efforts, and employees, brimming with new confidence, are beginning to more fully harness their online relationships.

Fully engaged. Social engagement and customer experience is part of your organization’s DNA. It’s integrated with all you do, and customer feedback and usability are built into the heart of all projects at the planning stage. You’re seeing both increased revenue and customer loyalty!

Don’t worry: You don’t have to leap from phase 1 to 5 right away. It’s okay to take baby steps—as long as you have a clear idea of where you’re headed and why. For more tips and details, dip into Chris’s Social Business 2012 presentation.

The Po!nt: Slow and steady can win the social race. Take a few steps in the right direction, and keep moving forward.

Source: Marketing Profs; Social Media

How to Be a Successful Anti-Engager

Posted in Social Media on December 13, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Dan Zarella’s “Science of Social Media” Webinar inspired a recent post by Facundo Villaveiran at Channelship’s Video Blog about the known “truths” of “winning” at social media—and the realities that may or may not match them. Below are a few of Zarella’s insights about how some anti-engagement tactics might actually get the engaging results you seek.

These aren’t silver bullets, but they may merit experimenting with your strategy to see if Zarella’s results stand up.

Don’t just comment; share content. In an experiment, Zarella discovered that engaging in comments at your Facebook page doesn’t draw more views—but sharing lots of interesting links in your comments does. (By all means engage in conversations; just don’t rely exclusively on that to draw traffic.)

Use “information voids” to your advantage. Researching unanswered, seemingly abandoned, questions, and producing content around them can do wonders for traffic. Track Twitter’s trending topics or Google Zeitgeist. Seek mysteries and address them head-on.

Publish on Fridays and weekends. People get less email during down times, streams are less cluttered—more visibility for you! (Don’t abuse this window, but it can come in handy when you have something great on the pipeline.)

Don’t mistake social “proof” for impact. Zarella A/B-tested two blog posts with different “tweet buttons”—one fixed to zero tweets and the other showing 776 (the number of times that content was allegedly “tweeted” or shared). The post that had the least social proof, as opposed to the most, was shared the most. “When it comes to sharing, nobody wants to be the 777th person breaking the news,” Villaveiran says.

The Po!nt: Don’t limit your prospects for engagement. Try a range of social tactics, and track your results to learn what works best. Your discoveries will be invaluable—not just for your company, but for your reputation as you share and leverage your ever-growing social savvy.

What Your Email Campaign Can Learn From Direct Mail

Posted in Small Business, Social Media on December 6, 2011 by wolfwomyn

“Though direct mail certainly isn’t as popular or as effective as it once was, email marketers can apply many of the theories used for direct mail campaigns to increase the value of their email marketing campaigns,” writes Ryan Morgan in an article at MarketingProfs.

For one thing, a direct mail piece and an email both need to make a strong first impression. That’s because a recipient sifts through her email in the same way she sorts direct mail: making arbitrary, snap judgments about what she’ll read and what goes in the trash.

A plain white envelope with an unfamiliar return address won’t intrigue her—and neither will its generic email equivalent. So give her a subject line that piques her interest, a “from” address she trusts and an appealing, eye-catching mix of text and graphics, Morgan advises.

Beyond that, he offers this direct-mail-inspired advice:

Give your subscribers something of value. This might be monetary (a discount), informational (a how-to guide) or an opportunity not available to everyone. “I want to be an insider, and I want to feel special,” Morgan explains.
Be considerate of their frequency preferences. This is where you can learn something from direct mailers who may not get it right for each recipient’s preference. Morgan wryly notes that “you could probably build a small home out of ‘20% off’ coupon postcards from Bed Bath & Beyond.” But email marketers have an advantage in the frequency debate: They can simply ask subscribers how often they’d like to receive messages.

The Po!nt: Email is direct-to-consumer, too. Although direct mail might not be a part of your marketing mix, understanding its principles could help you improve your email campaigns.

Source: Get to the Point / MarketingProfs.

The Secret to Shorter, More Effective Messaging

Posted in Business, Social Media on November 15, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Observing that the typical short (<25 word) marketing message produces almost nothing of value, Adele Revella has set herself to correcting this grave error.

According to Revella, the typical business product is a multi-tasker with a long list of features and benefits, meaning we have to get its key merits out effectively without overwhelming readers. But there are other priorities that distract from brevity:

  • Explaining all the new features
  • Differentiating the product from the competition (and tossing shout-outs to other products from the same suite)
  • Using good SEO terms
  • Satisfying internal template requirements

That being said, nothing on the above list takes the user into account. And that is the type of thinking that turns a potentially punchy message into a tedious summary.

How to make a small message a big seller? Turn it active and “social”-conscious. Consider the difference between these two messages:

  • Our solutions have been tailored to fit your industry business processes, your customer strategies, and your success criteria.
  • Listen to free Internet radio, find new music based on old and current favorites.
  • The first is an anonymous vendor. The second message comes from Pandora Radio. Which one speaks to you?

So, how do you find your very own short-and-sweet text? Walk down your user’s service path: Visit a site, click on one of your ads, consider what it says, see where it takes you. Now ask yourself: What message are you getting? Is it effective? How can it be pared down and sharpened?

Describe your product the way that user would in a comment section, and build from there.

The Point: Walk a mile in their clicks and comments. The best path to effective sales messaging is the user’s path.

Source: Get to the Point: Social Media