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Seth Godin had a great post the other day, Benefit of the doubt that got me thinking about how many people are judging us based on first impressions and how, as Godin puts it:

“It’s almost impossible to communicate something clearly and succinctly to everyone, all the time.”

What does this mean exactly? Are people dissecting every status update of mine on Facebook or LinkedIn? Are people discussing my latest tweet on Twitter? Should I be more careful and worried? Perhaps if I wanted to paralyze myself and drive myself crazy.

Rather than hold still and analyze my voice and every single word I type or say, I prefer to (as Godin says): “earn the benefit of the doubt.”

I’ll leave you with just that and am curious how you earn the benefit of the doubt….

Corporate robot was managing their online and social marketing strategy in a space where consumers turn to talk with human beings.

If you are on Twitter, have a strategy.        If you are on Facebook, have a strategy.        If you are online, have a strategy.

Common theme today is strategy and the dire need for one, whether you are online for personal reasons or online for professional purposes. Perhaps this should be filed as a rant, or perhaps should not be written at all; however, I enjoy writing what I am thinking.

So where is this coming from? A conversation with an extremely friendly gentleman who I sat next to on my Southwest flight last week.

I settled into my normal (or however normal it can be) routine when I fly Southwest and turned to my row-mate to say hello and learn more about him; a flight in conversation is a much better use of time than a flight watching a movie. We ended up talking for the majority of the flight about social media, but more as he knew social media and believed social media was: twitter.

We started with a crash-course (our flight was only 2 hours long, and I tend to be long-winded) in how Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogging, etc are simply platforms to engage with business partners, current customers, potential partnerships and customers, and build brand awareness. Then we moved onto Twitter. Unfortunately his experience with Twitter was with, what I would call, billboarding and viewed Twitter as an advertising tool (billboarding) to push content onto the online world, push their message to customers online, and simply convert their offline marketing strategy with their online marketing strategy.

He was, after all, a consumer at that point AND part of a brand who wanted to push their content in the online world.

Fast forward about three months, and he convinced his company to go social media and begin their journey with Twitter and Facebook. Three months after their launch the company was trying to figure out why their Twitter followers were low and their Facebook FanPage was not growing at the same rate of others. Unfortunately they are not the first, only, nor last brand to experience this.

Thirty minutes and a coffee after landing – and the availability to connect to the internet – it was very clear what happened. I will share a bullet list of what went wrong:

  • Company had a lack of strategy
  • Company had a lack of understanding of platforms available
  • Spaghetti approach – they threw everything onto the wall and see what sticks BUT never had conversations
  • Employees engaged and spearheading the campaign had limited knowledge of online branding
  • Assuming offline strategy would convert easily online based on limited exposure

What went correctly:

  • Company knew the importance of social media and thought it imperative for their presence online
  • Company had produced some wonderful content to share online (articles, press releases, highlights)
  • Employees involved did not give up, were trying to learn and reach out, and truly believed in their company (I hope they do receive special recognition)

Where did this bring us? In the end of the day, the company had great content they were pushing into the online space but never talked with (or responded to) their followers and customers. The company did not have any metrics in place to judge and measure their success with social media.

Corporate robot was managing their online and social marketing strategy in a space where consumers turn to talk with human beings.

My suggested changes to their approach were simple, easy to change in the short-term, and would yield them some quick turn around. There certainly is more this company can explore, but until the responsibility is taken upon (or delegated) to oversee the social media strategy, step one is a giant step in the right direction.

If you are not aware, Google provides a free service to businesses, and their locations, to create a business listing that is similar to the phone book.

A few of the features include,

  • List your company name, address, contact information, and website.
  • List your hours of operation (easy to change if you are a seasonal company).
  • Create coupons and special deals.
  • Display company logo, pictures, and links.
  • And more….

It takes about 5-10 minutes to set up (if you have all information necessary) and requires minimal (if any) maintenance unless something changes. Check out JG Social Media Listing!

Click here to go to Google Local Business Center.

Get More RT’s….??

Jon Bishop from johnbishop.com had another great article the other day: Get More ReTweets Out Of Your ReTweet Button. In the article, Bishop discusses some of the important functions your retweet button should do/have. A few of  his suggestions include:

  • Shorten your link
  • Use retweetable titles
  • Give you credit
  • Make it simple

These are some great suggestions, and are often overlooked (as Bishop comments as well) by many. Additionally, I think a major missed opportunity in the world of twitter (and the knowledge of search engines pulling your tweets) is keywords. Not only do keywords allow you to be found on twitter searches (for tweets or for people) but also allows followers and users alike to quickly understand who you are, what you do, and what this tweet may be about.

Using the K.I.S.S. rule is best on Twitter; keep it simple with shorter and trackable links, make sure people can easily find you, and use keywords in the tweet and title. By keeping it simple, you allow more characters to be used by 2nd or 3rd dregree RT’s!

With the term “social media” so new – which, please note, the strategy behind it is not – it’s difficult for a brand to decide on their approach: billboard (please, hopefully not), interactive, social.

 

My good friend Maura Hernandez (amazing photographer, by the way) forwarded me an email newsletter written by Scott Hepburn from Media Emerging, that simply stated the following:

How to Become a “Social Media Consultant”
By Scott Hepburn

1. Have a job.
2. Lose your job

Unfortunately, this statement by Hepburn is all too true and dangerous. As somebody who has been working in the social media (online media, new media – whichever you prefer) space for years, I am sometimes shocked at the number of professionals who fit into the category above.

Granted they are familiar and are users of social media tools (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and can probably teach the usage of them, but how have they used the web to create brand awareness and what is the ROI they can provide? At minimal, have they created and grown their own online brand or are they casual and social users?

With the term “social media” so new – which, please note, the strategy behind it is not – it’s difficult for a brand to decide on their approach: billboard (please, hopefully not), interactive, social. So why would you encourage or hire a consultant who has not already assisted in online brand building?

There was an article once written (of course, I cannot seem to locate and cannot remember the author) that outlined about 10 questions you should ask before hiring a social media consultant. Here are 5 of my own, that I think are most important (and if anybody knows the article I speak of – please let me know):

  1. How many clients have they worked with. Paid clients.
  2. What has been their ROI for their clients?
  3. What is their approach to online branding and social [new] media?
  4. Google their name. If you cannot find them easily, red flag it.
  5. Is their fee in line with others? If it seems like “such a great deal, and much lower and in line with our budget” it probably is. Question why this consultant does not fully understand the value of their service.

If I read your tweet on Twitter, I sure do not want to read it when I open my Facebook. And I sure as heck do not want to read it a third time on LinkedIn.

A few weeks ago it was announced that your tweets can automatically post to your LinkedIn account. Unfortunately the same option is available for Facebook. Why do I say unfortunately, you ask? As a user of all three spaces, I am consistently on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

If I read your tweet on Twitter, I sure do not want to read it when I open my Facebook. And I sure as heck do not want to read it a third time on LinkedIn.

Though some can argue branding purposes and the ‘ol “see my logo or message 36 times and you will recognize me” and rightfully so, but I challenge this mentality and strategy.

I am more likely to see your updates on Facebook and LinkedIn, and more likely to learn more because of the increase in character space allowance. Twitter is more of a 50/50. However, once I recognize that you really want me to read the tweets, there is an increased chance of me changing the settings on what I see from you or changing our connection status on other social media platforms.

As a social media consultant, I hear hundreds (or even thousands) of social media strategies and approaches. Some work and some don’t. Social media strategy should revolve, reflect, and assist your brand strategy, marketing strategy, and sales strategy -BUT, it should also revolve around your audience, potential customers. Think about what they want to see, hear, read, and be engaged in.

Below, just to share, are some brief thoughts and how I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn:

I follow people on Facebook because it’s personal; I can learn and get to know more about their life, professionally and personal.

I use Facebook to let people know more about me; more about the person behind that business card. I also think status updates are longer lasting, can explain more, and call action.

I connect with people on LinkedIn because it’s professional; I learn more about their professional history, can see connections, how I am connected to other folks. Additionally my connections are open to my network, and I encourage introduction requests (if it makes sense)

I follow people on Twitter because I am interested in what they have to say, learn what they are reading and discussing, and for the instant conversations that can be had. It’s an open networking event where people interrupting to give their opinion is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

Admittedly so, this has little to do with social media, new online media, or building your brand online…..or does it?

Newsweek published the Top 500 US Green Companies the other month (and yes, I am just getting around to talking about it).  They rated these companies based on their: Environmental Impact Score, Green Policies and Performance, and Reputation Survey. 

I bring this information to your attention for two reasons. 

First off, I think it is extremely important to know where our US Companies rank in their endeavor to becoming more environmentally conscious. 

Secondly, I have been monitoring the press on this list for some time now and have not come across much (the use of Google Alerts has been extremely instrumental); highly disappointed.  There were countless avenues they could have taken advantage of to discuss their ranking (especially those on top): from Twitter to blogging about it. 

What can we learn?  When building your online reputation, discuss the positives about your brand/company/service.  Do not be afraid to boast at times.  You’ll need much more positive news flying around the internet for every one negative comment. 

Click here to access the list and their reviews.

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