When it comes to Noise filtering, Facebook’s efforts are noticeable. Borrowing concepts, we are already familiar with, from Twitter or Google+, Facebook has advanced them to make Facebook Feeds more relevant to individual users. The second feature, Tickers, brings back life to real-time conversation. The two features that are recently announced:
News Feed: See What Matters at the Top
The following video is a user’s first reaction to the NewsFeed changes. As it appears, to someone who is not aware of the change, this could be annoying.
Typically, when you are launching a new product or service, you consider starting a new website, or adding a section on your existing site to promote and provide information about the launch. Now, with Facebook Fan Pages, the concept of destination websites are changing. Instead of investing resources in building a website, businesses are finding it easy to create a Fan Page and far more beneficial to leverage the community effects of fan base.
The following question was asked in a Q&A forum to social media expert Guy Kawasaki (Disclosure: Advisor to ObjectiveMarketer):
“I’m a small business entrepreneur, and I’ll be introducing a consumer product soon. Should I create a website for my company or a Facebook fan page?”
Guy Kawasaki responded in detail based off his personal experience of creating a Fan Page for new and coming book Enchantment. In his own words “For you, the bottom line is that if you’re small business owner who is busy, impatient, cheap, picky and realistic (shallowness is optional) and want to ride a tsunami rather than roll your own sand castle, then it’s time to consider a Facebook fan page instead of a free-standing website.”
Now, you may or not agree to all mentioned there, but you will definitely find some key takeaways to help your decision.The complete reasoning for opting for a Fan Page, and the benefits plus words of caution can be found on this American Express Open Forum site “http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/ask-the-wiseguy-facebook-fan-page-or-website-guy-kawasaki“.
We will next cover an interesting topic about the SEO worth of Facebook Pages. Any suggestions, case studies, or related experience – please email email@example.com
Using Facebook, Non-Profits can generate Awareness and Raise Funds
While non-profits may not allocate extra funds to stakeholders, charitable organizations still have a bottom line — to spread their message and accomplish their mission. To do this, strategic planning, which includes digital outreach, is involved. That’s why a growing number of non-profits are using social media to draw attention to their goals.
And what better way to start with Facebook, the undisputed leader of the social media space as the medium of choice. It makes sense to create a presence on one of the top five Web sites on the Internet where people are already regularly visiting rather than expecting users to find you.
It serves the need of sensitizing vast sections of the population with the issue your organization holds so close its heart. Help everyone throughout the world be a part of the great cause each of the non profits support and believe in so passionately.
If your nonprofit has video content, podcasts, interviews, or documents just languishing on your desktop, creating a presence on Facebook provides an easy way to upload these types of media, without spending the time or resources required for updating your own Web site.
It can allow organizations to plug into an existing audience of organizations that have opted into similar interest groups. It can also help organizations collaborate, connect easily, and increase their network of volunteer and supporters.
Facebook gives organizations a venue to quickly broadcast a message to a large list without getting blacklisted by an Internet service provider (ISP) or having their message get caught in a spam filter. In addition, the event-posting capabilities allow organizations to advertise upcoming events easily and efficiently.
The top ways to make it work for your non profit:
Inspire Direct Action! : Social-friendly applications Tweet4Good, SixDegrees and even PayPal make accepting on-the-spot donations easy for non-profits and mission-driven organizations. Make it easy for people who want to give, and put one of these tools to use now
Monitor & Engage : Facebook Social Ads tap into the incredible treasure trove of information people publish about themselves. It’s easily the most valuable marketing database on Earth – Microsoft invested $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook. Use a publishing and analytics solution that heps you optimize on the time and frequency of your messages.
Crowd sourcing : Ask your users and leverage on the millions of ideas from the users. Ask for new strategies, ways to raise fund or even a tagline. Build on each other’s creativity in an unpredictably powerful way.
Now that you have kick started your awesome facebook page to support your cause; it’s time for some expert and professional service to truly unleash the power of social media for your organization. We at ObjectiveMarketer have helped Non-Profits like Ashoka.org and many others in their endeavor to increase public awareness and involvement, by using revolutionary social networking solutions to all your social media marketing needs. Sign up now for a Free trial or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about the discount rates we offer for Non-Profits and how ObjectiveMarketer can be of service to your non-profit.
Small business owners play multiple / every role in their company. They are required to do the accounting, marketing, public relations and customer service. And, it is not hard to see why they don’t have time to dedicate to a social media strategy. Big businesses hire people specifically for social media marketing. Smaller businesses are being left behind.
According to a recent Citibank survey, 81% of small businesses are not using social media. “This survey shows that many small businesses have yet to add new tools to traditional marketing methods that they have found effective in the past,” said Raj Seshadri, head of Small Business Banking at Citibank.
In order to make it easy for small businesses to adopt social media strategies, it is important to look at the situation from a very grass roots perspective. Let us say, while eating at a neighborhood restaurant that you have never tried; just try to think, “How did I not know about this place?” The answer might be very simple: Chances are nobody in the real world might have told anything. In this social world, word-of-mouth is one of the most trusted sources for new products and services. In fact, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations. If small businesses want to get noticed, they have to build a loyal customer base, not just with the people who visit their place of business but with people who have never stopped in.
Social Media results are not necessarily instant – you have to plan your strategies in advance, and consistently and diligently implement your plan – optimizing as you proceed. The means that you employ should let you do more, with less. Some of the techniques that you can adopt include:
- Set rules for Follower Management
- Automate Messages relevant to your target market
- Give exposure to your brand in every user touch point
- Create, Compare, evaluate and optimize – repeat
The question isn’t whether a customer wants a product or service…they can figure that one out on their own once they are exposed to them. It’s deciding who they purchase that product or service from, that matters. Be it any channel – traditional like Print, TV etc or the very young social media, there is one common characteristic of your communication – making your messages “conversation worthy”.
Brand v/s Consumer Activity on Twitter
According to a report by eMarketer, “marketers are using a significantly greater share of their tweets to push out news and information rather than converse with other users. Just 16% of brands’ tweets use the “@” symbol, a sign of back-and-forth engagement on the service – very low compared to consumer stats, which is almost 43%.”
Stats in Isolation, do not Mean Anything
Indeed, the very fabric of Internet is changing into a platform that facilitates conversation. Consumers are now engaging in conversation with countless others through network of friends, across international boundaries, and who probably they have never physically met – connected through shared interest, belief or philosophy. In this evolution of consumer-brand relationship, Brands that have successfully adapted to the changing consumers are the ones that have found ways to foster and nurture a community of their most loyal fans.
However, an “engagement service/ system” for brands, which is both scalable and efficient, is essentially a community of enthusiasts and loyal supporter who engage for and on-behalf of the brands, and not necessarily the numbers of @ they accumulate over time.
Brands Builds Communities, Gathers Advocates
If you are spending your ‘social media time’ to listen to all mentions of your brands as they happen, and respond to them real time –either you are not working strategically or you have surplus resources. Assigning a dedicated resource 24×7 to respond to mentions is not “long-term” thinking. Listening is very important – and, there is a value in aggregating response, which is not collected in isolation – to understand patterns / behaviors and to identify collective insights of your brand mentions. However, it is neither scalable nor necessary to put a resource for real time response to all brand mentions – as they happen. A real time response is great, but it need not come from you. Instead, a brand can help create and manage a thriving community in each network – that stands up for the brand. For example, when a prospect asks a question about a product, and a friend from the network responds to this query, the recommendation sounds much more real and convincing.
The Intuit Example
One brand that comes to mind, when you think of community involvement is Intuit. In 2009 the company built community right into their products. Users have become company ambassadors and today, 70% of users get their answers from the community site versus customer support – significantly driving down support costs. Intuit is leveraging Twitter and observing customer-created videos on YouTube that showcase Intuit’s products.”
There are endless list of successful brand communities like Running Plus (Nike), My Starbucks Idea, Dell Ideastrom, eBay Powersellers etc. These communities are present everywhere and doing well with or without user interaction directly.
Bring Community Building in your Agenda
Here are some pointers which will help you kick start your own community with better results:
- Identify the loyal supporters of your brands – These are the influencers, who amplify your messages to a larger audience, and are those few loyal supporters, who are also respected in their communities. It makes a great sense to nurture, and acknowledge their help in building your brand. Read about how you can get this information from ObjectiveMarketer.
- Foster many-to-many relationships. A brand community is not a one-to-many relationship—that’s brand autocracy. People need to interact with each other and not simply “the brand” if you want to create a successful brand community. Therefore, build peer-to-peer communication into your structure.
- Don’t create “more.” Massive amounts of information is being created about your brand and distributed across the web everyday. Rather than spend time asking people to create more content, make it easy for people to enjoy and engage with the stuff that already exists.
- Let your advocates advocate. The only way to inspire your best advocates is to let them work their magic without interference except in issues of ethics and legality. Your advocates are not pawns—they are your partners, so treat them that way.
- Observe the 1-9-90 rule. This new rule, pioneered by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li in their seminal book Groundswell, is quickly becoming a standard: 1% of your population will create content, 9% will comment or engage with it, and 90% will just browse. Voyeurs rule the online world, so keep this in mind.
Finally always keep in mind the three golden rules:
- WORD OF MOUTH DRIVES CHOICE
- CUSTOMERS TRUST, RELY AND ACT ON ADVICE FROM PEOPLE THEY KNOW
- ALWAYS BE THE “HOST” & NOT THE “MASTER”
An interesting article was published on The Fast Company, and the following thoughts do great justice to summarize the content of this blogpost “The one thing to remember: the turbo charger (social media) is useless without an engine (passionate customers). Businesses must offer a great customer experience to draw in those passionate customers, who will in turn spread the word about your products and services.”
There is no such thing as as “Viral Video” or a “Viral Content”. You produce the Right Content, with Good Timing and Proper Placements, and the chances of your contents getting viral become high. A trigger, a catalyst, right medium are must for the Chain Reaction to take place.
Wish, there was a proven formula! In absence of one, the best ways to understand what works and what doesn’t is to see what has worked and what has not worked in the past. Based on our study of some successful campaigns of the past, the following are essential ingredients for a content to generate enough curiosity and sharability:
Takeaways – A content that is rich in tips that can be immediately applied to your work has a great quotient for like-ability and sharability.
For example, we studied some tweets of ObjectiveMarketer users, and we found that the tweets that received the more number of Retweets consistently (a measure of viral messages on Twitter) were those that had some tips or tricks of the trade. Like this one from Trey Pennington, whose Tweet “How to Set up Google Analytis for Facebook” was on a wild fire the day, he tweeted this.
Relevance How relevant and timely is your content will lead to the “immediate absorption” of the content, and “the race to share it first”. For example, this humor video with sarcasm about the BP Oil Spill Scandal received more than 10.4 million views, only on YouTube. This of course fits in the category of humor – but, mind you – timing is the most important element with humor!
Controversy And, not just for the sake of it. It is essentially putting across a point of view, and suggesting why the stated is not acceptable. It also depends on the tone, the questions that you ask, and the issues that you point out, that makes for a controversial yet, relevant content. Calling it debatable is a better presentation of this kind of content.
A case in point could be the defense for HP’s ousted CEO Mark Hurd, coming from his close friend, and Oracle chief “Larry Ellison”. What makes this news (apart from the details of the news) is the statement from Larry Ellison:
“The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,” Mr. Ellison wrote. “That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn’t come back and saved them.”
Now, this statement makes it indeed quote-worthy and debatable! In today morning’s San Jose Mercury news itself, there were two columnists discussing this from two different angles. That is the power of sparking a question, or picking from a flame from fire somewhere.
Humor It is the most over-rated category of contents. If we look at the Top Categories of videos that are shared from YouTube, humor is not necessarily in the top 3.
But, the truth is, humor spreads fast! It is a great way to tell a story, tell someone that you are wrong, and still not be beaten for that. Humor is the best bet, if you are not sure about which emotions to tickle.
If you want ONE example of how to use humor and good content – to promote interesting content, you must subscribe to the GoDaddy Channels!
Purple Cow The last tip for today is borrowed from the very popular Seth Godin’s concept of “Purple Cow”. Who stops by to look at a white cow, every one would, if it were purple! Try something different, unique …larger than life. Share a content not readily available, or about something that not everyone can experience. Through your story, share an experience, which is real, but, feels surreal.Try updating your message with “Just did Bungee Jumping” and see the comments you get” compared to “Ate Cereals for breakfast”.
So, what is your content strategy? Do you have a story that went really wild online? Share with us!
Ok, so @gregjustice may not have an excellent carrier with rap singing, I am sure he will have a great future with corporate communications – specially, in this era where a rap song produced in an amateurish style can help put the networking giant (Cisco) on the viral map of social media. What? Listen to this video that got upwards of 50,000 views already on Cisco’s YouTube Channel.
Justice Greg is a 21st year old, Stanford English grad, who is doing his internship with the communications department at Cisco. His latest assignment as “The World’s Most interesting Intern” is to challenge video responses from others who think they have a more interesting internship project. Hopefully, he learns and gets more interesting stuff done! We will be watching!
As a side note, I often read articles about whether it is a good idea or not to hire a social media intern. I think, it completely depends on how you train them, and what your interns are passionate about. Personally, I like the fresh ideas and commitment to work, when a college grad joins your team. And, we are all the time looking for some smart / passionate interns at ObjectiveMarketer. Let us know, if you know some one who is!
No matter what you say, it is a big deal! But, it is even a bigger deal to be mentioned as players helping the industry!
As published on Mashable in a post by Chritina Warren, and I quote:
We believe in the potential that businesses see in social media, and welcome as a part of this industry, all competition and innovation that is taking place.
Today nearly 1-in-5 small business owners are using social media, according to a study conducted by Maryland’s Smith School of Business and the primary motivation is to “identify and attract” new customers.
Not long ago, social media seemed so new and different that it was treated as a kind of marketing that should be tried only by the experts or as a complete contrast to this, “only when you have time”. While both views still exist to some degree today, its adoption is growing fast and social media is no longer thought of as “marketing’s new thing”. It is mainstream and simply a way of doing business today.
While, small businesses do understand power of social, the question remains “where to start from”. Probably, a good start is to find out who is doing it well. There are several success stories from small businesses that are ahead of the curve and have integrated social at the core of their marketing, customer acquisition and customer engagement process. “Social media is so ubiquitous in our salon that, it’s rare for even a walk-in customer to come in and not have read our blog or seen our tweets”, says Matt Buchan one of the co-owners of Emerson Salon which has reportedly seen significant growth from social channels. Industries such as salon, where word-of-mouth reputation and referrals are the best marketing tactics, social media is like a king. Learning from the use cases of businesses that are early adopters, and preparing a simple social media strategic plan mapped to your business, one that is effortless to implement and “easy-to-measure” is the best route to “highway social”.
At ObjectiveMarketer, we often get the opportunity to talk with several small business owners. And, they often suggest “we are not power users” and “we are too busy running our business” to have time for social sharing and engagement. The answer is as simple as the resources that are needed to get a social make-over for your business; some shared in this post.
Rethink destination websites: Be where your customers are.
Destination websites are places where your customers are likely to find or “discover” you – and you don’t need to own them all. Spend time in building a Twitter profile, Fan Page, YouTube channel for your business. If your prospects reach your twitter page, they should find enough information there to be interested and to want to learn more. Suggest where they should go next if they are interested. Make the connection easy, and do not disappoint them when do arrive on your site to learn more.
Quality content is still the king.
Make content strategy a part of your marketing plan. Start a blog, define the purpose of the blog and share something of value to the readers of the blog. Never try to sell on your blog. Next important consideration is to identify how the content will be updated. A blog is one of the most perishable online items, if it is not fed with relevant and timely content. A good mix of content with a plan for “how often to share”, “what content to share for which online channel”, “when to share” etc. A sense of urgency and accountability is crucial – if a press release was to go out on national business weekly, then you would go extra miles to make sure the content is ready for the release; similar deadlines should drive your social media content strategy also.
“If you are good, people are watching you. And, if people are watching you, you have to be good”.
Use technology wisely and precisely
Let technology be your partner and handle some of the repetitive tasks for you, at the minimum. Some useful tools to make use of are RSS feed reader and to automate sharing the feeds, Blog Management Systems (WordPress, Posterous etc), widgets like Facebook connect for authentication and Share to Social on your websites. Use technology to PLEASE – Plan, Listen, Engage, Act, Supervise and Evaluate. When technology is leveraged to facilitate and enhance social media interaction a great deal of value is created.
Tweak and Optimize
There is no better benchmark for pegging your success or failure, than your own past experience dealing with social media. Take one thing at a time, tweak and straighten it and see if it can be optimized to the point that you no longer need to tweak it, and it takes care of itself.
Be involved – Share, and learn
Remember, the step zero “learn from success stories”? Now that you have a story to share, share it. Be a part of local tweetup or social network where you can exchange and present your experiences and learn from the others going through the same process. There cannot be a better time for a marketer than this. You can reach out to customer pretty much on a 1-1 basis, you are allowed to experiment, and if you fail, you will still be applauded because you are trying something new, and the environment is so resilient to failures that you can jump back to a fresh new start without much ado.
Harry McKracken, founder and author at Technologizer, which is an online technology review site, recently was asked this question in a panel on “Social Media for business” – “What about International Audience on Social Channels?” To which, he answered “Today, you can be a small business, with an international presence” – such is the power and nature of social networks. Are you 1 of those 5 businesses that has taken the step zero already? Who knows, your barber shop under the tree shade can soon become world famous! Well…
Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz announced his resignation on Twitter, in a Haiku, becoming the first Fortune 200 head to do so, according to the New York Times. (I wonder, if there is any in Fortune 500 that resigned on Twitter? Must find out!). The report also mentions that while at Sun, he became the first chief executive of a major company to put up his own blog. Clearly, Schwartz was an early adopter of social media, who chose the blog to “disclose critical business matters to investors” along with press release, as a medium.
This made a story(in Feb 2010 when he tweeted his resignation (twee-resigned?), and continues to make a story even today as it is very rare example of a CEO tweeting. However, what is more common, and that does not come as a surprise is to see that the chief execs still don’t feel encouraged to participate on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, inspite of the phenomenal growth of social networking channels. As of June 2009, based off a study conducted by UberCEO (All things CEO) only 2 of the fortune 100 companies were on Twitter, and none had a blog. It is somewhat dated article, however, it is not hard to believe that a very little has changed in the stats. The complete research can be read here. Mind you, they have been a bit too harsh on the CEO’s calling them “Social Media Slackers”.
So, why the hesitation?
Too much noise? Granted, social channels (e.g. Twitter) can get noisy with its built in “Many-to-Many” communication links. But, guess what? You are the CEO. If you have something interesting to say, there are your customers, prospects, analysts all waiting to hear from you. And, knock-knock … they are using Twitter to listen! No press release will throw as much light on an issue as a tweet straight from the chief himself, directing the readers to the full story.
There is a risk involved. CEO’s not only represent a brand, but, in many cases they are brands in themselves. Heard of Richard Branson? (BTW, Branson has an active Twitter account, with almost 350k followers). So, when thousands and millions of eyes are watching you, and reading you – it is very important to be careful in choosing the right message, and avoiding controversial / brand damaging communication. But, who are we talking about? CEO’s of companies who are responsible of managing multi-million / multi-billion dollar businesses, and not a teen who just got her driver’s license! We have seen the kind of mistakes CEO’s can make, the picture tells the story below.
With a good band of PR executives, and a strategy in place, CEO’s can most effectively use social networks to not just communicate the good, but also do damage control in a very powerful way. The YouTube apology from the Toyota CEO has become a legend and will be cited in the years to come.
Finally, time. Where do CEO’s have time to blog and / or tweet? Well, I am not a fan of having people tweet for you. But, CEO’s can take help in performing this chore, if at all. With several apps available that not only allow you to strategically use the medium to communicate with time efficient ways, but, also to analyze, it only gets better if the CEO’s embrace the social.
Few days back, I read an interesting interview of Forrester Research CEO George Colony, about whether or not CEOs should be engaged in social media. I think this post will be best summarized from an excerpt from the article. It is a quote from Bill Marriott — he has a great blog. He’s 77 years old and he has one of the best CEO blogs out there. And he said:
Seriously, what’s the big deal?
Please, share examples of CEO’s you know who tweet well, or are active in social media space in the comments.
Join the Forces
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