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Business Plan on a Napkin

October 21, 2010 1 comment

“Business Plan on a Paper Napkin” is a very interesting segment of the startup competition organized by women 2.0. In a not-so-common medium (napkin), how do you articulate your business such that the high points are clearly communicated.  It took us more time to find the right set of pens and the paper, than to actually draw the napkin. The concept was very clear – and, the second rev was the final one.

We had to rush to the drop-box (UPS Store in San Mateo) to deposit the napkin by hand – as we had not time to get it post-marked or sent by mail.  The images below show the preparation and the final napkin, with Business Plan presented on it.

Business Plan on a Paper Napkin – Women 2.0 Startup Competition”]Business Plan on a Paper Napkin - Women 2.0 Startup Competition

Preparation for Business Plan on a Paper Napkin

 

Business Plan on a Paper Napkin - Women 2.0 Startup Competition

Business Plan on a Paper Napkin - Women 2.0 Startup Competition

Read more about the women 2.0 pitch contest and the application process here. View the 2 min Video submitted for the application here.


 

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In Social Media, Always Be The Host, Not The Master!

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%.”

Brands activity on Twitter

Consumer activity on Twitter

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

Let your Community be the Voice of your Brand

Let your Community be the Voice of your Brand

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

Build your community - From diverse population, with same passion for your brand.

Build your community - From diverse population, with same passion for your brand.

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.”

Campaign HeatMaps – Know your Campaign Sweet-Spot

We have figured it out, more or less, that the best day to launch an email campaign is  “Tuesday” – based on logic as well as stats collected on click percentage the emails receive when sent out during the week.

Social Media usage is very different than email usage. And, as such to come up with a generic benchmark like with emails, may not be ideal – and also too pre-mature at this stage. The best benchmark would be to know from your own stats, generated by interactions from your own followers / fans of social channels – suggesting the days and times, when your audience is most attentive. Again, depending on what type of message it is (for e.g. promotional v/s casual) the response of your audience would be different.

Campaign sweetSpot - ObjectiveMarketer HeatMap
Campaign Sweet-Spot: ObjectiveMarketer Heat-Map

ObjectiveMarketer has a very useful feature to provide you with an answer to the “sweetspot” question for your campaigns and it is called Campaign HeatMap. It shows you the aggregate performance of all clicks in your campaign in a day of the week X time of the day matrix. Getting this information at the campaign level also helps identify the pattern for different kind of messages. This graph visually tells you on what day and at what time, your campaign has received maximum number of clicks.

Now, you can use this information when you are deciding to launch a big announcement. Based on your past stats and patterns of clicks received by your audience, this can be a crucial piece of information you need to get a sense of timing for your campaigns.

What more information you think can make this heatmap more useful? Please, do share with us!Let’s begin the conversation.

If you would like to try this feature and several other such useful capabilities of ObjectiveMarketer, please sign up for 15 days free trial at http://app.objectivemarketer.com

Status Update from Twitter

Twitter is currently returning an error on oAuth requests. Users will be unable to add new accounts, or might have some issues with publishing until this is resolved.

http://status.twitter.com/

Email: support@objectivemarketer.com in case there are questions.

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How big a deal it is to get on Mashable?

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:

Seeing higher level tools like AMP, as well as systems from companies like SocialTALK, Vitrue and ObjectiveMarketer can help push the entire industry forward.

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.

5 use cases of campaigns in ObjectiveMarketer

One of the first steps we recommend ObjectiveMarketer users, when they get started with the product, is to “create some campaigns“.

ObjectiveMarketer Campaigns

ObjectiveMarketer Campaigns - Like Folders, you can use to organize your messages.

A campaign means a different things to different people, depending on which side of the business they are coming from. In ObjectiveMarketer, the concept of campaigns is very simple – it is a group of similarly themed messages.  A campaign is created as a placeholder for contents, including messages and assets like YouTube video etc. A campaign in ObjectiveMarketer is akin to Folders in computer used to organize files, or it can be thought of as a Project, or a Program or an Initiative. Usually, a campaign in ObjectiveMarketer can be a part of a bigger organization wide campaign.

The concept of campaigns is one of the most powerful and unique features of  ObjectiveMarketer, which is designed to avoid randomness and to make social media management more strategy driven. The top five use cases suggesting reasons, why creating a campaign can be very helpful in a social media process are:

  1. Better organization of messages
  2. Makes communication more strategic
  3. Ability to audit content
  4. Implement A/B/n test scenarios
  5. Aggregate view of performance

Let us take each of them, one by one, with some real use cases.

Better organization of messages

Tammy works for a digital media agency, offering search, social and mobile marketing services.  To promote, and to increase the brand awareness of her agency, Tammy uses ObjectiveMarketer.  She creates three campaigns, each representing the three different focus areas of her business. For each of these campaigns, she structures her content and delivery options.

A simple way of organizing her messages like this allows Tammy to be completely in the know of where she is spending more time, and which of these areas are working better with her audience on social channels. Now that her communication strategy is streamlined, she can concentrate on things like “how to get new clients, and make existing ones happier”.

Makes communication more strategic

The most important reason why you should use Campaigns is that it allows you to be strategic, and helps you to plan before you publish.

Mike manages social media for a Real Estate business.  He plans ahead of time, what is the content he is going to use to engage his audience with.  He plans on some themes, which are his campaigns in ObjectiveMarketer, like:

  • Avoid Foreclosure – This campaign will share tips for those homeowners who are in trouble with their mortgage. These messages will create a positive image for the company, and will open threads for interaction and better user engagement.
  • First Time Buyer Tips – This campaign will share messages aimed at users who are 1st time buyers. This is a very niche set of users, and the purpose is again to educate and engage with users.
  • Congratulations! Houses Sold – This is an automated message, which is fed from their listing site and each time a property is sold, the message is sent out. This demonstrates the success of business, in very subtle manner.
  • Free Tours – One day of the week the real estate business offers free tours of the properties for the first 50 users who register. This is a promotional campaign, primarily a lead generation activity.

As can be seen above, just deciding upon the strategy of communication, and sticking to them helps you to plan further about what content to generate, where to get it from, how frequent the content needs to be shared and such – saving time, and working on things which have been well planned, and thought of.

Ability to audit content

Debbie likes to create her campaigns by the week.  So, beginning each month she creates 4 campaigns like June Week1, June Week2 … and she schedules messages for her campaigns ahead of time, sometimes for the next week too. This way she can take a look at her whole month broken by weeks even before the reports are generated.

Another interesting use case of creating campaigns for audit purposes is to create campaigns by user names. Each time, a user shares a content that user will select the campaign by her name.  This is an easy, effortless way of keeping tab of each individual users responsibility.

Implement A/B/n test scenarios

ObjectiveMarketer campaigns by design allow you to test different strategies. For example, the tone of the messages, the placement and use of keywords, the use of hashtags. How do you know, which type of messages get you more response from audience? A use case that was tried out by one of the ObjectiveMarketer users was as follows. He created two different campaigns, each one with a contrasting tone. In one, he used a more salesy pitch  and in the other, made it sound more informational – both leading to the same website. What he saw was that both received comparable number of clicks, but, the second one received a higher number of retweets, and got him more followers.  Once, you have identified what works for you, chose that as the winning strategy. And, with the feedback that ObjectiveMarketer stats provide, keep optimizing.

Aggregate view of performance

The best use case of ObjectiveMarketer campaigns is the ability to view an overall campaign performance. You can see an aggregate performance of your campaign, and compare different parameters for all your campaigns. You can create benchmark for your campaigns and try different ways to meet your campaign goals.

Summarizing it all

There are several ways in which a grouping of messages can help you be more systematic and strategic. If you have a use case, which is not mentioned here, please feel free to share. The step before monetizing from any initiative is managing. If you are managing well, you can make better plans for a sustainable business objective. And, the campaigns help you to consolidate, and manage your initiatives, aligning your social media goals with the bigger corporate goals.

As Guy Kawasaki once said,” if you are really trying to take the heat off Twitter Marketing, you better do it right“. And, ObjectiveMarketer campaigns are one of those tools that help you do it right.

Twitter Issues: Status Update

Important Notice To All ObjectiveMarketer Users [June 15th, 2010 11:00 am]

We are experiencing technical difficulty with Twitter being over capacity. Some of the feeds, or posts might be delayed or error out in processing. We will keep monitoring and update as things improve. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Latest from Twitter Status Page: http://status.twitter.com/

Twitter Issues:  Status Update

Twitter Issues: Status Update