Social Media Busyness Doesn’t Equal Business Value


Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

Image via Wikipedia

Lately, I  have been pounded with a theme of challenges around the question “Why take part in Social Media if it takes up so much time and has such poor tangible results?”  And my general response is, it should take as much time as needed to accomplish your business objectives which have been created to help you reach your goals.

I also have to explain that social media, executed poorly, is far more expensive then doing nothing at all.  The below article caught my:

Top Five Social Media Marketing Mistakes?

You know about all the wonderful things the blogosphere can do for your business. But how can you prevent the not-so-wonderful stuff?

Social media initiatives have become standard components of companiesmarketing and communications strategies. Large or small—from the local bakery to General Motors (GM)—businesses see the value of engaging in online conversations already taking place about their brands. While social media best practices have emerged, brands still struggle with how best to engage with their consumers. Here are five common mistakes:

1. Not (or Barely) Monitoring:

2. “Down-sourcing” to Interns or Junior Staff:

3. Fast Beats Perfect:

4. Faking It:

5. Having an “Off” Switch:

At the end of the day, brands must earn their “social currency.” There are no shortcuts or substitutes to authentic engagement in the realm of social media.

via Top Five Social Media Marketing Mistakes – BusinessWeek.

Busy-ness vs Business

Unfortunately, I see many small or medium sized companies try their luck with social media and treat it like some shiny new toy that consumes all their attention, as they forget about all the other things they could be doing.  I find they over tweet, over post, and over blog themselves to the point that they justify leaving the scene altogether because it’s not worth the effort for the little results they see.

This is where I come in.  I sit down with them and ask some simple questions.  What activities, events, promotions, or other marketing objectives are coming up in the near future?  After I have that list, I can then sit down with them and explain the role of each of the social media tools and how they can fit into the marketing plan for the upcoming several months.  We also start by setting up measurements so that they understand where their leads are coming from.  As a simple example, this may include a unique 800 number for each channel (print, tv, radio, and each site they are using – it’s not that expensive really)   I explain how their phone bill or on-line phone records can then be used to measure campaign success, if inbound calls are one of the means by which we will measure the campaign success.

Social media can be a valuable tool for small and medium sized companies.  It can level the playing field quickly for a company that is dealing with a regional or national player, especially if these companies have their marketing and advertising plans controlled by corporate.  Often these larger companies are incapable of adjusting to local pressure applied by small companies and their ideas.

I’d love to hear of examples in which small companies attack the larger companies by using social media.  Please share them in the comments.

Good Hunting.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments

Empty Carts Go Here


Prior to reading the sign below, posted in the parking lot of a local super-store, I could only image how many fully loaded carts were left standing at the cart return areas by the patrons of this establishment.  In fact,  if I had not looked up and read the sign I might have done just that.    Thank goodness this company went out of their way to educate me, their slow and stupid customer,  on this critical step in the process … empty the cart first before returning the cart.

IMAG0065

Imagine the full carts left in the lot before this sign was put up!

Doubly perplexed were the gas station operators of this establishment.   Having their customers show up with full gas tanks, only to top off the tank with a few pennies worth of gas, caused them to jump into action and ask for some verbiage on these educational signs for their dimwitted customers.  Obviously, the educational campaign of letting people know that you go to a gas station to fill your car when the tank is near empty was a great public service to the community.

Maybe I’m being to hard on the gas station operators.  Possibly, this was simply a kind paternal attempt to avoid seeing their idiot customers in long lines of vehicles, with bone dry gas tanks, waiting to be filled at the empty cart return areas.  I guess we’ll never really know.

Words Matter – Silly Signs

OK, I’m having some fun with a poorly worded sign.  I had to get it out of me.  After all, we are not talking about a street sign with missing punctuation for brevity being let loose on a unsuspecting neighborhood.  The sign that comes to mind is “Slow Children Playing”.  What a difference a little comma makes.  This sign has often created an instant and deep sensation of pity towards the parents of these slow children, in which the city went out of their way to let everyone know that retarded children can found playing in the upcoming neighborhood.

The words we use matter to some.   I think we don’t spend enough time evaluating how our  statements shape the  opinions of others and assume that everyone has the same point of view or intention as we do.

Sending Messages

So what messages are we sending to our customers?    Does your company have any phrases, tag lines, signs, etc., that could cause a customer to think they are ignorant and  ill-informed persons,  and would remain so if it weren’t for your existence on this planet?

If you have any other examples, please share these examples with me in a comment below.  These (word) pictures make for great presentation fodder when speaking in public engagements.  I would love to hear from you.

Good Hunting!

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

Make Some Magic


How many times do you find yourself in a slump.  We  need to shake off the old and create a new way of generating new ideas.  We need to make some magic, create some sparks, razzle and dazzle, have some fun!  When I read this post from Seth Godin it got me to thinking:

An end of magic

Arthur C. Clarke told us, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Head back to the 1800s with a Taser or a Prius or an iPad and the townsfolk will no doubt either burn you at the stake or worship you.

So many doors have been opened by technology in the last twenty years that the word “sufficiently” is being stretched. If it happens on a screen (Google automatically guessing what I want next, a social network knowing who my friends are before I tell them) we just assume it’s technology at work. Hard to even imagine magic here.

via Seth’s Blog: An end of magic.

How to Make the Magic

This is a fun exercise to take your team or department through.  You can read about the process in one my previous posts “Exceptionalism: Focus on the Never“.  But basically, take several idea lists you’ve created and follow the “Innovation Bonus Exercise” in the above post.  Then take some of those ideas and create you own little science fiction episode of “Stargete”, “Sanctuary”, or “Startrek” in which your team runs accross a civilazation with advanced technology like some of the crazy  items on your list and they now have to revewrse engenere it to gain the benefits of the new found technology.

You might be surprised how many of the way-out-there crazy ideas turn into actionable realistic projects for your team to investigate further.

It’s a fun off-site day, especially if you have a bunch of techie scifi geeks on your team!

Good Hunting!

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

Look up!


I ran across this post at “Damn I Wish I Would Have Thought of That!” and thought it was worth sharing.  Sometimes the act of finding a new client is as simple as seeing there is an opportunity to help someone with their situation.

Look up!

May 15, 2011

Our neighbor had their gutters replaced yesterday.

Our gutters are (shamefully) falling off the house.

Why didn’t their gutter guy call us?

Your next customer is closer than you think — if you’re paying attention.

via Look up!.

Good Hunting.

, , , , , , , ,

6 Comments

Flickr improves sharing options


In my weekly review of feeds concerning Web 2.0 and Web 3.0  I ran across the news that Flickr has improved their ability to share content with other sites.  As I continue to collect material for my “WEB 2.0 for Students” class that I’ll be teaching at our local college, this one hit home.  I use Flickr for my photo repository.  So it is nice to see new feature showing up in this service since I haven’t seen to many in the last year.

Flickr adds to sharing options, now easier to share photos across the Web

by Erez Zukerman on March 31, 2011 at 03:30 AM

It sure is nice to see some new developer action over at Flickr. The relatively slow-moving photo-sharing service has just announced a new sharing update, which consists of several new and easy ways to embed or link to your photos:

via Flickr adds to sharing options, now easier to share photos across the Web.

So the thought came to me that this is nice but what could be implemented to improve the experience:

  1. Photo comments made on Flickr would also be shown on the shared item in Facebook.
  2. Post comments made on the shared item would also be available on Flickr.
  3. Multiple authors – One pool.  One of the biggest problems I have with my clients.  Many photographers, one common pool to associate them with.

Either way, Flickr is a great tool to use to keep all your photos.  It’s worth a good look at if your in the market to implement such a capability.

Good Hunting.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Comments

Facebook expands @ mention tagging to comments


A while back, Facebook introduced Twitter-esque @ tagging, allowing users to mention specific people in posts and status messages. Now Facebook has expanded that same functionality to include comments. The update also provides users with a notification when someone tags them, the same way Facebook notifies you about — well, about nearly everything.

via Facebook expands @ mention tagging to comments.

The use of “@ mention tagging” is one of the tactics I teach my clients to use.  It is one of the fastest ways to get your status post to show up on someone’s wall, and by that I mean their fiend list.  Now with the instruction of @ mentions on comments we can even push this further then before.  This comes in very handy since the share button is no longer visible on our page updates.  I think I need to get my clients on a conference call and retrain them on this new capability.

Usage Recommendation

This exercise is about Marketing Reach.    And this introduction of comment @ mention’s now opens up any status update to increase your brand awareness.  Also let me say, this is not about spam either, remember your comments can be deleted by the status author and they can remove you from their list as well.

Here are some ideas, and remember you need to switch to the ‘fan page author’ so your fan page get’s the credit for the comment:

  • Affinities – If you know that one of your fans has in interesting or passion in something you have run across, you make a comment with and @ mention to that fan and your fan page is then showing up on their wall and to their friends.
  • Awareness – something new that you find and want to share it with specific fans, especially very active fans,  you make a comment with and @ mention to that fan and your fan page is then showing up on their wall and to their friends.
  • Praise – share the love so you make a comment with and @ mention to that fan and your fan page is then showing up on their wall and to their friends.

I’m sure there are other applications.  Please share with me your ideas on how your are using this new capability.

Good Hunting.

, , , , , ,

1 Comment

LinkedIn Today gives you social news from your peers


LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn has introduced a news aggregation service called LinkedIn Today. This delivers a personalized news experience, letting you quickly discover the top headlines of the day based around what your connections and industry peers are reading and sharing.

via LinkedIn Today gives you social news from your peers.

Well this really isn’t much of a surprise, but it is a feature I think is long overdue.  Anyone that has a large network will tell you that it’s difficult to keep up with what everyone thinks is important.  We started receiving emails with the ‘top stories’ from our networks some time ago.  I really thought that new email was helpful.  Now if they can merge in my delicious and stumbledupon and (name your tagging tool here) to this mix and make it contextual based on something you also have deemed important then we are well on our way to heading to web 3.0, in my opinion.

Either way, this is a welcome add on to LinkedIn and I look  forward to the tool’s growth in capability and features.

Good Hunting.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Techno Valentines Idea: Cloud Tags


Here’s an idea I worked on and provided my wife.  And it WORKED!  Generally speaking, create a thought stream of your loved one in any word processor.  Don’t worry about sentence structure.  Just type out any word that comes to mind.  Don’t worry about punctuation.  Don’t worry about duplicating words, in fact, that’s the point.  The words that are most important should be repeated naturally in the thought stream.

Wordle Tag Cloud

You can create a cloud at Wordle.net for this exercise.  Cut and paste your text into the box they provide.  Below I have included a cloud created from one of my blog post. (I don’t think my wife would want to put my gift to her on this, it was a bit intimate … hint, hint)

Ditch the Office: Next Week is National Telework Week

Good hunting and good luck!

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Ditch the Office: Next Week is National Telework Week


More than 35,000 companies and organizations have pledged to participate in the event. According to the official Telework Week Website, this would save an estimated $2,451,069 and more than 1,600 tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere. Where these numbers come from is not entirely clear, but it stands to reason that fewer people commuting would help save money and reduce pollution to some extent.

National Telework Week is sponsored by Telework Exchange and Cisco, which makes telepresence and communication products, as well as other tools to facilate remote working.

via Ditch the Office: Next Week is National Telework Week.

To: Non-Teleworkers

I would suggest you spend some time understanding what it would take to perform your work outside the office.  As I would explain to past staffs, just because a weather day or some unplanned disaster occurred, project deadlines remain the same.  If you and your manager, or if you are the manager, haven’t spent enough time creating a work force that is flexible enough to handle the unique demands of performing all department requirements outside of the normal office space, you will find yourself in the awkward situation of losing value to the company.

Disaster Recovery Planning

OK, maybe it’s because my first job in a large IT organization was helping implement the annual remote disaster recovery test plans that I seem to gravitate to this fact.  I ask all my clients, if your office burned down this weekend, what you do on Monday.  Close shop?  Declare bankruptcy? Put everything on hold until you get a new office leased?  What about your paper records?  How about your leads?  How about your contracts in progress? Are you’re files stored off-site, and if so how long would it take to get them back and running at the new location?

These are all questions that should bring a leader or manager to the point of understanding how important teleworking can be to this scenario and their organization.

Improved Productivity

An important factor in improving your productivity is to design a work environment that helps you accomplish your work faster and smarter then your competition.  Well how about all the time you are not in the office?  Are you tied to a paper filing system … how could you change that? (Evernote.com)  Can your assistant and team members update file and get them to your quickly? (DropBox.com) Can your team, partners, and client see your calendar and plan accordingly?  (Google Calendar)  Can you conduct training sessions without having to be on-prem at the client’s location? (WebEx) Can you brainstorm with your team, partners, and clients regardless of their geographical location? (MindMeister.com)  Can you manage your To-Do list, or better yet, can your assistant manage your list for you? (Remember the Milk).

My guess the most difficult thing to change in your work space is the paper trails you live with.  You probably have become so accustomed to getting something in paper, working on it, then passing it on.  Reguardless, it is possible to go paperless.  It’s worth the time to implement also.

My Office

Over the past 10 years I have moved to a paperless process.  That is how I had to look at it.  I focused on the process, not the piece of paper or some other physical object.  Many of the web based applications I mentioned above I use today.  It allows me to complete my client requests while knowing that all the items I need are right at my fingertips.

So what have you done to make it possible to telework or telecomute?  I’d love to compare notes some time.

Good Hunting.

, , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

Marketing Lesson: Smartphones Outsell PCs


According to IDC, smartphone manufacturers shipped 100.9 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2010, while PC manufacturers shipped 92.1 million units worldwide. Or, more simply put, smartphones just outsold PCs for the first time ever.

via Smartphones Outsell PCs.

The above quote should not come as a surprise.  Change happens.  The real question becomes, “How are we preparing our clients, or shaping our projects/campaigns for this shift in the marketing landscape?”

Nostalgic Deja Vu

I was just telling one of my classes yesterday that even though the assignments are focusing on 8×11 documents they need to keep in the back of their mind the fact that their message might be seen on a small screen so always plan ahead.

This problem seems to be resurfacing constantly in the technology sector.  I can remember, in my brief stint in development, which now seems like three lifetimes ago, the revelation that the developers I worked with all had power user machines: top of the line CPU’s, memory maxed to capacity, every bay in the tower loaded with the largest hard drives that could be purchased, the biggest fasted monitor and video board that was sold at the time.  Not a real problem unless you consider the average ‘consumer’ of these developers were running on machines three generations behind, and were loaded with the least possible equipment to save costs for the company purchasing the hardware.

At least we were lucky to have a great software development manager, my brother-in-law, who demanded no code go into production unless it passed a speed test on a machine comparable to what the user base was currently using.  So we always kept a box in the corner of the office with the current configuration our clients had.  This created some awkward moments when the entire development team would watch as one of the developers would run the cpu/memory/video gauntlet with a piece of code that ran like greased lighting on his box.

Some Possible Action Items

Here are some things you should do right now:

  • Test your existing site: get a smartphone, get several with different size screens, and test what you currently have out there being viewed by visitors to your site.
  • Update Project Requirements: only accept work that can be used on a smartphone screen.  It will cost more, but if your site works and your competitor’s doesn’t, well that’s just priceless.
  • Update Your Marketing Plan: Think mobile.  What items in your plan can change now as this wave begins to form, rather waiting until is past you and you are playing catchup.

Let me know if you’ve encountered feedback from your visitors about your site not working on smartphones and what you did to fix the problem.

Good Hunting.

, , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

  • Reading Goal

    2012 Reading Challenge

    2012 Reading Challenge
    Tim has read 7 books toward his goal of 24 books.
    hide
  • Goodreads

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Top Rated

%d bloggers like this: