Give ’em a hammer… Give ’em a twitter…

15 04 2009

As far as social media circles and events go, I like to think I get around. While I am getting around, I tend to meet 3 kind of folks. Recently, the kinds of conversations I have had with them have caused me to wonder about this whole social media hype thing that we’ve got going on…. so here’s my view…

Group 1: By far the largest and getting smaller by the minute….Never heard of it or totally confused. Social media what? Why do we need this anyway, it’s not really for business! Kids stuff. Goofing around.  Ok, everyone is talking about Twitter… maybe I should get on Twitter then (law of the hammer) and start pressing “follow”. But, errr, what am I going to do with it? I really don’t have time for this. Our website is a fine piece of art, we look good, we’re different. We’re participating, right?

Group 2: Getting up there now in numbers…..We’re afraid, man. What if someone, somewhere, says something, thinks something… geez we’re so used to sending those press releases over the fence… our sales people are here for the interactions… Inbound marketing, what? No, we have engineers for that.  They can see the future. We’ve just hired a guy who worked at Apple anyway. Sorted, man. The customer voice, yes, we do surveys – candy for  everyone! You’ve probably met someone like this recently too.

Group 3:  Finally the toolers,  social media is equal to social networking –  They are all over it, their company has a twitter account, and man it’s rocking in there, we’re doing it right cos we have a facebook fan page, a twitter account and the CEO is on Linkedin… This is social media, right…? Huh, well, let’s see now. Chances are good what we’re going to see is a bunch of mundane conversations when someone can spare some time… or maybe they’ll hire a junior cos “they know how that stuff works, right?” Ah, not so fast now. And blogging? Yeah, we do that or we thought of doing it but…

Yes folks, Give ’em a twitter… Give ’em a hammer. Everything is looking like a tweet :). Don’t get me wrong, Twitter is an awesome tool, just be mindful. I see workshops on Twitter or Linkedin everywhere like some kind of  new gold that we have all got to get a piece of.  But you know what? I just can’t see how just using one of these tools along is going to turn into a real return. Therein lies the catch….tweety-birds!

Questions you should ask yourself at this moment include:

  1. How is my web strategy supporting my overall marketing strategy?
  2. What are the different components of my web strategy?  Usability, design, copy, SEO, social networks, social media, blogging, adwords… maybe email marketing… Ultimately, it should be about lead generation and converting viewers into customers or at least starting the qualification process… right? Once again push doesn’t work and pull is not easy.
  3. Now, how will social media support your web strategy?  Is this about a time suck or truly turning your customers into advocates? What’s more,  if you venture into the social media space, how is the rest of your marketing plan supporting Social Media and vice-versa…??
Groundswell tool from Forrester Research

Groundswell tool from Forrester Research

My spin on the groundswell levels of success are that they are not mutually exclusive but reaching gold straight off the bat is kinda like managing a hole in one during your first round of golf. Some can. But the rest of us….. you get the picture.

So here is a potential way of looking at levels of success in Social Media…

Not Even On The Podium: You’re pushing your promotions through social networks. Your credibility will suffer. That’s more like a fail.

Bronze: You’re listening and talking with people but having mundane conversation is killing your efforts. Are you truly contributing or making noise e.g. Tweet: “going to the gym now”?

Silver: You’re engaging and energizing your customer base. Passion is the corner stone of social media; where are those passionate users? Are you empowering them to do more with products or services? Are you teaching them, educating them? Are you putting your customer in a position to teach other industry users? They may do a better job than you, you know…

Gold: You’re providing a 3rd space(s) where customers are actually talking to each other and supporting each other. You’ve integrated activities through social media as well as the customer voice or use of your product or services.

Bottom line, if you go on your own, measure and measure your effectiveness; engagement is an art. Wasting time is a hard price to pay for just being on the networks. If you need help, I would seriously check if your prospective provider has a rock solid methodology… it’s no surprise that “Establishing a method for engaging consumers in online conversation” is ranked top of the tactics used by companies by the Aberdeen Group.

Social Media is not a cooking recipe, there will be some experimentation. Having a sound methodology and measurable processes will save you a lot of guess work and just doing social media because everyone is buying a twitmmer these days. Finally,  in the words Social Media, there is also Media… quality media.

Thank you chazferret for his cool picture!

Onwards and upwards,

Yann






CPA, CPC vs. Social Media Engagement – It’s like going to another country.

23 07 2008

Have you ever been to France? They speak French over there, they argue a lot and are extremely social around food – I know this because I actually lived there 25 years :). Well, engaging in Social Media is like visiting France’s back country where CPC (cost per click) and CPA (cost per action) are like visiting Paris. Which one is the authentic ‘France’?…We’re talking quality vs quantity when it comes down to social interaction. Am I being too abstract here? It’s like in hi-density marketing — you’re just trying to hit as many potential clients as you can (a bit like the ‘Metro’ / Underground in Paris) — you end up with a low return and you damage your reputation with everybody through spamming. Your message is not intended for them anyway. BUT WAIT! If their friend or acquaintance had sent the message to them, the return would be much greater! It’s common sense really. So are you ready for quality or are you satisfied with a 1% return on your banner ad campaign or your direct mail? That’s 99% wasted time and energy!

A couple of years ago, everyone was buzzing about social networks even though they were skeptical about how to use them. Now everyone is still buzzing about them but it’s a bit like a burning stove.

Here are 5 handy hints for engaging with social media:

– Set Your Objective: Design your TAG cloud before you start [or just redesign, it]. The TAG cloud is your objective – you can’t blog about everything and be relevant to everyone. Do your research, analyze the competition and most importantly, see how much the tag cloud (keywords) is being talked about in the blogosphere – Do you want to look like this?

– Generate Ideas: Medium size businesses rarely have the time or money to spend on lengthy articles that may (like never) be published in a magazine…nor do they have at least need an $8000 to $15,000 per month PR budget. Not to mention the fact that traditional media gives you a difficult to measure return. BUT HEY! YOU have customers – get them to engage with stories around your product, podcast using Pamela and Skype, get a passionate employee to create video interviews…This is social media, not ABCnews – Then put them on Youtube and start linking it your blogs 🙂

– Be Personable and Personal: What matters to you and them may often be more about you – people care about you online if you let them get closer andengage them on social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter and and so on.

– Do It the Real Way: Social media engagement is about real people – not cold banners and cold push marketing. It takes time, yes; Social Media is not a quick fix. It takes time like any good relationship, but then the rewards are long lasting and repeat business is the name of the game. It’s like going to France again – be real, try to engage – step out of Paris where everyone lives like a rabbit 🙂 Okay, Paris is beautiful, but you get my point.

– The Mirror Again – Bring your 500 customers onto current social networks – many are probably there already – Have you thought of creating your own network? Ning.com maybe what you need then!

– Blog, Blog, Blog: RSS Marketing is efficient only if it is regular, and you connect your media tools (Flickr.com, Youtube.com, Slideshare.com …), your networks (Linkedin, Facebook…), Microblog (twitter, pownce)…etc well.

Here’s to an engaging life together!
Yann





Facebook page VS Social Media :)

15 07 2008

The tree, the forest… you follow me. When asked about their social media programs, I often get this response from organizations “Facebook…..yeah….. um, we just hired this student to build a Facebook page for us, yeah….it’s really going to make a BIG difference…” Right. Pull the other one.

So I say: “Are you tracking it? Do you already collect stats?”

They say: “stats? what stats? why do I need stats? I have Facebook now”.

I change tack. I say: “So are you blogging as well? Do you actually blog everyday and feed your facebook page with your blog?”

They say: “Blogs? What have they got to do with Facebook?”. Answer: CONNECTIONS BABY….

I say: ” And so are you using YouTube, Slideshare and Flickr as your RSS backend media platforms?”

Now they look confused. Maybe it is the jargon. Maybe they are becoming worried about good old FB. I try something else….

I say: “Have you looked at creating an alumni on Linkedin?, “A group on Facebook?”… “It has a purpose, people will care and engage.”

They say: “Huh?”

Yep, you get the picture…. does one Facebook page mean you are up to speed with social media?
I could keep going but I realize it may be pointless. There’s social media and then there’s the surface of social media….Social media has been likened to an iceberg….it’s deep and much of what it can do is completely hidden from you. A good social media program takes time to implement and reap rewards from but it is worth taking a deep breath and considering….Can we get past the basics? Think about why you are using particular tools. What are your goals? Are they measurable? They should be. Do you have a customer list? A member list maybe? Have you thought of actually engaging your current customers? You should have. Because that’s where it all starts.

Social Media Marketing is still marketing. The old adage is true “the cost of acquiring new customers is still higher.” People won’t care more for you because you’re on Facebook but people who are already your customers can become FANS on facebook… or a fan on YouTube… This is what drives traffic. Communicate relevant information to people who care. Put your precious dime to work for those most important to you and the others will come. Social Media Marketing is a Mirror. It is certainly more than a tree….and much more like a forest.

Yann