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Cloud and be funny if you can… for us living in the cloud

7 05 2010

If like we do, you spend your time in the internet cloud 8+ hours every day, you probably have noticed or enraged … then probably laughed at those server errors. I want to extend some kudos to those good ones. If you have others, please submit them in the comment section and I’ll link back to you.

The Most known:

Twitter: The fail whale by #twitter

The Cute ones:

Bit.ly

LinkedIn

Flickr:

The Funny ones:

Google Wave:

YouTube

Plancast:

Could do better one (or I haven’t run into better ones):

Digg:

Facebook:

.. that’s it… send me yours via commenting below and I’ll add them here.

Cheers

@YannR

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Daring Social Media: Any Online Marketers Out There?

29 08 2008

Do you think social media and social networking is only for finding friends? Um….not quite!

30-40% of our customers’ clients are registered on some form of social network(e.g. facebook), social bookmarking (e.g. stumbleupon) and social media sharing sites (e.g. flickr). Out there. Participating, creating, cooperating together.

Are you with them or are you hibernating/hiding from your customers? It’s the social rejection thing, isn’t it? Maybe they will find out you are not as cool as you hyped yourself to be. Maybe they will talk trash about you behind your back. Maybe they will have a bad experience, and then they will tell all their friends, who will tell all their friends and before you know it, you’re out of business. Every business has that 5% of their customers who are unhappy, but what are the chances they’ll all get on Facebook and tell everyone on the planet how bad you are? Really, the chances are better that your fans will tell all their friends about you and before you know it, you’ll be meeting people you would never normally have the chance to meet.

But what about the bad apples, you ask? You just get out there and confront it. Present your side of the story, respond to your customer – offer an open door – they will be honored that you even engaged with them and responded (sad but true) and then they will spread the word about your response-ability. Businesses and brands need to open up to the very people they are supposed to serve. As far too many authors have written, businesses (especially large ones) have an inherent low trust worthiness in the industrialized world. Now is the perfect opportunity to rise up and engage in social media. Social media marketing is not about using another venue to slam more ads down people’s throats… it’s the wrong place to do that but it is the place to bring useful content to those who already support your enterprise.

If they buy your product or support your enterprise, they care about you. Their friends ought to know about that and you ought create a viral presence….

Marketers, your absence from social media and online engagement brands you as antisocial and uncaring- your so called ‘customer centricity’ is disappearing because you’re NOT where 350 million people already are using Open Social. Yes 350 million! (Washington Post). Can you believe that? Can you believe you aren’t even there?

Time to get busy….

– Define your social media goals – you can’t be everything for everyone but you can represent a ‘larger purpose’. Be a voice for your industry.

– Create and launch yourself properly where your customers are – talk with them.

– Grow your credibility – Feed them content (blogs, podcast, pictures, videocast…) that matters to them and their lives – A larger purpose will help.

– Engage and create an atmosphere of collaboration and co-creation – let your customer rave about your next super cool product or service and how user friendly it is because it was made by them for people like them.

Above all – be open, they’ll buzz you up.

And just in case you thought you were too old for all this or your customer is too old …. check out these stats!

# The fastest growing demographic on the Web are seniors. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is over 25.
# A baby Boomer turns 50 every 8 seconds. As a generation, they are vastly more Web-enabled than their parents.
# 75% of all Internet users watched at least one video last month. A good portion of these are seniors, and its possible that a site like YouTube provided many of those videos.
# Nearly half of those who use the Internet for health purposes (which is 80% of all Web users) are doing so on behalf of somebody else. (Source: Manhattan Research)


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Towards PR 2.0 = RSS Marketing + A Conversational Mindset

11 08 2008

These days we get asked more and more: “is what you do PR?”

We tend to say, “hmm not really – but kind of” …the answer seems to depend on whether we are talking with someone who can actually understand the “let your audience participate with you” part and considers that PR or not. Most marketing and PR folks out there are just plain afraid of what could be said and so, find it hard to “let the audience participate”.

Today, most business blogs are just newsletters that “Corporate Communication” is putting out there to ‘check’ another thing to do. Most of the time, PR firms are good at pushing such press releases and trying to get traditional media to write about their stuff.

What we do is vastly different. We are here to focus less on the company’s cool product (traditional PR will take care of this) and more on the audience’s points of pleasure and pain points. To do so, we identify your constituencies (blogosphere, constituency presence on social networks, connectivity between networks). Then we connect the dots between all these “locales” and start reaching out for fans, friends of fans etc, bringing them valuable content that only friends would want to send to each other.

When thinking through the comparison between PR and social media, consider the following…

1. Connectivity: THANK YOU RSS – Does your PR firm really understand RSS? Not just what it stands for?

Since 2005 and RSS 2.0 standardization, we’ve seen an explosion of possiblities in terms of feeding data from one place to the other. You can actually now stream your business blog across facebook, plaxo… Yes, it’ll take a bit of plumbing but once you’ve established those connections, you can start spreading the word…:) The following examples are what could be considered “immature” demonstrations of RSS potential – note the complete lack of feeds to the FB page – Isn’t it time to challenge what your PR firm is doing for you?

no activity...

no activity...

Virality is a function of “moving data”, in this case it’s about how fast User Generated Content is moving from one friend to the other – The faster the data point (pictures, blogs, facebook greenpatch @#$%…) moves, the more virally the information spreads. Most traditional PR methods are stuck in old distribution models –they can not virally replicate information and rely on traditional readership bases (which are also less virulent) than web2.0 readership. Obviously Canon and Jamba Juice (there are 100s of examples like that) just don’t understand what Social Media Marketing or RSS Marketing is… [hint: talk to us] 🙂

2. Do you really see marketing as an investment center? [not a cost-center] – Are you ready for PR 2.0?

  • Do you have a “let’s give it a shot” mentality? Are you ready to engage with customers commenting on your blogs? Can you handle them giving you a thumbs up or down on your facebook page? If you are not, you are falling behind the biggest social movement since the creation of internet – learn from it before you competition does.
  • How about starting a relevant blog?
    • How to use features of your product
    • How your customers use your products
    • Relevant industry news
    • Great insights about how you manufacture your products, your operations
    • DON’T WRITE ABOUT “how great you are” or “how great your company did at the last employee event”… that’s good internal communication!
  • How about building a facebook page that actually has some activity? Feed your blog there using RSS! (unlike our friends at Canon or Jamba Juice…)
  • Start tweeting about the unknown stuff happening with your company that will make your readers say: ‘whao, that’s cool, I didn’t know that’. It doesn’t need to be top secret magic news. Most brand afficionados just want to relate to your brand and be able to share something cool about your brand with their friends…
  • Start using flickr, youtube, slideshare as your backend media platform – the more connectivity the better!

3. Do you know about “Saturation Points” and “Information Immunity”?

Malcom Gladwell talked about it early on…. information immunity is definitely a problem that traditional channels of communication face. Phone, faxes, email, text, RSS feed… they all reach saturation point… except that now, your audience has to the power to choose what information they receive or not. They can decide to read, comment, and more importantly “pass it along” virally via their networks. Your customer is moving on, they choose what to read from sources they rely on. Don’t you already feel that you are member of enough networks? That you can’t take any new ones? So do they!

An interesting study recently came out on the ‘new patterns of influences‘ led by a team of five SNCR Research Fellows: “New influencers are beginning to tear at the fabric of traditional marketing and communications, giving rise to a new approach characterized by conversation and community,” said Gillin. “PR and marketing communications professionals are responding with a mixture of excitement, fear, and fascination. They’re alarmed at the prospect of ceding control of their messages to a community of unknowns. Yet at the same time they’re excited about this new opportunity to speak directly with their constituents.

Are you ready for ‘conversational marketing’? Your customer should be the best advocate of your product or services. they should be your fans on facebook and you should give them a reason to be a fan of yours on such social networks….

4. So what to do now?

– Re-think your public relations goals.

– Start a relevant blog and start connecting it to your social networks.

– Be ready to open conversation up to your constituents.

It’s time to talk!!

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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





Social Media and Crossing the Amazon

2 07 2008

Like the first time we crossed the Amazon in our homemade canoe, Extanz is here to help you navigate the ever complex social media world. We’ve been on the (b)leading edge of it for the last two years. Like an integrated marketing plan, the best tools in the world will work efficiently only if they work in sync. So it’s not a case of ‘got Facebook?’ anymore….it’s a case of ‘what has your Facebook done for you lately?’

The image below depicts the Social Media GALAXY as viewed by Fred Cavazza. It’s a excellent rendition of the complex extanZiveness of our contemporary Social Media reality. ENJOY!

Social Media Landscape by Fred CavazzaSocial Media Landscape by Fred Cavazza

Ok, so we have never crossed the Amazon but we’ll get there!

Yann