We vote with our (c)licks… Ben & Jerry’s meets social media.

27 01 2009

Living and breathing social media is like riding Gold Bar Rim on my mountain bike…  an interesting analogy for current times. I also tend to forget that newcomers may be slightly confused or afraid about venturing into conversational marketing. You’re exposing yourself, your business, your thoughts, your ideas, you are opening up… users will come and talk to you. They already talk about you – Corporate marketing is losing control, scary.  Are you seeing it as an opportunity? scary cliff? or simply struggling to understand what’s going?

Friday night, I had the pleasure of mingling at the Designers Drinks event in town.  I interacted with some cool people who get it and are enthused about Social Media and have truly experienced some aspects of it; more who may have a grasp of social networking and think this is Social Media (ok, it’s part of it) and a good chunk who are in the dark. I’m slightly cutting corners here but you get the gist.

During one particular conversation with the owner of Ben & Jerry’s in town who started as a designer – Lee – comes up to me and asks: “So how does anyone make money using Social Media?”. Nice! Someone who is challenging his thinking, interested and ready to learn.

Yann: “Well” I said. “How do you get people to come and enjoy your ice cream?”

Lee: “hmm, it’s about the smell and the location.”

Yann: There you go. Social Media is about the same thing. Smell and location. Smelling something good is a particular sense that all of us have and having 100 ice cream choices is really because all of us have different tastes and affinities, needs, passions.

You’re probably wondering what smell has to do with Social Media. Think of it this way…. Content is the basis of Social Media (not social networking). Each of us has ideas, needs, aspirations, lifestyles, wants… etc. Social Media is the power of every and each one of us to decide what to read, enjoy, affiliate with, “Be fan of” on Facebook or just tell your twitter friends about that latest ice cream B&J has. We VOTE with our (C)LICKS.

We, as a Social Media Agency, are here to create the smell [‘content’] that will make a reader affiliate with the brand we represent. We are not here to pollute, nor spam, but to act as a conversation catalyst. We live in a semantic world. Content is king, relevancy is queen.

Smell = Content.  People vote with clicks.  Are you part of my digital footprint?

Now, Location: See… we are living (in) the Matrix – there are now 1 billion people using the internet on this planet and the new street corners are increasingly called Blogging International Airport, Google Blvd, Twitter Ave, Social Graph Street, Facebook Hwy…

Social Media is also about location. Your customers and prospects live on these streets, engaging with them and having a relationship with them is more important than ever. This is your future. Knowing how to navigate those streets is what we do, Lee.  We create maps. To know where the cliff edges are but also the parks with real people.

@yannr

Thanks VoIPman and Blu3_sky777 for the great pictures.

Make sure you check out Lee too, at Ben & Jerry’s – thanks Lee for your inspiring conversation!

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Is Social Media Marketing the Green Way to Go?

23 01 2009

When typing “Green Marketing” into Google, I was looking for companies, blogs, news articles, websites, etc. about which marketing companies claim to be green.  All I found were marketing companies calling themselves “Green Marketing”, not because of their own sustainability or the reduction of their office’s carbon footprint.  When they say “Green Marketing” all they are suggesting is that they market green products and or companies.  That’s great and everything, but what is your office doing to be green?

When it comes to Social Media Marketing, if you ask me, it’s the green way to go.  I worked for a traditional PR/Marketing company for a short period of time and right off the bat, I think about all the promotional products we had made for our clients — chapsticks, magnets, visors, water bottles, notepads, golf balls, etc.  All materials that will be thrown into a landfill at one point or another, hopefully to be remembered by that dry lipped golfer that reached for your Brand X chapstick.  Thrown away.  That is exactly where the majority of traditional marketing companies’ efforts unfortunately go.  You pay x amount of dollars for a magazine ad, it’s thrown away, you pay x amount of dollars for a radio ad, gone in 30 seconds, you pay x amount of dollars for a billboard, taken down, replaced and thrown away.

Man, that’s a lot of garbage.  Social Media Companies like us here at Extanz don’t throw anything away. We don’t have to.  Everything we do, from writing blogs to micro-blogging, from setting up profiles and interacting on social media sites, blog commenting as well as creating and uploading YouTube videos. All these ‘products’ sit on the internet creating your long lasting digital footprint that can be found for years down the road.  How’s that for getting your money worth and saving Mother Earth?

Extanz is saving Mother Earth in several other ways.  For starters, we are constantly and primarily online; we rarely use any paper or print anything out.  The average American office worker prints 10,000 pages per year! Not us!!  We carry our handy laptops around in meetings to show what needs to be shown digitally.  Speaking of laptops, I use the new MacBook, which Mac is claiming to be the greenest laptop yet.  Saves energy, is made out of recycled, non-hazardous materials, minimal packaging, I could go on and on.  Yes, we use electricity to power these laptops and computers but here in Colorado we have the option to pay a little bit more to use wind power with Xcel Energy.  Extanz employees also work from home, so we do not have to pollute the air with our cars.  However, we are all avid bike riders and weather permitting, we travel to meetings on bikes. Not only that but our clients support online collaborations in health, create a whole new mind with innovative educational arts software, build/renovate/sell/support green homes and green home building and create community events. We love where we live.

So if you are a tree hugger, a greenie, a hippie, trendy, eco-friendly, green or just plain smart, you now know the kind of marketing that makes Mother Earth happy, keeps other green stuff in your pocket and leaves a lasting digital as opposed to carbon footprint!

Keeping it green (and real),

Lauren

Thanks for the cool pics bitzcelt and Frenchista aka Yann






Trust 2.0 … Get Used To It

12 12 2008

I am more and more convinced that 2.0 is a mindset.  I was on Twitter (like always) last weekend between attending to the urgent lives of my 5 and 3 year olds… (Tonka trucks and other logistical movements) and struck up a conversation with @bakespace (bake who you may say? … twitter name/id). Much of our conversation was based on the rise of Digital Divide 2.0 which I see happening as Social Media reaches out to more human beings. You could argue that social networking sites in general are a generational thing and ultimately we will all be on there . You could also argue that it’s an early adopter phenomenon.  I tend to think that 2.0 is a mindset.

Newspapers, magazines and traditional sources have been ‘seen’ as the trusted source of information over time. “Who are we going to trust”? They say. Well YOU, your brand, your digital footprint. Web 2.0 is an organic world where new tools (software for the most of it), new behaviors and new ethical codes swarm. We are the media. We are re-creating trust mechanisms. I believe we can see through, look at each other in the eyes, shake hands, smile at each other and respect each other online. Businesses as well. Get used to it. It’s here.

Forums in the 90’s and early 2000’s have really given a bad reputation to online presence… they were one big stream and everyone could actually be as primal as possible. We now live in a more open world, if you vote for a 2.0 Mindset.  More and more consumers are judging how they are being treated and how their peers are as well.  BS on Twitter, blogging, facebook and so on just doesn’t fly and people quickly vote with their feet when BS shows up.

This week, amongst other things, I ran into 2 great pieces of content that talk about TRUST. The first was by Rodger Doodley blog on Trust with Rodger quoting Paul J Zak: The key to a con is not that you trust the conman, but that he shows he trusts you. Conmen ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable… the human brain makes us feel good when we help others–this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers. “I need your help” is a potent stimulus for action. [From The Moral MoleculeHow to Run a Con.]

Selling is about creating a trustable and repeatable experience. If you are a marketer, you are here to build or consolidate the brand trust capital. Social Media (blogging, facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube….etc) when used in concert are here to “empower users” as Chris Brogan says – Those users are your prospects or your customers… Instead of being in their face and being another ‘Interruption Day Marketing’ brand, be part of their lives, be part of their search and their social graph.

Forrester Research just published a new study that has made bloggers and micro-bloggers rage this week… Corporate Blogs are at the bottom of the scale when it comes to “trusted information sources”.  It is very debatable and obviously linear thinkers (let’s apply traditional marketing to social media) are mostly doing it wrong. If you try to sell hard, you’ll just have ZERO effectiveness.

Cloggers (corporate bloggers) it’s time to stop – Companies and corporations have the bad reputation of just republishing their press releases on their blogs, talking about inward content…etc. RISE UP I say… Start by creating value, content that ’empowers your users’. If you can’t think of your higher purpose… have someone else handle your social media services. If you think you know but can’t get traction and your blog traffic sucks…. you’re also in need of help.

Now go on, get out there and build your company digital trustworthiness…

Onwards and upwards,


Cheers
Yann

Thanks to jasoneppink and will lion for their cool pix