The genie is out of the bottle, we just can’t put it back in.

11 12 2008

Here is our latest ‘educational’ presentation on Social Media.  Starting with some examples, I try to bridge the gap between traditional marketing and the new world of 2 way conversation, collaboration, customer and social engagement.  I am also touching on what I see as the merging worlds of  SEO and Public Relations (PR).  I’m going to blog soon about TRUST 2.0 and Relevancy.  I find it fascinating that web 2.0 and social media technologies are enabling people and organizations to build trustworthy relationships… like in a village. People tend to forget that we can discuss, debate and look each other in the eyes to create meaning.

Social Media is not even perfected but as I heard this morning, “the genie is out of the bottle, we just can’t put it back in”.  Brands, businesses, people have the opportunity to embrace. Embracing is a difficult act … but if you don’t,  Digital Divide 2.0 will put your competition ahead.


I hope you like it and as always look forward to your comments, questions.

Cheers

Yann

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Social Media Marketing: The Basics

11 09 2008

Social Media Marketing… it doesn’t bite …really… it’s as respectful as you are… now rock on!

But before you start out, here are some basic ideas:

Content is KING: the best content in your industry is worth gold.
Numbers count: everyone understands that the more connected you are, the more relevant you are.
Distribution: you OWN distribution of your content, there is no barrier between readers/prospects and your company – There is no editor in chief privileging your competitor story.
It’s about being Human: We are gregarious by DNA. We like social contact and we’d rather buy stuff cos our friends told so and it is fixin’ our basic and not so basic needs.
‘It’s business, (stupid)’: If you doubt it, just look at the valuation of those puppies…. The so called Social Graph will soon have more power than any other sales force.
Authenticity rules: Be true to your brand and your customer or you’ll go to hell.

The Basics

The Basics by http://www.Extanz.com

If you want to experiment yourself, you need a blog.  No blog – you don’t exist, seriously.

Now meet the mighty graph which explains the basics of what I call an RSS Architecture….. if you like it, say so, bookmark it (funky button at the bottom of that blog). If you don’t, tell me how you would modify it.  Now we’re being social!

So what are the basic steps?
– Connect your customer-friend-ecosystem to your company brand online.
– Feed them / publish excellent content that will make them happy to have read or seen you (youtube,flickr…).
– Allow for 2 way conversation with them and respond (to what matters, not everything).

Oh YEAH! This is applicable to the following:

– A brand
– A business — small or large (larger can’t move very fast so they struggle a bit with that)
– A [true] customer centric company
– A product launch
– A message as part of your overall marketing strategy
– An individual (brand)
– Selling a house
– A political campaign 🙂
– A non profit fundraising endeavor
– A product development team

….and too many others to list…..

It is NOT applicable to:
– Spammers
– Arrogant brands
– People afraid to lose control of the message (you’re lost anyway).

Now stop thinking that Social Networking is just for kiddos who are bored…. it’s you, me and everyone else thinking stuff, buying stuff, reading stuff.

TOGETHER WE RISE. 🙂

Yann

If you like it click on the ‘add this’ button below (you’ll need a account at Stumbleupon, Digg or Delicious – this is just another marketing tactic you need to do)

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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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Tag Clouds – A nice way to target your social media destination!

29 07 2008

Well hello… I thought I would expand a bit on the Tag Cloud idea. I see many corporate blogs that blog about the latest product, the latest conference they are attending, the latest group outing at the local bowling alley etc which is all nice and will certainly drive traffic to competitive products that have better SEO, to that conference or from the bowling fans… Not really the people you were expecting, are they? It’s time to bring discipline to your business blog and communication in general.

We’re here to drive traffic….drive traffic to YOUR site(s). We want customers and prospects that fit your target demographic and have the same behavior. They are the right customers with the same purchasing pattern. They will type the same keywords in google and they will pay attention to what their friends are saying about the latest wizz bang gadget or service.

Before we go further, I just want to reiterate why tag clouds are important. Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization are driven by keywords and behaviors –the better you balance these, the better you will drive traffic to your blogsite. Now, you may ask: “Do search engines pay attention to the weight of each tag in a blogsite?” YES! They are increasingly starting to; for example SearchCloud.net just launched it’s new search engine. Techcrunch analysed it here (apparently, not so good yet).

So how do you get started?

Step 1: Analyze

I suggest that you start:

  • Analyzing the keywords your competition is using,
  • Analyzing the keywords used by top ranked sites in your segment on google or yahoo search and see why they are so highly ranked
  • Putting down your goals and how keywords match your business goal [NOT from your perspective but from YOUR CUSTOMER’S perspective]
  • Laying out your customer pain points e.g. stop my dog chewing the couch 🙂

Step 2: Design

Now that you have 20 keywords (or so = completely random number), you will have to weigh them proportionally.

Extanz Tag Cloud as of July 28th, 2008

Extanz Tag Cloud as of July 28th, 2008

Social Media 10%, facebook 5%, twitter 2%, flickr 2%, youtube 2%….. = 100%

Done? You’ve designed your tag cloud target…

See!  NOT rocket science. Not something that should become overcomplicated – we’re human around here. It’s social media marketing after all 🙂

Step 3: Implement

Blog every day 🙂 about what matters to your ideal customers and make sure your Blog Tag Clouds start looking like the one you just designed.

In other words, the tag cloud is your target – your entire social media program needs to link back to this tag cloud across the multiple platforms you’re using.

If you are looking for more information about SearchCloud.net – there’s youtube of course!

Cheers and good luck!

Yann


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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