Social Media Interview With Walker Thompson [client]

30 03 2009
“I can find out more about you through the web than I can by spending an hour with you […]” Walker Thompson, VP of Sales and Marketing for Syndicom, Inc.

Last week we had the pleasure of interviewing Walker Thompson, VP of Sales & Marketing at
Syndicom Inc. Syndicom is a provider of a collaborative suite of products targeted at surgeons and medical device companies to work more efficiently.

Syndicom was definitely using traditional marketing and PR but felt they were lacking ways to engage with their wider market and influential blogosphere.
Walker felt that using RSS marketing could help Syndicom engage on their own terms and be able to distribute their own messages and content. As he puts it,  “I could suddenly present my message through many different networks (Facebook, Twitter etc….).” However, while Walker has been very active in the blogosphere for some time it was hard to know how to navigate through it in relation to the medical world. He struggled with how to spend time effectively using social media when he had other things to focus on and it’s moving so quickly —  a social media service provider was the only way go. Enter Extanz.

The results speak for themselves. Syndicom’s monthly website traffic has almost tripled in less than a year. This is significant given that Syndicom is a b2b niche focused business. Page views have doubled in the same 6 months and Syndicom’s Alexa ranking went from 7,000,000th place to 500,000th place in only a few months. The bottom line says Walker, “is that we’re relevant and part of the discussion.” People know what their product is, have a better idea of what they do and, by the way,  have read their blog!
Blogging is difficult by yourself, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but the mothership of good social media programming. Syndicom used Extanz blogging as part of their sales education cycle with both business customers and core users. Combined with podcasts and comments on influential blogs, Syndicom’s content is more objective, professional and ethical. Return comments are a real indication of relational success. As Walker says, “Extanz clearly amplified reaching out to influential bloggers with a high level of vertical expertise. Other influential bloggers would inevitably come back and leave comments on our blog; this is real, influential, two way conversation.”
So what’s Walker’s conclusion on social media and online tools? “If you don’t embrace it, you’ll become irrelevant”. 90% of companies don’t have a blog and he thinks it’s critical to create trust. The way people work and interconnect has changed, if you don’t have a presence on these new media, you’re becoming harder to reach. Syndicom’s business is online and it’s pretty clear that online methods and tools are dramatically changing how medicine is practiced, research, discovered and taught.”
To hear more of Walker’s thoughts, listen to the podcast here:
To learn more about Extanz and how we can help you, click here.
Advertisements




Twitter vs Facebook and the fight for the crumbs…

19 03 2009

A few weeks ago, @kblucy did a quick poll in her Capstone class for students majoring in Communication – 4 out of 84 students are actually using Twitter.  They are all on Facebook or at least 90% of them. Twitter what? No, it’s just the fastest growing network these days. Maybe it’s generational. Or it’s how we use it but we see  Facebook slowly sending MySpace to a shelf and Twitter is thinking about doing the same to Facebook after refusing $500 Million from same. It didn’t  take long for Facebook to turn around and let ‘Fan Pages’ (companies, celebrities…) be able to update their ‘status’ (just came out last week) which Twitter does. Things are certainly heating up… some talk about collision.  

Have you heard of MyYearBook.com? Tagged.com?  Tumblr.com? Hi5.com? Bebo.com? … hmm, no? People have different needs, live in different places and use all those tools for different reasons. Depending on your marketing strategies, using those different platforms will have more or less returns.

I thought I’d give a bit of a run down of the different networks we use in our practice and why we use them. But before we go there,  I want to say that Personal Branding and Business Branding are colliding. Those students are increasingly growing their personal digital footprint on places like Facebook or MySpace. They will soon be working for corporations and companies. How will their personal representation affect your brand? Why bother sending a resume when you can find everyone online? If they are not online, I would be worried for you though.

Social Networks:

– MySpace: Still the largest network, your brand needs to be there and somewhat active especially if your target market is in the younger age bracket. We still see low traffic from this platform.

– Facebook: Its clean look and super organized way to manage your contacts and relationships has definitely worked wonders. It is driving good to moderate traffic, better in the consumer space.

– Linkedin / Plaxo: By nature, they were designed for more professional purposes. I find that Plaxo has been a more open platform in terms of using RSS but the traffic volume coming from Linkedin is higher. Linkedin was web-based from the start and definitely has the biggest market share. Since the fall, Linkedin allows you to update your company profile and help link personal identities. I mostly find those networks powerful to find people and be found.

– Twitter: with 812% of traffic growth, it’s still a small network but indeed posing an interesting threat. The main clue here is ‘Conversation’. Engaging in Twitter means that you can engage better with people and customers that you would not encounter otherwise. The big bonus: you can search real time conversations about products or brands… It’s a very powerful brand monitoring tool [Search.Twitter.com]  – You can also organically reach people or brands without the limitations of the Facebook fortress 🙂

– Hi5 and Bebo have been growing very fast respectively in UK/Europe for Bebo and Latin America for Hi5 but are still cumbersome platforms to use with limited RSS connectivity. As you can see, Twitter totally passed those networks during the fall of 2008.

So what now? Being on all the main social networks as a person or a brand is somewhat necessary but if you need to focus on a few only, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are the best bets, at least in North America.

Remember that Google Search is still your best bet for driving ‘semantic’ traffic and generating web leads to your company website. SEO (search engine  optimization) and CPC (AdSense) campaigns are good methods but you’re limited when it comes down to increasing brand trust. Blogging remains the best way to increase better qualified leads in your web pipeline.

Finally, remember that YouTube generates more search volume than Yahoo itself since fall 2008 , so if you can invest, make sure to get into video – blogging.

Cheers!

@yannr





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






Your Government 2.0 has arrived – U Ready?

21 01 2009

Lately,  the blogosphere has been speculating  if Mr Obama would ‘follow through’ the social media groundswell movement his campaign had started with his government.  Today was a good sign. From having his Blackberry taken away for security reasons (then given back to him), the “twitterverse” has kept debating. The HOPE is: “we don’t want the traditional way”, it’s a time for change, right? Will the new Oval Office still use  its new way after blowing through the roof of every social media form? Check out these stats from during the campaign: Twitter (165,000 followers), Facebook (close to 4,000,000 fans), MySpace (1,100,985 friends), Blogging, YouTube … etc.

Well, in the hour after the inauguration, we had the spark of an answer, the new WhiteHouse.Gov site is now up and features a blog on the front page 🙂 – This will make those of us who think that blogging is the mothership of social media smile widely! There is no better way to engage and distribute your content today than through a [useful] blog. The Government is doing it , don’t be left behind! This is now the most cost effective way to reach out and spread the word about your brand’s higher purpose. Every blog is a natural SEO (Search Engine Optimization) method of increasing your relevancy.  RSS will distribute the mail (blog) for free and at the speed of light.

Along those lines (of doing the right thing), I had a brief interaction with @georgegsmithjr from Crocs recently – Wayne Sutton was interviewing George Smith at Crocs about their young voyage through Social Media. I think that many companies could certainly learn from their humble approach to social media [read more here] – They are tiptoeing into it,  their blog is buried on their site [unlike the new White House one on the front page] and feeding their blog to their brand fans in Facebook is not there yet, but they are definitely trying, kudos to them!  I speak to many marketing folks who are simply afraid of any ‘interaction’ with real people.  It’s funny how people can just become robots when they enter the work environment.  Crocs is definitely trying the right way, the human way. It’s time to engage, now that we have all that sociable leadership in the White House.

Today was another huge spike for the ‘people’s voice’ with Twitter experiencing moments of  5X more tweets per second than the normal daily rate. It’s always a good reminder that Twitter is now mainstream. Your customers and the most viral of them are on it 🙂 Be there. Even if you or your company are not blogging, try yourself out with micro-blogging — it is a good place to start. I also highly recommend you use TweetDeck (Desktop Application) if you are going to use Twitter. Tweetdeck is way more efficient than using Twitter by itself.

Blogging, yes we can…

Cheers!

@yannr





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





What the Blog?

1 12 2008

One of the things Extanz is committed to is “growing experts”. It’s one of our core values. We take this approach to our clients and to ourselves. My story is a case in point…..

Until recently I didn’t really understand what all this blogging was about. To be perfectly honest I thought it was primarily for geeks who wanted to discuss….well I’m not really sure what I thought they were discussing…. or for journalists who were just re-formatting their previous articles into the form of a blog to keep up with the times or a new arena for people to rant about whatever they were currently annoyed with. None of the above was of any interest to me what so ever.

I never really did much work on-line in my past jobs aside from daily emails and helping to update our company’s website every now and again, but working for Extanz has opened my eyes to a whole new world…the blogosphere. And this blogosphere is pretty cool, I must say.

While doing research on influential blogs (yes, blogs can be influential!) for our clients I began stumbling upon all these nifty blogs that I found very helpful and interesting. I have now become the “annoying yet full of information” friend and daughter that emails everyone links to cool and sometimes helpful blogs. Like the gluten free blog for my Mom who has Celiac disease, or the cool Mom product review blog for my best friend who just had her first baby.

Yes, blogs are cool, but as I mentioned they can also be influential. Does your company have a blog? Are you letting your customers/clients know about who you are? Are you reaching out and making a connection? Having a company blog can bring in new business that you never thought possible. For instance, the other day I was cruising around the web and found this really cool, local, honey farm and they happened to have a blog on their website. I started reading and found myself so fascinated and loving all the information in this blog, about the history of the company, the bees, and most importantly to me, the honey and its health benefits. Before I knew it, I was buying $30 worth of honey and have been telling all my friends about it.

So… as you can see, I have found out that my previous assumption of blogs was not entirely true. Blogs are not just for the geeks, journalists, and complainers. Blogging is for everyone and by everyone. Make a connection, share information, tell a story, be influential. Come on, what are you waiting for? Everyone’s doing it…

Cheers,

Lauren

Thanks Hi I’m Chris for the cool pic