Archive for June, 2010
Two articles this morning got me to thinking about privacy online and in social media. The first article came from eMarketer that featured a study that privacy concerns fail to slow the growth of social media. Even privacy concerns, threats of boycotts of Facebook, and sites like PleaseRobMe.com which expose social media sites for ulterior purposes haven’t slowed the growth of social media. People just have this “want” to share, and boy are they ever because communities like Facebook and Foursquare make it very easy to share personal experiences with your network of friends, family and colleagues.
But really, how much is too much to share with your networks? Does it depend on your age? Your title or position at your job? Where you live? Your personality? Actually anyone of those things can be a factor. Take age for example.
Kids Are Oblivious to Privacy
Kids these days (I’m talking about those under 18) have grown up in the world of MySpace and Facebook and see absolutely nothing wrong with sharing where they are going with their network of friends on Facebook. The only problem with that is, they forget to lock down their profiles (for privacy) so that the entire world can see what they are doing and where they are going – including sexual predators. Contrary to popular belief sexual predators don’t just hang out on MySpace anymore. Parents who don’t realize that their children are sharing things like their daily routines with their friends, and unaware of changes in the TOS on Facebook might be shocked how much “private” information is out there about their children, potentially placing them in danger.
Sharing Too Much With Your Job
Then there’s how much is too much to share if you are in a particular position in your company. The second article that I read this morning comes from Crisis Blogger about a Washington Post Conservative Blogger and what he shared via an email listserv in the way of his feelings towards “big wig” conservatives. Now while email is private, listservs aren’t exactly as private, plus the person in question was a blogger, a social media butterfly or maven of sorts. By sharing his thoughts via email, it cost Dave Weigel his job at the Post.
There’s many other examples out there, one of my favorites is highlighted in Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media. Just over a year ago an employee of the Philadelphia Eagles expressed his extreme dislike of the Eagles decision to not offer Brian Dawkins the same amount of money the Denver Broncos did to keep the fan favorite in Philadelphia. He posted his feelings on Facebook. The Eagles management subsequently called him up and fired him for posting those remarks. They didn’t take into account this man was a long time worker at the Eagles west gate, won many “employee of the month” type awards and also had a disability. The Philadelphia Eagles also did not have a social media policy in place. The only thing the Philadelphia Eagles had was that Pennsylvania is a “Right to Hire” state which means, they can pretty much fire you for anything. What ensued was a firestorm of controversy for the Philadelphia Eagles from both angry fans and upset media, which continues to plague them even today, especially when Brian Dawkins comes to town to play his old team.
Are You Planning Policies & Teaching Your Employees About What Not to Share?
So as a company are you planning social media policies that include how much is too much to share? What will be tolerated and what is unacceptable actions (vulgar language, opposing views, etc.) for your employees engaging in social media? Have you taken the time to consult not just legal counsel, but human resources and your marketing teams about the policies? Do they make sense?
Understanding how social media is affecting not just your company but your employees’ everyday lives is important, because as humans we all crave to share and connect and with the internet and social media communities that become increasingly easier to do. Preparing for that is tough, but not impossible. Teaching your employees about social media and the affects it can have when they share too much (or even too little) can go a long way to ensuring your company has a successful venture into social media.
Today’s three tips come from chapter 16, “Everyone in Your company Has a Stake in Your Social Media Strategy” in the book, Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media. It’s not just your marketing team that is going to determine the success or the failure of your social media marketing strategy, even the person who sorts the mail in your mail room can have some kind of an affect on your efforts. This is a very important thing to keep in mind, social media is affecting everyone’s lives who has a computer and access to the internet because they want to share & engage with others in their networks.
The three tips from chapter 16 in today’s video only brush the surface of the full chapter, there’s a lot more discussed in the chapter about what to look out for, how to plan and deal with the fact that your employees will talk about you after they leave the office and get home and log into Facebook, Twitter or even an online forum. Lets take a look at today’s three tips:
- Not All Users Are From Generation Y or the Millennials
- The C-Suite Needs to Be Involved
- Any Position Within Your Company Can Have an Adverse Affect on Your Social Media Strategy
Full video transcript after the jump…
I read a rather interesting piece on eConsultancy about the world of online dating and how the free sites, such as Plenty of Fish and Mingle2, are likely winning the war of attracting singles to their sites versus their paid counterparts such as Match.com (which just recently paired up with Yahoo Singles), PerfectMatch & EHarmony. With the economy in a downturn and keeping steadily in that range, online users are looking to save money where they can, even when they are looking for love.
Now, throw social networks into the mix. On Facebook a member has the ability to change their relationship status and announce to the world that they are looking for a potential mate. If someone else in their network is also looking, they can get a much better picture of how that person really is, in “real life”, on a social network like Facebook because people are much more willing to share information with their “Friends”, than complete strangers on some dating site.
So what are industries like the online dating industry suppose to do? Especially when all of a sudden your biggest competitor just came out of left field and sucker punched you with their vast amounts of members, and free information about them, plus allowing them to communicate for free? All the stuff that the big paid sites are charging their members to do.
You change, you adapt and you give your audience what they are clamoring for. You need to up the anty and give them more for their money, otherwise, Facebook and your free counterparts who are becoming more and more like a social network, are going to overtake your audience.
Look at how the cable news networks have adapted as opposed to their floundering counterparts, the news papers. Cable news as made their online sites major hubs of interaction. CNN has integrated the “like” or “recommend” feature everywhere on their site. They’ve embraced Twitter and adapted their real time reporting to include iReport, which has become a major hub for citizen journalism. CNN has adapted, CNN has changed, and CNN is flourishing in the online news world where others are merely scratching their heads wondering how in the world they are going to keep treading water.
Even the travel industry has adapted and changed. Notoriously “hands off” with customers before social networks and ratings & reviews came into play, the travel industry had to change due to people not only using ratings and review sites, such as TripAdvisor, to share their experiences but people who actually using those sites to make their decisions whether to stay someone, take a particular airline or other mode of transportation. The travel industry had to adapt to become more social with their audience.
So is social media changing the way your industry is interacting? Has your marketing changed? Has your outlook or your marketing plan changed because of social media and how your customers are sharing their experiences?
Chances go by every day to turn pissed off customers into raving fans, and companies continually miss these opportunities because they are very fearful of the answer to “Why Don’t You Like Me?”. Actually, lets face it, everyone doesn’t want to hear about all of their flaws, so it is just common nature.
Chapter 32 “Ask the Audience” in the book Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media, explores reasons why and how you should go about asking the audience questions. If you are going to be successful in social media marketing you’ll have to break out of that mold of avoiding asking why, and start asking it and truly listening to the replies. What will happen when you do and actually act upon those reason will surprise you, you just might find yourself with a few evangelists on your hands.
Today’s three high level tips are:
- Don’t Avoid Why They Don’t Like You
- Ask How You Can Improve
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Full video transcript after the jump…
Let’s jump into that hot tub time machine for a moment, shall we? Back in the 90′s I use to work for Cellular One. The company I worked for was a franchise sort of like McDonald’s, that eventually sold out to the bigger companies like Vanguard Cellular One who eventually sold to AT&T, who then sold to someone else, and they turned back into AT&T. I know I’m probably dating myself now, but, this is back when a cell phone was a bag phone, or a phone installed in your car. We were just migrating from the infamous brick phone into the Motorola Flip. Hand held cellular phones were pretty “iffy” on the reception back then too. At this point in time the Internet was just starting to grow as well, I was very proud that I upgraded from a 14.4 modem to a 28.8!
Back then, I only dreamed about the cellular phones I sold being able to connect my computer to the internet, let alone it connecting all by itself and allowing me to access my social media communities (back then that was web based chats and forums!).
Here we are, over 15 years later and not only can I access my social media communities from my phone but I can play podcasts, I can not only watch videos, but record and upload them too. I can put applications on my phone that make it easier for me to find places to eat, hotels to stay in and find out what movie is playing at what location that’s closest to me. I get my email to my phone, text messages, I can have my phone function as my alarm clock and even tell me how much of a tip I need to leave the waitress for my dinner.
I use to think I couldn’t live without my computer (I probably still can’t), but now I look at everything I do with my smart phone, and I wonder, “can I live without my Droid”? I’m finding it increasingly difficult to see my life functioning easily without it. I’m not alone either.
I’ve written about how companies need to think beyond the web browsers and how social media communities are constantly trying to make it easier for its members to connect via cell phone applications. I was investigating some statistics and I was really blown away to see just how much society is relying on their cell phones (and that’s just in the U.S. – in Asia, it’s overwhelming).
- Social Networking via applications has grown over 240% in the past year
- 80% of Twitter’s usage is via mobile phone
- More than 65 Million users access Facebook via their cell phones
- In just 1 year the Mobile Social Network Foursquare (primary usage is via smart phones & applications)
- Has acquired over 500k users
- Users have created over 1.4 million venues
- Users have logged over 15.5 million check ins
- If Yelp is any indication of the power the smart phone holds, look at this iPhone applications stats for the site
- Over 27% of the searches were done from the iPhone app
- Over 500,000 calls were made to local businesses directly from the iPhone App, or 1 call being placed every 5 seconds
- Nearly a million people generated point-to-point directions to a local business from their Yelp iPhone App in May 2010
There are dozens of other statistics out there that continually point to the rise of the smart phone as an essential tool in people’s lives. From finding restaurants to keeping up with email, the cellphones with web capabilities are not just a passing fad, they are here, they are evolving and when you pair them with applications that allow people to connect and share in social networks, they are a force that marketers can no longer passively ignore.
Making sure that you are planning for Mobile Marketing as part of your social media marketing strategy is now becoming essential if you want to really reach out and engage with your audiences. Social media marketing doesn’t operate in a vacuum, social media and email, social media and search marketing, social media and offline marketing all need to be taken into account. However, even more important is social media and mobile marketing, people leave home without their computers, but they are rarely leaving home without their mobile phones these days.
Many companies are lead down a path in social media marketing that leads them to believe all they have to do is produce content, such as blog posts, in order to gain a foothold in social media communities. They’ve been sold some list of things to do and figure what ever they put out will be valuable content to the audiences they want to engage with. The problem with that theory is that they believe they are the ones providing the valuable content, that they decide what’s valuable and just place it out there for the world to receive.
In chapter 29 of Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media, we discuss how your content must have value. There’s a lot of interesting pieces that go into what’s deemed “valuable”, but at the end of the day, it’s not the companies putting out the content who decide the value, it’s really the end users. Today’s three tips focus on that, but of course, there’s a heck of a lot more about this topic in the actual chapter.
- The End User Decides the Value of Your Content, Not You
- Produce What They Want
- Make Your Content Portable, That Makes It More Valuable
Full video transcript after the jump…
That’s probably why most corporate social media initiatives will fail. Operating without a sound plan or strategy is very much like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing if it will stick to it, just to see if its done. At the end of the day you have wasted spaghetti either on your wall or on your floor.
With companies planning to implement 10 or more endeavors into social media marketing this year, how can they operate without a plan, without guidelines, without policies, without goals and without measuring? Social media marketing is becoming a more common line item in budgets, especially in 2010, and accountability is crucial to prove whether the efforts are working or not.
Unfortunately what happens in most cases, especially with those who don’t have plans or strategies to guide them, is that the C-Suite or the person in charge suffers from “Shiny Object Syndrome“. Basically they see social media, they hear about it, they look at the results that look instantaneous or overnight that are being touted on Mashable, Tech Crunch, CNN or NBC and think “We Have To Have That!“ So the word comes from on high that they need to have a Twitter account, or be in Four Square, or have a Facebook Application. The marketing team scrambles to put it in place and just starts engaging, a few weeks later …… Nothing!
What happened, why didn’t anyone talk to us? Didn’t they like our coupons? What about our ads, did they click on our page of ads? Why didn’t they buy anything? This Social Media stuff doesn’t work!
That’s what happens when you don’t start off in social media marketing without a sound plan or strategy. It didn’t work because likely your captive audience wasn’t where you just started your tactic in, or you weren’t talking to them in the lingo they use, or you insulted them by not reading the rules or understanding the norms, or worse you treated them like the “general public”. It failed because you didn’t have policies in place or you didn’t keep your entire team (and company) clued in on your efforts or your messaging you wanted to convey in social media. If failed because you neglected to set goals and measure those tactics you implemented to see if they were helping you meet your goals and either tweak, add more resources to or switch tactics in your social media plan….. a plan which you didn’t set in place.
No matter what you see your company is doing in social media, you need to stop and ask yourself, should I be doing that too? Are we really the same if we are competition? Here’s the thing about social media marketing – no two businesses are ever the same when it comes to engaging and implementing marketing tactics in social media, especially successfully. In chapter 12 of Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media we’re focusing on understanding that just because one company is doing something in social media doesn’t mean that you should be too.
The three high level tips for today’s chapter, chapter 12 “Every Business is Different” are:
- There’s No Cookie Cutter Approach
- Listen to Your Customers
- Brand Loyalists Can Make the Difference
Full video transcript after the jump…
People come together in social media communities to share their experiences and engage with others about those experiences. A lot of times they come to these places of comfort to find like minded individuals who they can commiserate with about ideas, thoughts, information, tips or tricks around the things they are very passionate about. They come to share, to communicate, to experience and most of all to be together.
They don’t go to social media communities to be marketed to.
Sometimes marketers can have the mistaken thought that they are going to be willingly accepted into a community because they announce that they “have arrived” or they set up an account, or they have special discounts for “fans”. People in social media communities not only want more from marketers that are now injecting themselves into their social media communities, but they expect more.
Today’s three high level tips revolve around chapter 34 “People Don’t Want to be Marketed To” in Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media. The chapter really focuses on understanding that coming into social media communities with the idea of pushing a marketing message is just really the wrong approach to take:
- Let the Rules Help You
- Don’t Just Push Your Agenda
- Be An Asset
Full video transcript after the jump
There’s a lot of ins and outs when it comes to social media marketing. One of the biggest pieces to success with when you are planning your social media strategy is knowing how to integrate other marketing types in with your social media strategy. Integration with other disciplines further enhances the reach of what each of your chosen tactics is attempting to do. One of the easiest and more successful ways to promote your interactions in social media is via email.
I wrote about Email Can Be Social Media’s Best Friend a few weeks ago on ClickZ, and I still point back to how easy it is for people to share via email the content they find valuable. As much as they are sharing on Twitter and Facebook, people share in emails – probably even more so, as the level of comfort with sending an email is a lot higher due to how its been integrated into our societies. eMarketer has a piece today about integrating social media with email showing the different kinds of tactics companies are planning to do with integrating social media with email, only just under 13% of the companies surveyed aren’t integrating email and social media in some way.
So how can you get a quick start on integrating your existing email list with what your implementing in social media?
5 Quick Tips for Integrating Social Media & Email
Make Special Announcements Early To Your Email List, Then to Your Communities
There’s a reason people sign up for your email lists. They want “in on the ground floor” or they want to be the first to know what’s going on with you, and want to be the first one’s to propagate that information you relate. People who are subscribing willingly, not those people who forget to uncheck the box when they buy something from you, want to know everything that’s going on with you, your company, your brands, your services or products before anyone else, so use that to your advantage. Make special announcements to your email list early and then to your communities a day or two later. If you are consistent with this, you’re fan base is going to notice and catch on and you’ll soon have more additions to your email list if they want the information first.
Use Twitter & Facebook
Its a two way street with Twitter & Facebook, meaning promotion can work for both, in both mediums. On all your email communications, if you have a Twitter Account or a Facebook Fanpage promote it! On your Facebook Fanpage, make it easy for your fans to sign up for your newsletter. When your newest email newsletter goes out to the list, promote it on Twitter, and when it goes live on your site make sure you post the link in your active social media communities. Remember that just because you and your marketing team know you have all these ways to communicate, your audience members and interested fans and customers probably don’t. Let them know!
Offer Sneak Peeks to Email Lists Subscribers
Make your email list feel extra special by offering them limited time “first crack” at a special offer before it goes out to the general public. Make sure they know it too by promoting in ways such as “before we release this to our Facebook Fans or Twitter Community we’d like to give you, our loyal email followers, first crack at our special promotion”. Make sure though that you do place that same promotion out in Facebook, Twitter or the other social media communities after that limited time engagement because your email subscribers are savvy, there’s a very high chance they aren’t just following you with emails, but on your other social media channels as well. Your email subscribers will stand up and take notice and pass around the word that you truly do reward your email community in a special way to their own network of friends.
Turn Your Email Newsletters PDFs and Submit to Scribd
It may sound like a very simple, “no brainer” type of thing to do, but many companies forget that their newsletters that are sent through email can be very valuable content that they can leverage in social media communities. By turning your email newsletters into a PDF and placing it on your website, you get the benefit of the search engines finding and ranking the content, you also get the benefit that your PDF can then be shared across many other social channels. You can also start your own account on Scribd and share your PDF newsletter to that community as well.
Make It Easy to Share Your Email Content
Even within your email newsletters make sure that the content you provide there is easily sharable. Add “retweet”, “share on facebook”, “email to a friend” buttons and graphics to your content. Of course, don’t go overboard and make your email newsletter or content be overtaken by the buttons! Make sure where you are suggesting to share the content makes sense to your own audience. Are they using Twitter? Would Delicious be a better choice? If you’re on the email team, talking to your social media marketing team before randomly selecting buttons would be a better use of your time so you can correctly target where your company wants your content shared.