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Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media is a business marketing book aimed for any company c-suite, executive & senior level management as well as both accomplished and novice marketers who want to learn the ins and outs of being successful with marketing plans that involve social media.
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  • Social Media on a Small Business Budget June 7, 2012
  • Integrating Public Relations Into Your Small Business Marketing Plan May 10, 2012
  • Integrating Paid Ads With Social Media Effectively April 12, 2012
  • How Small Businesses Can Integrate SEO Into Their Social Media Efforts March 15, 2012
  • Integrating Email Marketing for Small Businesses February 16, 2012

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Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media and The Last Original Idea: A Cynic’s View of Internet Marketing which are both nominated for the Small Biz Book Awards, have joined forces!   We’re offering our two of readers the chance to win a copy of each book (signed by each author) just by casting a vote for both books!

Just like we mentioned yesterday about voting, we’re just joining forces to help out The Last Original Idea as well!

You can vote 1 time in a 24 hour period from 1 IP Address for both books (that means your home computer, work computer, cell phone can all vote!) until 2 a.m. EST on December 16th, 2010.  After you vote, just fill out the Entry Form with the vote numbers & your contact information and your entry is cast!  Click the links below and you’ll be taken straight to each books voting page.

Vote For Social Media Marketing!
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Vote For The Last Original Idea!
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There’s a book awards contest happening until December 15th and Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media is up for the Small Biz Trends Small Business Book Award of 2010!

But here’s the scoop.  We need YOUR help to win!

You can vote 1 time in a 24 hour period from 1 IP Address (that means your home computer, work computer, cell phone can all vote!) until 2 a.m. EST on December 16th, 2010.  If you vote, you have a chance to win one of two signed copies of Social Media Marketing! After you vote, just fill out the Entry Form with the vote number & your contact information and your entry is cast!

So please consider clicking the button above or here to cast your vote today!

Privacy in Social MediaTwo 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.

Social Media Forces Changes in IndustriesI 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:

  1. Don’t Avoid Why They Don’t Like You
  2. Ask How You Can Improve
  3. Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Full video transcript after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »

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!).

Motorola Droid & the iPhone - Smart Phones Combine with Social NetworksHere 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)
    1. Has acquired over 500k users
    2. Users have created over  1.4 million venues
    3. 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.

Do You Have a Plan for Social Media Marketing?Believe it or not 52% of companies out there are operating without a plan in social media, according to the latest eMarketer report.  Nada, Zippo, Zilch.

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.

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:

  1. Let the Rules Help You
  2. Don’t Just Push Your Agenda
  3. Be An Asset

Full video transcript after the jump

Read the rest of this entry »

The Value of a Facebook FanIncreasingly companies are trying to tie real world value to their interactions in Social Media.  How much is a tweet worth, how much does the effort cost to get a retweet, or acquiring friends on MySpace or fans on Facebook?

These are ever elusive and for each company the value is going to be different based on the amount of resources (both money and time) invested into the implementation of the particular marketing tactic of the social media marketing strategy.

eMarketer had a interesting post this morning about a report from digital consulting firm Syncapse and research company Hotspex. In their report they came up with an empirical formula that puts an average value of $136.38 on the Facebook fans of the site’s 20 biggest corporate brands.  They based this how much they see that  fans will spend on the brand’s products & services, with additional dollars coming from customer recommendations, loyalty and earned media.

Facebook Users Are More Likely to Buy if They are FansThere have been other studies that have shown social followers are more likely to buy a brand’s products if they are a Facebook fan.  These studies though focused more on the brand loyalty aspect rather than the true dollar amount companies could actually connect with their efforts of building a fan base, particularly in Facebook.

So are you measuring the the Return on Conversation or the Return on Investment in your Social Media Marketing Strategy?  What kind of value are you putting on a Facebook Fan, a Twitter Follower, or a friend in a forum or message board?  What is their interaction worth to you and what’s the likelihood that those friends, followers and fans are going to recommend you, pass on your media or purchase from you?  Those are all things that companies need to plan for, set goals for and keep constantly measuring if there is success to be had in their social media marketing strategies.

Listening is probably one of the most important things you can do when you are implementing engagement tactics in social media communities.  It’s important to remember we were given two ears and just one mouth for a reason.  Listening to the community members can queue you into things that you would not normally be privy too if you were just relying on focus groups or surveys.

Today’s three tips are from Chapter 26 “You Need to be All Ears” in the book Social Media Marketing:  Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media. Of course the full chapter digs a lot deeper into aspects of listening as opposed to just “hearing” what’s being said and how listening can even help your company out with problems it may be facing.  Today’s three quick tips are:

  1. People Want to Be Heard
  2. Learn the Lingo
  3. Listening  Helps Avoid Disasters

Full video transcript after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »

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