Posts Tagged ‘business strategy

17
May
10

The “Be’s” behind your social media brand

7 Steps to More Effective Facebook Fan Pages. 5 Tips to Develop a Twitter Following. 11 Sure-Fire Ways LinkedIn Generates Business Leads.  8 Rules for Building Brands with Blogs.  Do these type of headlines sound familiar?  Do they get your attention?  I confess to sometimes writing them myself.

Unfortunately, we often pay more attention to tactics than our voice.  Too bad because your voice in social media is your brand equity. 

Social media marketing is different from advertising, sales promotion or direct marketing.  It’s a conversation, not a monologue.  It won’t work if your constituents don’t believe you always have their best interests at heart.  Just try to tell someone to “Buy This Now” and see what happens.

So it’s not what you need to make someone do.  It’s how you have to be.  Here are 16 Be’s for finding a social voice that works for your brand.

  1. Be helpful
  2. Be willing to ask for help
  3. Be informative
  4. Be of value in teaching someone something new
  5. Be willing to share
  6. Be able to ask others to share in return
  7. Be positive
  8. Be forthcoming
  9. Be inspirational
  10. Be a good listener
  11. Be able to carry on a good conversation
  12. Be honest with your audience
  13. Be able to express a point of view convincingly 
  14. Be able to respect those who do and don’t accept what you have to say 
  15. Be willing to give before you have to get
  16. Be yourself 

The list is as long or as short as the authentic qualities you have when you relate to others.

So the next time you see someone or some business brag, boast, bring nothing to the party other than an endless stream of press releases and company news either in a blog, tweet, comment or through a bit.ly link, feel free to remind them of this advice.

Do you have any “Be’s” of your own?  Send them my way.  I’d like to hear so we can keep a running list together.

21
Apr
10

“Advanced” social media workshop

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Stamford CT Tuesday night (4/27) from 6pm to 9 pm, we’d welcome you to an “advanced” social media workshop at UCONN.  Here are the directions  http://www.stamford.uconn.edu/visitors.htm

When we were asked by US Small Business Administration to do an “advanced” social media workshop, we thought:  What is “advanced” social media anyway?  Someone who has built up thousands of fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter? A brand with a You Tube video viewed by millions? A business using proprietary social networking technology, widgets and apps?

This didn’t do it.  We defined it as:  A business or brand that has used social media to the benefit of their bottom line; saw clear business growth, proved an ROI, communicated consistently with their customers and, as a result, has the know how, insights and understanding to do it again and again.

When we thought about in these terms, a lot of case studies came to mind.  Some from business owners who happened to be our friends, colleagues and clients.  We thought it would be more interesting for them to tell you what social media did for their brands.  Here’s the list of brands that will be discussed:

  1. AJ Bombers – A  burger joint in Milwaukee WI
  2. Vitamin Water – I guess you know this one
  3. Forever Verdant – A services company for environmentally friendly living
  4. Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing – A top social media and marketing consultancy and top 20 blog according to Forbes
  5. Real Women on Health – A health and wellness community for Baby Boomer women
  6. HubSpot – An inbound marketing solutions company to grow traffic, leads and sales

For AJ Bombers and Diva Marketing, owners Joe Sorge and Toby Bloomberg will be live (courtesy of Skype) from Milwaukee WI and Atlanta GA.  After all, it’s called social media for a reason.

If it’s nearby for you, we’d love to have you.  There is a $25 fee; $35 for two.  It doesn’t go to us (or the presenters) but back to the US Small Business Administration.  We and they believe social media is a competitive advantage for small businesses who play a vital role in our economic recovery.  And we’d rather see our administration spend money on small businesses, not big banks.

It’s our 2nd of 2 workshops at UCONN this spring.  The 1st was a “beginners” workshop.  What is social media for “beginners?”  That’s a much easier question and that presentation is below.

12
Apr
10

The net promoters era

What are net promoters? Consumers who rate products on the internet?  Mommy Bloggers? People who Tweets about brands on Twitter? Fans on Facebook? Hold that thought.

For students of relationship marketing and CRM, net promoters are the driving force of Fred Reichheld’s book, The Ultimate Question. Fred studied and surveyed the customers of 100’s of companies and came to a singular conclusion: The most admired and profitable companies are the ones with the greatest percentage of net promoters – people who enthusiastically answer in the affirmative the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”

Fred developed the Net Promoter Score (NPS).  The NPS is the percentage of people who are “promoters” of a company minus the   “passives” and “detractors” (NPS = P – D).  Reichheld’s work is known for its statistical significance and high correlation with business success.  In 2006, the companies with the highest NPS were:

  • USAA (82%)
  • HomeBanc (81%)
  • Harley-Davidson (81%)
  • Costco (79%)
  • Amazon.com (73%)
  • Chick-fil-A (72%)
  • eBay (71%)

By 2008, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, in Groundswell, delivered research showing 80% of people rate and review products favorably on the internet and their social networks. If companies with an NPS of 80% rank among the highest in Reichheld’s work, Li and Bernoff’s research is particularly good news for businesses and brands.

It means companies that use interactive ratings are reviews are likely to have a higher NPS, be more admired and have greater profitability. Li and Bernoff’s research also showed:

  • 76% of customers use online reviews to make purchases
  • 96% of sites that have them say they are an effective merchandising tactic
  • Only 25% of e-commerce sites have them now

So, from Reichheld’s, Li’s and Bernoff’s viewpoints, we’re in the “net promoters era.”  If your company isn’t taking advantage of it, shouldn’t it be?

04
Apr
10

The Goldilocks Rule

I’m seeing a business principle take shape in social media called the “Goldilocks Rule.”

What happens is a business starts using a number of social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Maybe they use video or an app too. Pretty soon, one social networks starts working better than all the others. It’s the one that’s “just right” because it:

  • Attracts more people (fans, followers, viewers)
  • Increases sales most directly

While it’s not apparent at the outset what social network it will be, it is apparent, once it starts to happen, it’s the one that best reflects the uniqueness of the brand. Let’s look at a few examples.

1. BLENDTEC (BLENDERS):  On YouTube, the blending of an iPhone has been watched by 8,002,192 viewers. Videos of CEO Tom Dickson blending golf balls and hockey pucks have over 1,000,000 viewers each. By contrast, Blendtec has 17,145 fans on Facebook and 2,266 followers on Twitter. For a product whose benefit needs to be seen to be believed, videos and YouTube are the medium for the message.  For an investment of around $1,000, company sales increased +500%. And they still grow in direct proportion to YouTube viewership.

2. AJ BOMBERS (RESTAURANTS): Ask owner, Joe Sorge, what took his Milwaukee burger joint from $12,000/week to $17,000/week in sales and he’ll tell you Twitter, a video from Chris Brogan and great burgers. Numbers support this because the video on YouTube has 3,047 viewers and AJ Bomber’s Twitter page, which Joe uses like a virtual host, has 3,107 followers.  By contrast, AJ Bomber’s Facebook page has 1,028 fans.  Maybe that’s why Joe now has a book called #Twitterworks (http://twitterworks.tv) to go with the great food.

Both Tom and Joe’s videos are in previous blog.

3. COLGATE (CONSUMER GOODS):  We put social media into Colgate’s marketing mix by creating a social media app for their promotions and events so friends could share Colgate news with  friends. We put the app on their web site. It gives greater details on specific promotions and events and allows for sharing on over 20 social networks. We find 80% of response comes from Facebook. We also find the response rate is 4X industry norms and people spend 3X more time on the app than the web site. Since the average Facebook users has 130 friends, that’s a lot of people and involvement.

Facebook proved to be the best vehicles for conversations about Colgate brands. All of us like to talk about brands. Did you know we talk about brands on average a dozen times a day?  Now, social media makes it easier for those conversations to occur and for us to learn from them.

So that’s the “Goldilocks Rule.” We see it for brands we observe. Do you see in your industry or brand?

25
Mar
10

7 social media tips to build brands

The U.S. Small Business Administration is giving social media workshops at UCONN campuses this March and April.

52% of people in the U.S. work at businesses with 20 people or less.  Small businesses have led the country out of every recession.  Many believe, including comScore, social media will be a big asset this time around.

Since I’m one of them, I’m grateful to contribute along with Mike Rogers of Brainloaf,  http://www.brainloaf.com and other small business owners (featured below) that have used social media successfully.  Here are 7 social media tips to build brands.

  1. Strategy trumps technology: A business strategy and social media strategy are the same thing.  In using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, apps etc., ask yourself how these amplify the business strategy and increase customer engagement and trust in your brand?
  2. Set measurements and expectations first: Don’t believe anyone who says you can’t measure social media.  You can know more about buying behaviors on the internet (e.g. where customers come from, how long they spend with you, what they do and where they go) than in your store.  Plus Google Analytics and bit.ly links are free.  If you’re not convinced, David Berkowitz has a great presentation on 100 measurements at: http://bit.ly/pmadb
  3. Social media takes time: Small business owners, understandably, have lots of priorities.  Manage what you can handle.  Customers come first.  Social media is going to be around for a while.
  4. Live with the ups and downs: What you want is a following and fans.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t happen the way you thought it would, but, stick with it, and it does happen.  Enjoy the journey.
  5. Not all social networks are equal: In every case I’ve seen, some social networks do better than others depending on the unique nature of every business.  For AJ Bombers, a burger joint, it was Twitter, acting as a virtual host, and a video from Chris Brogan.  For a utilitarian product like Blendtec blenders, it was unconventional product demos from Founder/CEO, Tom Dickson.  You can learn from their experiences below and expect it will happen for you.
  6. Have your online house in order: If you follow tips 1-5, you will experience increased traffic.  It will go to your web site, the most important asset in any social media program.  There’s an old saying:  Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.  Today, nothing kills a good social media program faster than a bad web site.
  7. Believe in your product: Joe Sorge, owner of AJ Bombers, who now has a book, #Twitterworks (http://twitterworks.tv),   spoke in a video call from Milwaukee.  Joe says his Twitter page, AJBombers, has increased weekly sales +25%.  What was most important to his success?  “If I didn’t believe AJ Bombers made the best cheeseburger on the planet, social media wouldn’t have accomplished a thing.”

If you’re in the area, the next workshop is April 27th at UCONN in Stamford from 6pm to 9 pm.  Details will be at:  http://bit.ly/bW22Ml

16
Mar
10

Thank you Warren Buffet and YouTube

In November, Warren Buffet bought Texas-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26.3 billion dollars.  His analysis shows in our lifetimes trains are going to be the most effective, fuel-efficient and green means available to transport cargo from point A to point B.  For anyone investing in railroads, trains are going to be a source of “steady and certain” growth.

“Steady and certain” is more than an economic valuation for trains.  Their familiar sound is one of purpose and flow.

I’ve always lived in towns where trains pass through.  In Croton-on-Hudson NY, where I once lived, their sound was particularly melodious.  Trains travelled right alongside the Hudson River and the hills on both sides brought out a deep, rich sound.

If you search YouTube for Croton-0n-Hudson, what appears is an entire page of videos devoted to trains.  Apparently, from the comments, I’m not the only one to find something comforting and reassuring in their sight and sound.  Here’s one of those videos.  See if it has the same effect on you it has for many of us.

Thank you Warren Buffet and YouTube for something steady and certain.

12
Mar
10

Shhh! 10 social media secrets for maketing with women

I had the privilege of being on a radio show panel with some great people.  The topic: “How Social Media Gains Trust and Advocacy in Marketing with Women.”  Since women make 85% of buying decisions and are faster adopters of social media than men, it was a timely and interesting topic.  The radio show was “Real Women on Health” and the panel was:

  • Toby Bloomberg, Founder, Bloomberg Marketing, a strategic marketing and blogging consultancy and Forbes’ Top 20 Women Bloggers
  • Kelley Connors, President of Real Women on Health!, a multi-channel community with a radio show, top-rated women’s health web site and significant affiliate partnerships
  • Tom H. C. Anderson, CEO of Anderson Analytics, a market research consultancy, and chairperson of LinkedIn’s most active networking group, Next Generation Market Research
  • Rob Petersen, President of BarnRaisers, an online marketing solutions company using social media and proven relationship marketing principles
  • Cassie Holm, National Strategic Alliance Director of Real Women on Health!, was the moderator

Everyone took the opportunity to learn from one another.  Here are 10 tips to gain trust and advocacy with women using social media.

  1. Invite in: Women are 3X less likely to care about the size of their network than men.  Size may not matter but being shown personal attention does.
  2. Understand who you’re talking to: 74% post pictures of family/friends and 71% talk about what they’re doing now as opposed to 60% and 58% for men.  Take advantage of the opportunity and get to know them.
  3. Listen and respond: Listening is a fundamental skill but, equally important, is proof you did.
  4. Set guidelines and expectations: You can’t read body language on a social network.   Security and privacy are big issues.  Create a comfortable environment.
  5. Be transparent: If you’re not part of the group and “trolling” for business purposes, you are very, very likely to be found out so be open about who you are.
  6. Talk rather than target: When women are online, 50% are connecting with family and friends, reading someone else’s blog or posting a comment.   They’re socializing so shouldn’t you?
  7. Respect values: Dove ran a campaign on Facebook, “12 going on 20.”  It asked young teens to describe what mattered when they were 5, 10 and 15 and how it influenced them today.  It’s a great example of how social marketing showed respect for values.
  8. Engage rather than sell: 60% or more are uploading picture or watching videos when online.  Work as a co-creator, not a marketer.
  9. Social media = social networking + social issues: It called “social” media for a reason.  Make the most of both of them.  Your audience will appreciate you did.
  10. Give back – it’s part of the culture:  You get back more when you give.  That’s what we’re trying to do.

You can also hear the podcast at http://bit.ly/avmz1d.  Or let us hear from you.




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