Posts Tagged ‘rob petersen

04
May
10

5 reasons blogs pay off

A frequent comment from businesses and people new to blogging is:  I have a website, so why do I need a blog?

Here are 5 reasons blogs pay off.

  1. IMPROVED BRAND IMAGE: Positive perceptions of  a business or company increase +36% if there is a blog either on or linked to the website. That’s because consumers view you as accessible, transparent and willing to help (source: Nielsen) .
  2. BETTER SEARCH RESULTS: A blog is a major asset for better search results, especially since you can link your blog to others (and visa-versa), a primary characteristic search engines use for determining relevance. For example, my name, Rob Petersen, is pretty common. In searching the name, this site, BarnRaisers, comes up 4th, ahead of a famous magazine publisher and a former running back for the Philadelphia Eagles (sorry, I’m not them).
  3. STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS: 95% of people never read more than 5 pages or spend more than 5 minutes on a website (source: comScore). If your company or brand website has more than 5 pages, consumers are likely to get to know you better through your blog than the chance your website can beat these odds.
  4. RETURN ON INVESTMENT: “Open source” blogging platforms are very good now and keep getting better.  To reveal a little about myself, seven months ago, I built this site with a little sweat equity and $7.50.  Given the platform capabilities, I also made it the company website and put 5 tabs on top to tell the story of our business (with great respect to comScore). Although it also took knocking on dozens of doors (well, dozens of dozens) to secure initial assignments and there was  time, travel and other business expenses, blogs played a critical role delivering the necessary ROI to  start and build a business.
  5. SHARED OBJECTIVES:  Blogs and brand websites share (at least they should) the same business objectives; that is, to drive leads, provide useful information, be helpful, convert consumers, complete desired transactions (e.g. create inquiries, sign up subscriptions, make a purchase) and keep your audience coming back to build your brand. Can any business have too much of that?

I go to blogs, before websites, for inspiration, ideas and help.  Bloggers I admire keep me in the know and have graciously helped me, either directly and indirectly, be a better communicator, business person and blogger.  I also feel like I have a relationship with someone which is always preferable.  Just a  dozen of the many I turn to are:

  1. http://www.chrisbrogan.com
  2. http://sethgodin.typepad.com
  3. http://mashable.com
  4. http://www.marketingprofs.com
  5. http://www.bloombergmarketing.blogs.com
  6. http://www.tomhcanderson.com
  7. http://www.marketersstudio.com
  8. http://mackcollier.com
  9. http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com
  10. http://www.n2growth.com/blog
  11. http://conversationagent.com
  12. http://altitudebranding.com

A blog I also admire for its business acumen is http://www.singleservecoffee.com

The blog’s creator has smartly identified a topic that is also be a niche business in a big, crowded, competitive category.  The brand name/URL establishes category authority and comes up #1 on search engines for “single serve coffee” and “single serve coffee makers.”  The blog reviews products, has relevant ads (that generate revenue) and sells single serve coffee makers and accessories direct to consumers.  On the site, there is also social community on the subject.  The ROI must be extraordinary.

Does this help you see the value of blogs?

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.

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.

03
Mar
10

Case study: social media brings out advocates and ROI

I’ve had clients tell me they’re from Missouri – you know, the “show me” state.  I must  work with people who’ve spent some time there because I hear the phrase, “show me,” a lot.

Here’s a recent experience of ours we’re glad to have done for a worthwhile cause.  It shows us social media:

  • Works
  • Works even better when it’s integrated into the marketing mix
  • Is highly accountable
  • Builds brands

But that’s our opinion.  What does this case study show you?

SOCIAL MEDIA BRINGS OUT ADVOCATES AND ROI FOR COLGATE/STARLIGHT FOUNDATION

SITUATION: Every February, Colgate Palmolive helps the Starlight Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving life for terminally ill children.  They donate a Wii Fun Center every day to a deserving children’s hospital.  Consumers vote at the Colgate website for their favorite children’s hospital to be recipients.

Awareness occurs through radio, major magazines, online advertising, PR and events, with the challenge to increase outreach, voting and participation every year.

SOLUTION: In 2010, social media is integrated in the marketing mix.  A social media “app” is developed for the voting at http://colgate.com/showthelove.  Through the “app,” consumers are able to: 1) Locate their favorite children’s hospital,  2) see who the daily winners are and 3) encourage their friends on social networks and relevant blogs to get involved.  Recommendations are delivered with a branded “Show the Love” digital mnemonic (visual in the center above).

RESULTS: Social media outperforms outreach expectations, shows significant return on investment and plays an integral part in the program.

  • 20% of consumers who vote also share on their social networks and blogs.  For perspective, typical response rates for promotions on consumer packaged goods brands are less than 5%
  • They are on the social media “app” 3X longer than the web site
  • 25% of total traffic comes from social media; mostly from Facebook
  • Total social media impressions compare favorably to mass media because the average Facebook user has 130 friends
  • Text analysis shows learning and offers direction for next year’s efforts
  • Lead acquisition occurs and a database is built; it’s now an activation source for future brand building programs

The investment in social media, relative to total program costs, is a small, single-digit percentage.   It delivers double-digit results.

10
Feb
10

You don’t need a social media strategy

the view outside

We’re taking a pounding today in the Northeast from the snow.  It’s good weather for blog writing, especially on the topic – you don’t need a social media strategy; you need a business strategy.

AJ Bombers is a bar and grill in Milwaukee WI and a good example because:

  1. BACKGROUND –  Everything you need to know is in YouTube video from Chris Brogan 2 blogs down
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS – 75% of their customers are from Twitter
  3. BUSINESS STRATEGY – Social media comes out of the business strategy
  4. RELEVANCE – The principles apply to all businesses and haven’t we all dreamed of owning a successful restaurant?

BRAND POSITION.  It starts here, a promise a brand makes with its customers distinguishing itself from the competition.  I’ve never been to AJ Bombers but I know enough to write their brand position.

AJ Bombers is a place with great atmosphere where you always feel welcome and never find better beer, burgers and bar fare at a better value, anywhere.

BUSINESS STRATEGY.  How to put that promise into practice and make a profit.  From studying their web site, videos, social networks and PR, AJ Bombers’ business strategy is:

  1. Mi Casa es tu Casa.  Welcome customers encouraging them to write their name or Twitter addresses on the wall.  It adds to the atmosphere, shows we want to get to know you and keeps relationships alive.
  2. Put money into the product, not the marketing. Serve single, double and triple patty burgers at very reasonable prices and sides like Gi-Normous Fries.  Need I say more.  By contrast, keep the web site very simple with 5 pages (a personal “best practice” of mine since 95% of people never read more than 5 pages) and the ability to order food and buy merchandise online.
  3. Show care with exceptional e-manners. Thank, keep informed and fix a problem, if one occurs, through consistent e-outreach and quick responsiveness.  Twitter is a natural.  It’s interactive, fun and extends the great atmosphere in the restaurant online.

And the people at AJ’s don’t miss a beat.  I’ve tested them and they respond to every e-mail, Tweet, Facebook post and blog entry, almost instantly.  This is very important in the caring and social media department.

AJ Bombers’ owner, Joe Sorge, spends a lot of time on Twitter and has learned to play it like a fiddle.  But, first, he had a business strategy.  Now, if I could only figure out where the name came from.




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