Tag Archives: social media strategy

Social Media – Just Like Any Other Business?

22 May

Has Social Media become so complex that we feel like we’re losing our minds trying to make sense of it? For the majority of us, Social Media is complicated, even for those of us that use Social Media on a regular basis. It’s a young industry and new companies, tools, and applications are continuously launching. Trying to make all that visually understandable to us, Buddy Media and Luma Partners published a graphic categorizing Social Media firms, platforms, tools, and blogs. This graphic seems to have hit a few nerves about the complexity of Social Media today.Businessman with many choices

(Due to confidential and proprietary content, the graphic is not included in this blog. The graphic can be viewed at one of the two links below. )

In Eloqua‘s blog on the recent graphic, Joe Chernov compared the complexities of Social Media to that of the auto industry and its vast ecosystem.   Even if Social Media is as complicated as other businesses making that comparison doesn’t mean that Social Media isn’t complicated. And for most of us, who are not experienced digital marketers, Social Media IS complicated.  Yes, there is an almost endless amount of free Social Media white papers, ebooks, webinars and blogs to help get educated.  It still takes a lot of time to understand every platform and tool, their differences and then to decide which ones are the right ones to support the marketing plan.

Do we need to learn all the tools inside and out to be successful at Social Media? I don’t think so. Deciding which tools to use in Social Media is like other marketing decisions we make.  We start with goals and objectives, focus on the products that will help to achieve them and ignore the rest.  Buddy Media’s graphic depicts 28 categories and almost every Social Media platform and tool available. That doesn’t mean every one of those tools or even a fraction is needed to support our marketing needs.

And if Social Media is like other businesses, a time will come in the not too distant future when there will be a consolidation of companies and integration of products and features.

What do you think?

Resources:

Social Media isn’t “Ludicrously Complicated” Business Is, by Joe Chernov, It’s All About Revenue, Eloqua blog

This INSANE Graphic Shows How Ludicrously Complicated Social Media Marketing Is Now, by Charlie Minato, Business Insider blog

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Are You Watching Social Media from the Sideline?

20 Mar

American football field at the 50-yard line.Many companies have Social Media strategies and plans in place.  Many still don’t. And it isn’t only small businesses. Even some large companies don’t have Social Media in their marketing play books. Social Media is the great unknown and risky unchartered waters for many businesses. They avoid any efforts to develop a program, instead watching Social Media from the sideline.  If this describes how Social Media is viewed at your company, maybe it’s time to learn to crawl before you run.

Consider trying one Social Media platform first.  Don’t wait to develop a comprehensive Social Media strategy and campaign. Having said that, it is important to have goals in mind and what you’d like to accomplish.  An initial goal may be as simple as creating a Twitter account and following leaders or competitors in your industry everyday for the next three months. Remember that your actions should be consistent with your brand and target audience messaging, no matter how high of a level you decide to initially participate in Social Media.

The Best Platform for a B2B to Start Social Media Activities

If you are a B2B, LinkedIn is a great choice to test the Social Media waters. This is the professional business networking platform.

Start by completing a LinkedIn Company Profile page.  You can add information, accessible to all LinkedIn’s 150 million members, about your organization including your logo, products and services, current promotions and job openings .  With a company page, once you have followers you can start a conversation and engage with them. LinkedIn members follow what matters to them professionally and to their business.

Next, build your company’s LinkedIn presence by identifying members within your company to join industry groups related to your business like customers’, partners’ and competitors’ groups.  Being a part of these groups is really where your business can benefit.  If this is a first time participating in a group, take some time to listen and get a pulse on the conversations of the group.  Establish your authority and expertise in these groups by becoming an active participant sharing useful information and starting discussions with the group. Another benefit of participating in groups is the opportunity to hear what customers are thinking about your product, your competitors and what is trending in the industry.

Increase your LinkedIn presence further by creating your own industry group. I like the HP and Intel group, Small Biz Nation that features good discussions on relevant topics for small businesses like the discussion on Techniques to Stay Connected to Your Customers. Another group I like is the American Express Business Knowledge Share with discussion topics ranging from Social Media and online marketing tips to How Participating in LinkedIn Groups Can Help Your Business.

The costs of not participating in Social Media are too great.  You don’t have to watch Social Media from the sideline.  Pick a platform and get started.

How to Avoid Social Media ‘Soup du-jour’ Syndrome

27 Dec

A small business owner and I met the other day to discuss social media and how it can help her business.  She said she was overwhelmed by all the different platforms and sites and wasn’t sure which one was the best way to go.  Her perception is that social media tools are ‘soup du-jour’ and she felt as soon as she made a choice of which social media tool to use another would take its place resulting in wasted time and money and missed business opportunity.

The variety of Social Media options can be overwhelming and make each platform seem like the ‘soup du-jour’.  Look at Social Media as you do any other marketing tool in your mix and chose the platform based on how it will help achieve your goals and you will have success.  Social Media is no different from any other marketing tool you use to reach customers.  Both marketing tools and social media platforms should be chosen based on which will most effectively reach your target audience to meet your goals with the resources you have available.  How you message and how you communicate with your audience are the differences.

Commitment is Key to Avoiding Social Media Soup du-jour Syndrome

You can commit and believe in your Social Media choices if you do some work up front. That work includes taking time to set your goals and plan.  No marketing tool, social media or other will succeed in helping you reach your goals if you don’t do the work up front.  If you don’t, the result is you will have wasted precious time and money with little success.

Top Social Media Platforms

The top Social Media platforms can help a business meet its goals depending on the target audience and each requires different capabilities, time and resources and include; social networking, multimedia, blogs and microblogs.  Some of the most popular are Facebook, (social networking site), LinkedIn (social networking site for professionals), MySpace (social networking for the creative, artists/musicians), YouTube (video sharing site), Flickr (photo and video sharing site), Mashable (Social Media news blog) and Twitter (microblog).

Follow These Basic Steps When Choosing a Social Media Platform for Your Business

  1. Develop your Marketing Plan
  2. What are your Social Media goals – these should support your Marketing goals
  3. Develop your Social Media Plan
  4. Look at and focus on the top Social Media platforms and sites as a start
  5. Chose the most effective of these to reach your audience and based on your capabilities and resources. Who are your customers?  Do they even have a twitter account to follow your business?  If not, twitter is probably not your best choice.  Are you able to post blogs consistently?  Do you have the resource to develop content and video to post on YouTube?
Additional Resources

5 Good Reasons to Include Podcasts in Your 2012 Marketing Plan

20 Dec

Podcasts can add a new element of excitement to your marketing and social media efforts.  It’s another medium to reach your audience and share updates on your company or products, the industry, trends or insights.  The latest technology and new tools and services make podcasting easy to use and at a relatively low-cost to deliver.  Today, most podcasts are delivered on-demand and can be accessed from your website as either a video or audio file.  Any computer that can play media files can play a podcast.

Here are five good reasons to include podcasting in your 2012 marketing plan:

1. Creates Interest:  A new medium to deliver your marketing message can create new interest in and bring new life to your existing marketing content. Using audio and video to deliver content enhances the audience experience beyond printed text.

2.  Positions You as an Expert:  Consider delivering a series of podcasts that informs and teaches your audience on a topic that is relevant and of interest to them.  Providing helpful and useful content to your target audience furthers your relationship with them and your position as an expert in your field.

Businessman watching podcast3.  Reinforces Your Brand:  A human voice has the capacity to add inflection and an emotional element to your content vs. print. Using an appropriate voice that fits your brand further reinforces your brand strategy and messaging.

4.  Increases Reach:  Podcasts are accessible on-line at the demand of your audience.  This increases the reach of your marketing efforts beyond time-zones, work-styles and geographies.

5.  Builds Relationships and Trust:   People don’t have relationships with a company.  They have relationships with other people.  By giving a voice to your company, you humanize the experience between your target audience and your company.  They’ll be more likely to do business with you if they know and trust you.  Podcasting can further develop that trust.

As you look at including podcasting in your marketing and social media plans consider the following;  Podcasting should support your overall marketing strategy and plan and enhance your current marketing efforts with your target audience. Confirm that podcasting is an effective medium to reach them. Make sure you have the resources to update content and provide podcasts on a regular basis.

Resources:

How to Create Your Own Podcast, by Corey Deitz, About.com Guide
How to Podcast, by Jason VanOrden
12 Ways to Promote Your Podcast, by Jake Ludington
How to Grow Your Podcast Audience, by Marcelo Lewin

Monitor Social Media Activity – Track the Effectiveness of Your Twitter Conversations

5 Dec

Last week’s blog talked about the importance of listening and monitoring Social Media activities.  This week, we look at one of the many Social Media monitoring tools that are available today.

At the Women 2.0 Founder Friday event in San Francisco last week, Jenn Deering Davis co-founder of Appozite spoke about their product TweetReach, a tool that measures Twitter performance.  It’s been available for a couple of years in both a free and Pro version. TweetReach is different from other social media monitoring tools such as Google Alerts or TweetBeep in that it provides detailed reporting and analytics, not only alerts when a keyword or search term has been used on Twitter.

TweetReach Snapshot Report for #SantaClaus

The tool generates reports that shows the number of accounts reached and the amount of exposure your Twitter campaign generated. Providing you the ability to calculate the cost per reach and ROI for a specific campaign. The Pro version reports include detailed analytics on trend data and time period segmentation.

What’s also nice about TweetReach is you can see comments posted (either free or Pro versions).  A great way to find and tap into your advocates and influencers and uncover issues and prepare responses.  And you can monitor the Twitter conversations to find out what is being said about your competition and industry at the same level of detail.

Additional Resources
Finding Your Way Through the Social Media Maze, White Paper 

 

Why You Need to Listen and Monitor Social Media Conversations

28 Nov

It’s not news that customers seek out recommendations for products from their network of friends, family and colleagues. We ask for the opinions from those we trust.  Social Media is where much of the sharing of opinions takes place today.  By listening and monitoring social media conversations a company can find out how it’s doing and what’s being said about the company and its products.

Benefits of Listening and Monitoring Social Media 

1.  Find Your Advocates.  Learn who really likes your company and product.  When you find them, see if you can create a two-way dialogue.  This will give you the opportunity to learn more about what customers think of your company and product.  Once you have established a relationship, you may find that some advocates are willing to provide customer testimonials you can use on other Social Media platforms and marketing activities.

2. Find New Customers and Product Ideas.  Listening provides the opportunity to uncover prospective customer needs, creates new product opportunities and may result in more and better product ideas and requirements, faster time to market and lower product costs. (read my previous blog, Using Social Media to Generate New Product Ideas and Innovations).

3. Learn What is Being Said About You.  Learn what is being said about your company and product and where it is being said.  This not only provides the opportunities to find out what customers think about your product (positive and negative), you have the opportunity to take action to improve your business. Comments may help  your company decide to add a new marketing promotion for a specific product to increase sales activities or may provide insights into poor performance resulting in a product or customer service change.

4.  Learn More About Competitors.  Just as you are able to learn what is being said about your company and products, you can also learn how your competition is doing. Share this information with the appropriate departments within your organization and take action as needed.

5.  Create the Desired Results. Did the actions you took create the results you planned?  Are you doing the right things in the right places?  Qualifying and quantifying how well your Social Media activities are performing will help ensure funding and allow you to make adjustments to your social media plan to meet your goals.

Software Tools Available to Listen and Monitor Social Media Platforms

To fully realize the benefits of participating in Social Media you must listen, monitor and engage with customers.  In marketingviewpoint’s next blog, we’ll look at one of the new Social Media software tools that are available to help companies do that easily and effectively.

Additional Resources
Finding Your Way Through the Social Media Maze, White Paper 

 

Harness the Power of LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation

31 Oct

by Susan Lowe

If you want to get more from your social media marketing, look at including LinkedIn in your mix. LinkedIn is the social media site for business professionals.  Members total over 120M (million) that includes 12M small business professionals, 5.5M high tech managers, 2M C-level executives, and 1.3M small business owners.  You can be very granular when choosing your audience on LinkedIn. The site allows social media marketers to target key decision makers by specific industry, company size, geography, job function and other demographics.

Advertise on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Advertising is a great way to generate leads and grow your audience. LinkedIn offers several options when choosing the type of ad to run.  You can run a text only banner that runs across the top of the LinkedIn page of your chosen targets.  The other option is a text and image ad that again runs on the pages of your chosen LinkedIn targets.  Both have limits to the amount of characters you can include but, LinkedIn provides best practices to help you get the most from your ad. Provide your company URL to direct viewers to your website.  You may direct them to a special promotion on your website and a form to gather contact information.

Run a Promotion on LinkedIn to Grow Your Audience

In addition to advertising offered by LinkedIn, certified applications are available to help promote your brand and grow your audience through the LinkedIn network. One of these applications is Wildfire.  Wildfire allows companies to integrate branded interactive campaigns like sweepstakes, contests and give-aways with LinkedIn and it integrates with social media site Facebook and Twitter.

Ready to Go 

The nice thing about Wildfire is it provides several ‘out-of-the-box’ tools that can get your promotion up and running on LinkedIn in about four weeks.  And the app has several priced options to suit a small or large budget.  The app includes an ad for your company profile page (if you don’t have a LinkedIn company page – make sure to get one), a Microsite, a form to gather entrants contact information and a landing page for sharing.  You provide the content. Make sure to purchase the option that provides entrants data for your future engagements.

Combine a LinkedIn Ad with a Promotion for Greater Results

Run your promotion in combination with a LinkedIn advertisement to drive traffic to the Microsite. Place the ad in specific areas of the LinkedIn site to target your audience.  You can also use your website and current contact lists (newsletters and other marketing activities) to invite participation in your LinkedIn promotion. Entrants are able to share your promotion with their contacts and groups on their LinkedIn network or via email.  This is why social networks like LinkedIn help you grow qualified leads quickly.

Keys to Successfully Generating Leads Using LinkedIn

1- Strategy – Consider how your LinkedIn activities support your overall social media strategy.

2- Set up a LinkedIn Company Profile – if you don’t already have one.

3- Define your audience.  Remember LinkedIn allows you to very specifically define the target audience.

4-  Set your objectives and goals.  Decide what results you want to achieve from your LinkedIn activity. Include the kind of information you want to obtain from the entrants.

5- Plan and Tactics- Determine the right activities to generate the results you want with your target.  Is it a LinkedIn ad, a coupon, a giveaway or a combination?  Provide something of value in return for participation in the promotion. Remember in social media – it is  better to give then to receive. Don’t forget to include a definitive start and end date as a call to act.

6- Measure- Once your ad or promotion has ended determine how well it did in accomplishing the objectives and goals.

Additional Resources
Finding Your Way Through the Social Media Maze, White Paper

 

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