Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Social Media Checklist

Here is the Social Media Checklist I use when speaking with clients.

1. What are you going to contribute?

a. Understand what type of content you have available (videos, pictures, blog, news feed, etc.) to share with your consumers.

b. Knowing this, deciding which social sites to establish your brand becomes much easier.

c. Have an objective in mind before you start (increase brand awareness, sales, web visits).

2. Using Twitter

a. Brand your Twitter page before you engage. Use your jpeg logo as your profile picture and design the background image accordingly. Do this before following or Tweeting people.

b. Twitter Search shows you what is being said about your brand/industry/competition. Setting up an RSS feed for key terms is a great way to keep track of the conversation.

c. Show your brand personality and be creative, nobody wants to listen to a dull voice on Twitter.

d. Twitter is a great medium. Use links in your messages (use a URL shrinker) to guide people to your blog, website or other sites you want your consumers to see.

3. Company blogs

a. Understand your strategy around Google Adwords and if possible use your major key search term as the title of the blog and as titles of your blog posts. This makes the blog very relevant in Google searches.

b. Do not be afraid of negative comments on your blog. It is an opportunity to resolve a problem that other consumers probably have.

c. Comment on other blogs in your industry or on blogs that discuss similar topics. Again, this helps make your blog very relevant in Google searches.

4. Keys to remember

a. There is no choice to participate in social media. Ignoring “the space for now” sends a message to consumers: you don’t know how to engage your consumers or you don’t care to engage your consumers. Either way it sends an empty message.

b. This is a commitment. Once you interact in this space you begin to build relationships and brand loyalty.

c. Managing several social media sites takes effort and these consumers expect you to be active and to show that you care. Ignoring some sites for too long can damage your brand equity.

d. Social Media is part of the overall company strategy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is Social Media the Next Great Product?

How can companies use social media? How can companies sell social media? These are some questions many businesses are asking. Now that more and more corporations are finding out that social media helps create a profitable business, the next step is selling this strategy. But is social media the next great product or will it fade in a short time?

Social Media Will Sell And Sell BIG

With IBM, Best Buy and even The New York Times as some of those who are using social media, the social media product is already well on its way to reaching the early adopters. What's that? Well there are five groups that consider buying a new product when it enters the market: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards. Right now, the social media product is in the Early Adopters group. The important thing here is the sudden potential for this product to take off quickly. As most marketers know, a new product makes the most profit when the early and late majority purchase the product. These are the next two stages for social media to reach. So who will take advantage of this prime situation?

Strategies Wanted

No major company is leading the way just yet. This means two things. First is that the leader is close to breaking through any moment. Second is that this leader could be you! I have developed a "Five Phase Strategy Template for Social Media" and have implemented it with success. Others have created templates as well and some have failed while others have done better. The fact is that one of these strategies is just around the corner waiting to break through from the others. Will you be the one to find it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Best Social Media Campaigns

It is now common for companies to implement social media into their business models, for those who do not have a Facebook page then get with the program. There are other companies that stand out from the rest thanks to their innovative social media campaigns. Here is my list of best social media campaigns in the works.

First Place Goes to Lenovo

Lenovo has come up with a great campaign for advertising during the Olympics. Lenovo has 100 athletes from more than 25 countries and 29 sports signed up to blog at the games to get fans interested (see their blogs by going here). This tactic will increase the Lenovo brand awareness and associate them with the highest level of competition in the Olympics. Congrats, wish I had that idea.

Oreo and YouTube

Second place goes to Oreo, the Nabisco product. They are using this campaign on YouTube to get fans to upload their favorite Oreo moments. Plus, the winner of this contest will have their Oreo video on the YouTube homepage in late August. Pretty cool.

Honorable Mentions

The first honorable mention goes to Red Bull and what they are doing with MEN7. They are launching webisodes on YouTube about extreme sports moments and tricks. The great thing about this is that Red Bull is using YouTube to hopefully get this series picked up on TV.

And my last award for nice try goes to McDonald's Myspace campaign. The idea is great but I am not posting a link for my own personal reasons, simply Mikky Ds is just horrible for you to eat. Don't want to give too much press to stuff that can really do some damage.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is Social Media for Big or Small Companies?

Recent discussions that I have had with companies and social media gurus have lead me to create this post. Is social media better depending on the size of the company? It is a tough question but here is my response, please let me know if you think I am missing something.

Small Guys

Small businesses have some advantages due to their stature (could not resist). They are quick, agile and quite. It is easier to start a social media strategy and they do not need a press release to do so. They are also better at responding to consumer problems because they do not deal with as much red tape. Additionally, it is easier to manage and mend relationships when dealing with fewer customers. It is also easier to make your consumers feel unique with this strategy because they know they are not competing with millions of consumers for your attention.

Big Players

Large Businesses are powerful and well endowed (too much there?). Being big helps because evangelists can sustain most of your social media strategies for you, you just have to find them. When you do, cherish them and treat them better than your own children, not really but you get the idea. Next is money. We all want it and the bigs have it. Since money is not a problem the websites, promotions and videos created can be much lavisher than smaller companies. This SM campaign should stand out and be a bit different than what has been done before. What will help is that bigs also get a lot of publicity. One post in The New York Times about Best Buy and their social network, tons of people pay attention to it.

Size Doesn't Matter

As you can see, size really does not matter. The crucial element is in the company's execution of their strategy. The size helps make certain things easier but remember that social media takes time and meaningful care to succeed just as any relationship requires.

Social Media Creates Brand Personality

What first comes to mind when someone says Target or Best Buy? Probably that they are affordable, have a wide variety of goods and they have tons of stores all around. While these are good descriptions, there is something huge lacking. A personality.

SM Creates Your Personality

I cannot help my Psychology degree from impacting how I view certain things, but I think it is a missed opportunity for brands to lack a personality. A real and true personality. Some brands argue that they already have one, but a personality results from close interaction with others that takes place on a deeper level than having someone walk through your store doors. You do not need a Myers-Briggs test, but the use of social media. Social media creates these avenues (whether it is from blogs, pictures, videos...) that provides any brand the perfect chance to show consumers their personality. By creating an interaction with consumers, the brand becomes more than a store or a service. Through conversation or sharing pictures, your brand will develop a personality that your consumers will identify. How great would it be for a brand to be thought of as interesting, caring and hilarious. Social media is the answer.

How to Create a Brand Personality

This is important, it is very difficult to create your brand personality if it is different from what your company stands for. For instance WalMart would have a hard time showing they really care about small local businesses by taking pictures of them smiling and shaking hands. Your brand has to honest, like your parents said "just be yourself". It's true, but it takes time. The most important part of this process is being consistent. It does not take time for your consumers to figure out what you are trying to do, but it takes time for them to believe it. Being steady in your dialogue will make this happen. Soon you will create a bond with your consumers that will likely lead to lifetime loyalty to your brand, and that is what every brand wants. So get out there and turn you consumers into believers.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

TiVo Strikes Social Media Deal with YouTube

Personally I think this deal is marvelous. TiVo has just struck a deal with YouTube. TiVo subscribers will be able to watch videos from the most popular video website on the planet on their television. I cannot get over this, I have TiVo and I am dying to try it.

Who Does it Help More? TiVo or YouTube

The answer to that is tricky, you ready? It's both. These two companies are going to love this relationship. YouTube already has this app for the Apple TV, but as much as we dig Apple, TiVo is far more popular for a household than Apple TV. This new deal will help YouTube get even more people to watch their videos, if that is humanly possible. For TiVo, this is one giant leap in the right direction. TiVo is all about being able to watch what you want, whenever you want and this deal adds to that desire. Get ready because Adweek says people can get these YouTube videos now. That is of course if you have the necessary equipment, which is a TiVo Series 3 or TiVo HD. I am looking foward to the fact that TiVo and YouTube will be leading the industry in entertainment for many years to come.

Risks Meebo has with Social Media

Meebo is an IM program that supports systems such as Google Talk and AIM. Meebo is trying a new concept to make more money and they are trying to use social media to do it.

Their Social Media Advantages

I saw this on Adweek, so I think this is true. Meebo has tested out their plan to use pop-up ads during chats in Google Talk, AIM and others. Advertisers want this ad space to join in a conversation with their consumers, that's one good thing. The other is that the test markets Meebo used saw a one percent interaction rate with these ads, which is pretty good. Another good thing is that advertisers only have to pay per click. Good for advertisers?

Why This Strategy Will Fail

First of all, Meebo plans to interrupt chats about every three minutes with ads. That is just going to be annoying. People will not like being invaded upon like this. That is not the main reason why this will fail. The main reason is that these companies selling these ads are looking for conversations. The only way this is going to happen is if a social media specialist is waiting to talk to every reply. Consumers have a large chance of being ignored due to the small time the company has to respond to a single chat, the SM specialist has to be right on time and most companies do not have that man power. This will cause a severe problem. Willing consumers who actually respond and are interested will be ignored, leading to potential fans of your company transforming into enemies. This is where negative word of mouth will spread rapidly. Overall, the companies paying for these clicks will be paying to create angry customers. If you have enough social media specialists than it could work, but we all know that is not the case. I tried to warn you.