Archive for February, 2011

With or without you

February 27, 2011

Although I’m a fan, this post isn’t about U2’s seminal hit from 1987. No, this post is about social media and how people and communities may be talking about you, your company or your brand – whether you’re listening or not!

As the web becomes increasingly social, people and communities are being given more opportunity to express their feelings about the brands they encounter. Chatter is occurring, whether it’s in 140-character comments on Twitter, conversations on Facebook or random mumblings on blogs, people are talking all the time.

Don’t hide away

The social landscape is a daunting place and it doesn’t take many prisoners. The democratisation of the web has allowed anyone and everyone to become a publisher and speak their mind. But we shouldn’t hide away and shirk our responsibility to get out there and respond. We must embrace the opportunity this presents to get in touch with the people talking about us or the brands we represent and start a dialogue.

As with any form of customer service, whether it be online or offline, every negative interaction with a customer is an opportunity to learn and take in a positive direction. With social media, discussions are often taking place publicly so the pressure to respond in one form or another is much greater. There’s no hiding place online, so why not jump in and join the conversation?

How can we listen in?

There are many different tools and techniques that we can use to monitor and take note of what’s being said about us online:

• Twitter Search is a great tool for finding out who’s talking about you – right now! Simply type in the key words you’re looking for and Twitter Search will relay what’s being said on Twitter in order of time and popularity (if a particular tweet has been retweeted a lot it will be shown at the top of the search listings)

Google Alerts offers automatic email notifications when Google finds new results for content from web, news, blogs or forum discussions that match specific user-selected search terms. Here’s a great article on how to use Google Alerts effectively

• Google Blogsearch lets you to put your name or company name into the search bar and see what people are saying about you on blogs around the world

• Technorati will let you do exactly the same thing as Google Blogsearch, and although there may be some overlap it’s important to capture both. You can also click on the orange RSS subscription button, copy the link and put it into Google Reader or another RSS reader as a listings search to get automatic notifications going forward

• Social Mention is a social media search engine that aggregates content from across the web into a single stream of information. You can choose to see information from specific places (blogs, images, video) or from the entire web. On the left-hand side next to a list of search results will be a group of very handy statistics and a breakdown of the data collected.

 

These are just a few listening tools to consider – there are many more here and here.

From one-to-many to many-to-many

With so many different people and communities out there talking about you it’s essential that you look at the various segments related to your brand and listen accordingly. Social media is about speaking with, not at people and about joining or starting a conversation to engage with others. It means that instead of producing one advertisement to target a whole group of people all at once, you can can interact with them directly – by answering their questions, making suggestions or simply wishing them a good day when they mention you.

“The conversations that don’t kill you will only make you stronger” – Brian Solis

Although not everything being said about you is negative, some of it might be, and just because you’re not there doesn’t mean that the conversations aren’t taking place. And if you or your executive team are worried about losing control by embracing social media, then don’t worry – you never had control in the first place!

It’s much better to be apart of the conversation than not. So get out there, join in and engage!

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This post was inspired by a section from ‘Engage‘, a fantastic book on social media by Brian Solis.

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Focus your efforts on the right social networks

February 15, 2011

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg … where should you be focusing your social networking marketing efforts?

Below is a very useful infographic from the KISSMetrics marketing blog that breaks down a few of the top social networking sites by gender, income, age and education level demographics.

Companies and individuals are still spreading themselves too thin acorss many of the key social networking sites in the fear that they might be ‘missing out’. The stats in this fine infographic confirm that there are differences (some more subtle than others) between the social networks and marketing efforts must be tailored accordingly. Otherwise you could be wasting your time, money – and the opportunity to hit your target more effectively.

Social Media By Demographic - Kiss Metrics Marketing Blog

Make your own luck

February 13, 2011

Somebody once commented to the great golfer Gary Player “Boy, I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in my life.” Player responded by simply saying “Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get”.

This exchange perfectly sums up the the notion that everyone in life must make their own luck if they want to be successful. Its very rare (if entirely non-existent) that anyone successful reaches the top by pure chance alone. Those that have reached the pinnacle of their career have often had the odd lucky break or rub of the green. But more often than not there has been a plan or strategy in place that the individual has followed. It may not be written down or put into a formal document, but there is a clear sense of direction in their mind that has helped guide them along the right path.

There is also research to show that people can create good fortune for themselves. Professor Richard Wiseman published a book called ‘The Luck Factor’, in which he suggests that anyone can make their own luck by following the four basic principles that lucky people use to create good fortune in their lives:

Principle 1: Maximise chance opportunities
Lucky people create, notice and act upon chance opportunities through networking, being open to new experiences and taking a relaxed attitude to life.

Principle 2: Listening to lucky hunches
Lucky people make good decisions by listening to their gut feelings and acting on intuition and take steps to boost their intuitive abilities though meditation and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle 3: Expect good fortune
Lucky people are confident that their future will be full of good fortune. As a result, these expectations become self-fulfilling and help lucky people persist in the face of failure. It shapes their interaction with others in a positive way.

Principle 4: Turn bad luck to good
Lucky people use psychological techniques to cope with bad fortune. For example, they might imagine how things could have been worse and take control of the situation.

History tells us that it doesn’t matter how talented or clever you are, success, money, fame or winning is never a given. But if you work hard, remain positive and stay focused on the goals and objectives you want to achieve, then you are more likely to create opportunities for success for yourself. It’s then down to you to make those opportunities count.

The social media high school

February 9, 2011

Social media can be a tricky subject to get your head round sometimes, particularly if you’re new to it all. There’s so much going on and because social media is in constant state of flux it’s difficult to keep up sometimes.

Below is a very cool infographic from Flowtown that imaginatively depicts social media in a high school scenario. I think this is a great way of illustrating the many social media tools around and how they relate to one another.

Class Of 2011: If Social Media Were a High School
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

Are you an Online Wizard or a Chief Storyteller?

February 3, 2011

Earlier today I was flicking through the job ads in the latest edition of Marketing Week and I came across a double page spread for some vacancies at a company called Ovo Energy. I was initially attracted to the ad because of it’s use of big, bold fonts and the colourful cartoon drawings (also in evidence on their website), but when I looked more closely I then noticed the job titles they were advertising for: Marketing & Business Guru, Chief Storyteller and Online Wizard.

I have to admit, it was a breath of fresh air to see these job titles! Whenever you see ads for marketing vacancies, they’re usually for a Web Developer, a Marketing Executive, a PR Manager and so on. They all tend to merge into one big blur and along with the standard job ad format (job title, corporate logo, job spec and contact details all in a dingy little box) I often find it difficult to tell one company from the next. Where is the company’s character? What do they stand for? Will I fit in to the company? It might be a cliché, but looking for a job is a two way process and first impressions from both job seekers and recruiting companies count for an awful lot. Why not start with the job ad itself?

But returning to the job titles – wouldn’t it be cool to ‘legitimately’ call yourself a Marketing & Business Guru or a Chief Storyteller? Imagine announcing to your friends that you’re now somebody’s Online Wizard! I really like the way Ovo Energy have purposefully set out to express their character and culture throughout their marketing communications  – and their job ads – and made a conscious effort to stand out from the crowd. The language, tone of voice and graphic design used in the job ads mirror that used throughout the website and gives you a very clear impression of the company. And the job titles are another extension of the company’s personality.

Now that Ovo Energy have caught my attention I’ll be looking out for them for now on to see how the brand develops – as well as what other job titles they might advertise!

What’s the wakiest job titles  you’ve seen? Do you have a interesting job title yourself?