Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

Social media outsourcing

July 28, 2011

Auto-Blogger Floor Pedal by Mike Licht

You can read the full version of this post by clicking on Outsourcing social media or visit my digital marketing blog One Too Many Mornings.

With more and more companies adopting social media as part of their marketing strategies, it’s been interesting to note the number of them that are outsourcing their efforts to third-party agencies and consultancies.

But is the right?

Well it all depends on what is being outsourced, how much and to whom. Whilst it is perfectly understandable for a company (big or small) to ask an agency to set up and manage the logistics of a corporate Facebook page or Twitter profile, or the monitoring and evaluation of of social media through analytics, but it’s another thing to ask somebody else to manage your entire social media marketing process.

Work together

If you’re looking to use an agency or consultancy to help manage your social media marketing function, it’s important to agree on a plan of action and a set of expectations as to how the process will work. An agency should collaborate with you on the overall strategy to ensure that social media activity is tied to corporate objectives as well as provide training on how to use social media correctly.

Be authentic

As soon as you’ve agreed on a social media strategy and action plan, it is then important for you, the client company, to take full control. Social media is about developing authentic, genuine relationships and conversation with customers and this is not something that can – or should – be done by an agency or consultancy. It is crucial that you remain authentic whilst using social media to communicate with customers otherwise you run the risk of appearing insincere.

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How to successfully merge social media and email

June 23, 2011

Batman & Robin by Mark Anderson

You can read the full version of this post by clicking on 10 ways to merge social media and email or visit my digital marketing blog One Too Many Mornings.

Social media and email are two excellent digital marketing tactics that you can use to effectively update and engage with your customers. Social media is becoming increasingly popular whilst email remains a formidable communication tool.

Although social media and email can be used individually as part of an online marketing campaign, when used together they can power each other for even more impressive results (just like Batman and Robin!).

Before looking at some simple tips to merge the two, let’s consider the two key ways in which marketers incorporate social media into email:

Follow, Friend, Subscribe, Connect

This is where a company asks you to follow them on one or more of their social networks. Examples include “Follow us on Twitter”or “Connect with us on LinkedIn”.

Share With Your Friends (SWYF)

This is when you receive an email that allows you to share a piece of content or the email message itself with your social network by clicking on a “Share this” button/link/icon.

So by integrating the two, you can build up a larger social media following and an increase your email list.

Some simple tips

Here are a few simple tips to follow:

1. Include links to social networks

Make links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other main social networks clear within the email.

2. Ask people

Ask people to connect by adding simple copy to the social media icons, e.g. “Like us on Facebook” or “Subscribe to our YouTube channel”.

3. Include SWYN in email campaigns 

Ensure that share with your network (SWYN) links are included in every email campaign and aim for the social networks that your customers use most.

4. Tweet!

Take advantage of your Twitter following by promoting your email newsletter in a tweet.

5. Promote through Facebook

Promote your email newsletter on your Facebook page and encourage users to subscribe within Facebook.

This post was inspired by a Blue Sky Factory Email Marketing eBook by DJ Waldow

Twitter – get engaged!

June 6, 2011

Twitter - by Jeff Turner (@respres)

There are a lot of ways to use Twitter. Celebrities and major brands use them to broadcast one-way messages whilst other companies have used it to aggregate content or as a real-time customer service portal. The way people have innovated using Twitter is quite remarkable and has added real value to many organisations.

But one of the keys to using Twitter effectively is to engage. By responding to others, Retweeting your followers’ tweets and answering questions you will be eventually be seen as a valuable member of the social community rather than an ego-maniac obsessed with what you – and only you – have to say. Well-known personalities can get away with this but not the majority of us. We have to work hard and prove to our followers that we’re willing to talk – and listen to others.

If you’re planning on using Twitter, ensure that you do have a raison d’être. Once you start, turn up regularly, be consistent, don’t over-tweet and take an interest in others. And whenever you tweet try to be interesting and add something to the community.

There are a different set of rules in the new world of social media and digital communications. Twitter exemplifies many of these characteristics perfectly and by using the platform correctly one can soon learn these rules and become a valuable member of the social media community.

Keep your ears to the ground

June 3, 2011

Squirrel Hill Head Phone Trip by Hryck
The web is becoming increasingly social and so are you and your brand’s customers and constituents. They’re talking about you – on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and forums and it’s up to you to listen up and take notice.

Seek out and utilise simple listening tools such as Twitter Search, Google Alerts and Technorati to monitor keywords, brand names and trends to find out what’s really being said out there online.

Embracing social media is about letting go and giving up an element of control. If you or your management team are concerned by this take note – you never had control in the first place! People will be talking about you regardless so you might as well listen in, take notice and take action.

Social Media Heavyweights – The Trilogy!

May 24, 2011

Muhammad Ali vs. Ernie Terrell from cliff1066™
I recently published three blog posts outlining a list of people and resources from the world of social media that I believe you really MUST follow if you’re serious about digital and social media marketing. You can visit each individual post here, here and here, although this post is a combination of them all (albeit with a little less description and insight about each social media heavyweight).

Seth Godin
Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com
Twitter: @thisissethsblog

Seth Godin is a marketing and leadership goliath, with a fantastic blog (updated daily) and a mountain worth of brilliant books. He sets the standard for quality that many of the other heavyweights in this list aspire to!

Chris Brogan
Blog: http://www.chrisbrogan.com
Twitter:@chrisbrogan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChrisBroganMedia
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/chrisbrogan

Like Seth Godin, Chris updates his blog almost daily with a mix of insightful, philosophical and extremely helpful posts. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author (He co-wrote ‘Trust Agents’ with fellow heavyweight Julian Smith).

Mitch Joel 
Blog: http://www.twistimage.com/blog
Twitter: @mitchjoel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MitchJoel

I first heard of Mitch Joel when I saw his book ‘Six Pixels of Separation’ listed as a top social media book on Mashable. It wasn’t long before I’d bought it and became an avid listener to his awesome weekly podcast (also called ‘Six Pixels of Separation’). Mitch’s podcast is one of the best around, in which he regularly interviews smart and interesting people throughout the worlds of media and marketing.

Brian Solis 

Blog: http://www.briansolis.com
Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebriansolis
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/briansolistv

Brian Solis’s book ‘Engage’ is quite simply brilliant and is an essential read for anyone serious about social media. Brian looks at social media from all angles and brings the subject to life with a level of detail I haven’t seen from anyone else.

Mashable
Website: http://www.mashable.com
Twitter: @mashable, @mashsocialmedia@mashbusiness … and more and more! (Just search ‘Mashable’ in Twitter to see all their accounts)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mashable
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/mashable

Mashable is the online resource for anything related to social media, technology or online marketing. Mashable has a wonderful bank of blogs and is often first with breaking news from the industry.

Julien Smith
Blog: http://inoveryourhead.net/
Twitter: @julien

Julien Smith co-wrote ‘Trust Agents‘ with Chris Brogan and is a wonderful thinker in his own right. He brings a fresh perspective to personal development and building social capital and delivers it with his own brand of wit that makes him unique among this esteemed list.

Jeremiah Owyang
Blog: http://www.webstrategist.com/blog/
Twitter: @jowyang

If I want real, in-depth social media insight I go straight to Jeremiah Owyang’s blog. He’s a new media  web strategist and ‘big thinker’ who regularly produces very interesting reports, webinars and blog posts that contain a wealth of brilliant information.

Harvard Business Review
Blog: http://hbr.org/ and http://blogs.hbr.org/
Twitter: @harvardbiz
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HBR

Although the Harvard Business Review isn’t dedicated to social media, if you’re serious about using social media marketing effectively as a business tool then HBR is required reading. HBR’s blogs offer a wealth of insight on a variety of business issues.

Tamar Weinberg
Blog: http://www.techipedia.com/
Twitter: @tamar

Tamar Weinberg was the person that made me realise what social media is all about. Tamar’s was the first social media book I read (‘The New Community Rules‘) and it opened my mind to what social media can do, how it works and more importantly, what it’s’about’.

TED
Blog: http://www.ted.com/
Twitter: @TEDTalks@TEDNews
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TED

TED is a global set of conferences all about spreading ideas and new insights. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend a TED conference but you can check out videos and podcasts of them by visiting their website.

Guy Kawasaki
Blog: http://blog.guykawasaki.com
Twitter: @guykawasaki and @alltop
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/guy

Guy Kawasaki is everywhere on Twitter, both via his Twitter feed and on Alltop. Guy is a positive, vibrant, charismatic individual who leads by example and has recently published his sixth book, ‘Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions’.

Liz Strauss
Websites: http://www.lizstrauss.com and http://www.successful-blog.com 
Twitter: @lizstrauss
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lizstraussfan

Liz Strauss is both a social media and networking heavyweight. I recently blogged about Liz Strauss and how she uses Twitter to engage with her audience and this in itself demonstrates Liz’s wonderful ability to connect with her network in a way that makes every one feel they are a valuable member of the social media community.

Brian Clark (AKA Copyblogger)
Blog: http://www.copyblogger.com
Twitter: @copyblogger

Copyblogger is a blog all about how to write effectively for the web and Brian Clark is the mastermind behind it all. Copyblogger has tons of great posts and articles on how to write compelling copy for headlines, landing pages, SEO and social media.

Lee Odden
Blog: http://www.toprankblog.com
Twitter: @leeodden

When I first became interested in social media, the more I searched online for news and comment on the subject the more I came across Lee Odden and the Top Rank blog. Top Rank includes posts on everything from content marketing to SEO and social media.

Mark Schaefer
Blog: http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog
Twitter: @markwschaefer

I like Mark Schaefer because he’s such a dedicated thinker and generous social media practitioner. He blogs on a variety of subjects that are at the same time easy to follow and incredibly insightful.

You can also check out more of my thoughts on some of these social media heavyweights on my blog One Too Many Mornings.

The state of social media 2011

April 8, 2011

This week I took part in a webinar hosted by Hubspot and presented by Michael Steizner from Social Media Examiner that revealed and explored some of the key findings from a new report: the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report was compiled following a survey of 3,300 social media marketers who were all asked what question about social media marketing they wanted answered. 2,200 people provided responses, all of which were qualitatively analysed and grouped into the top 10 questions.

The report also looks at the time invested in social media marketing, how social media marketing is being used by different types of companies and – crucially – the main benefits offered by social media marketing.

Although the report is very US-centric (only 6% of respondents were from the UK), I’ve always found that the Americans are often ahead of the game when it comes to digital marketing trends such as these. I therefore wanted to write this post to highlight some of the findings that really stood out for me and will hopefully provide you with an insight into what social media marketers are thinking and where their priorities lie in 2011.

Key findings

• 73% of businesses are planning to increase their use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging in 2011

• The top three questions social media marketers want answered:
#1 – How do I measure the effect of social media marketing on my business?
#2 – How do I integrate and manage all of my social media marketing activities?
#3 – What are the best ways to sell with social media?

Half of marketers have less than one year of social media marketing experience, with B2B companies using social media longer than their B2C counterparts

58% of marketers are using social media marketing more than six hours a week, whilst 34% for 11 hours or more. And the longer people have been using social media, the more time they are investing in it on a weekly basis

• The top three benefits of social media marketing:
#1 – Generate exposure for the business
#2 – Increase traffic/ subscribers
#3 – Improved search rankings

It takes time, patience and commitment to see the financial benefits of social media. Those who take the time to learn about social media and use it consistently will see the greatest benefits

Facebook (92%), Twitter (84%) and LinkedIn (71%) are the most used social media tools, with blogs fourth in the list with 68%

• The top areas of focus for 2011:
#1 – YouTube/ video
#2 – Facebook
#3 – Blogs

People want to learn about Facebook (70%), blogs (69%), social bookmarking (59%), Twitter (59%), LinkedIn (55%) and YouTube/ video (55%) the most in 2011

46% of people want to learn about geo-location marketing (FourSquare, Facebook Places etc), although the report found that geo-location is most likely to be used by larger companies (501-1,000 employees)

My thoughts

There wasn’t a great deal in the report that surprised me in terms of the findings. It’s clear that marketers want to begin seeing financial rewards and return-on-investment from their social media activities. The ‘buzz’ is beginning to die down and I’m sure financial directors and business owners are now demanding to see tangible results from their social media efforts.

Facebook is the tool most people want to learn more about and use in 2011 with Twitter not far off in second place. Although I was surprised to learn that blogs are only fourth in the list of the ‘most used’ social media tools, it’s nevertheless encouraging to see them the third top area of focus and the second most important priority marketers want to learn about in the year ahead.
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What did you think of the report? What stood out most for you? Is there anything else you’d have liked the report to have looked at?


Social Media Heavyweights (Part 3)

March 30, 2011

Joe Louis by By cliff1066
This is the third instalment in my ‘Social Media Heavyweights’ series (please go ahead and check out Part 1 and Part 2). Once again, I’ve picked out another five influential people who I have looked to in my endeavours to become a more proficient social media practitioner. To see all the other heavyweights who I believe you have to follow, check out my Twitter list.

Guy Kawasaki
Blog: http://blog.guykawasaki.com
Twitter: @guykawasaki and @alltop
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/guy

Guy Kawasaki, one of the original employees responsible for marketing (and evangelising) Apple’s Macintosh computers in the 1980s, is everywhere on Twitter, both via his Twitter feed and on Alltop. Guy is a positive, vibrant, charismatic individual who leads by example and has recently published his sixth book, ‘Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions’.

Liz Strauss
Websites: http://www.lizstrauss.com and http://www.successful-blog.com
Twitter: @lizstrauss
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lizstraussfan

Liz Strauss is not only a social media heavyweight, but a networking heavyweight, too. I recently blogged about Liz Strauss and how she uses Twitter to engage with her audience and this in itself demonstrates Liz’s uncanny ability to connect with her network in a way that makes every one of them feel they are a valuable member of the social media community.

Brian Clark (AKA Copyblogger)
Blog: http://www.copyblogger.com
Twitter: @copyblogger

Brian Clark is the mastermind behind Copyblogger, a blog all about how to write effectively for the web. Copyblogger has tons of brilliant posts and articles (largely from a vast pool of excellent guest bloggers) on how to write compelling copy for headlines, landing pages, SEO … and of course social media.

Lee Odden
Blog: http://www.toprankblog.com
Twitter: @leeodden

When I first became interested in social media, I often searched online for comment, news and information to so that I could start building up my knowledge of the subject. The more I searched, the more I came across Lee Odden and the Top Rank blog. Top Rank offers posts and resources on everything from live blogging to content marketing and social media and is one of my go-to destinations for opinion, tips and best practice advice.

Mark Schaefer
Blog: http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog
Twitter: @markwschaefer

Mark Schaefer was brought to my intention by Mitch Joel, via the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. Mark was a guest on Mitch’s podcast debating the pros and cons of ghost writing. Although I was mainly siding with Mitch Joel (who is anti-ghost blogging), Mark nevertheless made some very good points so I checked out his {Grow} blog to learn more. As with all the social media heavyweights I’ve profiled, Mark is a true expert but is also incredibly down-to-Earth and practices what he preaches. He’s an example any aspiring social media enthusiastic (such as myself) can learn from.

What’s behind the numbers?

March 26, 2011

Facebook's Domination by infographiclabs
Last week I spoke with the managing director and marketing director of an online publication company looking to use social media as part of a digital expansion programme. It was encouraging to speak with two senior managers who have clearly recognised the opportunities and benefits that social media can offer and are prepared to use new media channels as part of their company’s marketing mix.

However, one of the things that concerned me during our meeting was when they said one of their main social media objectives was to boost the number of ‘likes’ on their Facebook page from around 9,000 to 1 million within a four to six month period and that ‘scale’ was of particular importance to them.

Bigger is not always better

A large following, whether that be through ‘likes’ on Facebook or followers on Twitter, is a perfectly legitimate social media marketing metric. Amongst other things, a large following will give you a fantastic opportunity to market to your existing customer base and help you establish credible social capital. But when this is one of the only social media marketing metrics, one begins to worry. It may be a cliché , but quality really is more important than quantity when it comes to (effective) social media marketing. You may grow your following and boast over a million ‘likes’ on Facebook, but so what?

Social media is a paradigm shift from traditional marketing techniques and requires a different type of thinking. It involves bringing the audience into the marketing process by including them in conversations, engaging with them and starting a dialogue. Social media marketing will not be effective if you build up a following only to broadcast messages and advertisements to them in the traditional one-to-many fashion. You need to proactively target your key social media audiences and give them a compelling reason to connect with you.

It’s not just the size – it’s what you do with it that counts!

One million Facebook ‘likes’ would be great, but what if only 25% of the Facebook following really liked you and the majority were disengaged with the brand and unresponsive to the discourse you’re trying to generate? Surely it would be better to aim for 20,000 Facebook fans who are interested and enthusiastic about your product or service and form part of a community that regularly interacts with your content and spreads it organically across their social graphs. Only this way will you begin to see increased conversions, be it actionable clicks over page views, enquiries, leads or sales. These are the metrics that really matter the most.

What are your thoughts on social media marketing metrics? What do you use to measure success? What does good social media look like?

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Photo credit: Inforgraphic by Infographiclabs. To view the full picture click on the picture or alternatively click here.

Social media heavyweights (Part 2)

March 23, 2011

Cat's Cradle by cliff1066™

This is the second part of my ‘Social Media Heavywieghts’ series (you can read Part 1 here), where I will list another 5 masterful people and resources from the world of social media who (in my opinion at least) MUST be followed!

For a comprehensive list of all my ‘Social Media Heavyweights’, please feel free to log in to Twitter and follow my Twitter list.

Julien Smith
Blog: http://inoveryourhead.net/
Twitter: @julien

I first discovered Julien Smith when I read ‘Trust Agents‘, a fantastic book he co-wrote with Chris Brogan about building your influence and reputation.  What I like about Julien is that he has a great sense of humour and he injects this, along with as a sharp wit and a critical eye, into many his blog posts and social media commentary. If you want to know what Julien’s really thinking – well, he’ll tell you!

Jeremiah Owyang
Blog: http://www.webstrategist.com/blog/
Twitter: @jowyang

Jeremiah Owyang is a new media ‘big thinker’ and web strategist. Jeremiah is an analyst who gets under the skin of social media and digital marketing trends and regularly produces very interesting in-depth reports that contain a wealth of brilliant information. Jeremiah isn’t afraid to tackle the big issues and regularly blogs on a range of both strategic and tactical social media issues.

Harvard Business Review
Blog: http://hbr.org/ and http://blogs.hbr.org/
Twitter: @harvardbiz
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HBR

Although the Harvard Business Review isn’t dedicated to social media, if you’re serious about using social media marketing effectively as a business tool then HBR is required reading. The magazine (which I have a subscription to because I’m so afraid of missing out on their reports and analysis!) and blogs offer a wealth of insight on a variety of business issues, and both with give you a very good grounding in solid business principles that form the backdrop to which social media takes place.

Tamar Weinberg
Blog: http://www.techipedia.com/
Twitter: @tamar

If it wasn’t for Tamar Weinberg I might never have caught the social media ‘bug’. Tamar’s was the first social media book I read (‘The New Community Rules‘) and it really opened my mind to what social media can do, how it works and more importantly, what it’s’about’. Tamar is an active participant on the social web and is an expert in social networking, social bookmarking, blogging and much, much more.

TED
Blog: http://www.ted.com/
Twitter: @TEDTalks, @TEDNews
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TED

TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design and is a global set of conferences that explore a wide range of topics and subject areas. The people that speak at TED events are more often than not geniuses – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell to name a few – and nearly every TED talk (which is 18 minutes or less) I’ve watched has inspired me in one way or another. Like the Harvard Business Review, TED isn’t about social media, but the ideas and concepts are invigorating and will encourage good practice on the social web.

All or nothing

March 21, 2011

All or nothing
All too often I speak to individuals or companies who are considering using social media as part of their marketing efforts and yet they haven’t got a clear idea as to how it will fit into an overall plan or strategy.

I truly believe that social media marketing can be a very valuable part of a company’s marketing tool kit. But as with any other tactic or communication channel, it needs to be integrated into the overall business or marketing strategy effectively, with clear goals, objectives and milestones in place. Creating a one-off Facebook page or Twitter steam without an endgame in mind is simply using social media as a marketing ‘add on’, separated from from the core values, personality and image the brand is aiming to portray. Consistency is key and social media plays a vital role in generating brand awareness across both the traditional and social web.

Unless you are prepared to commit to social media entirely and use it as a genuine part of your marketing plan then I would recommend that social media isn’t used at all. Many may say that this would be far too drastic and that not participating in any social media channels would be a backwards step. However, the consequences of poor social media implantation has the potential to be much more damaging, with the possibility of frustrating followers or even customers through inconsistent participation and tone of voice.

A social media strategy doesn’t have to be a weighty tome, but it does have to coherently map out why you want to use social media, how you are going to use it and with whom. If you’re not prepared to take the time to put a simple plan together, I doubt you’ll have the time to consistently engage with communities using social media. It’s better to focus on the channels you can use really well (whether they be online or offline) and add value, rather than spread yourself – and your brand – thin across a variety of social media sites where you rarely turn up and join in.