A classic TEDtalks video from YouTube trends Manager, Kevin Alloca.
Tag Archives: Social Media
SOCIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE C-SUITE
[Re-printed with permission from the author, Dave Taddeo. A CEO who "gets" it.]
WHAT IS SOCIAL?
Social is this thing that people use to communicate and share. It started with Friendster only 10 years ago and eventually many other sites started popping up.
People share all kinds of things including what they are doing at any moment, photos of friends, family and events, and videos. Keeping in touch with (and track of) more friends than would normally be possible, is now possible. Sharing status updates and other kinds of media with more than a few (or hundreds or thousands) of people at the same time with the ability for all those people to comment and give their input became ‘valuable’. All the information about people and what they share and with whom became a goldmine for marketers. Especially when they share their opinions, photos and videos about your product and/or services. Instantly. Twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week.
Social marketing is when your marketers put your ads and information on social websites.
Wait. Let’s go back for a minute.
Remember when the marketing team at your company sent out flyers house to house and had newspapers and magazines print ads and delivered and sold to poll-generated demographic communities? Those newspapers and magazines told you that a certain number of people not only saw your ad, but read it and they charged you based on that certain number of people seeing your ad and reading it. Newspapers and magazines based their numbers on circulation. The higher the circulation, the more they can charge you based on that certain number of people seeing and reading your ad. How many times did someone in the C-suite at your company ask the newspaper or magazine how certain they were that people saw and read your ad based on circulation number? This is a well-developed advertising model going on several decades. Sixty or seventy years worth of printing and distributing. What’s to question? Maybe, ‘How many distributed copies of your publication were looked at before they were dropped in the recycling bin? Are you charging me too much? Show me the numbers.’
Back to the present.
Now you can budget your marketing and ad dollars and know it is targeted to people who consciously stated they are interested in your product or service. You can pay to have an ad shown to a person who is actually interested. You can also decide to (only) pay if someone consciously clicks on your ad and brings them to your site or a promotional web page. You know your marketing and ad dollars are being spent on real potential customers. As newspapers and magazines phase out of existence, your marketing and ad dollars should shift substantially to where your real potential customers are.
Now that you’re doing that, you need to serve those real potential customers where they are and how they’ve become accustomed to being served. Take the marketing out of ‘social marketing’ and get social. Take a second and go back and read the last 2 sentences of the first section.
“Especially when they share their opinions, photos and videos about your product and/or services. Instantly. Twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week.”
This is fundamental. Make no mistake about it. You need to be there to be a part of it lest it takes on a form of it’s own. This is not easy. It may even be a bit scary. You need to engage a community that has risen around your product or service in a professional, yet complementary manner in which the community behaves. This is completely different from printing an ad, hoping someone sees it and is compelled to purchase your product or service, and if customers need help providing a phone number in which they call, follow the automated instructions and wait for someone to speak to them about any issue they may have.
Take a few minutes and come to the realization that the ad and phone call model is cumbersome and upsets your customers when all they want is what they’ve become accustomed to; quick and easy communication where they already are – social. They want to do that with you. Badly.
How do you get social? The way social is done is upside-down to the old ad and phone center model you’re used to. Contact the experts. Find a company or contractor to set you up and inform you of what to do and how to move forward. They know what social is. They’ve been doing it for a long time, not only as a service they provide to companies (including your competitors) but also in their spare time for themselves (as themselves) with their friends and families and followers.
This costs money. Real money. But you cannot afford to not be social. Your customers and potential customers now require it. Getting social is the future for your company. There are no if’s, and’s or but’s about it.
Think about it. If a potential customer has a question about your product or service, or has a problem with your product or service that can be rectified with a question posed to a customer service rep from your company, which company do you think will win that customer’s/potential customer’s loyalty or next purchase? The answer is very easy. The company that can get the information to the customer/potential customer with as little ‘friction’ as possible. More and more customers/potential customers are spending more and more of their time at their keyboards. More and more device (electronic gadgets) and TV manufacturers are working hard so that you can put your ads and customer service where your customers/potential customers eyes already are. Make it ‘frictionless’ (easy) for your customers to contact you. Put yourself right in that line of sight.
SOCIAL. MEDIA. MARKETING.
Social media marketing are 3 different things, so stop putting those 3 words together in one bastardized term.
Marketing you should already know. Leave it to the marketing department. Get some marketers who know how to bring your product or service to the ever-evolving internet (including the social websites). Find a company or contractor who follows and knows the varying websites and trends. Once again, they are the experts. They know what’s going on online as it changes day-to-day.
Media is just that. Media. Photos, videos and commentary about your company and it’s products or services. The ever-active 24/7 presence of the global internet means you have to provide as such.
Social is the new tricky thing you have to adapt to. You have to be there, but how do you get there? Do what you do best and leave social to those that know it and live it.
Successfully putting the above mentioned 3 things together is how you become successful. Placing videos or photos (media) promoting your company (marketing) where your customers are (social) is new and essential for your success. It’s the undeniable future.
Getting social and adding your marketing and media is a very large and complex endeavor. It develops and evolves every day to something different from what it was the day before. The players can change just as quick. To be a part of social, which is essential, you have to make sure you have good people doing it for you.
First let me ask you when the last time you asked your customer service management what the ROI is on what they do? It’s a stupid question. Serving your customers to satisfaction has no ROI. It’s just I(nvestment) in your product or service. It’s I(nvestment) in satisfying your customers. The R(eturn) is return customers.
Investing in social is investing in your company. Getting social with your customers lets them know you’re there and ready to be… well, social with them. Marketing and adding media while being social with your customers is the ultimate trifecta. Being social means talking to customers, listening to customers, solving problems for customers, marketing to customers, sharing media with customers and last but not least, having fun with your customers. This costs money. Real money. The return on your investment in getting social is karma. You can’t count the profits based on being part of a community where your interactions define who your company is and what your company does. And please please please for Christ’s sake, please stop looking for a defined percentage increase in profits next quarter based on how much money you spent on good social services last quarter. Your return is karma and that takes many quarters. You have to earn that karma by being there for your customers where they are time and time again from here on out.
You want to know numbers just like you wanted to know the numbers from the newspapers and magazines. But you have to know this is different. The old ‘place an ad and get the made up circulation numbers from the printer’ model doesn’t apply anymore so don’t try to make it apply. Getting social encompasses much more than having a ‘certain’ number of people seeing and reading your ad or marketing campaign. Your customers can read and then re-post your copy. They can comment on it and share it with others, many others. The 24/7 viewing, re-posting and/or comments cannot be held to the same accounting standards as that ‘certain’ number of people who saw and read your print ad that they could not view, copy and share and/or comment on. This is new. It’s still in development in an ever-developing social space. How much do you value a re-post? A comment (positive or negative)? Having your media available to the world 24/7 regardless of when you provided it? Stop doing the math for a minute and start gathering statistics. Gather statistics over a quarter, 2 quarters, a fiscal year, two fiscal years… then look back and see how things are going and start building a model. You need the data. You already have the data for print ads. Before asking for your ROI get some data so you know what you’re actually asking for.
JUST DO IT RIGHT
You’re in the C-suite because you bring a certain skill and value to the company you work for. Unless you are a part of the C-suite for one of the websites where your customers are, then leave it to those that know how to get your company social in one of those sites. The social company or contractors you obtain social services from (be it social, media or marketing, or all 3) provide their services because they bring a certain skill and value to their clients. Take some time and do your due-diligence and choose a social service provider that you believe will fulfill your company’s needs being social.
You don’t have a choice. You have to get social. It’s the way the world is going whether you like it or not. Do your job and pay attention, but do it right. Leave it to the experts and rest assured knowing you don’t have a choice.
Thank you for your time.
Dave Taddeo, CEO, Coaters Tech
Nothing gets the social media communities more kicked up then the debate over whether businesses should absorb social media internally or outsource (outhouse?) the entire thing to an agency partner.
I have heard all arguments for the merits and limitations from both sides—and most agencies will offer very passionate and unsolicited argumentative advice that the only sensible thing to do is outsource your entire process to them. I’m sure they’ve told you this—they are the social media experts after all. And why wouldn’t they? You are their next business opportunity.
But why does it have to be an either/or decision? As a Social strategist—I aim to educate, offer fresh ideas, and then leave the tools behind with the door wide open. Maybe it’s the philosophical in me… you know, the whole teach-a-man-to-fish thing.
I understand the real-world limitations. Not wanting to divert people from their existing responsibilities, or even having to hire new staff. I can empathize with learning curves, and I certainly don’t expect busy professionals with (already) full workloads to invest the kind of time and money that I (and other colleagues) have done into learning about social media, or to be anything close to as engaged as some of us are on a daily basis. And I can even appreciate old dogs not wanting to learn new tricks. But I believe the merits outweigh the limitations in this debate—primarily in opportunities alone.
The opportunity exists for you to really own your social media investment. Own the strategy, own the day-to-day learnings, know how to handle the tools, and learn first-hand from your mistakes. Your customer is not out-sourcing their role as your consumer, and they are engaging and connecting in the social web at unprecedented rates. Don’t risk becoming less connected with your customers, own the behaviour insights that only familiarity will give you. Your company can’t afford to be headed in any other direction—no matter how practical the limitations of in-house may seem to you. It’s time to learn and lead.
This is where it doesn’t have to be an either/or decision. Investing in a Social Media strategist up-front can make all the difference for long-term Social Media implementation. Strategists can teach you the tools, train your team members, and make recommendations as to which core processes should be managed in-house. Strategists help with the plan and execution—in whatever capacity your business needs. Learn how, when and where to fish.
Keep that strategist in your pocket and put yourself on the path of practical learning and enriched understanding. Today’s business environment is socially connected—who’s telling your brand story?
Need more info? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can Social Media strategies improve communication during an organizational CHANGE? Here’s the top five:
1 – It provides a dialogue instead of a monologue.
2 – It provides a real-time transparency which builds trust.
3 – It empowers customer and employee involvement through personal discussion. It’s people communicating with PEOPLE.
4 – It provides consistency in message with ONE dialogue to customers and employees.
5 – It’s low up-front investment, lower on-going maintenance and communication costs, and completely measurable.
Today’s environment of constant change means more than just mergers and acquisitions. It’s the changing of platforms, communications and traditional business ideals. Social media introduces community, transparency, authenticity, real-time responsibility and organic growth. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the basic principle that “business strategies must be founded in PEOPLE, and the RELATIONSHIPS they create.”
Give your community the power to promote the CHANGE happening inside your organization themselves. It’s a good change.
Do you keep asking your customers to Like or Follow you without giving them a reason to engage with you? Do you know what that looks like to them?
Don’t get hung up on the numbers
How many followers do we have on Twitter? How many fans on Facebook? We need more fans—increase that number! Go! Go! Go!
Gah! Don’t be motivated by scalp count. What’s the value of a Facebook Like if you have to ask, beg or bribe to get it? This will build you a following of semi-interested individuals that don’t want to be bothered by you. Is this a fundamental principle of your Social strategy? Please no. Don’t be that brand.
Even in the off-chance that you do convince them to Like or follow you, it doesn’t mean they’re going to read (or even see) any of your posts aside from the one that bought them. That person just becomes a number on your wall. Some of you may use these numbers as metrics to support the ROI of social to your company. However, if I’m not reading your posts or engaging with you, should I be included in that ROI assessment? I’m never going to buy—I’m just here lurking for free stuff. You’re fudging your numbers to the C-Suite mister.
“Some studies show that a whopping 90% of Facebook users don’t return to a fan page once they click the Like button.” - Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner
Do the work for the Like or Follow
Social media is the law of attraction versus interruption. You attract others through your credibility, your honesty, your direct engagement, and your humanity. You demonstrate and bring value to the relationship. Makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it? OR you can continue to nag, interrupt and slam anyone who will listen with your advertising song and dance jazz-hands.
It all comes back to one simple principle. The content you publish will attract the audience you are trying to reach. It’s good content for the good of the people. Offer solutions to questions and problems without openly pitching your business. Show your expertise with relevant content. Allow those already following to share in their communities—sending real interest back to your page. Consumers are more likely to take notice of what you are doing this way. Show them the credibility, honesty, humanity and direct engagement you have with others. Be a giver and the fruits of your efforts will come back tenfold.
As with traditional marketing, exposure increases familiarity which in turn increases recognition with your brand or company. You have just increased your chances of becoming top-of-mind when it comes time to make a purchase from a brand within your industry.
It’s time to stop begging for Likes and start delivering content that makes them want to Like you. Then, and only then, have you earned the right to ask for anything.
Magazines were the original social networks. They filled a void for otherwise isolated individuals and the content transported them outside their community. Brands promoted their products through this early network with static advertising placement that shouted “LOOK AT ME. BUY ME. LOVE ME.”
Early television formats featured someone standing motionless at a microphone telling stories. Much like the technology evolution from radio to television, this print to digital content evolution has left folks standing around delivering static content in a dynamic environment. Technology changes faster than corporate mindset.
Thankfully, the gap is starting to close and we’re seeing Brands and marketers leading with diversity in content innovation.
Social networks are about sharing. It’s important to understand the distinction between sharing, and being shared with. Value, not persuasion, is the core of the social sharing ecosystem. Content must be dynamic not static—put the microphone down and put on your dancing shoes.
As a brand, providing value in content is about storytelling. Storytelling is a long-standing tradition at the heart of all families, communities and cultures. Effective and dynamic story-telling develops deeper, emotional connections that allow readers to be a big part of the experience.
So, how do you tell an effective story?
Imagine your brand as a big book of stories. Each story must have your brands corporate message baked in (not obvious posturing), it must be relevant, timely, provide value, allow for consumer interaction, and be engaging. You want your audience to turn the page and read the next story, don’t you?
With that in mind, let’s use Coca-Cola’s 70/20/10 content rule. 70% of your stories should be the low-risk, solid useful content your audience expects—appealing to all audiences. 20% of your stories should be higher-risk, solid useful content that is directed to specific segments of your audience—your loyal consumers. The last 10% of your stories are where you can set your hair on fire. It’s the content that reaches out to the edges, or comes at your idea in an entirely new way. Your audience might not be there yet or they might be right there with you. It’s the crazy, never-been-done-before-and-might-fail ideas. This is high-risk, but it has the potential to achieve the highest share rate and is also where your future 70-20% will come from.
Ultimately, content innovation is driven by the combination of old ideas and new configurations. Readers don’t want to be told information in a static one-way drop. They want to have a conversation about the information, be swept away into the information, they want to be affected and share that information within their own social circles.
Brand stories should be a distribution of creativity with a content excellence that would make a ruthless editor weep tears of joy. You want to be dramatically different—not just noise in the digital airwaves. But how many different ways can you do it? The possibilities are endless!
A good example of a Brand leading their story through innovation is the grocery retail chain, Longo’s. They are telling you their brand story—quite literally. They are exercising their 10% and pioneering into new content configuration frontiers. They are bringing journalistic blogging together with traditional publishing techniques for a compelling story that is fun, engaging, and worth the attention of their audience.
And hey, it can even be plopped into my e-reader with RSS.
This is an idea of brand storytelling through actual storytelling. Check out Longo’s creative non-fiction brand story here.
Net policy or social media policy? I hear both of these terms being thrown about as if they were interchangeable. There is a difference. There should be a difference. The main distinction is the focus on what employees can do in the web world, rather than what they can’t. An internet policy typically outlines employee internet use during work hours—and consequently the monitoring of that use. A social media policy governs the individual interactions of your employees in the social sphere—as it relates to your brand—and can be much harder to monitor once an employee has clocked out and is operating in their own time.
There is a certain amount of trust, respect and responsibility that must accompany your employees when they venture out into the social web as a walking, talking, breathing, blogging extension of your brand. Implementing a social policy—more like guidelines really—that impart the tremendous amount of social responsibility is imperative so that nobody ends up dooced.
Once upon a time, professional networking happened after hours while sipping an aperitif or while swinging your golf clubs at a charity event. Putting together your professional image in the privacy of your personal space before shaking hands with prospects or clients will soon be a thing of the past. Image used to be everything. But now, with the explosion of Facebook, they’ve all seen you in a messy tube top holding both ends of a beer bong.
Facebook and other social media sites have blurred the lines between personal and professional. It’s a strange tangle of ‘friends’ that you retain and it can be impossible to tell where one begins and the other ends. Times have definitely changed—and the shift continues at a monumental rate. For the new generations it will be all they know. The idea of an archaic professional image (that some of us continue to cling to) will be as important to them as an eight-track cassette of The Bay City Rollers—or as necessary as a pen.
The surest way to maintain your individual professional image is to show it to everyone. While that may take care of you as an individual, what does that mean for your business? As you move your company out into the social stream, the course of your professional actions are now muddied in a personal dance with your consumers—while the whole world watches. Gone are the days where you could interact one-to-one and if you gave a less than stellar customer service performance to one individual, then you had the opportunity to make amends before it snowballed out of control. Negative publicity was word of mouth. Now, your lurking prospects , customers, and stakeholders can see it with their own eyes. You start with the out-of-control snowball—and you must work backward and quickly melt it back down to nothing. You must make amends to the whole world—not just one unhappy customer.
The positive in this—and yes, there is one there—is that this new age of social networking will keep you honest. It will tighten and hone your professional customer service techniques so that each customer or prospect you deal with will be given the same courtesy and attention to detail as the next. It’s a win—win. To help you bridge this gap will be a great social strategist (hi, nice to meet you) that will coach and navigate for you, gently pushing you forward, building your brand up in front of the social eyes of your consumers, and helping you to organize yourself in front of your waiting audience. Make no mistake—it is important that you be there. Everyone is there. You’re already conspicuous with your absence. If you don’t steer your social reputation, your unhappy customers, disgruntled employees and crazy ex-wife will.
Now, as an individual, you’re completely on your own. It’s possible that nobody will be watching you. Maybe the only interaction you will have is on your birthday when your mom posts the obligatory “happy birthday” on your Facebook wall. I can’t help you with that.
Social Marketing sounds scary—foreign even. And it should, because it’s misleading. The Social Marketers out there in the headlines are making up the rules as they go along. The race to be the most influential expert in the Social Media industry is definitely on. And honestly, if marketing folk didn’t hike up their bootstraps and hoof it in a new direction—they’d be quickly out of work. It’s really not that complex. Don’t believe all the smoke and mirrors. There’s no magic bullet. And—it’s not marketing.
Social Marketing is not about marketing at all—at least not in the traditional sense. It’s about customer service—and marketing that service. In order for a Social Media program to be successful, you can’t live in the house of marketing. You can accessorize with marketing methodology such as campaigning, product sampling, and that sort of thing. But the house you must live in needs to be customer service.
The frontline of your organization is customer service—this is where your company becomes real to the public. Engaging with the public shows them you’re real, it shows them a human face. It puts you in the coveted position of confidant. It allows you to listen to what customers are saying and keeps you pro-active and top-of-mind, all the while remaining involved with them. More importantly than that, you’re building a community that allows customers to interact with each other and it is—in essence—a celebration of your customers. It’s an everyday virtual customer conference.
It’s time to let go of traditional values and let the community and your customer service team market for you. Teaming your marketing silo up with Social Strategists is setting your conversations up to fail—before they even begin. There will be all sorts of head-butting, non-acceptance of key strategy elements, and downright refusal to play nice in the sandbox. Your marketing team is skilled in traditional marketing and is an important piece of your business puzzle—just on a secondary scale in Social Media. Customer service is built for listening and for scaling, and must be the starting point for any successful Social integration program. If the program is to standalone, it can be effectively positioned—or repositioned—as residing between customer service and marketing. Tearing down organizational silos could mean realignment of budgets and key management, but worth the reorganization to bring these departments together. It will be a critical effort in order to manage Social Media after deployment.
You will be managing the care of the public in a public platform. Everyone will be watching; customers, potential customers, fans, your competitors—even your mom. You need to put your best “face” forward. Do you want to trust the customer service of your marketing team to make the decisions? Or do you want to rely on the skills and training of your dedicated customer service team to engage your audience? It seems like a no-brainer.
Social media is not going away. In fact, this is only the beginning. Before long Social Media will be an integral and essential part of the business industry. It will be as obvious and as necessary as email and paycheques. You can stick your head in the sand and pooh-pooh the whole emergent phenomenon of Social, and you can go on believing that traditional values are hard-core and cannot be so easily torn down. But, you’d be wrong. You have to be open and adaptable to change. You have to learn new tricks—no matter how old your dog is.
As a leader in your organization, it’s up to you to make the tough decisions. Board ego’s run deep, budgets are tight, and nobody wants to talk about change. Ain’t that the way it goes? All the excuses and reasoning in the world won’t change the fact that one day soon—in order to continue to compete for market—you’re going to have to implement a Social strategy. Why not start embracing it now?
Start discussing strategies internally. Conceptualize your organization in a conversation. Align and arm your customer service department for the new program. Ask for help. Find reputable Social Marketing Strategists to consult with and build a rock-solid platform for your business to engage the world. We are out there—and we’ll tell you the truth.
The Olympics are over and Stephen Harper’s box seats have been disassembled and returned to storage. So what — you ask — has the prime minister got next on his agenda?
It seems that he is back to commanding the confidence of the House of Commons. Keep your eyes peeled during your next Chatroulette experience – there’s a working webcam at 24 Sussex Drive.