Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Marketing’

Twitter Fail Whale by Yiying Lu http://www.yiyinglu.com

Now don’t get me wrong, Klout is very important in a social media setting. I do not need to get into a fight about how important it is. In fact if you would rather read about how awesome it is to have “Klout” you can read this great blog post by a great guy named Robert Caruso. Klout has its place.

I am here to talk about those who think that because they have “Klout,” the world should move for them. Twitter is a great site for sharing information. It can really bring around a lot of collaboration and I have met some wonderful people there. It can also be a place to complain and (maybe) get your way. I follow one such twitterer that had an issue with @Southwestair.

This person was hoping to make an earlier flight, that had space available, home. Unfortunately the ticket she had from Southwest did not allow her to change and she figured that a quick tweet would change that. I understand business and the fact that if the flight had room they would not be losing any business by allowing her on. I will say that they have every right to deny her request, and they did.

This is where it gets fun. She then caused a frenzy with her followers because of, what she felt was, a snub of a very loyal and “important” client. Without getting into much detail, this twitterer regularly throws around her Klout number since it is in the 70’s. Great. She spends a lot of time online. Not a bad thing. I know many people with those kinds of scores. That does not mean you should get anything and everything you desire.

Look at people like Scott Stratten (@UnMarketing), he loves to joke about how he is a big player in a semi-relevant online site. He has a huge and very loyal following but does not demand special treatment (but regularly gets it). He is someone to emulate online. He understands Klout’s importance but does not rely on it for his work. He relies on his work. Thanks for the great example Scott.

Klout is a very important tool to help understand what goes on online. People need to understand that it is just a number. Yes it can help your business but do not rely on it for special treatment.

What do you think? Did Southwest make the right move by standing there ground? Maybe, maybe not. Sound off in the comment.

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I have actually been sitting on this blog post for quite some time as I have been very busy with work but figured I would finally share with the world my thoughts on Spam/advertising, especially how it pertains to Social Media, as well as a little run in I had a few months back that inspired this post.

It all with a Tweet that read, “Check out our company on Facebook (with the link) for your Social Media needs.” Never before had I contacted this company nor had they tried to follow me or engage in any conversation I had been in. Naturally I decided to check out their stream and sure enough there were many other Tweets with the same wording. Having been on twitter for a while and suffered through this kind of spam, I will admit that I was more than a little frustrated. I shot a tweet back asking if spamming Twitter was successful for them and left it at that. They responded! Imagine that, an actual person behind the spam! Actually they were not pleased with the term “spam” that I used and said they would not answer the question. After an exchange of tweets of the next couple days (including the owner saying that sending out mass tweets unsolicited without consent was not spam) I did get out of him that it apparently had led to a little business.

After this altercation I began to wonder, is the minimal amount of time spamming the internet worth the 1-2% return (typical direct mail return)? Is there a better way to interact online for a brand that is not well known/service that is not constantly needed? It all goes back to what any number of social media experts stress, engaging the audience and monitoring the channels. My best example on monitoring comes from work I do with the credit union I work at. I have my Google Alerts set up for many different keywords and I check them at least once a day. One morning I came across someone asking about a product we offer. Sent him a tweet and we received a call a little while later form his friend. Unfortunately we were unable to help this specific person but we were there. It was a lead and all it took was a tweet.

I will admit that I am no expert. I love social media and am constantly learning and trying new things. In a field this young, there are few experts to speak of. Learn the best practices and apply them. Engage your followers and make following you worth their while. If you do this you will have a better chance at succeeding than using spam tactics for your online advertising. Stay away from Spam-vertising or you will likely be blocked from the very people you are trying to help. If I am going to hire a firm, I want to know that they are knowledgeable and understand what they are talking about, not one that is on social media only for themselves.

I have checked the company’s stream recently and there is no more spam. Unfortunately there are many posts from Twitterfeed, but that is a rant for another day.

What is your definition of spam?

Lately in the social media world there has been a lot of talk about the geolocation, and rightly so. For those of you unaware, geolocation uses the GPS in your phone to determine where you are. From there, and depending on the app, you can check-in to the place you are and tell your friends. This sphere is getting to be so popular that Facebook has even announced an entrance into the geolocation arena.

Currently there are quite a few players vying for supremacy with clear, current leader. Foursquare is leading the pack even though it was not the first entrant and this is attributed to the game aspect that has been included. In this game you earn badges for completing tasks or can become “Mayor” of your favorite spot by checking-in more than anyone else. The rest of the pack includes BrightKite, Loopt, Gowalla and Whrrl, among others.

While Foursquare does currently have the lead I recently found a new service with loads of potential, SCVNGR. Remember having scavenger hunts as a kid? This has the same premise. SCVNGR runs off of points, you get a point just for checking in and then the real game comes into play. This past week I checked-in at a local Mexican restaurant for a meeting. Upon checking in I was then given the tasks to gain more points; Social Check-in (check-in with friends), Take a picture, Fear Factor (where you take a picture of your food in such a way that it looks like it should be on Fear Factor) and Say Something (those are all I remember).

So what is so good about this new service? This makes the game all the more interactive and all your non-tech minded friends can help you complete the tasks. The creators have also been hard at work speaking with various companies to get a rewards program off the ground. If that does not start your creative wheels turning how about a partnership with the Minnesota Vikings? What does this new service have in store? Growth. I have been watching it for quite some time and only recently jumped in the game with the acquisition of a new phone.

This is currently the only thing slowing growth, availability. For those with an iPhone or Android device I recommend jumping in. The great thing is that you can create a trek and anyone with SMS capability can join in, just not for the check-in service.

My conclusion after playing around with SCVNGR for the last little bit is that Foursquare may need to update a few things to keep their spot on top. The potential for this relatively new entrant is immense and with geolocation on the rise, as well as GPS-enabled phones sales rising, SCVNGR is in a good spot to grow, quickly.

Maybe what they should focus on is making an app available to those without smartphones to get them enthralled with the service so when they finally do go to the smartphones they are already engaged in SCVNGR and will not want to try the other services. Could this be the key to dominance for geolocation to really take off? Only time will tell.

Be formulating new strategy to incorporate these services, I know I am.

Let me know what you think. Have you tried SCVNGR or any of the other apps mentioned and if so what is your take? Or is geolocation more of a fad?

I made this

Recently I have spent some time helping my father build a deck on the back of his home. During this time we had a constant “helper” in Molly, my sister’s golden retriever. My sister received Molly for her birthday 6 years ago as a dog seemed like a fun pet to have. Fast forward to today and Molly gets taken for a walk maybe once a month and gets attention from my sister even less than that.

I took a look at this situation and realized this is what is happening with social media. Much like my sister enjoyed the idea of having a dog, the work involved in truly caring for the dog was too much for her. I think we can all think of a few companies whose pet project of social media seemed like a good idea but the idea of keeping up with the sites (or even monitoring their own Facebook page) is just too much for what they wanted. I have mentioned HTC – North America and their Facebook page before as a great example of this omission.

Why is it so difficult for some companies to really take on the responsibilities that social media brings? I believe one of the biggest problems (this is what has happened with Molly as well) is laziness. This also includes the lack of time management but I am lumping that in to laziness. Social media truly does not sleep and most companies are not used to having a dialog with its consumers. Social media is a 24/7 channel. That does not mean that the Social Media Expert has to be monitoring all day long but your brand name can be mentioned at anytime.

I do understand that monitoring social media can be very daunting and even boring at times, especially when there are so many other things to be done in the marketing world. If you like the idea of social media but are unable to truly act on it, that is ok. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Focus on one site a day. Do not try to overload yourself with social media. Focus on your blog one day, the Facebook page the next and then do the same with Twitter, YouTube or any of the other sites your company uses to interact with consumers. This gives you a focus for that moment and opens you up to multi-tasking later when you feel more comfortable with the social media/work balance.

2. Take 30 min to an hour each morning. Set aside this time to write a blog post, check what happened on Facebook or Twitter. Use this alongside tip number one to increase productivity. Again once you are used to browsing and engaging on every site you will open up more possibilities for multi-tasking but remember to not let the updating of the SM sites to take over your whole day.

3. Bookmark searches. Go look at Technorati and Google Blog Search and enter your brand name into the search. Then subscribe to the RSS feed or just set up a bookmark in your browser. Check these everyday or every other day to monitor what is being said. Check Twitter Search for your brand to see what people have been saying. Also know that abbreviations appear frequently on Twitter so check a few variations of your name. There are other sites to help you along the way, like Google Alerts that can help as well. Check them out and see what you like.

4. Be interesting. You may think that no one will want to hear what you have to say, but that is the beauty of social media. There will always be someone out there that will appreciate your presence. Talk about what interests you and goes along with your brand. This is not a place to push your product… or at least not entirely. You need to actually interact with the customer.

These are just a few tips on how you can treat this pet as a real project and not just an idea. This is also a good time to plug the Social Media Consultant. Yes I have posted about why there should be no need for consultants but let’s face it, there is definitely a need. Just like advertising or event marketing there will always be a need for someone specialized in social media to assist your organization. You need to be careful about who you hire but you can find someone who will actually work hard for you and help monitor the social web while teaching you how to take over control of your social media sites.

Do not let your social media profiles go the way of Molly. Appreciate not only the idea but the execution of the campaign. Social media, integrated with traditional media, will help your company grow faster than it previously has. If you need any tips, more advice or need help running the social media itself, feel free to comment or email me and we can work something out. I can also direct you to a resource for social media experts for your area.

Let me know if you have any ideas for making social media easier to handle!

I realized today that I seem to have put off updating my blog for a little while now. I have been pretty busy as of late with a variety of projects but I figured it was time to take a break and share some knowledge. This post is dedicated to @WillDobbs as he gave me the idea to talk about what Arizona could do with social media to address some of the issues at hand with the infamous immigration bill known as SB 1070. There has been a lot of talk about the pros and cons about this law but since this is not a political blog I will not share my views on the this particular issue.

One of the reasons I decided to tackle this post is the fact that I loved living in the state. This has been quite the hot topic lately and not a good PR moment for the state. Is Arizona out of luck in the PR department? As long as they act to counteract the negative press right now and engage those who are already talking about immigration. Transparency is key in Marketing/PR. The first thing needed to avoid (or stop) a disaster is be open. In this instance there needs to be an open channel to the lawmakers. Why do voters like town halls? The transparency and the fact that they can get answers on the spot.

5 Social Media Tips to Potential Disaster Avoidance

1. Monitor your choice. What could be more important than knowing what is being said about the bill? From a PR standpoint, nothing. With that said, monitor the interwebs. I did a quick search on Google Blog Search, Technorati, and Twitter search twice and there are many opinion posts throughout each service. While it would be too daunting to try to control each and every site (and you should not try to control but direct the conversation), the Arizona lawmakers need to be voicing their concerns and opinions on this matter. Comment on the blogs and offer yourself for an interview. It will work in your favor.

2. Crowd Source. Online you will find those who are “brand” ambassadors. Promote them. Offer to be interviewed for their blog. Talk to the representatives from the other states that support your cause. Find those that are willing to help (This sounds like how the President was elected so you know it works). Join the Facebook pages that are for or against the bill… or even better, start your own to progress your specific platform for more exposure (it is an election year after all). Do you want to be really progressive? Start a Twitter Chat with your own custom hastag to have a discussion, you can live stream it as a town hall if need be.

3. Bookmark/Digg. If you want an educated populace, seek out those unbiased articles or blog posts that will give news. Unfortunately in politics that may not happen so try to find good posts that give both sides of the argument in a Delicious or Stumbleupon account. This gives instant access to information you want the voters to have. You can filter out the very biased/hateful posts that are bound to be found online. This can also backfire (on the strictly informational aspect) if your bookmarks are biased in nature.

4. Take a cue from Apple… just not with the iPhone 4 antenna issue. One thing I love about the Apple Fanpeople (being politically correct here) is the extent they go to for information on Apple. During WWDC there were many sites dedicated to a live blog of the event. Not everyone will be able to attend the hearings on SB 1070 so why not have reporters or even interns live blog the event. Any questions can be screened from the online sources and even presented at that hearings. Again, transparency. This is the online town hall format tweaked just a little.

5. Blog. Most politicians already have their own blog and with good reason. Be active on it. Blog often about what you are doing to further the cause of your choice. Post the occasional vlog to go along with your blog. People need to see your face to know that you are still around and active in the discussion. It does not hurt credibility either.

Use Satire. While this step may not contain social media, it will help. One could attend the taping of shows like The Daily Show or Colbert Report (make sure you have the facts set up and are confident in your convictions). Why? Well an interview with either of these gentlemen, while not easy, could possibly go viral. They each have a huge fan base and many more that would watch the clips online. For an easier time you could go on Fox News (if for the bill) or MSNBC. Any of these shows or stations would love to have an interview with any one of the lawmakers in the state of Arizona. (Only perform this step if you are very comfortable with your convictions being quasi-ridiculed)

Is it too late to come back from the PR black hole the state is sliding into? No, but action needs to be taken. It does not matter what your personal take is on the matter, with the outcry for and against this bill, action needs to be taken. Maybe it is because I am not currently in the state but the lack of communication I have seen is never good.

Bonus Step #6. Foursquare. Give each illegal immigrant a smart phone and have them check in to various government buildings. The badge they earn could be a badge of citizenship! Well maybe not….

Disclaimer: This is coming from outside the state of Arizona. These views are what I have seen in the media from another state. The actually reality of the situation is probably completely different.

What other ways could the state use social media to help either repair its image or show its strength? Let me know!