Posts Tagged ‘Youtube’

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!

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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!

Quit your day jobIn my last post I spoke about who in an organization should take the reigns of the social media campaign. All the “consultants” (myself included) probably thought they were safe as they are able to do any and everything asked of them. Well truth is that the consultants are not safe.

Social media is a new beast for many companies and as such the need to hire outside help is strong. Not every company can find the right person with enough experience to tackle the set up of a social media campaign from scratch. What they need to look out for is the perception of the company when a third-party takes the reigns. I spoke about Sales/customer service being a huge part of your social media presence. Do you honestly want someone who does not know your products and has 3-5 other accounts to try to handle any complaints that come down the Social Media pipe? Would you not rather have fewer people handling a process? This is what happens when you outsource.

What was that? You say you cannot afford/justify another full-time worker on salary? What if you divided the responsibilities among those already in sales/marketing/pr. Better yet you could hire a part-timer (although Social Media is a 24/7 job) or another “Marketing Coordinator” to help the already stressed Marketing/PR department. Make social media the main requirement but give them other responsibilities to push them along the way.

Yes I understand that I just made myself and many of my friends irrelevant (although I am looking for a full-time gig *hint hint*) and I may take some flack for that but do not fret. No one reads this blog. Even if they did there are still ad agencies out there. This business model will not die with this one blog post. There will always be a need for true social media “consultants,” we just need to make ourselves indispensable. We also need to get rid of those who call themselves gurus, ninjas, rockstars or any other manner of title that does not mean anything. Just because you have a Twitter account and a laptop you are not an expert.

Do you think the consultants should go the way of the dinosaur? Do you want to rip me a new one for exposing the little secret we all know? Let me know in the comments!

Updated: Maybe we should see more “consultants” being hired for a month of two to get the social media up and running, along with the training of the key players. This way the company gets to see how it will be run and the “consultant” (I do like coach better) will not need to go away. This could be a better solution. Small businesses would not hire them full-time as it would not be needed. Would this be a better model than just going in and showing them how it is done?

OK so this may not come as a shock to you as almost everyone and their cat has written a post on their blog in regards to Social Media in an organization and where it fits, but I would like to think that this one will be a little different. I am going to include examples from a company I previously worked for that currently does not use Web 2.0 but more along the lines of a Web 1.5 strategy. Guess I should explain Web 1.5. I see Web 1.5 as when a company is on social media, or at least a few of the sites, and does not interact with the fans. HTC is a great example of that. You look on the wall and there are many people talking to HTC but no response. This is what people in the business call, bad social media marketing.

So to start with where social media fits in an organization you do have to look at the company. The one I worked for was a large private technical school. Currently they have a Facebook and Myspace page but that is as far as it goes (Yes MySpace still fits with their demographic). Unfortunately they only use these pages as a sounding board for whatever they are doing. Many fans/friends are trying to talk to them but to no avail. Is that effective? Not Web 2.0 effective. Why would you ignore people trying to get more information from you?

So most blog posts will tell you that marketing or PR should run the social media. I would say that there should be more than that. This company had all of your typical departments, Marketing, PR, Sales/Customer service, Internet and Event Marketing. Which department should handle Social Media? All of them.

Seems like I just tried to get off easy there, did it not? Well let me dive into that a little bit. Marketing and PR should have the reigns in the social media strategy. That is without debate. The great thing about social media is you can have more than one person or department on it at a time.

Take the event marketing team. What would be better than live tweeting at an event and sharing those pictures and videos with your fans as soon as you take them. Who knows the events better than the team that puts them on? Sales team needs to be on social media to help with any potential clients. Why would you want to talk to someone and then hand them off to the “next available representative” when you could work them through the process the whole way?

Really these are just a few options out there to a larger corporation and may not work for everyone. Oh and about the old saying of too many hands spoil the pot? That is what a defined social media strategy is all about. Everyone knows their place in the organization and social media should be no different.

Do you have any examples of a large company who segments their social media successfully? I want to see them!

So I have been thinking of little things I could do to make the Marketing world a little better place. Figured I might as well get my head wrapped around the idea of brainstorming on a regular basis for that day when I get a job. Well I figured I would share some of my ideas…. with the knowledge that they may get stolen at some point.  Well here it goes (and I am not sharing all my ideas… that would be stupid).

My first thought is on the location-based app world that is starting to bloom. It is no secret that I really like Foursquare. It has become an addicting little pass time  for me as of late. I began to think of how Foursquare to monetize their business (and this goes for Gowalla, Loopt and the others out there) and came to a conclusion. All of this data that these companies collect is VERY valuable. You find out how many people they usually show up with, what they are saying and how often they go (probably what kind of phone they checked-in on as well). This can be a lot of use for marketers. Why not sell this information to the companies? Now before you grab your I-want-my-privacy pitchforks let me explain that they would not get any information you are not giving to your social networks and you could opt-out of the personal information sharing, just the location sharing would be shared.

Start off with a pricing plan that for each location you want info on you pay a certain price. Then if you want info on your competitors you pay more. Well you can see where I am getting at here. This would help with the market research and make sure these budding social media companies stick around a while longer.

Next up I figured I would put in a PR idea I have. This also deals with Foursquare and the adoption of social media into your integrated marketing strategy. So you already use email marketing… or you should, and now you are diving into the realm of location-based sharing to get your company out there. You have your Twitter, Facebook, blog, Flickr and other social media profiles on your website. Now what? Well you can check to see who is Mayor of your locations and give them a little bonus or discount. You then mention the discount on your website to entice others to jockey for that coveted position. Even better, you post the profile or name of the current mayor of your locations on your Facebook, blog and email newsletter to encourage competition. You make people want to gain that mayorship to gain that recognition. Maybe give discounts for kicking a mayor out. You want turnover in that mayorship because that means loyalty and repeat business.

These are just some of my ideas. Take them as they come. Ask me for more… but the next ones will cost you (I want a job).