Why Not Exploring Social Media Marketing for Your Company is a Mistake

Jim Tobin, who heads Ignite Social Media in Cary, N.C. said of social media,  “There are tons of studies that say word-of-mouth is more effective than any other marketing, and this is essentially word-of-mouth on-line.” He also wrote a book called Social Media is  Cocktail Party.  (I haven’t read it, but I just ordered it because I love the title.)  However, I keep hearing that social media isn’t for everyone, and many companies simply are NOT interested in learning and incorporating social media into their efforts. My question is why? If it really is as great as everyone all say it is then why isn’t EVERYONE jumping on board? Other than an attachment to the traditional methods (which is hard to break away from), why are some companies uninterested?

There are a few different answers to this question. Some don’t want to deal with regulations, or being held accountable for what is said in discussion on their websites.  Others don’t have the man power – blogging and social media involvement and upkeep is definitely a time consuming branch for any company. Also – there is a huge risk of opening doors to negative criticism , like this example below found in, “More Companies are Using Social Media for Marketing

In its work for a financial services company, Capstrat detected a popular YouTube blogger who had posted a video slamming the customer service he had received from the company. The video attracted more than 100,000 viewers within 90 minutes.

The client’s vice president of customer service e-mailed the blogger, expressed regret for the problem, and gave the blogger a number to call to discuss the situation. The executive also posted a contrite message on YouTube.

The problem was resolved, and the blogger quickly posted a second video praising the company’s response.

In the end — it really ended up benefiting the company because their positive response was widely heard of, and their customer service turned it around for an unhappy customer, SUCCESSFULLY.  That’s real, that’s transparent, that’s honest… and that’s word-of-mouth at it’s best. That’s what social media marketing is all about.
I have come to a conclusion about these companies that think social media might not work for them, or are uninterested in giving it a shot to see what it would mean. I’m going to go out on a limb here and saying- bad idea.  I think they are wrong. Wrong not to look into social media, work not to explore how it might benefit their company. Just because  not every outlet of social media works for every type of company doesn’t mean there isn’t at least one outlet or way you can be using social media. There are different tears, different levels, and so many creative ways to use social media.  Not ever opening that door is 100% of the time going to be a big loss for that company.

My advice – get yourself out there. Hire a social media expert to evaluate what your company or brand can be doing on the social web. Just do it.

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Smile, and The Whole World Smiles With You

According to a recent article on Yahoo! Finance by Laura Rowley The study by researchers at Harvard University and the University of California San Diego found that happiness is contagious: A friend who lives within a mile and becomes happy increases the probability that you’ll become happy by 25 percent; a next-door neighbor’s joy raises the probability by 34 percent; and a gleeful spouse who lives with you ups the probability by 8 percent.  Turns out, during these rough times when so many people are done, worried, financially stressed, you name it… all you need to do to get happy is find the happy people. We all know laughter is contagious, and it’s hard to be grumpy around truly joyful people – so really these statistics shouldn’t come as a surprise.

When you ask my dad how he’s doing, he will often respond, “never been better”. He recently let me in on a little secret… he often says this when it is not quite the case. The fact is, the more positive and upbeat you express you are, the more positive and upbeat you will feel.  Tell enough people your fabulous tomorrow… when they inquire, and hey… maybe you’ll feel fabulous by the end of the day.  Couldn’t hurt right? Now… go get happy.

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Unveil your ideas, be ready to act on them.

I don’t normally buy into fortune cookies or any of that jazz, but last week I received a fortune that I now count as one of my life motto’s.  (True story: the fortune is tucked on the dash in my car, and has been for weeks). The fortune read, “Unveil your ideas, be ready to act on them.” Really it is more like advice than a fortune, and maybe that’s why it stuck with me. I think that life, career, ambition, and achievement are very centered around the idea of finding simple phrases and ideas such as this and letting them drive you towards you next goal, your next benchmark, and the inspiration that they provide move you forward. In the past couple weeks this phrase has been at the back of my mind as a motivator for me. Rather than keeping my ideas to myself, or simply keeping them scribbled in my massive and overly highlighted notebook — share them, speak up, UNVEIL them. But once you do this, be prepared, (never too prepared) have actions in mind, know the next steps ahead of time — and use your ideas to spur MOVEMENT in your company, in your brand, in your career, in your life.

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Online Profiling: Speaking to One vs. Many

There has been a shift in the methods that defines on-line marketing on customer outreach.  Today the efforts are not so much like using megaphone and getting your message out there as loudly and as noticeably as you can —  so that as many people as possible hear what you have to say and know what your brand is.  It has gone from more of an outreach measured by quantity to a direct and personal message outreach towards an individual. This individual is who you have created the message for. You altered and molded that message for what this person likes, what they think about, what they do in their free time, what kind of family they have, and what they are passionate about. Web technology is now more and more geared to collect personal information about you based on what web sites your visiting, and what you are talking about in your e-mails.  Is it invasive or…awesome? It’s a little process called “on-line profiling” and I vote awesome.  (I would much rather see a Michael Kors add pop up on the left of my monitor than one for Home Depot.) Companies (and on-line brands especially) SHOULD tailor our ads to what a customer likes, especially companies that aim to have an active social web presence.   Cater to your audience, as individuals, instead of using broader advertising and marketing to capture a group.  Sometimes you have to figure out what your average individual customer would be like based on your target group.  What would your ideal customer be like? (Someone that would be most interested in the tool/services/products that you have to offer.)   What music would that person listen to while jogging on a Saturday morning? What kind of connection tools are they interested in on-line? What types of circles do they run in? What are their interests and goals? You use those things to connect them with your brand on a more personal and intimate level. Speak right to the heart of what they want and need. The social media tools that currently exist are rapidly developing to allow marketers  to become much more personally involved with their audience and community.  Eric Imbs talks about how giving the customer an opportunity to choose their favorite color or favorite car, then cater to them based on their choice. He says, “colour is… a much more personal piece of information, which if used properly could make an ad much more targeted and….personal.” Through the on-line profiling that is possible today, we are allowed to get to know our customers at a closer level.  Use this.  Stop shooting for the crowds attention, and connect with your customers on a more intimate level.

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Corporate Blogs and Twittering

I have heard arguments both for and against blogging or twittering on behalf of a corporation. According to MediaWeek for the last several years, new marketing experts have implored corporations to “join the conversation,” namely through blogging. The problem being is that currently, several years into the blogging phenomenon, not many consumers trust these corporate blogs.  Personally, there are many corporate blogs I read, trust and enjoy. One of them is the Google Reader blog. I find it informative, personal and easy to relate to in the first person plural tone in which it is written. I think it’s possible to have a successful corporate blogging experience.  AdAge reported that 20% of the Fortune 500 have blogs.   Chris Baggott says, that “almost every one of those blogs are the traditional C-level, Thought Leadership kind of blather.” He claims that people don’t trust the C-level. The only successful corporate blogging approach is one that includes employees, because that’s where the trust factor comes in. Employees are the credible source. Does that mean that we can twitter or blog with a company/brand name if we first explain (in our profiles) that we are (name) blogging on behalf of (company) ??  Is that simple acknowledgement, of an individual actually typing the posts or sending the tweets, enough to earn a consumers trust?

I liked these Five Steps to a Successful Corporate Twitter Presence on how best to use corporate twitter accounts, when you do want to use a brand/company name for your twitter.

  1. Listen. It’s easy to set up and subscribe to a search of your brand or company name.
  2. Add value. Provide useful content for those that choose to follow you.
  3. Only follow when followed or mentioned. Having an anonymous entity follow you is a bit like receiving spam – you don’t know who it is or why you’re getting it. If your following:followers ratio is more than 2:1 then you are probably being a bit desperate.
  4. Reply. Respond to every tweet directed at you.
  5. Use replies rather than direct messages. Be transparent about what you’re saying to others on Twitter.

Is it a good move to introduce a blog for a personal brand or company if it’s the behind the scenes employees that do the posting and tweeting and own up to it?? Or is this still a risk for consumer mis-trust? What do you think?

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7 Interesting Things About Me

Usually I try to keep this blog professional, forward thinking, proactive (for myself), and use it mainly to impart knowledge on the topics that I myself am dabbling in and learning about.  However — this was too much fun of an opportunity to pass up…. David Mullen recent tagged me in a post as one of seven people that he finds  interesting. (I’m interesting — go figure!)  So here are seven things you didn’t know about me…

1.  I went skydiving out of helicopter in Interlocken, Switzerland. By far the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Amazing life changing experience.  If you haven’t been skydiving yet – no excuses – DO IT.  And if anyone out there is reading this and wants to pay the mula for me to do it in San Diego, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

2. I’m religious. I was raised in a Christian home, and in my adult life my faith is something personal and dear to me. I believe in Jesus Christ and am always pushing to make fellowship, service, and missions  a bigger part of my life.  Also – I go to the Rock Church in San Diego.

3.  I have a severe obsession with colored post-it’s and school/office supplies in general. Sharpie color packs, tabs, highlighters, etc.

4. I once got in trouble for vandalism at a Family Camp when I was in Junior High. My girl friends and I decorated an old shack by campsite to be our Girls Club with do-a-dot markers, and our intentions were  misinterpreted to say the least.

5.  I dream of devoting my life to helping others — or what it would be like if I could quit my job and move to a third world country where they struggle with food, clothing, shelter — the basics of survival . One day – when I am more financial stable – I hope to be able to do this, spend all my time, energy and money on service to those who struggle with these life essentials.

6. I adore my family.  I have the most talented, hilarious, and fun-to-be-around older brother and younger sister, and I couldn’t ask for better parents if I made them up myself. My mom is a role model to say the least, a incredibly compassionate woman and faithful and loyal friend. My dad is more hard-working, dedication, dependable than almost anyone I know. I’m incredibly lucky.

7.  Movies are a huge passion of mine. I had an emphasis on film studies in college and enjoyed classes such as Italian Cinema.  One of my all time favorite movies  is The Pursuit of Happyness, it’s an incredible movie based on a real story in which Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a homeless man  struggling to live with his 5-year old son in San Francisco who later becomes a self-made millionaire.  It’s an amazing story (and Will Smith is incredible in it).

Well, I hope that wasn’t too painful for anyone! Now, according to the rules — here are seven people to participate in the next round that I think are interesting and would love to know more about.

Andrew Finkle

Crosby Noricks

Ryan Graves

Sarah Essary

Justin Thorp

Eric Imbs

Devin Brown

The rules are:

  • Link your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged
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    Marketing in a Bad Market

    Working for a CFP in a financial industry recently has got me thinking of how the current economic situation effects marketing and Public Relations efforts for those who DON’T work in finance.  For a financial planner you have all the more reason to up the promotions during these thought times. But what does it mean for the rest of us in PR? How do we view this situation and keep incentive and positivity for our clients??

    In Ad Age’s “5 Tips to Cope — or Thrive — Through Downtown”, they claim that the good news is that remarkable innovation occurs in marketing and media — in the worst of times.  Good thing for us marketers/branders/launchers/and PR folk, we are in the worst of times… (or something like it)!  Time Magazine (which started Fortune) launched at the start of the great depression, and the magazine has made a large chunk of their wealth with magazines which were launched during recession years. Some examples:  Time (1923); Fortune (1930); Sports Illustrated (1954); People (1974); Entertainment Weekly (1990). Also, regarding marketing in a bad economy, Jack Humphrey says that in times like this it is important to get beyond the excuse of “my sales are down because of the economy”.  It’s a false mentality. Instead start brainstorming new and better ways to help SOLVE people’s problems to attract more attention to your products. (Which should become the solving problem products). All you have to do is what the competing products will not do, in order to solve the problem for the customer. While others companies are lamenting the market loss, you’ll be moving forward with marketing and promo efforts. However, don’t market as if you don’t know that customers are concerned about the times. Address the issue. Then help them deal with it. Use your product to capture their attention and ease their minds from chaos that is currently our economy. Identify an aspect of your product/client that positively relates to the economy downturn.  Create a positive light, and then promote it!

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