March 28, 2012

3 steps to a successful mobile website


Image by Didem Hizar on BigStockPhoto.com

Include features on your mobile site that will encourage users to share, interact, locate your business & more

Deltina HayBefore creating a mobile website just because it’s a new world and you need to, pull back and plan for a mobile website that meets your customer’s needs, fulfills your business objectives, and integrates the features you need now and in the future.

Here are some guidelines to help you plan a successful mobile website:

Plan for user expectations

1In a previous post, we discussed how people use the mobile Web. Mobile device users already know what they want when they get to a mobile website and are more likely to take action once they get there. To plan for this type of user behavior, answer the following questions about potential visitors to your mobile site:

  • Why are they most likely coming to your site?
  • What information are they most likely seeking?
  • What types of actions are they most likely to take?

The answers to these questions can help you prioritize the content on your mobile site. You should highlight the three most important items and make them prevalent on your site. You may only have a few seconds to make a conversion, so call-to-action links or buttons should be one of those priorities. Continue reading

March 21, 2012

Customer service is the new marketing


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Christopher RollysonIn most brand organizations, marketing investments rest on 20th century marketing principles whose results are diminishing every year. At the same time, an increasing portion of products and services are commoditizing, which puts more pressure on marketing to “create” differentiation and value. In many cases, there is no escape — except by changing the rules.

Here I’ll show how marketing can reinvent itself by using social business to tap a hidden gold mine. Here are the ways that CMOs can leverage digital world of mouth:

The threat: Dire straits in marketing

Marketing’s credibility will never recover because customers now have a more trusted alternative: other customers

Marketing as a profession emerged in leading economies during the mid-20th century, when manufactured products were novelties in many categories. Marketers came to assume that they could “create an image” or “brand” using the mass communications to which few had access. Individual customers had no leverage because word of mouth was analog. Word of mouth has always been the most trusted source of product or service information, but it had no leverage until social peer-to-peer technologies emerged. Marketing’s credibility will never recover because customers now have a more trusted alternative: other customers. You can make this work for you.

The opportunity: Customer service as marketing

For customers, the most compelling information about companies, products or services is often conversations about how products or services can be used in specific situations. They have high credibility because they are initiated by customers and show what happens when exceptions arise. Simplistically speaking, marketing’s job is to increase demand for the company’s products and services. Customer service conversations will be more compelling than marketing messages in many situations, but they have to be treated completely differently. Continue reading

March 20, 2012

What’s your social media pet peeve?

David SparkWith everything we love about social media, there’s always still something to complain about. Even at South by Southwest Interactive, where social media is the flavor du jour, I was able to find plenty of people willing to tell me what really annoys them about social networking.

At the Mashable House Party at Buffalo Billiards last week, I simply asked people, “What’s your social media pet peeve?” Above, in this 1 minute 49 second video, are their answers.

What annoys you about social media? Please share in the comments below.

March 19, 2012

4 simple steps to measuring social media success


Image on BigStockPhoto by suravid

Deltina HayMost social media strategists agree that there is no one, established framework to measure social media success. However, there are tactics you can adjust and apply to any social media strategy to help create a framework that works for you.

This article can help you develop an individualized, social media measuring framework. Follow these four steps:

Know your goals

1Any good marketing plan starts with established goals. You need to know what your goals are before you can measure how successful your efforts have been to achieve them.

What do you want to accomplish through your social media efforts? Some possibilities include:

  • Sell more products
  • Get more reviews
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Generate leads
  • Increase your fan base
  • Reach a specific demographic

Outline very specific goals so you can measure the results of your efforts.

Establish your baselines

2Based on your goals from step one, establish measurable baselines you can use for comparison later.

Create a spreadsheet that includes:

  • Current sales numbers
  • Review counts
  • Number of hits in Google
  • Website stats
  • Other baselines specific to your goals

Clearly, some things are easier to measure than others. Quantitative elements like sales, website stats, and Google hits can be tracked easily. However, more qualitative elements such as thought leadership, influence, or customer satisfaction can be trickier to measure.

You may be surprised at just how many things are measurable in social media. Check out this post entitled “100 Ways to Measure Social Media” posted by Marketers Studio in 2009. This lists demonstrates that there are many things that can be measured. Your job is to establish which items are true indicators of your efforts based on your established goals.

Track your efforts

3There are plenty of tools you can use to help measure your social media efforts. Internal features of social media tools like Facebook and WordPress, free external tools, and paid services can all give you insight into how well certain strategies are paying off.

It is important during this step to use more than one tool to track your efforts. Each individual tool can give you specific insight into one or more aspects of your social media presence. Together, a carefully selected host of tools can give you a complete picture of how your efforts are paying off. Continue reading

March 16, 2012

Will 2012 be the Year of the Influencer?

 

Understand your impact in social media with influence metrics

Guest post by Louise Sinnerton
Marketing executive, PeerIndex

How to get rewarded for your influence and online persona may seem like a complex question. Wouldn’t it be novel if you could benefit from your digital footprint? So many companies mine for the information you publish on the web for their own gains without informing you about how they’re using it.

A person’s digital footprint can make them more successful, profitable, and competitive, if they fully understand it and how to leverage its power. Understanding the areas you are most influential in, who listens to you the most and who influences you online could affect how you blog or run a business. Influence metrics give you a greater understanding of your impact in social media.

It’s also useful to see these statistics for your competitors, whether you’re running the communications department for a large corporation or you’re a niche cooking blogger — influence statistics can give you an insight into the online profile and activity of others. For example, with this group of UK supermarkets, you can see that Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer are the most engaged and influential online.

(Update: PeerIndex has changed its API.)

Topic influence lets marketers achieve word of mouth at scale

Last year was the year of the everyman, with ordinary people propagating change using social networks, but this year is about identifying influencers. It’s all about being able to distinguish whose voice you really want to be listening to among the masses, at the same time as letting others know where your expertise and influence lies. Seeing influence across topic areas puts influence into context. This “contextual influence” or “topic influence” also enables marketers to achieve authentic word of mouth at scale.

So, we’re trying to give people a simple answer to how they can understand and gain from their online profile, and in doing so bringing influence marketing to the masses.

We believe that you should be the one benefiting from your personal data, rather than, or at the very least at the same time as, giant multinationals. Companies are already using your data to make themselves more profitable and competitive in the marketplace, so doesn’t it make sense that you should profit from it too? PeerPerks is our newly launched program that rewards consumers for being social by pairing users with companies to bring you exclusive offers.

If you’re more data-oriented, we’ve also just launched a new version of PeerIndex, which gives you powerful analytics and data about your Twitter and Facebook activity. It focuses on the influence you exert over others and what type of conversations you are engaging in.

Louise Sinnerton is marketing executive at UK-based PeerIndex. Follow her on Twitter at @lsinnerton and follow PeerIndex at @peerindex.
March 13, 2012

How social business will transform B2B Sales & Marketing


BigStockPhoto image by kentoh

B2B must evolve to meet clients’ changing needs

Christopher RollysonClient work for B2B and B2C organizations has me reviewing thousands of conversations in social venues every month, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that much of Sales and Marketing as we know them is significantly out of alignment with B2B clients. They are much smarter now and want a new style of relationship with their business partners (erstwhile “vendors,” “providers”). Social business is permeating client networks throughout the economy and changing client behavior and expectations.

This has created a rare opportunity for B2B sales and marketing people who understand and respond ahead of the market. Here I’ll do a deeper dive into how legacy Sales and Marketing functions will evolve, using social business as a lever.

Reexamining B2B Sales and Marketing

Marketing assumes it’s not economically feasible to have large-scale one-on-one client conversations. Sales assumes it must rely on one-on-one prospecting to drive value. Both assumptions are increasingly false.

Two examples of misalignment: One of Marketing’s underlying assumptions is that it is not economically feasible to have large-scale one-on-one client conversations, so marketing must achieve scale through secondary research (and remain isolated from the client). One of Sales’ key assumptions is that it must rely on primary one-on-one prospect/client/customer communications to drive value. Both of these are increasingly false, so I’ll drill down on them before offering practical recommendations for how Sales And Marketing can explore social business at a new level.

As head of marketing for several B2B firms with direct sales forces since the 1980s, I have worked with my fellow execs in Sales, Operations, Finance & IT to drive the top line. As a management consultant, I have advised clients in adopting numerous disruptive technologies that have confronted enterprise functions with change. These experiences lead me to believe that social business will transform B2B Sales And Marketing during the next 5-10 years. Moreover, organizations that begin the transformation process earlier will profit at the expense of laggards because social business will improve enterprises’ communications and collaborations with clients by an order of magnitude. Continue reading