January 14, 2014

Should you hire a social media community manager?

community-manager

Think about who can convey your tempo to the world

Target audience: Business execs and managers, community managers, marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, Web publishers.

Chris AbrahamHiring someone to both speak and respond as you on social media is not cheating. Think of it as delegation: you can’t be everywhere, all the time. There’s just one you and there are upwards of 1.4 billion people who, at any moment, could engage you, your brand, company, product, or service — brands, companies, products, and services. Your slice of that humongous pie is surely fewer than the global membership of Facebook; however, even if your portion is modest, are you committed to not only producing content for online consumption (broadcasting) but listening, responding, and engaging, too?

We’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary of Facebook this February 4 and we’re still arguing about online authenticity. There’s still a core group of social media consultants who consider outsourcing your most personal social media properties as being somehow inauthentic. Sort of like cheating. Continue reading

January 9, 2014

6 tips for creating a bond with consumers via social media

smartphone
Image via Flickr by MDGovpics

Target audience: Businesses, digital marketers, brand managers, Web publishers, content creators, SEO specialists, PR pros.

Guest post by Teddy Hunt

teddy-huntWhile businesses should always be engaged in reaching out to new customers, it’s well known that it’s cheaper to keep the customers you have than to market and convert new ones. Social media offers your brand a terrific opportunity to build brand loyalty and improve customer satisfaction — that is, assuming you use it correctly. These six tips will help you develop an effective social media plan. Continue reading

September 16, 2013

Twtrland: Find the top influencers in your sector

twtrland
Some of the social analytics firepower that Twtrland provides.

Tool puts 60,000 topic experts at your fingertips

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, social enterprises, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaOne of the most common questions we’ve received at Socialmedia.biz over the years is this: How do I find the influencers in my space?

It’s an important question — one that shows an awareness that the rules of digital marketing have changed. Today it’s less about blasting out your message and more about convening a conversation about your latest product, service or cause. But who do you invite into the conversation?

There are lots of new tricks up a digital marketer’s sleeve these days. Those just starting to get a handle on the influence landscape would do well by creating several Twitter lists. Make some of them public — who doesn’t like being called an expert in their field? — and some of them private, for your own eyes only. That way, you can follow hundreds or thousands of people and just ignore the firehose by focusing instead on the streams containing influencers’ tweets. Continue reading

July 8, 2013

‘Brand Advocates': How to enlist armies of loyalists

cheering
Photo by the Irish Labour Party on Flickr (CC BY ND)

Reviews of 3 new books on social businesses

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, agencies, entrepreneurs, educators.

JD LasicaI‘ve been head down working on a cruise startup for the past few months, but the weather has been so beautiful the past few days that I carved out some time for reading on the back deck. It’s been rewarding — doubly so in that I’m friends with two of the authors and know the third.

So let me line ‘em up and offer some brief highlights. If you’ve read any of these books, please share in the comments!

‘Brand Advocates': Chronicling the revolution in fans & supporters

brand-advocatesBrand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers Into a Powerful Marketing Voice
By Rob Fuggetta
276 pages, John Wiley & Sons (hardcover)

One of the most important changes in the relationship between businesses and customers in the past few years has been the move by forward-looking companies to harness the power of the crowd. Rob Fuggetta’s “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers Into a Powerful Marketing Voice” is the ultimate guidebook that explains the hows, whys and what-not-to-dos of this powerful phenomenon. (And yes, that harnessing thing is a big part of what we do here at Socialmedia.biz.)

I met Fuggetta, founder and CEO of the brand marketing platform Zuberance, at a “Brands and Word of Mouth” event in San Francisco two years ago. Now he’s taken his and his team’s learnings about brand advocates and compiled it into a smart, timely, jargon-free book that covers the basics of listening, “activating power advocates” and launching a full-fledged brand ambassadors program, as many businesses have begun to do. Continue reading

April 8, 2013

Your fans want to know exactly how you did it

process2

Share your business’s process and backstory

Chris AbrahamPeople are obsessed with process. How did you get to where you are and learn what you know? That’s why YouTube is an obsession: it’s all about “how you do it” or “how you did it.” There are two motivations for sharing what’s behind the curtain that I can discern: humble-bragging (hey, look what I can do) and also-ran (hey, look, I can do it too!).

Whatever the motivation, be it thought leadership or surfing the wave, people want to know how you did it. They don’t want to just see the final, edited version; they’re interested in seeing all the struggle, challenge, revisions, and endless iterations it took to finally be ready for opening night. Continue reading

June 14, 2012

Brands: How to cut your exposure to Facebook business risk

Will Facebook stick to its core competency or be waylaid?

This is third of a three-part series on Facebook as an investment. Also see:
Facebook’s biggest barrier to enormous wealth? Trust
Facebook will remain king, but social pure plays will fade

Christopher RollysonMany brands are boosting their investments in social business platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest with every passing quarter, but CMOs are too often focused on next quarter’s numbers. They fail to insulate themselves against platforms’ business risks. Facebook’s IPO will likely cause the company to change its behavior in surprising ways, and without warning, by changing its policies and features. Here, I’ll address how brand executives can insulate themselves from Facebook’s — or any platform’s — fortunes by moving to make their relationships and networks portable.

Seeing beyond the platform

Pure play firms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have defined language, behavior, features and the very concepts of digital “social networks,” but they are quite expendable when brands manage their investments appropriately. However, brand leaders need to follow the digital ecosystem closely and be ready to adjust quickly.

Here are some principles for avoiding surprises. Specific action steps follow.

Assume pure plays’ gradual obsolescence

Watch the ecosystem’s major players, and the interactions among them, but the trend will be specialist sites maximizing value from “social networking” and fading dominance of pure plays. The latter will continue to exist, but they will not maximize value because they are designed for “socializing” (which people can’t resist), not doing things. Moreover, I use “ecosystem” intentionally because it indicates a pervasive, real-time network that increasingly interoperates. Because it’s digital, it’s more dynamic than any human market we’ve ever experienced. Here are brief comments on some of the players:

Buying RIM won’t help Facebook enough to warrant the distraction — not even close.

Facebook is so entrenched globally that it may remain the dominant general social network for many years. However, there is a big caveat. Facebook’s management team looks like it’s losing focus due to the IPO and too much time with Wall Street bankers. It’s “using the money it raised” for M&A, purportedly considering entering the hardware market (buying RIM). If Facebook’s management team and core competencies included M&A (like, say, Cisco), I would be confident. But they don’t. If Facebook buys RIM, I would seriously question Facebook’s medium-term relevance and long-term survival. Making phones will not help Facebook sell more mobile advertising. Not even Apple’s best-in-class iPhones will likely display much advertising due to user backlash. The device wouldn’t help Facebook enough to warrant the distraction — not even close. Continue reading