Archive for category Social Media

Where are your manners? Social media etiquette goes a long way.

Over the past week I have been more active on Twitter by participating in multiple Twitter chats throughout the week. One thing I have noticed is that there are people on Twitter (or any social media platform) that will drive you just as crazy as the guy sitting 5 cubicals away. I started to observe how people interacted via SM platforms and realized that it is just important to use etiquette when engaging and interacting with people online as it is in person. Think about how you would behave if you were standing at a conference discussing business with a potential client. Now extend that to social media platforms where your reach can go far beyond what you can sometimes imagine.

In an effort to avoid people from blocking, removing, unfriending or unfollowing you – or just to avoid looking like an idiot or jerk on SM platforms, I share a few tips that come to mind.

  • Comment on other people’s posts/tweets – but make it a genuine comment and not just a link to promote yourself. Feedback is always appreciated but remember, if you post a comment on a blog it remains forever (unless the blog owner deletes it).
  • Share interesting things and give credit to where it came from. Those sharing buttons are there for a reason.
  • If someone retweets you and adds a compliment, thank-them for the retweet but avoid retweeting their compliment – it can seem pompous – particularly if it happens often.
  • Posting and reposting the same content every few minutes is self-promotion on steroids. This clogs up feeds quickly and can  begin to frustrate your followers and you may be considered a noisy tweeter. If you are interesting however and your posts/tweets are truly thoughtful and interesting, go right ahead – people will probably appreciate it.
  • Thinking you are too high and mighty to respond to or follow someone just because you don’t think they are worthy of your time. Social media is about having the ability to influence and engage with others. @DawnWesterberg wrote a great post about the ability of SM to connect you to those who you would never connect with in real life and truly have an impact. Don’t get caught up in thinking that you are too great – its an easy way for that attitude to begin to shine through your content and possibly lose some followers.
  • When including a link in your status/tweet etc, make sure the link is valid and it doesn’t lead people to questionable sites. If the link is purely promotional in nature, disclose that as well.  Misleading posts that sound valuable and interesting only leading followers to a site that is purely promotional for a purchase is deceiving.
  • Promote others and when the time comes, they will likely return the favor and promote you.
  • ‘Argue’ a point until you are blue in the face. This is particularly annoying during a twitter chat. I experienced this over the past week. Different view points are good and its what makes a conversation interesting and how we can all learn from others experiences. But when it is clear that your opinion differs from most other on a particular point, just move on instead of continually argue – far past the point when others have dismissed the subject. Agree to disagree.
  • Give back. Social media is about two-way interactions. Be sure to give back and do it more often than you get.

This is by far not comprehensive. But as I have increased my interactions lately, I have noticed some of these very things happening frequently – and many have driven me nuts and even tempted me to remove a few of the people I follow. When I meet a new contact at a conference, I don’t stand in front of them and argue my points, shout in the room when they send me a compliment, talk about ME ME ME every two seconds and then shove promotional materials in their face. If I did, I would likely never get their business or even respect. It is the same over social media. Make the connections, learn from others experiences, share your own, connect with people outside your normal social circles and contribute often. Some day, the person you have connected with just may give you business or refer you to someone who will.


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Using social media to enhance customer loyalty.

It’s pretty obvious the power social media has on a brand. Brands have the ability to interact and engage with their consumers over social media in a way that was not possible before.

This got me to thinking today about how brands can really leverage social media to enhance customer loyalty. I’m not just talking about the occasional coupon you send to just your facebook fans or twitter followers. But true engagement and interaction with your social media fans/followers in a personal way. People tend to post personal information and opinions over social media channels. They don’t often send you an email to tell you exactly what is on their minds, but they share it via social media. If you have been granted access to this by a social connection, then why not doing something far more personal with that information then what you would do by typical email. At any given time you are privy to knowing the pleasures and irritations of your customers as well as the comings and goings (thanks to location based utilities such as Foursquare and facebook checkin).

I was reading my monthly issue of Colloquy today when I read about this awesome campaign by KLM airlines – KLM Suprise. Using information shared over social media sites, KLM launched a campaign that would surprise travelers checking in at the Amsterdam airport with a customized gift. Some examples are as follows:

  • One customer traveling to New York had posted that he would miss his favorite team’s biggest soccer game of the year. The airline surprised him at check-in with a Lonely Planet Guide to New York which highlighted the best bars showing soccer games.
  • Traveler posts that he is excited about using his iPad on his upcoming KLM flight so the airline surprised him with a voucher for iPad apps.
  • Traveler posted something relevant to his upcoming birthday so the airline suprised him with a glass of champagne.

Pretty awesome isn’t it? I’m pretty sure that if this happened to me, I would be tweeting and posting all over the place of my experience. This is exactly what happened to KLM. There was such a huge viral response to this campaign – people posting photos, videos, tweets and re-tweets. It certainly had a positive effect on the brand. It’s long been known the power of word-of-mouth and social media proliferates this to the extreme.

Now, I’m not suggesting that everybody start buying their customers favorite bottle of wine or sending them movie tickets cause they are discussing what movies they want to see over facebook – but I am suggesting that marketers start thinking about ways that they can really leverage social media to enhance customer loyalty. So many marketers are still using social media as just another marketing channel – a quick and cheap way to push out information about themselves, the next promotion or the new product. Are you having a dialogue or a monologue over social media?

Its been reported that 80% of consumers follow fewer than five brands through social channels. Social media can really be used to influence customer loyalty and some of the smart brands are figuring this out. They will be the ones to remain on the short list of consumers brands they choose to engage with over social media. What are you going do to make that list?


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What’s driving traffic to your website?

A recent study by Forrester research shows that traffic generated from social media channels are on the rise, particularly amongst the younger users. Marketingprofs gave a nice overview of the contents of the report, which indicate that natural search and referrals are still the top two traffic generators.  The report finds that 14% of Gen Y (age 18-30) are referred by blog posts while 10% are referred by Twitter, compared to 7% and 5% of all adults respectively.

I took a look at my statistics today to see how I fall compared to the Forrester report. Natural search makes up 71% of my website traffic with referrals (email, blogs etc) referring 8% of my traffic.

This means a few things for me:

  1. I need to maintain my rankings in the search engines as it is currently the way most people are finding our business online.
  2. Our social media strategy is not bringing in much traffic. I have said before that pharma/biotech is more reluctant to use social media so this is likely contributing to the lower statistics for social media traffic compared to the Forrester report.
  3. We can’t lose site of programs such as Email. While it may seem boring and not conversational, it is certainly something that can’t be ignored if it is driving traffic to your site. Upon analyzing my referral traffic closer, 25% of it is coming from our monthly newsletter that we send out.

It is clear that staying relevant in the search engines and increasing my newsletter/blog subscriber base is important. Continuing to add  social media content will become more relevant for my business as the pharma/biotech industry increases its use.

The take home message: don’t get too wrapped up in all the newest things because that’s what everyone else is doing. Make sure you stay focused on the activities that are generating the most business (or potential business) for you. Keep in site the activities that are on the rise so you can ride that wave up as well (such as the social media).

What surprised me about the report is that Radio drives more website traffic than Twitter! I can’t even recall the last time I listened to radio – how about you?

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Are you drowning in the social media sea?

Drowning in the social media sea

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn……and the list goes on and on and on and on.

Last week I talked about whether or not your business should ‘do’ social media and of course the answer is a most likely yes, but what that looks like for each business will be different depending on your product, your target market and where your customers are at. Appending social media profiles to your customer database will help focus your efforts and prioritize since you are likely faced with resources (including your time) that are stretched thin. In case you hadn’t already thought of the  ways in which this will help, a quick list is included:

  • what social channels are your customers on
  • where to focus your efforts
  • identify those customers who may be influencers (hint: how many friends or followers do they have)
  • determine which subjects are most relevant to your customers (look at their feeds and discussions)

But a few I hadn’t really tackled or thought about myself until I read another post from Social Media B2B:

1. Compare your prospects to your customers. Seeing how your prospects compare to your customers behavior and understanding the differences between these two groups will help you adjust your message.

2. Target new customers. Of course, once you understand the above, you can then target new prospects who behave socially similar to your customer base.

What do you think? Would this be helpful in reaching your target? I have begun appending social profiles to my customer database and to no surprise, in the biotech industry, LinkedIn seems to be the place where I need to concentrate my efforts. Nope – not ditching Twitter and Facebook, but certainly realize that driving conversations via social media for my customer base is probably best done by LinkedIn….at least today.

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How to damage your brand in 140 characters or less

By now I am sure many have heard of the Kenneth Cole tweet promoting their spring line using the situation in Egypt for increased awareness. Unfortunately, Kenneth Cole has removed the tweet, however much damage has already been done.

Kenneth Cole Egypt Tweet

Kenneth Cole Egypt Tweet

It has been the center of outrage today, both on twitter and facebook, not to mention just about a zillion blogs and media mentions. Now the company has a PR nightmare on their hands. A fake twitter account has been started in the companies name and is tweeting numerous distasteful tweets, such as the one below:

Fake Twitter Account - Kenneth Cole

Social media gone wrong at its finest. Kenneth Cole has to manage a serious situation with its brand, which they don’t even have full control over at this time. We’ll all be watching over the next few days or so to see how this pans out. How Kenneth Cole reacts will decide how well they recover. After all, we can all remember the social media catastrophe that Dominoe’s dealt with last year and their disgusting pizza making Youtube posting employees. Handled correctly, and dominoes was able to recover and turn their brand around.

Let’s see how Kenneth Cole does….unfortunately they used a very sensitive and political issue. More damaging than a few guys stuffing cheese up their nose. Take this to heart…make sure there is a very clear policy for social media in your company. Review it, implement it, and monitor it always. It only takes 2 seconds and 140 characters or less to have a social media nightmare on your hands. Manage your brand carefully!


Should you do social media?

I’m not talking on a personal level here – but specifically for businesses. For many companies, this is a question they are still asking and depending largely on the person you ask, the answer may be different. Sadly, many companies have not found the value in social media –  likely because they are confused on a viable strategy, how to measure the effectiveness – or just plain have a bias that social media is something that their kids do sitting at home all night. I like Beth LaPierre’s, Chief Listening Officer of Kodak, answer to this question: “Should you do social media? That’s like someone asking if they should buy a lightbulb after electricity was invented.”

Ok, so if you are going ‘to do’ social media? Does this mean all you have to do is stick a ‘Like us on facebook’ or ‘Follow up on Twitter’ on your website and in your email signatures and toss out a post or two on those platforms? Well you could – but that won’t be very effective. I know, that’s how I started doing social media for the B2B company I work for.

So what are some of the things that you can do to upon starting on the social media journey for your company?

  1. For starters, you need to make your Web experience more social. Many company websites are still static, one-way communication vehicles. An easy way to make that change is by starting a blog (if you haven’t already) and allowing visitors to discuss with you by adding comments to your blog. This is an excellent way to begin the two way dialogue with your audience, monitor their responses and opinions and then tailor future messages based on those comments.
  2. If you sell products, allowing ratings and reviews is another way to make your web experience more social and interactive.
  3. Polls and voting enable users to interact and engage with your brand and also allows them to get involved anonymously. You and your visitors can get real time results to an issue that likely matters to both.
  4. Bookmarking – make it easy for your web visitors to bookmark and share the content on your site.
  5. Establish facebook and twitter profiles for your business and listen. The content posted here should not be a complete replicate of what is on your website, but maybe a small piece of interesting information that can lead them back to your blog or website for more.

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Content, Relevance, Distribution…What about Strategy?

I have been reading alot lately about content marketing…in fact content marketing is the hot phrase today. Pair that up with the word relevance and you have the trifecta… relevant content marketing. And when it comes to content, relevance is pretty high on the list. But is relevance enough? We often get caught up in thinking if I put out relevant content, when my target market is searching, they will be interested because it’s relevant to them. And while that is generally true, it’s important to remember that there is masses of content competing for our targets attention. Not just our competitors content, but anything that is interesting to them, which  translates into what is engaging our target market when they are searching. Sure, they may set out on a search to find the best software for their needs, but how did they end up on ESPN checking out the football scores from the weekend? Something caught their eye when they WERE searching for software and it engaged them and ultimately distracted them from their original intent/search.

So while we may be pumping out content that is hopefully relevant and distributing it on our Website and social media channels, is that really enough? What about re-purposing that content into multiple formats, some that are thought-leadership and some that are entertaining? This is something that the B2C marketers have gotten for some time and it’s easy to see why. A company selling cosmetics or clothing can easily put together engaging and entertaining content on fashion and beauty.  But take a look at how some other brands are using entertaining content to get tell their product stories…

Emerging media enables us to put together a great mix of resources to tell our brand story and engage our target. And it all begins with content, yes relevant, interesting and might I suggest entertaining content. Understanding that our customers are not sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for our next marketing blurb and that even when we do send something relevant, it is competing with a huge universe of interesting and entertaining content is key to being successful with content marketing.

And don’t forget the strategy. Align a strategy for creating and distributing content to a set of objectives and find a way to measure them to some degree (this is a whole new topic).

  1. Do research to understand where your customers get information and what pain points matter to them. Is there a community that they connect in?
  2. Keep SEO top of mind using keywords and linking strategies for your content. Look for well-trafficked and highly ranked sites in your industry to post your content and drive visitors back to your Website or social media channels.
  3. Integrate everything and distribute through a well-rounded mix of social media channels where your customers are at.
  4. Re-purpose your content into multiple formats(blog posts, videos, podcasts, benchmarks, calculators, comparisons, thought-leadership reports, and sometimes just entertaining bits that poke fun at the issues in the industry).

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