ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.
You can contact him here:
You can contact him here:
Posted: 22 Jul 2011 09:39 AM PDT
So, you’ve been hearing about Google+ and you’re wondering what to do.
Here’s something to consider.
Focus your limited resources on other channels – the ones that your audience uses and trusts and that are producing the best results for your business today.
But invest some personal time to watch, listen, learn…and talk to your customers about Google+. Then make a fully informed decision on what to do next.
Does this mean you won’t be first?
But I have to ask you this – do you have the resources to be first? Are you willing to redirect your current resources from revenue generating activities and invest them into G+ (or anything else, for that matter) in the hope that you will realize an acceptable ROI at some point in the future?
Other sources you might enjoy:
Jul. 6, 2011
Editor’s Note: While this post is a personal reflection and doesn’t focus directly on marketing, we think it has some indirect marketing relevance. As marketers trying to engage consumers online, it’s important that we keep in mind why people participate in social networks. Unlike traditional advertising, most social networks are, by definition, quite personal and relationship-driven. Companies that thrive in this new environment will be those that modify their messaging and style to match.
I’m not a very social person. I dislike small talk, and much prefer meaningful one-on-one conversations over the shallow discussions that typify large group settings. I’m also not very good at maintaining long distance relationships, a fact that will be readily supported by any of my high school or college friends that happen to stumble across this article. Get a life, freaks! (just kidding)
“The conversations I find the most engaging are not held in front of an audience.”
Because of these basic personality traits, I was very uncomfortable with the core concept of Facebook. The Facebook ecosystem seems to encourage and thrive on the kinds of shallow, disinterested, even narcissistic conversations that I prefer to avoid in real life.
The conversations I find the most engaging are not held in front of an audience. Often, the presence of an audience would destroy the transparency and honesty that I value in good conversations.
But it wasn’t only because I wasn’t interested in reading shallow, sanitized posts from everyone in my life that I didn’t join Facebook. I was also worried about how it might affect me. There’s an element of Facebook that reeks of a popularity contest: who can present the most interesting, witty and desirable version of their life online. I liked to think that I’d be able to rise above petty comparisons, judgmental voyeurism and vapid self-promotion if I did join. But isn’t considering my Facebook approach some sort of “high road” in comparison to the average Facebook user just another way of falling into the same comparison-based trap? “Look at me, I’m using Facebook responsibly.” Ugh! It just seemed like an unavoidable problem. The solution for me was simply not to play the game…or at least to play the game by not playing.
Several months ago, however, I finally caved, and set up an account. There were three primary motivating factors that forced my hand:
All of these trends don’t seem likely to disappear anytime soon, so I decided it was time to climb aboard the Facebook bandwagon. Since joining, I’ve definitely taken it slow. All of my original concerns are still factors, so I’ve started off by limiting things to family and close friends who I see frequently. But so far, it’s been fun to at least be in the room where the conversation is happening.
To get our latest articles when they are posted, please subscribe by e-mail or RSS.
As someone who entered agency life from a newspaper/web producer/web developer background, this makes me smile. I believe we're in the early stages of a whole new wave of content creation and sharing. This new wave is powered by tools that will serve those with valuable insights very well, enabling them to cultivate ambassadors for thought leadership.
The tools to which I'm referring -- Quora and Tumblr and Google's social search -- are all relatively new, and combine for a truly powerful way to connect relevant content to an audience that's becoming more sophisticated about how to manage the information overload they're experiencing every day.
What is Quora?
Started in the summer of 2009, Quora describes itself as "a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it." Quora is intended to be a site with ongoing engagement, where users can follow topics as well as other users, and where sharing of content is encouraged.
What is Tumblr?
Tumblr is a simplified blogging platform that pulls in some of the best attributes of Twitter (publicly posted content, following others and reposting content), Facebook (easily posting text, images, video, links and more, and sharing with your network) and Wordpress (configurability, no character limits). Put another way, Tumblr can take your blogging from 0-60 in terms of finding an audience in a way that no blogging platform before it can match.
What is Google Social Search?
When someone you're connected to via Gmail or Twitter has shared a link, Google will now reference that in its search results. If you choose to view "social" results on a Google search, it will display only links shared by those you're connected to.
Putting it all together
Okay, enough pontificating and background. Here's how I see this all coming together in a few easy steps.
Step 1: Create accounts on Quora.com (using your organization's Twitter account, if possible) and Tumblr.com for your organization. If you are using a WordPress blog, you can install a plugin that automatically cross-posts your WordPress posts into Tumblr. This effectively enables you to post once and reach two different audiences.
Step 2: Make a list of five targeted topics your organization is well-equipped to answer.
Step 3: Go to Quora and search for those topics. You will likely see a few open questions, which means you have first crack at being a hero to someone. Feel free to reference / link to existing content on your site, but make sure to explain the link and make sure it's relevant to the question at hand. If there's a question about a specific medical condition, don't simply link to your hospital's department that treats it, link to specific content that answers the question, for example.
Step 4: Quora enables you to post your answers directly to WordPress and Tumblr. Post your answer to your existing WordPress blog (if you have one) and to Tumblr if you don't. (If configured properly, your WordPress blog will automatically send the post to Tumblr.)
Step 5: Use the "Share Topic" functionality in Quora to Tweet this question (and your answer) to your organization's Twitter followers.
Step 6: You can choose to receive emails when people comment, vote on, remove, suggest edits to, or when a moderator edits your answer. Keep tabs on your answers, and engage with others should new answers arrive or questions come in about your post. While such engagement might be seen as an added burden to busy marketers, it serves as the toll charge for being able to effectively leverage tools that put your organization's thought leadership directly in front of those who are craving it the most.
One of the best things about Quora is how well it is SEO'd. That, coupled with its deeply integrated social connectivity, makes answered questions on Quora supremely likely to be at the top of Google search results.
I hope this helps you to begin to see the power of what new services like Quora and Tumblr can provide. One of the challenges for any healthcare marketer, be it a hospital, a pharma company or a non-profit organization, is that much of its best expertise has a relatively targeted audience. Fortunately, with the emergence of more and more tools that focus on connection and curation as much as content creation, the prognosis for leveraging these audiences to reach a wider audience is looking better every day.
|Chad Capellman (@chadrem) is an account manager at Genuine Interactive (@wearegenuine), an interactive marketing agency specializing in site design and development, search marketing, social media, and customer acquisition / retention campaigns.|
I’m glad that more and more companies are putting significant effort into their social media programs. Really, I am.
But, we can’t let enthusiasm obfuscate reality, and that seems to be occurring with alarming regularity these days in all corners of the social Web.
The most recent example to cross my inbox is from restaurant chain Buca di Beppo. I’m a fan of these eateries, and have spent many lovely evenings at various locations, gorging myself on meatballs with friends and family. But when it comes to their Facebook promotion, I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach.
I received two emailed press releases with no cover note and no personalization or explanation of any kind from Braintrust Marketing & Communications in Las Vegas (presumably the agency for Buca di Beppo).
They breathlessly tout the results of the restaurant’s Social Media Day promotion (did you miss social media day? It was on June 30. Send carnations next year). Evidently, this national restaurant chain (a division of Planet Hollywood) went from 66,000 Facebook “likes” to more than 100,000 in just one day.
To achieve this milestone, Buca used its email database of more than one million eClub subscribers, promising that if 100,000 total likes were tallied by June 30, all eClub members would receive a $10 gift certificate.
A national restaurant chain sends one MILLION emails offering $10 worth of free food, and is overjoyed when 34,000 of those recipients clicks one button called “like” on the same day the email was received? Let’s look at the metrics of this program:
A 3.4% overall conversion rate, and a 19.9% conversion rate among a very targeted group. Not bad, but this is not the stuff of which marketing legends are made. (In the interest of mathematical equanimity, both of these % are actually slightly higher because some portion of the email recipients were already fans of the brand on Facebook)
Now, let’s consider the cost side of the equation.
Buca di Beppo was able to drive consumer behavior quickly. But they had to outlay a lot of cash and effort to do so. And what now? You’ve bought some likes from people that ALREADY were fans of the brand because they were on the eClub list.
A worthy goal would be that EVERY member of the eClub on Facebook should be a fan of Buca. That would be something like 730,000 likes, not 100,000. And since they’ve already taken the effort to sign up for email, shouldn’t you be able to make that happen without giving them each $10 to click a button?
This quote from the Director of Interactive Marketing at Planet Hollywood encapsulates the danger of this type of “yea, we got likes!” thinking:
I’d argue that you at Buca di Beppo saw firsthand the power of “giving $10 each to people who already have said they like you” possesses, and continuing to embrace that is to snuggle up to the false prophet of fuzzy social media math.
I give Buca credit for putting so much weight behind their liking campaign. But I’m not sure the math matches the method. I would love to see a press release in 30 days from Buca that shows redemption rate and average check stemming from the $10 reward certificate program, so true ROI could be calculated.
Posted: 05 Jul 2011 09:15 AM PDT
I was reading Twitter Users Want Businesses to Answer Them, and the research is strongly indicating the importance of monitoring social media – especially Twitter. (And I think it also makes a really strong argument for clearly communicating to your audience the most effective ways for them to get the answers they need in a timely, accurate manner. In other words, never assume they will remember to call your toll-free hotline…)
According to May 2011 research from InboxQ, a service to feed businesses questions from Twitter, Twitter users—especially ones with more followers and thus, presumably, more experience—tend to ask questions with tweets directed at all followers rather than using @ replies or direct messages. This means questions are often not directed at a relevant brand, but many users want brands to answer them anyway.
I put that last sentence in bold because it’s the sentence that made me stop, reread, stop again and reread again.
So it would appear that, based on this research, experienced Twitter users will fire off specific questions for a brand, into the Twitterverse rather than go direct to the source! And if your company doesn’t happen to just stumble across that Tweet to Infinity and Beyond, you lose!
(For those of you thinking that every business should have resources dedicated to monitoring social media for ‘Mentions’, please turn to the left and the right so you can introduce yourself to representatives from companies that don’t invest in those resources because they haven’t been able to justify the expense.)
Users indicated that more responsive brands would benefit from greater loyalty and purchasing. Almost 60% of respondents said they would be more likely to follow a brand that answered them, and 64% said they would be more likely to make a purchase from that brand.
Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising – responsiveness is good for business. But I include it as a reminder that your customer’s expectations might be a little out of whack (firing off tweets and expecting timely responses) but it impacts your business. So what are your going to do?
The solution? Don’t assume your customers know the best way to get accurate information from you. Be a lot more proactive in your own communications with the customer. Ask them if they have any questions whenever you get the opportunity. Remind them of the best, easiest, fastest way to get answers from you.
If you happen to have a large contingent of Twitterheads in your customer database, and you have dedicated the resources to monitor the Interwebs for ‘Mentions’, remind them of the importance of ‘@’ – and give them plenty of examples of how targeting their own communications makes it easier for you to help them quickly and efficiently.
And if you don’t have the resources – tell them. Let them know that you don’t monitor everything and if they need to talk to someone, the best way to get a fast, accurate answer is
Yes, you still will have a handful of “Twit-iots” firing off tweets into the Twitterverse (did I get all the possible “Tweet” related words in?) But at that point, shouldn’t you be asking yourself if these are really you ‘best customers’?
Social Media is one of the many elements of Net-Centered Marketing that we provide for our clients at Cirrus ABS. Email me at : SHoward@CirrusABS.com or give me a call to see if we can help.
A key factor in every failing business I have ever studied, is that the business owner dabbles.
Rather than get the professional help they need, they decide to crush their chances of success, by dabbling with their marketing.
Some common examples include:
These business owners decide to build a successful business, so they invest in the professional marketing help they need. They do the right things correctly and enjoy the rewards.
They have figured out that in the most challenging economy in living memory, the dabblers are simply dabbling their way out of business.