I am amazed that we are already ten years into the new century. Not such a new century any more, is it? But every day brings new and exciting things. 2009 was the year of Exploding Social Media. Everybody seems to be getting into it big time.
Companies are jumping on board before the train pulls out of the station. They don’t want to be left behind.
Technology keeps leap-frogging itself. iPhones, Google phones, Droid phones; 3D movies, downloadable movies, marketplace changes…
So what does 2010 and beyond bring?
Maybe the question should be: what matters now?
Blogger, author and thinker Seth Godin asked that question of a lot of his friends and acquaintances. He’s assembled a new free e-book called “What Matters Now.”
In it, some 70 people share one-page chapters (essays?) with a one-word title. It’s funny, endearing, inspiring and a gas to read. Pick up your free copy now. And let a friend know. Seth is hoping to get the book into the hands of five million people!
More and more companies are realizing the value and power of having a presence on Facebook. While many people see it as a duplication of their online efforts, I believe that’s the wrong way to look at it. With 350 million worldwide Facebook users, a significant part of your market is spending time – in some cases, a lot of time – on Facebook.
Yes, it’s another way to ‘touch’ your market. But look it this way: you have a website, you’re on Twitter (hopefully) and wondering what to do with your Facebook page. Being on Facebook allows people to become fans, and encourages feedback. The more fans, the more feedback. The more feedback, the more that is shared throughout those peoples’ networks. And you keep adding fans.
But what about B2B? Yes, there are active Facebook company B2B pages. Here’s a brief slide show that shows 10 examples of Facebook B2B pages, and looks into why your company should have a presence on Facebook:
If your company is B2C, you should definitely have a page on Facebook. It’s a great way to reach more people and spread more information and gather more feedback.
One example, gDiapers (disclosure: a client of ours at Interpretive Exhibits) has a very active Facebook page. They’re also on YouTube and Twitter, too. But when I first noticed their Facebook page just two short months ago, or less, they had right around 2900 fans. When I just looked a few moments ago, they’re just a few shy of 4000 fans. Which means they’re picking up about 500 a month. The conversation on the blog revolves around customer issues, new products, the occasional free coupon, ecstatic users and more.
Face it, Facebook is a great place to build on your brand and strengthen customer connections.
The following is a guest post by Roger Pike, VP of Corporate Training for Communication Steroids, a public speaking/media training company. Roger is a long time public speaker, radio news director, and currently Communications Director for the Marion County (Oregon) Democratic Party.
Public relations professionals, marketers, ad executives and visionary business leaders see it coming. Every day consumers become more dependent on information they get on-line. A lot of that information, and soon most of it, comes through social media. People are asking their friends what they should buy. And folks are blogging, tweeting, and posting to their Facebook page their reactions to products, and the service they get when they go to buy. It’s adapt or get left behind, for, in the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “the times, they are a-changing.”
Great challenges lie ahead, though, because, even those who recognize the growing relevance of the interactive internet often approach it’s idiosyncrasies with a traditional mind-set. Unfortunately, the new game will be played by new rules. It’s time to leave some of our preconceptions behind. Social media marketing is different, and companies and entrepreneurs must think differently to use social media effectively. Here are some of my thoughts regarding the brave new social media world.
1) It’s personal. Traditionally, it’s about brand…and creating the link in peoples minds between that brand and good results. But in the new interactive world it’s more about relationships. Social media is about reaching out and touching someone, personally. People won’t pay as much attention to your company logo in your social media effort, they’ll see YOU. Yes, branding still matters, even in the social media. But not as much as in the past…and certainly not as much as the personal touch.
2) Everybody tweets. Social media marketing is different than traditional efforts because EVERYBODY represents your company. The guy in the back you hired for exceptional accounting skills is just as much part of the company image as that fresh scrubbed young marketing rep you hired for their people skills. EVERYBODY tweets, or at least, can tweet, so, in a sense, your marketing department just got a whole lot bigger…for better or worse.
3) Pay Attention at all times. Traditional campaigns did their market research, chose the strategies to reach their demo, designed the campaign, launched…then sat back and waited for the metrics. Now the response from your clients is ongoing. You can tweak based on the reaction you get instantly through the social media. So, LISTEN, really listen. Don’t just say your going to listen. Do it. Really.
4) Start now, begin anywhere. The old strategy relied on the “tried and true.” But it’s a brave new world. You can’t afford to sit on the sidelines on this one. You’ve got to get into the game. Big, small, young, or old the social media is the town square of the future. It’s where people talk, it’s where a huge and growing number get advice. It’s where they decide. Conversations about your brand and products are happening all over the web. You need to go hard or go home.
Learn a new meaning for ROI. Everyone knows ROI means “return on investment” and the suits make traditional ROI the centerpiece of their decision to refuse a commitment to social media. Let’s adopt a new definition for the acronym. Let’s call it “risk of ignorance.” Ignore the social media at your peril.
With social media becoming a hub of connection in both business and personal worlds, it’s a good time to look at how you’re planning and implementing your online social media strategy to connect with your customers and potential customers, whether you’re a B2C or B2B entity.
Just being on Facebook, Twitter and your own online website, whether a blog or a static site, is not enough. Writing blog posts and tweeting about them is not enough. Sure, all of that is good – but if you’re just putting a few random online tactics into action your overall strategy will likely suffer. (
Depending on the situation and the size of your company, you may be the only person that handles the company’s online presence and social media activity. Or there may be a concentrated group that works together.
Among the main areas to focus on:
Overall editorial/marketing social media strategy
How to tie those and other social media entities into your tradeshow schedule
Create a brief plan for the year, which might look like this:
Objectives: a) sales, b) connecting with current customers
Objectives: a) lead gathering, b) adding to our e-mail list
Objectives: a) new product launch, b) new branding/look (new booth or graphics)
Objectives: a) sales of new product, b) introduce company to new area of country
and so on.
Once your plan is outlined, start filling in the holes, and answering several questions that relate to your Social Media efforts:
Who’s going to lead the charge?
Who’s on the front lines Tweeting, updating the blog and Facebook pages? What will the tweets consist of? What will you do online to draw booth visitors?
If you are going to put up videos on YouTube and your blog, who’s going to write, shoot and produce (and upload)?
Once the plan is finalized, who will need to sign off on it? Who is required to implement the plan?
Moving your messaging for the company across all of those various platforms, online and offline, in a unified manner is not simple or easy. In fact, there are very few companies that get it right and consistent across all platforms, so don’t feel bad if you are missing some components.
Internal coordination and communication will be essential to carry off the plan – a hard enough challenge even when all hands are on deck and aiming for the same objective. This is where double-checking and back-tracking will pay off in ensuring the appropriate messages are going out on the right channels.
Another important aspect of your social media is listening. What is the marketplace saying about your products, or similar products from your competitors?
In a recent Twitter exchange and recaptured in a blog post, Steve Farnsworth of Digital Marketing Mercenary asked that question of his followers:
@Steveology: What are some of your favorite social media listening tools?
* @IanBragg: Twhirl, IceRocket.com and Hashtags.org. For Facebook, I use my own profile, not a 3rd party.
* @chadhorenfeldt: addictomatic, tweetdeck, Google Reader
* @kkmett: We have been using Filtrbox, not as fancy as Radian6, but easier on the budget.
* @SashaHalima: I like Twitter…a lot. Treat it like an RSS/wire thing sometimes. It’s what I use the most, followed by FB.
* @DannyBrown: Social Mention (http://socialmention.com), Google Alerts, Twitter 🙂
* @Aerocles: Tweetbeep for brand mentions & Hootsuite’s ow.ly for link tracking and stats…those are the 2 that i use the most
* @ginidietrich: My fave social media monitoring tools are here! (Click To Read Her Post)*
Listening to your market’s conversation about your products and services should be a continuous process because the conversation is always changing. Sifting through the various conversations using keywords will take some getting used to. Could be this is one area where you might really considering bringing in a pro.
Being hesitant to be proactive about social media strategy is what holds many companies back. After all, it’s new. Fitting it in with the hundred other things you do daily can take away from your current focus.
But there’s always going to be something new. It’s just that this is a ‘new’ thing that your current and potential clients are engaging in and embracing with a passion.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Or ask for help from other people in the company, or if appropriate, outside the company such as consultant or adviser.
Are you spending time or money on social media? Are you seeing a return on that investment? My guess is that it’s hard to tell. It could be that you’re not looking at it the right way or doing the right things in your company’s social media world. Some companies get it. Others don’t. The rest of us are flapping our wings in between, trying to get some loft out of this new entity…or…whatever it is.
Whether you’re putting resources into your marketing (tradeshow or otherwise), you should find this short (about 4 minutes) video fun, enlightening and perhaps even a bit intimidating when you consider what some of your competitors are already doing with social media…
How do you combine your online social media friends with your other tradeshow marketing efforts? It’s a synergistic effort that crosses many online channels. I sat down and, inviting a few of my little friends, looked to explain how those little friends can help you in those efforts: