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Posts Tagged ‘linkedin’

Stop Linking your Social Media Profiles.

February 18, 2011 3 comments

Please. Stop.

I used to do it. I admit it. I enjoyed the convenience of being able to update FB & LinkedIn together with a single tweet. I then realized how annoying this is. Not for me – for my followers. So I stopped.

The reality is that these are very different platforms. My Facebook friends are very different from my LinkedIn connections and twitter followers. A small percentage of my following crosses these platforms, but for the most part, these audiences are independent of each other.

The nature of the messages I post inside of each platform for the most part are very different as well. Inside of Facebook, I might post a photo album of a recent vacation or wish a friend a Happy Birth Day. With twitter, I’m constantly re-tweeting information that I believe will be relevant to my twitter followers such as articles, links to videos on YouTube or breaking news. In LinkedIn, I will infrequently post links to business articles, business recommendations, etc.

The key is posting RELEVANT information for each audience. Which is what marketers and advertisers should focus on as well.

Recently, someone I follow on Twitter and LinkedIn posted a link to a videothat updated in both platforms: I thought it was hilarious and excellent content for twitter, but I also thought about how a colleague, peer or client might perceive this post in LinkedIn.

Be mindful of message frequency in each platform.
Twitter – High-volume of updates. Frequent posting is less likely to annoy your audience/followers.
Facebook – Medium-volume of updates. Frequent posting is likely to annoy your audience/friends.
LinkedIn – Low-volume of updates. Frequent posting is extremely likely to annoy your audience/connections.

Signs people are getting annoyed at your linked updates:
1. One of your Facebook friends says, “Man, you tweet a lot” (and, they’re not on twitter)
2. You’re talking to a client connected through Linkedin and they say, “Wow. It looks like you really had a lot of fun on Saturday….”
3. Someone creates a blog post called, “Stop linking your social media profiles.”

Social media should be social. It should be about connecting with your audience by sharing information relevant to them. When you link your profiles, you not only look like a robot – it’s like saying, “I don’t know you very well” to your friends, followers and connections.

2011: The Year of Engagement

December 15, 2010 1 comment

Twitter has over 200 Million users generating over 65 million tweets per day. Facebook has more than 1/2 a Billion users and has overtaken google as the number 1 online destination. LinkedIn is adding users at a rate of one per second. These are just the big three. Over 1/5 of the world’s population is now a member of one of the world’s two-dozen social media platforms.

These platforms are becoming powerful sources of information and connection. They have changed the way we receive information. People are creating audiences and networks of believers. Audiences are listening to influencers. Audiences are engaged. It has changed the way that people interact with brands, and how brands interact with people.

If you’re in the communications industry, you need to understand this trend. You need to be able to react quickly to the lightning-fast changes and instant feedback that is now a part of everyday life. You need to respond to your audience instantly or, at least within 24-hours. You need to create value within this channel. You basically need to forget the traditional marketing methods that have brought you success in the past. In the words of Scott Stratten, you need to STOP Marketing and START Engaging.

Although I feel the term ‘engagement’ runs the risk of becoming a redundant buzz word, the fundamentals behind this term will be the key to success in any marketing activity in 2011 and beyond. People want to buy what they know and seek out opinions from trusted sources. They recommend what they like and recommend avoiding what they dislike. Think about what you dislike about companies that market to you. Do you shift+delete a company’s newsletter or email? Do you automatically toss a Direct Mail piece in the blue box (without even opening it)? Do you avoid answering the door when you see a person standing on your doorstep with a clipboard? Do you cringe when the call-display comes up with a 1-800 number during dinner?

I’ll assume you answered, ‘Yes‘ to the questions above in which case, why are you trying to reach your audience using the same methods that drive you crazy?!

People want to deal with people, not brands. After all, you don’t talk to a brand; you talk to a person. Engagement means creating content that creates conversations and ultimately, connections. Engagement creates relationships. It strengthens perceptions and it spreads quickly (both positively and negatively). Social media fosters those relationships. It enables people to connect with other people quicker and on a deeper level than ever before. It creates trust. It creates equity.

Brands that are effective at engaging their audience are seen as leaders in social media marketing. They don’t set out to monetize the platform, or show the ROI, rather – they understand the value of creating deep, meaningful relationships with their audience. They seek out ways to find and connect with the influencers within their industry. They know that engaging these influencers favourably will help them connect with a huge number of potential customers that each influencer is connected to.

Sounds great. But, how do I find influencers and engage my audience?

As they begin to shine up the ball in Times Square, marketers should focus on the following and apply them in their marketing activities in 2011.

1. Create conversations and provide value in your social media platforms. If someone sends you a message on twitter, or facebook, retweets one of your messages – respond to them! If they have a question, recommend a solution and help to connect them with that solution.

2. Find and engage your influencers. If your influencers like the content you are serving out, they are likely to share it with their networks and so on, and so on.

3. Reward people for following you. Create promotions that are exclusive to your social media followers and tailored to their specific needs. They are likely to share this experience with their followers as well.

4. Create promotions specifically for influencers. Use services like Klout, PostRank (and others) to find the influencers within your industry. This will be a handful of people but their effective reach is exponential.

If you’re one of the few marketers who have already embraced these practices, you already know the impact they can have on your existing marketing activities.  Since you’ll be talking to the right audience, you’ll see higher response rates.  Since your solution comes recommended from a friend, you’ll increase conversion rates.  Your effective reach is increased.  Your leads increase.  Your facebook fans increase.  Your Twitter following increases.  Your sales increase.

Thanks for reading.  Now, start engaging!  (leave me a comment)!

Help! I need Marketing!

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

When meeting business owners for the first time, I’m often faced with a very panicked and urgent statement, “Help, I need Marketing”!
Help!  I Need Marketing!
While this is usually true, my priority is to work with that client to understand their specific needs and objectives in order to develop a marketing strategy that will deliver the results they are looking for.  It happens in the industry too frequently – marketing and advertising professionals are often approached by clients who will ask for a specific campaign or execution such as a print ad or search engine marketing program.  We’re happy to appease the client and develop beautiful creative and tantalizing copy that meets their requirements but without an understanding of ‘why’ they are doing this, the client is unlikely to realize the results they desire.

“Creative without strategy is called ‘art’, creative with strategy is called, ‘advertising’.”– Jeff I. Richards, Advertising Professor, University of Texas.

To peel the onion, we ask the client these five very complicated questions:
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?

Seems simple, doesn’t it?  While the crux of it is easy enough; answering these questions accurately can mean the difference between a successful campaign and an overblown marketing budget.

Who? Who is the audience (demographics, psychograhics)?  Can you describe them for me?  Who influences them?  How do they respond?  Why will they buy what you want them to buy or behave in the way that you want them to behave?

What? What are you trying to do?  Are you selling a service?  A product?  Are you trying to encourage people to join a charitable initiative?

When? What is the timing of this?  When are the key periods for this audience, (season, holiday, week, month, year)?  What is the sales cycle – an important determinant for tiered marketing campaigns.

Where? Where is this taking place, where is your market?  Where will the focus be?  Local, National, International? Are you trying to drive activity to a store?  A website?  A sales rep?

Why? This is really the most important question and we often ask it first.  Why do you want our help?  What is the business need, difficulty or objective are you are trying to fulfill?  Are you trying to drive sales of a product or service?  Drive registration to a webinar?  Inform your audience of an upcoming event?  Understanding the answer to this question makes the above questions easier and assists in the development of a concrete, focused strategy – and turns art, into successful advertising.

When no one does the Wave.

What does introducing a new product or business have with doing the wave?  What lessons can business owners learn from the failed launch of Google Wave?

Have you ever been at a baseball game and tried to start a wave?  Were you successful?  If you were, you likely succeeded in this endeavor due to the following factors:

  • The timing was right
  • There were enough people who understood your value proposition (why you were trying to start a wave)
  • You included everyone

Conversely, if you were unsuccessful, you likely were unable to meet at least one of the above criteria leading to feelings of embarrassment & regret.  This is how you would feel if you were a developer for the now defunct Google Wave.  This is how it feels when no one does the wave.

In early 2009, I bought into the hype.  I did whatever I could to try to get my hands on a platform I really didn’t understand even though I had watched several product demonstrations and read several blogs and reviews on Google Wave.  After several months, I finally received a Google Wave invite from a friend – VIP-like passes that were in short supply and restricted to those who had a Gmail account.  After playing around with the initial version, it was clear that the product was incomplete, seemingly being rushed to market – encouraging users to help improve the user interface.  The more I tried to understand it, the less I understood it making it impossible for me to communicate the value proposition to my friends when asked, “what’s Google Wave”?

Business startups and companies launching new products can learn a valuable lesson from the failed launch of Google Wave.

Timing is key.
When starting a wave, introducing a new product or starting a new business; timing is key.  Starting a wave in the first inning when the home team just gave up 6 runs doesn’t make much sense.  Ask yourself – why are you entering the market now?  What is the immediate need that you are looking to fulfill?

Your value proposition is understood.
You will get more people to do the wave, if they understand what it is, and why they are doing it.  The same is true when launching a new product or business and acquiring new customers.  What is your product/business?  What differentiates you from similar offerings or competitors?  How will you be perceived in the eyes of your customer?  What do you want your customers to tell their friends and family about your product or service?

Include everyone.
A great wave at a baseball game involves as many fans as possible.  Why would you want to restrict anyone who understands and demonstrates real interest in your product or business?  In some cases, establishing exclusivity can create demand but only when the value proposition is understood and easily communicated.  In the case of Google Wave, the value proposition was not widely understood, yet access to the platform was restricted by invitation-only.  Rather than opening up access to the masses to encourage broad use of the platform, access was restricted.  This put the communication of the value proposition in the hands of a few people making it difficult for the brand identity to be cascaded to those who did not have access to the platform.  Establish a communication strategy with your secondary and tertiary target audiences to ensure that you reach all of your potential customers.

An application of getting your customers to do ‘the wave’ can be found in Jim Collin’s book, “Good to Great“.  In this example, Jim compares how mobilizing an idea is similar to getting a flywheel to turn.  An idea starts out with a few people slowly turning the flywheel.  As more people understand your value proposition, the flywheel becomes easier to turn.

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