Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

10 Ways Marketers Quickly Kill Online Social Relationships

May 25th, 2010
  1. Invite me to your local social networking events that are completely across town & send me a different invite every day
  2. Invite me to Mafia Wars, Farmville, Star Wars, and any number of games on Facebook. If you are the 428th person to invite me, what makes you think I will join now. For the record, I am not an online sim type game player, I am a news junkie (business and politics), send me that stuff. Better yet, ask me what I am interested in…
  3. Just because we are connected on a social network does not make us friends. Not sure that even classifies as acquaintances. Etiquette rules still apply.
  4. No matter how many times you spam me with your special of the week or forwarded tweet, I will not think better of you.
  5. I delete canned spam messages in my inbox from people that I don’t know or don’t recognize. I can’t keep up, gave up. Even if from social media sites…
  6. No, I won’t connect to you on Facebook if you send me a cold introduction from countries that are possible sources of terrorists or identify theft suspect.
  7. Inviting me to the “latest” social media platform from a canned system generated email is so 2005.
  8. Not having a clear way to delete my profile from said type platforms is even worse
  9. Just because you have 200,000 fans on your corporate facebook page does not mean that your customer service has improved.
  10. No, I don’t generally connect to corporate twitter accounts unless I have a real reason to connect. Even if I do, doesn’t mean that I am a loyal customer.

I will throw in some freebies – No matter how many emails your email marketing system sends me, I will NEVER have a relationship with the system. You may be able to catch my interest, you may be able to even get me to buy something, but we will never have a relationship. Relationships involve emotions, systems involve information and data. See the disconnect?

The challenge is that many organizations have lost sight of the fact that, although they have tons of customers, even tens of millions, buyer behavior has to involve both emotion and intellect. Creative marketing does not create passionate buyers. Just because Apple or Google creates great ads does not mean that I will run out and buy the product. You need great product; you need some compelling value proposition beyond just a presence or brand recall. How are you going to rise above the noise?

You ever see an ad campaign that was started 10 years ago and was a hit that is so now over-done that you pray that it dies a slow death? You wish you could just reach out to the VP of Marketing and the AD team and beg them to try something different. A couple of keys there… Despite recall there is negative brand equity and an extreme desire to talk to someone to explain what they are doing wrong in alienating the market. Faceless corporate entity that has stopped listening and focused on “branding”.

Just because you create a great Facebook page does not mean that fans will flock to your site and you will be written up in the Marketer’s Hall of Fame. Not that I am sure there is even one to begin one… How does Facebook posts tie back to brand strategy let alone revenue or corporate objectives. You may have a plan, but if it isn’t evident, it isn’t working…. And don’t get me started on how Twitter isn’t a marketing strategy…. … or that it isn’t a plan if I can’t read it…

Remember Fields of Dreams – “Build it and they will come….” – the real miracle isn’t that they had ghost players in the field, but rather that they built a baseball field in the middle of Iowa and people showed up, even after compelling visions…

It is like going to a Consumer Electronics Show -like tradeshow (125,000 attendees and 1000+ booths) and you have a 10X10 booth in the back. How are you going to get people to come to your booth? If you try the tried and true approach of branded shaped squeeze toys like you neighbor selling electronic, remote control dogs over there, you might as well go home. You don’t have the budget to hire Aerosmith to rock out in your booth, and you don’t have a bevy of massage tables to give free massages. How are you going to get attention and build sufficient traffic to get your percentage?

The reality is that social media is a tradeshow or conference in the sky. Human nature is human nature online or offline, it is the same. Rules of engagement and extent of connection are different, but the core interactions and motivations are the same.

You have to establish relationship, understand motivations, build momentum, give value before asking, establish trust, support their buying process, and be relevant to their needs. Oh, and make sure that you are high enough on their priority list so they pay attention. The rest is about etiquette, influence, and value….

Social Media Versus Social Marketing

April 30th, 2010

We spend a good amount of time discussing socially enabling the enterprise, but there is another side of our business that is focused on servicing the small to medium sized business market (SMB) with social marketing services.

As Joanne Sanders, our social marketing practice leader says “The difference between social media and social marketing?  Social media is about participation –it is about the activities that go on within the platforms.  Social marketing is about purpose —it is about coordinating an overarching strategy involving multiple social /communication elements.”

Now, this doesn’t mean go out and fire your marketing or communications firm because they keep explaining that you need more friends on your Facebook page, but like any creative endeavor it needs focus. Start with a defined goal, identify the strategies that make sense, and then focus your creative partner on creating the best, most compelling content. Social marketing is done correctly is about building the right relationships in the right way with the key influencers (both market and company) that will establish credibility with a decision maker prior to your engagement with them directly. If you don’t, you may not get an opportunity to do it direct.

We also find that although many smaller companies appreciate strategy, they cannot feel comfortable using their limited dollars to invest in strategy without a return. They don’t pay for consulting; they pay for execution and results. Here are some of the objectives that we would put forward to define a really good program, all of which can be tracked and measured:

  • Online Lead Generation
  • Credentialing In The Market
  • Expand Online Footprint
  • Reach External And Internal Buying Influencers
  • Build Market Evangelists For Your Company
  • Distribution Channel / Partner Identification
  • Develop Industry Relationships

Social marketing is about purpose AND alignment to your business, social media is about participation and relationships.

Building A Social Marketing Business Case – Part 1 – Definitions

April 22nd, 2010

This multi-part series will provide information on social marketing and answer the following questions:

  • What is it? (I already can hear, not another buzz word….)
  • Why is a new definition required beyond Social Media, Social Networking, Social CRM, or Web 2.0 Marketing? (gotcha there)
  • So what? Why should I worry about this? Hint: Revenue Generation and Customer Referrals (I assume this would be important to you)
  • What does a Social Marketing strategy look like?
  • What does a Social Marketing Roadmap look like for this?
  • How do I leverage what I am already doing?
  • How do I build a Social Marketing Business Case?
  • How do I measure Social Marketing?

Now that I got the major questions out of the way, let move next into the definitions;

Social Marketing – The re-orientation of traditional marketing to reflect the new post-digital, network relationship oriented, and influencer-driven social interactions. Social Marketing leverages a multi-channel, multi-directional approach towards building relationships with a transition away from the structured Marketing roles of product management, product marketing, marketing communications, public relations, channel marketing, sales support. Instead, marketing is reoriented around enabling the key interactions that support the buying process.

Social Media – Basically, you have the social networks that you participate and the online communities that you own which are built into your corporate website. See my post on Social Media is Like Fishing for more details. Social Media is changing buyer behavior, coming more fluid, and marketing must adjust the model to to support the reflected changes. See my post on the Changing Role of the CMO for further explanation. Read more

Online Communities – communities of interest built upon a foundation of Web 2.0 social networking tools; profile, blog, wiki, social bookmarking, calendaring, media sharing, etc that enable the user to interact with other users and content through the website. See my post on Online Community Blueprint for more details.

Post-Digital - If everything is becoming digital, why does digital matter? The buyer doesn’t really care if the interaction is on the web, they just want to get what they need. A lot of marketing still segments online and offline which creates an artificial barrier to developing a seamless customer experience.

Social is the “New” Customer Experience

April 1st, 2010

A friend of mine and I have been emailing about the value of “social media”. Like most skeptics, the conversation is that social media is just a marketing channel. From the skeptic’s perspective, social media is about twitter, linkedin, facebook, youtube, etc. If viewed from that perspective, he is right. Social media doesn’t rise to the top of the priority list. Although consumer products’ budgets are migrating to social media, most of those budgets are creative advertising, games, promotions, etc. Directors of Marketing Communications worry about those budgets, CMOs worry about market share, valuation, new product innovation, sales and channels, etc.

Well and good, but there is a “but”…

In my opinion, CMOs need to “get the impact of social on the enterprise” as it is one of the most critical disruptions that we have seen in the last 15 years. We lived through the web disruption, this will be equally as disruptive. My friend is right that CMO’s don’t get fired or hired for “social media”, but they will get fired or hired for performance; which is going to be impacted on their ability to leverage “social” in their customer lifecycles.

Our consulting business is about socially enabling the enterprise, in particular, the end-to-end customer lifecycle. Lead generation over public social networks is only a small part of it. Customer retention rates, churn rates, customer satisfaction, referrals, etc. are all a part of the customer experience. We are seeing a fundamental change in the way customers (B-to-B, B-to-C, Channels) expect to interact. Social CRM is the first step, but it needs to be more strategic, cross-functional and impactful to reach its full potential.

We are seeing the set plays that Marketing used to call FAIL faster because they aren’t fluid enough to react to the dynamic flow of information. By the way, it isn’t only CMOs… CIOs are hungry for how to manage, VPs of HR, VPs of Sales, Channels, etc. Yes, I see CMOs getting churned much faster if they don’t perform, but because they can’t figure out how to leverage social strategy to compete. Social Market Leaders will become Market Share leaders.

As an example, we gone into several large companies recently and recommended  in the initial meeting that they change their sales and marketing strategy based upon the social market research that we then present to them. All outside, public information.

We are not playing “gotcha” with them, we are showing how Social is the “New” Customer Experience. Buyers are approaching the buying research, selection, and validation process is now very different because of social media. Not about the technology or “chatting with friends”, but about business impact.

Not only did they listen to us, but it validated their perceptions in the market as to the challenges they were seeing. By the way, these aren’t leading edge, consumer internet software companies, but  ”Old School” brick and mortar B-to-B companies…

Interestingly enough, we started with a good number of skeptics at the start of the meetings. We were brought in by executive sponsors; who wanted to get the rest of their executive teams around the need for a  “social media” plan, but their teams didn’t realize how strategic this could become.

You know that you are in a disruption when the pace of change feels overwhelming. Information is just pouring over the wall and you are trying to keep up. We were there with the last major disruption with the world wide web in the mid-90′s. Small companies were figuring out how to leverage the web to drive massive growth, much of it at the expense of larger companies that were caught looking at the web with distain or disbelief.

Don’t be THAT person!!!! if you don’t understand, there are many free and/or paid resources to get educated. Doesn’t mean that you throw out your existing business model and “kamikaze” your marketing resources into social media, but at least have a social marketing plan with a roadmap, milestones, budget, and performance measurement.

Are Your Social Network Groups Democracies or Dictatorships?

March 20th, 2010

We recently started a group on Linkedin called Social Executive Council, SEC. The stated purpose:

Social Executive Council (SEC) is a Invitation-only, Executive Officer (CXO) or senior executives with social strategy or social media responsibility (Director and Above). The purpose of the group is to explore the definition of social market leadership; the social transformation of the various enterprise lifecycles; customer, operational, product, information, and employee that drive the market success and corporate valuation of an organization. This group will be focused on social enablement of the organization from a strategy perspective. We propose the exchange of ideas around development of social strategy, social execution, and social measurement with associated ROI. By opening the discussion to social strategy executives and their respective internal customers, we hope to empower a more substantive dialogue about how to leverage social media, web 2.0, online community, and collaboration technologies.

Our thinking was that we wanted to create a forum for executive level thought leadership to get away from the social media monitoring tools discussions that we found prevalent out on the web and almost every social media event that we go… Not that I don’t think that tools are important, but I have people on our team that work with them on a daily basis. My focus is working through the business strategy to enable organizations to take advantage of the social technologies to create competitive advantage.

When we launched the group, we knew that there were a lot of social media “groups” out there, but very few targeted to Social Strategists and the Executive Teams they service. We thought by keeping it to a VP level that we would keep it strategic. We knew that many of the Enterprise Social Strategy thought leaders were still at the Director level.

The good news is that it has exploded. The bad news is that it kicked off an interesting dilemna that I thought I would share. See, my partner, Judy Mod, is running the online group, soon to launch the non-profit organization and begin recruiting chapter presidents. I am staying “home” to run Social Gastronomy and make sure that we deliver on our promise of socially enabing the organization. We are consultants who run a business of consulting.

I have been helping out with the membership and requests for invitation to the group until the board can be formed. The toughest thing that I have found is to say “no” to potential members who don’t qualify. It is real simple… if you are a CXO/EVP/SVP/VP of a major company, many of the Fortune 500, you want to engage with your peers and rockstar social thought leaders. If I am going to invest my time in a group, I want a return on that investment. I also want to engage with people who look like me or who can process at my level.

So, I made the mistake of letting in some social thought leaders who were not Director level. Best of intentions as they did have some really good backgrounds, but we got called on it from a couple of organizations that complained that their teams were not allowed in. They were right. You make a rule, you have to uniformly enforce it. One manager was extremely upset when I had to revoke membership. I can’t blame them. I personally apologized. I felt horrible and it still bothers me. I openend a discussion thread in the group to discuss whether the level defined was the right one.

We set up the group with an expressed position that for it to work, we needed to open it up to Senior Execs or Social Strategists to have a forum to engage with peers and rock-star strategists. To get that caliber of player, we needed a combination of exclusivity in role in organization, but inclusivity in terms of competitors. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to bring in my blogging or my business in that forum because it would be seen as self-serving.

It brings an interesting point; which now I am getting to… where is that line of opening the community up to the market and maintaining the stated focus for your business. On our end, we started the group because we wanted the credibility and a forum for our thought leadership. We are not completely altruistic as we need to eventually translate our IP and thought leadership into paid consulting services.

On the other hand, we know the audience would not tolerate ANY sales messages. They want education. If they need you, they now know about you, AND they will let you know if they are interested in talking with you. In essence, we created a democracy within the group to foster an open communications platform. We get to participate and influence as founders and members at large.

We made a delineation from the activities in running the group from our business as a compromise and recognition of the need for demonstrated integrity. This blog is my company’s to write more extensively and to share my thoughts on trends and situations that come up in our business. Interesting to the group, maybe, but they will need to come visit our website to read our blog. We wouldn’t do anything that smacked of inequality versus the other consulting firms in the group as we would lose credibility towards the stated purpose.

Additionally, the feedback from the senior execs in the larger companies is that they want a balance of peer discussions, but welcome consultants as long as it doesn’t turn into a sales pitch or they get hounded. They recognize they need consultants, but want to be able to choose when to engage with them and how.

This is pretty consistent with what we are seeing in the market. Almost any market that you go into, you can see a wide spectrum of communities, forums, groups, blogs, lists, etc. hosted by vendors, publications, associations, or enthusiasts. I think that the best of the lot understand that they can’t be extreme on either end of the spectrum… too wide open where the core target is disenfranchised with the noise or selling, but also where it is open enough to promote free and engaging discussion.

The problem with static websites is exactly that… someone said “where on your website do you post which projects that you screwed up?” No one does… The value of social media is that peer validation and credentialling that comes from broader, free discussion.

The other side, is that companies don’t create these forums or groups for completely altrustic reasons. At some point, thought leadership and engagement needs to convert to leads and pipelines. Even non-profits need transactions.

My recommendation in setting up communities is really take a look at the competitive landscape, your real objectives, and the key players in the market to determine what is the appropriate level of “openeness” that makes sense. A public group is more open by nature than a private, branded community.

If I invite you into my home, make sure to take your shoes off…. house rules. Well, actually my wife’s… but you get the point…