Category Archives: Social media marketing

HootSuite welcomes Seesmic users

HootSuite Acquires Seesmic and Goes for Corporate Gold

Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur

HootSuite Acquires Seesmic: Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur

HootSuite acquires Seesmic. It’s probably the news of the day in social media land. There are several reasons to assume HootSuite is going for the corporate user.

HootSuite started out as one of the many social media management tools many years ago. However, the company has been continuously innovating and adding new features, making it increasingly more interesting than several other social media management tools with similar and even higher price points.

HootSuite recently integrated a bunch of new productivity social apps to its app directory, including SocialBro, GoPollGo, NeedTagger and Videolicious.

And so today news hits HootSuite acquires Seesmic. Continue reading

Twitter Launches New Embedded Twitter Timelines

Setting up the embedded Twitter timeline source - click to enlarge

Setting up the embedded Twitter timeline source – click to enlarge

Twitter today launched an embedded Twitter timelines widget feature. You have different options to pick the content (tweets and tweeted pictures) you want to show and of course there are some settings regarding look and feel.

The embedded Twitter timelines widget can be created from within your Twitter account if you’re not a developer (information for developers here). The new feature allows you to display tweets from a user’s timeline, favorites and list. You can also enter a hashtag for which you want the tweets to show.
When the widget is created, you get a few lines of HTML and script code you can simply enter wherever you want.

Embedded Twitter widgets: interaction where it matters

The interesting thing is that interaction happens from within the blog, webpage or homepage you embed it on. That’s a first and probably not a last. Such features can make it easier to let the interaction happen where it matters most for many of us: on our home bases on the Web. Continue reading

Should businesses ignore Facebook for B2B marketing?

The first social network that comes to mind when thinking about B2B social media marketing is obviously LinkedIn. However, what about Facebook? Is it suitable for business-to-business? Of course it all depends on your market, goals and target groups. An overview and an infographic.

Business buyers are people and they also use Facebook. Although Facebook is generally less used in the buying process than blogs and LinkedIn, it certainly shouldn’t be ignored.

While many strictly distinguish between Facebook as the ‘consumer environment’ and LinkedIn as the B2B place-to-be, in many countries and demographics Facebook is so popular that professionals use it both for personal and business reasons. They simply know how to distinguish between friends, family and professional contacts.

Furthermore, there is a new generation of B2B buyers: the social ones. They are more used to social platforms and can be compared with the ‘connected consumer’. Continue reading

Do Consumers Trust Retailers More Than Social Networks?

Trust and private data

Trust and private data

Consumers are said to rely more on the advice of their peers and even social connections than on businesses themselves. However, this doesn’t mean they trust the social networks themselves when it comes down to sharing their data.

Recently, the e-tailing group and MyBuys released some findings from a survey stating that the surveyed consumers feel more comfortable sharing data with retailers than with social networks.

They do so even more when sharing data improves their shopping experience. I bet the same goes for other experiences as well. Most social networks suck at dealing with consumer data and don’t take into account what their users want in that regard. They dictate on how they will use these data, and it does take some time to find where to change settings or stay up-to-date with latest changes. Even as someone who follows the industry carefully, I often lose track. Continue reading

Display Advertising on Facebook versus Google: Who Wins?

Although Facebook and Google are very different platforms, they have common revenue streams: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising whereby contextual relevance, targeting and sharing are essential. With Google AdWords display advertising and text ads, you can achieve a good ROI but what about Facebook?

Facebook has been testing several methods and formats lately, although not with big success. So it seems. The discussions on the effectiveness of Facebook ads have received lots of attention with many different opinions and quite some hype.

Wordstream, a Search Engine Marketing agency, earlier this year collected some data on the display advertising and overall reach and efficiency of Facebook and Google and presented them in a (rather loaded) comparative infographic. Continue reading

To Social Media with Love

To Social Media with Love

To Social Media with Love

When social media first started to grow, one couldn’t be faulted for thinking (based on traditional media history) that it would be nothing more than a self-promotional and self aggrandizing weapon of mass annoyance. One might also be forgiven for assuming that it was going to simply show us the darker side of humanity. When you consider that traditional media channels relegate the “better angels of our nature” to page 30 or the last two minutes of a newscast, you can understand that perspective.

However, with all the dark side glimpses and the demons who have perched themselves on the web, social has often shown us our better natures and the staggering power of harmonic voices challenging us to do and be better.

Almost everyday social media reveals (to me at least) the magic which surrounds us. Continue reading

5 Thing Social Media Can Learn From Radio

5 Things Social Media can Learn from Radio

5 Thing Social Media Can Learn From Radio

It may surprise you that social media shares some qualities with the more traditional medium of radio. Obviously the technology is very different, but there is a good deal which bloggers and social media people can learn from radio done right.

Here are five key things social media can learn from radio: Continue reading

Social media respect : Get over it! Social media doesn’t owe you a thing!

Get over it! Social media doesn’t owe you a thing!

Social media respect : Get over it! Social media doesn’t owe you a thing!

As the father of identical twins, I wonder if my dad simply grew tired of repeating himself and so decided to keep his lessons simple and few in number. Whatever the reason may have been, he focused on only a handful and he drove them home at every opportunity.

By all accounts my father (he’s almost 80) has led a good life and a wall of service plaques and awards attest to his community leadership and contributions. It’s is my father who more than anyone, taught me about community and how it is the core of that good life. He never expected recognition for his efforts. Oh, he got some, but he never expected it or expressed regrets when it didn’t happen.

“The world doesn’t owe you a thing son, just remember that.” – Gilbert H. Ducharme Continue reading

Tweet Tips: 12 Ways to Tweet the Same Thing

Tweet Tips: 12 Ways to Tweet the Same Thing

Tweet Tips: 12 Ways to Tweet the Same Thing

Just tweeting a subject line and link from a blog (be a post by you or a post on another blog) is not always the most effective way to drive traffic to the post. If the subject line is really good, that can certainly be effective, but there are other options to get people’s attention with your tweets. Be creative with your tweets and mix it up! As with subject lines, a little originality and creativity can really make your tweets stand out.

Not all of these approaches would be suitable for use by you about your own posts. As well, not all of these examples as written will suit your personal style – the categorization I’ve done should be more helpful creatively than the actual examples. You have to decide what your style is and work it for all it’s worth. Be yourself and have fun! Just consider these examples some food for thought. Continue reading

Email vs Social: Channels aren't social, humans are

Email vs Social: Channels Aren’t Social, Humans Are

Email Marketing vs Social: Channels aren't social, humans are

The discussion regarding email and social and which one is the better channel (email is dead yada yada) is getting rather tedious. What makes this entire debate really frustrating is that it’s completely worthless in the larger scope. Oh sure, email marketers feel compelled to douse any suggestion that email is dying in order to reassure clients that they should still be spending with them, but other than that, what’s the point?

The people we market to will make the decision as to what channel is best suited to their needs and that’s the only choice which matters. Everything else is simply politics and drama.

Email is a social channel because by definition, any interaction between humans is social. It doesn’t matter if that interaction took place in person, via email, by phone or Twitter. We are social, we build communities wherever we go because they suit something bred in the bone which spurs us to seek out others and interact. The web hasn’t reinvented humans. Quite the opposite in fact! We’ve colonized cyberspace, bringing all the light and darkness which dwells within us. Virtual reality will not make people better in and of itself, but hopefully, we’ll apply it to make the world a better place for our kids to grow up in. Continue reading

Tips on How to Handle Negative Tweets

dealing with negative tweetsShould you ignore negative tweets or comments on Twitter? If not, what should you do? It’s a question which keeps coming up as marketers and companies get more and more involved in social media.

Among most social media evangelists and analysts (I don’t like the term “expert”), the consensus appears to be that a negative comment is an opportunity for you to shine via social media channels such as Twitter. In this post I want to offer some tips on what ou should and should not do when you encounter a negative tweet.

I think it’s reasonable that the first thing which pops into one’s head when they see a negative tweet is some anxiety about what the commenter might say next if you engage them. I’m not a psychologist, but I suspect it’s a human quirk of nature that we like to take the path of least resistance and hope if we ignore a problem it might go away. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the worst thing you can do in this context. That’s because it’s not just the negative commenter that you have to worry about, but what others are thinking when they read that comment – especially when they see no response from you. Continue reading

Social Media May be Trendy, but Socializing isn't

Social Media May be Trendy, but Socializing isn’t

Social Media May be Trendy, but Socializing isn't

I first logged on to the internet in 1995 via a BBS AKA Bulletin Board System. I’d been logging onto BBS networks for a couple of years prior. A BBS could be a hobby running on a single home PC or, if you could afford the extra phone lines, a small business venture. The host computers were linked to many others around the globe via the BBS software they ran and phone lines. There were three primary reasons to log into a BBS: file sharing, gaming and communication.

Sound familiar? Even now these are three of the primary reasons why people go online – at the heart of all these activities is the need for us to commune and share.

When browsers and ISPs made connecting and using the web more accessible for the majority of people, a lot of folks leapt online and spent hours and hours just being online. It was a new frontier and exploring it was addictive for many.

I noticed a learning curve that most newcomers to the web experienced. Initially they would spend a lot of time online and then over the course of months, that curve would slowly flatten out. For example, instead of being online virtual skiing, they would start to use the web to get ski reports and hit the hills for real.

In other words, the web went from being regarded as an experience to being thought of as an appliance. A very handy appliance which most people now use to add value to their everyday lives – this curve applies to what we term social media too.

The meteoric rise of social media has some wondering when the bubble will burst. That’s a fair question and it’s likely that at some point in the not too distant future that bubble will indeed burst or perhaps simply settle onto the grass and quietly pop. There will be a shake-out soon enough in the social marketing guru industry and social media networks too may come and go, but that won’t stop people from being social.

Networks such as Facebook didn’t create the need for humans to form communities and the internet didn’t manufacture that drive out of thin air either. This is something which is bred in the bone among us. The web and social media are simply tools which allow us to feed that desire to connect and commune.

Assuming social media is a passing fad is dangerous because it was never new and trendy to begin with. The only things which may be new and trendy about social media (aside from the label) are the networks, services and companies trying to leverage it.

We label something primarily because that is the first step in controlling it. It’s good to keep in mind that while services such as Twitter and Facebook may accommodate the human need to socialize, they do not impel us to do so. We don’t need Facebook or Twitter to instill a yearning in us to connect and share with others.

The desire to label and then cram something new into a nice frame of reference “cubby hole” is a dangerous thing when what we are really talking about is a genie escaping out of the bottle. Now, that genie may have taken a good while to wriggle out, but it has and corporations would do well not to ignore it. Never before have we been so empowered to share and interact. Companies should recognize this, respect it and nurture it.

If social media has accomplished anything, I would hope that would be to bring home the message that companies have to start thinking socially. They must knock down silos, end internal territorial attitudes, enhance knowledge networking and increase accessibility for customers via multiple channels.

The quickest way to be accepted and appreciated in any community is to contribute to it. However you want to label social media, a primary focus for brands should be to enrich communities with relevant information which adds real value to people’s every day lives. To do that effectively, you have to listen to, interact and participate with the communities you want to reach.

Are Your Customers Trying to Find Your Business on Their Phones? 5 Facts That You Should Know

Are Your Customers Looking for your Business on Mobile Phones? 5 Facts Worth Knowing

Are Your Customers Trying to Find Your Business on Their Phones?  5 Facts That You Should Know   There has been a lot of talk about the power of mobile marketing.  From text marketing to applications, the market is abuzz with the “power of mobile.”

For some businesses it seems like a perfect fit, while other companies struggle to see the value of implementing a mobile marketing strategy.

That’s why when I read a great article in Entrepreneur Magazine that had some information consumers use of mobile phone, I thought I would share it with you.  The article was based on the findings of a recent research study done by Harris Interactive.  I’ve grabbed 5 highlights to share with you here: Continue reading

Belgian Marketing Professionals Waffle on Social Media

Belgian Marketing Professionals Waffle on Social Media

Belgian Marketing Professionals Waffle on Social Media

JP De Clerk (who is never shy about offering an opinion) vented some frustration in a post, that also appeared on Social Media Today, regarding the state of social media marketing in Belgium. Based on the numbers he cited from a recent report from Leads United of Antwerp, it appears he’s got good reason to rattle some cages.

The study surveyed 70 Belgian communication and marketing professionals regarding their use of social media. It certainly appears that based on this survey, Belgian marketing professionals have a way to go yet. Continue reading

Social Media Day Antwerp

Social Media Day Open Forum: You’ve Got Questions! We’ve Got Answers!

Social Media Day AntwerpSocial Media Day by design is a pretty free-form event. Some local events are strictly GT parties and some are trying to add a little more. At the Social Media Day event at Hangar 26 in Antwerp on June 30th, J-P De Clerk and team have put together a great party and networking event! But, they also have decided to include the opportunity for people to gain and share knowledge and insight on social media marketing.

Everyone has questions about social media and especially about leveraging it for marketing, even those of us who might be considered knowledgeable or even “expert” at it. At the event, from 5 PM to 6 PM, there will an open social media forum with Olivier Blanchard, where you can ask your questions and get answers and insight from a thought leader in social media.

Now, one hour is almost certainly not going to be enough, so you can also ask your questions via email, comment, our LinkedIn group or even Facbook. J-P has assembled an all-star team of social media pros who will review the questions and answer them.

As well, and I’m very happy to say that you can ask your questions right here! Leave a comment with your question and we’ll get you an answer fast!

Once we’ve collected all the questions and shared answers and insight, we should have some great material for some very enlightening posts after the event!

10 Stats: Why is Grandma Using Facebook and Uncle Joe Using Twitter?

10 Stats: Why is Grandma Using Facebook and Uncle Joe Using Twitter?

10 Stats: Why is Grandma Using Facebook and Uncle Joe Using Twitter?

10 Social Media Statistics That May Surprise You:

The social media landscape is changing at a rapid rate.  The reason?  More people are joining the “social media game” everyday….some who you wouldn’t even expect!

Recently I was looking at some very interesting statistics reported by which illustrated some very interesting trends.  I thought I would share them with you as they may just change the way you think about sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Here are the top 10 social media statistics that just might surprise you:

1.  3 out of 5 Facebook users access the site more than once per day AND the younger the user, the more they log on.

2.  Men are more likely to use Twitter or YouTube.

3.  Woman go on Facebook multiple times per day.

4.  Some of the most staggering growth has been in the 55 plus market.  Over 40% of 55+ social networkers have been registered on the sites for less than two years!

5.  Even more interesting? 28% of Facebook users are over 55.

6.  Men and youngsters are more likely to be influenced by what they read on social media and are more likely to engage by commenting and interacting.

7.  Of the market of 18-24 year olds, 62% interact through comments and such.

8.  Of the market of 55+ users, only 32% interact through comments and such.

9.  On social media sites, men tend to be drawn to topics such as sports, newspapers, radio, financial services and music.

10.  When it comes to the interest of women on social media, they flock to fashion, beauty, food and drink.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the differences in how men and women engage on social media:

Music: Women 12.3% – Men: 17.6%

Sports: Women 5.4% – Men 15.5%

TV: Women 10.5% – Men 12.6%

Newspapers: Woman 4.3% – Men 8.8%

Food/Drink: Woman 7.0 – Men 8.3%

Travel: Women 6.9% – Men 8.3%

Fashion: Woman 2.9% – Men 7.8%

These statics show that as our social media community grows, we can see definite trends in usage that illustrate there are many opportunities to promote your business online.  The days of Facebook being only used by college students is well and truly behind us and we are now in the days when grandma is using Facebook and grandpa is on Twitter.

Linkedin recruiting

5 LinkedIn Must Haves

5 LinkedIn "Must Haves"With everyone going on about the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, our poor friend LinkedIn sometimes gets left out in the cold.  While not one of the most visible sites, it is definitely one of the most powerful.  With millions of people from all over the globe taking part in the conversation on LinkedIn, it is definitely a place online where your audience thrives.

What I usually hear when I speak to prospective clients about LinkedIn is that “I’m not B2B, I’m B2C.  LinkedIn will never work for me.”  Aside from that statement oddly rhyming, that statement can’t be more false.  Whether you are B2B or B2C, you can carve out your own audience on LinkedIn.  I’ve said this quite a bit, and lately people have been asking me to put my money where my mouth is asking “Can you prove that there is ROI in LinkedIn?”  My answer, “Absolutely!”

About 60% of my business comes from LinkedIn.  True.

While my firm may be unique, we handle accounts for a wide array of clientele that get results on LinkedIn.  Not only sales and referrals, but speaking engagements, sharing of content to a wide audience, hits to their website, media appointments and much more.  I’m not saying that 60% of your business WILL come from LinkedIn, but it is definitely a spot where you need to be.

But my purpose here isn’t to sell you on the wonders of LinkedIn.  It is targeted to those of you out there who are registered with LinkedIn (for a week, a year, 10 years, whatever) and don’t have your completed and are just waiting for the magic to happen.  Generally those like this complain that they don’t see any results from LinkedIn.  Here’s why: you’re not doing anything.

So let’s get moving and create some stellar results!  Here are my 5 LinkedIn “Must Haves” when you are trying to market yourself using this massively useful site:

1.  You MUST Fill Out Your Profile:  A name and title is not enough.  LinkedIn gives you ample opportunity to showcase yourself and your brand.  Instead of leaving half of the profile blank (the percentage of which LinkedIn will show you on the right hand side of your profile), why not take an hour or two and really fill it in properly.  Want people to call you?  Add a phone number.  Want people to look at your website?  Mention it with hyperlink at the drop of a hat.  Don’t skimp here…this is where people are going to find you credible or not credible.  Oh, and one final thing.  Have a professional profile picture, nothing wild and off brand.  No picture = no credibility in my book.

2.  You MUST Join Groups:  Not only must you join groups, you must also take part in them.  I know it seems like a tall order, but this is one of the areas where the magic happens on LinkedIn.  Now don’t get stuck on the fact that you have to find groups only within your sector, you want to find those in addition to groups where your target consumers may be.  For example, if you are a cosmetic surgeon in NYC you may want to join 25 groups on cosmetic surgery and 25 groups based around the NYC area.  The idea is simple.  The professional ones will help you gain news and knowledge in your sector while the others will help you share your business and expertise with target consumers.  I say join as many as LinkedIn allows (50) and start working them!

3.  You MUST Ask Question and Answer Questions: There is a wonderful function of LinkedIn that allows you to answer and pose questions to your network as well as LinkedIn at large.  This is a great way to get in front of prospective supporters, consumers and referral partners – so don’t be afraid to jump in there and share your expertise by answering a few questions now and again.

4.  You MUST Reply:  Nothing drives a social media user up-the-wall more than sending messages that never are replied to.  I’m not saying the mass messages that start with those wonderful words “Dear Friends”, but rather those emails sent to your on LinkedIn.  Not interested in what they have to say?  Give them a polite “No thank you, but I appreciate your kind offer”, don’t say “Leave me alone” or ignore them completely.  This is networking.  Would you act like that in a cocktail party?  Nope.

5.  You MUST Bring Your Profile Alive With Testimonials and Applications:  Even the most engaging profile can use a helping hand now and again.  First off, anyone that you have ever worked with or has known you professionally – ask for a recommendation, a mutual recommendation.  This is an eye-catching way of proving credibility and the quality of your work.  Never ask for testimonials from people you don’t know, never worked with, and just friended.  That’s tacky.  On the application side of things, go onto your profile and scroll until you see the Applications section and click “More Applications.”  This will take you to a section that allows you to not only integrate your Twitter account and your WordPress blogs, but also share pdf files and PowerPoint presentations.  These are wonderful ways of bringing your profile to life.

I’m sure I could go on with the wonders of LinkedIn, but these are definitely the ones I am most passionate about.  These steps will help you get the most out of LinkedIn in addition to helping you learn more about shaping your LinkedIn marketing strategy.  Its not easy at first and can be time consuming, but keep with it.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your social media following.  It is an ongoing effort that will bring you what your after, if you are patient.

Think Tank: Social Media Training for Nonprofits

Think Tank: Social Media Training for Nonprofits

Think Tank: Social Media Training for NonprofitsNonprofits and associations have to make the most out of the meager resources they have at hand. Rarely do they have the wherewithal to hire consultants or new people to take on such things as social media. Those new responsibilities usually fall to someone already overloaded or to volunteers. In either case, the result is often a steep learning curve and more than a little frustration and stress.

For example, my sister works for a major humanitarian charity and their social media work is being handled by a junior staff member who is learning as they go. But where do you learn this stuff as you go?

One option for nonprofits is Think Tank. Their mission is to help those in associations and nonprofits learn how to leverage social media for success. Their knowledge base features step-by-step guides, on demand Q&A, monthly virtual learning sessions and peer-to-peer discussions.

You can watch a quick introduction and overview of what Think Tank can do for you in a quick video here.

The founders describe Think Tank as an experiment for nonprofit and association learning in social media. Full access for Think Tank workshops and resources will cost you $25 a month. That’s not that steep when you consider what social media training can cost you. And as they point out at Think Tank, that training is often not specific to nonprofits and associations which are unique in their requirements and resource limitations.

Aside from the fact that you are learning from and with your professional peers at Think Tank, there is also the convenience of being able to learn when you want to. Rather than having to spend a day in training and using up time you don’t have, this site allows you to learn mostly at your own pace, when it suits you.

Using the learning resources at Think Tank, you can train not only those employees you have, but also your volunteers. Volunteers are vital to any association or nonprofit, but training and supporting them can take up a lot of time you simply don’t have. Using this kind of online training means they too can learn at their own pace when it’s convenient. Having social savvy volunteers means you have more depth and more reach in social media and that certainly can’t hurt.

If you’re an association or nonprofit diving into social media, take a dip in the Think Tank first and you won’t end up all wet.

Why Aren’t You Promoting Your Social Profiles? 10 Ways to Make it Happen

Why Aren’t You Promoting Your Social Profiles? 10 Ways to Make it Happen

Why Aren’t You Promoting Your Social Profiles? 10 Ways to Make it Happen

When going through numerous articles on social media strategies it dawned on me that there was a glaring omission: tactics on how to promote your social media profiles OUTSIDE of logging in to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

While it may sound odd, cross marketing is an essential part of a successful social media marketing strategy (as well as a successful marketing strategy).  It is completely understandable that when you launch a social media campaign, you really want to spend a bulk of your time logged into the site trying to achieve penetration and engagement.  For example, when marketing your business’s Facebook Page, you are logging in on a daily basis to update your page, share it and use different onsite tools to engage with your target consumers.

But what about the people that you speak to everyday on the phone or at events?  How about those who you give your business card to?  How about the people on the receiving end of the 100+ emails that you have to respond to daily?

This is where you need to focus on what I call Off-Site Social Media Promotion.  The best part?  It isn’t that tough (which is always a good thing, right?).

Here are my top ten tactics that you can instantly use to promote your professional social media presences…off-site:

1.   Add to Your Email Signature: When it comes to promoting your social media presences off-site, email is your first stop.  In your email signature, add a link to one or all of your social hubs.  Just be careful not to overdo it!  If you are a member of 100 different networks, don’t add them all.  My rule is to try to keep it to around 3 or less.

2.   Add to Your Business Cards:  A trend that I have been seeing is the adding of social networks to business cards.  This is a trend that I definitely support as it adds more relevance to the handing out of business cards (especially in our growing “green” landscape).  The same rules apply, but with business cards I suggest adding the networks where you are the most active.  For example, I may be the most active on Twitter, so that would be the one I would add.  When adding the network address, make sure that you have a custom username so it is easy for the recipient of the card to read and then type into their browser.

3.   Add to Your Website and Blog: One of the best ways of promoting your social networks off-site comes courtesy of the networks themselves.  May have plug-ins that are free and easy to add into the structure of your blog and website.  These look like boxes with your logo, recent activity and a box for the viewer to click to connect.  These allow people who are visiting your blog/website to easily engage with you on the social platforms WITHOUT leaving your site.  Plus, as you update your social networks, it reflects on your blog/website badge which not only makes you look up to date, but it provides your website/blog with fresh content on a consistent basis.

4.   Add Share Buttons to Your Website and Blog: If you are constantly publishing content to your website and blog, why not allow others to share it?  This is a bit more complicated, but a web design professional can help you do this.  If you don’t have this, you are definitely missing a trick.  Also – make sure that you have an RSS feed on your blog, it is very important and can be used in many wonderful ways online!

5.   Add to Your Advertising:  This one is a no-brainer – make sure that you add the link to your social media presence in your magazine, newspaper, radio and television advertising.  Just think: you are spending quite a bit on advertising, why not get the most bang for your buck.  Also, you can use your social media presence to support a contest that you are promoting through your advertising.

6.   Add to All of Your Marketing Collateral:  This is another no-brainer.  If you have brochures, media packs, flyers or physical promotional products – add your social media link to them.  Easy as that!

7.   Add to Your Events: When putting together the promotional schedule for an exhibition or event that your company will be represented at, make sure not to forget to add your social media profiles to the game.  Make sure that it is on the collateral and stand, but you can even run a Twitter contest during the event and promote it through a bag drop.  There are lots of ways…just think out of the box!

8.   Add to Your Contest:  I touched on this earlier, but when you are holding a contest, a great idea is to use the opportunity to showcase your social media profiles.  Especially on Facebook, you are able to nearly duplicate the look of your website on your Facebook Page – it is just down to making the cross marketing happen and finding a designer to complete the job.

9.   Add Your Networks to Your Phone:  This little tip does involve a bit of on-site promotion.  One of the biggest tips that I have is that if you have a smart phone you should have the main social media sites you downloaded and ready to use on your phone.  This way you can share pictures, video and information in real-time from anywhere.  There are always things that you miss that you regret not sharing, this makes sure that it doesn’t happen again.  This tip is also helpful when you need to show people your profile in a pinch if you are meeting them face-to-face and describing your online work.  I’ve had to do it about a million times, so it does happen.

10.   Add it to Your Vocabulary:  Do you ever tell anyone about your social media presence?  Or do you just think they will find it on their own?  In order for people to find and engage with you online, they need to know that you exist online….and many times if you have a very common name brand or name, it can be confusing and difficult to locate you.  So make sure that you talk about your presences on your calls, when you meet someone new, at events and more.  The people you interact with everyday can be some of your biggest supporters on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

I think the overriding message here is to mention your social media presences as much as possible.  Remember, if people don’t know that you are using social media sites to promote your company – they aren’t going to look for you.  Let them know, it’s the best way to go!  At the end of the day, you wouldn’t send out a marketing material without your web address on it, would you?

Foursquare - A Sidewalk Barker in your Pocket

Foursquare – A Sidewalk Barker in your Pocket

Foursquare - A Sidewalk Barker in your Pocket

Back in my radio days I used to do a lot of what we called “remotes”, which was short for remote broadcasts. These broadcasts were usually live commercials purchased by an advertiser.

One time I found myself at a shopping mall in a small Canadian town doing what we called a “red light” sale. I was patched into the mall sound system and we had a flashing red light on a post set on a cart. This would be wheeled around the mall from store to store and when in front of a shop, people knew that store had special offers. My job was simply to let everyone know the light had lit on some location. Yes, this was definitely a highlight of my broadcast career.

Crazy as it may sound, it worked and the mall was packed for the “red light sale”. People followed that red light around as if it were the goose about to lay a golden egg.

When I read about retailers leveraging social media and specifically Foursquare, I’m always reminded about that old red light sale. For example, Radio Shack has a promotion running now where they use it as a kind of virtual sandwich board to draw people in to their stores when they are nearby. According to Radio Shack, using Foursquare seems to be working for them with users spending 3.5 times more in the store than those who don’t use Foursquare.

Quoting directly from the RealtimeNY11 post, here’s how the promotion works:

  • Foursquare users don’t have to follow Radio Shack to be alerted of its special offers.  When a Foursquare user is near a Radio Shack location, they’ll see a “Special Nearby” icon on their phone screen (if it is the closest available merchant deal on the platform). When they click on the icon, the offer details and the store’s location come up.
  • Foursquare’s 3.0 app, released last month, allows brands to run different special offers across various locations, and brands can choose from seven types of “specials.”  The Radio Shack campaign offers a “Newbie Special” (1st time check-ins get 20% off), and a “Check-in Special” (users get 10% off).  Mayors get 20% off.
  • Radio Shack is also experimenting with the Google Latitude Check-in Offers program, which offers tiers of checking in. Check-ins on Google’s platform at Radio Shack can make you a “SHACKaholic” (top tier – 20% discount), a “SHACKspert” (middle tier – 15% discount) or “SHACKreational” (entry tier – saves 10%).

People have a very personal relationship with their smartphones and are more likely to read messages (from a number of channels) on them. Remember, this is their phone, web browser, SMS, email reader and social media portal all wrapped up in one portable unit. It’s hard to ignore your pants or purse ringing or vibrating, isn’t it?

So, now retailers have a virtual remote broadcast running 24/7 or you could describe it as having your own personal sidewalk barker drawing people into your store.

The first thing I learned in radio was that there are no new promotions, just variations on a theme. That’s something which might be helpful for marketers to keep in mind when considering how to use social applications such as Foursquare. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful with something like this. With a little creativity and planning, you can successfully apply tried and true marketing and promotion techniques via these new social channels.

You’ll likely hear a lot about these kinds of social media promotions and marketing tactics at the upcoming RealtimeNY11 conference in New York on June 6th.

Social Media Conference: RealtimeNY11

The Real Time Web: Social Media Conference RealtimeNY11

Social Media Conference: RealtimeNY11

It’s a real time world today where people and brands interact over multiple social channels live. That changes the rules quite a bit for marketers and means companies must shift priorities, resources and even culture to accommodate this new reality.

And it’s all happening so fast! Today we see senior positions for social media managers where just a few years ago, they didn’t exist. Corporations are recognizing the importance of social media and building processes and policies to leverage it.

All of this social restructuring among brands is happening in real time as well and that means we’ve seen some problems and some errors. Hopefully, those problems and errors help us all learn more about how we can better serve customers and corporate objectives. However, it’s not always obvious who you should be drawing inspiration from in the social media space.

Events such as Realtime NY11 can help with the knowledge transfer of social media for business. Formerly, TWTRCON, the RealtimeNY11 conference takes place in New York City on June 6th at the B.B. King Blues Club right off Times Square. The event focuses on the real time Web with the social and mobile possibilities it offers with applications such as FourSquare, Twitter, etc.

Speakers include social media execs from such brands as Citibank, the NHL, McDonald’s and Gatorade, just to name a very few. You can find the agenda for the event here.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: The Ostrich Factor

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: The Ostrich Factor

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: The Ostrich Factor

I had an interesting exchange a few days ago regarding social media and the power of word-of-mouth. I was at my car dealership and one of their senior people was looking at a problem with my car. When he asked what I did for a living we started talking about social media. To set this up right, let me point out that this gent is a vet of the business, has seen a lot of changes and has tons of customer interaction and service experience.

When I mentioned how word-of-mouth has been turbo charged by social media and too many businesses out there aren’t catching on fast enough, his response was one I’ve heard before. While he acknowledged the impact of social media and the reach it provides consumers, he felt that impact was lessened by the fact that most people will take any critical information on these channels with a grain of salt, assuming there are two sides to every story.

This perspective can only be described as the “ostrich syndrome”, but even ostriches don’t actually stick their heads in the sand to evade a threat or something we don’t understand, only we humans do.

The fact is that because of social media and our connected world, word-of-mouth is both your best friend and potentially your fiercest foe.

A survey of 2,800 internet users in 14 countries by InSites Consulting (reported at The Wall), revealed just how much reach word-of-mouth online has today. According to the survey, on average, connected people have about 196 friends each online. The top three countries in terms of the most friends online were Brazil at 360, Portugal at 236 and the USA with 200.

Considering the ripple effect, I’d say there’s some real potential there for someone to exercise influence be it good or bad, regarding their experience with your brand. The weight anyone of these friends might put behind an individual’s opinion really depends on the relationship between them. But overall, who would you be more likely to give credence to?

Last time I checked, generally speaking, corporations didn’t have the best record for credibility with the public. I simply don’t think a corporation stacks up all that well against an average person’s experience if you know them, even just casually.

I do believe that people tend to “average out” negative product reviews on something such as an ecommerce site. I think most of us tend to overlook the extremely negative and the over the top positive reviews and draw more influence from those in the middle. Of course, if the average tone of the reviews is negative, we definitely take that as a bad sign. But of course, the credibility of a critical review of a product or service rises when we know the source, even if that connection is virtual.

So what is this new empowered word-of-mouth via social media going to lead to? Better damage control? Lord, I hope not! How about better products and service right from the start? How about more public scrutiny resulting in improved R&D and Q&A?

Social media and the power it gives word-of-mouth isn’t a threat to be avoided or feared. It’s an opportunity to be embraced and exploited to benefit your customers, your organization and your brand. The worst thing you can do is to stick your head in the sand and rationalize.

What do you think?

Social Media: The Labels of Anonymity, Authenticity, and Authority

Social Media: The Labels of Anonymity, Authenticity, and Authority

Social Media: The Labels of Anonymity, Authenticity, and Authority

Did you hear about that guy who blasted his boss on Facebook and got fired? Or about that football player who tweeted his thoughts about the killing of a major terrorist organization leader and lost an endorsement deal as a result?

I am reminded of this quote I saw on one of my favorite sports blogs, The Big Lead:

“Twitter makes everyone actors. It’s not enough just to react or to have an opinion. You now feel compelled to share that opinion with your tens, or hundreds or thousands of followers. You must frame it extremely to draw attention and aggrandize yourself. It turns ordinary people into blowhards and blowhards into spiteful lunatics.”

The question this statement begs is:  In our rabid need to draw attention to ourselves, what’s real anymore?

Is there an answer? I don’t know. But the question stems from three words: Anonymity, Authenticity, and Authority.


The Internet and social media have created a “Power of Anonymity.” Behind the veil of “anonymous” or a screenname, people can “be” whoever they want to be. That veil frees people to say whatever they want—a seemingly staggering power that can be used for good, but oftentimes is not used for the right reasons.

Case in point: Have you ever read the comments section of any major news outlet? If you haven’t, go to one now and pick a political article. Read the comments. (I’ll wait.)

Frightening, right? Anonymity causes people to unleash opinions with such vitriol that they would never dream of saying if they had to say it in person. And you’re just as likely to get a thoughtful opinion shot down by some guy yelling, “Dude, you’re a freakin’ [blank] and [blank]!”

Anonymity has largely thrown responsibility out the window. To be successful in social media, you have to know how to weed through the irresponsibility and focus on the positive or constructive feedback. Remember: Trolls never give their real names.


Social media boils down to intent. What do I mean by intent? You can say intent creates filters on the social media conversation.

If your intent is to hide behind a screenname and let loose, your filter is anonymity. If your intent is to be out there as yourself (recommended), and you wish to be employable (also recommended), you will likely filter out what your inner monologue is saying.

Can you be authentic if you’re holding back? Can you be authentic if you’re being anonymous? Is it possible to attach your name to something and unleash the vitriol? For some, yes to all of those questions. For others, it’s a debate. And I can’t answer that question for you. It’s for you (and your organization) to decide.


Have you seen how many social media “experts,” “ninjas,” and “gurus” there are out there? It’s a stunning number. And for the most part, all of that “authority” people are seeking is total baloney.

I was having dinner a while back with a friend, and we talked about how social media has allowed people to attain certain “false authority.” After all, it’s only 140 characters on Twitter. You can retweet blog post after blog post, learn a few industry hashtags and acronyms, and really come across like you know what you’re talking about. You know, “fake it.”

What happens when we meet you at a conference? A whole lot of “air.”

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that humans need to assign labels to each other. These labels can vary from trustworthy to genius to fraud to a host of others. These three concepts combine to help form these labels that appeal to our basic human instinct to form herds and survive.

Given these challenges, here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • How do you measure one’s “authority?” Can you measure it?
  • How do you identify and combat “false authorities?”
  • How do you identify trolls? And how do you decide when and when NOT to respond to feedback?
  • How do you determine authenticity online?