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

Email 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 … [Read more...]

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: … [Read more...]

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

Social Media Day Antwerp

Social 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 … [Read more...]

5 LinkedIn Must Haves

Linkedin recruiting

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Marketer’s Important Objectives for Social Media in 2011

Marketer's Important Objectives for Social Media in 2011

MarketingSherpa has posted an interesting chart derived from a survey of 3,300 marketers asked to indicate their most important social media marketing objectives they hope to achieve in 2011. The question was: What are the most important objectives for your organization’s social marketing program to achieve in 2011? Increasing website traffic via social media integration was number one at 56%, followed by improving brand awareness or reputation at 51%. Also top of mind at 51%, was the desire to develop an effective and methodical social marketing strategy. Achieving measurable ROI from social was most important to half of those surveyed, while converting social media members, followers and the like to paying customers was the primary to 45%. Achieving or increasing measurable lead generation from social marketing came in at 40%. Why is it that only half of those surveyed thought that achieving a measurable ROI from social media was important? Is this because the newness of … [Read more...]

Highlights from European Social Media and Email Marketing Study

Highlights from European Social Media and Email Marketing Study

I’ve just been reading The European Social Media and Email Marketing Study from eCircle and I thought I’d share some of the high level observations with you. The survey was conducted online with just over one thousand participants. When considering how people use email and social networks, eCircle reported that 73% of respondents have at least one social network account. The study also concluded that Facebook is the social net with the largest multiplier potential – regarding reach, number of friends and usage intensity. Those seeking information on products and companies via social remains relatively low at just 28% and that seems consistent with other surveys. Only 32% of those using social networks are fans or follow a company brand and half of those fan/followers are doing so because they are looking for discounts or special offers from the brand. Are you aware of this desire? Are you doing anything to meet it? When it comes to advertising, not surprisingly, social … [Read more...]

Report: Where Marketers are Focusing in Social Media

Report: Where Marketers are Focusing in Social Media

According to the Social Media Marketing Report 2011, a significant percentage of marketers are investing a good amount of time each week in social media. 58% reported they were using it for six hours or more each week. 15% reported that they spent more than 20 hours a week on social media. That’s a substantial investment of time for anyone and it’s rather interesting what factors influence the percentages. The experience factor How much experience you have with social seems to influence how much time you spend on it each week. 63% of people with three or more years of experience spend more than ten hours a week in social activities. While only 41% of those with one to three years of experience spend as much time. The age factor Not surprisingly, age also plays a role in how much time marketers spend on social media. The younger the marketer, the more time spent on social. 20 to 29 year olds spend the most time in comparison to other age groups with 41% spending 11 hours or … [Read more...]

Social Media Swimming Lessons

Social Media Swimming Lessons

Remember that old video game called “Pitfall”? You had to leap over pits of alligators and swing across swamps and avoid other obstacles. That might be a great analogy for social media if you happen to be new to it. There are a lot of pitfalls and hungry alligators which could ruin your whole day. So, I thought I would focus today on trying to offer some advice to those just thinking about starting out in social media. I hope this helps and if you have any tips to add, please comment. If you have the resources than bringing in some outside expertise to help you ramp up on social media is certainly a sound idea. Of course, not everyone has those kinds of resources and that’s who I’m writing this post for. Even so, outside consultants can provide some guidance and the right tools, but you still have to jump in the water (watch out for the alligators!) and learn how to swim for yourself. I can promise you that at some point there's a very good chance someone won’t like something … [Read more...]

You Don’t Own Facebook

You Don’t Own Facebook

Ed. Note: This post originally appeared on ScottWritesEverything.com. I’m not breaking new ground here with this statement: You don’t own Facebook. You also don’t own Twitter, MySpace (apparently it’s still around), Foursquare, LinkedIn, or any other of these so-called social media services. Why is this important, you ask? Because if you depend on one of these services as your sole means of communication, you’re in trouble. Think about it: If all you do is post on Facebook, and suddenly Facebook shuts down tomorrow, what are you left with? You cannot silo yourself to one place for communication, both personally and professionally. It’s just not a good idea because you don’t own the channel. You may find yourself up in arms about Facebook’s complete lack of regard for privacy. Why should Facebook care? They own the service, and you’re using it for free. If you don’t want your privacy messed with, don’t use Facebook. And create your own social network. If you own it, … [Read more...]

7 Social Marketing Insights

Seven Social Marketing Inisghts

I’m known for turning a phrase now and then. You’ll find them (some of which have been inspired by other, smarter people) scattered through my posts around the web. Today, I thought I would gather seven of them to share with you all in one place. How insightful they actually are is for you to judge, but I do hope this post generates some thought and discussion. 1 - The web is driven by communities Communities laid the foundation for the web and they continue to be its engine. It’s certainly true that once companies developed transaction technology, the web started to develop into a commerce channel and money from that kept building it. However, without communities all you would have is huge strip mall with infinite parking. Understanding how communities grow and interact can help you develop a communication strategy which will work. 2 - The email vs. social debate is a red herring being used by some to drive personal agendas By definition any interaction between two people … [Read more...]

Five Key Soft Benefits of Social Media for Small Business

Five Key Soft Benefits of Social Media for Small Business

Please welcome Annie Tsai as a guest blogger here @ Social Marketing Forum. You'll love her insight and style! I’ve dived cannon ball style into social media for small business. Because the relationship piece of running a business is extremely difficult to measure, the value is often overlooked. Small businesses have however always relied on a strong relationship to drive recurring revenue, which is why adding social media to their marketing mix makes so much sense. I’ve found that more are using social media as a relationship building channel first, and a revenue conversion tool second. So for those of you that are looking to dedicate what little resource you have to also jumping in the social media pool, this one’s for you. Five Key Soft Benefits of Social Media for Business: Social media gives us the opportunity to work and have it not feel like work Social media allows us to help make this globalized economy much smaller and thankfully, much more … [Read more...]

The Marketing Power of Online Communities

The Marketing Power of Online Communities

When many in the corporate world hear the words “online community”, they scratch their heads and wonder exactly what that is. Even if they know what an online community is, they may well be intimidated by the idea of managing one. I call that the “new puppy effect”. Bringing home a new puppy is a big commitment and time consuming and it’s fair to wonder if you have the resources to handle it. However, the fundamental truth that you should understand is that communities drive the web. Social media isn’t an adjunct of the web, it’s the natural evolution of it. Online communities were the spark which created the internet and the engine which continues to power it. If you have a blog which features user comments, then you have a foundation for an online community. If you are on Twitter or Facebook then you have the potential for an online community. These constructs are much like reefs are for fish – once the reef is built, the community forms around them. If that community is … [Read more...]

SMBs Find Value in Social Marketing

SMBs Find Value in Social Marketing

Would I be wrong in speculating that SMBs have always placed more value in word-of-mouth advertising than larger corporations? Aside from the fact that it’s very cost effective (pretty much free), each and every relationship they create and nurture is absolutely their life blood. After all, with an SMB, you might only be a few relationship breakups away from oblivion. So, I’m not too surprised to read a post at eMarketer about a new survey which suggests that to SMBs, social marketing is more attractive than paid search for online marketing. Word-of-mouth advertising is the number one way respondents (82%) reported that customers find them, followed by search engines and the internet (66%). Traditional advertising came in a distant third at just 37%. In fact, according to the survey, SMBs report social media as their number two priority for online marketing. 44% reported they used social media to market their business which ranked second to a company website at 86%. Email … [Read more...]

The Final Destination for Social Media

The Final Destination for Social Media

It’s amazing how much of the conversation around social media focuses on…social media itself. That is, the tools. Blog posts with “social media” in the title tend to get higher readership than posts about SEO, white papers or just about any other marketing topic. Tweets about Twitter statistics generate far more retweets than if the topic is email statistics. None of this is bad of course, just interesting. It shows we’re still collectively in the shiny-sparkly stage when it comes to social media. That’s natural, part of the way we (particularly early adopters) are made: we are fascinated by new technologies until they become part of the fabric of everyday life, at which point we collectively shift our focus to the utility of the tool rather than the technology itself. And social media tools are complex, so it will likely take a while to reach this stage. What will social media look like when it's mature? But let’s take a mental leap through time; what will social media look like … [Read more...]

The Chicken, the Egg and the Internet

The Chicken, the Egg and the Internet

I had a very interesting conversation with John Caldwell of Red Pill Email Marketing the other day. In all honesty, I don’t have many uninteresting conversations with John. He’s someone I consider to be both a source for sober second thought and a thought provocateur. Recently we found ourselves in the midst of a “chicken and the egg” discussion regarding the internet, communities and communication. Did the internet start up because of communities or did it start up and flourish because of the need for more efficient means of communication? At the core of this question is something I’ve preached for many years: The internet is driven by communities and without them it’s just one big strip-mall with infinite parking. You probably know the story of how the roots of the internet grew from a DARPA project to connect computers at such places as NORAD HQ, the Pentagon and SAC. But did those seeds take root because the people involved needed to communicate and then the community formed … [Read more...]

Recommendations & Online Trust

Product Recommondations and Trust

Trust me. Now there are two words which can make you cringe. If someone has to tell you or ask you to trust them then it’s a good bet you either don’t know them or don’t trust them. Knowing someone (having a relationship with them) is a big factor for trust. Sometimes that relationship might not even be direct and personal. After all, people have made careers out of pitching products based on the reputations they’ve established via TV or some other medium which makes them appear trustworthy. And then there are the experts, those people who have dedicated a good portion of their lives (you’re told) to becoming brain trusts in their field – you trust them because you feel you should. Not because you know or even like them, but because you’ve been told by some letters after their name or the friendly announcer on the news program, you ought to. Trust is a funny thing. I trust my doctor because he’s got the credentials and the license, but, that trust only goes so far. I had to … [Read more...]

Oliver Blanchard: Think Beyond Marketing

FME-OliverBlanchard

Oliver Blanchard has led a pretty interesting life. He served in the French Fusiliers before moving to the US and working with a variety of B2B and B2C Fortune 500 companies and SMBs. He’s currently runs BrandBuilder Marketing and functions as senior strategist. He helps companies develop, build, integrate, manage and measure social media programs. He also helps corporations with reputation management both online and off. Oliver will be one of the keynote speakers at The Fusion Marketing Experience on March 23rd in Brussels. He’s got a lot of interesting and provocative things to say, even his blog’s bio page get’s rave comments and that’s gotta say something special about him. Here’s an excerpt from one of Oliver’s many insightful posts: “If you are using social media channels for “marketing” and mostly for campaigns, no wonder you aren’t getting any concrete results: You are doing the same old stuff that already was working marginally well five years ago, only it has … [Read more...]

Finding Corporate Success with Social Media

Social media marketing success

When people mention social media marketing, it’s all too easy to think they are referring to Facebook and just Facebook. However, social media marketing spans a number of channels such as Twitter, social sharing sites and of course, your blog. A holistic approach targeting all channels and a blog as the central hub is a winning social media strategy. But how do you prioritize those channels? How should the money be spread around? A study from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research (reported by eMarketer), indicates that many Inc. 500 companies are using a mix of tactics in social marketing. According to the study, 71% of companies used Facebook last year which is up from 61% in 2009. Twitter was close behind with 59% and blogging at 50%. That last number is interesting! Remember, Facebook is a proprietary channel and it’s open to your competitors as well. Putting all your eggs in that basket or any basket is something to be wary of. Grow … [Read more...]

A River Called “Social”

Social media marketing : A river called social

I used to go “tubing” on a river not far from Toronto. Tubing is where you ride an old tire inner-tube down a river or creek. On this particular river, part of the fun is that there are some pretty good rapids which give you a bit of a rush. My wife and I went camping and tubing there at least once a year and I felt pretty confident that I had mastered it. I don’t tube there any more because the last time I went, I almost drowned. I hit one of the rapids, the tube flipped over and I found out what it was like to be shoved into a washing machine and put through a full cycle. I came very close to a soggy end (even with a life jacket on) because I was overconfident and thought I knew what to expect from the river. Social media is like that river – it’s powerful and swift and just when you think you have it mastered, it can suddenly change and suck you under. Any “riverman” will tell you that you can never assume you know all there is to know about a river – a river runs and you have … [Read more...]

Social Media Monitoring: Attentio Acquires 365Research

Social media monitoring : Attentio acquires 365Research

In 2010 we saw a lot of agencies consolidating resources and services via acquisition and it appears that 2011 will be no different. European social monitoring and research company, Attentio, just announced they’ve acquired 365Research, a market research technology company. According to Attentio, the move strengthens their technology and product proposition. … [Read more...]

Smart Social Media: Where Is The Captain?

capt

Cap’n Crunch cereal was first brought to market in 1963. The original Cap’n Crunch character might seem vaguely familiar to some and that’s because he was created by Jay Ward, the same animator who gave us icons such as Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle. The Cap’n is an institution to generations of kids and fondly remembered as a part of childhood for many. It may have been during a nostalgic moment for the aforementioned childhood that drove the guys at “The Giant Steps” boutique marketing agency to go on a hunt for the Cap’n online and on social. The Giant Steps is a small marketing startup out of Chicago which seems to understand that today, the consumer calls the shots and you don’t own your brand anymore. When they spotted the new retro packaging for the cereal, the two founders decided to let the folks at Quaker Oats know how much they liked it. After searching high and low for Cap’n Crunch, they found him MIA. Sure he had a mini-site, but no … [Read more...]