Douglas residents use blogs to communicate ideas and information – Douglas – Neighbor Newspapers

Douglas residents use blogs to communicate ideas and information – Douglas – Neighbor Newspapers.

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Social Media 101: Why?

Social Media 101: Why?

Social Media isn't going anywhere.

I promised I’d be better about writing for Professional Mojo, not just for our clients <smile>, so let’s start 2011 off right with a series on the fundamentals. If you check the archives, you’ll see that we’ve talked about the fundamentals before, but it sure seems like folks are conveniently forgetting.

More than ever before we see random digital strategies cropping up like weeds in abandoned fields. This is caused in large part because companies, and their leaders, are beginning to “get it”. And by “get it” I mean understand that there is value to meeting their customers, prospects, vendors and partners where they are.

Unfortunately, with the stampede to adopt, strategy takes a backseat. Ask yourself a few questions before embarking on social media and online portfolio development:

  • Do you have a marketing strategy in place for your organization and, if so, how do you see online portfolio development fitting into it?
  • Do you have hard metrics in place for your other channels? How are they performing? How do you hope social media channels will work with those efforts?
  • What about your website? Is it performing?
  • What do you want from the social media effort? Be as concrete as possible.
  • Do you understand that it is about relationships and communication, not about fast cash?
  • How much time, effort and money are you willing to invest in doing this right?
  • What’s your timeline?
  • Who are your target audiences? What platforms do they use? How do they use them? What do they expect from being part of a community?

There are hundreds of other “qualifying” questions we ask our clients because like anything worth doing, developing a meaningful online portfolio is worth doing well.  The online portfolio significantly impacts your reputation in today’s world. Take the time to determine why you really want to do this and then seek out the information, knowledge and expertise to do it right.

Retweet Professional Mojo

Retweet Professional Mojo

Professional Mojo Marketing offers consulting, social media audits, training and full-service management for both for-profit and non-profit clients in almost every industry. Our print and websites rock, too. Contact us for more.

Social Media Entitlement Might Bite You

I logged into my personal Facebook account today (you know, the one where all of my weird high school friends and husband’s family lurk) and many of them had gone hog wild Liking every type of conceivable page: brands, products, services, events, and more. You name it and some were Liking 12-18 pages at a time.

So, I asked a few of them what was going on. Why the flurry of Likes and why were they spamming me begging me to Like the pages, too?  The answer: because they will get something for free. The following conversation ensued and was informative.

Social Media entitlement

You like us! You really, really do! (but for how long?)

Me: “How often do you expect a discount or a freebie when you Like a page?”

Jessica: “All the time. I should get something for being in the community just about every day. Honestly, that’s why I Liked them, right?”

Me: “But, what if they also gave you great news, articles, lifestyle tips and only the occasional coupon or discount?”

Jessica: “I don’t think I’d care. They promised me stuff, didn’t say anything about that. And if I don’t get something, I’ll Unlike them right away. In fact, if it’s a one-time special, after the special is over I’ll Unlike them probably so my stream doesn’t clutter up.”

Jessica wasn’t the only person I’ve talked to who says that they are solely prompted by something for nothing and will drop that page like a hot potato once the gravy-train ends.

What’s the moral of the story?

  • Luring people into Liking your page with a steady stream of contests, give-aways and freebies only feeds the need for more and bigger give-aways.
  • A community built on this type of strategy is not a community at all. Social media is about creating relationships and dialog. It’s become perverted by johnny-come-latelys who are pressured to increase numbers, not seek engagement.
  • Your metrics will be skewed because people will Unlike you at the blink of an eye as soon as their entitlement ends, yet you sure looked great while you were giving away stuff!
Look, it’s fine to run a contest, incite excitement, and we, too, manage communities where we use contests, discounts and coupons to reward members. However, these specials are only occasional and we ensure that we are engaging with them in many other ways: questions, articles, news, etc. How can you solve a problem for them today or improve their life?

So, what do they really receive for being a member of your community? If it’s only about getting something for free, then you are not creating evangelists for your brand. And you’ll be the hot potato they drop next.

In summary, focus on quality. Focus on targeted folks who really want to hear about what you do and how you do it. Focus on making their lives better. Then, surprise them once in a while with a really great reward.

 

Interested in growing communities who are suited to you and want to hear what you have to say? Contact Professional Mojo Marketing for more.

 

New SEO Developments:Local Rules

Have you noticed a change in the way your search results are shown in Google? If not, you should. Simply put – it very well may impact your organization.

The easiest way to explain it is via photos. Here is the Before pic of how Google served up local results. Note that in the past, local results (along with the map) showed at the top in groups of 7 entries. There wasn’t a lot of information along with the entries and if you didn’t care, necessarily, about local results, you zipped right past because the other results were clearly delineated below the 7 entries.

Local Google results before change

Results from a local search prior to SEO changes.

Here is an after picture using Atlanta dentist as the search string:

What does local SEO like now?

After the Google changes, the local search for Atlanta dentist looks like this.

A: The scrolling map is now to the right side, making the local results much more integrated into the main results.

B: Local results are integrated into the “regular” results – only at the top. Will prospects give these results more love than the results further down? It’s too early to tell, but our guess is yes. Why? Because they are first…and because there is additional information that provides value. See the next entry.

C: Google has more closely integrated reviews and other relevant sites right along with the local results. This may seem like more value to your prospect. The reviews have more weight than ever and you should be paying close attention.

In summary, your online portfolio has a greater impact than ever on your organization and its ability to reach the right people with the right message. SEO experts will be attempting to figure out these latest rounds of changes for some time to come.

 

Could you use some mojo? A little coaching to ensure your online portfolio and online presence is all it can be? Then give us a call or visit our communities online for more: http://www.Facebook.com/ProfessionalMojo, http://www.Twitter.com/ProfessionlMojo or http://www.ProfessionalMojo.com

Social Media: That First Date is Important

I almost hate to use the words social media on a first date with a prospect. They have a hollow ring now that the bandwagon overflows with newbies, wannabes, could-have-beens and once-weres. I don’t blame anyone for looking with suspicion on those who yap incessantly about this being their ‘sweet spot’ and having a ‘deep and thorough understanding’ of this ‘cutting edge technology’, being able to find ‘thousands and thousands’ of followers, or who ‘are native’ to the ‘digital language’.

Pfffft. That’s what I think of it. None of that means anything. Not. A. Thing.

If I were you, what would I want to ask on a first date with a prospective marketing partner? Well, surprise, the same things we’ve always wanted to know. I want to see sound planning and strategy. I want to see real results for real clients. No, no…not the ubiquitous ‘buzz’, but real results that track back to the business objectives.

Does this sound familiar? It should. Good processes, good planning and sound strategy have been the hallmarks of great marketing and advertising since the first wooly mammoth steak was marketed to the tribe. Ask your date how much she knows about your business, your industry and how your business objectives can be achieved in measurable ways using new media – in conjunction with your overall strategy and your other channels.

If you don’t get a good answer, I hope you didn’t pay for the dinner. Move on.

Three Tips to Evaluate Your Marketing Mojo Now

Professional Mojo Marketing Mojo

Now's a good time to evaluate and calibrate.

I know the feeling.

Small businesses are consistently pressed for resources, especially in today’s economy. But, the BEST time to invest in marketing is when the economy is down. Why? Because then you are well-positioned to take advantage of the upswing.

In fact, most of the successful businesses were started during a depression, recession or economic trough.  It’s only the short-sighted business owner who cuts marketing first.

So now’s a good time for you to assess your marketing strategies, revamp your messaging, develop your portfolio, freshen your brand, and update your print and digital assets.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

1) Now’s a good time to invest in your current and past customers. You know the metrics – it costs more to get a new customer than to keep the ones you have.  Your current customers are struggling in a down economy, too, so why not reach out to them and see how you can help.  Newsletters, social media campaigns, contests and more can keep them engaged and buying.

2) Make sure your messaging is tight.  Folks have a lot of choices now and less money.  The flowery, ambiguous language you use in your print collateral and in your digital assets won’t get the job done.  We routinely rewrite copy and revise websites and print collateral to tell a more compelling story of WHY they should buy from you.

3) Evaluate the engagement with your community. Are you engaging with your community on every front? Do they hear about you via podcast? See you via video on YouTube and learn about your thought leadership and industry expertise via a blog?  Are you conveying a consistent message each time? Are you offering them relevant, value-added reasons to be a member of your Facebook page or Twitter community?  Would YOU want to be a member of your community?


Take a step back and get a fresh look at what you’re doing, what the ROI is and how much time it’s taking. Is it the highest and best use of your time? Is it working? What help do you need?
Then, contact ProfessionalMojo.com if you'd like a little mojo.

Social Media Policy: It’s Sexy After All

Professional Mojo Social Media Policy Toolkit

Policies protect your business.

I know what you are going to say.  Policies and procedures? Ick.  In fact, I recently gave a talk to a group about policies and procedures and posted about it on Facebook.  The only comment from our fans:  Sounds exciting.  Heh.

Say what you will, but it has never been more important to have clear, written policies and procedures in place if you are going to use social media marketing to grow your business.  Let me count just three of the reasons why:

1) Social media is informal:  Because people tend to treat social media communication as an informal channel of conversation, they are more likely to say something they shouldn’t. They use it like conversation at the watercooler…but…with social media it’s instanteous and often permanent.  Real life example:  Suzie sees Tom emerging from the HR office and he’s upset. Suzie tweets out, “Tom just left HR. Upset! Bet he got the whack!”.  Panic among the ranks ensues.

2) Social media is forever (almost): One of the reasons that social media marketing is so powerful for your business is because it creates a digital portfolio of who you and your business are.  An online picture of your products, services, people and culture begins to emerge.  Much of that content is cached, which means that even if you delete it, someone has already seen it or Google has it stored somewhere.  More importantly, an online faux pas may be very hard to undo. It’s like weight: easy to put on, really hard to lose.  Once you’ve made an online reputation management error because you didn’t have good policies and training in place, it’s difficult to undo the damage.

3) Social media requires experience:  Mhm. This is one of my favorites.  Businesses routinely put the digital portfolio and online reputation in the hands of inexperienced folks because they are afraid of the technology (which in my humble opinion is secondary to the business case).  Does Johnny have the experience to deal with negative comments or positively represent your business as the front-facing persona? What if someone presses Johnny for an answer or a competitor masquerading as a prospect asks for proprietary information? Is Johnny more likely to yield that information because he’s on Facebook or LinkedIn?  You may be surprised.

Here are few things to keep in mind when planning a policy:

1) Understand your culture, industry requirements and philosophy:  There are some edgy, loosey-goosey organizations that are fully embracing the best and worst of social media. Their policies are limited. If you are taking a more limited approach, then your policy should reflect that.

2) Inventory and define what could be considered confidential or proprietary information: You probably already have these things in place, but ensuring that you extend it to the social media realm is key.

3) Create examples and role-plays for your employees:  There is no better way to learn than to look at the various situations that could arise from engaging in open, authentic, transparent conversation with prospects, competitors, vendors and customers.  What is the next step if Johnny Tweets something he shouldn’t? Who does he tell if a negative comment is posted? How do we respond to information requests that seem out of the ordinary? How do they know if they are sharing personnel information they shouldn’t?  Often, the communication lines are blurred in social media between personal and professional. You’ll want to help them to define those, too.

I could talk and write about this topic for days because I feel strongly that while social media is a boon to business, it carries inherent risk and having a solid, written policy is key.  Here at Professional Mojo we were asked to create a policy toolkit for that purpose, one that would include templates.  Rather than create something from scratch, we did the research and have partnered to offer one that has the basics to get you started at a reasonable cost. We like to provide value.  If you’d like, check it out.

Hey, we’re happy either way – just as long as you think through what you need to do to protect your business.  Now, isn’t policy sexy after all?

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