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.

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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.

 

In online reputation management, you get what you pay for.

ProfessionalMojo Marketing - Trusted Partner

Choose your social media partner wisely. We can help.

While doing some research, I recently came across a company who said they were specialists in “protecting your online reputation” and “managing your Twitter, Facebook and blog assets”.  Then, they pointed the website visitor (in this case, me) to their Facebook page and Twitter account as evidence, I suppose, of the quality of their work.

Here is what waited for me on those pages:

  • Bad grammar, typos and misspellings galore: How can a company possibly represent your brand when they can’t even utilize correct grammar and use the spell check?  The type of syntax reminded me of what you find in those spammy emails from foreign countries, which made me suspicious if the “posting” was being done off shore.
  • A propaganda stream: While one of the blog posts talked about social media being a dialog, there was zero indication that they lived by what they preached. There were few retweets, few replies and a steady stream of nonsense and propaganda.  At Mojo, we pride ourselves on tight messaging and relationship-building.  Again, they didn’t know what to say on their own stream, how in the world could they represent someone else’s brand?
  • Inappropriate comments: Would you want folks to see curse words and, um, racy remarks?  Well, whoever was posting to this stream sure did.  What if that was your brand? Your B2B dialog with partners, vendors, alliances, customers would be at risk…ugh.

Look, in this economy, we are well aware that the “new normal” isn’t really normal at all. As business people we are looking for ways to maximize revenue, increase profits and decrease expenses. It’s as simple as that.  However, you should not cut corners where your brand is concerned.  Putting your online reputation, one that is potentially cached forever, into the hands of companies who don’t speak the language well, don’t understand your business and have no proven methodology is just plain craziness.

Before you decide to contract with a provider, take a hard look at what they are doing.  Unfortunately, there are quite a few companies out there like the one I mentioned above. They decided to set up shop to capitalize on social media, not to create a long-term client relationship built on real results.

Be careful and vet them thoroughly:

  • What is your methodology?
  • Who else have you done work for?
  • What were the results?
  • Will you show me your own streams and community?
  • What testimonials do you have?
  • Who is doing the work?

Your reputation is easy to mess up and hard to fix.  Just sayin’.

If you are interested in vetting Professional Mojo, we welcome it.  Our Mojo Messaging Methodology is tight, we have over 20 years of marketing experience and we know how to develop an online portfolio, website and print suite that works for your business.  Contact us for more.

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?

Facebook’s New Look – What you need to know now.

Facebook just rolled out a new home page layout that is supposed to improve your user experience.  My first impressions are that it is easier to find the things I use most on my homepage. Let’s take a tour and if you still have questions, make sure you sign up for one of our cost-effective, business-focused online workshops

1) Quick view friend requests, messages, and notifications: Notice three new icons on the top left area of the home page. You’ll see little red numerical indicators when you have items that need your attention.

2) Easier access tool area: The left sidebar now holds the key areas that you might use most, including messages, events, photos, friends, and more.

Facebook's new look

Facebook's new look

3) Quicker and easier to see who’s online and to chat with them: I’m growing fond of the Facebook chat feature, but disliked going to the bottom right corner to see who’s on. Seemed cumbersome. Facebook has remedied that with the “who’s online” feature.
4) Easier access to the Home, Profile and Account options: These often-used tools are now in the upper right corner of screen. One of the nicest changes is the more intuitive Account menu, which gives instant access to friends, account settings, privacy, credits, and more. You can logout directly from that menu, as well.
5) The Photos area is much more powerful:  Search is at the forefront of Facebook’s new design and it’s clear when you click on Photos. the pics are larger and the search bar is prominently displayed.
Facebook's New Look - Photos

Facebook's New Look - Photos

Our overall first impression is pretty good. Everyone has their preferred way of accessing most-used tools, but for me this was a welcome change. I found the left sidebar more intuitive, the messaging a help and the improved search a big benefit. 
What do you think of the changes?
For more on using online marketing to reach your customers, members, donors and prospects directly with the right message, visit Professional Mojo. Our cost-effective monthly group mentoring, online workshops and full service packages can make the difference in your 2010.

Social Media Top Priority for Marketers

Social Media isn't going anywhere

Social Media isn't going anywhere.

A study released today on the eMarketer Digital Intelligence website said what most of us helping small businesses grow already know:  social media really isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The article is based on the “2010 Digital Marketing Outlook” research report and points out that 81% of the brand executives surveyed expect to increase their digital projects in 2010. 

What is also clear is that companies are beginning to ask hard questions and expect results that matter.  Metrics will only grow in significance as marketers and companies look for ways to wrap their heads and wallets around results that either reduce expenses or improve revenue.  After all, that’s we do in business, right?

Metrics Matter Survey Says
Metrics Matter Survey Says

I’m not convinced these are the right metrics. Afterall, these are easily obtained leading indicator metrics that can overlay on top of social media campaigns and give some indication of traction. But.  What about real engagement? Where are those metrics? You’ve heard us say before that social media is social. The level of engagement and community involvement is important to your business, too, and should be tracked as part of the leading indicator package.  Then, all of this should be overlayed on the metrics that matter: did our social media effort reduce expenses or improve revenue? 

Professional Mojo is glad to see a trend in that direction. Oh, we’re also happy that businesses are beginning to see the power and benefit in social media. Let us know if we can help you get started.

Social Media No-No’s: A Top 10 List

Social Media No-No's

Mojo's List of Social Media No-No's

Last week I reviewed an online audio created by some self-proclaimed “inspirational” dude who goes around the country giving talks on social media and how it can help your association or business. It was almost physically painful to listen to him discuss all of the shortcuts to use to “automate” your relationships and “push” content to friends and followers. He so misses the point. And worse, he’s running around the United States spouting off this drivel. (Can you tell I’m irritated??)

So…thought I’d share our top 10 list of things you should NOT do – even if you hear it elsewhere. And, I think when you see the list and the business reasoning, you’ll agree, too.

10) Don’t jump into social media without a strategy. Please see our previous posts about planning to illustrate this point. You started your business with a plan. You make calculated decisions based on concrete, written goals and objectives. This should not be any different.

9) Don’t focus solely on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter. The social media landscape is rapidly changing, with new applications launching every week. Despite what you might have heard, not every application is for every business. If you need a strategy, a once-a-month mentor or just some initial planning help, call on us.

8 ) Don’t forget to observe and monitor BEFORE you leap.  Rushing into social media without understanding how your brand is perceived is just plain dumb. Monitor your brand before you start conversing. Determine who the influencers are and what your customers/prospects are saying. That will help you get the lay of the land.

7) Don’t focus only on quantitative metrics.  Alas, there is a component to social media that many businesses just don’t understand – the, uh, social component.  Consider qualitative metrics that can help you assess the quality of the dialog and conversation. 

6) Don’t forget to prioritize. You cannot do all things well. It is much worse, as many of you have heard me say in our workshops, to launch multiple social media initiatives only to have them die a slow and painful cyber-death due to lack of nourishment. Choose wisely based on what you need to achieve and do ONE well first. Collect your data, then move to the next initiative. Rinse. Repeat.

5) Don’t try to buy your way in.  Despite what many self-proclaimed “gurus” say, it is less about the number of followers and fans and more about the quality of interaction. You cannot achieve your goals by purchasing followers, buying your way onto Twitter lists or engaging in other nefarious activity that promises quick returns. If you approach your social media strategy this way, you will not be successful in building the kind of robust, word of mouth relationships for which social media is known.

 4) Don’t grab the latest intern and stick her on the project. This is a no-brainer. Understanding the technology is NOT the same as understanding the business strategy and the purpose behind the initiative.

3) Don’t hesitate to look for outside assistance.  Don’t you reach out to mentors in your business community? Have a once-a-month call with your finance or tax expert? Make sure you’re on the right track? This is no different. It’s a fallacy that since the platform is free, you shouldn’t seek customized assistance. Mojo offers monthly calls, group mentoring, online workshops and a suite of content-generation services.

2) Don’t automate your efforts. I am also disgusted with folks advocating automated software and bots that will tweet or post for you or writing a single tweet that populates everywhere.  That is not conversatiion. That is not dialog.  It will backfire.  Do not engage in social media if your sole purpose is to spam and push propaganda out. Please.

1) Don’t make it all about you.  You knew this one was coming after reading #2, right? It cannot be all about your business. It must be about what you need to achieve and what your community members will receive in return. 

Ahhh, I feel better now that I’ve cleared the air a bit. What are your top social media no-nos?  Feel free to share.

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