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Category: theIdeas

Everyone Needs a Jingle – Even Social Methodologists!

Jan/Sun | Category: theIdeas, theResources | 

Sometimes you just luck out and that’s what happened last month when we were working on Twitter and happened to see a tweet about Lovejingles launching a new initiative to create a jingle per day – for as little as $1.  Being the inquisitive types we are, we clicked the link and saw that only two people had signed up – meaning they would remake your jingle for $3!  (It went up $1 each day).

 

Problem was, we didn’t have a jingle, but they still didn’t let us down.  If you were willing to add a zero to the end of your number – $30 instead of $3, they would create a custom jingle for you!  $30 for our own jingle?  We thought about that for less than a millisecond and signed up! 

 

Immediately we recieved an email that they were looking forward to working with us and that we should let them know what we wanted in the jingle.  Just one quick note to them and all that was left to do was wait, and now the waiting has come to an end.  Without further ado, we are thrilled to present:

 

the Social Method Jingle!

 

 

 

Thanks LoveJingles!  We’re totally smitten with it.  The “weird” doctor is a perfect fit with our self-proclaimed geeky personalities and we laughed and smiled the whole way through. 

Creative Targeting of a Redefined Consumer

Dec/Fri | Category: theIdeas | 

 

 

It has been said by many recently that online consumers should no longer be viewed as consumers, but instead, participants. Participants of your brand to be precise.  Consumers wish to be treated as your brand’s lifeline, taking it upon themselves to redefine their role.  I would argue that although the shift is to engagement and participation, they are still consumers and the opportunity to gain loyalty is stronger than is has been in 30 years.

My father mentioned recently that in his youth (1940’s), one simply turned on the radio, opened a print publication, and if you were lucky to have a TV, turned on one of three stations, and were handed only a few brands in each category from which to choose.  Once that decision was made, there was little information that would alter said decision and consumers became fiercely loyal, giving their chosen brand 20 to life.  Brands, like wardens, set the rules and had little to fear.  That is of course until the last quarter of a century when consumers changed brands like celebrities change spouses, driven by the brand’s greed as they oversaturated the market.  To keep a loyal following required a greater effort from brands, which of course did not always pay off.

Today, the anecdotal prison has run amuck and the control of power has been permanently transferred.  Consumers are now in control of what content they engage, eagerly becoming influencers, and are once again becoming a brand’s best advertising.  Yes, if you are the negative type, or run a poor campaign that ignores the key rules of social engagement (like transparency), then this new world should scare you.

For everyone else, this is an enormous opportunity.  Consumers are not only participating in the brands they prefer, but also brands they do not.  Use that to your advantage.  Consumers research others experiences to help form their own decisions.  Use that by rewarding your loyal influencers.  Intelligent marketers will invest heavily into how best to reach their loyal consumers, communicating 1 to 1, empowering them to influence others.

Someone reading this will reply that there is greater risk.  “What happens if there is negative content published?” It will happen, and you must embrace the good with the bad. Figure out what to respond to and what to ignore.  Most importantly, don’t hesitate, or you will be the only one still sitting in your cell while everyone else is out running the joint.

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10 Essential Traits of a Social Media Manager

Dec/Wed | Category: theIdeas | 

Source: DannyBrown.com

Over a cup of coffee with Keith Pape of a-p studios yesterday, a discussion emerged about how hard it can be for companies to find someone reliable out there who can become the “owner” of their social media efforts.  Today a simple Google search for “social media consultant” brings back more than 2 million hits and feel confident saying, most of these people are not qualified – not even close.  Most of them are like this guy – selling social media snake oil to the highest bidder.

 

So we’re left with a dilemma – how do you find someone reliable to run your social media?  Well, to really answer that question, I think you first have to look at the traits this person should have:

 

1.  Ability to write - Can they make a point, craft a story, engage you with their written communication both in short form (140 characters or less) and long form – like a blog. 

2.  Ability to use a basic still and video camera - this may seem basic, but we’ve been at this a long time and can say without reservation that photos and videos draw people in – it’s what makes them want to look.  So, your person should be able to operate these and upload them to a website. 

3.  Utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube - they need to at least have a working knowledge of these and have interest in them.  If they say, “I just don’t get Twitter” or “I’m morally against Facebook” then they may not be the best person for the job. 

4.  Love of conversation - they’re going to be talking to people all day on your behalf, so make sure they like people and like to talk with them and learn about them.

5.  Passion for your product/brand/industry - this is the one I would say you can’t go without.  1-3 can be taught, but passion is something that can’t be.  They have to embrace what your doing and be excited about sharing that.  This is the type of excitement where having to keep something secret tortures them. 

 

Once you have found a person(or a few people) that posses those qualities, you need to do your part too.  This means ensuring they are people you can entrust the following to:

 

6.  Ability to make content decisions:  they need to have the ability to make content decisions so that they can be focused on creating and building – not waiting on approvals.  This can happen within some guidelines but ensure the process is fast and efficient – social media happens in real time.

7.  Access:  Access to people in the company and information needed to answer questions.  Be sure they are comfortable searching out the answers and getting customer inquiries handled efficiently and that the other players in the company understand the need to be responsive to that person.

8.  Clear understanding of business objectives:  make sure they understand the path down which you want your company to travel.  If it’s sales focused, they can create content to drive people to product sites.  If it’s awareness they may focus more on general content about your brand.  You need to have the vision to guide them though.

9.  Guidelines:  you will need to provide clear guidelines on appropriate content and inappropriate content.  They need to understand what’s sharable information and what needs to be kept within company walls. 

10.  Tools:  empower them with the time to learn about social media and a budget to get the tools they will need – monitoring tools, subscriptions, etc.  (these can range in price, but as little as $200 per month can cover it and make your new staffer much more efficient).  Social media is one of the fastest growing tool sets ever and staying on top of it requires dedicated time each day.  Allot a budget so that they can attend at least 3-4 seminars a year to stay current on trends and generate new ideas.

 

We always recommend looking within your current employee base first – is there someone that meets these criteria (or most of them) that could be a potential candidate?  Give them a chance.  Sometimes you’ll find your talented and most “in the know” person at your company is the office manager or the receptionist – or even your product manager.  Of course, if you have a marketing team, talk with them.  This might be something they can handle, but still be sure they possess all of the traits above. 

 

Another thing to consider is a consultant or an agency that can assist you just at the highest level, particularly if this person’s manager has little social media experience themselves.  These consultants come at price, but ensuring you have the right strategy and have a gameplan to work from can potentially allow you to hire someone at a lower salary for the job.  Some consultants (like ourselves) can also be available on an “on call” basis so that if your new social media person has questions they have a place to go for answers and guidance – like an experienced big brother.  Some consultants or agencies offer the full-service approach too, but it’s not something we recommend.  It’s very difficult for someone outside your company to be fully dedicated to knowing all about you and everything your doing and maintaining excitement for it when they are likely managing several other accounts simultaneously.  It’s a model some have found success with, but it isn’t always easy to keep these outsiders informed.

 

That should help get you started finding or creating your own social media guru to passionately share your brand with the digital world.  What other traits would you recommend for someone looking for a social media manager? 

Giving Thanks for Connections IRL (in Real Life)

Nov/Wed | Category: theIdeas | 

IRL.  In real life.  Two years ago I didn’t know what that stood for, in fact, I’m not sure it even existed.  Today I know the acronym well.  Spending so much time online in a virtual world talking with Twitter friends, making new LinkedIn connections and following my favorite people on Facebook sometimes makes me feel more disconnected than connected. 

 

Ironically, with more power to connect than ever before, I’m looking forward to putting down the Blackberry and stepping away from the laptop to connect with people in real life. This Thanksgiving I’m replacing “LOL” with real laughs and hugging goodbye rather than typing “TTYL.”

 

This year, as you give thanks with your family and friends, remember the power of real life, in person connections.  After the holiday, put that lesson to work for you.  Get out more and start taking your online connections offline and get to know some of those 1000+ Twitter followers or Facebook fans IRL.  After all, how many really great stories start with “Remember that time on Facebook…”

 

We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and leave you with this heartwarming video to encourage you to stop and reconnect IRL…

 

Why Social Media is NOT the Magical Cure to Bottom Line Illness

Nov/Thu | Category: theIdeas | 

We’d all love to believe that there is a magic cure to these tough economic times and some will even sell you on the idea that social media is just that when it comes to making your bottom line healthier.

They are lying.

We know, we know, it’s hard to give up the dream.  We all want to believe there is a magical get rich quick scheme that will allow us to retire by the end of the year.  I’m definitely on board with that concept.  However, the only people that’s likely to happen for are those that make a fortune off of selling you on the idea that social media is your magical solution.

So, let’s establish something first and foremost – SOCIAL MEDIA IS A TOOL IT IS NOT A STRATEGY.

If your objective reads “Build a Facebook Page” or “Tweet daily” then you’ve failed.  Not because these are bad things to do necessarily but because your not thinking about the PURPOSE of doing them.

Our suggestion:  start over. Clear the slate and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are the audiences interested in my brand/product/service?
  • How are our relationships with those audiences now?
  • How can we improve those relationships?
  • What is the benefit of an improved relationship to both us and to them?
  • How can we use the new media tools to add to our business objectives?

One of our favorite Social Media minds, Jason Falls from Social Media Explorer had a great post today on the components of successful social media strategy and shared this great diagram:

 

We completely agree with this diagram and post and would add to this saying that these are the same things that also can be looked at from a higher level and create a great marketing strategy overall.  Basically, know your business and what differentiates it, know who you want to reach, know how to reach them and know how to encourage them to do what you want when you reach them.

So, back to the lesson – to succeed, you can’t think of social media, or any marketing technique, as a “quick fix.”  To be effective you have to ALWAYS START WITH STRATEGY and think about how you’re going to use all these tools and tactics to accomplish your business objectives.

Once you’ve thought about your overall goals and objectives, drill down into how all of these tools can be used to accomplish those objectives taking into account how your customers use these mediums.  Create an overall strategy for your social media efforts that fits in and integrates with all of the other efforts you are putting forth.  THEN begin to think through the tactical applications for each medium you plan to use.

Now you’re ready to go.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  It will take time, commitment, perseverance but this strategy you’ve created will keep you on course and focused on having an EFFECTIVE and MEANINGFUL presence on social networks.

In subsequent posts we’re going to explore each stage of this process in-depth from writing the strategy through identifying the best players in your organization to implement your strategy all the way down to how you actually set up networks – step by step.  So, subscribe to our blog, follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook – whichever works best for you – and stay updated as we share more information and ideas you can use.