Pinterest creates controversy with their TOS causing many creatives like photographers to leave the platform. Read more here.
Facebook announced at FMC12 that Timeline will be automatically activated on 3/30/12 for Pages. This surprise timing move is causing companies to revamp their Pages and applications to fit the new specs. Timeline will allow for new ways to market Pages and include a host of changes that admin need to be aware of. Excellent article by Social Media Examiner discussing key things you need to know to market with Timeline here.
SXSW Interactive Conference:
South by Southwest (SXSW) is the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, Texas. Historically, start-up companies have used SXSW to either launch their apps or services or gain exposure to a wider audience. Notable start-ups coming out of SXSW include Twitter and Foursquare. Follow mRank Leaderboard to see which companies are generating buzz at the conference. Read full article here.
Pinterest is an online pinboard that allows people to organize collections of pictures by their respective categories. The three main concepts on Pinterest are repinning, liking, and commenting. When you repin a picture from another user’s pictures, it goes onto your own boards. The point of Pinterest is to have many different boards in all different categories, for example one might have a board for all fashion and clothes pictures, or a board of beautifully photographed flowers. Then, when you click on a picture on the dashboard of Pinterest it allows you to repin it. Simply click on the board you would like the pin to go onto! You can also name each of your categorized boards, for example a wedding planner might have multiple boards all under the category of wedding, but one would be for dresses, one for food, and one for décor.
To actually obtain these pictures to repin you must follow other users of Pinterest. When you create an account (after being sent an invite by a previous user or being on the waiting list from the company) Pinterest automatically connects your account with your Facebook friends who use Pinterest or with other famous users who have boards that mirror your interests. This easy set up allows you to start pinning right away! Another way of posting pictures is by downloading the pinterest toolbar button which installs on your internet browser. It allows a user to click on the button when they see a picture of anything they like on any website and capture the image and upload it on their boards. Finally, to post original work users can simply upload their own pictures from their desktops.
Who uses it?
People from high school-aged to those in the work force use Pinterest in different ways. Teenagers can use the online bulletin boards to have collections of perhaps possible furniture to put in their college dorms to maximize space, or a board of inspirational quotes to start out their day, or a board of yummy recipes to try out. People in the business world can use Pinterest to actually sell their products! This is an efficient way to make their brand known because the more repins on their pictures, the more “SEO (search engine optimization) juice” they get on Pinterest which allows more people to see their product. Repins always link back to the original person who uploaded the picture. Interior designers can use Pinterest to see how different color schemes work in different rooms with furniture, or architectures can lay out all their floor plans.
Pinterest is a great way to visually promote businesses as well as being a fun and unique way of blogging for those interested in photography.
Mackenzie is a Sophomore Honors student at St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. She enjoys writing, theater, volunteering for social justice causes and plays Field Hockey and Lacrosse for the St. Ursula Bulldogs. She plans on majoring in Bio-Medical Engineering in college.
Small business owners do a worthy job in connecting with clients and potential customers through their marketing efforts, but where they can fall short is when their personal networks are neglected. Many people find it uncomfortable to keep their friends and family in the loop of what is occurring with their business. There is a sense that if you are already in my inner circle, you must certainly know what it is that my company does or what my role is. Unfortunately osmosis and transfer of information does not occur and very few people have clairvoyant capabilities.
Recently I have had several encounters with friends and professional colleagues, who while knowing what I do in general, really were rather clueless in terms of the full services that my company provides and the depth of my experience and background. I preach to clients constantly that we are living in a “World of Mouth” universe; it only makes sense that I practice what I preach by updating my personal network on my company capabilities. To do anything less, would be counter to what I believe and that is that peer recommendations from trusted sources are key influencers to purchase behavior.
In the spirit of sharing, please find the latest C3 Newsletter below. It contains an article that talks about the heart of C3 and our social media marketing services. I plan to have monthly Open House sessions on Google+ Hangouts for people to stop by and chat about burning social media and business questions. Stay tuned for more information!
Until we meet again, stay happy & healthy!
Chief Social Media Strategist and Founder of C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC
Procter & Gamble Sales & Marketing Veteran (15 yrs)
Xavier University, MBA
I recently gave a Keynote Address on the Importance of Social Media Strategy to 250 small businesses from the Cincinnati Region at Xavier University’s Cintas Center on behalf of The Berry Company. I wanted to share the gist of my talk here on the Blog. The presentation was taped, and once receive a copy from Berry, I will post that as well. It includes a Q & A session.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it“.
This quote from Socialnomics author and digital media expert Erik Qualman is even more telling today than when originally published in 2009. Today, Businesses realize that they need to have an online presence. Like it or not, we are living in an online world with current and future customers and clients who have grown up with this technology and for whom interacting with brands on Twitter and Facebook is just second nature.
With the advent of Social media, Small businesses are seeing a leveled playing field, where they have the ability to the same platforms as the big companies and brands. The R(e)volution has begun and the time is now for your organization to get on board with reaching your target audience where they reside: ONLINE
For those of you who currently maintain a social media presence for your company, you can attest to the fact that it can seem overwhelming. There are many digital media and social networking choices for a company to use. The key is in understanding what the tools are, how they work, and how to maximize them for your business.
Stratgey This is all part of setting a distinct strategy for your online marketing efforts.
Having spent 15 years with consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble in sales and marketing roles, I can tell you that having a Branding Strategy is absolutely critical in your marketing efforts. I’d like to share an exercise that I use with my clients to ensure consistency and clarity around their brand or business’s online marketing efforts.
After these questions are answered, the results are formulated into a summary statement that describes the brand. This statement becomes fodder for all Social/Digital platforms that are used ensuring a constant message and image is being shared across all channels no matter where a potential customer may find you online.
Having a social media presence goes well beyond just setting up the various platforms. Social Media is much, much more. It includes the following critical elements:
Creating Signature Experiences- providing an online experience that is memorable, fitting to your brand, and brings the customer back to you
Creating Needed Content- we are no longer living in a Broadcast state, nor one with static information- instead a successful brand will provide content that is Needed by consumers. Don’t know what that is? Just ask them!
Conversations- It’s all about the dialogue and sharing of information between the brand and the consumer. We are no longer living in a Word of Mouth society, but are permanent residents in the new World of Mouth universe.
Engagement- Consists of providing content that sparks some touch. Whether it’s a comment, a Like, a Re-Tweet, or a +1 on Google Plus. When the consumer takes action, that touch has a ripple affect seeping into their own social graph and spreading news of your brand throughout their network.
Relationships- This is what is achieved by implementing focused content and engagement strategies and being fully present on the platform. The worst thing any business can do is, set up the Open Sign and be permanently out to lunch.
When we take a look at how some national and local businesses are winning in the market place in these key areas, we find a variety of tools that you can implement as well. They include examples from (see video to hear about the specifics for each example):
The key to an effective social media strategy is crafting a plan that integrates best practices with a mission and vision for each platform.
The first step on this journey is to become educated on Social Media, even if someone else in your organization will be ultimately responsible for managing your online real estate. Social Media is a constantly changing landscape and it pays off to stay informed.
Know your audience and where they reside, this will help you to determine the best platform(s) to reach your consumers. Knowing the correct number of platforms to be engaged in can seem overwhelming, having a strategist assist you in the process can be well worth the expense. I love social media marketing executive and author Brian Solis’s response to the perennial question: How many social media profiles should a brand have?”:
“The answer is as simple as it is revealing. Create the number of channels that meaningfully extend the focus of your business… and relevant stories to the dedicated audience they’re designed to serve. Additionally, only create the number of channels that strengthen the brand rather than dilute it and also possess the capacity to ensure its ongoing relevance.”
Here is a plan I have put together for the Small Business Sector:
Create a Plan that integrates with your off-line marketing and advertising programs
Determine In-house or Agency management based on skill base, time and/or budget
Set Goals & Objectives
Create Content Plan for each Platform- Be mindful of language and timing (day/part)
Create Engagement Strategies for each Platform
Connect all Platforms & Cross Market
Monitor the Platforms – Be an Active Listener & Be Responsive
Use Analytics to Measure & Make Changes
~ A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble
Letting go includes the art of listening. Brands need to create a reputation management program to stay on top of the conversations that are occurring about them; whether they happen on brand-sponsored sites or on someone’s personal blog. Addressing any unpleasant information directly and in a customer-service focused way will show that you are active and responsive to feedback. Remember the old adage: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas? Well, what happens in Vegas now stays on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Blogs and….. you get the point. We are truly living in a ‘World of Mouth’ universe.
In Conclusion here are 6 Steps to Social Media For Business Success:
Be Authentic- speak in a voice true to the brand
Be BOLD- this is an evolving playground- jump in and try some things!
Measure, Measure, Measure- if you don’t have an indication of where you have come from, how can you move forward?
Reputation Management: Be on top of your Brand.
We have certainly have come a long way from simply creating a social media presence. Winning in today’s market place involves real interaction with the consumer in a dynamic back and forth conversation that brings value to both parties. Metrics are key and measuring results vs. objectives should be an inherent part of the plan. We must remember however, that success is not in sheer numbers of Fans , Followers or Friends; success should be measured in terms of influence and the number of brand evangelists that have emerged in support of your efforts. Better to have 500 followers singing your praises then 5000 who don’t interact with your brand in any way.
I wish you all good luck. Enter the Digital Space Boldly!
My name is Michelle Beckham and I’m a Google+ Addict…..Seriously, I feel like an explanation is in order. Since I cleared the Google+ Invite-only list less than two weeks ago, I have submerged myself on a journey of discovery of this new social media application. I have been swimming in the beta test waters with other high end, social media savvy early adopters and I am loving every minute of it!
Google+ has now become the first thing I look at in the morning vs. Email followed by Facebook. Having the Android App on my Motorola Droid also helps to fuel my 24/7 ( ok, I do sleep occasionally…..) addiction. iPhone users just received the app this week, giving Android users a bit of a leg up initially.
These are the reasons why I am waxing poetic about Plus:
Gives me the ability to use Circles to group people for targeted content
Allows me to connect with ANYONE similar to the Follow concept on Twitter
Allows for in-depth discussion within the comments section similar to the wonderful dialogue that occurs in LinkedIn Groups like Authentic Leadership Cincinnati and Facebook Groups, like Cincinnati Social Media
Allows for video conferencing with anyone online and willing to chat with you. These spaces are known as Hangouts.
Allows me to control my photos/albums more closely
Gives me the ability to keep those “back yard bbq conversations” that occur on Facebook with close friends and family separate from business colleagues, clients or others that just don’t need to be connected in a “Friends of Friends” way to your family or kids.
The downside is that since I am such an information junkie, I think I could swim in this sea all day long, just soaking up the content and the conversations. I want to reign myself in, but the competitive side in me wants to master as much as I can before the dyke is opened and the world gains entry.
I have applied to be a business beta tester for C3: Creating Connections Consulting and think that Google + will have huge implications for how companies/brands interact via this platform. While Google is asking that businesses hold off on creating a Google Profile, some have jumped into the ocean already: Huffington Post,Mashable, CBS News, to name a few.
I have a few invitations left, so if you are curious and want to join ahead of the fray, just post your email addy in the comments section below and I will get you started on a whole new way of sharing.
Oh, and I would LOVE to connect with you on Plus. Just follow the link to find my new hide-out!
If it’s Monday (substitute any day here), then its time to check for Facebook changes in the night….This actually rolled out late last week, but with the Father’s Day weekend holiday, I’m a bit behind in sharing it. The change is with Photo Album Viewing in Facebook and applies to both Profile and Page albums. Facebook has added some options that make it easier to view not only album photo contents, but also the all important photo comments.
You now have two view options (Album/Comments) that look like this (see below) when you are in the album section of your account. Managing photos with the Add Photos & Tag Photos buttons makes it really easy to organize your albums and get the comment conversation party started!
Facebook Album Changes
These screen shots are taken from my personal profile Album of New Media Cincinnati events. I think this is a great change and adds some functionality to the albums. My guess is that Facebook added this feature with the belief that picture sharing will become more prominent with the facial recognition tagging ability that was recently rolled out.
New Media Cincinnati founder, Daniel Johnson Jr. has a great post on the facial recognition roll-out. Read it and let us know your thoughts about enabling vs. disabling the capability. Love to know what YOU think!
My blogs have been silent for quite some time. Not because my thoughts and words have dried up, but simply because I have been incredibly busy working the C3 business. 2011 has proven to be a banner year in the first four months, underscoring my decision to embark on piloting my own craft. One of these days I am going to write a post (or perhaps an e-Book) on my journey from corporate marketer with P&G to business owner and social media evangelist in the middle of my career, but for now I wanted to briefly (more later) share some of the great things that are happening in my social media marketing work. Hopefully you will find a kernel of an idea that you can use to market your own business or organization.
Facebook Community Management:
I am having great fun running the social media campaigns for clients. The key is to spell out what your services will be; attach a fair price that adds value over what the client could do for themselves; set benchmarks on key data points and provide monthly reports on activities and benchmarking. I like to provide screen grabs of key engagement posts so that clients can visually see the Page in action.
Facebook iFrame Customization:
While I learned FBML (Facebook Mark-up Language) and became an iFrame developer to enhance my own Facebook Page presence, I have discovered an explosion in interest from other Pages and have created a series of Customization Products for sale. They include:
Custom Extended Length Profile Pictures that integrate key marketing message or company info
Custom Welcome Tabs
Custom Tabs (anything a client dreams up from Reveal Tabs, Reservations, Services, Event Promotion, Specials, etc.)
Facebook engagement & content strategies that are industry specific
Facebook Page Marketing training
Having an impactful static marketing space on Facebook (especially when the landing tab is set to one of these colorful Tab Pages) truly does the job of making your business or organization stand out and be noticed. It shows that you are operating in a professional mode.
Facebook Marketing Ideas:
Operating multiple Facebook Pages gives me a chance to connect with many different communities and to test various theories about engagement. Fans of Pages want to connect with the Page in a dynamic and human way with an exchange of relevant information and back-and- forth conversation. Pages that broadcast only are turn offs.
A winning Page will have Fans that are so smitten with the Brand that they will post relevant content. When the Page can integrate that content in an even bigger way, by recognizing the Fan, then the exchange is elevated to a higher level. Here is an example:
One of my clients is a long-standing restaurant in Cincinnati that is much-loved. They have an annual Cinco de Mayo Party that includes live radio station broadcast, specials, giveaways and general party time hoopla. I created a marketing program to help build anticipation of the event on their Facebook Page. I started a countdown with custom photos marking the number of days left and posted them daily on the Wall. Fans began asking questions about the event. One fan inquired whether the restaurant would have Cinco t-shirts available again. She shared that her husband had received one at the very first ELC Cinco party years before and she would love to send a new one to his current location: Iraq.
After we chatted on the Page, she shared the story with her husband that night via Skype and it turned out that he happened to be wearing the original lime green ELC Cinco shirt- she quickly snapped a screen grab and posted the Skype image onto the ELC wall. That generated a lot of conversation and her husband took it a step further the next day by posing on a military aircraft in Iraq wearing the shirt. He sent her the picture, she posted it and I turned it into a custom profile pic heralding him as the ELC ultimate Cinco Fan.
I was so touched by the number of people who commented on this, including their son who stated in a comment:
“That’s my Dad!!”
This is a simple example of how real people can interact and engage with a Brand- but only if they have the ability to be true listeners in the cloud and are able to mesh the mission/vision and brand essence with the human qualities of communicating in a warm and real way.
I am happy to assist your marketing efforts, just give me a call at 513-445-2180. Have a question that others could benefit from hearing the answer? I have a Custom Tab: Social Media Q&A with a comment box for folks who have a burning question.