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
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.
Not sure if I missed this new feature on Facebook due to my focus on the Page (Business/Fan) changes that launched on 3/11/11 or perhaps it was buried in some secret memo, but I happened to stumble across a new tagging capability this week. I’m not sure what my feelings about it are at this point, since this is fresh news for me, but as always, I see both the positive and negative sides to the application.
Facebook users now (eff. 3/11/11) have the ability to use Tagging within comments and not just Status Updates on Profile or Page Walls. Tagging allows you to bring up a list of your direct contacts (friends), Events, Pages, Groups and Apps by using the “@” sign. There is still a limit of six tags to an update or comment and the tags are hyperlinked to the actual Profile, Page, etc. where your “privacy” settings determine what others can see (to a point).
In the social/digital community that I exist in, my friends and colleagues have known for years that there is no such thing as privacy on the web. This new capability should help to really underscore that truism. As a purveyor of social networking sites, social graphs and their culminating social currency and having been raised in the marketing giant world of Procter & Gamble, I totally understand why enabling others to join a conversation is crucial to the spread of the message and the fostering of increased interaction.
But there can be a dark side to this capability. Let’s examine a negative use scenario:
Let’s say Rick is venting about his ex, or boss or neighbor in a Facebook status update and his Facebook Friend Joe thinks it would be funny/malicious to comment on Rick’s post and Tag the ‘vented-about person’ into his comment due to his Friend connection with them. Rick is not friends on Facebook with the person he is venting about, but Joe is, and due to their connection with each other all three parties come together in one moment of potential fire-works.
As more and more companies (and divorce attorneys!) search for information about potential hires or employees online, then we can clearly see how tagging could be used to someone’s detriment.
As more businesses and individuals begin to carve a presence for themselves online, the question about reputation management arises. “How do we manage our brand online? How do we control what people are saying about us, especially if it is negative?” I like to share this quote from a past CEO of my former company, Procter & Gamble:
“Consumers are beginning in a very real sense to own our brands and participate in their creation. We need to learn to begin to let go.” ~ A.G. Lafley.
What Lafley is trying to convey here is that we are living in a WOM environment today, not word-of-mouth, but World-of Mouth. Consumers will share their opinions and experiences about our brands with EVERYONE- add in the ability for virality fostered by social networks and we can clearly see the reality in his statement.
So how do we, as caretakers of the Brand (company, products, services, personal brand, etc.), manage this? Here are a few things that you can do:
Create simple and FREE Google Alerts to comb the web for any mention of your name
Set up searches on Twitter (hashtags) to capture any chatter on your Brand
If budget allows, hire a 3rd party monitoring service
Address negative press right away
Employ a positive SEO strategy by creating online sites and content that you control that will boost your Brand in Search (Google, Bing, etc.) and help to bury some of the negative content that can’t be removed.
Shevaun Voisin spoke so eloquently of the need to grasp your dreams and make them reality in her keynote talk, “Dream It, Do It: You Only Have Today” at the “Imagine…then do it” seminar sponsored by Act Three that I attended last week. I have been thinking a lot about this over the last several days, and if you know me, then you know that I am a deep, analytical thinker.
I am at a place where by virtue of my age, experiences, collected wisdom and station in life, I am able to view the world through a different set of lenses. I have experienced a career working for a global consumer giant; participated in national product launches for revolutionary new products; have held the hand of a woman in crisis as I listened to the story that birthed her pain through my work with a local non-profit. I have taught classes for elementary aged kids and presented seminars and workshops for high school students and local universities. I have raised two incredible children who are using their gifts and leadership to make a difference on the world as teens. Lastly, I have stepped into the moccasins of the entrepreneur and created a company in a field that is rapidly evolving and taking the planet by storm, all while never having grown up in the world of texting and MySpace like today’s Gen Ys.
My former company, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, has taken social media to new heights with their Old Spice Guy campaign. They have an eye-catching interactive web-site that highlights some creatively unique commercials as they move to re-brand a revered 70+ year old product. One set of ads features the Old Spice Guy, shirtless, wrapped in a towel and standing just outside of the shower area of a bathroom delivering personalized messages from fans and followers of the Old Spice Facebook Page, Twitter Account and Old Spice Blog.
The Old Spice Website landing page does a great job to capture the reader’s attention and keep them hooked with some on-line interaction and various calls to action. They have separate tabs and main page sections for the following:
The ability to have the Brand Voice (Old Spice Guy) interact directly with customers via personalized messages gleaned from social media sites is brilliant and leads to an increase in viral sharing on those same sites.
The message is clear that Old Spice is NOT your grandfather’s brand anymore. Would love to know your thoughts.
Ever have a nagging thought that is just dying to be dissected and discussed? The issue that is bugging me today and preventing me from enjoying the uber-nice Sunday spring weather is the issue of Internet Privacy. Lots of hacker attacks and phishing scams are becoming rampant on Twitter and Facebook and the traditional media is picking up on the stories and spreading the gospel warning. Recent examples include the 3/4/10 article in USA Today, entitled: “How a Friendly Click Can Compromise a Company” and the Cincinnati Enquirer’s article, “Foursquare Networks into Cincinnati“, on GPS-based applications like Twitter & Foursquare which announce your current location, be it the local Thai restaurant or the local Urban Active. (Local Cincy social media “activists” Kevin Dugan, Daniel Johnson Jr. and Chris Beiting are mentioned in the article.) In fact, a corresponding site has been launched called PleaseRobMe.com that shows how broadcasting your whereabouts can make you a victim of crime.
I recently completed an interview session with a local public radio station, WNKU, in which we talked about Facebook and privacy issues (airing week of 3/8/10). I was also tapped by New Media Cincinnati Founder Daniel Johnson Jr. to be part of a 3/13 panel discussion on privacy use with social media sites. I am billed as the moderate person on the panel, which is quite ironic given the way I grew up and the current business that I am in. Can’t go into the details of my upbringing as this is obviously a public venue, but let’s just say the circumstances of my family’s career choice lent itself to the utmost of privacy and secrecy. On the other hand, my business is Social Media Strategy Consulting in which I advise companies on how to integrate social media applications into their marketing mix. Trust me, you can’t advise other companies successfully until you have created and lived publicly in the social media space yourself in a very transparent and authentic way. As testimony to my experience and Web 2.0 presence, I was recently tapped as a candidate for a Global Social Media Director position for a well-known CPG company (and no, it was not my former company Procter & Gamble!).
Given my family upbringing and my own personal tendency to be uber-private, I work hard at striking the right balance of privacy with my public business presence. Ironically, the upcoming panel discussion will be recorded, live-streamed, twit-pic’d, live-tweeted and blogged about, thus thrusting my privacy issues into the public. What a conundrum for me! Will be interesting to see how I balance what I say from who I am. In the end, there is a modicum of me that must be protected……or is there?