Hate speech. We see these words flash by in news headlines a lot these days. Far from the maddening crowds chanting these words as a form of protest or as reactionary behavior, we see hateful words play out as status updates and comments to news articles on social media. What happened to civilized discourse? When did we as an American people decide that it is more important to sway someone to our way of thinking vs. being champions for freedom of thought? What happened to respectfully disagreeing with someone vs. bullying them to a digital pulp?
Many commentators portray themselves in a negative light with their biting words and adversely affect public opinion of their personal brand. Either they are incredibly naïve with regard to how social media works or they simply don’t care. I suppose that some would suggest a third option: that they are just plain stupid.
I really can’t imagine that in-person social discourse would lead to the hate speech and bullying comments that I see posted online. A screen gives people the power to say things that they normally wouldn’t say in public: a type of virtual courage. These statements are attached to identifiable data: a name, a face, a location, and any other public information that is shared on individual profiles and gives the reader the ability to find out more about this vocal commentator.
We hear you.
We see you.
We know who you are.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could leave the vitriol behind, stop trying to convert everyone to our way of thinking, and follow the simple golden rule of treating others the way we would want to be treated?
Like it or not, we live in an era where our private and public conversations can become instant fodder for the media monsters. Our thoughts, whether consciously or unconsciously spoken, are ingested and churned out into a multitude of managed social media platforms and carried along by the viral river of instant sharing.
Two recent examples of people who “went off” in public with the cameras rolling are Cincinnati Reds Manager, Bryan Price and Nancy Gordeuk, the Principal of TNT Academy in Lilburn, Georgia. I would imagine that both are very familiar with the media and the repercussions that could occur if their words were to become ‘the shot heard round the internet’. Despite this awareness, their innate behavior reared its head and plunged them forward.
Reds Manager, Bryan Price erupted in a series of F-bombs as he shared his frustration with media leaks about his team. Ms. Gordeuk lost her cool and reverted to racist speech, “Look who’s leaving … all the black people”, after forgetting the Valedictory address and dealing with families who did not want to remain after the graduation ceremony was completed to hear the speech. In the school situation, I get the impression that the principal is inherently racist and losing her cool allowed those private thoughts to bubble up into public words and actions. You can watch the video and judge for yourself.
No matter whether these were personality aberrations or part of Mr. Price and Ms. Gordeuk’s regular behavior patterns, their words were captured for all to hear and make judgment upon their personal brands. Everyone should follow good reputation management principles to monitor their brand and be aware of how they will be perceived. With apps like Periscope, tweeting live streaming video and sound recording devices like Kapture, memorializing our words in bite-size segments, one just might go viral without a marketing plan. Better make sure the product is a good one or you may end up stating “the devil made me do it” on national media.
You can find more information on social media here.
C3.Creating Connections Consulting to offer pro bono social media marketing and speaking services for non-profits and community organizations in the Cincinnati region in 2013 via the C3 Gives Back Program. Founder Michelle Beckham is a former P&G customer business development and marketing manager who has worked in the digital space since 2005.
One resource that most non-profits and community organizations need, but might not have the budget for is strategic social media marketing consulting or speaker services. C3 helps businesses and organizations create a strategic marketing plan that integrates the most effective social/digital tools for their call to action and target market and teaches them how to create content and engagement strategies for each platform to build customer relationships and business.
Michelle Beckham speaks all over the region on social media marketing topics, reputation management, online branding and internet safety for children. Follow this link for more information.
It is C3’s corporate philosophy to share knowledge and give back to the community whenever possible. Michelle has been a board member for several Cincinnati organizations including: Authentic Leadership-Cincinnati, New Media Cincinnati, IHM Job Search Group, St. Ursula Academy, the Institute for Social Media at Cincinnati State, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Communications Commission and the Procter & Gamble Global Alumni Network Speakers Bureau team.
C3 is instituting a formal request program to meet the needs of non-profits and community organizations in 2013. Organizations can apply for an opportunity each quarter to receive free strategic social media marketing assistance or speaker services for their group.
Must be a 501(c)(3) or community organization within the Cincinnati/Dayton/Northern Kentucky area
Speaking segment limited to a maximum of two (2) hours
Consulting services limited to a maximum of two (2) hours
Deadline for first quarter 2013 requests is 12/31/12.
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!
A recent experience with online shopping brought me front and center to today’s blog post. I was searching for a unique birthday gift to send to a family member and after perusing the website for Cookies By Design (CBD), thought I would check out their Facebook Page for special discount Fan offers. Their landing tab deposited me to a brightly printed page announcing a Father’s Day Sweepstakes and a nice reminder to “Like” the Page, but as my eye traveled down the copy, my vision was hit with bold, black single-spaced (and in some areas, all CAPS) print outlining the CBD official sweepstakes rules. I copied the sweepstakes verbage into Word and discovered that the copy amounted to 831 words. Total turn-off. Would have been much better to make the copy less of an eye chart or include a link to a page on their website with full details.
I’m not going to critique their iFrames app use or custom profile pic, you can do that on your own and look here for comparison sites. Just wanted to point out how, as a potential customer, I was a bit turned off by all the print on their custom Welcome tab.
I next checked out their Wall to see what kind of engagement was gong on there- ok, I was really looking for that elusive coupon special……but what I found was the underscoring of my belief that the English major will rise again to be in demand in today’s online marketing world. So what does that mean?
In order to have engagement between a brand and their customers/clients, one needs to have a social media community manager that is fully capable of sustaining that engagement. This includes content that is meaningful and sought after by Fans and potential fans as well as the back and forth conversation that occurs within the exchange of information. The community manager must seamlessly become one with the brand message so that consistency is maintained.
Who better to be a social media community manager than an English major: a person for whom words are pearls. A person who has studied the art of dialogue, sentence structure, essay writing and for whom feedback is part of the experience of writing.
I was reminded of this need for English majors when I spied this post on CBD’s Wall. In case you can’t read the circled portion of the post and the subsequent fan response in the photo below, here it is:
CBD: “Ok I’ve received your email and contacted the Franchise Business Consultant about this matter. Someone will definitely be in contact with you shortly and work something out to remedy the situation. We value your business and appreciate your patients.“
Fan: ” *patience! hopefully no “patients” from your cookies 🙂 ”
The marketing side of me is scratching my head wondering why the Page Admin still has not responded 48+ hours later……Tying the idea of patients (illness, etc,) with the ingestion of their product is just not good business. Perhaps they need a subscription to Hyper Alerts, as there is more recent admin activity on the Page.
So about those cookies…..unfortunately, no matter how tasty they are, the impression the company leaves me with via their Facebook Page is enough to send me in search of another present for my Dad. Perhaps a virtual gift card???
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.
Over 90 million people can’t be wrong about the #1 professional social networking site: LinkedIn. If you are not there, then you are truly missing out on an opportunity to affect your business and your future. LinkedIn is far more than a repository for your static resume. It is a living, breathing social platform that fosters connections that lead to real results.
No time to take a public group training class? Need an instructor to gently guide you in discovering the many utilities and capabilities LinkedIn has for its Members? How about taking a private virtual training class in the comfort of your office or home at a published day/time or one of your choosing that is mutually available?
Check out the video for class information. Discounts are given for published dates and times with early registration or you can contact me to schedule a date and time that works for you at the regular rate. Call me at 513-445-2180 or send a message HERE.