Tag Archives: The Berry Company

Importance of Social Media Strategy for Small Business in Cincinnati

Giving Keynote talk on Importance of Social Media Strategy at Berry Seminar ~photo via Berry

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.

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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

Social Media Platforms via Mashable
Social Media Platforms ~ photo via Mashable

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.

C3 Branding Strategy Exercise
C3 Branding Strategy Exercise

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: 

Key Tenets to Social Media Success
Key Tenets to Social Media Success by Michelle Beckham of C3
  1. Creating Signature Experiences- providing an online experience that is memorable, fitting to your brand, and brings the customer back to you
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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):

Red Bull, Ford Mustang, Dunkin Donuts, Coco-Cola, Chick-Fil-A- Western Hills, It’s Working Out Suspension Training, Cincinnati, Ben & Jerry’s, P&G’s Old Spice Brand, Shane Gibson, owner of a Canadian Social Media Agency and author of Guerilla Social Media Marketing.

Tweet from Shane Gibson

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
Lafley Quote Slide via Dave Knox- HardKnoxLife.com
Lafley Quote Slide via Dave Knox- HardKnoxLife.com

~ 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:

  1. Be Consistent
  2. Be Authentic- speak in a voice true to the brand
  3. Be Consumer-focused
  4. Be BOLD- this is an evolving playground- jump in and try some things!
  5. Measure, Measure, Measure- if you don’t have an indication of where you have come from, how can you move forward?
  6. 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!

Michelle Beckham-Corbin with C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC

Facebook Page Marketing w/ Google+ Bonus

Can Your Customer’s Find YOU on Facebook?

C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC Facebook Page -Mobile
C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC Facebook Page -Mobile

Even if you have a Facebook Page, are you truly leveraging Facebook marketing capabilities to create a dynamic Fan base that drives customers/clients to action?

Announcing the Facebook Page Marketing for Businesses and Organizations Workshop, a hands-on computer lab class that will allow you to work with your own Facebook Page as we discuss strategies that are unique for your industry at the state-of-the-art computer lab at The METS Center for Corporate Learning in Northern Kentucky.

Facebook Marketing has exploded and is being used by corporate brands, small businesses and non-profits all over the world to connect with and engage their clients and customers. Gain the competitive edge by learning how to leverage this important social networking tool.  Don’t just have a Page in name, have a Page that builds community and becomes a destination point for your fans!  

The class will be held on Tuesday, August 30th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with a FREE Bonus Introductory Session on the latest social networking craze: Google+ from 11:00-11:30 a.m.

This class will be limited in size to maximize the hands-on learning and discussion among the group. We will cover the following topics:

  • Page Settings Optimization
  • Administrator Capabilities
  • Custom Landing Pages/Tabs
  • Building a Strategic Fan Base
  • Creating Engagement Strategies
  • Creating Winning Content Strategy
  • Tagging for Cross-Marketing
  • Messaging Fans
  • Marketing the Page
  • Page Analytics

Click here for more information and to register for this class. Previous C3 workshops on Facebook Marketing have sold out. Don’t wait, register now and save $20 with the early bird discount while seats are available.

Hope to see you in the Facebook Marketing Class. Where else can you go to actively learn how to leverage your company or brand Facebook Page?

Can’t make this class, see the C3 Website for a list of Social Media for Business classes for the remainder of 2011. I will also be speaking to local businesses at The Secrets to Small and Medium Business Growth Seminar hosted by The Berry Company, publisher of the Cincinnati Bell Yellow Pages. This is a wonderful free event for businesses to come and learn more about how digital media can help you connect with customers and grow your business.

Details:  8/18 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Cintas Center-Xavier University. Click here for more information.