Influence people

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Social Media News

Social Media Examiner has released its annual report on marketers' use of social media.  

The key findings:

  • 90 percent of marketers say social media is important for business.
  • 88 percent say it drives brand awareness.
  • 72 percent say it drives Website traffic.
  • 62 percent say it drives search engine rankings.
  • 58 percent spend 6+ hours a week on it.
  • 34 percent spend 11+ hours a week.
  • 77 percent plan to increase the use of video.
  • 28 percent outsource at least part of their program.
According to the report, 2011's top four social media marketing tools are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Duh, Selling!

Ad Age reports that big brands are spending countless hours every day scrubbing spam from their Facebook pages.

According to Facebook management software vendor Vitrue, 15 percent of posts should be deleted, because they're offensive or represent promotions unrelated to the brand.

Spammers target big brands' Facebook pages because the exposure is vast, even if the messages remain visible for only a few hours.

This so-called "page spam" can tarnish a brand's image and drive away fans.

Page-spam cleanup is costly because it has to be performed by humans.  Some brands are hiring outside firms to do the work, spending as much as $20,000 a month.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TMI

Mark Twain once quipped, "Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation."

USA Today recently reported that business professionals receive 110 messages a day through such channels as email, SMS, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

"People are drowning in a deluge of data," the paper concludes.

As a result, executives are witnessing a rise in employee burnout, errors and miscommunication.

TMI.  Too much information. 

As a marketer, your path forward is clear:

Less is always more.  Most readers will only browse the first few lines of any message.  Break up large ideas into small, digestible chunks.

Give readers signposts.  Use headlines, subheadlines, photos and captions to guide them.

Start with the desired action.  Satisfy overtaxed readers by beginning with your "call to action."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Social Media Marketing Done Right

On Social Media Today, blogger Sherryl Perry describes her exchange with one company's social media manager.

It's a prime example of using social media marketing the right way.

After linking in her blog to Grasshopper (a B2B provider of phone service), Perry received a hand-written thank-you note from the company's "ambassador of buzz."

Included were the ambassador's business card and a Starbucks gift card.

Grasshopper reps also commented on Perry's blog and Tweeted about it.

The upshot?  Perry now has "a new Twitter friend and an even warmer and fuzzier feeling about Grasshopper."

Was the company merely soliciting Perry's business?  Not really.  In fact, Perry had recently cancelled her contract with Grasshopper, because she no longer needed its service.

Grasshopper was simply using social media marketing the right way.

"Obviously, this is a company that has a process in place," Perry writes.  "When I left them as a customer, they sent an automated email.  When I blogged about them, someone Tweeted my post (good move on their part because of the backlink to them) and left a comment for me.  It could have stopped there but it didn’t."

Does your organization have a social media process in place?
  • Do you habitually thank readers who comment about your blog posts?
  • Do you follow links left in comments and leave comments for readers?
  • Do you thank readers who Tweet about your blog?
  • Do you go the extra mile and reach out to readers off line?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How to Drive More Attendees to Your Webcast

If you've ever produced a Webinar, you know a ton of effort's required. 

So it's hugely disappointing when a mere handful of attendees show up.

Marketo's resident blogger Andrew Spoeth recommends these five ways to boost attendance of your next Webinar:

Give attendees access to the speaker.  In your promotions, emphasize that attendees can chat with the speaker.  And encourage them to send questions to the speaker in advance.

Hold a drawing.  The promise of a prize can be the incentive that turns a registrant into an attendee.  Offer an item related to the topic, such as a book.

Help attendees connect with other attendees.  Have a Twitter chat after the Webinar or invite attendees to join a LinkedIn group.

Make an exclusive offer.  Provide an e-book or special report that's available only to attendees after the Webinar.

Phone ahead.  A pre-recorded "reminder" sent automatically to registrants will increase attendance.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Social Media Eludes Executives

New research by IBM indicates business executives hold some false beliefs about social media:
  • According to the study, 70 percent of executives think their organizations will be “out of touch” if they don’t engage customers through social media. But 55 percent of customers say they don’t engage with brands at all through social media.
  • Of the 45 percent of customers who engage with brands, 66 percent say they must feel the organization is communicating honestly before they’ll interact. But 33 percent of executives feel lukewarm about transparency.
  • Executives think “getting discounts” and “purchasing products” are the two least likely reasons customers engage with brands through social media. But customers say these are the two most likely reasons.
  • Executives are three times more likely than customers to think customers want to be part of an online “community.” Customers want to interact when it’s to their direct benefit.
The researchers urge executives to think like customers. “Recast social interaction strategies to focus on giving customers the value they seek and the customer intimacy will come,” they suggest. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Secrets of Savvy Planners

Most event planners focus exclusively on the “onsite experience.”

But a few savvy ones integrate that experience into a series of encounters that begin long before, says event planning expert Jeff Hurt.  These include:

Videos. Savvy planners produce a series of pre-event videos that promote features like the headquarters hotel and keynote speaker. The videos include testimonials from attendees.

YouTube. These planners post the videos on a branded page.

Blogs. Savvy planners blog weekly (and more frequently as the event draws near).  Guest posts are contributed by speakers, event committee members and the host city’s mayor.

Crowdsourced content. Savvy planners use social media to solicit suggestions for speakers’ topics and ask attendees to vote for or against them.

Webinars. Savvy planners contract with speakers to provide pre-event Webinars.  Positive word-of-mouth about the Webinars helps generate attendees for the face-to-face event.

Radio stations. Savvy planners create a radio station and produce interviews with speakers, event committee members and representatives of the host city.

Video FAQs. These produce a video that answers common questions and share it through social networking sites.

“I’m Attending” badges. Savvy planners create digital badges that attendees can embed on their Facebook pages. The badges can link to the event’s Website.
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