Posts Tagged 'Linkedin'

The Attention Economy is Distracting Me

distract

Twitter has the RT button and the favorite button. Linkedin has an endorse button, Facebook has a like button and G+ has the plus.  I know you “get” what they all do, at least you should, but I have a question for you.  Aren’t all of those social buttons just surface level engagement triggers that require little or no engagement by the user and the recipient? Yes? No?

Of course they are, and I’m OK with it  and you should be too. Let me explain. I’ll keep it brief.  :)

When you notice or have been notified that you have been liked or favorited or endorsed, what changes for you? How do you react? Do you feel that you now must reciprocate? Do you like the attention you just received? Was it your goal to get attention? Do you care? Do you feel anything or do you just move on? It all depends on who it is, right? For me, I try to take time to understand the why behind the why. Why did that person do what they just did? What were they trying to elicit from me? Why me? But maybe I’m looking too deeply into the action than the action itself really deserves? I think I am.

You see, because of the volume of content that one is subjected to each and every day, at least from my standpoint, the ability to give that content or source, all of the needed attention it made greatly deserve, is greatly diminished. The best you might get from me as I race past your stuff at 100 mph, is the virtual equivalent of a nod.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to read your stuff, it’s just that the best you can get from me right now is a like or a star or a favorite.

The only slight little problem with that “action,” is that by allowing people to click a like or favorite button, we unknowingly might be reducing true engagement and the possibility of an actual, ok semi-actual, conversation.

The irony though, is that we (marketers) still look at that piece of user/consumer data as being really valuable; and don’t get me wrong, it does have a use and value. It’s just that we’re so desperate for good social data, that we’re willing to create, support and proactively use a somewhat worthy and somewhat hollow metric that is The Like, The RT, The Endorse and The Favorite.

What those buttons really measure is a modicum of attention, a flicker of action and the “hope” of engagement.  So why are we suckers for clicking on them?  For the majority of users, NOT clicking the button means that they might NOT get something for their time and effort. For the rest of us, clicking is the least (or maybe the most) that can we do in this always on, multi-channel, multi-device world.

I do want to read your stuff, I really do. I just don’t have an answer for you yet on how I can add your content to the 32 tabs I have open, Besides, I’m too busy looking at someone’s profile who I don’t know, endorsing me for a skill I don’t have on Linkedin. :).

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There is No Social Media Bubble

It’s sexy to say that the recent valuations of social networking companies and platforms is very similar to the dot com bubble valuations. Except, it was easy to see back then ( or is that now?) that commerce driven sites whose success was going to be reliant on transactions is a lot different than social sites and platforms with hundreds of millions of people with millions upon millions of daily visits that are reliant on nothing more than activity, conversations, shares, likes and content creation.

The implicit difference between the 2 bubbles, if we’re indeed going to call this period in tech history as a social media bubble, is that one was propped up on just bad business models and just plain dumb valuations, where the traffic had to buy product or the traffic had to go to a physical location whereas with all the social sites, the action and the CTR’s, its still predicated on traffic, but the traffic doesn’t necessarily have to buy something in order for the network to thrive.

It’s community based and people based and not sales based.  Though the model to make money in social networks is still based on traffic pouring through the site- the need to separate someone from their cash isn’t as large a priority as it was in the dot com bubble days. Big diff

If You Could Use Only One Social Media Solution, Which Would It Be?

Given that most of us claim to be too busy to do anything anymore-and it is somewhat true. Traipsing in and bellowing to anyone who will listen, that the tranformative nature of social media will change the way you do business for the better, is a lofty claim.

Let’s do a hypothetical. What if you could only use one “social solution”? Which would you use? and why would you use it? Let’s say you’re a consultant, which social media solution would you suggest and why? Which one is going to have the largest impact on your company? On your business? For your client? What if you’re boss said, “Pick one”, and given that that’s  a minor miracle he said that-which will give you the firm footing to do more later on down the line? The most impact? Results?

This is kind of important for a number of reasons-not the least of being that some solutions are just not a good fit for some types of organizations.  The reasons could be limited resources, limited time, money or whatever-but you just don’t go and jam a generic social solution into every company just because they want one. You’re going to set yourself up to fail if you do that.

Just because a company can set up a Facebook fan page for example- does that mean that it will give them the biggest bang for their efforts? Maybe, maybe not. What is going to give them the biggest return, the biggest impact? You can only choose one.

Let’s short list 11 high level social media solutions and tools right now.

Each of the above have specific bells and whistles that allow you to do certain things.  Remind me again, what’s the goal of social media? To have conversations? To sell stuff? To grow the business? To enrich Customer service? HR? Competitive intelligence? PR? Collaboration? Which one could do all of those?  I got a better idea. Maybe you should just concentrate on one  specific social “thing” that will make your organization better?

Ahhhh haaaaa…  That’s it! Which one can do one thing that can make your organization better at what they do? You don’t need to try or “do” every social media solution to be successful. Just one-Doing one thing really, really well, will work.

5 simple ways SMB’s can readily adopt social media and get rolling in one day

I recently spoke at a little breakfast meeting of a 100 people or so and I knew that the economy was  still being unkind to small business owners. I knew they were still trying to wrestle with the alternative options that social media might provide. But coupled with wrestling whether to make the leap or not,  was the notion that commitment to social media is labor intensive. They already wear a lot of hats and now they have to somehow integrate social media?

So I thought it might be prudent to provide 5 simple suggestions on what an SMB can do right now to become part of that conversation. Yes, there will always be a learning curve, but we have to start somewhere and then build from that.

1)  Get a Twitter account. Beyond just having a Twitter account that’s not doing much, learn how to use it to your advantage. Why? because you want to be able to monitor and listen to conversations about you, your product, your company, your industry, your customers and your competition.  You can listen for opportunity and you can use Twitter as an ad hoc arm of customer service and reputation management.

How do you do all that- You use a 3rd party application like Tweetdeck which allows you set up individual columns for each of the above mentioned. The good news? In theory if you don’t want to have conversations, that will not prevent you from mining valuable data. The other good news? You don’t have to sit there and wait for it to unfold. You can peel back the tweets to your hearts content! This might take less than an hour to set up. Even less if you already an account.

2) Create a Facebook page. I know, you’re probably thinking, “you’ve got to be kidding me”? Well you know what? I bet you already have a Facebook page anyway right? So what makes this any different? What…? That it’s for work?  Given that businesses can now create vanity URL’s on Facebook you have a great opportunity to grow your business using basic Facebook  features for as little as an hour a day. Most of you have a customer base and there is a good chance that some of them are loyal. Facebook allows for you to connect with your customers. At the least it allows you to promote offers, ask questions and engage your customers. Setup is minimal. About an hour.

3) Create a Linkedin profile. Again, you should have one of these anyway but there are some cool little features buried in Linkedin that can help you network with like minded professionals, look for new resources and partners, connect with current and past work colleagues and if need be, look for a new job. Pay particular attention though, to the Question/Answer section of Linkedin.  There is some gold in that thar section. Set up time 2 hours but once it’s done, you’re done.

4) Now link your Twitter account to Facebook and link you Twitter updates to LinkedIn so that all of your twitter updates, if you do them, will flow across all of your networks. If you ever feel so compelled to contribute, converse, share or become part of the conversation, you’ll only have to do it once and everyone in those 3 networks that are part of “your network” will see it. This might seem a but complicated, but it’s not, you just need to check out those links. Time it takes? An hour

5) Now go to your website and put these 3 links or icons to these social sites on your website. Make sure that they are prominent so that people that may be looking for you and what you may offer can find them. The point is we want to make sure that we are providing as many ways as we can for customers and prospects to talk to us. They are your lifeblood and THEY are using social networks with or without you. Get in the game. It may take you an hour.

Now here’s the last thing. Even if you are not an “A” personality and you’re somewhat passive. You still have relationships with your close friends and relatives, right? What do those conversations and relationships consist of? Are they about what you had for breakfast? Perhaps, but there is so much more to them. And the reason they are your friend in the first place, is because you are interesting and you have something in common with that person. You both are exchanging and sharing value. Guess what? the same holds true in social networks. Value begets value. Even if your not a content machine like a Chris Brogan, you can still carve out a niche for you and your company.

Now go get ‘em.

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10 Blended Social Media Marketing Strategies A Company Might Want To Consider

prism

We have been talking a lot lately about… talking. When we should be doing a lot more… doing. So the thought for this post, interestingly enough, bubbled up from a client request, that I should supply a document that mapped out the ways that you can blend social media into your marketing mix. So what I’ve done is supplied the tool or the platform, how I used it, what was the time suck and what were the results. Hopefully this will shed a little light on what the heck we’re doing and why we talk about it so much. Keep in mind one thing though- I do not get into the number of hours I put into meetings, documents, strategy docs, client objectives, client objections, proposals, pitches, the number of clients I pitched, the number of proposals rejected, the number of times I’ve been told that it doesn’t work, the number of times there is no response and the number of times I’ve educated the client and then have had them put into action on their own, what I have told them they need to do and why they should use us…So this is also for them. If you’re going to do it, at least do it with some knowledge of what you’re doing!

1)      Twitter. You’ve heard of Twitter but why use it? Twitter helps you monitor conversations about anything that might be relevant to you and your company. You don’t even have to actively participate to monitor it.

Time suck rating: Depending on how much you want to monitor and participate. Give it a rating of 5/10

Use case: Created structured conversations around hashtag to create community, market under the radar, build credibility and lead source. Monitor clients,products,industry,city,state,region. Ex: hashtagsocialmedia.com

2)      Search is not going away soon. Universal search is looming larger and larger by the day. Universal search blends listings from news, video, images, local and book search engines as well as social media elements compiled from Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, and YouTube. By understanding the value of Search and it how it plays into the overall strategy of your company and it’s goals and objectives, the better you will understand the importance of having more than just a “cup of coffee” type of presence with each of the above listed elements and sites. There is such a direct correlation between search and everything that people do on a day to day basis that to underestimate or devalue it is a grave mistake.

Time suck rating: Extensive. 9/10

Use case: Created reputation management program built on all elements of search using Flickr micro-websites, robust white hat SEO tactics and product specific blog sites. Results were reduction in negative websites and mentions. Increase in traffic and visibility.

3)      Social Bookmarking- In recent years, social bookmarking has become more sophisticated, somewhat diminished and yet no less important. Important to what? Social bookmarking adds a great deal of efficiency to your searches-That’s right, SEARCH, for useful information on the web. That information will be about you and your company. Not only are resources easier to find, but your company is easier to find as well. This means additional promotional opportunities for you and your brand by being able to better target people who will be interested in what your company is about. Example sites of Social bookmarking are Digg and StumbleUpon and Delcio.us

Time suck rating: Not bad 3/10

Use case: Created corporate profiles on the top social bookmarking sites, seeded each site every day with a new blog post or link revolving around relevant product, service, company, or industry. Resulting in hundreds of links, tags and bookmarks relating back to corporate and product. Results were seen in less than 6 months in the SERPS.

4)      YouTube-Video is permeating our lives. It had been for awhile, but we just didn’t call it video, we called it TV or we called it,”the movies”. Today we call it online video. You don’t have to look farther than YouTube, and Hulu to see the value of it. But did you know how much video is tied into search? That’s right we’re back to search again. As another channel to push out content you’ve created, which search engines love, to tag that content, which search engines devour, and to find ways for others to take your content and embed it on their sites perhaps, means that video is a perfect vehicle to take your message further than any other content that you might have, short of a widget. What does it require? A $30 webcam and some creativity.  The payoff? The chance that your content can go viral. Example: Musician hoping to get a million views in one year of his music video appeal to United airlines about his damaged guitar-gets 4.5 million in less than a month.

Time suck rating: Pretty easy 4.5/10

Use case: Created and embedded Youtube videos on client site and blog with relevant  tags and keywords resulting in continuous and steady traffic every day to blog site. Blog site links back to product site resulting in sales growth of 11% directly attributable to video.

5)      Flickr- We all have cameras embedded in our phones now right? Digital cameras are dirt cheap and you have products, employees, conferences, meetings and content just waiting to be tagged and… searched upon. Understand this, “every digitized element that you have in house, now has the potential to be searched upon”!. What makes that point more important and relevant, is that there are now more social sites than ever before to accommodate and house those elements. For what it’s worth, and or until the top SE’s change their algorithm, there is a very strong tie between search and social networks. Which means that your Flickr photos and their associated tags, will show up in image searches as well in some standard searches. What does this mean to you? A chance to push out more content about you and your company…Again.  Requirements? Your ability to understand the upload function of social sites and how to manipulate and tag your pics.

Time suck rating: Nominal 5/10

Use Case: Created  Flickr product accounts for CPG’s with relevant tags and keywords all pointing back to product/e-commerce page as well as to customer forum; and additionally corp. blog site. Results were direct and indirect traffic, as well as image sharing requests with requisite track backs to product and growth in the SERP’s.

6) Facebook- Facebook cannot be ignored. Does this mean that it becomes the primary focus of your organization? Not necessarily. But Facebook fan pages are a great way to market to people that are not registered with Facebook. Which means that fan pages are indexable. i.e. show up in search! The difference between fan pages and group pages are that with fan pages they are, for the most part, better for a long-term engagement with your fans, brand champions, and customers because the barrier for entry is low and the ability to push out information is real time and quick and easy to manage. Group pages are generally better for attracting quick attention but can be tough to sustain, though group members have the potential to become recruiters of the group site and can take it viral quick.. The requirements? Some type of comfort level of the tools, bells, whistles and apps available for the administrators; as well as and this important to note: The Privacy settings. FYI read them and understand them.

Time suck rating: Above average 6.5/10

Use case: Created fan page and group page sites for CPG, and Twitter site, which resulted in ongoing growing list of targeted brand champions, evangelists and new customers, as well as placeholder for announcements, offers and polling and 2-way messaging.

7)      LinkedIn- Personally speaking, not only should each person within yours or any organization have a Linkedin profile, but even from a professional standpoint as well. What can you do with Linkedin? You can, in short order, join thousands of groups and associations, ask and answer questions associated with you and what your company does, create your own group or organization, find people and groups that do what you and your company do, and link to them and research the people or company that you are getting ready to hire or work with. If they are not on Linkedin. It is now an immediate red flag. The requirements: A little time to set up.

Time suck rating: Below average 3/10

Use case: Created interactive Q and A series resulting in  corporate branding exposure, development of database of contacts, companies and potential partners. Also created Linkedin group resulting in over 300+ contacts.

8)      Blogs- Don’t think their importance is diminishing just because of the advent of micro-blogs. They are still very relevant, very link friendly and can be integral to the success of some organizations. As well, they are not just place holders for the written word. They can now hold video, audio, podcasts, images, widgets and more.

Time suck rating: Blogging can be somewhat time intensive if the intent is to create another relevant, visible, and valuable vehicle for your message: 7/10

Use case: Created multiple corporate blogs to create 2 way conversation between customers and company, push down negative press and improve a tarnished corporate image as well as criticism stemming from negative public sentiment. Also created CPG blog to support product launches, latest consumer information as well as provide tips, links and resources to consumers and tire kickers.

9)      Microsite development- Developing small relevant websites that revolve around your products, your company and your keywords is a great way to drive links, push out content and otherwise add to the search results for your product or company. They don’t need to be robust. They can be text heavy, link heavy or even video heavy, but creating content laden sites is a way to not only you’re your main site, but also as a way to amplify your message. If you are adept at HTML or if you prefer to use a CMS to fire up your micro-sites, either way is effective.

Time suck rating: Fairly laborious on the front end 7/10

Use case: Able to create multiple micro-sites for multiple clients resulting in positive search results, reputation management success and increased product and customer awareness as well as positive SERP results.

Note: Short of coining a new phrase I decided to call this blurb “macroblogging.” Twitter is called microblogging and the next step up would be these next 2 sites. Tumblr and Posterous. These 2 platforms are redefining what it means to blog. What these 2 sites/platforms are providing is a more, if that is possible, streamlined way to push out content to the masses in lieu of using a traditional blogging platform like wordpress or typepad. The upside? You guess it, search. They are simple to fire up and easy to Market, share and build. I have not yet used them extensively to provide a use case.

10) Community development- A number of years ago I started an online community to support a very popular consumer product at the time. To me it just made sense from a communication standpoint. It also made sense because we had a built in sounding board for new product releases, customer support and polls. Not only was the community an immediate success, it gave us insight into our typical customer’s mindset. We were able to test and float ideas before we took products to market. For the people of the community, all who were very passionate about the product, it gave them a place to hang out and bond. I’m not saying all products have that potential but there are numerous ways to create online communities around your brand champions and evangelists and customer service initiatives. They can be done via Facebook groups, Ning, Groupsite, Google groups and half a dozen template based sites.

Time suck rating: Can get labor intensive 8.5/10

Use case: Built, managed and recruited online community to support CPG. At its peak, it had 5,000 members contributing hundreds of posts and comments per day.

So as you can see from this list, these are only 10 scenarios of what has worked for me. There are other smaller examples that I have employed with a minor degree of marketing and branding success from podcasting, creating a nationally recognized personal blog, co-authoring a book, creating successful email campaigns, and personally building close to a 100 web sites. But let me reiterate This is what has worked and works for me when working with clients. I am comfortable with these 10 activities and their associated tools.  I know there are more, and I’m learning more as I go, but I thought I should share what has worked for me so that others might learn as well. If you want to specifically explain how to do it, let me know and we’ll go from there!

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My Social Media Morning

Here’s the drill and it varies, but I’m curious what you’re social media mornings are like. Let me preface that this particular morning I have a headache from 2 glasses of red wine coupled with my inability to go back to sleep at 4:30 this morning. Thus, you lay in bed and you “fake-sleep” until 6 which at that point you do fall asleep and wake up a half hour later and you’re ultimately tired beyond belief.

  1. Fire up the machine (this particular morning we’re trying  out Google Chrome) While this is occurring I try to read either DM news, electronic retailer or the latest book.
  2. While it’s booting up I’m usually also thinking about a blog post. This morning, I’m thinking of a post in which I can compare bars to social networks-not sure there is something there though. what do you think? We all love to go to our favorite bar but why? What keeps us coming back? The beers and the drinks are no different at another establishment right?
  3. Staring at a product that a potential client gave me yesterday wondering whether it has legs for a social media campaign let alone a marketing campaign. This happens a lot.
  4. I have to put together a marketing matrix for another client in which I Identify the decision makers and their buying habits and then try to tie it back into social media.  In this case, it’s a supply chain software company, wondering aloud if that’s possible?
  5. Knowing we have to do a site redesign for the corporate site, I pull up some photoshop files to stare at the latest iterations. Initial thoughts: It’s not Web 2.0 enough. I’ll talk to the designer later.
  6. Rereading an article by Aaron Kahlow in which he writes about the 5 deadly sins of social media and thinking “I’m reading this after I wrote about social media marketings 7 deadly sins” and after a quick search I realize that there is a lot of sinning going on in social media based on this 7 deadly sin post and half a dozen others. It’s at this point that I think I’m very predictable.
  7. While chewing on that, I pull up Social Media Today, which is an incredible resource and provides lots of talking points on what’s going on in social media and I gravitate to post titled  Social Media, what about the risks? by Amber Naslund. I’d suggest reading it, it brought back some not so fond memories of a rogue social networker who terrorized all of our networks and efforts and made the experience very enriching. NOT!
  8. Thinking that Chrome is ok. For now.
  9. I have to call a recruiter in Chicago about an SMO/SEO strategist position. Not sure what I’m going to tell him, but it’s nice to be wanted. Couple that with the fact I’m in Naples, Florida. Never hurts to listen. right?
  10. Logging into LinkedIn, I like checking it everyday. Periodically, I like to read  the answers section or ask questions. I usually have a request or two to respond to as well since I started a LinkedIn group called the “Digital Response Marketing Group”.  It has a great name and has a world of potential to be developed into something larger, but hey, I gotta eat and sleep. I’m willing to partner on this, so hit me up.
  11. Time to fire up Twitter. I’ve been digging Tweetdeck more than Twhirl of late, but sometimes Tweetdeck just freaks out. yesterday i wasn’t in a very Twitterlike mood.
  12. I have to do a proposal for a client with a business (product) they’re getting ready to launch. I tried to counsel the CEO on the merits of social media and it’s potential. She didn’t want to hear it. She wants a DRTV proposal and that’s it. Ouch.
  13. Starting to read some various tweets.
  14. Need to do some related SEO/SMO stuff for another product we are marketing. Not sexy but needs done. Some people do not realize that social media marketing is hard work.
  15. It’s only 9:36 in the morning and I’m thinking of about 3-4 different social media strategies for  a few of the products that we market. But the problem is, not every user or audience is a perfect fit for social media.
  16. Just decided to scan through Outlook mail. Also opening Hotmail as well. I dread both activities.
  17. Have to talk to a client about creating a blogsite for his skin care line and forthcoming book. I’ll call him later this morning.
  18. Just got an invite email from Signalpatterns.
  19. Going to now fire up Pandora, it helps me work, though I’m worried about them lately. Logging into Facebook too. Thinking I might as well open up Ning. During Gustav I joined a Ning group devoted to the 2008 hurricane season, it is very well done.
  20. Now firing up Google Reader, throughout the day I’ll read over a 150 blogs, or I should say scan, since some don’t update everyday. Though there are a few that are a must read, and I would suggest you create that short list as well. If you want my short list let me know.
  21. Sitting here wondering what the next big thing is going to be in social media. I have my ideas, and to that end my thoughts are that as the number of social sites continues to grow exponentially, our usage habits might become more diluted. We may have to pick a few and leave the rest behind. But if there is a better way to aggregate them, then maybe not. I’m just sayin…
  22. Ok, I’m done with Chrome. it’s dragging too much.

LinkedIn in a nutshell

The folks from Common Craft have done it again. Here is a short video that demystifies LinkedIn.


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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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