Posts Tagged 'maggie fox'

Social Media Marketing:Do you know enough to know where to begin?

Good question right? What’s the simple answer? Maybe not. If you are a marketer thinking about social media marketing then there is a good chance, if you have not done anything yet, that its because you just don’t have enough information yet.

On Monday in Tampa, I attended and spoke at a conference titled Social Fresh, at that conference, during Maggie Fox’s keynote, she nonchalantly asked the audience how many of them were marketers. Surprisingly, more than 80% raised their hands.

Clearly, 2 things became evident: One, there is a need for more social media conferences down in the belly of the  state of Florida(that in and of itself is worth another blog post) and two, marketers were indeed starved or looking for answers/solutions to the primary social media marketing puzzle/question. The How To. Implementation. Why haven’t they done it yet?

In this post I want to address those issues so that you can get started with social media marketing.

According to Equation research, one of the primary barriers for social media marketing adoption for brands or agencies is that they just don’t know enough about social media to know where to begin.

But why? Why is it taking this long for marketers, agencies, brands and businesses to learn about social media? For some of us, we have been talking about and writing about social media for almost 4 years.  Is it fear of social media? Do we have so much on our plates that we don’t have time to check social media out?

Maybe.

Is it because your falling back on the excuse that you can’t measure social media? Please tell me that’s not the reason. If so, then please have a look at Olivier Blanchard‘s deck on the basics of social media ROI. Once you have rolled through it, I think and hope your fears on the ROI issue can be put to rest.

Another valid reason that may be preventing you from adopting social media may be budgetary. That can certainly affect any and all social media marketing efforts, as well as marketing efforts in general. If you got no money, then you go no money.  However, I do want to point out that the barriers for entry into social media are relatively low. In fact your only costs when first starting out will be or could be design and labor.

So know this, getting into “it” is easy. In fact Chris Kieff suggests just listening for the first 6 months before you do anything else. It’s quick to set up and easy to do.  I’m not adverse to that strategy, but think that maybe 2-3 months might be just as effective. But the point is, by listening for a bit, that gives you a feel for how things work in social networks and how brands, conversations, posts, links and search results all evolve because of social media.

Managing it takes a little bit more skill. My friend Jason Falls who writes a great blog on all things social media  marketing related, has a post on managing social media marketing. Though it’s from 2008, it’s still relevant and valuable even today. There are some great tips contained in the post.

So you might say you don’t have enough time.  Hey just like everything else in life, it’s all about time management and being efficient with your usage of time. Social media marketing is no different.  I have often said that social media marketing can be an incredible time suck, but the way to work thru that, is to make sure you have a plan every day that applies to your social media marketing strategy and speaks to your social media tactics. Above all stick to it. This includes your personal social media interactions. You have to know how much you allow yourself each day to engage on your own social networks.

Another issue that prevents marketers from even starting and which might be completely out of their hands, is there could be legal constraints. I can tell you from first hand experience how difficult it can be sometimes when any copy or any site designs that you create have to then pass the litmus test of legal. It seemed that everything we did was always not with the customer in mind, but always under the auspices of, “I hope legal is cool with this…”

Beyond that, you may have corporate policies that may prevent your marketing department from engaging in social media, if so, it’s up to you to try and get corporate to look at the bigger picture of social media marketing and its effectiveness. Help them create a social media policy both internally and externally that allows you to use social media in your marketing efforts! Work with them, because there could be a very high likelihood that they have no clue of social media and thus they will err on the side of caution and completely lock down your efforts and attempts at social media marketing.

Lastly, I will say this. Given that search results can return articles and blog posts that rank high on the how to’s of social media and social media marketing, I think it’s important to trust one’s peers and their associated networks. What I’m saying is that if you have questions, go to Twitter and ask a trusted and valued resource. I rely on my network. Rely on yours and get started. it’s not too late.

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Todays #SocialMedia Tweetchat Topic: The Social Media RFP: How to Get the Best Results

RFP_ImageIf you want to purchase an accounting system, customer relationship manager (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform for your company, it’s a pretty established process.  There are a few meaningful vendors in your space determined by the size of your company, the features are all pretty clear and there are case studies galor for how-to and how-not-to select, implement and run those systems.  Now, if you want to source some external help for social media, well that’s a different story.

We hear how everyone is a social media expert whether they’re certified or self-proclaimed.  You can find people who believe many are akin to snake-oil salesmen and of little use.  But if you are a company who needs external help, how do you weed through this entirely new industry?  That is the point of this post, to effectively source external software and/or services to help deliver on your social media initiatives.

The industry is growing by the day: Agencies (traditional, interactive, digital, public relations, etc), Consultants (individual or small teams), web-development (SEO, measurement, advertising, now with social elements), Software Vendors, Service Vendors and you could continue to sector this list ad nauseum.  All of these different components all have varied levels of experience whether personal or corporate and varied levels of perceived successes.  Wading through all this fluff to get to someone who can meet your specific needs is difficult at best.  One of the most proven methods of sourcing external suppliers is through a Request For Proposal process or RFP.  As stated in Wikipedia, an RFP is:

“is an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. A bidding process is one of the best methods for leveraging a company’s negotiating ability and purchasing power with suppliers. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront.”

Where to Start?  There is a widely accepted order by which to initiate and execute a typical RFP.

  1. Establish Criteria for Evaluation: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” ~ Alice in Wonderland.   Two key things here: 1) pull together a cross-functional team to develop criteria.  this gets broader input and incorporates all departments from the start which will make ultimate buy-in that much easier. 2) evaluate your needs and develop criteria that would best meet those needs.
  2. Vendor Research: Once you have identified the criteria by which to evaluate, begin to research which vendors may fit (large agencies, small consultants, big integrators, small off-the-shelf, etc) and develop a preliminary list.
  3. Request For Information (RFI) or Request For Qualifications (RFQ): Some will say this step is not necessary or that it drags out the entire process too long.  I tend to disagree however as it allows you to understand the market better and, done correctly, will provide additional direction for your RFP.  From the RFI, you can eliminate roughly half of the prospective vendors on you list.
  4. Develop and Send the RFP: Here are 2 RFP Templates to consider Sample Social Media Template from Social Media Group and  Sample Unbranded SEO RFP.  Possible organization by Purpose/Goals, Criteria, Timelines, Vendor Questions / Responses, initial cost estimates.  The RFP should convey what you are looking to accomplish, the criteria by which you will measure, the expected timelines, additional capabilities and cost estimates.  This will elicit consistent responses by which to evaluate and rank the responses.
  5. Review the Responses: taking into account the criteria, evaluate the best responses by committee (remember the more input along the way, the easier the buy-in at the end) and narrow down to a top three (or simply choose a winner – see the next bullet for why not to do this)
  6. Interview the top 3 responses: At this point, you notify the vendors they have either made it to the finals or they have been eliminated from consideration.  By having this process, you maintain the most negotiating leverage.  During this phase, you can narrow the scope, interview vendors and negotiate final costs.  If vendors know they are still competing, they will continue to put the best package together that they can offer.  If you wait to negotiate pricing after you award a final vendor, the negotiating leverage moves to the vendor.
  7. Make a Selection:this speaks for itself.  Remember to organize timelines and accountability from both sides to make sure everyone knows who’s responsible for what during the installation process.

Now this is a traditional process and for the most part I would follow this procedurally.  My one hesitation is actually in developing social media criteria, companies will typically lump technology, strategy development, execution, community management, SEO, advertising purchasing, etc into one big project labelled “Social Media Initiative”.  Personally, there is not one company let alone person who could pull this entire project off.  My recommendation then, is to create sections of the RFP and allow vendors to submit responses only for those areas where they are strong or to actually create 3-4 separate RFP processes which most companies are not equipped to pull off.  Let us know in the comments if there is a better process that you have encountered.

While this is a good start, it does not provide the nuanced detail needed to truly start this process for your own company.  For this, we bring in the creator of the Social Media RFP and top strategist Maggie Fox.  Maggie and her team at the Social Media Group work with companies like Ford Motor and SAP to deliver social media solutions.  She will moderate this week’s session and help us all prepare to source external suppliers to help meet our social media needs.  This week’s topic and specific questions include:

Topic: The Social Media RFP: How to Get the Best Results

Q1: How do you formulate a proper RFP that conveys your social media goals?

Q2: How do you identify the vendors, consultants or agencies to send your RFP to?

Q3: How do you evaluate your responses to pick the best solution?

Please join us this week as Maggie Fox moderates our Tuesday #socialmedia chat at noon EST.  You can follow along by watching #sm43 from any twitter client or simply from our LIVE page.

Happiness, Heroes and Relationships: 3 Lessons

Interesting day unfolding before me today. I’m going to provide you 3 lessons in relationship marketing. One of the first blog posts I read this morning was written over at Jason Falls’s social media explorerer. The post was about how social media can open the door for happiness marketing. I’m down with that, since scare tactics seem to be de rigueur these days. My take away points from this are as follows:

Social media offers a way to build your business by making people happier, rather than the other way ‘round.

People who feel like they’ve been heard are happier than people who don’t.

If you refer to yesterdays blog post, you will see that one of my deadly “sins” for a social media marketer are the pissing off of a customer. Any time we can make a customer happy, shouldn’t you take it? When you help someone or make them happy, are you not happy as well? Isn’t that, or can’t that have a viral effect? Come on people start thinking of the power that you posess to make people happy and use it.  The quality of a good relationship will make YOU happy. Lesson #1.

So after reading this article, I happen across Peter Kims’s blog post titled How to create successful hero marketing and my take away from this was to beware of gods with clay feet and to thine own self be true. Essentially Peter is saying that you either worship your heroes in social media, you want your heroes to notice you or you want to create your own hero persona.  Please read his whole post, it really raises some questions on just  what exactly is it that we want to achieve? Below is part of my response to his post.

The hero marketed to his followers and they did as they were told because their egos told them that perhaps it would open doors and allow them to get closer to the marketing guru…But once they got in, I think some might have realized that it was just another NING network.

But it serves up two good points that you have mentioned. Seth leveraged his hero worship status to drive sales via WOMM and the viral aspect of invite only status: and his followers/readers and their egos fell for the ego trap and bit.

 

The relationships that you cultivate all have a motivation. The ones that have the most impact on you and your life will be the ones that make you happy. They also will be the ones that to a certain degree are mutually satisfying. That isn’t saying that they might not involve some ego, but relationships are as much the driving force social media as any other component. i.e. the conversation  and the realtionship that springs from it,is not a monologue. Lesson #2.

Relationships. it’s what drives everything we do. Relationships are our universe. You might not agree but I will tell you that in the immortal words of John Donne, “no man is an island” especially in social media. Our relationships define us as much as any metric in social media. For example: Number of visits, Number of subscribers, number of readers, number of followers, number I’m following, blogs I’m reading, people I recommend- ALL Relationship driven.

But in some cases the relationship is not perfect. It has it’s “warts and all”. And we’re taught that we should tuff it out and eventually things will get better. Well you know what? In some cases that just isn’t true. And people end up bitter and angry and saying things they don’t mean because they stayed in the relationship entirely too long. Which leads me to Maggie fox and Geoff Livingston. They decided to not go through with their planned “merger”. They called it off a little over a month after they had announced they were teaming up. Rather than fight through it, they both had the foresight to realize that maybe it wasn’t going to work out. So the end result? A relationship intact. Some disappointment but in the end, no damage done.

In the end,  it’s all about the quality of ALL of the relationships you cultivate, and what you do with them in all of there various forms and stages. Lesson #3, Can you say Micro Interactions anyone?

 

Twebinar 3, a Mashup of Heavy Hitters

So yesterday was the final Twebinar in the series of 3. I’ve written about how successful the other 2 were and this one did not disappoint. What makes these twebinars better than good, are the components, that in their own right are singularly successful.  Combined into a mashup of staccato like proportions though, they then take on a life of their own.. It is in short a live show, a webinar, live video, taped video, live Q & A, and twitter. Will it blend? Ohhhh yea it did and yes it does.

Each of the Twebinars is and was hosted by Chris Brogan  from Crosstech Media, who currently is the pied piper of all things social media related and rightly so. Chris knows everyone and everyone knows Chris, so it works. Along with David Alston from Radian 6, Chris and David have melded multiple technologies and people into a workable format for robust discussions. In the course of the hour plus twebinar Chris trots out all of the hitter heavy hitters in marketing, PR and social media like Todd Defren, Maggie Fox, Sally Falkow, and Paul Gillin, to name a few, and in rapid fashion they give you their take on all things, in this case, the art of listening in the space that we all are swimming in right now. How to listen, as I tweeted yesterday is not a novel concept, but you would be surprised how often it is ignored and overlooked as a tool of measurement. All of yesterdays guests and fellow twitterers essentially said nothing to the contrary either.

I’ll tell you why I like twebinars. It’s an opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas and opinions on what I think works, with my peers, with my colleages, and with people that are looking for answers. All in an insanely fun and interactive format. In fact, all of the participants have that exact opportunity because we are as much a part of the twebinar as are the people that Chris had on. It’s why it works.

Glitches? A few but all temporary and expected. The upside? 95% of those who participated woudl do it again. And the downside?  I’m sure there was a downside if someone chose to find one, but on the surface, I’d say Chris and David, and all those who were a part of the Twebinars, would say in baseball parlance, went three for three. To check out the tweets from yesterdays Twebinar, Try #tweb3 on Summize. I would keep your 2 ears open for the next one.


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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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