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Archive for May, 2008

13 more green/socially conscious social networks worth noting!

In an effort to keep building momentum so that we can sustain ourselves without being so dependant on others, but also so that we can help those who cannot help themselves, I give you 13 more green, socially conscious social networks. With that being said, I think the more you, we, me, pay forward what we can, the more you get back. Especially if you are not looking to receive anything in return.  I welcome any additions to this list. But I also think it’s important that we all actually look at the list of sites and see where we might be able to contribute.  If that doesn’t float your boat then at least share this list with someone else. I want to give a shout out to Earth2Tech for getting the ball rolling.

http://www.edenbee.com

http://www.people4earth.net

http://www.onebuckfortheplanet.org

http://www.hugg.com/

http://www.justmeans.com/

http://www.SaveYourWorld.com

http://www.unltdworld.com

http://www.dothegreenthing.com

http://greenandcleanmoms.ning.com/

http://www.greeniacs.com

http://www.gaia.com

http://www.wecansolveit.org

http://www.MindBodyGreen.com

 

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Surprise! Conversations with the customer pay off!

What has been the most effective thing you’ve done to grow your business?

What tools, software or otherwise, have been invaluable to you? Have you used any social media tools?

I asked this in LinkedIn this past week, and I got news for you, Just when my faith is beginning to waver in how business is conducted these days, I got alot of great answers. Here are some snippets of those responses. see if you can come up with what the end all be all answer is yo the question.

Tim Brown of In The News “Number one with me sounds SO much like “consultant-speak”, but I stop myself and think about how the customer experience is working. I’m constantly trying to make that emotional connection and deliver an enjoyable buying experience. Our product is a non-critical item, easily deleted from the budget. If we build the relationship and make it easy, customers will still buy.”

Brian McCarthy of Tipping Point Media “Build a solid engagement strategy for business development that can be repeated within the sales organization. Once everyone is speaking the same language, it’s easier to push new customer development.”

Jolie O’dell “IRL conferences, LinkedIn, Twitter, and (surprisingly) Chatterous. Through these tools, I was able to start my own business and network with people who could tell me how to do that in all the right ways. The three social nets I named are repositories for best practices in new media, marketing, and technology, the latter two because they’re teeming with brilliant early adopters.

And immersion in the right kinds of social media can make things happen very quickly, as well. It’s often like being at an IRL conference 24/7… As long as you learn how to use it properly!”

Kent Lewis of Anvil Media puts it this way:  This may not be the answer you’re looking for, but I would advise you not to be distracted by tools, software and social media. They are enablers, but not solutions. Start with a unique vision and world class product, then market your story. Oh, and read Good to Great and First Break All The Rules.

Second, we spend a great deal of time evolving and perfecting our product offering and ensure we provide world class service. The end result is that we’ve averaged 75% annual growth over the past 3 years, without having a sales staff or a marketing budget. Our team and our clients are our sales force and with high retention in both areas, it makes the work easier and much more enjoyable.

That said, the more pat answers to grow a business have largely been answered, but I’d say:
-public relations (builds a brand)
-search engine and social media marketing (go hand-in-hand)
-online and offline advertising (protects the brand)

Just make sure all of your marketing efforts are fully integrated…your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles are embedded in your email signature file, etc. It’s a brave new world, and everyone knows your a dog these days, so be authentic and remarkable

Or maybe Lisa Van Allen nails it on the head with her short but succinct list?

Most effective (in order):
1. live (in person) networking
2. public speaking
3. publication of articles in local media and online (blogs, e-newsletters)
4. website
5. social media (LI, Facebook, Twitter)

I think we’re getting warmer, Look what Karen Schultz says: “Listen without selling. Learn what works toward the customer’s team’s success. Choose a customer who matches your definition of partnership. Have their healthy growth in mind. How can you help their success. Be prepared to embrace the customer needs while exceeding their expectations, not yours. It is all about the customer. You are the customer’s advocate. Without the customer, you are not in business. The business you are in should be your passion, not about the weekend, not about the money ( I believe it will come in a fair fashion and you will feel great for your accomplishments, people will like to do business with you, people will advertise for you, and your customers will grow your business for you).

Ultimtaley they were all great answers but I will leave you with Tina Indalecio’s response: To be honest – the most effective thing I’ve done to grow my business has been offline.

My firm consistently used social media, blogs, html newsletters, surveys to get feedback on customer experience, etc. But those have really just been ways to stay in contact with the customer so they don’t forget us.

The conversion to actual business has always been through face-to-face interactions. I always asked for referrals and repeat business (online and offline). I created incentive programs to increase repeat business and referrals – then used online tools as one way to deliver the messages – but always followed up with a call or face-to-face meeting.

We would also hold a client thank you mixer every year and invite our clients and encourage them to bring a friend that could use our services. It was a great way for them to get new business as well from our other clients and they all loved it.

Ultimately, personal interaction has grown my business and the “phone” has been invaluable. For online items, they have helped in the following ways:

– Survey’s have been good at getting feedback. (I’ve used survey monkey regularly during and after each project closed)

– Html newsletters have been good at staying in front of the customer – but be sure to ask them what they want in the newsletter and then deliver it. (I’ve used constant contact and cooleremail)

– online social networks have been valuable at bouncing ideas off other professionals, etc. (like linkedin)

– offline social networks have been valuable for keeping a presence in the business community (like membership to your local business association)

Good way to head off into the weekend I think!

Addendum: Agencies are afraid of User Generated Content

A few days ago I wrote that the media was afraid of Web 2.0. I think what makes them more afraid, is the advent and wave of user generated content.  In an article specifically about this, titled Bud brings out the dude in consumers,  and written by Sean Egen,  Sean writes about how Anheuser-Busch decided to take things a step further by offering up its popular “Dude” campaign to the general public. And the results were impressive — even by Bud Light standards.

The offering took place in the form of a call for entries of consumer-generated “Dude” ads. Creators of the videos selected by Anheuser-Busch would be paid $5,000 each for their efforts. Along with the cash, they’d also get exposure in a highly visible online ad campaign. Bud Light would get fresh video content for a very reasonable price.effectiveone executive remarked at

“As for any concerns Bud Light may have had regarding the quality of consumer-generated content, those concerns were quickly overcome as submissions rolled in.

If you look at the current four Bud Light ‘Dude’ commercials that were produced by their agency, and compare them to our top 10 submitted versions, I think you’ll be remarkably surprised at how competitive ours are from a professionalism, acting, editing and sound point of view,” Perry said.

With what people are capable of putting together on little or no budgets anymore, the agencies should be quaking in their boots. Why? Dude…. Come on. Don’t you get it? Below is the Bud Lite Vid.

Traditional Media is afraid of Web 2.0

Jake McKee promised that this might be the most significant thing I see/read/watch this year. In a sense he’s right. I love when people make me think. Clay Shirky made me think. And what he says makes sense. You might have to watch it twice but what I take away from it and told Jake essentially the same thing, are three things. 1) traditional media is scared shitless about what is happening right now. Consumers with voices? And the ability to use them? 2) We all have a surplusof cognitive surplus and 3) The old, one voice marketing to many with traditional channels of one way communication are dying on the vine.

10 random social media facts, lists and questions I have for our web 2.0 world

 

According to Aaron Barnes , In 2006 the total marketing spend on social media was $350 million, the forecast spend for 2011 is more than $2.5 billion. A couple of thoughts cross my mind. 1-who is spending the money now and is the spend worth it right now given the fact that a lot of marketers are still feeling their way around in the dark. 2– by 2011, How many social networks will there be? 3– How much of that projected budget will go towards social nets that exist today?

4-I had heard that there were currently 850 social networks and that within the next 2 years we might see upwards of 250,00!  5-Do you believe that?

With that being said check out some interesting stats from september according to emarketer

The most widely used social media strategy used by US businesses was Blogs for editorial staff at 78% of total respondents. Check out the following in order of use:

Discussion Boards 76%

RSS 57%

Ratings and Reviews of articles or site content 47%

Profiles of Social Networking 45%

Photo Albums 39%

Chat 35%

Personal blogs 33%

Video-user submitted 35%

Podcasts 33%

Social Bookmarking 29%

Video Blogs 29%

Widgets(deployed on FB, Myspace and Google) 22%

Mobile Video/image text submission 16%

Wikis 16%

Citizen Journalism 12%

Micro-blogging (twitter, Jaiku) 6%

Virtual Worlds 4%

Other 8%

Couple of questions: 6-What constitutes other at 8%? and since this was done in September, 7-How much and in what directions do you think those numbers have moved for each that is mentioned? I have some thoughts but am always curious as to what other think. BTW, 8-How many of you do use what is mentioned? 9-How many of the list do you still use daily?, and 10-How much is for business use as they, say and how much is for personal use?

Conversation Killers

Joseph Jaffe has a great article called “Conversation Killers: Why most viral marketing amounts to lazy, clueless chatter“. Much to comment on, but I wanted to throw it there for now.

Is Justin Timberlake a Product of Cumulative Advantage?

As anyone who follows the business of culture is aware, the profits of cultural industries depend disproportionately on the occasional outsize success — a blockbuster movie, a best-selling book or a superstar artist — to offset the many investments that fail dismally. Read on-


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The Deets

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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