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Archive for January, 2010

Social Media Marketing is Hard Work

Before we get into this, I want you to know that I have had this type of situation happen to me more times than I can count. So I have to ask you, Do you have client meetings like this? Where you ask all or parts of the bulleted questions and conversations below?

  • OK, so lets talk about your business objectives. What are they?
  • Tell me what you want to do and how you are currently doing it.
  • Who are your customers?
  • What are your current marketing initiatives?
  • How are they working out for you?
  • Do you have a budget that you allocate for all of this?
  • What has been the return on those activities for you?
  • What has been the most successful for you?
  • What didn’t work and why?
  • What’s the competition like?
  • Do you have any help?
  • You worked with another agency? Why did they suck?
  • So you got nothing out of it?
  • Lets check out the website.
  • Let’s see how you are ranking? Who built this? Who manages it?
  • So you want to know about social media?
  • What do YOU know about social media?

And after you have done that…the client waits for you to finish and then asks…

Can you make us a Facebook page and get us ranked #1 on Google?

Then you blink.

So, would you take the gig?

Have you ever vetted a client? Do they have any idea how difficult social media marketing is? New clients want a piece of that social media pie, but as a consultant or agency it’s up to you make them take a step back, show them that it’s just another spoke on the marketing wheel and temper their expectations into realistic and achievable benchmarks with results. If you don’t do that, you will fail and your clients will be pissed.

So would you take the gig above? What would you say to this client?

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Social Media Thought #65 ~ Corporate Adoption

In our never ending and ongoing series of social media thoughts, we bring you the corporate social media adoption conundrum. As a large company, should you embrace the personal brands within your organization that might be thriving in the social media world?

What’s the worst that could happen? What is the downside? Is your fear well founded? Do you have an example? A theory as to why you wouldn’t leverage it?

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You have 11 months to step up your social media game

What are you looking for when you read the latest link bait blog title? I’m always looking for the new tool. I’m looking for what I haven’t found yet, We all are. It’s why new diet books keep popping up on book shelves. Because people keep buying them. Because what worked before just doesn’t seem to be doing it now. We’re all constantly looking for a new approach, a new way to do things. Social media is no exception. We just have a different name for it, it’s called social media obsolescence.

Here’s an example:

You see as a society we’re just not satisfied. This extends to the social networks that we use. Yes, we all are using Facebook, and they are truly the exception to the rule. They are the immovable force. But other sites just die on the vine but for no other reason than it has reached it’s point of critical mass. It’s now in decline for the simple reason that we are looking for, no craving more than what that site delivered to us flawlessly.

To that end, I often find myself pondering whether I could possibly write something that hasn’t been said already. What will satisfy this rabid audience of social media consumers looking for the brass ring or the uber answer? Well the answer is, every day there is another great batch of great posts from some really smart people that I’m pleased to know professionally. Each with a new twist, a different angle, a fresh thought. Which tells us that indeed we are in the nascent stages of this monolith that we call social media.

So what’s there left to do?

What is left is for you and even me, to take all of these thoughts and processes and put them to good use and into action. Then you, my dear readers must pay it forward. No more selfish consuming.

You need to become the next legion of social media foot soldiers. We still have so many people that are completely perplexed and yet those of you that have been playing in the sandbox now for say the last year, know so much more than 75% of the population. That’s you! Start sharing what you know and what you have read. Don’t keep it to yourself.  Be a creator, as well as a conversationalist. Push the envelope in 2010, you have 11 months to get it done!

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Social Media for B2B-10 links for the week that was in Social Media

Last week seemed to be the week to talk about social media and B2B. And rightly so. You see, THAT is the niche that all marketers and consultants need to be focusing on right now. Why? Because B2B is focusing on social media. The impact of social media on B2C is obvious, but B2B is starved for information, case studies, consultants that know what they are doing and knowledge. Most don’t know in what direction to head, or where they should start.

My word to you, point your efforts towards B2B. In the meantime, here are some links that may make you better at what you do, four of which are about…social media and B2b.

1) First up is a fun site. This site is so chock full of wisdom its not even funny, well actually it is, but check out Tweeteorites

2) I couldn’t have said it better than this: Using Balsamiq Mockups feels like you are drawing, but it’s digital, so you can tweak and rearrange controls easily, and the end result is much cleaner. Teams can come up with a design and iterate over it in real-time in the course of a meeting. IMHO, this is bloody simple and easy to use.

3) We cannot stress enough how important it is to engage but here is a post that stresses how important it is to, yep you guessed it, engage and also. how to win. How to Fail at B2B Social Media

4) Speaking of B2B, forget what you just read and read this. Forget Facebook and Twitter, For B2B, it’s all about Linkedin. How many of you currently use Linkedin in your social media marketing/marketing efforts?

5) In my humble opinion,  some really smart women get the short end of the stick in our business. However. thanks to Lee Odden, they are getting some nice recognition in this post of 25 women who rock social media. I’m happy to say that I know 3/4 of those mentioned on this list.

6) Ever heard of Shamable, the no BS social media guide? Me neither until last week. Some good content/writing here.

7) Remember when I told you to forget about Facebook? I lied. Again. New Study Reveals Facebook Better Than Twitter for Marketers So another question to you: Are you using Facebook as a marketing tool? If so, in what way? How are you measuring?

8. Buzzom has some nice analytics tools and some cool graphics. Don’t worry it’s free.

9) So all of that B2B stuff probably has you confused on what you should do right? Stop, go, tweak, advance slowly, what is it? Well maybe you should read this Forrester post on Social Media’s impact on B2B marketing budgets.

10) Lastly, I Love the concept of Twitterfall but the interface sucks.

Take all of these posts and share them. Learn from them and then do your thing. Lastly, make sure you have fun doing it. Peace.

This week’s #Socialmedia Tweetchat topic: Twitter What’s Happened and What’s Coming!

TwittervilleIt is not often that a technology comes along and changes the world.  That is the case with Twitter.  Started in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter is a micro-messaging platform used to communicate via the web or mobile 160 characters at a time.  In only a few short years the service, both widely acclaimed and widely criticized, has certainly had it’s impact across all corners of the globe.

The impact varies as much as the individuals who use it.  Some things Twitter has been used for includes:

  • Reporting News – the first news and pictures of the Hudson plane crash were sent out on Twitter before any major media was on the scene.
  • Civil Unrest– like the twitterscope (microscope that Twitter creates, yeah I just made that up!) around the Iranian presidential elections of 2009.  The world gained insight into the civil dissention surrounding the election proceedures with detail like nothing ever witnessed before.
  • Education – grade school teachers turning to Twitter to help in class projects and providing global experiences.
  • US Politics– most notably, President Barack Obama used Twitter daily to connect with supporters pre-inauguration.
  • New Business – small companies using Twitter to scale like Threadless and others use it to pick up incremental business like Tony & Alba.
  • Public Relations – many companies are lifting the corporate communications veil and using Twitter to humanize the organization like Kodak’s CMO.  Government agencies are also using Twitter to communicate better

Need more examples?  Well, this week’s moderator actually wrote the book on Twitter case studies from over a hundred interviews he completed.  Now he wants your story.  Shel Israel has a storied career in the social media space helping companies, from start-up to grown-up, better utilize digital communications to grow their businesses.  This week’s #socialmedia chat will take a look at how Twitter is affecting all of us and where Twitter’s value will lie in the future.  As one of the industry’s most respected thought leaders, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to “hang out” with Shel Israel for an hour.

Topic: Twitterville – What’s Happened, What’s Coming

Q1: How did Twitter change you business in 2009?

Q2: How will Twitter change in 2010?

Notice anything different here?  This week we will focus on only two questions (compared with the usual 3).  Please join us Tuesday 01/26 at 12 noon EST and follow along at #sm44

The sea change in Twitter sentiment

I thought it was just me and thus I wrote about the rise of the transactional conversation of Twitter on Monday. Then yesterday David Binkowski threw a post up on Shamable  about gaming social media.  At the same time Hubspot put out it’s 3rd state of The Twittersphere report.  And Todd Defren lastly writes about moving the needle on Twitter.  All of these posts and reports and what have you, alluded to something that may be occuring before our very eyes and that’s this:

Conversations on Twitter have deteriorated into flat out unadulterated pimping of one’s wares, or the company they work for.

As new marketers and companies flock to Twitter, their predisposed notions of how to use Twitter have been fueled not only by us subconsciously, but also by other marketers and individuals who “think” that the best way to use Twitter is as a one to many broadcast mechanism.

Subconsciously, we have become a party to and have embraced traditional marketing on Twitter.

The conversations have eroded into flat out pimping, so has the spirit of what all of us celebrated no less than a year ago. The conversation and ensuing relationship. But not, for some of us, we’ve become jaded, and wary of what it it that you want. For some of us,  the quality of the conversations are few and far between and it’s our fault.

I know, some of you are going to fire back and say “What conversations?”  You’ll say, “Twitter is not a platform for conversations and never was.” You’ll say,” Who can have conversations in a 140 charcaters or less?”

The interuptive interaction?

And maybe that is what the true evolution of what Twitter is or what it should be?… A way for brands and individuals to pimp themelves and try an extract something from the engagement.

Instead of learning more and developing a relationship with the people you follow and that follow you, Twitter now just might be turning into one big drive in theater to make out in now. Who needs conversation?

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.


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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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