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Archive for June, 2010

What’s the ROI of your phone?

I had to embed this. Partly because I didn’t feel like writing today but also because this is just a really good thought provoking video.

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An Open Letter to a New Social Media Consultant

Below is an email response I gave to someone I did not know who is determined to reinvent themselves and reposition their very talented skills in the social media arena.

Dear _____, you’re right, most companies don’t understand what it takes to be engaging, and most don’t have the right staff deployed, and some are not sufficiently funded to create engaging content-but they’re getting better.

And it is a never ending battle to get all the right departments involved and on the same page to really interact with people in a total 360 degree process.

Yes, you’re right, I am an evangelist trying to change this situation, but I am nowhere close though to being an expert, no one is; But I do try to come up with social media based creative, promotional/engagement ideas that are tailored to the client which work to begin the transition into social media- that’s a big part of what I do. I love it. Soup to nuts if you will, from strategy to implementation and all points in between. But I would say 50% of the battle is education on the front end, with a concerted effort on the back end to get them comfortable enough internally to be social externally without me, in the long run.

The great thing about social is that we can suggest specific ways that they can use social media to amplify what they are doing, that might be of interest to people who are not brand enthusiasts- and we can tailor platforms and tools to meet the needs of staff and customers. But in the end- what really determines success is not what I preach and instruct them to do-it’s a concerted effort to “do” it on their own. They need to own social. Not me. I already own what I do, because I have a belief in it’s transformative capabilities. Passion? you bet.

As I have said in the past. “I can teach you how to use social tools and social platforms, but I can’t teach you how to be social. That’s not my job.

I applaud you for reaching out to me because it sounds like you may be starting to drink the Koolaid- but it is a process in which a lot of people try to hopscotch the conversation and go right for the sale. Don’t do that. Be real. Be transparent. Be authentic.

But before you can start selling yourself as a social media consultant. You have to use the tools yourself, utilize the platforms and take some companies from point “A” and back again. Fail some. win some. and try some different things.

It sounds and looks like you have the background-but now you have to apply that to the new media world.

The easiest way to start, would be to grasp something like Tumblr.com and or Posterous or even WP, and start to share your thoughts, ideas, wisdom and experience with others. Join a community like you did with SM2day, comment on blogs and start to build up some new media credibility.

The good news about social media is that it is ever evolving and the diverse backgrounds of some really successful people who are doing some great things for companies of all shapes and sizes is expanding daily, so there is plenty of room for you on this train. Just don’t give up easily. It takes time.

Look forward to talking with you when you come to Naples

Marc

The customer experience slips through the cracks for Regal Entertainment Group

Yet another cautionary tale.

Crisis management, contingency planning, reputation management, leadership, why are these so hard? why are they so hard to grasp, to fathom and to implement? Maybe there is a perception that because they don’t figure into the day to day operations of organizations large and small that they’re not that important. Or are they?

It’s funny though, just when they’re needed most, you can’t find them; and it’s right then that everyone seems to ask-“What do you mean we don’t have policies, plans and procedures in place for “…

We talk all the time about the need to have social media crisis management tools, procedures and policies in place for good reason. Why? They work. They help. The mine field is littered with companies that have not done a good job in this area. The most recent is obviously BP Oil.

Why are crisis management policies and plans needed? Because customers, consumers are empowered now.  When customers and people are upset and have been wronged, they can take to social networks and the power of viral socialness and vent and complain and create momentum to make a difference and affect change.

Companies need to be prepared for this-even if it never happens. Because you never know when things will fail and when someone might complain. You never know when groups, large groups, will take to social networks, large social networks and complain about your company. Why wait?

It’s why you monitor. It’s why you listen. It’s why you have these policies/plans in place.

Here’s a mini situation. Two days ago another opportunity to get it right fell by the wayside. This one though isn’t neccessarily social media related, yet the difference now is whereas before there might not have been a way or platform to complain there now is. So it does have social media undertones.

I decided to take my son to see Toy Story 3. There was a huge storm sitting on top of Naples, Florida, so a movie seemed like a great idea. The Regal Entertainment Group operates the largest and most geographically diverse theatre circuit in the United States, consisting of 6,745 screens in 546 theatres in 38 states. So they are a large outfit.

Yet it would appear that they have no  customer service contingency plan in place for when their systems “go down” to complete transactions. Their contingency if you will, is to take cash, which systemically eliminates the huge section of their customers that came armed with a debit or credit card only

So here’s how it went down.

3 windows all open and yet all were saying they could take cash only because their systems were down. Wait, no this one says it can…  We went from one window to the next to the next. And yet one window was able to take debit or credit cards?  Wouldn’t all windows be on the same system? The information seemed to be inconsistent. No messaging to let people know of the current situation. No one out front, no signage, no manager, nothing.

We were able to get in, but I was already thinking about the disconnect in “managing” a customer service situation that seemed to be getting uglier by the minute.

Next up, popcorn and snacks. My assumption? I used the debit card out front, so the system must be back up and on line. Long line later, I order, present my card and am told that the system is down and they can only take cash. Are you serious? I tell them I just used it out front. They say they are told that the system is down. I tell them to try it. They say, like robots, that they are only to take cash. You mean you’re told only to take cash? Yes. You can’t even try and swipe the card? No. I just waited in line for 15 minutes. Sorry.

I look behind me and the line is swelling. I look to my left and it’s like this exact conversation is happening across the board. Where’s the manager, where’s the signage, where’s the “make it right act”? Rainchecks? free popcorn? Something?

I resolve to blog about it because I don’t have time to talk to the manager who I do spot trying to handle several large groups of irate people. I wonder what would have happened if I had tweeted about it? What would have happened if they had been proactive? I probably would have blogged about that as well.

But now a not so favorable customer experience will now end up online thanks to the intersection of search and social media…Oh well.

Why are companies allowing you to operate without a net in social media?

And yet it’s happening, alot! According to a May 2010 study by Digital Brand Expressions, 59% of social marketers are operating “without a game plan.” How is that possible? I’m not sure who is at more fault here, the marketer or the company they work for? I would understand that a small number might not do this, but half? Six out of Ten are just creating Facebook, Youtube and Twitter profiles?

What’s the point? Geez! From that same study the distribution was interesting for those that “did” have a plan..

What’s up with HR? Last time I checked HR is one of the easiest departments to integrate social in to. No plan for HR and it’s social media recruitment and vetting of candidates

And last, the irony of it all. This is the one that makes me chuckle-It’s like admitting that seat belts save lives but I’m still not going to wear one.

Clearly, we still have a long way to go in this industry…

Your customers are not using Social Media-Case Study

I was talking to an SMB owner the other day who is doing everything that he is supposed to do in regards to social media usage for his company, and doing it seemingly correctly. By correctly I mean he has a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account which he updates semi-regularly. He is transparent, authentic, and he shares content and advice liberally when he can. He reads and comments on other blogs when he has time and he is thinking of starting  his own blog. He loves what social media can do and is a champion of it. There’s one problem tho.

His customers are not on Twitter and Facebook.

Or are they? The back story: It has not been a year of engagement for either platform that he’s on and thus the growth of fans and followers has not been consistent or completely measureable. He still loves it, but his perception that social media could be a game changer for his business is waning.

My thought? He may be echoing a larger sentiment of SMB’s far and wide. More and more businesses are walking away from social media because they are not seeing “the immediate results”.  Perhaps the first mistake is coupling the term “immediate results” with social media-Social is not a quick fix.

If we look under the hood of  the SMB owner, we would see that though he is on multiple platforms, there is minimal engagement. His usage of both is scattershot and not very consistent. The effort that he puts into both is casual at best and he measures nothing. If we add a dose of unrealistic expectations coupled with zero strategy, then he is ripe to walk away and say that social media did not work for his business.

So are his customers using social media or not? He doesn’t think so. What do you think?

Using Twitter to grow your business-Webinar

Using Twitter to Grow Your Business
Live Webcast June 23, 2 PM ET / 11 AM PT

Twitter describes itself as “a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what’s happening now.” And with over 75 million global users generating over 50 million tweets per day, there’s a lot to share and discover.

Small and mid-sized businesses have discovered Twitter and are using it to raise awareness of their business, engage and support customers, generate leads, drive sales and much more.

Presented by MyVenturePad and SAP, this live interactive webinar will explain how small and mid-sized businesses can quickly and easily get started on Twitter, as well as advanced tips and techniques for using Twitter to grow your business.

This free, one-hour session will cover how to:

  • Establish and build your Twitter presence
  • Use Twitter to engage and support your customers
  • Generate leads and bring in new business using Twitter
  • Use Twitter as part of your firm’s marketing mix
Featuring:

Brian Solis is author of the new book Engage, the complete guide to build, cultivate and measure success in the new Web. He is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. He is principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning New Media agency in Silicon Valley, and has led interactive and social programs for Fortune 500 companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. BrianSolis.com is among the world’s leading business and marketing online resources.

Marc Meyer is the Director of Social Media and Search at Digital Response Marketing Group in Naples, Florida. He frequently speaks, writes and evangelizes on the emergence and convergence of social media into our lives, and his blog is ranked in the Adage Power 150, the top 5 of all social media marketing blogs ranked by Post Rank Analytics. Marc is also a featured writer and member of his favorite “go-to” site, Social Media Today. In recent months, Marc was nominated as one of the top 100 online marketers of 2009, has won a Hermes creative award for co-creating a Tweet Town Hall on healthcare, and has been recognized as one of the top social media strategists to look out for in 2010.

Steve King, moderating for this event, is a partner at Emergent Research and a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Steve’s research is focused on identifying, analyzing and forecasting global trends and shifts impacting small businesses, including the growing small business role Facebook and other social media are playing. Steve is the blogger in residence at MyVenturePad.

Monitoring “G”

I was pulling some info about tomorrow’s #hashtag social media host Shel Holtz when I came across a video on his Posterous page about Gatorade’s  brand monitoring war room.

The video is well done and I love how they are investing time and effort in polishing and managing the brand via a social media war room. But it was the comment below the video that bothered me.

ooohhhhhh amazing !!
You check the stats of your websites ??? You gather tweets – with like, twitter search ?
Sooooo impressed !
LOL

I would volunteer that a bit more is required than that; but see what we, as marketers and managers of brands have to put up with? And you wonder why we  keep having to “sell” social media?

“Like” social media is “like”, soooo easy!

NOT!


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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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