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Archive for the 'social business' Category

Does Transparency Need a Filter?

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If we thought millennials shared too much, what are we to think of the YouTube generation or as they might be called, Gen C? Better yet, what are we to think of anyone with zero filter nowadays? A product of the times? Good for them, they’re just being transparent?

I ask that because recently a friend of mine was on a call in which there were multiple participants.  He mentioned that one person took it as an opportunity to share their dirty laundry, their clean laundry and anything else that might be bothering them. All at the expense of the others on the call and at the expense of the allotted time for the call. He said that at best, some of what he was talking about might have been relevant. At worst, it was awkward and uncomfortable.

Funny thing, this was not a millennial nor a Gen C’er. We think the aforementioned groups share too much and have no concept of what should and shouldn’t be shared in social media, but I digress.

Some might applaud this “transparency” as a new way to do business where we can all share our thoughts and feelings, but when is it too much? Even in a loose business setting, which this was not apparently, and especially on calls, time is fleeting. Personal forums for airing what bothers you on a conference call is not the time or place. It’s a matter of etiquette and being respectful of others’ time.

This has nothing to do with no filters and transparency and everything to do with understanding what tact is in a business setting. Clearly, there is a difference between being tactful, being blunt, and being transparent and having no filters. The key is to understand which one you’re supposed to use and when you’re supposed to use it.

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The Reality of Social Currency

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One of the tougher jobs on any given days in the digital space is the curation and or the creation of good content. It’s everywhere and sometimes it doesn’t matter what RSS feeds ot Flip Boards or whatever you use to find it, it can slip through the cracks. Case in point, this morning I came across an interview with Erich Joachimsthaler, a former Harvard professor, author of over 40 articles & two books on brand strategy and the CEO of Vivaldi Partners Group. The interview, conducted by Steve Olenski on Explore B2B was titled: What Twinkies Can Teach Marketers About Comebacks And Social Branding.

Though it was a great read, I was struck by two particular exchanges that I’m semi-condensing. Pay attention to what Joachimsthaler says about social metrics.

Steve Olenski: What are some of things Hostess has done right in re-introducing and re-engaging the Twinkies brand with its fans in your opinion?

Erich Joachimsthaler: They have done well by building on key drivers of social currency mainly conversation, advocacy and affiliation (#cakeface instagram, etc). That is, the comeback campaign sought to activate loyalists and fans through various efforts on social networks. The good part about this effort is that it stretches the marketing dollars because it creates more visibility and awareness for the re-launch. At best, the effort creates some awareness to consideration conversion. The problem with this effort is that it does not lead toward purchase and loyalty.

The category requires constant and always-on top of mind marketing/PR buzz and it is hard to sustain such effort on social channels alone, and media advertising which is relatively expensive and not sustainable. I would say, it is impossible in today’s media cluttered environment, and consumers’ who tend to have ever shorter attention spans.

Olenski: How can Hostess ensure this (Twinkies return) will be a sustained effort and not just a fad that will eventually fade?

Joachimsthaler: Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers. It has about 650,000 likes on Facebook, compare this to more than 17 million for Nutella and 34 million for Oreo for example. Don’t measure the re-launch and sustained success on these metrics. Sustainable success will require driving consideration to purchase conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion. Those are the social currency metrics that really matter.

What caught my eye?

  • Social currency metrics worth measuring are driving consideration to purchse conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion.
  • Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers.
  • The key drivers of social currency are conversation, advocacy and affiliation

I know you’ve read and heard it all before about social currency and social metrics, or maybe not, but sometimes the message can resonate in different ways depending on the context in which it is said. In this context, it was said matter of factly. Well done!

Is Social Currency Counterfeit?

Check out this image.

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Now I’m pulling this next blurb from Vivaldi Partners via wikipedia but pay attention to it:

Vivaldi Partners defined social currency as the extent to which people share the brand or information about the brand as part of their everyday social lives at work or at home.

Now, let’s fast forward to an article that Jay Baer wrote in which he states that online influencer outreach is overrated:

I’m not suggesting that influencer outreach is useless or should be abandoned. But, it’s not magic beans. It needs to be looked at for what it actually is – the top of the funnel component of a larger program to generate awareness AND behavior using social media and content marketing.

So take all the aspects of social currency run them through how marketers use them, snap on Jay’s components and basically what you’re left with is a bunch of marketers floundering with the notion of what social currency is. They’re thinking that presence equates to value divided by attention will equal ROI. 

Social currency may not be counterfeit but we need to put the proper value on the currency before it’s too late.

 

Social May Artificially Validate Motivation and Intent But…

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Don’t let the title scare you. it’s really a simple notion actually. It goes something like this. You’re a marketer, you’re tasked to sell something online. You know about Google’s algorithm, you understand how to optimize for search, you know that you will be using WordPress because of it’s ability to add plugins and content on the fly. You have everything that is needed except actual people, buying customers and or web traffic if you will. You decide to make it social. Or become… wink wink, social.

You’re thinking that if  you meet, follow, friend and like enough people that you might be able to sell them on your product or they will find your site and buy. You figure that if you create social profiles everywhere and try and be everywhere at once, you have a better chance of selling stuff.  You and everyone else!

So…Are you trying to sell a product or make friends?

What’s your intent? To find buyers or to find friends?

What’s you motivation? To make money and to sell product or be social?

We call it social media but is social a means to an end that has nothing to do with being truly social? and what’s that “media” part of the term supposed to refer to? What is being “truly social” even mean? In order for there to be harmony, success and sales, do you as a marketer need to keep swimming in social circles in order to create genuine relationships in the hopes that one day after you have gotten past the whole trust thing that your prospect/customer will eventually buy something from you the company? That’s a helluva sales cycle. Most companies don’t have enough time to wait for that! Is there a workaround for that?

There’s an old saying and it goes like this. Quit trying to make out with the person who’s name you don’t even know yet.

Maybe we need to start calling a spade a spade. At the end of the day social and search may get you in the door and as a marketer you may have done your job of using what is at your disposal, but at some point it will still come down to trust, price, value and the user experience and not necessarily being everywhere and being “social.”  What if you made your intent perfectly clear in a social setting that you want to sell people something, how would that work out?  Sadly, it might not be pretty. Which means that you’re back to square one. Trust, value, price and user experience.

From a transactional standpoint social might get the conversation started for both parties and in some cases it might somewhat be artificial or even superficial for both parties-but in the end, it will always come down to you guessed it, trust, price, value and the user experience.  The problem is until marketers figure out a better way to convey trust, value, price and a great user experience-they’re going to have to bide their time getting to know who you are.

Are marketers okay with that?

 

Business Myopia-The Need To Realign Hope And Reality With Your Social Business

A lot of companies are going to transition to becoming a social business and fail horribly at it. It’s not entirely their fault. You might be sitting there and asking why not. Look no further than their website. It starts there. Here’s a real world example. 3 days ago I was on the phone with a prospective client, before I got on the phone I did a little research. First I wanted to look at their source code. I wanted to see what they thought of themselves. Regardless of who built the site, the meta tags that lie underneath can tell you a lot about what a company thinks they are, of how they view themselves.

I know, in the grand scheme of things meta tags don’t matter, but ahhhh, they do. It let’s people like me get a quick understanding of whether a client or company gets the rudimentary element of knowing who they are and how they want to be perceived online. you know why? Metas matter but not in the sense that we were all told or taught years ago. Metas matter because they drive the creation of content, the creation of bios, and the creation of hyperlinks from Tumblr and Twitter to YouTube and Pinterest. Metas are your descriptors of you and your company.

If you can’t tell me who you are with hyperlinks, geo specific hyperlinks,160 characters in a Twitter bio,25 characters for an adwords title, and or 70 characters for ad text, then how are you going to do it for your customers? The point being that search will continue to love social but before you even get to the point of cranking valuable content about you and your business. You have to have your act together structurally, internally and digitally.

Go look at all of your digital touch points and see if they pass the smell test. Are you painting the right picture of how search views all of your current content. Understand that part of being a social business is that, regardless of whatever social channel your choose-the digital content that you will create, has to align perfectly with what you do offline and what you currently have online.

When customers or prospects do a search, the results that they get back tell more of a story about you and your business then you may be aware of, and sadly the results may contain content that you had no control of. By the time you see it, or become aware of it-it’s too late, it’s been indexed and it’s virtually impervious to reputation management fixes.

Don’t wait for that to happen, go check your digital house and see if it’s in order. Align reality with perception and make sure that as a social business you understand that you are now searchable and accountable for content everywhere, starting with something as simple as your source code. Metas might not matter in search, but in reality, they can tell us what you think your business is.


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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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