Tag Archives: social media marketing

Calling Rules. Or Should I Say… Calling RULES!

10 Jun

mike brady phone

 

In the age of the text, email, and social channel messaging, an actual spoken conversation can be refreshingly productive. Do yourself a favor and instead of sending that next message, pick up the phone and chat with the person with whom you’re doing business. But as we may be a little out of practice, please keep a few things in mind: 

1. Calls on speaker phone: state upfront who is in the room.
Don’t set up your co-worker, client, supplier, or partner for a potentially embarrassing situation. If their success isn’t your success, then why are you in business together? 

2. Speaker phones on iPhones: forget it.  
The iPhone is a fantastic device. But let’s face it – the telephone part sounds horrible. Use a landline or have each person call in to a conference call number. If you’re on the run and have to conference in from a noisy Starbucks or airport, invest in a headset with microphone.

3. Use time zone labels.
Don’t just say “10” when setting up the time to call. 10 what? 10 eastern? 10 pacific? 10 pounds? 10 monkeys?  

4. Translate time zone for your client or partner.
If your client is in Mountain Time, translate your meeting time to Mountain Time. A little thoughtfulness can lead to clearer communication.  

5. EST versus EDT
Nothing says I don’t care about details like scheduling a call or meeting time in EST or CST when we’re on actually on EDT or CDT. I suspect that about one third of the business world thinks EST is a general abbreviation for EaSTern time. It’s not.

 The grammar police have “their there and they’re.” Time cops have this. 

Best practice: just drop the S or D altogether. ET, CT, MT, and PT are fine.  

 

salvador-dali-melting-clock

Our Finest Hour: 11pm According to Winston Churchill

3 Mar


Social Media marketers and community managers are channeling their inner Churchill.

At the onset of World War II, Winston Churchill needed more hours in the day. Sound familiar?

Being the leader of the free world at the time, Churchill was able to do the impossible and doubled the number of hours in his day.

Each day at around 4pm, he left the office, went home, and went to sleep. Around 7pm he woke up, went back to the office and worked with this war staff until about 4am. Then he’d go sleep until 7am, and start the day all over again! In essence, he did create two working days out of one!

And that’s exactly what many of those managing social media for their organizations are doing. And, without the nap! So many of my colleagues are standing down around dinner time, doing their own thing in the evening, and then jumping back in work mode around 11pm or so.

Do you fit this model? Are you jumping back in late in the evening after your time with IRL friends, family, kids, etc? I would love to hear your take on this.

Winston Churchill

Andy Griffith and The 3 Stages of Social Media Engagement

3 Jul

Note: here is a republished post from November of 2011 I wanted to share as we remember Andy Griffith today.

As we begin to wrap up a year of explosive growth in Social Media usage and engagement, I’m seeing many Social Media Marketers moving into new stages of their own involvement. It reminds me of similar changes of audience engagement by one of the all-time great story tellers.
  
I speak, of course, of Andy Griffith’s portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry!

Stage 1: Over the top and finding our way

At the start of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy’s depiction was the same as the characters he had been playing on stage and screen and in his popular monologues and comedy records for the previous few years. Andy was over-the-top, absurd, and loud. It’s what Andy knew how to do to get attention and laughs. 
 
Andy Griffith

Stage 1 Andy: All Laughs

We dig into our own history of past success and use those same tactics when launching our social media engagement. Sometimes it fits, but more often than not, marketers need to tweak their voice and role, leading to…


Stage 2: Getting down to business and finding our role

After the first season or so, Andy realized that it would be best for the show if he played the straight man and let those around him get the laughs. His decision to pay it forward catapulted the show into legendary status.

Andy Griffith

Stage 2 Andy: Paying It Forward

The character of Andy as the normal and wise hub for the crazy Mayberry citizens’ shenanigans is a great role model for how Social Media Marketers should carry themselves within their online communities. Be the Andy by helping solve your connections’ business problems, mediating different point of views, and most of all promoting others before yourself.

Note, many so-called Social Media “Experts” or “Gurus” are the equivalent of Deputy Barney Fife. They take credit for others’ heroics, crow about their own expertise, and obsess on the tools of the trade rather than the message. Barneys don’t really make a community worse; in fact, they can be funny. But in the end, we’re just laughing at them. 

 
Stage 3: Getting annoyed by and tired of those around us

It would be best if you as a Social Media Marketer could stay in a perpetual stage two. Toward the end of The Andy Griffith Show’s original run, Andy’s character further developed into a role that you don’t want to be. These episodes are easy to identify as they are in color and “Angry Andy” is constantly irritated by the dimwits around him.   

Andy and Aunt Bee

Stage 3 Andy: Annoyed

If you feel yourself getting easily agitated by the day to day engagement with the Goobers and Aunt Bees in your online communities, it may be time to stop and to move on to new challenges.
 

The Top 6 Numbers to Use for “Top ___ ” Lists

19 Dec

Everyday, bloggers and other content creators use the device of “The Top (insert a number) Things You (insert topic, advice, or other).” This is an easy way to attract readers who don’t really want to dive deep into a subject but want a quick read.

As we near the end of the year, I’m sure the lists of the best this or that from 2011 will be flying soon. So, as you develop your lists, think about what that number is that you want to us to stand out. Top 100? Too much. Top 40? Too old-school radio. Less than ten? Now you’re talking!  Here’s my list of the best numbers to use for lists, with absolutely no scientific evidence of anything.

The Top 6 Numbers to use for “Top _____” Lists:

#1 – 6

#2 – 10

#3 – 5 (tie)

#3 – 7 (tie)

#5 – 3

#6 – 9

Franchising Goes Social

25 Jul

Franchise Social Media


FranCamp 2011 is the first social media “un-conference” for the franchising industry and is happening this October in Nashville. All franchisors and franchisees are encouraged to attend to learn and share what’s working in social media marketing for franchise systems.

The format is simple: a low-cost, one-day event loaded with a fast-paced and aggressive agenda loaded with super-helpful content. After some sessions at this year’s IFA Convention, several IFA members and I discussed the need for a social media event for franchise systems that was more than just the typical “why use social media” discussion and really get down into useable, actionable takeaways.

I’m excited to be presenting on the topic of Twitter tactics and best practices for franchises. Some of the points we will be discussing are:

  • The dirty little secret of how your customers are actually using Twitter
  • Why Twitter requires completely different tactics than Facebook or Google+
  • 4 things to do if your Tweets are not driving business

Here’s the current lineup of speakers and panelists with franchise leaders who are making an impact with social:

Deb Evans, CEO, Computer Explorers

BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-Lite

Timothy Nobles, Founder, Words Go Here SEO

Jack Monson, VP, Engage121

Paul Segreto, CEO, FranchiEssentials

Jennifer MacDonald, Online Community Manager, WIN Home Inspection

AK Stout, CEO, Saying it Social

Joe Mathews, Founder, Franchise Performance

Amy Olson, Director of Marketing, The Maids International

Kurt Schusterman, CEO, Verlo Mattress Factory Stores

Thomas Scott, CEO, Brand Journalists

This daylong event will take place October 22 at CoLab in downtown Nashville. Plus, there will be a Tweet-Up on Friday evening at a Tasti D-Lite location in Nashville!

Outcome-Based Marketing – John Leavy

14 Jul

If you’re in or near Chicago next Tuesday, July 19, I suggest attending a special presentation by PRSA Chicago: New Rules of Marketing presented by marketing leader John Leavy.

John Leavy

I recently devoured his latest book, Outcome-Based Marketing. It’s a fascinating guide for all communicators and marketers to growing any business via the web.

 

Date: Tuesday, 7/19
Time: 11:30am

Place: Maggiano’s , 516 North Clark, Chicago

 

Gini Dietrich – Social Media for Senior Executives

12 May


Here are some video highlights from last month’s PRSA Chicago program. I had the honor of moderating the discussion and Q & A session with Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich and founder of the new SpinSucksPro. Video edited by Jack Newell. Enjoy!

And, if you haven’t already registered for the best networking event of the year for anyone in PR, Communications, Marketing, and Social Media, do yourself a huge favor and reserve your ticket now for the 2011 PRSA Chicago Skyline Awards Gala. Register here!

PRSA Chicago Skylines

Four Things To Do If Social Media Is NOT Increasing Sales

14 Mar

 
I won’t pretend to have some secret formula for Social Media ROI for franchises or any other types of organizations. I’ll leave that to the software companies who have recently popped up and discovered how huge the franchising industry is and want to build your Facebook page…
 

What I will tell you is this: you need to measure Social Media activity against your bottom line.

Is there a correlation? Is SM making an impact on sales, leads, customers, or your other most important metrics?

Social Media ROI

Is Social Media Making an Impact on Your Sales?


 
If Social Media engagement is increasing your numbers, then keep going!

If not, then you need to do one of these four things: 

1. Increase Social Media activity

2. Change Social Media tactics

3. Improve the content

4. Stop using Social Media

I don’t advocate #4, but it may be the right thing for some organizations. Let’s focus on the other three.

 
1. Increase Social Media Activity

How often are you engaging in conversations with consumers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all of the others? How often are you updating your blog(s) with something other than marketing materials and ads? 

Too many organizations rely on the Field of Dreams method of social media places: build it and wait for them to come. Sure there are 600 million users of Facebook, but how many actually run to your fan page once a week?

Best Practice: Post engaging content to your pages three times per week to set a cadence. 


2. Change Social Media Tactics
 
Maybe you’ve been posting to a Facebook Fan Page but getting no conversion of fans to customers. Perhaps your targeted consumers aren’t “living” on Facebook; they may be more apt to engage you on Twitter, a blog, or a LinkedIn group.  You must cover all bases and try all avenues to find your community. 

Best Practice: add a new platform or channel every 60 days for the rest of 2011. And, try setting up individual Fan Pages, profiles, or blog sites for each store, location, or franchisee.
 
 

3. Improve the Content

Is there value for others? Or is there value in this content for only you and your organization?

Here’s a good test: Take a quick look right now at the content on your blog(s), Facebook pages, or Twitter account. Is it all press releases, announcements about your company, promotions, and broadcasts about products and how you’re better than the other guys?  Guess who’s going to engage with you over this content? No one (except your co-workers and maybe some current customers who are being kind). 

Best Practice: include marketing content in one out of every ten posts. The other nine will draw consumers into the conversation about the industry, lifestyle, or other information in which they see value.

 

Don’t Be a Social Media Electrician

8 Mar

Social Media Electrician

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the negatives of being a Social Media Hammer Guru. Now I’m asking you to avoid becoming the social media equivalent of an electrician. 

Ever talk to an electrician who’s starting a job or project? What do they talk about the most?

Other electricians.

Specifically, they criticize the previous work done by other electricians who wired or rewired the place. There’s always lots of “that was done wrong”, “I would’ve done this differently,” and of course “that guy doesn’t know what he’s doing!”

The same goes for many trades: computer programmers, sales managers, and NFL coaches. It happens in any job. Maybe I’m giving electricians a bad rap.

Social media marketers and communicators can easily fall into this trap of spending all day pointing out flaws in others’ social plans and tactics. But unlike the electrical trade, there is not yet enough history to establish absolute Rights and Wrongs. As soon as we get close, platforms’ rules change, public sentiment shifts, or research appears showing us that we didn’t really know how few or how many consumers were engaged.

We will do ourselves a favor by not going down the path of the social media electrician or armchair quarterback. Social Media Marketing is still so new (yep, still no “experts”!) that we should relish this time of experimentation and crowd learning.

Why Being On Facebook Is A Mistake

21 Feb

Today’s guest blog post is by Thomas Scott, CEO of Brand Journalists, a firm that is creating breakthroughs for several franchise companies using a mix of content and Engage121.

No Facebook Logo 

  

 


..  

Why Being on Facebook is a Mistake

 
Almost every session I attended at this year’s International Franchise Association conference in Las Vegas touched on social media. No matter what the subject matter, the dialogue eventually focused on the impact of social media. Just as in past years, there was standing room only space for social topics and several times the crowd spilled over into the hallways.

Throughout all the conversation, a disturbing trend emerged as a best practice: Facebook is where you should focus your social media efforts. The message to franchisors: when it comes to social media, it is a Facebook world.

On many levels, this makes sense. Facebook is growing at amazing rates and has quickly become the most popular social network. Our customers are all over Facebook and we feel the pressure to be where our customers are. Our franchisees want to be on Facebook and we are struggling to develop a plan makes everyone happy and produces results.

This is a mistake.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a presence on Facebook; at Brand Journalists, we do a ton of Facebook work for franchisors and franchisees, both of which have a large opportunity to connect with customers via the popular network. I believe in Facebook and we are always looking for ways to coax a return out of our marketing.

The mistake is in thinking that all your social media efforts should be focused on Facebook.
Franchisors today need to exploit four areas of social media. They are all important but not all equal. Some are easier to use and some are better for driving sales. In our experience managing social media for several franchise brands and individual franchisees, Facebook is the least likely social activity to drive actual sales and revenue.

Here are the four areas of social media listed in order of importance and impact on your sales:

1. Blogging – every day, millions of people search for billions of things on Google. Despite Facebook’s size, Google is still many multiples larger and growing. Your customers are looking for you and your services on Google; the humble business blog is the best social media tool to help you get your content in front of your target customers. The business blog is the most overlooked social media tool and by far the most underused. Companies that get good returns on social media are heavy bloggers simply because the blog allows creation of optimized content that gets in front of people who want what you have to sell. A good blog leverages emotionally compelling stories and relevant keywords. If content is truly the backbone of a successful social media campaign, it needs a place to call home and its home is your blog.

2.  Google Places – in several IFA sessions we asked if franchisors knew much about Google Places and few understood this important tool. Google Places is Google’s business directory and one of the most important social media platforms. Search for a business or service in your city and you’ll see Google place pages for your local franchisees. This is a mini-website that provides basic information about your business, showcases user reviews and gives business owners spots to update statuses and upload media such as photos and videos. Potential customers who are ready to buy your product or service are influenced more by Google Places than any other social media. If you want to drive sales, spend time claiming, optimizing and managing each of your local franchisee place pages. Spend time to train franchisees on how to manage local pages and gather positive reviews. You’ll get an immediate return.

3.  Social Loyalty Programs – Don’t know what social loyalty is? You are not alone. This is a very new field of social media and it holds immense promise for building repeat business and generating referrals from existing customers. Social loyalty programs tap into point of sale systems. Similar to a grocery store customer card, you issue your customers who register online a swipe card. They indicate which social networks they use and give you their email. Why would someone hand over this information? People respond to incentives. If you are a yogurt shop, they agree to post positive messages about your brand and earn points for every posting. Once they reach a set number of points they get free yogurt. When a loyalty customer swipes the card in the store, the program checks them into foursquare, posts on Facebook and even tweets. Every posting has a coupon or promotion for others so you just turned your customer base into a guerrilla marketing sales force. Not only do you entice customers to visit more often, they build brand loyalty within their networks. Talk about word of mouth on steroids……

4.  Facebook – last but not least, Facebook is not to be overlooked. In this list, however, Facebook is the most difficult way to generate a direct sales return, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Facebook is a closed system. That means your content stays within the Facebook network. Facebook wants it this way to encourage sharing and eventually tap into a lucrative ad market. For businesses, this means creating a business fan page. The best advice I’ve heard is to think of your fan page as a business website with similar functionality as your main company website. Don’t use Facebook as it comes in its default mode. Don’t have people see your wall when they click on your page. Do get help customizing your Facebook tabs and think about ways to serve up blog content, store locators and Facebook-only deals on custom – built tabs.

As franchise companies, social media has become part of our integrated marketing strategies and it’s a good thing: we have tremendous opportunities to build brand awareness and leverage fans. For the first time, companies are really beginning to show solid track records using the social media tools above to drive sales. If you are trying to tackle social media, start at the top of this list and work your way down — you’ll get a much better result and your franchisees will thank you.

If you don’t know where to start, outsource or get help. You won’t be sorry.

  

Brand Journalists is a content, PR and social media firm based in Nashville, TN that uses Engage121 with all of its clients to help manage content on social networks to create marketing breakthroughs and drive sales.

www.brandjournalists.com
Twitter
@brandjournalist
LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/thomscott 
Facebook: facebook.com/brandjournalists:

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