Mashable: 5 Superior Social Media Management Tools

 Mashable Awards
Our team is excited about the article on Mashable yesterday naming Engage121 as a superior  Social Media Management tool.

Read Full Mashable Post Here
 
I was at the Detroit airport coming home from the #140 Conference when I received a text about this new Mashable post.  Our team has worked long hours over the past year to make Engage121 “best in its class” as Meghan Peters writes. So, more important than the actual post were the comments, tweets, and notes about the post from friends and clients over the following few hours!

 
  

Christmas Is Not Too Commercial

 

Heat Miser
Mr Green Christmas, aka Heat Miser

 
 
It’s the first week of October and I’m writing a Christmas blog post. Too early? Maybe. But I want to draw out an over-used complaint that
Christmas comes too early and is too commercial.
 

At the same time, I admit to doing a bit of sensational headline-writing to emphasize a point about the need for Christmas to come sooner. Yep! I wanted to use Christmas to draw in some more clicks to this blog. I can’t blame traditional media outlets, TV commercials, and retailers for doing the same thing. This year more than ever, they need a little early holiday spirit from consumers to attract some attention and drive traffic early and often.
 
On a WGN radio call-in show last week, I heard callers complaining that Christmas shopping season is already creeping into their daily lives and how horrible it is to see Christmas items on store shelves already. One woman complained about seeing Christmas items in a retail hobby and craft chain so early. Hmmm…I think the Christmas Sweater-making crowd needs to get rolling on making their projects soon. So if you don’t want to see holiday goods yet, avoid craft stores.
 
Maybe that’s the solution for you if you regularly argue that “Christmas is too commercial”: avoid all commercial outlets. This includes all television, radio, movies, movie trailers, retail stores, restaurants, Facebook, Twitter, all other social media networks, and in fact, the internet altogether. Stay home, stay offline, and read a book set in the summertime, and you won’t have to worry about seeing or hearing about the holidays yet. 
 
But do yourself a favor and accept that Christmas is coming. Fire up some Bing Crosby, get some shopping done early, support your local merchants, and help get this economy rolling. Merry Christmas!

Bing Crosby David Bowie
Too early for Bing and Bowie? Nah!

Engage121 Launches Enterprise Application

   
Here’s the announcement about the latest social media tool released by my colleagues at Engage121. The focus of the Engage121: Enterprise app is social meeting local. This is critical for franchise systems, retail or restaurant chains, and brands with dealer networks or independent sales agents. 

For full details and to see the release, click here

 
 

Engage121 

 

Social Media Optimization Summits – Dallas

 
Social Media Optimization
 

I’m looking forward to participating in next week’s Social Media Optimization Summits in Dallas. One of the features of this conference that stood out to me is hands-on experience for attendees. It will be interesting to see a roomful of attendees with heads down in their laptops and know that they are participating in the discussion, not just checking email and updating their Facebook status.

If you have the opportunity to attend and haven’t registered, please click here for a discounted registration courtesy of Mack Collier. With Mack’s VIP referral, registration is only $200! Thanks Mack!

Social Media and Franchisee Satisfaction

 
A recent chat with
Joe Mathews revealed Joe’s top two criteria for measuring a franchise system’s health:

1. Local Financials, and

2. Franchisee satisfaction

I think Joe nailed it. I do want to discuss how localized social media can impact your local financials soon. But for today, let’s dig deeper into franchisee satisfaction.

Helping your franchisees engage in and market their businesses via social media will improve their satisfaction and retention.

Your Zees are constantly bombarded with messages about how they should be doing something in social media. They are inundated with “gotta do it” ideas from their peers, their kids, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah.

But none of those sources of information can be resources for success the way a franchisor can. Be the hero! Give your ‘zees tools and guidance to grow their businesses via social media and keep them satisfied.

Social Media Satisfaction by Franchisors: 

  • Give guidance on using SM platforms to increase their business; NOT just a policy!

  • Provide a library of content (photos, articles, YouTube videos) for your Zees to share with their local connections.

  • Supply a tool to make engagement by zees fast and easy. 

  • Use a tool for the franchise system to speak on the Zee’s behalf (for Zees not apt to dive in themselves).

At Engage121, I speak with franchisors each day about solving business problems – including franchisee satisfaction – using social media tools. Please contact me to discuss further.

 

Monitoring Social Media Versus Engaging People

 

 
When asked “what are you doing in social media?” here are the four worst responses:

 

1. Nothing yet, but we know we should be

2. Developing a social media policy

3. Not doing anything until we finish developing the social media policy

4. Monitoring using ___________ (insert free or paid monitoring tool here)

 
 
 
 
 I submit that even those answering by #4 above are not really doing anything in social media.
  
 
 
Only monitoring social media is like having a telephone stuck on “mute”: you can listen all day, but you will never be part of the conversation.

Let’s also use the common cocktail party analogy for social media. Those who monitor are the folks at the party who lurk around the outsides of conversations, never introducing themselves and never asking you a question. You would never know they exist!

Don’t misunderstand – monitoring is a necessary part of brand management and corporate communications. It’s the same as monitoring and collecting clips from newspapers and TV.

And just like traditional clipping, when only monitoring, what are you really doing? You find some mentions, put them in a report or clipbook, and pass it along to your internal or external client. Perhaps the clips get analyzed for tone. Perhaps the analysis is considered for overall business decisions.
 
Companies who are engaging are not waiting for clips, reports, or analysis to solve business problems. They are actively executing tactics that serve business goals in real time, one-to-one with consumers.
 
Those who currently engage are responding to customer service issues (ComcastCares and Best Buy’s Twelpforce). They are cross-pollenating consumer-created content across other SM platforms (Buick’s MomentofTruth). They are sharing their customers’ experiences to build communities of interest (Ford, Computer Explorers).

So, what do you want to do? Monitor or Engage?
 
 

How to Increase Franchise Sales with Social Media

Social Media tools are improving marketing and sales efforts for small businesses every day. Nowhere is the impact greater than within franchise systems.
 
Not only are smart franchisors driving traffic into outlets’ locations and onto websites, but they are also driving recruitment of new franchisees using social media channels.
 
Here are two simple ways we can engage prospective franchisees: sharing our story in order to attract new interest and exploring the social web for new leads with whom we should connect.  
  

 

I. Speak and Share – Tell Your Stories

 
As one client recently stated, “I want potential franchisees to experience what my current franchisees are experiencing.”
  

Prospective franchisees are searching for information well before they pick up the phone or take your call. Be found! More blogs, Fan Pages, and other platforms populated with your content means more candidates will find your brand and your story.  Showhomes has had an amazing increasing in franchise sales this year partially due aggressive social media efforts.

In the below example, I am marketing and developing new business for the “Java121” Coffee Franchise Company. I’m using the Engage121 app to share these stories across all platforms (Facebook Fan Page, our blog, Twitter, and any other platforms I choose). As the same time, I’m cross-pollenating that same content for all of my current franchisees’ platforms as well!

I compose a bit of content and perhaps share a link to an article. Note that with Engage121’s merge fields, the content will be customized for each franchisee.  

 

 

Next I choose all or any franchisees on whose behalf this message will be sent. Also, I choose all or any platforms to which I’m posting:Done! We have just shared that content, with a link to more information about our coffee to all of my corporate brand pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts as well as all of those pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts belonging to every franchisee in the system. This message about our product, brand, and system is out there! If I had 250 franchisees, this content would have posted to over 1,000 individual sites instantly. 

Smart marketers and franchise development pro’s are not limiting these stories to only focus on products and services. They are sharing the success stories about franchisees’ booming businesses to attract candidates who wish to be a part of that opportunity.  

    
II. Explore and Find New Connections
 

You must seek out discussions held by potential candidates. This is something impossible to do just a couple of years ago! Using Engage121, I am searching not only Twitter, but also virtually all social media platforms, hundreds of thousands of blogs and traditional media (newspapers, TV, magazine, etc.). 

I ran a quick search of the phrase “start my own business” and found 34 people tweeting that phrase just the past 24 hours! These are leads I need to engage! Note, you may also filter your results by state, county, or city for targeted exploration. I can engage this person in conversation immediately. Introduce yourself and start the conversation!  

       
 
I can “tag” anyone if find, so here I’m tagging someone as “candidate”. This is useful for keeping up with large groups of individuals and listening to what they’re saying later on.
 

 

Also note that any leads from traditional sources that you’re managing via a CRM system or other means should be imported into this application so you can listen to and engage via their social media hot spots as well!
 
 

How Drive Traffic To Your Facebook Page Using FANlet Polls

A challenge that arises after starting your own Facebook Fan Page is creating a continuous stream of content to drive traffic to your page. Many organizations have plenty of good info to share with current fans and customers, but struggle to regularly provide a reason for new consumers go to a new Fan Page.
 
One fast and easy solution is to create a poll. There are two good reasons why the social web is filled with polls: a poll’s topic can attract targeted users and the act of voting creates an instant sense of participation in a community.
 
Polls and surveys may be used as much more than a magnet to a site. Many use the power of consumers’ instant opinions as a fast and low-cost alternative to focus groups for product development. That’s a fantastic use of polls when you’re comfortable with the sample size, validity of questions, etc. But for now, I want to focus on a quick traffic-driver without having to consider the valid research methodologies needed to make sound business decisions about products.
 
For this exercise, let’s create a very simple poll that will drive potential fans, friends, and customers directly to your Facebook Fan Page. You can do this using Facebook poll widgets. I’m using the FANlet app developed by my firm,
Engage121. I use the FANlet for four simple reasons:
 
1. It is the easiest thing in the world to use!
2. The creation and results are instant.
3. During creation, it automatically creates a tweet that goes out through your Twitter account with a link directly to the poll.
4. Clicks on that link are automatically tracked on your FANlet evaluation for instant and ongoing measurement.

 
From Engage121’s “Speak” page, I choose FANlet.

 
 
Begin writing a question and multiple-choice answers. My poll asks parents what’s the most enjoyable cartoon for them to watch with their kids.


 

After choosing POST, FANlet asks if you would like to Tweet this link to the poll via your Twitter account. Choose YES!

 
 
A check of my Fan Page shows the poll is up and already drawing readers.


 

 
On the Evaluate page of Engage121, notice that this poll can be added to our FANlet tracking. Not only can we track votes, but we will be able compare these votes with your website traffic or any other metric you pipe into Engage121.  

  

If you are a managing Social Media marketing or PR and would like me to further walk through the above steps, reach me here:

@jackmonson

jmonson@enr-corp.com

312-658-0600