I know first hand social media can be a valuable, income generating tool.
My social media efforts have landed me business (a million dollar contract in 2008), sold books and products, aided my international media presence and hooked me to important resources and new friends.
Social media can provide a garden of goods that are aligned to your goals, or it can make you feel like your endless efforts produce no more than a crop of crappy connections that suck time and don’t produce a worthy return on your investment.
Follow these tips and your odds of success will increase.
1.) Tend your efforts based on a plan with goals, strategies and tactics. I write 80% of my content in one scoop at the beginning of the month. I also update a content bank in Excel to store future ideas.
2.) Automate as much as you can. I use Hootsuite to manage scheduling and tracking.
3.) Carefully mix personal with professional content along with your strengths and your vulnerabilities. This strategy will keep you interesting and human.
4.) Promote others. It’s the best fertilizer around.
5.) Provoke. Progress doesn’t happen when everyone agrees with what you think.
6.) Have the big guns ready behind the seductive links, lines and comments. A click through means nothing without the real value you provide. Your website, blog, products and services must walk the social talk.
7.) Master the craft of being a concise, punchy, smart and entertaining word smith or hire someone who is.
HeyWire, the new Facebook app for texting in one place, may be the perfect option for you.
HeyWire, a service that has been offering free SMS (short message service) and recently partnered with Twitter to develop HeyTweet, is now debuting it’s Facebook application that allows users to send both texts and tweets from a cell phone (while using Facebook, of course).
HeyTweet is free, available in multiple languages and offers free local and international text messaging from a phone number. The reason why this service is so compelling is because when users normally send a tweet though SMS text, charges would incur. But with HeyTweet, a tweet through this service has lower carrier fees internationally. As of this month, 2 million tweets have been sent around the world via HeyTweets. If you are a business owner who is Twitter obsessed, this might be exactly what you’ve been looking for – no more high priced texts and messages to people internationally. Want a convenient way to send one message out to friends via text, Facebook Chat, Google Talk and Twitter all at the same time? They can do that too.
Here’s how it works with Facebook.
Similar to other free texting apps, HeyWire users are given a phone number to send and receive unlimited texts with friends and family worldwide. Users can send messages via HeyWire Facebook App or the HeyWire applications for iOS (iOS is the Operating System on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It’s the “thing” that makes your device run) and Android devices. Texting conversations will follow you, as a user, from the HeyWire Facebook App to your smartphone application or tablet and vice versa. This app is the only Social Messaging Hub designed specifically for Facebook users. Do a lot of business via Facebook? Now you can run your business directly from your phone.
But, unlike HeyTweet, this new Facebook/HeyWire partnership comes with a small price. It’s about $2.00, or 20 credits in Facebook dollars, a month for unlimited texts on any device, anywhere.
Will you be using these applications, or will you be continue to message your family and friends with old fashion way?
Do you use texting to market your business?
Let us know!
The Super Bowl has always fascinated me. Beyond that I’m a super fan of the yearly pigskin brawl. Every year it gets bigger and bigger and more bowlicious! In case your marketing handbook does not include that term, it means: voluptuous ‘non-skimpy’ fully effective marketing that makes you and your clients happy.
So why all the excitement about a bunch of guys wearing spandex pants, pads in funny places and banging their helmets into each other for 3 hours?
Because the Super Bowl is:
Top trends going strong.
My 5 Super Bowlicious marketing practices that can apply to any business.
1) One message will not resonate with all of your market segments.
I hated the Groupon ad. It grossed me out and I thought the casting was bizarre. But I don’t like coupons, so I’m not suppose to like the commercial.
2) There is value in respecting political correctness and being market sensitive.
If your company was just bailed out by the government, you don’t want to be spending $3 million on ads at the Super Bowl. Be astute to current events and think before you market.
3) All media is not created equal every year.
Pepsi is bowing out this year. Why? Because their strategic focus is not on reaching 100 million people, but on providing grants through their “Pepsi Refresh” initiative. Pepsi plans to give away $20 million in grant money to fund projects in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education. People can go to the Pepsi website refresheverything.com — which can also be accessed through Facebook and Twitter — to both submit ideas and vote on others they find appealing. Additionally, Pappa Johns opted out too and instead of buying time, they will give free pizza to all if the game goes into overtime.
4) Rejection can be a good thing.
Every year Go Daddy generates millions of dollars in buzz and PR, by touting the spots that were “too something” for G rated TV audiences. People always want what they can’t have, so GoDaddy.com posts them on the web, which still attracts gazillions of eyes balls and attention to the brand and offering.
5) Social media is real fuel for brands.
Mercedes, a first timer advertising at the Super Bowl, launched a very cool social media Tweet Race. Super Bowl advertisers are investing heavily in online campaigns leading up to the Super Bowl to reach even more consumers than they would with the Super Bowl TV ad alone. Now Mercedes is taking the plunge. Benz Tweet Race is using both Facebook and Twitter as platform. Mercedes calls the online competition the world’s first Twitter-fueled race. You can win an all-new 2012 C-Class Coupe car when you drum up the most followers for your entry in the Mercedes Benz Tweet Race. Grant it this, a multimillion dollar campaign with many elements from a charity component, to a celebrity involvement angle to a mucho media investment, but the simple idea of awarding fans for helping spread the love on your brand is something that is brilliant and can drive home business benefits.
If you are in Tampa the show airs at 12:30 on Fox. If not, I’ll post the segment in couple days after it runs.
Check back after the game, I’ll post my favorites and what I’m still wondering about.
Cupcake image came from The Cupcake Swirl.
For more on Superbowl ads, check out: Insights to “the Swarm” and how you can create the buzz.
Guilty as charged. I was listening to Seth Godin, one of my favorite creative-brainys (that is a made up word), on 57 ways to get the world to spread your stuff and suddenly I needed to go to the little girls’ room. OMG, there were at least 40 minutes left in his Webinar on MarketingProfs, and even though I have a Pro MarketingProf membership (which is so worth it) and could have replayed it later, I was not willing to put this learning session on hold. I was engaged in every word he was saying.
How did that happen? How do you get people that glued to what you have to say?
Here’s my take on the Seth factor. He’s cool. He’s never boring. He challenges my thinking. He’s nice to listen to, compelling and calm all at the same time. He’s earned the very smart cat badge, a combination of status from credibility builders like his books, speeches and blogging and what others say the big media and fans around globe.
While he did share 57 ideas and some bonuses, here are my top four and what I going to do differently.
1) He does not have guest bloggers.
Why? Because it fuzzes it up. It is his brand promise to his readers.
As I’m evaluating the guest bloggers on Oddpodz,and I have been thinking about this for a while, he has an excellent point. Plus, guest posts are a lot of work. And unless they are highly read and driving traffic, which unfortunately my guest bloggers have not been, the ROI is just not there. So starting next week, the guest bloggers section will be laid to rest. The posts will be archived and remain on the site, but no new guest bloggers.
2) He blogs everyday.
That’s heavy. and scare the crap out of me to commit to that.
I said he challenged me. OK, then. I love to write. I do interesting stuff every single day. And even if I’m sick or staying in my cave, I think about really interesting things that I know others can benefit from. If I can’t pump out at least a paragraph a day, then shame on me.
3) He does not tweet.
That’s a side-line of the next takeaway for me. The actual big idea is: he consciously decides that he will not do everything, Tweeting is an activity like golf or collecting fish bones. He knows he does not have the bandwidth to do it well and right, so he’s not going there. I respect that.
I think all to often we put pressure on ourselves to do stuff that’s not really required or in our “do it freakin well zone”. For me this means not doing stuff that does not deliver happiness, money or peace in your soul. Personally, I like to tweet, it’s a good outlet for my inner soundbite, snarky side.
4) Try. Fail. Repeat.
That’s not a new one for me. But felt it was important for this list. Thank you Seth.
Love your thoughts on any of this.
Check out this Book review – “Tribes” by Seth Godin.
If I had to look in my crystal ball, I’m putting my money on Jimmy Fallon. Tues. I was fortunate to get to go to his show with one of my best buds Jill Griffin, author of Taming the Search and Switch Customer (Jossey-Bass), and two new friends from New York city, Meagan, who works with Peter Shankman, fellow entrepreneur and founder of Help a Reporter, a great website for connecting journalists to story resources and Julie, a music publishing pro. It was a very memorable event. Here are a few things I took away.
To start off with tickets for the show are only available for a limited time window. Fans need to call the NBC studios about 30 days before the desired date as they only release tickets on certain days and then they are gone. I called for 20 days straight, the more I called, the more determined I was to get the tickets.
Limited time windows to purchase anything, drive the emotion.
Once I spoke to an NBC staffer, it was an enjoyable experience from then on. They were super friendly and seemed just as nice as Jimmy’s persona; a consistent extension of his brand. Within minutes of the call, I received a pleasant notice explaining all the ground rules and details to attending the show.
They made the entire ticketing process simple and hassle free.
A few days before the event, I received another friendly notice, telling us where to go to get our tickets and how to fully enjoy the show.
All the staff at the studio reminded me of Ross the intern, who got his big break with Jay Leno. Young, happy and eager to help.
The check in process was seamless. We were instructed to meet at NBC store, an environment full of branded Jimmy Fallon goods. Friendly, helpful people dressed in gray NBC suits with crisp shirts and big smiles were everywhere. Security was a breeze and we were moved into a holding area and asked who wanted to be on stage and jam with the Roots, Jimmy’s house band. Of course we did. We were given special wrist bands and more instructions to be sure we added to the show’s natural charm and fun.
Inside the filming studio, the room was decked for the holidays, not one inch of real estate was missed. About 15 minutes before show time, a warm up comedian, warmed us up. Without fabricating the show, the pre host provided more branded guidance, so that the show’s audience would not misbehave. He also danced like a champ, chatted with many guests and kept the room’s mood at a high energy level.
The Jimmy Fallon experience lasted over two hours, even though he was only on an hour.
Before the opening featured guest came out, Jimmy did two entertaining side stints. The first one was called “Tweeter hashtags”. Viewers contribute their goofy tweets from one of Jimmy’s hashtag topics. Tonight’s hashtag was: HOHO Hell no! The second one was a continued segment called “The 12 days of tacky Christmas sweaters”. A lucky audience member was gifted a very ugly coiffed with trinkets knitted master piece.
The stints were touch points and 100% on brand all with Jimmy’s contemporary and silly style.
Social media is an active strategy for building the show’s fan base.
Every minute of the show was fun. Jack Black was the featured guest. Jack, so consistent with his over the top funny brand, bolted on to the stage with a song and dance. From there the chemistry of Jimmy and Jack kicked in, they were smooth and added to the authentic personality of the show.
Next was a random, crazy performance where Jimmy and Jack banged on larger than life drums all to the tune of The Little Drummer Boy while spewing red and green paint all over the stage. Watch them get in the spirit.
The show ended with a special, rocking performance by the Roots, probably the hottest TV band going. The performance was magical, but what made it even better was more audience engagement. 30 or so of the guests, including my pals got to stand behind Roots and sway and groove to the tunes and have even more fun.
So how can you include your customers in your product delivery? Not only adding to the offering, but the experience they receive?
And for any of you who feel like you are not on your game yet. I started watching Jimmy Fallon when his show first launched. In the beginning, he appeared awkward and he wasn’t that good. Today, he’s smooth, in the zone and his popularity continues to grow. Brilliance takes working at it.
Jimmy has been crafting his craft for many years and even though he was a solid stand up guy and SNL hit, a new gig of any kind takes time to get right and Jimmy likely still has nights where he tells joke that bombs.
In closing, comedy and humor in any form feels good. Is there an opportunity in your world or venture for little more random, silly, gut-busting funny material or content?
More from NYC on Thursday.
Twitter is a great tool for business, but if you don’t have meaningful followers and manage them, then you are just blue bird flying by yourself.
FREE Twitter contact management and directory services
The follow tools allow for businesses to easily manage their twitter accounts:
- A powerful tool for seeing which people you follow are following you back is FriendOrFollow. This tool also allows you to see which people are following you, but you have yet to follow them back.
- You may have a lot of followers, but how many of those are active? Twitoria allows you to see which of your followers are active on Twitter over the last week, two weeks, month, two months, however long you would like to see.
- WeFollow is a user-powered Twitter directory. Simply enter the tags or keywords that you want to be known for (such as #socialmedia, #marketing, #entrepreneur) and viola! you’re finished.
- Twellow, also known as the Yellow Pages of Twitter, allows you to search for users by a wide range of many categories. You can also add yourself to this directory group so people can find you easier.
- A directory service that will notify you of new additions to people in your particular industry who is just like you is Just Tweet It.
For more FREE Twitter tips, click here. Also, stay tuned for Twitter marketing tools. Know someone who is clueless when it comes to social media? Maybe you? For under 10 bucks, you can change that. We’ve put together a simple and powerful Ta-Do list for social media.
Save time. Get more followers. Earn more impact.
For those of you who are always tweeting, the following management tools may make your life seem easier and will aid in growing your community and channel significance:
1. TweetDeck is a free desktop widget that allows a business to tweet with the ability to sort tweets into direct messages, topics and keywords. TweetDeck is an Adobe Air desktop application that lets users send and receive tweets and view account profiles. You can also set up a specific column to view mentions of your company or industry, and another column for all of your competitors. This application is also capable of integrating your Facebook, Linkedin, Google Buzz, Foursquare and Myspace accounts.
2. Hootsuite is a free fast-growing web service and is designed for businesses needing to manage more than one Twitter profile with multiple users. It allows a business to easily schedule tweets and easily switch back and forth between different accounts. Hootsuite also includes a URL-shortening service that lets you see how many times your links are clicked.
3. CoTweet is a free tool that allows multiple individuals from the same company communicate through a single Twitter account. People maintain their own profile and the account activity is recorded as the program focuses on a two-way communication that engages other accounts.
The next blog post will discuss different contact management tools.
Unless you are new to social media, you should already know about Twitter and should know that it is an easy way for businesses to get closer to their customers for free. Twitter is a cost effective way to build a community and brand awareness. I highly recommend creating a Twitter account for your business if you have not yet done so. But if you already have, and are interested in improving the use of your Twitter account, here are 5 free tips to follow:
1. Things to consider tweeting about
When you tweet, don’t forget to mention your Facebook and Linkedin accounts. Followers may want to be apart of your other social portals and vice versa. Doing this will easily grow your audience. Tweeting, or giving shout outs, about the your colleagues will more than likely result in your followers following them as well, thus in turn, your business will have more prime tweets towards your target market. It’s a social spiral that you shouldn’t pass up and consider implementing.
2. Twitter directories
Getting your Twitter account listed on directories is an easy way to get your name out to Twitter land. These directories are also a useful way to find followers that you are interested in following. Mashable is one of my favorite directories to use, but there are tons to choose from.
3. Tweet often, but not too often
Try not to tweet about your business more than 10 times a day. Leave time for reaction or people may unfollow you, especially if followers see that you are not retweeting the good stuff from other followers or if you’re acting like a robot and not tweeting towards your audience in a friendly, personable way. Tweeting at certain times of the day, morning and night, will increase your chances of gaining more followers, but it also depends on the hours of whom you are trying to reach.
4. Make conversation
Asking questions on your Twitter timeline is a good way to get feed back. Also, try participating and retweeting tweets from others; they will more than likely retweet the favor. Direct messaging your followers after they begin following you is common courtesy in Twitter land, although it may be hard to keep track of whom to thank when sending out your direct messages if you gain a lot of followers in one day. Socialoomph is a free tool that automatically sends out DMs to your followers and keeps statistics of how many are sent out in a day.
5. Tweet things that are valuable
Besides tweeting about your business, your followers want to read something interesting, worth their while or something that they’ll learn from. For example, tweeting: “Find out how much your twitter is worth – http://tweetervalue.com/ I’m worth $476, how about you?” allows followers to interact with you, is interesting and fun. Real life relationships are about give and take, you can’t let everything be about yourself or it just won’t work! And in this case, you’ll lose followers.
Need more help on social media? Our Social Media Ta-Do list is packed full of all the steps to get going and social.
And these new Twitter books have some sweet, tweet, ideas too.
Stay tuned for ways to manage your Twitter account.
According to a recent survey by Pew Research, the commercial use of the Internet among Americans continues to grow: 58% of US adults say they conduct research online about products and services, up from the 49% who said so in 2004, while roughly one-quarter (24%) have posted comments or reviews online about products they buy. (thanks to MarketingProfs for posting)
I am one of the 58%. I am a research nut who conducts online searches for both personal and professional products and services several times a day. I came across two companies yesterday while conducting online research. One of them is now a contender for my business. The other, sadly, lost terribly.
Here is some background. I am looking for a new washing machine since mine has decided that it no longer wants to clean my clothes. At this point, I don’t want to search by features, colors or price. I need to know which ones will fit into the predetermined and unalterable spot for the washing machine. All the major and local appliance stores’ websites offered the same search parameters: color, price, most popular, highest rated.
I went to Google and typed in “appliance by size.” The results listed, among others, a site that “aims to make it as easy as possible to find the products that fit your space – be it furniture, home electronics or even large appliances. You can find all the products you need for your new apartment in a size-friendly search environment.”
Great! I thought, that’s exactly what I’m looking for, so I went to the site and entered “washing machine” in the search box. The auto-fill suggested the following: combination microwave & wall ovens, convertible dishwashers, countertop microwave ovens, double wall ovens, waffle irons (aside: how big do they get?), and wall air conditioners.
When I typed in “washing machine,” I received the reply “no entries found.” What I did find was that I was annoyed that the site didn’t work. I would have been happy to spend lots of time on the site looking for what I needed. This might have provided them some ad revenue and perhaps some affiliate income if I purchased on line. I likely would have highly recommended the site if it worked. Instead, I went back to the google search results and found www.ajmadison.com. Kudos to them on a website well done! Not only is the site super easy to navigate and search, (they allowed me to search by appliance size!) but they have also embraced social media. The highly informative and engaging social medial channels are FREE and cost them only their time to assemble and post content. Under the AJ Madison Community umbrella, they have the following channels and descriptions listed. From the AJ Madison site:
Facebook: The AJ Madison Facebook Fan Page is updated every day with the latest deals and product specials. The AJ Madison Experience (found under the “Boxes” tab) presents a simple, ever-changing interface with deals and links to the site, while Shop AJ Madison allows you to browse and buy from our entire site, all while logged into Facebook. Become a fan today!
Twitter: For information about promotions, as well as general appliance news (and some surprises), follow us on the official AJ Madison Twitter page (@AJMadison). On average, we tweet several times a day, and deals are normally announced in the morning.
YouTube: We periodically update our YouTube channel with new informative product videos. In the near future, we’ll have a steady stream of content and new videos to keep you apprised of the latest appliances and how to use and maintain them.
Tumblr: Every weekday, we update our Tumblr page with information on a new “just-in” product. This is a supplement to the New Products RSS Feed, with our own views on the featured appliance thrown in for good measure.
Flickr: Each week, we showcase a new product from the AJ Madison showroom on our Flickr page, giving you original images and in-depth looks at our newest appliances. Subscribe to our Flickr stream or follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.
Appliance Authority (blog): You’re on AJ Madison’s Appliance Authority blog right now! We update our blog several times a week with how-to guides, top rated product spotlights, buying tips and more. Check back here every weekday for a new post, or you can also follow it via this RSS Feed.
Google Buzz: We’re proud to be one of the first companies on Google’s new Buzz network. Though we’re currently experimenting with this brand-new platform, Buzz integrates all of our other profiles (Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and more), and we add daily deals, news and information right from our Brooklyn office. If you’re a Buzz or GMail user, or just generally curious, visit our Buzz profile and follow us today!
And, it gets better! I tweeted, “@AJMadison I love your website! So well done and informative. If I still lived in NYC, I’d be purchasing my new washing machine from y’all.”
In less than an hour, they responded, “Thank you, friend! We still deliver to your neck of the woods.”
By being on top of their social media channels, they created a direct, personal, immediate dialogue with a potential customer that lives 800 miles away. That kind of responsiveness makes them a top contender for my business.
Key takeaway points:
1. If you sell a product or service that people are likely to research, write rich content and reviews and create lots of search parameters that will attract researchers to your site.
2. Leverage social media channels. Distribute all that great content through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc.
3. Monitor those channels. Read and respond to potential buyers. Read and contribute to discussion boards and forums in which your products and or services are the subject. Become a trusted authority.
4. Provide solutions. I tweeted that I would buy from them if I lived closer. They responded, “no problem, we can do that.” I went back to the site and saw that FREE DELIVERY was offered to my zip code on the item I was considering.
5. Read the bad stuff, too. You might find that unsatisfied customers posted their complaints online. If possible, try to reach out to them and resolve the problem. Research shows that customers who complain and are satisfied with how the complaint was resolved are up to 8% more loyal than if they had no complaint at all.
Most businesses can gain from standing out from the pack. People too can benefit from being different in the crowded world of bodies and brains. When ever I speak to audiences I always preach “Be distinct, standout and own a space that’s unique”. There is often a big sigh, HOW can we not blend in?
Here are some ideas to help you be unique in your industry. Apply them to one or several brand attributes or touch points. My goal is to assemble a list of 140 soon, all clearly stated in less than 140 characters for the new language of tweet tongue. I’ll be tapping my social stream for more ideas and be updating the list everyday. Have a contribution? DM at @brandingdiva on twitter.
1. Make up a word as your name
2. Leave something out
3. Use different ingredients
4. Sport an odd uniform
5. Do it faster
6. Save the earth while you are at it
7. Cop an attitude
8. Add humor
9. Package it in the unexpected
10. Combine extreme opposites