Great vid here from the CEO of Social Media Today.
This is not the opening line to a joke. It sounds like a set up but I swear, it’s not.(I’d never put that much pressure on my post! 🙂
Last night was New Year’s Eve. I, lamely, was sitting alone at home nursing a stomach flu and flipping through channels. I happened across Dennis Miller. He’s a funny guy. He’s always given me some bang for my viewing buck. I thought, what the hell, I’ll watch Dennis for a bit.
He’s gotten older since the last time I watched him. I guess I’m not the best of Dennis Miller fans.
While I was watching Dennis told a story about having dinner with Frank Sinatra. While telling the story he digressed into singing Don Rickle’s accolades as well. He managed though to tell a wonderful story that engaged me from beginning to end.
Dennis Miller entertained me.
Arguably Dennis Miller is a “great” comedian. He’s “made it” to use the show biz vernacular and I think he deserves that moniker. He can hold a huge room of people and a huger (bigger, larger, whatever) viewing audience via airwaves.
But why can he do it and others can’t?
The reason is pretty simple. Dennis Miller makes a connection with you, personally. He finds a subject that resonates with you. We can all appreciate how Frank Sinatra, The Chairman of the Board, an iconic figure, would be a once-in-a-lifetime person to meet. We have all known someone that we would lay down in traffic to shake hands with.
Finding that connection and weaving the story to attract your attention is why guys like Dennis Miller, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock are all very, very successful.
They do this with no other goal than to entertain you. You’re the audience. You’re the boss. You’re the one that can make or break them.
If you’ve read any other posts on this blog you’ll see a theme emerging here.
Great comedians provide their audience with value. They make us think or ponder or dream or simply laugh but they do it by making that connection and not expecting anything from us in return.
Businesses in 2011 will learn quickly that if they do not embrace the new, altruistic values of the web, they will fall behind their competition.
The best way to provide that value? A great, well-thought-out social media strategy that includes how you’re going to engage with your clients and customers and your potential clientele.
What are you going to give them that they can’t get anywhere else?
So, if “good” isn’t good enough for your company you need to start thinking about how you’re going to be great. Today.
The most wonderful thing about my career is that when someone makes a suggestion to me about content I can work that notion around in my brain for a bit then relate it back to social media.
Case in point; I was speaking with my 80 year old mother yesterday. I know that 80 sounds kind of old but she is anything but old. I want to say she’s “sharp as a tack” but that’s something people say about old people. She’s just really smart. There, that seems appropriate.
So, my 80 year old mother completely “gets it”. This is probably one of the first tech career things I’ve done that she completely gets and she has been identifying incidents in her own life that she can relate back to what I do. (this gives her great satisfaction)
Yesterday she was suggesting that I teach my clients to make sure they know who they’re selling to. In other words, in marketing-speak, “know your demographic”.
That’s really only half the story though. With social media it’s not enough to know your market. In fact, it’s often tougher to know your online market because many people don’t slot nicely into categories.
I know 18 year olds who like fine wine and 50 year olds that slam Jaegarmeister. Neither of them would fall into their age category for marketing purposes.
So, while knowing your customer is still important I’d say it’s secondary to knowing your business.
If you know exactly what you’re business is, what it represents, what it’s trying to accomplish now and in the future, you will attract the correct demographic through your targeted social media campaign.
The very first thing you do when thinking about how to market online is the write your story. The story is the foundation of all your marketing. It should include who you are, what you do and, most importantly the core value statement for the company. This core value statement will be what you always refer to to keep yourself on track.
For example, if you’re company wants to provide the very best customer service in the online sale of buttons then that needs to be your core value statement.
Once set all activity online and off must relate back to that statement. If a customer asks for a button you don’t have you better walk through fire to find it. If a wholesale customer is dissatisfied you have to find a way to make them happy. The value of your company depends on it.
Traditional business plans are still necessary but, if you’re going to succeed online, you will need to set your philosophy and stick to it. So make sure you do it right the first time….no pressure 🙂
A good social media strategist will help you with this. Don’t try to do it alone, there are rules and conduct that need to be considered. Find someone with similar values and a healthy expertise in social media to help you get started.
I was having a conversation with a young woman the other day and, as conversations often do, it turned to Facebook. She casually mentioned that she uses Facebook as Google now.
It took a second for the words to sink in but then I thought “wow, that’s bloody brilliant!”.
In fact, I think it’s a great marketing strategy. Business, regardless of their size, now have to be on Facebook because that is the first place many young people are doing to search.
Rather than opening a new browser window or tab 20-somethings are, true to form, taking the path of least resistance by simply typing a business name into the search bar in FB.
It’s not a flawless system by any means. Facebook requires you to type the name in exactly as it appears on the page which doesn’t leave much room for the spelling-challenged like yours truly. However, if a business can be found easily on FB then what’s all that SEO marketing money going out the door for?
As this starts to catch on I believe that Facebook will begin to adapt their search parameters to meet the needs of the users. I’d hate to predict that Google will be used less (they’re one of my favourite companies ever!) but one has to make allowances for the notion that Facebook is becoming a one-stop-shop for a particular demographic.
Think of it this way; if Facebook becomes google-esque for searching then users will be able to search, email, chat, post, watch, learn and play all on one website!
Wow, Bill Gates must just be freaking out at this accidental outcome.
They may have to change the name though. Facebook really isn’t going to cover it. How about something like Face-domination?
What do you think?
Hey all, this is a wonderful video that I found on Stephen Chapman’s ZDNet site. It’s got some really great info that you need to know if you want to capitalize on Social Media and Search Engine Optimization.
Some of the highlights for optimizing your site for Google include the following:
1 – Title Tag: Make sure that you title the page in a way that is relevant to the content on that page. So, if your writing about Social Media on your page you should have a title tag that includes the term Social Media. Seems straightforward enough right?
2 – Meta Description: If you’re using WordPress make sure to make good use of the available tagging options. You can even add the SEO pack that will allow you to doubly tag your pages and posts. Make sure your meta tags are related to both your posts and to your site description. Make sure too that you add your meta tags BEFORE you publish your page for the first time. The impact is far greater from a first publish than from updates.
3 – Keywords and Synonyms: While you want the Google (and other search engine) spiders to be able to find you, you have to be careful not to construct your post just for that purpose. If you do that, no one is going to want to read your posts. That said, grammatical rules are a little bit thinner on the web and you can be a bit more redundant than you would otherwise be. Be sure to always go back through your posts and find ways to reiterate your point so as to be found by spiders but not lose your readers.
4 – URL: It’s a pretty good rule of thumb to use a URL that relates to your site’s subject. My site is called Social Media Canada so my URL is socialmedia-canada.com. Spiders love this. Whenever someone searches for “social media canada” they find me pretty quickly. (I love this too 🙂
As a Social Media Marketer I consider it my role to educate as many people as possible on those trends that illustrate the power of social media to expand your business.
To that end, I am always reading and learning new stuff. Stuff that is cool and wondrous and sometimes down right inspired. (but not always)
Today, rather than regale you with another of my diatribes on why specific companies DON’T get the point with social media I am going to send you on over to Mashable to check out 5 big companies that really do GET IT.
Have fun over there at Mashable but don’t forget to come back!
Click here for the article.
Re-printed from Social Media Today – Suzanne Vara
Social media is all the rage for more than just online businesses: traditional “brick and mortar” businesses like yours are using it too. One of the most famous cases of this is the way Starbucks has leveraged social networking to become one of the highest valued brands in the world, so why can’t you do it too? Twitter, Facebook, Google Places, Google Buzz, Foursquare, and other social networking venues work to engage local customers, drive your popularity and increase your sales.
10 ways offline businesses can use social media.
1. A quality presence counts: Don’t just throw up a Facebook profile or a Google Places page and let it sit: reply to comments, post interesting content, and pursue friends. Update your status regularly and give your business a positive online reputation.
2. Social gaming: Create a unique game that encourages people to build zany skills using your product (or tools that is related to your product). Use YouTube videos to promote your game and have people compete using their skills at your place of business.
3. Promote your social integration: Ask people to follow your business on Twitter or to “like” it on Facebook. Put it on your receipts, invoices, and signs to get your current customer base on board to build momentum. Ask people to check in to Foursquare when they arrive at your location.
4. Put your whole company to work: If your business employs people besides you, give them all time during the day to post social networking updates. This gets your whole team involved in the marketing effort while increasing the exposure of your business in the social world.
5. Find out what your competitors are doing: The amount of involvement your company has in social media may vary depending on the nature of your business. Don’t ever fall behind what others in your sector are doing, so keep tabs on them and then compete for online prominence.
6. Follow the lifecycle: Don’t let your Facebook campaign get in a rut: social marketing has a lifecycle that you should follow. Listen to what customers are saying about your market and products, engage those customers with appealing content and promotions, and then analyze your results. Focus on your most successful efforts. Identify the promotions and content that are most successful and build on them. When you can prove that an initiative isn’t working, stop it and try something else.
7. Build a sense of community: Both online and offline you can work to make your customers feel like a special family or a close network of friends. Do this by hosting community events at your physical store and online. Help promote your city or community together with your business to help people feel like they belong at your store.
8. Don’t spread yourself too thin: If you have limited resources, you may have trouble maintaining an exciting presence on every single social media platform. Choose the number and types of sites you can manage well rather than risk leaving stale or poor quality content everywhere.
9. Manage your reputation: Do you know what customers or potential customers are saying about your business, your products, your brand, and your employees online? Pay attention to the comments you receive on Facebook, keep a Twitter search running for key names, products, and service that relate to your business. Set up Google Alerts, and handle problems and complaints head on. What a great opportunity to show the world your willingness to engage people to resolve their problems and address their concerns!
10. Be patient: As social media starts to mature, instant success will become rarer. Don’t let that bother you. Keep up a fresh, dynamic, and engaging social presence and you will reap rewards.
These 10 ways offline businesses can use social media will help brick and mortar businesses build a strong social and physical presence in both their online and offline communities. Start working on yours today.
James Adams currently writes at Office Kitten, a leading specialist in the supply of office furniture for UK based businesses.
Ivana Taylor, CEO of Third Force has put together a list of the top 10 books about Social Media any small business owner should review.
I’ve re-printed most of her article here and you can visit her website for more information <a href=”http://www.strategystew.com/”>here</a>
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of social media books out there. So how is a many-hat-wearing business owner supposed to know which ones to read? Here is a list of the 10 social media books that small business owners can read to get the most bang for their social media investment of time and money.
About the List
Putting together this list was challenging because there are so many wonderful books to choose from. Ultimately it came down to creating a mix of books that was targeted to small business owners and that will help us build our brands and grow our businesses. These books run the gamut from those that strive to give you an overview and strategic context for the social media trend — to more detailed how-to books that will help you apply social media in your everyday marketing tactics.
Overall, the intention of this list is to provide a spectrum of information that will leave you feeling better, smarter and faster when it comes to social media.
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
Whenever a CEO or small business owner comes to me and says “I’m not sure I understand the business value of social media,” I tell them to read this book first. Groundswell is written by a team of researchers from Forrester Research. These people have done more research on social media for this book (and continue to empirically study social media and document it) than you or I will do in a lifetime.
Because this book was written in 2008 when social media was still “new” to even the professionals, it explains social media in a way that all of us can understand and relate to. Groundswell will give you a framework and a context within which to place new learning. It is well written, easy to read and full of research data that you can trust.
If you’re a business history buff who enjoyed the “Pirates of Silicon Valley” movie about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – then you will also enjoy The Facebook Effect. It was written by a journalist who has interwoven his interviews with Mark Zuckerberg and the key players who turned a school hobby/project into the realization of Zuckerberg’s vision to change the world by connecting people.
This isn’t necessarily a book about how to use social media, but it will take you behind the scenes of several social networking sites and how they succeeded and failed. It’s great business reading in general.
If you’re fed up because the time and money you’ve already invested in traditional marketing like advertising or direct mail isn’t paying off, or you’re frustrated because you see the world of marketing changing and you’re not sure how to maximize the technology for business objectives, then this book is for you.
While it won’t show you detailed nuts and bolts of how to start a blog or how to use Twitter, it will help you to start plotting your next move.
The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success by Lon Safko and David K. Brake
When a book has the word “Bible” attached to the subject and in the title, you automatically assume that it has everything you’ll need to get through life as it concerns that topic. And that’s exactly what you’ll find here.
This book covers some history and background, as well as tools and strategies that you can use to grow your business with social media.
The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinberg
Let’s say you are now “sold” on the idea that using social media as part of your marketing strategy is probably a good thing. Yet, despite all the books out there, you’re still not sure exactly what to do or where to do it or how to do it – beyond establishing a basic profile or a presence.
The New Community Rules is your next step. This book will give you the specifics you’re looking for. It covers a number of niche social sites you may not be as familiar with, and includes short success case studies.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media, But Were Afraid to Ask… by Hilary JM Topper MPA
There is something very appealing about a short, pocket-sized book with the title “Everything you ever wanted to know.” This book gives you short, succinct descriptions and tips on many of the most useful social media applications.
Newbies will love its short, easy-to-grasp style; intermediates will find applications they may not have thought of using before; and advanced users will find a few gems and recommend it to their friends who are just starting out.
Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trustby Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
By now you’ve noticed that the social media revolution requires a new and different way of thinking. This makes Trust Agents the perfect book to read next. It’s written by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith and endorsed by Seth Godin — all trusted marketing minds whose work has stood the test of time.
This is an easy read and will get you squarely in the social media mind-set. One warning: You may not agree with what you read. You may not like it. But understand this: It’s how the technology is impacting people and small business. Embrace it.
Have you ever wondered what it is about some concepts, ideas or applications that makes them go viral? Viral Loop has the answer.
This is another business history book that proves that viral marketing has been with us for ages and not just since the advent of the “Forward” button on our e-mail.
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
The key to really making a social media strategy work is passion and authenticity. If you’re wondering how you can harness your passion for your business to hit the big time using social media, “Crush it!” will be a fun read for you.
This book will help you understand that in order to be successful, you have to look at everything in your business as potential content. It’s a case study of a traditional wine business and its transformation into a modern, social media marketing driven enterprise whose CEO used his passion for unpretentious-ness as an asset.
Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier by Michael Fertik and David Thompson
Perhaps the best reason (and one not often talked about) to get your business actively using social media is reputation management. The question every small business owner needs to ask him- or herself is, “Do I want to manage my online reputation or do I want to leave it to chance?”
This book will show you how reputations are created, controlled and managed
Here are some recent projects. Feel free to poke around my site and drop me a line if you think you'd like to work with me.
This client needed a site that integrated with online travel agents and merged calendars for guest bookings. While the design is simple and elegant, the backend is very robust. I added an additional solution to give hotel staff on the ground the ability to take bookings over the phone or in person without sacrificing the calendar sync.
This site was created to compliment North and West Vancouver Realtor, Elizabeth Dyer's, growing real estate business. Liz felt that providing people with real experiences from the North Shore would help them get a true feel for what it's like to live in this amazing place. The site is growing daily with new posts and new tech like vlog posts!
I created this site for my daughter Layne who is just about to graduate high school. We worked on it together as a tool to help her realize her dream of becoming an Interior Designer. The site is used for post-secondary admissions and scholarship opportunities. It also showcases many of Layne's extra curricular activities.
Jacquie McCarnan is the National Director of Social Media and Online Outreach for the Women In Leadership Foundation. She is also "keeper of the brand". With chapters in 4 Canadian cities, the WIL online presence is an extremely intricate part of the Foundation's overall community outreach. We conceived and built individual sites for each chapter, trained each chapter rep and provide continued support through the national head office site. By giving the chapters some autonomy to construct their own content we have seen a considerable increase in online engagement; not only from the website(s) but from all social media outlets as well. We also initiated, planned and constructed processes to make the social media engagement a turn-key solution for each chapter since all chapter members are volunteers. In less than a year WIL has become the most robust online presence of all Canadian women-centric non-profits. (big round of applause :)