The 4P’s of Marketing Aren’t What They Used to Be

Last week we had a fantastic speaker, Sima Dahl, dial in to the social media webinar.  Her topic for discussion was about social media for business.  But, what really got me listening was her take on the 4P’s of marketing.  We should all know that they are Price, Product, Place and Promotion…don’t worry, I needed a refresher too.  Now that things have become more social the 4P’s have changed to the 4C’s!  These would be Community, Content, Conversation and Conversion.  Do we have your undivided attention?

Sima went on to share her three strategies for social media in general.  So here we go, straight from the presentation and as her website claims…”Sima says…”

Strategy 1: Get cozy with your customer
*Outline your social media objective
**Start with your target customer…find out what social media platform this kind of customer is using.
*Tune into online chatter

Strategy 2: Contribute to the social stream
*Select a social media channel and consider your comfort zone…how chatty are you?
*Assess your content and don’t just give off noise, i.e. self promotional info 24/7
*Start a conversation but clearly set expectations.  You won’t answer all of the time and you may not answer all questions, make that clear from the beginning.
*Be creative and let your personality shine through.  How do you want the brand to sound?

Strategy 3: Fail early, learn fast
* Monitor things closely and respond to issues quickly. Silence can be deafening at times, especially if you usually post often.
* Measure conversion. What were your initial goals? Are you meeting them?
* Practice continuous learning and watch others.

But, most important of all, HAVE A PLAN!

Let’s all thank Sima for all of these great tips!

What did you do today?

Siloing Your Social Media

So in the last two posts I shared with you Lee Odden’s opinion on the first two issues that people face with social media.  To recap, those two are, not relating your social media KPI’s to your business KPI’s and talking about the five “sins” of social media, failure to plan, only talking about yourself/your company and the other three :).

His last take on this topic is that often times marketing folks silo social media from other functions. These companies need to become more of a social business in general.  What he means is that marketing, PR, and sales shouldn’t be the only ones out there creating buy in from current and potential customers.  Every function of a business should be truly customer facing, even customer service and HR.  All five of these functions within a company should help build a community and a true brand.  The marketers of the company shouldn’t be the only ones creating interesting editorial pieces highlighting how great the product and brand is, we should all be recruiters for our company.  Help your business become more social!

What did you do today?

P.S. There are so many great things that I am learning from this social media seminar.  If you’re curious what these presenters are presenting on, you can follow #IETraining on Twitter on Wednesday’s and Friday’s between the hours of noon and two, eastern time.
P.P.S Read this article about the online training!

Social Media’s Essential Elements

I am still taking the Instant E-Learning social media for business classes on line, and last week one of the webinars we all listened in on revolved around the seven essential elements to a successful social media strategy.  You can follow Christopher Barger, who shared these elements with our class, on Twitter, @cbarger, and expect to learn a lot more from him.  As I stated in an earlier post, I want to share what I learn with you so that even though you may not be able to pay to take these social media for business webinars you will still learn something through me and my notes.

So here goes.  The top 7 essential elements to a successful social media strategy are:

1. You need an executive champion: this person has credible authority, can moderate disputes, can sell the importance of social media up the corporate ladder, can liason between the social media and overall strategy, can provide or raise a budget and has a strong relationship with the social media evangelist.

2. You need clear lines of authority: social media should not be executed independently from any other strategy, you must be in constant contact and collaborate regularly with all involved parties, don’t get stuck in a “box checking” mentality and not think of new/effective things that can help your overall marketing strategy.

3. The social media evangelist: this person is not just a “social media rock star,” this person should be more than just a community manager and instead be a strategist with a business focus.

4. Metrics and measurements are a must! However, success must be defined and you need to decide what results you want to see before you even begin.  Have a “point of zero” from which to start.  Not all tools will fit in your toolbox, select the measurement tools that apply to your goals and your business.
Great stats:
* Up to 47% of Twitter accounts are abandoned
* 57% of Facebook users hide brand content in their news feeds. (stats from eMarketer via Chris Barger’s presentation for instant etraining)

5. You must have some kind of partnership with legal: At the end of the day, your goals are similar, to have the company’s best interests in mind.  Sometimes it must be realized that the “right thing” in social media doesn’t always line up with the best interests of the company, i.e. posting during a crisis or sensitive time.  Find someone in legal who is interested in social media and groom this interested party to become a social media expert.  This will help you explain certain situations to someone who actually understands.

6. You need a solid social media policy!  It protects the organization and its employees.  You should make sure that all functions of a business that affect or are affected by social media adhere to the policy.  The policy will be easier follow if it is line with business guidelines.  Keep in mind that a usage guide and an overall policy are not the same thing.  You can “use” social media at your digression, if it is for corporate purposes, but even when you do you have to do so according to policy and not share confidential information.

7.  Educate! There are three tiers of employees you need to educate on social media.  There are those in tier one who need just the basics, such as an etiquette guide, resources for learning, and most importantly a review of the social media policy.  Those in tier two need to be brought up on the advanced info, such as how to represent the brand, some case studies, and scenario planning.  Lastly, tier three employees are your every day reps.  These folks are your outside speakers and should know the ins and outs of the social media policy, etiquette when representing the brand, and know what to do in a crisis situation.

Thank you again for Chris Barger for an amazing webinar and now it is your turn to teach and implement the social media strategy in your corporation!

What did you do today?

Stats to Work With

I am currently enrolled in a six week web conference entitled, Social Media for Business.  Yesterday we had our first two sessions on Creating Digital Leadership in a Social World, moderated by Erik Qualman, and Building Your Social Media Strategy in 8 Simple Steps, moderated by Krista Neher who dialed in from SXSW.  Just as I shared what I was learning during my Inbound Marketing classes through Hubspot I also plan on sharing tips and stats that I think are truly interesting from these 19 sessions.  So brace yourselves, this is going to be a long and sometimes deep dive into social media for business but I’ll keep it light and share the most interesting factoids with you.

So, here are the incredibly interesting facts I learned from Erik:

* 92% of people under the age of 2 have a digital shadow!!!–>That is insane!  All those baby photos parents post are creating a digital shadow for their kids!
* 91% of pre interview research is done online by recruiters
* 35% of people who were initially going to be brought in for an interview are told not to come in due to something that was found out about them online!
* Multitasking decreases your IQ by 10 points–>don’t text and drive or talk on the phone and type an e-mail!
* We are interrupted every 11 minutes at work and it takes us 25 minutes from that interruption to get back to what we were doing
* Write down TWO things that you must accomplish in a day. This will make you feel like you really accomplished something and didn’t just spend the day in meetings and answering e-mails

Finally, think about writing your life compass in 140 characters. Erik encouraged us to think about what we want our life to mean and summarize it in 140 characters!

Krista focused on creating a social media strategy and went through the 8 steps to do it successfully.  There really is no point for me to rephrase Krista’s words when she has a very eloquently written article titled 8 Steps to Building Your Social Media Strategy.

What did you do today?

Pinterest for B2B

Now, I know…I have discussed the Pinterest topic at length.  But, Hubspot just came out with an amazing blog article about Pinterest for business 2 business that naturally I just HAD to share with you.  As a graduate of Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University, I am a huge pusher of Hubspot articles and white papers.  I couldn’t have written a better piece on why Pinterest is a social media site to be reckoned with, ESPECIALLY for B2B.  How, you might ask?  Use these five easy steps!

1. Identify your most visual content: consisting of white paper photos, brochure photos, installations, manufacturing, user photots…the list goes on…
2. Send Traffic with Specific Links in Each Pin
3. Optimize Pinterest for Lead Generation
4. Build Your Pinterest Follower Base to Grow Company Reach: like and comment on other people’s pins, promote your Pinterest account, create the best boards for a specific industry/market
5. Measure Your Traffic and Leads

Personally, I began using Pinterest to get a better idea of what my wedding might look like, pin images of clothes I’ll never own, create diy projects for myself that I’ll never complete, and decorate (perfectly) the home that I have yet to own.  But why not dream big?!?

As I noticed a lack of a purely visual platform for our sales force to use during their calls and sales meetings I decided to turn to Pinterest.  I figured if it generated some buzz from the Pinterest community, then great.  But first and foremost, I wanted to help our guys out, and help our customers understand exactly what the company I work for is all about, in a purely visual way.

I already have a few tricks up my sleeve how to increase the viewership and interaction with our Pinterest page but I cannot wait to implement Hubspot’s 5 key points to Pinterest success for B2B businesses!

What did you do today?

It’s All Online

Did you know that, “eMarketer estimates U.S. digital newspaper ad revenues grew 8.3% to $3.30 billion in 2011. Print advertising revenues at newspapers fell 9.3% to $20.70 billion in 2011. At magazines, U.S. print ad revenues are expected to rise 0.5% to $15.34 billion in 2012, up from $15.30 billion last year. U.S. digital advertising spending at magazines grew 18.8% to $2.70 billion in 2011.”

What does all of this mean?  Well, we’re going online.  Not to say that we haven’t been online but with Apple wanting to reinvent the textbook business and have every child in the world buy digital versions of books for grades k-12 and on it means that the publishing industry is slowly dying.  Personally, I’m sad.  I just joined a book club through Real Simple magazine and am relishing the fact that I am reading more.  And that I am reading more REAL books.  I may not read a lot but I have always enjoyed the way books feel.  I think people look more knowledgeable with a stack of books than let’s say a stack of kindle’s.

But as per usual, I digress.  What does this mean for us marketers?  Well, again, as a society we’re going online more.  Print advertising seems to constantly become more and more a thing of the past.  People want dynamic ads, they want something tailored to their interests and hobbies and a print ad just won’t do.  Print ads are what they are.  If a newspaper has decided to promote car sales for a month straight, and you as a reader are in the poor house, what does that do for you?  Nothing.  However, if you’re online and search engines, or Facebook or digital magazine copies, pick up that you’re down on your luck and things are not looking up as they should, I would bet you that you would begin getting ads for coupons and all kinds of deals that would actually appeal to you.  These ads are able to appeal to their audience which are placed on the pages that people visit and which depend on what you looked up, or read, previously.

The one thing that may save print ads are social media call outs asking people to either join a conversation or follow a brand online where the brand can then appeal more to these new customers and followers by assessing their needs via insights and tracking.  A post from 4Ps Marketing about the outlook for social media in 2012 states the following:

“We have already started seeing how brands are using print adverts to drive customers to their Twitter and Facebook pages. This shows how important brands consider them to be. Hashtags have been appearing during TV shows encouraging you to join in the conversation. Brands have been driving customers off their website onto their Facebook page to get a discount or offer. Digital ads off and on Social Media platforms will provide links to the pages and related offers. We believe that we will be seeing increasingly more of this type of cross marketing integration.”

So there you have it.  We have to begin focusing more on digital and online, if we haven’t already.  But you can never forget about print, although by the time my kids go to school they’ll laugh at the fact that their parents have books on “book” shelves, as print can also evolve and become more dynamic…even if it does point the reader to yet another online site, with a more appealing ad, with the help of a QR code or some other new age widget.

What did you do today?

Social Media Schedules

It’s a new year and time to think about how you will outdo what you did in 2011 for your business.  I’m focusing on social media for this post and you let me know if it helps with your efforts for 2012.  At one time I wrote a blog post about managing LinkedIn in 5-15 minutes a week.  However, the article I found talks about building your social media strategy and breaks down the monitoring and prep work down to tasks you need to do, twice a day, once a week and things you need to think about and monitor on specific days, such as getting involved in industry specific conversations.

But, before I send you on your way to read the article I wanted to tell you what I do to monitor our social media at work.

Once a month I think about the postings for the following month by looking at the rpevious month’s numbers and outcomes.

Twice to three times a month I update all analytics, which allows me to find out if our postings are effective and it also allows me to change things up throughout the month.

On a weekly basis I look at some of the social media platforms that don’t need as much monitoring, such as the LinkedIn corporate page and put up an update that reflects the important highlight of the week.

Finally, daily, I monitor every post that gets posted and see if there are photos that someone may have posted of our products and see how I can incorporate them into a posting that day or week in order to bring some visual aspects to the postings and get people interested and hence encourage them to interact.  Photos and videos always get people excited!

So, now it’s time to learn from Brad Friedman and see what he writes in his article titled, Build Your Social Media Schedule for 2012.

What did you do today?

The Top 10 Things Social Media Can Accomplish for a Business, Part 2

To continue on the topic from my last post I want to give you the last 5 of the top 10 things that social media can accomplish for your business.  I compiled these answers by asking a question on LinkedIn Answers. I asked the following question: What are the top 5 things social media can accomplish for a business? so here are the last 5 of the top 10.

6. Mark E. “Social media can boost SEO (search engine optimization). When companies post on social media sites they can use relevant keywords and links to their website; ultimately, elevating their Google ranking. “

7. Kenneth L. “…I linked everything together on “Linked In” and began answering questions at the “Answers” feature there as well as registering at many of the free applications for networking web sites on the Internet to see how that could benefit my work. Twitter, BlogCatalog, Facebook, Widgetbox, Friendfeed, Ning and similar free applications served my site well. “

8. Lee J. “Identify new sales opportunities.”

9. Nick R. “Reduces Customer Service Costs “

10. Robert M. “Facilitate research and development”

Do you agree with all ten points?

What did you do today?

The Top 10 Things Social Media Can Accomplish for a Business, Part 1

I have been using LinkedIn Answers a lot lately, to both ask and answer questions.  So to learn something new, because we always can, I asked the following question: What are the top 5 things social media can accomplish for a business?

I was so happy when I got so many replies that opened up my eyes and made me think about new social media approaches, I even got a book suggestion, Jason Falls new book, “No Bullshit Social Media.” So here are the top ten things, as told to me by others, that social media can accomplish for a business…

1. Carrie W. “JOIN THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY – Even if yours is a local business with local clientele, you can’t ignore the value in keeping your finger on the pulse of the larger world around you. I believe in supporting your local economy for the financial health of your city and state. There is also great value in building relationships with others outside of your target market who may be a resource to you as this economy continues to change. We all need to help each other. Resources can show up in unexpected places. “

2. Sarah B. “Keep your clients thinking about your company even if they’re not planning to buy just yet. They will remember you.”

3. Karen, “Before defining what social media can accomplish for your business, it’s important to have a solid social media strategy in place that’s fully integrated with your offline marketing efforts/messaging. Once that is done – only then can you define the top 5 or 10 or maybe it’s only 3 things. AND…this will differ for every company – so there is no way to say these top 5 things will make you succeed in the social arena.the sole function of that feed is customer resolution. The top items will differ for every company based on whatever your overall business/marketing objective is. “

4. Stoney G “Authority – Using SM to push out authoritative content can help establish you as an authority and the go-to place for what you offer. “

5. Kent L. “Managing reputation/brand (crisis management)”

Tune in to the next post to see the rest of the top ten list!

What did you do today?

LinkedIn for Companies 101

Back in April I wrote a blog titled, LinkedIn Company Pages, What You Didn’t Know!  In that entry I talked about the five steps you need to take to create a successful company page.  Well, it’s been about seven months and things have changed…or should I say, improved? 

The 5 points I covered were:
1. Uploading  a company logo.
2.-3. Highlighting your top three products or services, and update them either monthly or when appropriate.
4. You can segment your products by market, or geographic area/language.
5. Utilize the ability to have three free banner ads and update those as well.

Well, what’s changed and why am I writing this post?  The real reason is because Hubspot, who I really respect and whose blog posts and webinars I enjoy, tweeted, “Admit it, your LinkedIn company page sucks” and pointed people to a blog post titled, 11 Reasons Your LinkedIn Company Page Sucks.  I personally am happy to say that the company page I manage does not suck, and I let Hubspot know, through a tweet.  :)

However, I do have to give them props for outlining what companies need to do in order to have a succesful LinkedIn company page.  So what’s changed?  Well, you now have the ability to have status updates.  Now, I am not proposing you update your status daily, I personally do it about once a week.  I also wouldn’t update just to say “Hello.” That’s not what LinkedIn is about.  It’s about sharing information that will be interesting to professionals…in a professional manner.

The other points that Hubspot highlights is the fact that whoever manages your page should make sure to drum up some excitement about the page.  I made sure to get everyone who could to follow our company page, even if it was just people from the company.  Just like with any other social profile, the more followers, the better.  You should also ask for recommendations, if you can.  If you have an RSS feed for your blog, feature it here and your page will have more new content rolling through it.  Also, don’t forget to post new jobs in the careers tab and definitely don’t forget to monitor your analytics.

Good luck and tell me, are you utilizing LinkedIn company pages for all they are worth?

What did you do today?