In this episode of the FIR B2B Podcast, Paul Gillin and I discuss the critical role online advertising plays in building demand for products and services with Greg Johns, SVP, Senior Director Digital Strategy at Initiative and new research by Joseph Turow (@joeprof) and Michael Hennessey from Annenberg (@APCCPenn) and Nora Draper (@NoraADraper) the University of New Hampshire that finds most Americans do not believe ‘data for discounts’ is a square deal.
“It’s a misnomer that people don’t trust the media,” says Greg Johns. “The truth is that people rely on paid media quite a bit to make decisions, and they rely on brands to help guide them.”
Social media policies aren’t typically the first things that come to mind when you’re developing a social media marketing strategy.
But they should be.
Without social media policies in place, social media marketing plans are unsustainable. On social networks, reach is a function of engagement. Without engagement, there is no reach.
Thus, in order for social media marketing messages to get noticed, they need to get passed along to friends of friends and their friends. That means other people have to like, comment and share.
Drafting a social media policy may not seem as important as creating great content to share; but, if your addressable market – your employees, resellers or members – haven’t been given clear, easy-to-follow social media guidelines on permissible use, they’re much less likely to participate, so you’re much less likely to reach their friends.
It’s not easy to systematically maintain a consistent customer experience among hundreds of retail stores staffed by different people from disparate cultures across the globe. But that’s exactly what great retail brands do best. They guarantee the same quality and standards worldwide.
Have you ever wondered how they do it? The answer is a well thought out, developed training program. They make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.
And like everything else, that learning happens more and more online. Dunhill tapped Epic to build a custom mobile learning app that in-store associates can use to explore their stores in a virtual environment and the Nike eLearning team (pictured above) recently built their own API to leverage the best of Moodle and Drupal in one platform.
They’re using technology to guarantee a consistent customer experience.
So why not use eLearning to guarantee a consistent social media experience by advancing digital literacy? That’s what I’m doing.
In the industrial age we media trained our official company spokespeople. Today, we need to social media train the whole organization.
I’m headed to Le Web 2012 in Paris next month to explore that question with some of the sharpest minds in social business.
If you are a social media trainer interested in the use of eLearning modalities for online social media training, how do you think this development will play out? Is the future self-paced courseware, virtual instructor-led sessions, or some combination? Is it a flipped classroom, or something else?
I’m also on the look out for keynote speakers for the 2012 Digital Impact Conference, which is June 27 & 28 (new dates) in NYC. If you’re interested in presenting, follow me to get the call for speakers when it goes out.
When critics use social networks to focus negative attention on a company, brand, product or service, social media pundits call them social media horror stories
But before you assume that what you’ve got is an actual, bona fide social media horror story, use this litmus test for gaging the severity of an online crisis
What Are they Criticizing?
Outspoken criticism on Twitter is not, necessarily, a social media crisis. What are they criticizing exactly? Is it product performance or something else? The Motrin ads which offended a few, vocal moms and dads in 2008 got huge media attention. Social Media pundits lined up with case studies cataloging what they called the Motrin Moms social media horror story. But sales and the company’s stock performance was unaffected. Before you assume you have a crisis on your hands, ask yourself whether or not the criticism impacts the actual performance.
Are You Guilty by Omission? Nothing gets under the skin of free speech activists more than a company that is trying to hide something. The reason people support such a controversial project like Wikileaks is because they believe sunlight is the best disinfectant. If your social media horror story is the result of a perceived leak, unless you acknowledge the problem, you may have a real crisis on your hands. But if your perceived crisis result of an errant tweet by a misguidedemployee, a sincere apology my be good enough. But don’t over react. Everyone makes mistakes.
Mountains and Mole Hills
Mistakes are part of innovation. Trial and error are the mothers of invention. You cannot innovate unless you’re willing to fail. Social business is innovative. So unless you’re willing to be tolerant of your own mistakes, as well as the mistakes of others, you’re not supporting innovation.
If your social media crisis is real, there’s plenty you can do, but only if you’re aware. So monitor social networks and respond quickly. And make sure your employees have social media training accessible so they know not just how to use social media, but how to use it responsibly for business. Social media policies alone are not enough. People need formal training on those policies as well.
How do you judge what constitutes a social media crisis? What aspects of online crisis communications management are most important? If I use your comment in the panel discussion, I promise full attribution.
Inbound links determine search, likes determine Edgerank and retweets determine reach. So if no one links, likes of retweets your share, no one hears it.
Those who aren’t new to social marketing have realized that social media is a team sport. It’s not what you say, but what the community says, that matters. Because whatever most people are liking rises to the top of the newsfeed, and whatever people are ignoring goes unseen.
Once you come to this realization, you begin to appreciate that your objective is not to get information out, but rather, to start conversations. When people talk back they bring their online social network with them.
We call this scaling engagement.
It’s about getting as many people as possible involved, so we can move our message through them to their friends, fans and followers.
This poses a conundrum to organizations which in the past were able to control their communications by using a public relations, public affairs or marketing communications professional to manage external communications. These folks are trained in the business of public disclosure. They have experience creating a public record.
What happens when you invite those employees, volunteers and constituents to participate in discussions that automatically become part of the public record? How should those employees who are not part of your marketing and PR apparatus respond when their Facebook friend asks them a question about your products or services?
Hopefully you have a social media policy in place to govern that type of usage. But remember, few take the time to read your employee handbook. And you can’t expect someone to comply with a policy they don’t understand.
Social Media Training
Social media training programs are a practical way to scale engagement because they ensure everyone on your team has the same understanding of key concepts, best practices and the actual mechanics of the various social networks so they can work together to bring your message to a broader community.
Live social media training makes good sense for marketing and PR practioners, but is isn’t always possible to train everyone at face-to-face workshops.
Online Social Media Training
When it comes to teaching social media best practices, online social media training offers 4 distinct advantages.
All the material is recorded. So participants don’t have to retain it all themselves.
Content is broken down into bite-sized chucks, so they can laser in on what’s most useful.
Stop and rewind the demos as many times as they like and learn at their own pace.
Time-shift and place-shift their professional development where they want, when they want.
Unless you train workforce, even the best social media marketing programs are unlikely to reap significant rewards.
I recently created a comprehensive curriculum of self-paced, on-demand social media courseware, all of which is currently available online.
Saturday I’ll be conducting the pre-conference Social Media Bootcamp, but I’m staying Sunday to connect with other PR professionals at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International Conference looking for practical solutions for scaling social media engagement and managing risk by accelerating digital literacy company wide.
In other words, if it doesn’t make sense to send your entire call center or sales staff to a social media training workshop, you can now train them entirely online.
The Online Social Media Bootcamp, a bundle of the six most popular courses, will also be available through Oct. 19, 2012 for $299 (regularly $599). You can use it to bring your employees, coworkers and clients up to speed.
Unless it’s a profit center, focus on deliverying results instead if explaining what hashtags, embeds, SEO and live streams are. Thiss an easy way to outsource education and bring your people up to speed anytime, anywhere, at a pace that works for them, without travel costs from the longest running, top-rated social media training provider.
I’m also going to be doing interviews on the state digital literacy in the workplace on Sunday between 10 and 1pm. I still have open slots so let me know if you’re interested. I’d especially like to talk to past attendees on my Social Media Boot Camp about what’s working, what’s not and why.
And finally, I’m meeting with a few select pros who are looking to grow revenues by selling these new online social media training courses in bulk to clients or through new business development deals. Reps who satisfy certain volumes will win geographic exclusivity in their territory and the arrangement is quite equitable. Six figure commissions are very realistic. I’m out Sunday night and my schedule is packed but if you’d like to talk about repping the courseware, text at me +1-424-272-l27O and I’ll make time.