Archive for the ‘socialnetworking’ Category

May 14, 2015

If you’re trying to win hearts and minds in a contentious political environment–or customers in a competitive marketplace–what you say may not be as important as who says it.

The storyteller has become more important than the story.

Whether you’re selling policy or product, the public grows uncertain when influencers argue. If you’re trying to compel someone to act…

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Jun 21, 2013

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.

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May 24, 2011

IMG_8508As psyched as readers of this blog may be about the benefits of integrating social media into marketing, PR and organizational communication, we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to appreciating how these channels are redefining information discovery and reputation management.

Despite the wide spread adoption of social media on a global basis, most companies remain clueless about how digital technology is changing the way people communicate and share information.

How else do explain the ineptitude that spurred articles in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal about these events:

PRSA Conference—Schwartzman

The cold, hard truth is that these lapses in judgment are so sophomoric, all you can do is chalk it up to digital illiteracy.  And by the way, if the errors they made aren’t clear to you, you’re digitally illiterate too.  But don’t feel bad.  You’re not alone.  And chances are, it’s even not your fault.

You’ve probably been to a few social media conferences where you learned just enough to be dangerous.  Speakers took the stage and told you how well they did with social media to promote themselves and generate new business.  They avoided the gory details.  No one’s ever actually sat you down and explained how these channels really work, or how to master them.  Why would they? They want you to hire them.

The fight against digital illiteracy will not be won through keynotes or panel sessions. What’s required is practical, applied knowledge.  You need to know how to:

Over the next few days I’ll be running a series of posts to help you stamp out digital illiteracy in the workplace. I’ll lay out specifically what you and your colleagues need to know, and how to teach it to those with only minimal exposure to social channels. And if you want to take a short cut, join me for my Social Media Marketing Workshop in Los Angeles June 30 – July 1, 2011.

Or just stay tuned to my blog.  I’m going to share my recipe for bringing digital immigrants up to speed and for winning resources and buy-in from disengaged managers and clients.

If you’re a past attendee of one of my trainings, what did you learn?  Was it valuable?  And how, if at all, has what you learned helped you avoid a major mistep?

Jan 20, 2011

Why Facebook.com and Linkedin.com are Becoming Less Important to Marketers

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erics-13If the case studies and news highlights in this blog post are any glimpse of things to come — and I believe they are — social media dotcoms will start to become less important as marketers learn that the real power of a social network is not so much the Facebook.com or Linkedin.com websites, but the data they store about your customer’s preferences.

The dotcoms will remain important to individuals.  But for companies, the real opportunity is the ability to collect, analyze and market to the connections, identities and interests of a social network’s members.  When aggregated, this data becomes a research panel that is richer and more accurate than ever before.  We are  starting to see evidence of web marketers using this data to drive sales on their own websites.

It is already possible for websites to integrate social networking features with Facebook’s Graph API, which lets visitors bring their friends and interests with them to any website.

It all starts with the “Login with Facebook” button. It gives visitors the chance to log into your website with their Facebook user name and password, and is followed by a “Request for Permission” screen (above), which gives website operators a chance to capture extended information about the visitor, such as the “like” buttons they’ve clicked, their birth date, the city they live in and more.

Facebook Graph API Extended Info Prompts

Unlike Facebook’s Social Plug-Ins, which are very simple and easy to install, the Graph API is a bit more difficult to get up and running, but it also offers much greater access to read and write information from Facebook.com to a third-party, destination website.  Websites that take time to do that, have access to richer information about their visitors than ever before.

Facebook users profiles and actions create more accurate, detailed demographics than any other media channel.  Integrating the Graph API allows online marketers to build stronger relationships with website visitors through greater insights about the preferences.

Rather than just offer a searchable database of albums, artists and tracks and overwhelm visitors with infinite choice, online music service Spotify integrated the Graph API so users can see the music their friends like.  Users can share play lists and see which songs their friends listen to most. “Spotify now sees 60% of their traffic coming from Facebook,” says Facebook partner engineer Simon Cross.  The power of the Facebook platform is not so much Facebook.com, but rather, the connections, identities and interests of the network’s users.

Amazon Facebook Graph API Integration

Amazon is using Facebook’s Graph API to take even more guesswork out of gift giving.  Amazon introduced recommendations before Facebook even existed, but they were recommendations from anyone who had purchased something we bought. They weren’t personalized.  They weren’t social.  By integrating the Graph API, Amazon lets visitors know what recording artists and authors their friends like, what they’ve bought themselves in the past and when their birthdays are.

Facebook Places recently announced their first European mobile integration with review site Qype, which has 17 million unique users across 10 countries and 9 languages.  Since the launch, they’ve had 1 million mobile downloads of the iPhone App, which lets users see where their friends have checked in, see their friend’s check in history and check in at a location on Qype and Facebook in one action. “For us, the importance of Facebook information is about the power of friends to make a local decision,” says Qype Country Manager for France Vincent Wermus.

From a marketing standpoint, Facebook’s Graph API solves a longstanding problem advertisers have with social media.  They know mainstream media is inefficient, but at least they get demographics.  RSS is a great distribution tool.  It’s effective, efficient and cheap, but you have no idea who’s downloading subscribing to your blog or podcast, and no what they think about it.  On the other hand, Facebook’s Graph API allows marketers to collect demographics on visitors, and in some cases, demographics visitor’s friends as well.  When you have a rich store house of user preferences to cross reference website activity against, you’re in a much better position to profit from them.

From a consumer privacy standpoint, as people start waking up to how the Facebook Graph API works, they’ll become more demanding about the quality of the services they trade their personal information for.  If it’s lame, why give up your extended data, or your friend’s data?

Facebook’s Graph API is the most powerful way of leveraging the Facebook platform, but Facebook’s Social Plug Ins and Facebook Pages are worth investigating as well.

Interestingly enough, last week Hoover’s announced a deal with Linkedin to provide “seamless integration between Hoover’s information on 31 million companies and 37 million people with LinkedIn’s professional network of business contacts.” We’ll have to wait and see how the actual wind up doing that, but what we’re witnessing is the next evolution in social marketing. Companies are beginning to appreciate that when you have a rich store house of demographic and psychographic to cross reference your website activity against, you’re in a much better position to satisfy your customer’s preferences.

This post was written from a presentation delivered by Facebook partner engineer Simon Cross at Le Web 2010 in Paris.  A podcast of his presentation is available as well.

Categories: Facebook, marketing, social networks, socialnetworking, Uncategorized
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Jan 03, 2011

HOW TO: Facebook “Like” Button Optimization

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This post (written based on the presentation embedded above) explains how the Facebook “Like” button is poised to kill online display advertising as we know it, and help you understand why the social networking giant has been valued at $50 billion.  It is the second in a series of posts about marketing with Facebook. The first post with about marketing with Facebook Pages and Facebook Ads.  Let’s get started.

At first, the web was about surfing the information highway. Then it evolved into a place where the focus was on web content, pages, databases and documents. Today, it has become a place to connect with friends and trusted colleagues.  The web of tomorrow will be about finding relevant content from our friends, signaling the end of algorithmic search as the dominant means of locating relevant content online. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Facebook, social media, social networks, socialmedia, socialnetworking, socialnetworks, Uncategorized
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Mar 29, 2010

These Tools are Made for Talking

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As excited as you may be with cross-publishing Facebook apps, Seesmic, Ping.fm, Posterous, TweetDeck, TubeMogul, Blip.TV, FriendFeed and the latest, Google Buzz — which automatically move what we say from one social media network to another — until these tools become as good at listening as they are at talking, they also bring with them a degree of risk that warrants acknowledgment.

When I demo all these services in my Social Media Boot Camp, people get excited. Their first reaction is that they’ll be able to leverage these tools to syndicate their messages everywhere. After the eyes glaze over with just how many places there are to communicate on the social web, at first blush these tools appear to be a magic bullet for social media engagement.

The problem is, these tools are made for talking. And that’s just what they do. As just like that Nancy Sinatra song, if you’re not careful, one of these days these tools are going to walk all over you.

Some, like Seesmic and TweetDeck, are starting to include some degree of listening. But for the most part, these tools make it easy to talk, or perhaps I should say scream, for the highest mountain through as many canyons as possible.

Syndication tools will continue to improve, but as it stands, there’s no one tool that allows you to syndicate what you say and get everything you need to hear back, without significant blind spots. In fact, I’ve often thought they can may actually work against you by serving as social media ear plugs, or creating duplicate post feedback, as we FriendFeed and Twitter App our way into our very own echo chambers.

If you rely on these services to display your content on multiple social media networks automatically, it is much more likely you’ll forget to actually log into Linkedin or Facebook in a reasonable amount of time to see if you get questions that deserve a reply. If you have, and don’t respond, you’re using social media as a publishing platform, instead of building stronger relationships with people and organizations.

As long as you remember to listen, these tools do offer new efficiencies. But remember, you can’t have conversations if you don’t listen to what people have to say. And as it stands now, social media syndication tools need to learn to listen as well as they talk.

The Social Media Boot Camp comes to Los Angeles, August 16-17, 2010. Bring your laptop, log on and learn the ins and outs on social media engagement and SEO. Sign up at http://www.socialmediabootcamp.com
Categories: social media, socialnetworking, socialnetworks
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Feb 08, 2010

How to Generate Leads on SlideShare

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It will probably come as no surprise that the pre-dominant activity on SlideShare, according to the company’s CEO Rashmi Sinha, who I spoke with recently about the launch of their new branded channels, is B2B lead generation.

B2B sales cycles exceed those of B2C, because the former requires someone be walked through a process, learn best practices and see relevant case studies to arrive at a purchasing decision. And currently, PowerPoint presentations are the popular media used in business to get that done.

Google Adwords and online display ads may bring the horse to water, but before a B2B customer drinks, they need a more comprehensive understanding than ads can provide, and presentations solve that problem.

But just what kinds of presentations work best at actually generating leads on SlideShare?

That’s one of the questions I asked Rashmi, in a conversation that also touched on the shortcomings of user-ratings, making sharing beneficial to community members and encouraging high quality business conversations by discouraging anonymity, which is available as a special episode of my “On the Record…Online” podcast.

But if you’re looking to generate leads on the SlideShare, and you want to know how to do it, here’s a cheat sheet directly from SlideShare CEO Rashmi Sinha:

1. Get Personal — SlideShare may be a business-to-business social network, but the service’s real strength is its ability to promote business with personality. To see how this works in practice, check out SlideShare’s homepage on any given day and see what types of presentations rank high. You’ll find dryer, text-heavy presentations — though packed with useful information — are much less popular than those with a strong dose of personality and individual flair.

2. Visual Essays Work Best — In the real world, when you use PowerPoint as a visual aid, you are able to to narrate your presentation. But on SlideShare, your deck has to speak for itself. Using imagery to add visual punch works to communicate more information with fewer words. It’s more attractive to viewers because it requires less effort to look at pictures than it does to read.

3. Serve an Underserved Audience — Most of the content on SlideShare is tech-oriented. So if this is your addressable audience, you’re prospecting in the most competitive of SlideShare’s markets. If, on the other hand, you’re visual essay is about some type of subject-matter that’s less prevalent, you may be appealing to much a smaller audience, but there’s also much less competition, so the probability of converting members into leads is higher.

4. Presentations as Media — On SlideShare, your presentation is media. And good media is different from a good presentation. While good presentations include all the ins and outs at the expense of requiring more time and attention, effective media typically promises quick gains for a small time investment. A SlideShare presentation that works as a lead generation tool, is less about driving actual purchasing decisions than it is about sparking someone’s curiosity. Lead generation is about opening doors, not than closing them.

Rashmi says SlideShare is fixing the broken “white paper download paradigm,” one of the more common ways B2B marketers generate sale leads online. The problem, she says, is that in the white paper download model you have to forfeit your contact information before you know whether or not the content is any good. By introducing a social layer of comments, embeds, favorites and downloads within an active B2B community, SlideShare lets members use a social filter to more efficiently identify what might be compelling content for them.

Are you using SlideShare to generate leads? is there anything I’ve missed that can add to this post?

The Social Media Boot Camp comes to Los Angeles, August 16-17, 2010. Bring your laptop, log on and learn the ins and outs on social media engagement and SEO. Sign up at http://www.socialmediabootcamp.com
Categories: B2B, social media, social networks, socialnetworking, socialnetworks
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