Tag Archives: social media

A Look Back at BlogWorld Los Angeles

10 Nov

A Look Back at BlogWorld Los Angeles

Last week I attended BlogWorld Los Angeles in my capacity as Evangelist / Community Manager / Blog  Lead at eBay Partner Network. BlogWorld is always one of my favorite events each year because of the swell of creativity and passion that overflows from each attendee. In addition to meeting lots of new people, it’s always great to connect with old friends and reminisce about the old days of podcasting and the infancy of blogging. This year showcased the continuing maturity of the social media and online content space. Brands continue to take notice and choose to be part of the conversations on a very social level.

I put together this video recap as part of the latest season of ePN TV. Take a look:

You can read more about my experience over at the eBay Partner Network Blog.

The Onion: Facebook a Dream Come True for CIA

22 Mar

The Onion: Facebook a Dream Come True for CIA

First off, I love The Onion. They have a way of summing up exactly what we all think, but most of the time don’t dare say. Even though this video is comedy, I thought it was relevant for the blog. Facebook has revolutionized how we communicate with out friends and families – so much so that we now know what everyone is up to – and where they’re doing it – all the time. While this certainly has it’s benefits for us marketing types, we should remind ourselves as Facebook users – and users of the social web in general – that we are sharing information online. Forever.


CIA’s ‘Facebook’ Program Dramatically Cut Agency’s Costs

I am OK with my information being out there. I don’t care that people know how old I am or that I live in Santa Barbara. Sure, some will say I am taking a risk by putting those pieces of info out there, but I think there are risks in everything. You have to live your life. Just understand the parameters you’re comfortable with in using the internet and stick within them.

Increasing Revenue with Social Media?

8 Mar

Increasing Revenue with Social Media?

I pitch to a handful of new clients each week. Some already understand they need a social media strategy, but for a variety of reasons they’ve been unable to implement it on their own. Usually it’s because they don’t have someone on staff that understands the intricacies of new media and they would rather roadtest a lower-risk campaign with an outside contractor rather than hire someone full-time to create and implement their strategy. That’s where I come in to help.

The question I’m asked most of the time on the first phone call is “How much will this social media campaign increase my revenue?” Or, they phrase it another way, usually something like “If we see financial gain from this in the first month or two then we’ll continue it indefinitely.”

This is where I close my eyes on the other end of the phone, calm myself and politely deliver the response that I’ve delivered a thousand times before. I explain that it doesn’t work that way – social media is not a quick fix to increase sales. In fact, if that’s your only objective then the money you’ve earmarked for a new media campaign would be better used on search or affiliate marketing. Both of those channels are optimized for sales and have a proven track record in increasing revenue. Social media, not so much.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA?

For many potential clients, the call is over after I finish explaining the points noted above. For them it was only about short term sales and if that isn’t possible, there was no point in spending money on all that new-fangled Twitter stuff. But occasionally, I talk to a client that gets it. They understand that social media is an investment in their brand. Below I’ve outlined four things that you should care about when envisioning your social strategy:

1 . RELATIONSHIPS: Social media’s biggest benefit is its power to help build lasting relationships. Sure, you may not make a sale in the first month or the second month – but someday when a member of your social community is in the market for your product, chances are they will buy from you as opposed to your competition. Why? Because you took the time building a relationship, sharing information, offering knowledge and not being sales-y. Chances are they trust and respect your brand and making a purchase from you is an obvious choice. Heck, even if they don’t buy something from you, if you’ve made an impression on them they are likely to share information about your business with their social circle. Nothing beats that trusted recommendation.

2. LISTENING: Most businesses using social media miss out on this one, yet it can be one of the most valuable tools you have in your marketing arsenal. Companies pay thousands of dollars for focus groups and market research – social media has these things baked right into it. By monitoring your social channels for industry keywords and your business name you can learn a lot about what the marketplace is saying about you. What do they like about you? What can be improved? What products do they want that you’re not providing? How much is that information worth to you?

3. CUSTOMER SERVICE: Social media has become a great way to provide excellent customer service to your customers. Companies like Comcast were pioneers in using Twitter to address customer issues. This not only led to Comcast’s search results becoming more positive, but also changed the dynamic of the company. Consumers have become increasingly vocal in social media when they like or don’t like what a brand is doing. These present new opportunities, not only for a business to get involved in the conversation, but also to right any wrongs that may have been done. As a bonus, by keeping your ear close to the ground and monitoring keywords from your industry you may be able to step in and help a disgruntled customer of one of your competitors. How’s that for new customer acquisition?

4. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: This is usually the fuzziest item of the bunch for most businesses to understand in terms of need. Many businesses simply don’t believe that a blog (your platform for thought leadership) is a must have. I’m here to tell you, it is. Sure, if you’re Coca-Cola you probably don’t need to become a thought leader in soft drink space. But if you’re a business trying to stand out from your competitors, thought leadership is a great way to do it. The best way to build trust in your brand early on is by showing the market that you are an expert in your market segment. The best way to show them that is by creating content: blogging, video, audio podcasts and white papers are all great ways to demonstrate that your people know what they’re talking about. Creating this type of dynamic and shareable content also increases your SEO juice around keywords you care about.

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

Social media is not a sprint. It’s not a quick fix. It is an undertaking that has to be integrated into your overall marketing strategy in a thoughtful way. It demands buy-in from the highest levels of the organization and requires genuine intent and transparency from all those participating in the project. I believe eventually a great social strategy does lead to an increase in revenue, but it shouldn’t be the primary goal. Instead focus should be placed on the longterm growth and health of your brand by being cognizant of the four tenets listed above.

Do you coordinate the social strategy at your company? How long have you been doing it? Was it hard to get buy-in? Does executive management see the value in it?

The Mouse Gets Social

2 Feb

The Mouse Gets Social

I’m a huge fan of Chris Brogan. I met him several years back at Podcast & New Media Expo (before the event was sold to Blogworld.) At the time, Chris was a podcaster – his reputation hadn’t blown up yet to his current status. Today, he’s one of a few marquee names in the space of new media business consultants. I’m an avid reader of his blog and constantly find things worth sharing via Twitter and Facebook.

This week I found an interview he published with Disney CEO, Bob Iger, and wanted to share it with you. First off, Bob is an incredibly busy high-profile person. Getting an interview with him is no small feat. Additionally, I was impressed with how open he was with Chris about some of the more granular aspects of Disney’s marketing efforts.

I found these points of particular interest:

  • How was the CEO of Disney sold on the value of social media for his company? Disney has over a billion people connected to their various social channels but how do you take that first leap of faith?
  • How does Disney find the right blend of high-tech vs. high-touch?
  • How does technology make an experience more compelling?
  • How does the CEO of Disney move past bad days?

Companies don’t get much bigger or more diverse in their offerings than Disney. Managing a brand of that size across so many channels is mind-numbing. If they can do it in a way that their CEO can articulate so well, why can’t other companies?

Has Engagement Shifted?

24 Jan

Has Engagement Shifted?

Over the last year or so I’ve noticed a trend throughout the blogosphere – including my own media properties. People don’t seem to be commenting on blogs with the frequency they once did. For example, my radio show American Cliche used to get anywhere from 10-25 comments per episode. Now, I’m lucky if I see 2 or 3. Why? My analytics tell me that the audience is still there, but they’re just not commenting. Have I done something differently to cause this?

It’s also occurring on this blog. I have several posts with numerous “reactions” but not a lot of comments. Take a look at the post I did about Van Halen – it was retweeted a bunch of times, but not commented on by anyone on the blog. By all accounts it is the most successful post I’ve done here to date, but what do the lack of comments mean?

My research and personal experience tells me that tools like Facebook and Twitter have moved commenting away from the blog and onto other platforms. People are venturing out less from their chosen communities and instead sharing feedback on social platforms rather than a blog.

I’m guilty of this as well in my behavior. I read between 25 and 50 blog posts a week, yet I may comment on only one or two. But, you’ll often see me sharing items I find interesting on Facebook and Twitter multiple times per day. I don’t think I’m any different than what most of you are doing. In fact, I wrote a post about the increase in linking to professional content the other day.

What does this say about engagement? Does it mean our blogs are missing the mark if there aren’t as many comments as there used to be? Does it mean our audience is less engaged or does it mean they are just engaging differently? Would you rather have a supporter that comments all the time on your site or one that shares your content with their audience via social channels?

I’m still trying to decide what this all means. I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments, or not, as the case may be.

Search and Social Media Behavior is Changing

20 Jan

Search and Social Media Behavior is Changing

This video was originally posted over on MediaTrust’s Blog, but I thought it had some great information so I wanted to share it here as well.

As marketers we talk a lot about best practices and what we can be doing better – especially in areas of search and social media. Sometimes though, it’s not about what WE are doing, but more about what our CUSTOMERS are doing.

In this episode of Relevantly Speaking we’re taking a look at how users behavior is changing in how they use social media. The creation of personal content is actually down from a year ago. Instead, people seem to be using platforms like Twitter and Facebook to link to professionally produced content. How does that shift the way brands promote themselves?

Additionally, there is some interesting data about how users approach search. Does your average user understand the difference between natural and paid search? Will they click on one result over another? How does video factor into all of this?

If we can better understand how customers find and share information, we are arguably in a better position to enhance what we put out into the world so that it has a better chance of reaching the right audience.

What do you think? Has your use of search and social media changed in the last year? Does it change the way you approach your marketing efforts?

The Return of Digital Branding

12 Jan

The Return of Digital Branding

I was reading an article over at Econsultancy written by their CEO, Ashley Friedlein. It outlined 17 trends that he thinks we’ll see this year in the digital space. There’s lots of great points in the post, but I wanted to focus on one in particular.  Ashley talks about the renewed importance that will be placed on digital branding that’s less about analytics and measurement and more about engagement and customer service. I think he’s dead on.

Don’t get me wrong, as marketers we have to be able to justify the work we do. Sure, it’s great to be on the bleeding edge with unique strategies and tactics , but the “cool factor” only goes so far. At the end of the day your boss (and your boss’s boss) want to see results. I think the recent economic woes forced us to tighten our belts and only embark on marketing programs that we could tie to hard numbers. Again, while I think that measurement is a necessary step in the marketing process, I think it’s time to start using some common sense again.

One of things that Ashley predicts is the renewed focus on brand marketing from a variety company sizes and sectors:

“I believe the spend will come under headings such as ‘engagement’, ‘experiential marketing’, even ‘customer service’. The spend will be focused increasingly on content, apps, social media and service rather than on bought media like display advertising or paid search. And it will come from small companies as well as large ones, across all sectors, notably B2B. But essentially it will be about building a brand presence online that people can engage with, relate to, and, ultimately, trust.”

How much of the marketing that you do is geared towards building trust and customer loyalty? As marketers and CFO’s we tend to focus on sales goals and revenue increases – important to be sure – but what’s the value of gaining a lifelong customer? How important is it for your brand to be seen as the gold standard in your industry?

One of the reasons that television advertising is so successful is because it plays on our most human element: emotion. Whether an ad makes us laugh or cry or just makes us feel good about a brand, successful television campaigns capitalize on human emotion and impulse. Sure, the metrics are incredibly fuzzy and the costs are astronomical, but it’s time-tested. TV works.

What sort of lessons can we learn from television advertising that apply to the work we do online? Digital video is a growing medium and an easy leap from TV to the web, but what about things like mobile apps and social media? I believe there is a way to capture the emotional  feel-good power of television and bring it to some of these online platforms with a layer of added engagement that traditional media just isn’t capable of. In the online space we’re able to utilize emotional effectiveness and marry it with the ability for a consumer to take action immediately. Whether it’s to make a purchase online right then and there or spread the message to their social circles via Twitter , Facebook or YouTube. That is some pretty powerful stuff.

But before we get ahead of ourselves and head down this road, I think you need to ask yourself what your company’s goals are for 2011. Is it about a straight lift in sales or are you trying to build a stronger brand? Is it about the sheer volume of customers or is it about building goodwill and loyalty throughout  your customer base? If you are ready to build a stronger brand with more loyal customers you then have to decide if you’re willing to take a leap of faith around some of your initiatives. Are you willing to put something out in the world and see what comes back – even if you may not be able to track it to sales and clicks?

I’d love to get your thoughts on this. is digital branding a priority for your organization this year? Why or why not? How should businesses be allocating their marketing spend and resources?