Tag Archives: social media

Will Marketing Muck Up Social Media?

As a publicist and promoter, my view is that social media is, just that, MEDIA. It’s new media, as TV once was 65 or whatever years ago.

Social Media is NEW media. It’s not direct mail and so it should be used to generate engagement and relationships and trust via thought leadership. This will drive new business and opportunity over the long haul.

There is NO QUICK viral fix (it happens, but rare and usually fleeting).

Social media content must be consistent and interesting. No, it won’t hit home with all, but if handled correctly it will be absorbed by the people who matter (target audience).

And I am all for quality advertising, but not the junk that has cluttered TV or radio by any means! My hope is that marketers/businesses/people stop the “When will I see my ROI” and the expectation that every message and link posted will attract a new customer, client or sale. The social media marketing term needs to go away. Marketing should be all-encompassing in all areas of media: print, television, radio, web and or social media.

A response comment to: Will Marketing Muck Up Social Media? – Forbes 7/5/2012

By Shel Israel, Contributor 

Article: 

First, a brief history of mass media:

There once was a Golden Age of Television. During that time, some pioneers of the new media talked about exposing everyday people to opera, theater and fine arts. They talked about proving the sort of information that could build a better-informed electorate.

After a few years, the decision makers decided, “Screw it. Let’s give the masses I Love Lucy and get rich selling cigarettes and detergent.”

There was once a Golden Age of social media, when people talked about the ability to find useful, interesting, valuable people to talk with all over the world. Businesses of all sizes discovered that there was great value in listening and engaging with customers and other relevant people. What had once been one-directional monologues became two-directional dialogs and most people saw that it was good.

Then the marketers got their hands around the throat of social media strangling engagement and stuffing messages down its throat.

This is where we are at in social media. The medium that has already demonstrated miracles is in danger of becoming the same sort of vast wasteland that TV became. I wrote about this back in February and do not wish to be redundant, but in the last four months, I’ve seen an avalanche of disturbing evidence that the marketers are taking control of a medium and in so doing are damaging that which makes social media special, different and so very powerful in so many ways.

Here are a few solipsistic observations:

The language has changed. Six months ago, we social media people in large companies were still talking about listening engines and the daunting challenges of measuring engagement. Now I am hearing about making social media “more transactional,” rather than conversational. That difference can be fatal to quality in a very short period of time.

The org chart has changed. In most large organizations social media started as a skunkworks, set aside from the traditional organization so that they could innovate and even disrupt to help bring companies and customers closer together. Social was seen as an enabling technology, able to serve diverse needs of many departments. With increasing frequency, it is now being moved into marketing, where decision-makers are trying to make it a better marketing tool at the expense of support, recruiting, product development and more. Organizations are back to measuring social media programs in terms of ROI, which makes as little sense as determining the ROI of wearing clothing to a business meeting. There are just some things that have obvious value, but are very hard to measure in dollar value.

Listening is ebbing. Shouting is flooding. A few years back, it was striking to have a Dell guy say he was sorry that customers were enraged over support. Or a basketball team owner admitting that the coach overreacted, or the vice chairman of an automaker using a blog to take on an unfair auto review. The sort of startling, human, candid and conversation-igniting stuff is becoming as rare as it was before social’s advent. Instead, we are seeing tweets and posts, videos and blogs that are back “on message,” with individuals using the corporate “we” as if they spoke for tens of thousands of fellow employees all marching in happy harmony to the relentless drum beat.

Social media is not yet a vast wasteland by any measure. The Give Lucy-ites have not yet won, and those who consume social content are not about to start hacking from inhaling what the marketers are selling. But in the world, where changes come at the speed of the internet, I see danger here.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing that social media should not be used to market goods, products and brands. I’m all for it. But social works best when you use the classic definition of marketing: that it’s about relationships with customers and that markets are actually conversations. Certainly, using social media to create interest, awareness and excitement among customers and prospects is very legitimate.

But do not confuse conversational marketing tactics with smarmy sales hype. Do not confuse the value of getting others to say you are great because you have done something great with hokey promotional vote gimmicks.

What is being lost has enormous strategic and value potential for enterprises that steer the smart course. You can collaborate with customers to make your products better and bring them to market faster. You can use social media to reduce traditional marketing launch costs. You can have a 24/7 focus group composed of people who care rather than get paid. You can start conversations with the best and brightest members of your community and recruit them as employees, partners or vendors.

All this and so much more. It is not all about to hurl itself into the air and fall onto a spear. But there is danger here and I hope that if you are part of the millions of people who touch upon social media strategies, you give this matter some serious rethinking.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

The Staying Power and Flexibility of Social Media

How do you track results from your traditional direct mail or advertising campaigns? If you’re like most small business owners and entrepreneurs, you probably compare the number of phone or email inquiries you get before and after a particular PR or marketing activity, or you monitor traffic on your Web site or at your bricks-and-mortar establishment, or you track product orders online or in-person. You also know that while such measures are not exact science, unlike full-blown market surveys, they will at least give you a pretty good sense of whether your efforts are having an impact or not.

Of course, most of us have no idea what kind of increased activity we might see due to marketing, if any. We’re just hoping for some sort of spike in activity, some sense that our efforts are worthwhile.

Read the rest of my post contribution on Barrel Of Monkeyz Forum!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Art of Social – NEW Media

It wasn’t so long ago that uttering the term “social media” conjured images of pubescent teens, young adults, and doting grandparents posting about their mundane daily activities and posting their even more run-of-the-mill snapshots to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and a host of others. Seems as though anyone with a digital camera, internet access, and time to spare could become a social media maven.

Then, buoyed by the success of sites such as LinkedIn, along came marketing and entrepreneurial types who saw the business advantage of having a strong social media presence. Presto! The notion of social media as a haven only for friends and family was transformed into something much, much more.

The social media or NEW media space is now a place where business transpires, reputations get built, brands mature, products get launched, and buzz is either generated or squashed.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m beginning to wonder if everyone should or even can learn how to use it, or at least use it effectively to achieve their desired professional or business branding results.  Think about it, the entire world does not know how to effectively use television, radio or even print media. It cracks me up with this whole mad-dash to “learn how to use” social media.

A friend of mine is a realtor. She markets and sells real estate. How hard can that be, right? Like anything, if you have an interested buyer, selling is easy. Problem is, you rarely reach interested buyers without great effort, and you’re even less likely to close a sale unless you know what you are doing. Expertise and experience are valuable in professions such as real estate. They are becoming equally as important when it comes finding success in social media.

My realtor friend recently took a class on how social media could extend her real estate selling efforts. The result? She felt overwhelmed by all the information and possibilities, so much so that she couldn’t grasp how social media could work for her business. She began to question whether she’d get any return on a social media investment. Wouldn’t it be easier, she wondered, just to stick with the tried and true of what worked in the past (handing signs, listing on MSL)?

Possibly, at least in the short-term, but easier doesn’t always mean most effective. You can rest assured that most of her competitors will seize upon social media as yet another tool with which to reach out to buyers, and that buyers/prospects will come to expect and appreciate the two-way communication street. Simply put, people will wonder “what’s wrong” when a realtor (or any other business for that matter) has no social media presence, and those who fail to embrace social media will be at an immediate disadvantage—just like businesses and professionals who still have no (or a less than standard) Web site presence.

At a minimum, companies need to realize the power of investing in the online personas and social media presence of the people behind their products/brand. This is even more important for SMALL business owners as well as professionals (on a personal professional level).

Why? Because people tend to buy from small business if they can get up close and personal with the people behind the brand.  The same goes for bigger brands. I love to “get into the head” of Michael Dell or some of these other high-ranking executives ready and willing to be even more up-close-and-personal with their customers (and fans). What better way than to use online social media channels to put the people and leaders behind the business scene front and center?  I have to say that I follow a number of small business professionals online with whom I share interests. Guess who I turn to when I’m looking for a particular product or service?

It’s certainly hard to deny the power of social media. Perhaps it’s just a matter of harnessing that power and putting it to best use. That said, can social media training for everyone be far away?

Back in the mid-1990s business owners and professionals scoffed at MS Windows, MAC OS, and “Web site 101” type training, but eventually most caved—either by receiving direct training themselves or by hiring someone with the experience and expertise they were missing to do the work!  Again, social (or NEW) media is really no different from mastering the use of television, radio or print media.  For the most part, the owners or chief officers of companies/brands don’t produce television commercials on their own.  They hire an agency or the production is led by someone in-house who has the training and expertise.

Where do you fall in the spectrum from social media novice, to do-it-yourselfer, to expert?  

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Corporate executives want a quick ROI in social media; they should look at it as long-term “best investment!”

Corporate executives are still bent on getting a quick ROI out of social media…a legitimate request yes …also a stalling tactic?  Great read via the PR News Blog (August 19, 2011): http://ow.ly/69Fp2.

According to Pepsi Co’s global head of digital Bonin Bough, being gripped by fear of adapting to social media can be fatal (for organizations): “Failure to adapt to the digital evolution is written on the balance sheets of companies.”

Staying away from social media due to fear of failure or spending the time or money that needs to be dedicated to a long-term investment is not the way to get along with a new media channel that is certainly here to stay.  There is no doubt that social media and the web in general will create a shorter term investment as it settles into the norm.

For now, we must invest with patience–and it’s a very small long-term investment to make for what is sure to be a huge ROI in the very near future.  To that end, this is not about “waiting for the best time” –when social media is “well-developed” for immediate ROI.  What form of media DOES provide immediate ROI anyway?  Print ads, news stories etc. — sure, but also fleeting if you don’t keep the advertising going or the PR machine pumping.  Social media is and will be no different than other media channels– it will eventually give way to long-term, consistent return on investment.  Social media, as Bonin Bough says, is here to stay and it is NOT a fad.

Therefore, I believe that every company should now at least have the social media/online persona basics in place.  And the focus should not only be on the main company brand, but also on executive leadership as well as employees.  It will soon be a must for the CEO, CMO, COO etc. (company leadership) to engage with online followers/audience on a regular basis–and having employees engage for the benefit of the company brand is certain to become another key ingredient for all company brands looking for success in the social media space. This will soon be the new reality of marketing and business development.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

All-in with Social Media Yet? It depends …(right?)

Does social media really work? 

As a public relations professional and social media PR producer/manager, I get asked that question all the time, especially as companies big and small and individuals from all sorts of industries and professions jump aboard the social media bandwagon. (It’s as though someone’s built the better mousetrap . . . and everyone wants in).

Of course social media “works,” but what that means varies by business and by individual. It really comes down to the results you desire and your audience. Just because you think social media is a great idea, doesn’t mean they do.

Can social media raise awareness of your company or personal brand?

As a long-term strategy, that’s a big “yes” on both accounts. Of course, you have to work at it, you have to generate quality content, and you have to be vigilant. But the ease with which you can push out posts and blogs and tweets makes social media a natural for creating “buzz” about you and your products or services and for keeping the volume cranked up to a healthy “11.” Plus, it doesn’t cost much to get your feet wet (though I will argue that you get what you pay for: getting your feet wet is quite a stretch from realizing social media’s maximum benefit for your business).

Having said all that, you might feel tempted to toss all of your eggs into the social media basket. Not so fast . . . hear me out.

Despite all that’s been said about it, Social media is not the cure for your every marketing ill. It’s important. It’s powerful. It’s far-reaching. But, really, social media is just another “channel”—a very robust, new, and exciting channel, mind you—through which you can reach out to customers and prospects with relative ease.

Remember when cable TV exploded in the 1980s and 1990s, adding a whole universe of additional niche markets to mine? We didn’t simply drop our traditional TV, print, or radio marketing back then did we? No. At the time, cable TV simply represented another tool in our marketing tool box, one we needed to work with, learn, and “try out” to see how we could use it most effectively. Such is the case nowadays with social media.

For some, social media might comprise the bulk of their marketing efforts; for others, it may be nothing more than an afterthought, a “nice-to-have” but not a necessity. As a business owner or a business professional looking to increase your brand awareness, you need to consider whether social media can produce the kind of return on investment necessary to justify the amount of attention and resources you give it—just as you would with any other marketing tool. How you deploy social media boils down to your target audience, your product or service, and what you determine is the most effective way to reach out and engage your customers and prospects.

  • As an individual, how much time can you dedicate to creating and pushing out the content needed to position you or your company as a thought leader?
  • If you don’t have the time, do you have the resources to hire someone else to execute a social media strategy for you?
  • Once engaged in social media, how can you turn social media traffic into real sales? Getting fans or having someone tag you in a photo is one thing—it means you’ve been noticed—but how can you translate that into new business?
  • What ways can you convert social media traffic into sales traffic . . . or at least bona fide leads?

If these considerations seem vaguely familiar, it’s because they also can be applied to traditional media. Running an ad? What’s your call to call-to-action? Staging an event, what kind of time and resources can you dedicate to it?

You see, social media is really an additional way for prospects to engage in a dialogue with you. Ultimately, you still need to convert them into customers.

For sure, social media needs to be part of the 21st century marketing mix, right alongside the tried and true plus other new media that might be coming down the pike (whatever that might be!). But relying on social media to be your sole means for connecting with your target audience, at the exclusion or the downplaying of everything else, is risky business. Although, yes, it can work for some.  As I look back over the last few years (especially!), social media PR has worked for me quite well, but then again—I’ve paired social media alongside email marketing and old fashioned networking (channels).

I’ve seen many companies and individuals go “all-in” with social media, only to find that it’s not the end all/be all they thought it was—at least not in the short-term. Social media is a great way to increase your visibility over time through consistent blogging and frequent updates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites—but getting customers and prospects to buy something from you still takes good old fashion legwork, quality leads, and the ability to deliver on your brand promise . . . and there’s no substitute for that.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Investor Relations and Social Media

Investor Relations and Social Media: Together at Last!

According to Dave Hogan, APR, who teaches public relations at Abilene Christian University and serves as director of investor relations and corporate communications for First Financial Bankshares, Inc., Investor Relations departments have been notoriously slow to embrace social media compared with other sectors of public relations and marketing, but that may be changing as new social media channels emerge that seem better suited to investor relations needs than popular consumer-facing sites such as Facebook.

Read more > http://ow.ly/5Z9n5

Follow Dave Hogan on Twitter or view his profile on LinkedIn

Tagged , ,

Social Media = NO quick fix for instant results–please give it time and stay the course to build lasting results

Social Media IS very PERSONAL (PR) in my book — and the best and easiest way to find an audience and one that you want to be following you (whether it’s one million or one hundred).  But it’s not a guarantee of total and ultimate success.  Social media, online media/PR–whatever you may refer to it as, is another (albeit) new channel of marketing, promotion and public relations.

If one more “social media guru” comes to me (or one of my clients)  with great promises and illusions of social media grandeur (remember fad diets in the 90’s –and all the  “lose 20 lbs a week” promises?) i.e.  “Sales will flock to you…” or “New Customers Guaranteed…” a  I am going to scream.  Moving publicity and marketing into a social media venue is no different from any other traditional marketing venue.

Marketing and Advertising–in the traditional sense–is never guaranteed. You need to give it time/frequency and you need to find the right messaging or offer, but even THEN you are never guaranteed that your specific campaign or ad will rake in the big numbers or the ever-loving ROI that ever marketer, business owner and CEO strives for.

Marketing/Advertising and striving to find the right Publicity venue is a commitment and it TAKES TIME to flourish.  In order to see the numbers you must invest in it and stay the course. Again, remember when people were jumping on the fad diet bandwagon – looking for quick results, but only end up stopping because the RESULT DOESN’T COME FAST ENOUGH?  The same is happening with social media and networking.  So many people jump in gung-ho and only stop when they don’t see those “promised” amazing results and ROI. Does anything in business happen in a flash of a second? Especially as it pertains to marketing and advertising? I can’t tell you how many marketing programs I put together for the organization I worked for in the late 80’s that didn’t pull in the results we wanted.  No results though meant putting the brakes on one campaign and trying another–we never stopped.

Social media/online marketing is not a magic pill that will produce results in a matter of months or even years. It’s NEW media–we are all still LEARNING how to use it!   I wish all the Social Media guru sales people out there would just stop promising buyers things that they cannot guarantee. Yes, they may pull in the sale, but in the end (after about 2 or 3 months) the  “promised result time” comes along and their new customers throw up their hands in disgust and throw fireballs at the Social Media Gurus and Social Media itself (makes my life hell).

Come on!? Does the LA Times promise a “Guaranteed ROI” on the $250,000.00 ad they may sell to Disney or Pepsi?  No,  I don’t think so. So why then is social media production sold with so many false promises and  guarantees of great results? Drives me NUTS.

There is MUCH more to social media then the perfect Key Words or “Call to Action.” Can you ever do that? Really? Think about it…

For instance, I just got this bit of jargon in my in-box today (they wanted me to “take a look at what they can offer my company”–do they read?):  We will create a presence for you {on the social networks} that delivers new customers and sales. Each one will be built around a strong call-to-action and will be professionally designed so that the first impression is a lasting one. All three will also be optimized for search within each network. This means that when someone does a search, you will be coming up in the top results.

While I cannot  say a lot about their whole approach to social media production and management, but who has the right to proclaim that they will “deliver new customers”?

Social media is an investment that has really no guarantee unless you stay the course and continue to build your audience and shape your messaging.  Take the time to figure out what works for you (personally) or your company because there is no cookie-cutter formula, but there are some basic things you can do that are generic to every social media campaign/strategy.

Stay the course and devote time to your social media plan, try different things, stay with things that work,  and don’t expect it to ever become automated or viral either.  Sadly the things you see and hear about viral marketing campaigns are not as ordinary as most people would like to think (kind of like winning the lottery – well maybe not that low of odds, but close).

Think back to our traditional PR/Marketing days–and those traditional strategies we still use to this day.  The ROI on a print mailing is usually about 2-3%.   So why, pray tell, does everyone expect social media to be any better or different?  Sure the hits will look like a higher ROI many times, but in the end isn’t it all about the balance in your bank account? Again, there is no quick fix, but give it time and your bank account will benefit if you stay the course because we have only just started!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Baby Boomers can also create a fantastic personal publicity program with new media… (it’s there for the taking)

What more can I say… we are ALL SUBMERGED in a world of social media. We all live, breath, feel, touch it -whether we like it or not (I NOW HAVE 70-SOMETHING YEAR OLDS ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER – I plan to be in that mix until I am at least 95). That said, we had all better get used it. Right? Hunker down and “work with it” – make it useful to build our careers and businesses.  Coming from the “old media” days, I remember when I got a FAX MACHINE in my office and everyone and their Uncle would bother me day in and day out to use it – that seems like YESTERDAY.  19 years later (dating myself), I have learned to adapt to and love this new social media world. While I still like the “old-style ways” of publicity, promotions and marketing (in my blood — although I choose not to fax as much now), I am getting quite used to these NEW SOCIAL WAYS and actually kind of loving it.  That said, I am slowly but surely taking clients up the new media path and so far they are very willing to let me help them take them on this new journey—it truly is the best way to find permanent personal pr if it’s delivered and managed correctly.

Tagged , , ,

Personal PR/Branding is what you need in today’s job market…

Had the local CBS Los Angeles evening news on yesterday (Thursday 7.30.09) in my office as I was busy creating new “social media” messages for my clients. I am usually an NBC watcher (since they are really good to me here in the LA market – I am quite loyal to my NBC Channel 4 News in the evenings (Fox11 in the a.m.s!), but it was meant to be. Amongst the tidbits about the day’s local and national news, all of a sudden the announcer starts an intro to the next report saying something like: “Personal Branding is what you need in today’s job market…” Of course I starting freaking out. I just love it when the news media talks about personal branding!

The last few pieces on the news like that revolved around my client http://www.RezBuzz.com and their impact on the use of video branding for job search and career movement within a social network platform. That report ran on NBC Channel 4 and in and around NBC and MSNBC over the last month! So I was 1. mad that it was not me they were talking to (LOL), but 2. I was excited to see that CBS was in fact talking to “the” personal branding guru himself (who I am honored to have following me on Twitter no less!)…Dan Schawbel, the author of “Me 2.0” which I think is one of the best reads around (THE BIBLE of personal branding if you will…) for anyone who is on the job market OR looking for new business (i.e. consultants and other solo professionals).

I have been at this personal branding thing for a long time now. I am in the throes of trying to complete my own “Got Personal PR?” book, but quite frankly I have been so busy doing the producing of personal branding and publicity for my clients — I just don’t have time (you know, the “plumber’s leaky faucet syndrome” and all). Most of the people who come to me need help not only to build a brand and personal publicity, but more so to PRODUCE IT… let’s face it you still have to be able to find the time, the desire and the ability to be able to do it. There is also a thick learning curve and time availabilty factor to truly be able to build a brand and develop a following. This is a niche that I think I have developed over the last 10 years that is much akin to the making of a movie, production of an event or even the raising of a family and sometimes it does “take a village” (more than just one’s own self) to develop a unique and highly visible personal brand. It’s also kind of cool to have a personal publicist tooting your horn and going to bat for you when you need that extra edge as well as someone to speak up for your greatness when you might not feel you should.

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: