Category Archives: SMM
Posted by Sandra Eisenberg
We make money or save money by providing value to others in a cost effective manner. Pretty simple, really. Technology can streamline the process and make us more efficient at a lower price point — but just as easily technology can be a massive time waster that actually costs us money.
Think of all those apps on Android and the iPhone that are games like Zombie Farm. Loads of fun, but not exactly productivity enhancers!
Which brings me to a recent blog on the Harvard site. The article discusses a study by Harvard which shows that employees are using social media including mobile technologies and video to improve how they do their jobs. These employees are solving your customer and business problems without permission from the information technology (IT) departments:
“In a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. information workers, we found that 37% are using do-it-yourself technologies without IT’s permission. LinkedIn, Google Docs, Smartsheet.com, Facebook, iPads, YouTube, Dropbox, Flipboard — the list is long and growing.”
Forrester Research even gives this trend a name: Technology Populism.
In a sense all this end user “power” is a good thing — people are not waiting for IT to solve problems. Technology like Facebook and other social media proves that if companies don’t take advantage of new technologies then customers WILL and this is not always good for companies. Many a corporation has been blind sided by consumers angry at faulty equipment or mishandled customer “service.”
Yet picture a large company with employees each “doing their own thing” technologically speaking. Fairly soon will we not have misinformation from our own employees with videos on YouTube giving out erroneous “facts”? Will we have “stuff everywhere” and a common corporate value proposition (aka the corporate position) totally destroyed and misinterpreted by people who only see part of the picture?
I am reminded of the story of the blind men and the elephant. In this parable by Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi we are told that a group of blind men touch an elephant and then must describe the elephant. Each man feels a different part, but only one part and the result that no one describes the elephant as a whole, but each describes the animal differently based on one piece. One describes an elephant as long and thick like a boa constrictor — he feels the trunk. Another describes the elephant as long and skinny — he is describing the tail. Another says the elephant is flat like a stingray — he describes the ear, and so forth.
If our employees are using social media and other technologies to help “describe” our companies and our products / services are they knowledgeable enough of the whole — the goals and true strengths — to be helping the corporation, or is there wholesale chaos as each is so focused on one small part that they miss the elephant for the tail?
True enough there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle. Technology, particularly “Web 2.0” with smart phones and social media is here and will be part of our future if we deal with it or ignore it. Should we allow our employees to go off willy nilly and be empowered to “do their own thing” or should we try to build some rules around this wild west of technology? My contention is that in the end we will all meet somewhere in the middle. We cannot truly control all of our employees any more than we can control our customers (or our children). Yet, we must put some structure into place or we will face wholesale anarchy. Welcome to the new, brave new, world of technology.
Posted by Sandra Eisenberg
Social media (the latest “techno-buzz term”) simply refers to people having conversations online. In the far away land known as “Web 1.0” the internet was one-way. You threw a website online or sent out emails and things were pretty simple. Customers would check out your website for information, and might call your contact center or send you an email. Ah, the good old days!
Social media (Facebook, Twitter. . .even YouTube) makes this seem quaint and old fashioned. In the world of Facebook a short comment is followed by other comments and pretty soon you have a town meeting going on. The vendor does not control the conversation — in fact no one controls it, not even the person who begins it! With 500 million users now on Facebook it is larger than the United States of America — and perhaps just as powerful in its own way.
This new phenomena of social media can be a power for good or for evil. It can help your business, or it can destroy you. Businesses today must learn to deal with it one way or the other — and to try to find a way to use it as a way to make money.
The first thing to realize is that if you take a used car sales approach to Facebook or its ilk you will fail miserably. Social media is all about the conversation and nothing turns people off faster than a sales pitch in the middle of a party. To get fans who “like” you and read what you post you must provide valuable information, hopefully in an interesting way! Doing this must be consistent — you may well have to hire an employee to manage your social media presence. My company provides training, consulting and even provides the social media “presence” for companies — but be forewarned that if you outsource to someone like me they still need to learn a lot about your company and stay in close contact with you. Why?
Because it is all about the conversation — and if there is no meat, no “there” there, you will quickly turn off anyone interested in you — and far from making money, you will soon start losing it to your competitors.
Content is king. To make money on Facebook, Twitter and the rest you must have content of value and you must provide this in a succinct fashion. You must post often (2-3 times a day on Twitter, at least daily on Facebook and 3-4 times a week on your corporate blog). Since this is a conversation, you must encourage “fans” (find them via your email databases and by posting in places your customers visit online). Respond to comments, good and bad — and do not be defensive.
Remember it is a CONVERSATION.
Some of the keys to success in Social Media are:
- Build a large and legitimate following by being informative and interesting;
- Respond to comments quickly and with substance
- Blog, Tweet and post frequently — but again it must be USEFUL information
- Monitor your social media communities — know what is working and what is not working
There are some great tools to help you manage multiple social media efforts, and to analyze how successful they are. You will most likely not see “over night” results, but over time your base and your sales will increase.
As social media grows (and the largest growth is in women 55-65!), the traditional marketing bases of newspapers, radio and television are losing customers and advertisers. Social media is a revolution. There are ways to thrive in the revolution, but it is not by playing the game the way you might have historically with press releases, TV ads and the like. The new world is all about loss of control and “the conversation.”