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Twitter – has it reached its use by date

May 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I have used Twitter for well over a year .. and frankly speaking I find it to be the best and most immediate and responsive of the Social Media Applications .

However recently myself and others have found it to be somewhat stagnant … it is not breaking any new ground, in the terms of demographics or geographic penetrations.

Now it is being not used anymore for the purpose to which it was created, but that is a normal progression .. however we still have those who cannot apply new thinking to a new product and are still using it like Facebook as a list of products … so old media … so mass media … not how one works with Social media at all ..

I have always believed that the best marketing program is a mix of all media .. including old media … electronics and print … all the way to Social Media .. whose function we know if to create and nurture relationships, it is not and never will be a direct sales channel.

Any questions .. ask away

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Marketing, Relationships and Social Media

January 3, 2012 1 comment

We begin, by addressing some basic questions and assumptions first, superficially and briefly here.

Social Media is a disruptive concept, it is essentially an engaged interactive relationship, or it should be, as well it is a Marketing and Relationship creator, nurturer and building tool, all to add to the perception of your brand.

In Marketing, you need to define exactly, what is the market for your specific product or service, then you as the provider, the seller, create and build the relationship, which generally works by providing content that engages with your market. All of this work and content, is to build a relationship, a separate entity so to speak, which is feed and nurtured by both sides, in the case of the company, at some time, a option will be provided to further build the brand relationship and give the customer the option to leverage or in fact contribute to the relationship by perhaps engaging with the Companies content, quizzes for example, this has the effect of deepening the relationship.

Note this is important: Social Media is not a direct Sales Path

1. What is the function of the Internet?

Simplistically, lets start by looking at what the Internet is good at, besides the obvious world wide connectivity issues … access to almost any type of information at any time (with some of it actually true) and the ability to allow for quick and easy access to all sorts of information, and the ability to connect with people, products and services worldwide. One thing though, the internet is just an communication platform, an enabler if you like. It facilitates spontaneous and interactive communication in real time.

Primarily where the internet has come into its own, is in its ability to form communities … and allow for the connection of family, friends, interest groups and commerce, to in fact act as the global replacement for the town square, the meeting point, the notice board, the coffee shop, where people can easily connect for a wide variety of reasons, such as to stay in contact with as well as to develop and maintain relationships with family, friends, special items of interest, education, news and their community just for brief example.

Finally, the internet is only a electronic platform, the function being that it facilitates communication. What is primarily important about the internet is not the electronics but its content and the ability to engage and communicate with others.

2. What is Social Media ?

Firstly, Social Media is a truly disruptive concept, which can markedly change how you company is viewed and interacted with in your area, or globally, depending on your footprint.

Social Media allows using the infrastructure of the internet the potential to build a relationship, which will allow (if properly setup) for social communications between at least two parties in a commercial sense. It allows for the exchange of ideas, ideologies and user generated content of a a huge number of diverse types and interests. In simple terms it provides the technology which can allow the parties to create, nurture and build a relationship, in human terms.

Very few organizations have any idea what they are doing!. The other day I was speaking to a friend of mine and he said to me … Organizations try to use Social Media as a sales path, which it isn’t, as well Social Media’s main function from a business point of view is to allow the formation and maintenance of relationships, by providing the information, tools and engaging content to build credibility, as part of the fostering the brand relationship and by this, support a relationship between the two parties. At some point, it may be possible to leverage the relationship at the choice of the customer, by requesting involvement from the customer is some form, while still investing in the relationship

Too often, for organizations Social Media is used to try and close a sale, customers on the other hand want a relationship, so this is what is wrong with most people involved with Social Media, they try to close, this is flawed, but similar with many other types of ego driven entitled relationships from adolescent boys onwards.

There is a huge amount of content to cover here .. these are some of the items that I will need to look at..

  • What Social Media is, and what social media isn’t
  • All business is relationship driven
  • How to heal the disconnect between companies and their customers
  • Social Media is not Mass Media – this is important.
  • Engagement Strategies
  • Trust is the foundation for all relationships
  • The disconnect between Companies and customers
  • Everyone in your organisation supports the brand .. in other words all employees are part of your sales effort..
  • The de-personalisation of the customers, and the flawed paradigm that underlines the MBA programs
  • Customers want a relationship, they want to be valued, they want their voice to be heard, it you don’t ..
  • I know it is an old adage, but you really want to give a customer what they want in a fair contract and great after sales service  .. if you want your company to grow and survive.
  • Listen and consult with your customers in anything that will change the customers experience of your product or service.
  • Now and more Importantly in the future as new generations come, there be a story behind your advertising strategy – to build the relationship with your customer.
  • Social Media Platforms such as Twitter, FaceBook & others, their strengths and weaknesses
  • Klout and PeerIndex .. are they needed, what function do they fill
  • The Social Media relationship paradigm +++++++

One thing you must remember however, is to ask yourself the question, why is so much of the Internet and Social Media free ?  The answer is simple, because you are the product that these platforms are leveraging, at the end of the day, they care only about how you can help them, they have little regard for you as a individual or the safety of your information, they will use and leverage your presence and your information is anyway they can, that is legal and otherwise for their own benefit … so beware.

In my view this kind of attitude is the very antithesis of what Social Media is … but there is an underlying mismatch between management styles here, as although the market segment they are working in is Social Media, they bring all the baggage from worst parts of old media and old business to this new sector, this is why it doesn’t mix well.

My view is that companies, including legacy companies from the transport and communications sector that do not embrace social media and hence change the way they relate to the customers will within 20 years be found only in history books.

How to build influence without seeming to

November 4, 2011 2 comments

I have watched with interest how organisations that operate in the Social Media sector .. and I have some observations about how to define your strategy

Lets start with the function of Social Media ….

Social Media is not a direct influence or sales path …. it is a tool to build a contact .. to build a relationship and ultimately to add to an experience of your brand from which you can then leverage, while you continue to add value to the overall experience.

Social Media is the Internet’s extension in this insular world to your sphere of influence … your community, your friends, and those organisations that you engage with and others you are interested in engaging with.

Social Media has been hyped up to the point where people are living their life in this cyber space instead of the real world … please take note … Social Media is not your life, and the most important people in your life, are not on Twitter!, well they shouldn’t be (if they are, it’s something to think about) – professionally speaking I believe many mature bricks and mortar organisations would be more successful especially on Facebook if they de-activated their account – their strategy is all one sided, and is all about providing the information that they believe is important, just as Mass media does – which is not how you build a relationship .. One thing, numbers of Facebook does not means that they are actually listening to you … the provider must give something to the relationship, they must engage and so receive their customers perspective … I believe they must be more open and engaged and therefore interested and note that the un-follow button on Twitter or Facebook is a heart beat away.

In the early days, very early days on Twitter, on another account I did an experiment with that exact scenario .. and then changed the nature of the feed .. the response was immediate … that feed lost a large number of followers .. and note people remember … that … if you don’t value them .. well enough said

Now lets look at how to build influence

It is built by engagement and valuing the people you connect with, but you MUST speak with your own voice and from your own values …. if you do not offer up something of yourself then what makes you different than the thousands of voices of the Internet .. that say .. buy this .. do this .. see here … your strategy must be to enhance the experience of your followers … their world expands, perhaps made somehow brighter by following you on Twitter or any other Social Media channel, in other words you provide something they want in their life.

I have seen worthy organisations who are so focused on getting their message across, without seeing the other side of the picture …. you need to involve people in your world for they will become your best agents, for if you have engaged with them, they are then part of of your brand, promoting you because they believe in your brand, remember that not only organisations have a brand, people do as well.  Also if you are speaking as the voice of a organisation, you need to follow strict protocols of how you engage … what you say .. and how you say it … if you bring your personal views of what a customer did, or how they have treated you is counter-productive and will lose you followers.

There are specific processes and strategies to interest, to engage, involve the customer / follower, after you have attracted them and perhaps converted them to buy from you, the most important thing is to retain them, the long term viability of the brand relies on it, to use that connection as a leverage to a wider audience … but so many are missing the mark here …. to start look at your own interests and those sites you follow and ask yourself, why am I interested in this information, and how do they retain my interest and how do they interest, that I want to re-tweet or share my message to my followers, my community … this is a critical point … to a large extent I choose the people I follow and likewise unless I believe the overall experience of my feed will be enhanced and will add something to my message … I will not engage … so this is how I value them by not devaluing our relationship –  and therefore I will only re-tweet a message and content that I can relate to … and I believe my “friends” for want of a better world will find of value …. basically because I do.

At the end of the day … you need to remember on thing .. this is Social Media … it is not a one way passive “relationship” as in Mass Media, it is or at least it should be a engaged interactive relationship, that values and engage with your community … to build a joint experience, and note joint means together …. do not make the mistake of seeing your followers as a means to an end .. as the equivalent of email fodder … value them, respect them and you will succeed … don’t .. well we know what happens if you don’t.

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