From Social Media Today

•February 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

 

This is what I have been talking about!  This is why businesses need to get involved with social media.  They have to be able to respond.

I read a rather interesting article in Forbes, where a famous person posted about her problems with maytag on twitter and her blog and as a result got Maytag to fix the washer that they originally weren’t going to fix. What this situation and others like it continues to demonstrate is that any person who has a sufficient number of followers will also have corresponding social influence with those followers.

Some people would argue that social media empowers customers in general and I do agree with that notion, when it comes to being able to do research and get opinions from your network, but I also find that the social influence a person has is dictate in large part by how many followers a person has. If I complain about maytag on several social media sites, I might get a response, but if someone has a one million followers, as this person evidently did, then she will definitely get a response, because what she says will motivate action in many more people.

The fact is that while social media can empower consumers and allow them to share information about companies, and complain about those companies, the influence to get a company to respond has to be large enough to actually get that company to take notice. The only time that really differs is if a company is actively proactive in social media and makes a point to respond to issues as they arise instead of waiting for someone influential enough to come along and stir up a lot of people.

It may seem rather cynical to note that only people who have lots of followers get the kind of response that the person in the article received, but in similar cases, when a company has been prompted to respond it has occurred because the person complaining has lots of followers and has issued a call to action that has started to impact a company.

So are customers really empowered by social media? In the sense that they can do research and get information from other people they are, but in terms of complaining, unless you can find someone who has sufficient influence with a lot of other people, its fair to say that a customer continues to have the average amount of influence on companies, which is to say very little. Your best way to change that is to accrue followers and develop enough of a relationship and reputation with them so that they will act when you complain.

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A few reasons why social media is not a good idea

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If your customers could care less about you …..

If your product sucks and knowbody wants it…

If you want to see your investment in social media show a profit the day you put it up………

If you want to run the program on the cheap, and …

If you hire people that have no clue about how to set-up and manage a social media program……

…then you probably want to avoid getting involved in social media because you will not be in business for long anyway………….

Let them Twitter!

•February 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Why should educators get involved with Twitter? Here are nine reasons.

1. Together we’re better
Twitter can be like a virtual staffroom where teachers can access in seconds a stream of links, ideas, opinions, and resources from a hand-picked selection of global professionals.

2. Global or local: you choose
With Twitter, educators can actively compare what’s happening in their with others on different continents. GPS-enabled devices and advanced web search facility allow searches that tell you what people are tweeting within a certain distance of a location, so if the other side of the world isn’t your bag, you can stick with your own patch.

3. Self-awareness and reflective practice
Excellent teachers reflect on what they are doing in their schools and look at what is going well in order to maintain and develop it, and what needs improvement in order to make it better. Teachers on Twitter share these reflections and both support and challenge each other.

4. Ideas workshop and sounding board
Twitter is a great medium for sharing ideas and getting instant feedback. You can gather a range of opinions and constructive criticism within minutes, which can help enormously, whether you are planning a learning experience, writing a policy, or putting a job application together.

5. Newsroom and innovation showcase
Twitter helps you stay up-to-date on news and current affairs, as well as on the latest developments in areas of interest like school leadership and technology.

6. Professional development and critical friends
One of the best things about training days is the break-out time between sessions, when teachers can get together to talk about what they are working on or struggling with. Twitter enables users to have that kind of powerful networking capacity with them all the time. It’s just a matter of finding the right people to follow.

7. Quality-assured searching
Trust the people you follow. Hone and develop the list of people whose insights you value. Once your Twitter network grows past a critical mass, you can ask them detailed questions and get higher-quality information back than a Google search would generally provide.

8. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Expressing yourself in 140 characters is a great discipline. You can become better at saying what needs to be said in my professional communications with less waffle and padding (even without txtspk).

9. Getting with the times has never been so easy!
Twitter is anything but complicated! You simply visit Twitter.com and create your account. A little light searching using key words for your areas of interest will soon yield a list of interesting people to follow. There are plenty of Web sites offering advice on getting started and how to avoid a few common beginners’ faux-pas. Your biggest challenge is likely to be getting the twitter.com unblocked on your school network if your main usage will be at school.

Leveraging Social Media for Your Business Monitoring your Social Presence Daily

•January 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment
1) Check Twitter for chatter about your company (2 minutes): Use tools like TweetDeck or Twitter Search to monitor conversations about your company in real-time. To check once a day, set up an RSS feed for a specific Twitter Search to go straight to your Google Reader. Do this by clicking the little RSS icon after you complete a search. Now, ongoing search results will be sent to your reader.
2) Scan Google Alerts (1.5 minutes): Check your Google Alerts for your company name, products, executives or brand terms. To set this up, enter your search terms and select to receive updates as they happen or once daily. Now, when people blog about your products, an alert will be sent to your inbox. You can read the articles and respond right away!
3) Check Facebook stats (1 minute): Visit your Company Page’s Facebook Insights. This can be found by clicking “more” under the page’s main photo. Scan your fans and page views count. If you are a member of a group, check to see if any new discussions started.
4) Answer Industry-related LinkedIn questions (3 minutes): Search for questions on LinkedIn that you or members of your company can answer. You can set up an RSS feed for specific question categories to go to your Google Reader as well. When you find a relevant question, respond and include a link to your website.
5) Use Google Reader to check Flickr, Delicious, Digg and others (2.5 minutes): Also set up RSS feeds for searches on your company name and industry terms in other social media sites. Similar to monitoring LinkedIn and Twitter, your Reader will serve as a great place to centralize your other searches too!
Thanks HupSpot for the post

We all could use a little Inspiration!

•January 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58GRiEj4OHg

Avoid Social Media Panic

•January 14, 2010 • 1 Comment

The notion of getting into social media might seem overwhelming for any small business. Spending time upfront before launch to create a plan with goals that includes how to translate that social media presence into dollars will go a long way toward achieving success.

Nine percent of small and medium-sized businesses use Twitter to market their businesses, according to the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor study. And 32 percent of those businesses said they plan to include social media in their marketing plans in the next 12 months by using a page on a social site such as Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace.

The study showed that 16% of small and medium-sized businesses that have been around for three years or less use Twitter for promotion versus 2 percent of the same size businesses that have been around for at least 11 years.

Here are some tips to help avoid panic when thinking about launching a presence on social media platforms.

1.     Have a plan.

Don’t just get on the social media bandwagon because everyone else is doing it. Does it make sense for your business? Is it where your customers are?

Jason Falls, social media consultant and strategist at SocialMediaExplorer.com, said the first thing to realize is social media is not for every business. “Understanding that is going to take a lot of the panic out for small business owners,” he said.

Falls recommended small business owners familiarize themselves with social media tools, look at who the target audience is to see where they are and then figure out how to engage these people and reach them. He said that as small business owners do this, they will be able to determine what their goals are with using social media.

He stressed having a clear call to action with anything in marketing. Social media is no exception. “You can still engage with people, provide valuable content and give them a call to action,” he said.

2.     Take small steps with a goal in mind.

Building a loyal customer base using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter doesn’t happen overnight. At the same time, this approach might not be the ideal tactic for a small business that needs to move fast. Understand what your small business can get out of social media. For example, is it to sell products or build relationships with customers?

Falls said that deciding on taking small steps depends on how fast a business owner needs to see results. However, he stressed that social media is about building relationships and that takes time.

“I think the smart thing to do as a business owner is to have a plan with clear goals and objectives,” he said. “Social media is much more about building lifetime relationships with customers.”

3.     Be willing to put some time into it.

Set up a social media presence and then check in regularly, but don’t feel it’s necessary to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day.

Falls suggested small business owners set up their social media pages so they can get notifications sent to their smartphones from these channels. But the more time you invest in using social media, the more you’ll get out of it. The more content you produce, the better rank you’ll have in search, which means more visibility and being able to drive traffic back to your site, according to Falls.

4.     Track progress and results.

Have a system in place to gauge how the social media effort is working.

Falls said that if small business owners want social media activity to drive customers to do something, then they need to know what to measure.

Some examples of metrics to look at are: How many visitors came to your site from a social media site; Conversion (i.e. how many people clicked through to your site and then bought a product or service), Falls said. In minimal terms, be able to say something like: I spent X dollars and was able to track X amount of revenue (or percentage).

Link shorteners can help track click throughs on Twitter. Twitter tools such as Seesmic, TweetDeck, HootSuite and others can help users track mentions, direct messages and @replies. Facebook fan pages and YouTube Channel Partner pages have their own set of insights for admins. Use tools such as Google e-mail alerts to track mentions of your business online.

He said small business owners need to understand how to measure those goals and what they got out of the social media spend so they know what to budget for next year. He added that there are paid social media monitoring services such as Radian6 and Scout Labs whose services can range from $500 to $600 per month.

5.     Be flexible.

Striking a good mix with social networks can mean trying more than one strategy because there isn’t a magic formula for success. Falls advised being flexible not only about the tools you use but about where your audience is.

For example, if you’re not seeing some kind of boost after using social media for four to five months, then back off and find other ways to use the time spent or reassess to see if you can do something to move the needle a bit more, he recommended.

Thanks to Leah Betancourt for this article

Learn enough to defend yourself.

•January 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“Hey Business owner, if you are scared by a dog”!  If you have not jumped on the social media marketing bandwagon because you really have no idea what it is, then all I can say is there is a pretty good chance that people are talking about your company one way or another and for your sake you better hope it is good.   If you are hesitant you need to learn enough to at least defend your company.  If people are tweeting and facebooking about you in negative ways you need to be able to fire back and set the record straight.  If you do nothing you will become nothing.  To have the ability to head off or respond to negative comments is a must and that just the beginning, so sign up, study and monitor the boards and once you get comfortable, social media will become your friend and you can begin to participate and become proactive with your post instead of just being on the defensive all the time.