Not only yes, but Hell Yes! Did you know that your business HAS a Social Media profile on the internet even if you didn’t create one? Check the various Review sites. Chances are someone has posted something about your business, especially if there are industry specific review sites that pertain to your business such as cars.com (for vehicles) or Urban Spoon (restaurants). Some of the popular ones are: Yelp, Google Reviews, City Search, Four Square, Angie’s list, Facebook Recommendations, Trip Advisor, Yahoo, Urban Spoon, and there are dozens more. What we are talking about is Reputation Management. According to Wikipedia, Reputation Management is the practice of understanding or influencing an individual’s or business’s reputation. As the online world continues to boom Reputation management will grow as an important tool for your business.
There is nothing more painful to hear than a potential customer “Googled” your business (or your personal name), and decided to not do business with you because of what they read online. If you think you are not “online” this can really put you behind your competitors. Today, you are defined by what appears on the internet. In fact, hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost every day because of false, erroneous or misleading search engine results. The source of the negative listings is irrelevant; the impact on your business is what matters. So, what should you do?
Step 1. Go to Google, Yahoo and Bing. Search your business name and see your future. Now type your business name and/or product and the word “review.” Surprise, surprise.
Step 2. Now the real fun beginns. You create a plan based on the results of Step 1. Do you improve what already exists? Do you need to fix what is out there? Or are you a black hole with no reputation at all? These and other questions will drive the type of strategy you should create and implement.
Step 3. At the very MINIMUM, you should reply to most, if not all, the reviews about your business.
Step 4. Monitor ALL the review sites, so that when the next review is posted by a happy (or not so happy) customer, you can reply quickly. Knowing what is said and responding quickly, protects you from false claims, fixes a problem you might not have been aware of, and more importantly, maintains a professional image in the online world.
Step 36. JK (That’s text for “Just Kidding”). Just checking to see if you are paying attention.
Social Media is evolving as a very powerful opportunity to reach a large number of potential clients, business partners, buyers, and prospects. This is an opportunity to influence them to form a favorable opinion about your business, product or service. Reputation Management is something that EVERY business should take seriously. You can either do it yourself, find a consultant to help you get started, or just hire someone to do it for you. But whatever you do, don’t ignore the comments. You can’t afford it.
A last piece of advice. Do NOT use paid or fake reviews. Misleading the public can only lead to problems.
When was the last time you “Googled” your company? What about a product you produce?
Word of mouth has moved online, it’s time that you join the conversation.
Yours in Service,
Social Media Marketing Specialist
Connect: Discover Service Through Rotary
The Super Bowl commercials have almost become more important than the game itself. And to people that don’t care about football, that is true. In fact, it seems like the Super Bowl is the one time a year that people actually watch the show JUST for the commercials, my wife being one of them. An advertising executives dream, people want to be bombarded with great ads AND they pay attention to them. Hence the reason for the ad going for a whopping $3.5 million for 30 seconds. And that does not even include the cost of paying for the celebrities, production, and other incidentals.
The trick this year is to get more than your 30 seconds of fame with the commercial. Last year, Best Buy’s commercial featured Justin Bieber and also had the ad available on the web, and for their efforts the commercial was seen more than 35 million times within a few days AFTER the Super Bowl, and they claim 1.3 billion consumer media impressions. WOW! I would say they got their money’s worth.
Millions of Americans watching the game will have at least one connected device active with them. Some will have multiple devices, like me. Think smart phones, laptops, tablets, ipads, and smart cable/TV box devices.
Beyond the normal aspect of a commercial, how can we deem a successful crossover onto the web and Social Media? From a business perspective you need to have specific goals beyond simple likes and page views, you really should have a simple call for action, if you are selling items, you need to ask/offer the close. From a consumer perspective, you need a reason beyond the simple call “visit our website/Facebook page at . . .” Consumers want to be entertained, they way value, they want surprise, and now with Social Media, they want to be ENGAGED.
A successful transition will incorporate some or all of the following strategies:
Twitter and hash tags. I think you will see a LOT more celebrities this year because of THEIR followers. More than a few of the A-List celebrities have millions of followers. Beyond the simple use of listing a hash tag on the commercial itself, what will the companies do? In fact, the Super Bowl Committee actually has an official twitter hash tag, #social46 (I like tweetchat.com). Check it out and join the conversation.
Sneak Peeks. Multiple companies have already released parts of their commercial or even the entire commercial. Beyond the buzz of seeing the commercial, how are these businesses engaging the viewer? Ferris Bueller parody “Matthew’s Day Off” is a great example. By doing it this way they are also avoiding the 30 second limitation of the Super Bowl commercial on TV. The Matthew’s Day Off actually runs 2 minutes and it is all entertaining.
Story Continuation / The Tease. GoDaddy has been using this strategy for a while. They start the story on the commercial and leave you hanging. If the story has a good cliff hanger, then you will want to see the end. Now what the company does after they capture your eye on their website or Social Media page is the real trick. And best of all for GoDaddy, they ask for the close at the end.
YouTube/Vimeo. Beyond posting a copy of the video and encouraging feedback. What will companies do with this platform? Will they solicit parodies? What about “you finish the story/video” contest? Maybe a vote for the best of the x number of commercials.
Facebook and Facebook Apps. Coca-Cola is using a Facebook application and a Sneak Peek type of strategy by asking you to RSVP to their Super Bowl party. I am pretty curious about this one. I like that they will be offering the ability to send congratulations / condolences Coke coupons. A great close and a way to capture emails.
Company Website. For this to be effective they will need either a niche landing page or even better, customize the home page for a week or so to continue the campaign. Using coupons, free trials, discounts, or some other creative technique to sell their service, item, or collect email address.
Did not even TRY. This one will be the most disappointing. And I suspect a lot of local/regional advertisers will fall into this category. For example, a local business will play a commercial and then end it with “we are on the web at . . .” and when you go to that site all you get is their regular site and no effort at all to engage the new customer. To me this is a big fail. It is better to try something and learn from it, than to not do anything. The business will be spending a lot of money; they might as well try to capture something from their potential customers.
It is difficult to determine what is considered a successful Social Media crossover. A lot of depends on what the expectations of the business are. At a minimum, the business should offer some enticement in exchange for the customers email address. Making sure to promise not to spam. The next step would be to continue the engagement/conversation well past the Super Bowl. And finally, make sure there is a call to action or a call to close/buy.
I encourage you to judge the individual commercials from your perspective, but it is also nice to see what other people are thinking of them also. Here are some a few resources to consider:
- YMarketing has a Super Bowl Social Brand Scoreboard Report.
- BlueFin did a nice analysis of Social Media and the debates, I am sure they will have a review of the Super Bowl.
- TechCrunch did a great write up last year.
- Tim Wilson also did a great review of last year Super Bowl ads. I look forward to his perceptions for 2012.
- I am curious to how others will be measuring the Social Media results. So if you find a good story on the measuring, please share it with us.
And if the commercials themselves are not enough Social Media, Super Bowl 46 has an official Social Media Command Center. Here are those official links:
Foursquare: (They will actually be monitoring multiple locations)
Keep the conversation going. What are your thoughts? Will you be ‘connected’ on Sunday? Let me know. And as a bonus, you can sign up for our newsletter (hey, you gotta mention things like this). And most of all, have a great, safe weekend.
P.S. This blog was discussed on the Risky Business radio show, Feb 3, 2012.
Early in February, 2011, Corning, Inc. uploaded a video called “A Day Made of Glass.” It is a spectacular look into the future possibilities of glass related technology. It is a more than a dream or science fiction; it is a vision for the future. And it must be striking a chord, because it already has over 13.6 million views. And that is just on YouTube. The video is also available on a variety of other video sites.
For starters, no one can MAKE a video go viral. That’s part of the charm and power of a viral video. There are however a few basic rules. For a video to go viral, it MUST have at least these three things:
1. Interesting, amusing, or compelling content
2. Eye catching visuals, or ear-catching audio
3. People willing to share the video with their various contact lists
To be sure, there are a lot more ‘rules.’ The Corning video even breaks one about keeping it short, typically under 30 seconds to 3 minutes. But, because they have a very strong, compelling content, they still succeed. They also have a plan. By releasing and promoting this video on multiple video hosting sites, Corning has increased the probability of the video going viral.
Back in 1993-1994, AT&T produced a similar ad campaign showing their vision for the future. This ad campaign consisted of seven 30 second commercials and was called, “You Will.” And almost 20 years later, almost all of the products of the future are currently being used by us, the consumer on a daily basis. The only glaring idea that is not in general use today is the smart shopping cart. But that does not mean that businesses are not trying to get that one going too. It is very interesting comparing the two videos.
Corning’s A Day Made of Glass video is more than just a typical corporate video, commercial, or PR trick. It is a shared vision of where the technology of GLASS can take us. Our current ability to utilize the power of our computer is vastly limited with our current interface technology, the mouse. The mouse was invented in 1964 to work with the first Windows type of interface and it really hasn’t changed since then. Corning’s vision shows a new and better way to access the growing power of the computer.
The video was shot in six days (great blog here) and is a wonderful example taking your dream and creating a way to share it with others. Part of leadership is getting people to share your dream. With this video, Corning has taken a larger leadership role in shaping the technology of the future. I can’t wait to install it in my house.
What do you think of Corning’s video? Do you remember the AT&T commercials. What’s next?
I have been thinking on this since my recent presentation on Social Media for Small Businesses for the local chamber of commerce. Too many small businesses try and lump all Social Media into another simple avenue of marketing, and label it “Internet Marketing” or “Social Media Marketing.” And then to make matters worse, they use it as a glorified brochure or press release, and wonder why it isn’t working. Then worst of all, they abandon their efforts, and leave dead links, and other tattered Social Media remnants laying around for their potential customers to find on the internet, leaving a very bad first impression.
Social Media is NOT a marketing medium, it is a conversation medium. It’s a continual, ongoing discussion. Think of it this way. You are walking down the street, and you see a friend that owns a bakery. The first thing he says is,
“Hey, we just added cinnamon-raisin muffins to our muffin line up. You have got to come over within the next two hours and try them. If you tell them you saw me on the sidewalk, they will give you a 10% discount. Bye.”
Are you actually going to go down to his shop to buy that muffin? Actually, he seemed a bit rude to me. This is why when businesses try to use Social Media as a direct marketing medium, they fail.
Now if you had a nice 2 minute conversation with the friend and he casually mentions the new muffins, then that is socially acceptable. The same is true for Social Media. The secret is to have the conversation, and keep it going. The tricky part about it, is you need to create a Social Media presence that people will go to and invite the conversation to their computer/phone. And then work it over time. Oh, and don’t forget you also need to pick the proper Social Media site. (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
Mirna Bard has a great graphic that shows both the simplicity and complexity of “The Social Web.” For any business to be successful in Social Media, they need to FIRST define their goal(s) in Social Media as it relates to THEIR business, and THEN, create a plan. The plan should touch on a variety of areas within the business, but also have a specific focus helping the business reach their goal(s). A big advantage that Social Media has over traditional advertising is that it is highly measurable. In fact, it is too measurable. So not only must you decide what to measure, you also need to understand how that particular metric affects your goal(s).
For example, it is easy to measure the number of “Likes” that a Facebook page acquires. But what do you do with the Likes? How did you get the Likes? Are those people returning to your Facebook page in any frequency? Is the quantity of Likes adding to your business goal(s)?
A lot of small businesses just create a presence, see what happens, and hope to get lucky. They should treat it like another extension of their business. Do you put out a newspaper ad without a plan? What about a TV commercial?
So . . . What is a small business to do? Assign someone, part time, full time, intern, consultant, marketing department or yourself to take ownership of Social Media. Then create a strategy, implement the plan, monitor, measure, engage your customers, and continue the cycle.
Remember the internet never forgets, once you start down this path, forever will it dominate your destiny.
There are so many people, businesses out there that just don’t get it yet. They view, preach, and legislate Social Media out of the workplace. The thinking goes that if the employees are on Facebook then they are not being productive, when it is actually the other way around. There are multiple studies that back this up. One report warns that by stopping workers from surfing the web, businesses are contributing to a loss of productivity work up to $8 billion every year. And that was back in 2007. And not only that, by allowing workers a bit more freedom on the Internet, businesses can boost morale while improving company profits.
Social Media, and especially email are now necessities to business growth. So what is the best way to use Social Media and email? Here are 4 general rules.
- Incoming Email. Delete, reply, archive, or mark for later. Delete is obvious, but you need to use it often. Reply, get it done and then you don’t have to worry about it later. Try not to mark simple replies for later. Archive means move it out of the inbox and into the appropriate folder for future reference. That means to need to create subfolders. This is important, but easy, so if you don’t know how to do this, you need to find someone to show you. And finally, mark for later is something you can’t do within 2 minutes of reading the email, but needs to be done. At the end of the day/week you should review all of these before you go home.
- Get rid of the distractions. Spam filters are a requirement on email. And for Facebook, create your own filter. If you are going to use Facebook for business, you need to “hide” all the non-important, non-business related streams. This means all the game (Farmville) updates from your friends, AND your friends (cousins, people from high school or college that you barely remember, etc). To do this, click on the “X” to the right of the post, click “Hide all by name“, and then they are hidden, never to waste your time again. If you want to see what they are up to, just type their name in the search box at the top and read away.
- Interact. With email that is obvious, with all other Social Media it still needs to be a requirement. The more you interact with your business related stream, the stronger your Social Media presence becomes. So listen, COMMENT, and talk to them. Congratulate people on their success and offer to meet for coffee. You might be able to help them in their business and make a bit of money at the same time (It is NOT a crime to make money helping people.)
- Know where your audience is and BE THERE. If you customer, business supplier, or interested person is on Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, or anywhere else, you need to be THERE. Now that you are there, see step 3.
Social Media is much more than networking, it is building a relationship with other people. Whether they are clients, potential clients, businesses, or just curious people, they are all vital for business growth in the future. Embrace it.