Persuasive Picks for the week of 03/21/11

Pepsi RefreshPepsi Refresh: Social Media’s Pearl Harbor or Waterloo?
This post by Chris Yeh on the Agency Collaboration blog responds to Bob Hoffman’s “scorching” Ad Contrarian post with a fresh and insightful view on the highly publicized Pepsi Refresh campaign.

Why I’m Glad I Went to SXSW (Despite My Reluctance): One Virgin’s Experience
Fresh off the heals of our own @missusP’s post about her first-time SXSW experience comes this entertaining recap from MarketingProf‘s Ann Handley. And yes, this is the second week in a row that Ms. Handley has appeared in our picks…let the rumors begin!  ;)

Three social media marketing techniques that brands should probably ditch
Econsultancy tech reporter Patricio Robles provides a short list of social marketing techniques that brands should consider avoiding when deploying new campaigns.

Why Social Media is Perfect for Small Businesses
TMCnet.com contributing editor Gary Kim shares the results of a recent American Express survey that revealed that word of mouth is still one of the primary ways small businesses gain new customers – which is also one of the benefits of a properly executed online social strategy.

Facebook Questions Goes Where Quora Can’t
Quora certainly rocked the “buzz meter” in the beginning of 2011. ReadWriteWeb‘s Mike Melanson shares highlights from Facebook‘s announcement of its newly enhanced Questions feature that will make it more valuable to users.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 03/14/11

Lady GagaThe secrets of Lady Gaga’s social media success
Simon Owens highlights the path of Lady Gaga’s success with all things social including some pretty jaw dropping stats via this post on TheNextWeb.com.

5 Questions (and Answers) About Social Location Marketing
MarketingProf‘s Ann Handley shares a short Q&A with “Social Location Marketing” author Simon Salt, who explains why location-based marketing will continue to be relevant and worthy of consideration as part of your overall social strategy.

How Do You Know if Social Media Marketing is Working?
Ira Kalb challenges a recent post from BNET blogger Jeff Haden, where he suggests that “social media marketing is a waste of time” and “doesn’t produce tangible results.”

Most Marketers Clueless About Social Media Conversations
This SocialMediaExaminer.com post from Amy Porterfield highlights the results of the 8th annual Alterian survey, which found marketers admitting to struggles when it comes to customer engagement across multiple social platforms.

Facebook ‘Likes’ more profitable than tweets
Mashable‘s Sarah Kessler breaks down the findings from a recent Eventbrite study that used “in-house social analytics tools to track ticket sales on the site” to determine that Facebook “Likes” drive more sales than Tweets pointing to the same event.

Photo source: AllieIsWierd.com

Seeking PR Influence? Read. Share. Think. And Make Your Own Rules.

This past week I participated in our Founder, Christine Perkett’s (@missusP) ReadyTalk (@RTWebSem) webinar titled “PR Experts as Influencers: How social media has changed the PR landscape forever – and what it means for you.” She discussed the importance of PR professionals using their connections, relationships and influences to help positively influence others or drive awareness (or directly drive customers) for their clients. Also, she shared the ins and outs of how any brand—personal or company– can adopt and achieve value in social media effectively. In Christine’s words: Successful PR is all about you.

Some insightful points I noted from her webinar:

  • We’re tastemakers — we’re all consumers who help dictate styles and trends. It’s important to share your brand experiences (positive and negative) in a way in which you can also share insights for other brands or clients. Turning your experiences into a helpful marketing or PR lesson helps raise your profile as a smart marketer and brand influencer.
  • Read every single day. Then use social media (ie: Twitter, Facebook, etc) to show your community what you’re thinking. This will help elevate your expertise in the areas in which you specialize. Don’t just share links – provide commentary on each piece.
  • Don’t ignore the opportunity to build your personal brand because it lasts forever — it’s like a live resume.
  • Be authentic — there’s tremendous opportunity via social media to “do what you do and do it well” – that is, showing reporters, clients, prospects that you are paying attention, engaging, and have valuable insights so share.
  • Speaking of sharing — make sure to tie in business marketing or PR lessons to elevate content and position yourself as a smart marketer. You want to be an influencer not just a participant.
  • Make your own rules — social media provides a great testing ground because everyone is exploring. Encourage your company or clients to try some innovative new marketing or PR ideas by testing the waters yourself. Post a thought provoking question that you know will spark debate. Write an unexpected blog post. Involve customers in a marketing campaign. Take some chances and share what you’ve learned to encourage your marketing team to innovate.

After the webinar, I started really thinking about Christine’s thoughts — about how convoluted PR and social media have become (and how much it doesn’t have to be). PR isn’t changing — it’s already changed. And will continue to change. Social media has the power to drive authenticity and build brand loyalty, but you need to fully understand how to effectively use social media as a PR tool — a communications tool. Bottom line: PR and social media need to be giving a lot of strategic thought. They don’t just “happen,” at least happen well, by signing up on a popular network. And a PR agency with the know-how, skills, and proven success is just the thing to assist a brand in doing so.

And then I made a connection.

I immediately thought of a company I “liked” and have been following on Facebook for the last few months after reading a feature article on Boston.com. This brand has not only enthused me daily, but has been one of the most creative fashion brands I’ve seen on Facebook — EmersonMade. As stated on her Facebook page’s company overview: EmersonMade offers a one-of-a-kind and compelling shopping experience that believes in celebrating the uniqueness of the individual, the joy of being alive and all the smallness that makes up the Big Beautiful.

And the brand delivers just that.

 

If social media is an opportunity for a company to break the mold and create unique content (content being the key) — EmersonMade achieves this. She makes her own rules. Her updates are interesting, fresh, and relevant. She has tapped into what her followers want and keeps doing it. From Facebook to Twitter to her company blog—she not only leaves me wanting her beautiful products, but I always find myself marveling her creativeness, thinking, how did she come up with that?

And there is absolutely no comparison with big fashion brands like Zara, BCBG, Madewell (to name a few). Their approach is, well, boring. They seem to not understand that social media is not about how many fans you have or just showcasing your products — it’s engaging your target audience. Not in an average way — but in an ingenious way. A way we have never been afforded until now.

Christine’s final words of her webinar have stuck with me: Be an innovator. Thinking outside the PR box. Adopting social media in ways to support innovation. Trying new ideas. Taking a chance and making it pay off because as Christine stated, this will lead to greatness.

So my fellow tastemakers — what are your secrets to influencing your social communities? Do you have a favorite brand that nails it? Or is there a brand that you wished could give you more? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And thanks for reading!

Persuasive Picks for the week of 01/10/11

QuoraHow Quora could get interesting

Quora might be the shiny new social tool of the month, but the jury is still out as to whether there’s value contained within or even if the site will last. Chris Brogan provides his view via this post that continues on with a great comment thread from the community. What’s your take?

How Small Businesses Can Use Quora
The topic of Quora continues with this next pick. Still not sure how it might be used with your business? ReadWriteWeb‘s John Paul Titlow shares several ways you might integrate the tool into your social strategy.

In Social Media Marketing, Influence Trumps Popularity
Need a better understanding of why “influence” is such an important part of the social web? This post from Mila D’Antonio explains why influence is not the same as popularity and provides a real world example of how Rayovac has leveraged the power of influencers in their recent social campaigns.

5 Tips for Optimizing and Integrating Your Social Media Content
So, you’ve got an editorial calendar chock full of great content ideas ready to roll out, but are you making the most of your content creation efforts? Liana Evans provides several good tips to keep you going in the right direction via this guest post on Clickz.com

Firms are overcoming their fear of social media: report
Graham Charlton from eConsultancy shares the results of their recent “2011 Customer Engagement Report” that revealed an increase in companies use of social tools for customer engagement and support. Read on for details.

Yes, Content Rules… With a Clear Strategy

We’re proud sponsors of tomorrow’s launch party for the new book Content Rules by Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs), and C.C. Chapman (founder of DigitalDads). We’re big fans of both authors and know their ongoing content quite well – so I know the book will become a social media business bible of sorts.

Content has been on my mind quite a lot this week as we’ve been working with clients to create marketing and sales content. One thing I’ve noticed is that many businesses are getting caught up in creating content but have no strategy behind it. They want us to create a custom Facebook tab or an event microsite or a video to tell a story. But what I’ve found is that they aren’t always thinking about who they want to tell the story to, or what they want the story to accomplish – or even what action or return they are expecting from issuing their content. And, they’re usually not sure where they want the content to live – or why they want it in a certain place over another.

Jumping into content development without a strategy in mind is indicative of some of the social media hype. Brands just want to get “something cool” out there and they aren’t thinking about the RRR – resource to return ratio. At the same time, many complain that involvement in social media takes too much time and the ROI isn’t yet clear. That’s what happens when you don’t have a strategy!

Creating content for content’s sake is not a good use of your resources: time, money or people. It’s one of the reasons that I believe PR and marketing should be involved in the social media process for businesses. Sure, the marketing department doesn’t have to create the content necessarily, but they should have a hand in helping to shape the messages within it, as well as where it should live and how it should be promoted. Marketers are experts at messaging – and if your content has an empty or off-kilter message, it’s just noise.

Here are a few simple things businesses should be thinking about before they jump into creating social media content:

  • What do we want to share?
  • In what form do we want to share it?
  • Who do we we want sharing it? (CEO? Customers? Partners? Spokesperson?)
  • Who do we want to say it to?
  • Why will they listen/watch/read/care?
  • What do we want them to do as a result? (If anything)
  • What will we consider a success as a result of creating this content?
  • How will we track and measure that success?
  • What resources do we need?
  • Do we expect people to interact with this content? Share it? Write about it? How do we make that happen?
  • Where do we want it to live?
  • How will we share and promote it?

It sounds simple, but you would be surprised at how many brands jump into content development without asking these basic questions. They see something that worked for another brand (ex: Old Spice) and they say, “Hey, we can do that!” – without thinking about how it applies to their customers, their business and their goals.

Don’t create noise. Create content with a purpose. A purpose comes from defining a clear strategy before you begin.

Got more tips for businesses looking to create social content? We’d love for you to share them in the comments. Thanks for reading!