Persuasive Picks for the week of 11/29/10

LinkedIn Launches Share Button
LinkedIn might be a little late to the party with the release of its sharing button for blogs and websites, but it will certainly earn its spot among the many ways you can allow your community to share content. Get the lowdown on the button’s release via this post on Mashable.

How Much Time Does Social Media Marketing Take?
Aliza Sherman shares an updated take of Beth Kanter‘s original 2008 info-graphic on how much time per week social media activities take to implement. The difference between the two is interesting and shows how access to better tools can make us more efficient at getting the job done.

Does B2B Social Media Drive Holiday Sales?

Jeffrey L. Cohen, Managing Editor for SocialMediaB2B.com shares a few tips on how B2B organizations can successfully mix a little holiday cheer into their social media relationship-building efforts.

10 Steps To Kickoff A Social Media Campaign
KeySplash Creative CEO Susan Gunelius shares 10 informative tips to help get your social campaigns started off on the right foot in this guest post on BussinessInsider.com.

Me v Gary Vee: Is Social Media Over-rated?
Techcrunch‘s Paul Carr and Gary Vaynerchuk discuss the merits of social media in this Webby Debates video moderated by CNNMoney’s Laurie Segall.

 

 

The “R” in Marketing – Marketers (and Politicians) Still Missing the Point of MRM

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “R” in marketing lately – the relationship factor, if you will. That word has always been in CRM but what about MRM? Marketing Relationship Management? I’ve been thinking about how the best marketers today really get this – they aren’t just about pushing content or messaging, but about building the right relationships in order to be heard. Marketers have not traditionally been “relationship” focused. They have been “megaphone management” focused.

Then last night I received a long, two-sided paper letter from a local politician’s party, telling me his long tales of woe and determination and why I should vote for him. And I thought, “Wow, this is so lame. How about trying to build a relationship with me all along, not just days or weeks before a vote?” (Note – this has nothing to do with my respect or thoughts on this candidate so please don’t go there – it’s about their tactics, not my political opinions.)

Marketers (and politicians, essentially your lobbying for votes is marketing) – let’s get smarter about the R in marketing. What does the “R” stand for today and how are you implementing it in your campaigns – or, are you? If you’re in marketing, you need to be thinking about the “R factor”:

  • Obviously, the biggest marketing R is RELATIONSHIP. Just look at that word and really think about it. What does it take to build a relationship – and sustain a positive one – with someone? It takes time, effort, consistency, attention. Repeat.
  • RECOGNITION – show me that you know who I am, you care about what I like and that you recognize my purchasing (or voting) power.
  • And that you RESPECT it. Answer me if I ask a question. Ask questions of me. Make an effort to find me and communicate with me where I am – don’t expect me to come to you anymore. Even if you never do anything with my answers other than acknowledge them, I’m likely to feel a special affinity towards you because you listened and cared enough to ask my opinion or feedback.
  • REWARD – marketers are generally used to “rewarding” loyal customers and potential prospects through recognition or special deals. This hasn’t changed. But what has changed is that your rewards – or lack thereof – will be publicly talked about, blogged about, tweeted about. Make ‘em good, make ‘em real and make ‘em consistently – your reward for doing so will be tenfold through positive, public word-of-mouth. (Another topic here big enough for its own blog post is cross-channel recognition and communications with loyal customers – a new CRM challenge.)
  • RELEVANCY – so you’re on Facebook or Twitter. Congratulations. Who are you following? Who are you enticing to follow your brand or politician? Who are you conversing with? What are you talking about? Make sure it’s relevant to me or your time is being wasted. Show me you “know” me – show me you want to talk about things already on my mind. Don’t come at me with your marketing messages but engage me in a dialogue relevant to what I have already made very clear I care about. Then, I will listen to you and your marketing messages – and maybe even try your product or service (or vote for you) – because you made an effort to relate to me as a customer, voter, prospect…but mostly, a person.

None of this may seem new or earth shattering, but I continue to see marketers every day who don’t get it. They keep pushing their news stream or blog posts or special offers without any dialogue or focus. They talk about Twitter numbers but then hesitantly say, “Oh, um, not really” when we ask if they have a strategy around building fans and followers – the relevant and right fans and followers. They don’t answer questions on Twitter unless it’s a customer service issue – which they immediately try to take “offline” – or they post content on Facebook and then don’t engage with fans who comment. This isn’t so much about the use of social media as it is recognizing the power of building stronger relationships – and how social media opens up such a huge opportunity to do so.

And, as I’ve been bantering about on my personal Facebook page this morning, I see a lot of politicians missing an opportunity to put some “Love” in their “Lobbying.” That is, to connect with a younger demographic through social media – and to use it to connect with me, to talk with me, to not just send me two pages about you, but to show me you care to know a little about me – my needs, desires, hopes and dreams as a voter. I want to get to know you as well – but, only pushing content to me – and especially only around election time – is not productive. Even politicians using social media aren’t doing it right yet. Someone stated this morning that most people wouldn’t be open to it because the assumption is that it would be an aide or a junior executive behind the social media communication. But I’m okay with that – as long as it’s clear – if it means I get to know a candidate in a way that I can relate to, that I get to see their activity, hear from them and ask questions throughout the year – on my timetable, not theirs – and if I feel connected to them. Social media is all about a connection that we’ve never had before – politicians (and marketers!) should be embracing that opportunity to build long-lasting, loyal relationships.

Like traditional marketers, I don’t think political parties are building relationships with the masses. Let me say, I hate your ads. I roll my eyes at your sign-holding-picketers over the highway or in front of the grocery store and your recorded phone messages make me want to rip the phone from the wall. I laugh – in disgust – at the money you are throwing out the window on such irrelevant, surface and old-school campaign “strategies.” I don’t want you to touch my baby, let alone kiss him, and your handshake really means nothing to me if you haven’t taken the time to connect with me, relate to me and talk to me in a day and age when there’s no excuse not to. You’re not a celebrity, so stop acting like one – come “down” and talk to me if you want my vote (or my purchase).

Marketers, social media has changed the R in marketing. It’s about relationships – that is, relating between two entities – and yes, those take time to build, cultivate and keep. But like our personal lives, the rewards are well worth it.

What do you think? Are marketers doing a good job building relationships in today’s social business world?

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A Week of (Soggy) Marketing & Social Media Learning in Boston – Join us online or at IMS at 1 today!

If you’re in or around the Boston area this week, you already know that it’s a big week for new marketing, social media and business professionals. A flurry of events are taking place as IMS 2010 and FutureM are in full swing. If you can’t join live, be sure to watch the numerous sessions on livestream via The Pulse Network, catch the chatter on Twitter (hashtags: #futureM and #IMS10) or the many blog posts being written by attendees.

Today, you can catch PerkettPR’s Claire Russell presenting “The Power of Reel” at 1 p.m. EST at IMS. She’ll be partnering with Bettina Hein, Founder & CEO of Pixability, to showcase how easy and powerful video is – and how it can help you to not only tell your story but create stronger relationships and impact in your social marketing efforts. Case studies will include work and campaigns from businesses such as Old Spice, Livestrong, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and more.

Not in Boston at IMS today? Then considering joining me at 1 p.m., along with the American Marketing Association, Conduit (a PerkettPR client), John Jantsch, Author of Duct Tape Marketing and Sally Falkow, as we present “5 Must Dos for Social Media Holiday Marketing.” Focused mainly on how SMBs can use social media to successfully – and easily – expand their holiday marketing efforts. Not convinced social marketing is for you? Check out these facts from the press release:

  • More than 50% of the 500 million Facebook users log on to Facebook every day.  In total, they spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the service.
  • People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube; every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to the service.
  • Users spend 22.7% of their time online on social networking sites.

I hope we’ll see you either at IMS, FutureM or on the webinar today. Looking forward to sharing insights, learning from others and continuing to merge our online and offline relationships.

Happy marketing!

 

PR Pitching PR – an Influencer Twilight Zone

In July I gave a presentation at T3PR titled, “Driving your online footprint: PR experts as influencers.” My focus was on how a new breed of PR experts have fast become influencers in their own right through the power of social media and personal brand building: why it matters, how it’s indicative of our changing industry and how the reputation of today’s PR executive matters more than ever.

While PR executives are traditionally the man behind the curtain, the invisibles, the ones who quickly put the right person/product/client in the spotlight – in front of influencers like the media – and then get the heck out of the way, the rise of social media has allowed PR executives to become influencers themselves. Companies aren’t just hiring them to do PR, but to be their web-celeb spokespeople, red carpet correspondents, marketing analysts, brand-to-customer ambassadors or even video/TV stars.

PR executives in general – most of whom may never be on BravoTV – have both an opportunity – and a risk – to show how we really think. It has always been my belief that if you simply talk to reporters and hold your own in a conversation (that is, not just pitching when you want something but rather, an overall practice of sharing thoughts and insights on the products you promote, the industry you’re in, the articles reporters are writing, or business in general) – you will gain a greater amount of respect and ultimately, be more successful in working with them. And over the last few years, several of our industry colleagues have paved the way for “Flaks with Brains.” Some are newcomers, some are veterans – but their use of social media has raised awareness of public relations executives as strategic thinkers – sharing valuable insights beyond the confines of a client’s boardroom.

And that’s great. But what does it mean for the traditional list of influencers that a PR team might compile and pursue? These days, the lines are blurring. A lot of business people blog – especially PR and marketing executives. Every day a new list comes out of marketing influencers, top PR blogs or “Most Powerful Twitter Users.” And even if the folks on those lists are PR industry colleagues, they might be important to your client because of their social media clout.

I know because I’ve experienced this phenomenon from two sides in the last six months. On one side, we had a client who asked us to connect with, promote to and otherwise engage industry influencers on their behalf. A handful of these influencers were people who own PR or social marketing agencies that we often compete against, but whose founders are building powerful personal brands – writing books, speaking at conferences, topping every social media power list – that they are now seen by many brands to be as influential as reporters and analysts. Suffice it to say, our strategy in such cases is not to pitch these folks in the way we would pitch a reporter. It takes a different approach, one that’s just as thought out and maybe even more personable than pitching media. (In an honest side note – sometimes having a client ask you to pitch fellow PR colleagues feels a little bit like The J. Geils Band lyrics in “Love Stinks.”)

I’ve also been pitched by PR reps lately – but usually it’s a very personal approach by a fellow industry colleague that doesn’t feel like a pitch, so much as someone asking for a favor (smart). More recently, I was pitched by a well-known, global PR agency, citing my influence in the blogosphere and asking me to interview their client to help raise awareness of an upcoming show. The pitch “encouraged” me to write about the event and interview the CEO on my blog (which one, btw? #PRtip).

My first thought: “That was a long and impersonal pitch.” My second thought: “That was weird.”

But maybe it’s not so weird. Had the pitch been more specific, I could probably better understand why this firm thought I was worth pitching as a blogger for this particular client. And I might even have found interest in writing something.

All that being said, I’m sure this is happening more and more – PR pitching PR. I can see more clients wanting agencies to pitch marketing and PR influencers who actually work for other agencies but are also strong voices in the social marketing sphere. If you have a client who sells to PR and Marketing audiences, it’s bound to happen.

So how are you building your influencer lists? Do you include PR and marketing bloggers – those who are also industry colleagues – in your outreach? Do you approach them differently than you would a journalist? We’d love your thoughts – and advice to PR pros looking for the best way to break into this new foreign territory.

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 08/23/10

Do You Want To Succeed At Social Media Or Social Media Marketing?
Do you know the difference between social media and social media marketing? This post from Forrester‘s Augie Ray separates one from the other by providing real-world examples of each.

How To Integrate Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
This CIO.com post focuses on the various ways Social Media affects a businesses marketing efforts and can lead to “increasingly powerful, actionable and immediate access to consumer sentiment” when paired with business intelligence.

The Problem With Empowering The Customer
SocialMediaExplorer.com‘s Jason Falls provides this thought provoking (and entertaining) post on how encouraging customers to use social media platforms to provide feedback might not always be the ideal channel for collecting such feedback.

Are You Using Social Media as Social Proof?
Corbett Barr visits the long standing concept of “social proof” and explains how effective social media can be when used as social proof in this post on SocialMediaExplorer.com.

What’s Next: After Social Media
This MediaBullseye post from Wayne Kurtzman explains that the next evolution of “social” just might be all about gaming and influence.

Photo Credit: popculturegeek.com