Persuasive Picks for week of 5/20/13

twitter-bird-white-on-blue3Shea Bennett, Co-editor at AllTwitter, has been writing about Twitter on a near-daily basis for more than four years. Over that time-period, Twitter has changed considerably and continues to evolve. Accordingly, so has the way that Bennett thinks and writes about Twitter. There are some valuable tips to be found in her lessons learned – What I Have Learned From Writing 2,000 Articles About Twitter

If you’ve done any marketing on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen both successful fan pages and not-so-successful fan pages. So there must be some sort of “secret” to successful Facebook pages, right? Business2Community contributor Scott Ayres sure thinks so, and that’s what he set out to discover when he asked a few Facebook experts for the inside scoop in The #1 Secret of Successful Facebook Pages – 5 Experts Weigh-in

business_bookAs more businesses continue to enter the blogosphere, they run the risk of publishing clichéd, outdated articles in the hopes of attracting a wider audience. Business blogger and MyCorporation CEO Deborah Sweeney explains that she has seen plenty of business blogs that continue to publish material that is either uninteresting or unprofessional and, to stem the flow of poorly written postings. She recommends Five Topics to Avoid When Writing Your Business’s Blog on SocialMediaToday.

4 Social Media Tips Businesses Can Learn from Celebrities – Although most lists of “things we can learn from celebrities” include more don’t’s than do’s, there is definitely one thing they can teach us: the art of social media. Celebrities, much like big businesses, have huge name recognition and fan loyalty. Also, like the corporate world, they have new projects, products and ventures they’re promoting via the social web. Social Media Consultant Lisa Parkin provides a few lessons businesses can learn from social media-savvy celebs in her piece at The Huffington Post.

Persuasive Picks for week of 5/13/13

5-Google+-Insights-Resources-and-Tips-for-Business-Plus-InfographicGoogle added 41 new features to their social network darling, Google+. Yes, 41! With 190 million monthly active users, Google+ is still not as popular as other social communities, but interactive expert Bernadette Coleman thinks that with these updates comes a more appealing, more competitive network. She explains why social media marketers and small businesses should pay special attention in New Google+ Features Hit the Web – via SocialMediaToday

Yahoo announced that Tweets have become an important information source for many and will now be featured in Yahoo’s news feed. While few details have been revealed, it’s probably safe to assume that Yahoo will feature tweets that are popular, influential and of course meet certain criteria for authenticity and newsworthiness. Business2Community contributor, Victoria Harres, helps communicators prepare and provides 4 Best Practices Brands Should Implement, Now That Twitter is a Yahoo News Source

emotionsKing Fish CMO Gordon Plutsky wants to remind brands that people buy for emotional reasons. So while the digital marketing revolution has enabled companies to communicate directly with customers, it’s how companies choose to communicate with customers that will determine their ability to create emotional connections. Check out Gordon’s picks in  4 brands that emotionally connect with consumers - a look at leading companies that are moving past transactional relationships to better connect with empowered customers on iMediaConnection.

When Did Social Media Lose Its Way? In the early days of social media, users interacted like real people do. However, in time, social networks evolved into pits of broadcast messages. MarketingProfs‘ Verónica Maria Jarski posts an infographic from Hubspot that demonstrates the history of how brands lost their way in social media, and how they can find a path back to their roots.

PerkettPR’s “Persuasive Women” Continues with Mari Smith

PerkettPR is excited to share another captivating interview in our “Persuasive Women” series. This week we are featuring an interview with Mari Smith.
Mari is a passionate social media leader, specializing in relationship marketing and Facebook mastery. She is author of The New Relationship Marketing: How To Build A Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. She travels the United States and internationally to deliver keynotes and lead training events. Fast Company describes Mari as “a veritable engine of personal branding, a relationship marketing whiz and the Pied Piper of the Online World.” Dun & Bradstreet Credibility named Mari one of the Top Ten Most Influential Small Business People on Twitter.  Connect with Mari at www.marismith.com.

You have quickly become the go-to expert on Facebook, but how do you handle the constant stream of questions and requests from your audience?
On my Facebook fan page, I do my best to reply to as many questions as I can. Then, periodically, I host a free webinar just to answer questions and add value. Plus, I implemented a strategy of identifying and incentivizing “superfans.” Those are the fellow professionals in my community who are knowledgeable about Facebook and who willingly and regularly jump in to answer questions on my page. I have a special tab with “MVP: Mari’s Valuable Peeps,” as well as using a really cool app called Bashooka. The app generates a leader board of fans based on the number of likes, comments and wall posts made. In exchange for helping to answer questions, I happily promote the services of these active fans.
On Twitter and Google+, I simply do my best to respond to as many questions as possible. Often, I’m not able to get to everyone and I think that most people see I’m doing my best to answer as many folks as possible in any given day. If someone doesn’t reach me on one network, they can always try to contact me through another social channel.
I do get inundated with Facebook tech support issues and am not able to respond to any of them. My assistants simply send a canned reply that directs these inquirers to possible sources of support online.

What key piece of advice would you offer a company who is having difficulty attracting people to their Facebook page?
To gain momentum with your Facebook page, you need a blend of quality content and regular engaging. Most businesses tend to put up a page, share great content, then wait for the stampede. But it never comes. There are two possible solutions: (1) focus on driving traffic to your fan page from inside Facebook, and/or (2) focus on driving traffic to your fan page from outside Facebook.
With #1, experiment with the best frequency of posts and types of updates. Also, check this blog post on how to increase the shares of your content: http://www.marismith.com/ways-craft-your-facebook-posts-for-maximum-shares/. Plus, if you have even a nominal budget, experiment with Facebook ads and sponsored stories.
With #2, promote your Facebook page literally everywhere! If you have an email list, periodically send an email broadcast specifically inviting your subscribers to join your fan page – consider offering them an incentive to do so (possibly with a “fan-gated” iFrame tab). Include your fan page URL in your email signature file, on your Twitter background and bio, on the back of your business cards and any other print materials. If you have a local business, consider signage in the window and at the reception desk, for example. If you’re a restaurant or bar, be sure to add your Facebook (and other social profile) full URLs with a call to action on your menus. Plus, for all local businesses, consider Facebook Deals and encourage your customers to check in on Facebook to claim the deals.
See this blog post for more ideas on increasing your Facebook page visibility: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/21-creative-ways-to-increase-your-facebook fanbase/

Is it a good idea for companies to hire interns to manage their social media efforts? Does where the company is in social media (just kicking off efforts vs. more established, etc.) impact the answer to this question?
There are many tasks interns can take on successfully and effectively. For example, following specific accounts on Twitter, finding quality content to source, monitoring the conversations about the business/brand, moderating comments on a blog or Facebook page, etc. Where I would recommend drawing the line, is to not allow interns to be the voice of your company (actually communicating via social profiles) unless and until they have been thoroughly trained on your company’s products, services, values and culture.

How much time do you spend on social media outlets each day? And how much of that time is devoted to Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn vs. Google+, etc.?
Somewhere between 1-3 hours per day. The largest part of my time is spent identifying quality content to share with my networks, otherwise known as “curating.” I’m currently in process of training a new team member to take over this area for me. Otherwise, the remaining time is spent engaging – responding to mentions, comments, questions, etc. I never delegate my voice; any time you see me speaking in first person – I/me – it’s always me. On any given day, the breakdown of my social networking time is approximately 40% Facebook, 30% Twitter, 29% Google+ and 1% LinkedIn. I would love to do more with LinkedIn, but I just resonate with the other platforms more for now!

What is the minimal amount of time you feel someone whose job isn’t entirely devoted to social media should focus on SM efforts each day in order to be effective? And what should the top priorities be during that time?
I often advise those individuals who are just starting out with social media to dedicate an absolute minimum of 30 minutes per day. Break this into two 15 minute sessions; one early in the morning say 8:00 a.m. in your time zone and later in the day say 4:00 p.m.
During the first block of time, work through a pre-set checklist of tasks, e.g. go through your various sources of content, such as Facebook friend lists (which can include fan pages), Twitter lists, Google+ circles, your blog feed reader, Alltop.com, and others. Then, select a minimum of one piece of content to post on Facebook, one for Google+, and say three tweets for Twitter.
Then, later in the day, circle back to respond to any comments and @ mentions. That’s it.
Do this consistently five or six days a week (Saturdays are very active on social networks!), and you will soon begin to gain momentum, increase your following, and see higher click through rates.

If you had just one hour a day to focus on business, how would you spend that hour?
Hmm, this is an unrealistic scenario, but I’ll answer the question hypothetically! I would select the highest leverage activity that makes the best use of my time and talents, and yields the best revenue. Likely that would be speaking to a large audience–whether via an online webinar or an in-person event–and making an irresistible offer.

What is next for you?
Towards the end of each year, I choose a one-word theme that acts as a rudder for the entire following year. I’ve chosen my word for 2012 and it’s GROWTH. What’s next for me is serious growth — I will continue focusing on providing social media and relationship marketing training and consulting services… but at a whole new level. I will be expanding my team and expanding my reach. It’s an extremely exciting time for many leaders on the planet, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting 2012 for many years.

He Said, She Said – Confusion on Social Media vs Social Marketing

I’ve learned a lot about social media over the last several years but one thing that really sticks out for me now is the confusion between social media and social marketing. Part of this problem stems from the multitude of people using social media that equate it to the ability to use social media effectively in marketing. This confusion may be one of the biggest misnomers in business today. Your ability to chat on Twitter, create a video or “friend” all the most influential bloggers does not mean you’re good at social marketing.

Part of the problem is that suddenly, just about everyone claims to know social media – or more specifically, how to do execute social media in marketing. A lot of “one hit wonders” – someone who struck gold with a video that went viral, or a firm that had early success with one client (usually, a major brand name) – are claiming to be the “gurus” but aren’t necessarily delivering consistent and whole strategies for a variety of clients or businesses. Take, for example, Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz’s wedding video – aka, “The wedding dance video.”

I’ve read plenty of blog posts where people are touting this as “a great example of marketers taking advantage of video and social media.” But that’s not wholly accurate. No marketers planned this as a campaign – it happened to be a video of a couple at their wedding that was incredibly entertaining, accumulating more than 10 million views on YouTube in less than one week. Then the marketers took notice, as written about by Google: “The rights holders for the song in the video – “Forever” by Chris Brown – used these tools to claim and monetize the song, as well as to start running Click-to-Buy links over the video, giving viewers the opportunity to purchase the music track on Amazon and iTunes. As a result, the rights holders were able to capitalize on the massive wave of popularity generated by “JK Wedding Entrance Dance.’” And that’s fantastic. But the truth is, it was happenstance – and yes, the marketers caught on in time, in order to increase sales. But I wouldn’t say that they “used the video for promotion,” rather, it happened organically. It wasn’t a planned “viral video” (because you don’t create “viral videos” – you create great video that you can plan a viral marketing campaign around) by brilliant marketers. And this video doesn’t make Jill and Kevin, Chris Brown or the rights owners brilliant marketers.

The truth is, while social media isn’t as radical as some may claim it to be, it has presented an entirely new way of thinking and interacting – especially for businesses – and for the most part, we’re all on a pretty level playing field. What will shake out in the next year or so is the “social media expert” moniker – we’ll see who is really developing ongoing and persistently smart and effective social marketing strategies, vs those one hit wonders or “I can set up a Facebook fan page for you” consultants.

It’s been interesting watching the explosive growth of social media’s popularity, especially for marketers. When we first introduced Twitter to clients over two years ago – suggesting its use as part of marketing, PR, customer service and sales strategies – we were one of the first PR firms that had established a corporate entity on the now-explosive microblogging service. In fact, we were part of the early discussions around whether or not corporations should be on Twitter at all (and maybe a little too ahead of our time, but that’s another blog post). Luckily, our stance was yes. What’s really interesting in that post, by the way, is reading the comments and comparing the attitudes then to now.

Today, what we’re finding is that our counsel isn’t needed to convince clients that social media is important. Rather, it’s to help clients understand the definition of social marketing vs the “social media” buzz-worthy moniker. I’ve been interviewed several times over the last couple of months about social media for business. In almost every interview the question arises: “What’s the first thing a company should do when thinking about social media for business?” My answer is always – “Know your business goals. Be clear on what you are trying to accomplish first.” It’s surprising how many businesses just want to jump in feet first now that social media for business is all the rage. But the bottom line is, whatever you do with social marketing should tie back to your business goals – whether it’s increased awareness, definitive thought leadership, sales, better customer service, leads, business development, partnerships, etc.

Know your business goals. Recognize the difference between social media and social marketing and beware of “social media experts” that don’t bother to ask about your business goals. If they don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish as a business, all the greatest videos, Tweets or Facebook fan numbers will be a moot point.

BusinessWeek says smart companies are using Twitter and Facebook—are you? We can help.

I am honored to be featured again in BusinessWeek as one of 50 CEOs Who Twitter, as a part of a larger story on social media. As I was just discussing the growth of interest in social media campaigns this morning with the PerkettPR crew, this is a timely article. We continue to receive incoming queries from companies in many industries that want to learn how to elevate brand awareness with social media campaigns. The opportunities are both allowing us to expand the industries in which we work, the brands that we work with and the work that we do. We’re going far beyond traditional public relations and as I mentioned last week, we believe that this is the natural evolution for the PR industry.

That being said, so many of the brands that we speak with have no idea where to begin. They still aren’t convinced or sure of the value of “social media” and they want to approach it with kid gloves. They are worried about time, resources, control and execution. And we understand why – we’ve been there! We’ve also helped a lot of companies come from that place and embrace the opportunities of becoming a “social company.” And we love doing it because as you can see, we’re heavily involved in social media ourselves. We believe in it, we appreciate and understand it, and we continually see value and results from it.

Social Media U

To share our enthusiasm, we’re pleased to announce a new program designed to help companies in any industry understand and embrace social media for business. Our “Social Media U” offering was born out of the interest and feedback we’ve received for speaking on social media for business and social media for communicators. Sharing our best practices, experience and insights, Social Media U will help any executive make sense of the noise and clarify just what types of social strategies can work for your business. While articles like BusinessWeek’s are helpful, many executives need more than a DIY guide. And as the CEO of Forrester Research, George Colony, recently wrote, “You can’t understand Twitter, Facebook, or blogging by reading an article in a magazine or a report from your CMO. Sure, they can tell you what they are, but you won’t be able to truly understand how they could change your business unless you actually use them.”

That’s where we can help.

Quick facts about PerkettPR’s Social Media U:

  • Social Media U is an affordable, intensive half or full day workshop
  • While we prefer to meet face-to-face, we can (and have successfully done so) execute the workshop via web conference
  • We offer three levels of engagement to choose from – based on your knowledge level and needs
  • We’ll teach you what social media is and how to engage and embrace it for your business
  • Appropriate for any business that wants to understand social media, the potential value to their business, how to get started and how to maintain effective social strategies

What you’ll learn:

  • From the C-Suite to the front desk – why social media strategies involve everyone at your company
  • Why Facebook isn’t just for keeping up with friends and family, LinkedIn is so much more than a rolodex and how Twitter benefits your brand
  • How to effectively  monitor and respond in social media communities such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! Answers and more
  • Which blogs matter to you and how to participate in the blogosphere even if you don’t have your own
  • How to easily create content for your blog, website and customer communications
  • Effective and realistic strategies for engaging customers, prospects and partners: from blog posts to video, Twitter to microsites
  • How to trust the community and build positive relationships for your company

Why we’re qualified

  • We’ve been integrating social media into PR campaigns for years now and have been recognized as one of a handful of PR firms leading the charge (many call it PR 2.0)
  • As senior PR professionals, we understand communications and the larger picture of how it must all come back to your company’s business goals – read here about why we think this matters
  • We’re heavily involved in social media for our own business
  • We’ve trained clients in many industries and of many sizes – from SMBs to public companies; fashion to technology – on effective social media strategies
  • We’ve presented strategies at numerous conferences for thousands of executives

For more information please email SMU[at]perkettpr.com – or call me personally: 781.834.5852.