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  • 1. RED BOOK OF SOCIAL MEDIA 2012 www.paulwriter.com
  • 2. ARE YOU A DIGITAL TOURIST? You’ve heard a lot about social media. You’ve checked out the popular sites. You’ve downloaded a few articles about it. Maybe you’ve even established your company on a few sites. But you still don’t feel confident about your company’s presence there. Don’t worry – this is a common situation as digital media and social media are still in their infancy. We have a lot of content on www.paulwriter.com about social media and for the Red Book of Social Media we’ve picked the ones most relevant to answering the common questions: Am I ready for social media? Can I sustain it? Is social media appropriate for my firm? Won’t we appear frivolous or attract nasty comments? Are all sites equal? Which are the social media tools most relevant to my business? How do I measure the effectiveness of our social media activities? Should I do everything myself or can I outsource some of the work? Some of these articles are opinion pieces and some are success stories while others provide practical insight. We hope you love reading them as much as we did putting it all together. To keep in touch with this space and to get the latest writings on digital media, do subscribe to PaulWriter.com. Happy reading! Jessie Paul Managing Director Paul Writer Strategic Services.
  • 3. Index Many Platforms, One Voice: How to Maintain a Consistent Social Media Persona Steve Glauberman 1 WHY YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IS DYING ON LINKEDIN Hilton Barbour 3 THE FUTURE OF SEARCH: An Interview with Google’s Sam Sebastian Clare McDermott 4 SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MARKETERS: Looking Beyond the Hype Sabarinath C Nair 6 CASE STUDY: How IBM Uses Social Media as Glue for Connecting Events Christopher Koch 8 USING PAID MEDIA TO ACHIEVE REMARKABLE B2B CONVERSION RATES Nicholas 9 INTERNAL CONVERSATIONS + SOCIAL MEDIA = SALES CONVERSATIONS Katie McCaskey 12 THERE IS NO PLACE TO HIDE Hareesh Tibrewala 14 DON'T DO SOCIAL - 5 Good Reasons Why Jessie Paul 16 7 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE ADDING A BLOG TO THE MARKETING MIX Michele Linn 18
  • 4. Everyone has a personal brand, and if we have any desire whatsoever to nurture it, it very likely lives online. It comprises the content that we publish, along with the things that are published about us, and it’s critical to our public persona, both online and off. Whatever our objectives are for marketing ourselves (establishing a reputation as an industry expert, selling a book we’ve written, or finding a new job are just a few ideas that might apply), our personal brand can help us familiarize our target audience with the facets of our character that make us an appealing investment. In other words, they reflect our personality Brands have a personality, too, and it’s up to the marketers, responsible for promoting them, to discharge this personality to their target customers. Social media offers an invaluable opportunity to do this well. In our modern world, a consumer’s investment in a brand doesn’t necessarily take the form of a purchase. It might be a Facebook “Like”, a word-of-mouth endorsement, or another piece of content that ultimately leads to a loyal fan. Regardless of the action, maintaining a consistent brand persona is absolutely critical to success. Many Platforms, One Voice: How to Maintain a Consistent Social Media Persona But there’s a problem. All of the social media touch points we employ, to create and sustain our brand online, require ongoing maintenance. And the individuals maintaining them have personalities of their own. This issue has grown particularly thorny with the rise in popularity of sites such as Twitter and Pinterest. In order to retain an audience and attract new followers, brands must post regular updates. Brand marketers have two options: They can delegate this job to an in-house employee of the brand, such as a member of the marketing team, or they can outsource it to their interactive agency’s social media division. Time constraints often make the latter the more sensible choice, but outsourcing social media efforts requires a thorough understanding of the brand voice. How can brand marketers be sure that the updates made on behalf of their brand are consistent with the persona they’ve worked so hard to create? Developing a social media style guide STEVE GLAUBERMAN The first step in safeguarding your brand online is to create a social media style guide. You already have something comparable for your offline marketing materials, ads, and site design — a brand style guide that meticulously outlines everything related to the way your brand’s presented, from the required minimum clear space around your logo to your acceptable typeface. If it also includes information about copy lingo and image tone of voice, all the better; this can become the foundation for your social media style guide. While, like your brand style guide, your social media guidebook should feature very specific guidelines about your brand tenets as they relate to the production of online content, it should also focus on two things in particular: tone and imagery. Together these two elements can get you and your staff through every social media content development situation imaginable. The tenacity of tone Brand tone is important not only because it conveys to the consumer the overall character of your brand, but also because it distinguishes you from your peers. It’s a brand’s most powerful tool and, therefore, will require the most attention from those responsible for managing your brand’s social endeavors. Red Book of Social Media 1
  • 5. Some possible considerations: • Does the language used in your previous online content portray a brand that’s warm and fuzzy or staid? • Youthful or mature? • Feminine or distinctly male? • Is it represented by formal or informal language? Is that language exclusively English? Subject matter aside, a Facebook post on the “Dora the Explorer” Facebook page (“Beautiful Dora cakes, made by our fans! ¡Fantástico!”) is going to sound very different from a post on Monster Energy’s page (“Props to Monster Energy riders Paulin Gautier and Tommy Searle, who just bossed the Motocross GP in Bulgaria”). Using contractions such as “wanna” or “lemme” in a Facebook post might be deemed acceptable by a brand like Adidas, just as terms such as “rad” and “chillin’” might be commonplace in Converse tweets, but those aren’t choices the competitor - Nike - tends to make. Would a company like Apple, with its clean lines and cool color palette, be comfortable applying a retro-looking Instagram filter to an image of the latest iPhone? Probably not. But it might be just the thing for In-N-Out Burger, which has a history that dates back to the 1940s and still maintains a vintage look. With a site like Pinterest the challenge is similar. Here again marketers must put their brand persona in the hands of social media managers tasked with pinning (or tagging) photographs that have some brand relevance; but if a brand fails to define its pressure points, the results could be damaging. For example, would Diapers.com be comfortable pinning a slightly revealing photograph of a breastfeeding mother? What would happen if Whole Foods pinned an image sourced from an article about genetically modified tomatoes? These are questions brands must ask of themselves and talk about with their employees — who, let’s not forget, have interests, beliefs, and a comfort level all their own — in order to avoid potential embarrassment and controversy. These are important distinctions, particularly if you’re about to hire a social media manager who doesn’t speak a word of Spanish or uses nothing but contractions in everyday conversation. If your hires go on to break from the copy tone that consumers have come to know and understand as being specific to your brand, your loyal customers may begin to question whether they know your brand at all. The branding opportunities provided by social media are beyond compare, but so is the importance of sustaining a brand persona when faced with the infinite production of online content. Recognizing the different ways in which you can define your brand can help. So, too, can relaying these to the people who, regardless of their own personas, can create a seamless portrayal of your brand. The implications of imagery About the Author: Steve Glauberman founded Enlighten in 1983 as one of the nation’s first interactive agencies with a vision for how technology could be coupled with imaginative content and incisive marketing to improve the ways businesses connect with their customers. Steve has continued to focus on the strategic development of interactive solutions that deliver efficient yet engaging user experiences – solutions that reflect his own uncommon blend of technical and aesthetic sophistication. Over the years, Steve has successfully guided numerous Fortune 1000 and smaller emerging companies in the ever evolving digital arena. The emergence and growth of social media applications that focus entirely on photographs has required brand marketers to take a closer look at the way images reflect on the brand persona. The way in which Instagram and Pinterest take the persuasive power of pictures to a new level, creating engagement between consumers and brands based entirely on visual cues, demands that the imagery put forth on behalf of your brand is coherent. One of Instagram’s claims to fame is its filters — a series of photographic overlays that change the look and feel of pictures taken with a mobile phone. While brands can expect to see more Instagram marketing opportunities now that the service has been acquired by Facebook, some are already using it to upload images to a Facebook page. Courtesy: Content Marketing Institute www.contentmarketinginstitute.com (Reproduced with permission) Even something as seemingly trivial as an image filter warrants careful study when it’s going to be made public as part of a brand’s persona. Brands must therefore educate their social media managers in the acceptable language of their visual assets. 2 Red Book of Social Media
  • 6. WHY YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IS DYING ON LINKEDIN By Hilton Barbour Of all the brand conversations I have on this blog, the one I don’t discuss often enough is Brand You. The one brand, I’d argue, that you have more control over than any other. It is unlikely you’ll lose your personal brand in a worldwide realignment or that the CMO of Brand You will suddenly be fired. So now that I’ve tortured that metaphor, let me put this out there – each day I’m confronted by folks who have recklessly abandoned their most prized asset – their personal brand. Abandoned in a market, despite what Washington or Ottawa says, that has millions of competing “personal brands” vying for attention. Abandoned in a very public, highly visible and very unforgiving way. I’m talking, of course, about how you market your brand on LinkedIn. The place where “over 150 million professionals exchange information, ideas and opportunities”. Play a little game with me called “Would I buy Brand You?” – warning more tortured metaphors ahead. Can I identify this brand? – simple stuff but so many professionals chose inappropriate photographs for their LinkedIn profile. Photos best kept for Facebook or Pinterest. Even worse, many don’t have a photograph at all. We all know images convey a strong impression of you and your brand. No photograph sends the same signal to me as Unilever stocking shelves in the detergent aisle with blank white cardboard boxes. Am I intrigued by this brand? – if your profile is merely a list of titles, companies and dates you’re telling me precious little about why I should buy Brand You. Again I see a wealth of profiles that make no attempt to explain their personal value proposition, articulate their point of differentiation, establish a functional or emotional connection with the buyer. It’s pathetic. Could you credibly launch any brand without that positioning stuff? Would you expect it to flourish? How satisfied are former buyers of this brand? – satisfied buyers are a cornerstone of any successful brand. Why would it be any different for Brand You? Potential buyers unable to peruse a list of Recommendations are going to be left with two impressions. One, you’re too junior to have any meaningful experience or Two, you’ve not made an impression on any of the folks you’ve worked with before. Sound like a Brand you’d want to purchase? Didn’t think so. I don’t deny I’m a LinkedIn super-freak. As a freelance Strategy Planner I have to be, because networking is pivotal to paying my mortgage. I also readily accept that LinkedIn may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but here’s the rub. Many of us seem to ignore the basic principles of marketing when it comes to nurturing our own personal brands. This, despite understanding the inherent benefits of building a strong brand – increased loyalty, the ability to charge a premium and so on. Ironic no? If you think the automotive, detergent, airline, retail or QSR categories are competitive, consider just how competitive the market for talent is. LinkedIn is increasingly the global marketplace for that talent. Will your brand flourish or die there? About the Author : Hilton Barbour has been in advertising for over 14 years and along the way has developed an opinion on various things related to branding and marketing.He uses his blog to air his opinions and thoughts. Courtesy: Hilton Barbour http://www.hiltonbarbour.com (Reproduced with permission) Does this brand have any cachet or is it generic? – LinkedIn gives you a multitude of features to create a holistic impression of your brand. Links to your blog, a menu of expertise that are SEO-rich, groups to connect like-minded individuals and much more. All of these features add dimension to your brand offering and separate you. Why then do so few folks leverage them? Red Book of Social Media 3
  • 7. THE FUTURE OF SEARCH An Interview with Google’s Sam Sebastian By Clare McDermott Sam Sebastian, director of local and B2B markets for Google, answers questions about the future of earch. Marketers have long been told by SEO consultants that long-tail search was ‘where it’s at’. What is your take on the quality of content vs. quantity of content—especially as it pertains to B2B and local business content marketers? Both are important and can vary by the type of content considered. An industrial distributor may have a massive catalog of SKUs with related content (pricing, specs, etc.) and should allow as many of those SKUs to be indexed for purchase-oriented searching. For professionals seeking knowledge, original/quality content such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on will go a long way in achieving better ranking. In your opinion, what are the fundamental SEO initiatives B2B marketers should be undertaking? 1 Do something cool: Make sure your site stands out from the competition in a good way. For example, more professionals are looking for rich content online, so make sure your library of amazing video content is indexed using Rich Snippets. 2 Include relevant words in your copy: Try to put yourself in the shoes of searchers. What would they query to find you? Your business name, location, products, etc., are important. It’s also helpful to use the same terms in your site that your users might type (e.g., you might offer “next-generation marketing tools” but most searchers might type “marketing automation software”), and to answer the questions they might have. It helps to know your customers. 4 3 Be smart about your tags and site architecture: Create unique title tags and meta descriptions; include Rich Snippets markup from schema.org where appropriate. Have intuitive navigation and good internal links. 4 Sign up for email forwarding in Webmaster Tools: Help us communicate with you, especially when we notice something awry with your site. 5 Attract buzz: Natural links, +1s, likes, follows … In every business there’s something compelling, interesting, entertaining or surprising that you can offer or share with your audience. Provide a helpful service, educate people, be a thought leader and users will share and reshare your content. 6 Stay fresh and relevant: Keep content up to date and consider options such as building a social media presence (if that’s where a potential audience exists) or creating an ideal mobile experience if your users are often on the go. 7 Go mobile: Mobile searching and browsing in B2B is growing rapidly due to the adoption of high-end mobile devices. Make sure you have a mobileoptimized site/content and that it is getting indexed accordingly. We’ve seen Google search results start to show “latest posts” at the top of the list — but there’s some confusion about which posts will show up there. So, to start, it sounds like you are referring to “Search Plus Your World”, which as I’m sure you know, was Google’s latest update to the search results to make them more “social.” Red Book of Social Media
  • 8. 1. Personal Results – Pictures/posts relevant to your search, which are your own OR have been shared with you via a circle. 2. Profiles in Search – People in your circles OR people we think you might be interested in following. 3. People and Pages – Any brand or people pages related to your search query that we think you might be interested in based on your search query. It sounds like this is the focus of the question and we’ve been seeing a lot of this lately with advertisers concerned that they see their competitors in this space and want to know how they can show. You have to meet a certain, undisclosed, threshold number of +1s in order to be eligible to show in this spot. For Google+ posts, is it just publicly shared posts or will it show up for those in my circles? And does this also affect Brand pages? Both. It is any post shared publicly OR shared with you specifically by someone in your circle. Yes, posts by Brand pages can also be included in this space. How important is social for B2B and local? I’d say it’s becoming more and more important. Two themes stand out with Local/B2B and social: 1 Users trust recommendations – Personal recommendations are trusted more than any other source–90 percent trust these. Also, 77 percent of brand content is created by consumers – if people feel connected to a brand, they share that. So people want recommendations and we know they’re looking online. We also know now that this certainly includes B2B and Local. (Quick Plug: Google+ and “Search Plus Your World” are designed to share those recommendations with your potential customer at the right time.) 2 Market via conversation - A Public Storage or an Orkin will probably never have tons of Google+ or Twitter followers but those who are looking for that service and click through to their Facebook page or Google+ page can get an idea for the company’s identity and how it does business. Do they have good ratings? How are they engaging their customers? How are they handling complaints? Are most posts positive or negative? What are some of the challenges you see marketers tackling in “closing the loop” between their Google-based marketing and their ROI from customer sales? Red Book of Social Media We are seeing progress. This is probably the first thing we push with customers – tracking. We don’t want them to invest with us unless they have a sense of what traffic is worth to them. Once they’ve built out a value model, any digital advertising can be compared to the expectations and then a customer can double down or pull back accordingly. I’d say customers are getting better in this area, but it’s still the early days. Most of the issues are on the sales fulfillment process at a customer. Once a digital lead is generated, how are they tracking it internally, how are sales people compensated, how do they round robin a lead, how do they pre-qualify a lead, etc. The pace of innovation in digital marketing vehicles — from Google alone, but then multiplied by all the other growing channels and services out there — is truly dizzying. How do you suggest that regular marketers keep up? Keep it simple and focus on the big impact areas first. Define your marketing or customer acquisition model for online or offline and then test certain platforms and determine how they work. But try to compare all platforms on an apples-to-apples comparison as much as possible. Then slowly build out your marketing mix focusing on the biggest impact components. I have many customers asking me all about social, or advertising on Pinterest or Pandora, but they still don’t have a basic search engine marketing campaign built out or they don’t have the basic tracking in place. Start with the basics, master the components that can have the biggest impact, define your value model, then test new areas once you have the fundamentals in place. What’s your favorite perk working at Google? The people. I think we hire the best people in the world and it’s a privilege working alongside smart, dedicated, disciplined and fun people, who always try to do the right thing. About the author: Clare McDermott founded SoloPortfolio in 2007 on the premise that professional service firms need support from marketers with financial and operational work experience. She is passionate about writing, design, cycling and virtual entrepreneurship. You can find her blogging about content marketing for professional service firms at Studious or follow her @soloportfolio. Courtesy: Content Marketing Institute www.contentmarketinginstitute.com (Reproduced with permission) 5
  • 9. SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MARKETERS Looking Beyond the Hype By Sabarinath C Nair Leveraging the power of “Social Media” is a jargon one encounters very often in marketing parlance. So much that if you browse through job listings for marketing roles, you would find a lot of listings for “Marketing Manager – Social Media”. If companies are investing so much money and effort into this, there must be something special about social media, right? Or is it merely a déjà-vu of the decade leading up to the year 2000, when the dot com bubble had the place of today’s social media? What does social media really mean to you as a marketing professional? To examine the actual use of social media, I will limit myself to Twitter, Facebook and blogs. How have these tools impacted marketing? The very fact that this article in its web edition (compared to a hypothetical print edition) would be much better to access, by means of readily clickable links indicates the power of web. Blogs extend this benefit by providing means to get first-hand feedback on company announcements, through user comments. Twitter and facebook make sense for shorter and more interactive communication. Many brands are now on twitter (http://2020social.wetpaint.com/page/ Indian+brands+on+Twitter) as well as facebook (http://2020social.wetpaint.com/page/Indian+brands +on+Facebook). From a consumer point of view, the advantage social media presence (assuming someone serious is manning these accounts) provides is that it gives a fairly democratic access to these brands, and also provides an extended customer support (for example, tweeting to @Airtel_Presence might give better results than dialling 121). For the brands, the key lies in managing these accounts in such a way that they are used more for brand building than for resolving customer complaints. These advantages also come with risks. “Viral” is a buzzword used and abused in most marketing classes, and brands need to remember that most often negative publicity is much more viral than 6 positive. For the general public, Twitter is most often a place for ranting – a search on twitter with any brand name will most certainly return negative comments (also read - http://www.dnaindia.com/ lifestyle/report_poor-customer-service-don-t-calljust-tweet_1420265). What a brand can do in such a scenario is to be seen as responsive & prompt on social media – to make known that all customer concerns are being listened to and addressed. A case in point is how leading Indian brand Cafe Coffee Day handled a viral negative publicity on twitter (a good case study on this is available at http://www.slideshare.net/amnigos/how-cafecoffee-day-handled-their-online-crisis). The hashtag #CCDSucks was trending locally on twitter for some time and then ironically Cafe Coffee Day’s twitter account @CafeCoffeeDay had to respond with the same hashtag which spoke negatively about their brand. By responding promptly, the brand was able to do some damage control, though it is still debatable whether the way it was handled was the best possible. More case studies can be accessed at http://www.indiasocial.in/case-studies/. It is not just companies who are able to benefit from the power of social media. Earlier it was tough to get recognition as a writer and get published. In the post Chetan Bhagat, post Social Media era, things are much easier. A new breed of celebrities has come up on twitter and blogosphere, with strong fan followings. Sidin Vadukut, an editor at Mint who blogs at whatay.com and tweets from @sidin, recently launched a bestselling novel by name Dork, riding on his popularity as a humorist in these social media circles. Shashi Tharoor became the first Indian politician to connect with the tech savvy electorate through twitter (@ShashiTharoor) and continues to be one of the most influential persons on twitter (that his tweets contributed majorly to his being sacked as Minister of State is the flip side of social media). Red Book of Social Media
  • 10. Given all this, it is clear that Social Media management is very critical to branding of B2C companies. How does it impact B2B companies? What about start-ups? In my opinion, the benefits are not much better than Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Major search engines give much more weightage to content on blogs and social media than content on proper company websites. So it helps a lot in terms of search engine visibility to have a company blog in addition to keeping the company website up to date. For example, Vortex Engineering, the makers of the award winning Rural ATM Gramateller faces the same limitations in search engine results that a start-up would face. By effective use of the company blog and twitter, it is able to be the first result returned when someone googles with “SBI 20000th ATM”. Moreover, a tweet addressed to the twitter account of Mint (@livemint) ensured that the leading business newspaper covered the company’s winning of WEF Technology Pioneer award without any PR efforts (not even a press release). On the other hand, its customers are banks, and most bankers are not very internet savvy, and hence it does not make sense for usage of social media for customer interaction. To conclude, brands have to tread carefully around the hype of social media. If it is not handled properly, it can bring far more negative results than any other medium. For B2B brands, the benefits are limited as the number of its customers would be limited compared to a B2C or a retail company. The decision on whether to invest in social media has to be taken based on whether the customers of the brand are active on the same media, and whether it is possible to create meaningful conversations with customers/consumers on these social media. As for the hype, use it where it matters most – scoring brownie points in an increasingly jargonized and ‘power pointed’ corporate jungle, and not for any real returns. About the Author Sabarinath C Nair works in Marketing at Vortex Engineering Pvt Ltd and handles marketing, branding and PR for the start-up. His interests include travelling, reading and technology marketing. He tweets at @sabarinathc and manages the official twitter account of Vortex @VortexATM. (Reproduced with permission) Red Book of Social Media 7
  • 11. CASE STUDY: HOW IBM USES SOCIAL MEDIA AS GLUE FOR CONNECTING EVENTS CHRISTOPHER KOCH Using social media as a glue to connect traditional marketing tactics such as events is the most effective use of social media in B2B services marketing today, according to ITSMA interviews with services marketers. Rather than treat social media as standalone channels or replacements for traditional tactics, marketers should look for ways to use social media to support and enhance the successful programs they already have in place. Based on ITSMA’s research with B2B services marketers, we’re seeing companies successfully using social media to drive more attendance and interactions at events. Social media becomes the glue that binds events together, driving registration and discussion prior to events and enabling conference attendees to continue the dialogue between events. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO DRIVE EVENT PARTICIPATION For example, IBM’s Software Group used social media in 2009 to help drive participation in its live user conference, Impact, which is targeted at buyers of IBM’s WebSphere software for service-oriented architectures (SOAs). IBM promoted the live event through such channels as event-specific Facebook pages, LinkedIn groups, and Twitter feeds, leading to a 10% increase in registrations for the live event. But it also went beyond those simple uses to create a virtual companion event to the conference. For a company like IBM, with its global customer base, an online companion event meant that many more people could attend virtually than could afford to make the pilgrimage to the live event. But the virtual conference did not simply piggyback on the live conference. It had its own share of exclusive sessions. For example, IBM made subject matter experts available to chat with online 8 participants during pre-specified times and promoted these encounter sessions both online and off. AVOID CREATING SOCIAL MEDIA SILOS All told, the combination of the live and virtual events generated more leads for IBM at a lower overall cost per generated lead than previous conferences. Many marketers view social media tools such as blogs and social networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn as distinct channels, but IBM’s Software Group is determined to manage them as links in a larger strategy. “For me, having a separate standalone social media campaign doesn’t work. It’s all about integration”, says Sandy Carter, vice president, IBM Software Group Business Partners. Members of IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) member can read the complete post of IBM Software Group: How to Integrate Social Media into the Marketing Strategy here (www.itsma.com/research/ social-media-into-marketing-strategy). About the Author Chris Koch is a writer, editor, B2B marketer, researcher and former journalist. He is an editorial director at SAP (of course, opinions here are his own). His focus is on discovering, developing, and disseminating good ideas that customers can put to use in their companies. Courtesy: www.christopherakoch.com (Reproduced with permission) Red Book of Social Media
  • 12. USING PAID MEDIA TO ACHIEVE REMARKABLE B2B CONVERSION RATES By Nicholas What if I told you the last three digital paid media campaigns that my company, lonelybrand, executed earned an average 31.92 percent conversion rate? (To be clear — we’re talking about the number of successful conversions divided by the total number of paid clicks). In a world where marketers are faced with abysmal conversion rates and polluted client or stakeholder expectations, such figures might seem virtually impossible. But our 30-percent plus conversion figures are real. I’m going to share why all advertising and public relations agencies — and B2B brands in general — have a clean shot at earning the same results. Barriers to content marketing According to Advertising, Marketing & PR Agency Executives My company is so busy creating great ideas for our clients that we have little creative energy left to market creatives My company lacks a disciplined process for digital lead generation I know digital tools can help my company grow, but I don’t know how to effectively add them to my current day-to-day process Note – respondent pool was made up of over 300 senior agency marketing executives Source: ”The State of the Agency Report 2011“from www.lonelybrand.com Create relevant, compelling content Sorry to reiterate the obvious folks, but the quality and timeliness of your content matters for paid media. If you’re spending to support bits of content — be blog posts, white papers, research reports or apps — the value has to be there. So go the extra mile and make your content highly valuable to a group of people you want to do business with using your expertise to provide answers to the questions that potential clients haven’t even asked yet. Our experience tells us that the best conversion rates will come from niche-focused content, so don’t be afraid to get specific. Red Book of Social Media 9
  • 13. Implement a superior user experience Collecting data in the age of instant gratification means you need to provide a slick experience for site visitors, and that experience needs to be extensible to work with future content. Clearly note who should be most interested in your content, then plan to ask for just enough data to be useful — but not so much that your visitors get turned off. I recommend only requesting first and last name, company, and a valid email address at the start of their engagement. An email address represents the opportunity for continued contact, allowing you to pique your target’s interest in the future with compelling content and a little social CRM ingenuity. Choose your target wisely For consumer-facing campaigns, reach is typically wide and waste is high. That’s part of the reason conversion rates for major online retailers can be as low as 1 percent. The science (if you can call it that) of content marketing has demonstrated we can earn higher conversion rates with niche-focused content. Niche content appeals to a small population, and through advanced paid media targeting you can hone in on those more-desirable targets. Visitors are more likely to tune in if your content is targeted at their unique situation (e.g., insurance company looking to increase quoting behavior) versus generalized fluff content (enhance your company’s social media). Sure, CPC will be higher (in the $3.00+ range), but visitors will be much more likely to register, download, or otherwise perform the desired action. Place attention-winning ads Presenting niche content to a niche audience means using language that is direct and impactful. Focus on what matters to your audience at the time the ad will run. If it’s 2012 planning be sure to note that in the subject line. Running content on mobile quoting behavior for national insurance companies? Make sure your audience knows it’s a “must read” for insurance marketing professionals, as in the example below. Track, report and optimize Campaigns are meant to have a beginning and an end, but in the world of content marketing, the long tail lives on long after the paid media is turned off. That means using the relatively short time you have with a paid media campaign that supports and quickly optimizes a piece of content. Start with a group of ads (we recommend at least 10) and cut those that underperform. In the example below, we tested a variation of ads on LinkedIn for a recently published white paper. The copy was identical, but it turned out that the image choice made a significant impact on clicks. The ad with our writer’s face generated 29 clicks; the ad with our marble logo generated only two. Performing this test allowed us to optimize the campaign and save on ad dollars. 10 Red Book of Social Media
  • 14. Eat what you kill Generating stellar conversion rates for content marketing can be a blessing and a curse. Make sure you have the necessary infrastructure to funnel leads to someone that has time to handle them with care and follow up with nurturing behavior. This means putting in the hours to organize warm leads within your database and ensure the info finds its way into appropriate email marketing lists and social networks. Does your company have a documented content marketing process to generate qualified leads ? Advertising, Marketing & PR Agencies Note: respondent pool was made up of over 300 senior agency marketing executives Source: “the State of the Agency Report 2011” from www.lonelybrand.com Make it worth your while A disciplined digital communications program for your agency or B2B firm will produce results. Spending money on digital paid media to support your content habit only makes sense when your investment is for the long run and supported by five other key areas of digital: social, CRM, mobile, search and analytics. About the Author: Nicholas is the Digital Strategy Lead at lonelybrand, where he spends his days (and many long nights) inventing the future of digital communications by connecting consumers and decision makers to brands. His 15-year career in digital marketing has resulted in numerous television and media appearances, including notable articles in Bloomberg-Businessweek, Forrester’s Web Strategy, Brand New (an Amazon best-seller) and Advertising Age. Follow Nicholas on Twitter @ADMAVEN. Courtesy: Content Marketing Institute www.contentmarketinginstitute.com (Reproduced with permission) Red Book of Social Media 11
  • 15. INTERNAL CONVERSATIONS + SOCIAL MEDIA = SALES CONVERSATIONS By Katie McCaskey “Bring on the ping pong tables and pizza Fridays!” Oh, how quaint that dotcom management rallying cry sounds today. Back then, it was all about creating internal “company culture.” Now, managers are abuzz about something else: sharing company conversations externally via social media. Today’s winners are the companies who realize the value of sharing (some) internal conversations publicly. In fact, this approach can provide the trust necessary to build a solid sales foundation. A great example is Incept, an Ohio-based contact center to recruit blood donors. Incept uses social media to capture internal conversations and share these with existing and potential clients through social media. The benefits are two-fold: one, these conversations enhance the internal culture, driving employee connections and loyalty. The second benefit is the trust and familiarity these conversations build with people outside the company. Given the adage that “people do business with people they like”, this bolsters sales efforts. Here are some take-aways other businesses can apply to their social media outreach programs: SELECT A BETA TEAM Not all of your employees can or should be representing your company in social media channels. Start by selecting a small beta team drawn from those with existing interest or aptitude. Some will be better suited to contributing to a company blog, while others will naturally be more valuable in the “chatter-sphere” of Twitter and Facebook. This selection process should be competitive and treated as a privilege to represent the company brand. 12 Incept employees are referred to internally as iCMEs (internet conversation marketing experts). These iCMEs were divided into teams that write for the Incept blog and those that focused on social media interactions on Twitter and Facebook. The beta team had both existing skill sets. As social media efforts grew, they could train others. On Twitter, employees set up user names such as @Becky_Incept to identify an individual and the company. On Facebook, the beta team used their personal profiles to “like” the Incept Facebook business page. This team helped recruit other employees to participate on the company page by explaining the differences between their personal Facebook profile and the company page. ESTABLISH GUIDELINES TOGETHER Nate Riggs of Social Business Strategies helped Incept build the social media team. He says that the team intentionally “worked backward”. They chose to allow employees to engage on social media prior to establishing guidelines. Why? It gave the beta team real-world examples of how to handle customer inquiries, questions, compliments and occasionally complaints. The team created boundaries that designated when a request should be answered “further up the chain of command.” For example, employees are asked not to discuss company news until news items are formally “released” to the public. Interestingly, once guidelines were in place, Incept experienced greater participation and engagement online by their employees. This, in turn, drove participation by vendors, customers, prospects and others outside the company. Red Book of Social Media
  • 16. GIVE EMPLOYEES EXPRESSIVE FREEDOM The key is that employees should be given plenty of freedom across all the social media platforms. Whether contributing to the company blog, company Facebook page, company Twitter account or, notably, independently through individual Facebook/Twitter accounts, employees are encouraged to discuss Incept and respond to Incept-related questions. However, by sharing these conversations externally they are also connecting with others around common interests. On branded Twitter accounts for example, such as @Becky_Incept, employees are asked to tweet regularly on the company’s behalf. The remaining time employees, tweet about other topics. EMBRACE TRANSPARENCY Perhaps the biggest transition for companies, including Incept, is the notion that transparency is here to stay. Rather than trying to control employee’s social media interaction with an iron fist (such as banning it from the office computer network), Incept and others lead the way by welcoming transparency and employee representation of their brand online as a new business reality. Says Sam Falletta, Incept’s Chief Results Officer: “Social media really is just an accelerator of what’s happening as it is. So if you have a bad culture, it’s just going to be reflected online, and if you have a good culture it’ll be reflected online. The same thing for products and services in most cases.” About the author Katie McCaskey provides content marketing, commercial writing, and social media services. She is passionate about content that empowers people to renew the built and natural world. She is an “urban escapee” based south of Washington, D.C. in historic Staunton, VA. Follow her on Twitter @KatieMcCaskey. Courtesy: Content Marketing Institute www.contentmarketinginstitute.com (Reproduced with permission) Red Book of Social Media 13
  • 17. THERE IS NO PLACE TO HIDE By Hareesh Tibrewala 14 Red Book of Social Media
  • 18. TOP 10 SOCIAL MEDIA MEGA TRENDS Internet came to town a decade ago and changed our lives forever. Not only did it change the way we did business but it changed the way we lived life. Email became our primary communication tool and web URL became the primary way to disseminate information. It was OK if you did not have a physical office address, but it was not OK if your business card did not carry a URL. Web 2.0 is once again re-defining our lives. It promises to be bigger and have a more significant impact on us than Web 1.0. If Web1.0 was driven largely by Internet connectivity and PCs, Web 2.0 will be driven by the mobile telephony and Social Networking Sites. To give an example of the power of this lethal combination of SNS and mobile phone savour the following examples: Imagine you are at a conference, where there are another 100 delegates like yourself. Maybe there are some people you know, but there are a larger number of people you don’t know. You pull out your cell phone, take up a position at a vantage point and take a picture of the audience. Your cell phone software very quickly connects to servers to leading SNS sites, does image mapping , and in just about no time, the picture reappears on your cell phone, except that this time it has been tagged by names of all the people in the audience with their designations and company names. You click on a name, and that persons profile is right there before you. Now, you know the people that you need to catch up with during the tea break! Each one of us are now fully “identifiable” at any point of time. It is almost like having a name tag pinned to your T-shirt pocket at all times. Even if one wants to remain anonymous, this combination of a cell phone + SNS sites, ensures that there is no place to hide....not anymore. Let us look at another example of how this cell phone + SNS combination is going to transform our decision making process: Imagine I am a tourist who has come to Mumbai from Delhi. Here I am, at the Hanging Garden, enjoying the sight of Chowpatty. Now I wish to proceed for lunch. Once upon a time, I would need to depend on a tourist guide book or the taxiwalla to guide me. Now, no more! I flash my cell phone, switch on the camera and hold it against a view of the Chowpatty landscape. I click a button asking for a listing of restaurants. Promptly all restaurants that are in focus in the camera appear tagged on the camera. Now I know that there is Pizza Hut and a Rajdhani and a Copper Chimney in my view. I click on a particular restaurant and I can see the menu card and the price list. I click on yet another button and I can see recommendations. Best of all, I can specifically see recommendations made by people who are known to me. Technology needs to connect the restaurant website to the website that carries recommendations to my Facebook page...and I can see exactly which of my friends have made what recommendations for a particular restaurant. So then who decides where I eat? No longer the tourist guide book and no longer the taxiwalla. It is my friends who are helping me decide where I eat. About the author Hareesh Tibrewala is bachelor of engineering from VJTI, Mumbai and a master of science from University of Southern California, USA. In 1997 he co-founded Homeindia.com, one of India’s first e-commerce sites. Hareesh has excellent understanding of the Internet, as a medium for business, and tremendous organization building skills. For the detailed report please visit http://www.paulwriter.com/component/k2/item/416social-media-mega-trends-tibrewala (Reproduced with permission) Red Book of Social Media 15
  • 19. DON'T DO SOCIAL 5 Good Reasons Why By Jessie Paul In many conferences, the favorite audience question is ‘Should I be on Social Media?” And the panel usually made up of large, successful brands - gives an enthusiastic “Yes!” But social media is just another communication channel, and should go through the same due diligence that you did when setting up the website, telephone hotline or PO Box. Here are some factors you should think about before taking the plunge: 1. Your product sucks. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t mean for it to suck. And certainly, if you work in an evolved, mature industry, it won’t, because you can control all the variables. But what about industries where, because of regulatory issues or supply chain issues, you don’t (yet) have 100% control over production? For example a builder can control the quality of the final building, but if the sand or cement companies go on strike, there can be a delay in completion. Or brick-and-mortar organizations in start-up mode where they are still gradually learning to scale? Say you run a high-end, highly creative boutique ad agency. Your creative director is a genius but you don’t (yet) have two of them and unfortunately her dog falls sick on the day of an important deliverable, and she can’t come in. Your output suffers. It’s a temporary setback but if your client has a huge network and vents his frustration publicly it could shutdown your fledgling firm. Because your client will forgive you when she sees the wonderful campaign, but the comments are archived forever for an unforgiving public. Eventually, if you’re a good businessperson, you will plan for these problems and control them. But in the interim? Should you provide a forum for people to flame you publicly? 16 2. A microscopic % of your target audience actually uses social media India has around 30 million people on social media today (at least that’s what I hear at conferences) and that is increasing rapidly and is expected to hit 100 million soon. Big numbers. But we’re a country of 1 billion and many companies have less than 100 customers, and a prospect list of less than 1000. Unless you have data (just ask your customers!) that shows that your particular audience uses social media and is active enough to be influenced there, you’d be quite ok to postpone your arrival in the digital world. Much like many companies delayed their web presence till a sufficient number of customers could access the net. The early adopters of social media tend to be disproportionately vocal and influential. Many have excellent reach with mass media, making the message ‘hop’ from digital to mainstream print/TV very easy. That’s of course a plus - you get coverage in mainstream for free, but it also means that any negative message spreads fast. (Remember, dog bites man is never as newsworthy has man bites dog). Red Book of Social Media
  • 20. 3. You’re already drowning in data 5. You are choked for bandwidth As they say in computer programming, Garbage In Garbage Out (you never know when my engineering degree will remind me - and you - of its existence). Many companies enter social media with the laudable idea of listening to their customers. The customers respond enthusiastically, but the company doesn’t have a back-end system in place to make sense of it. Also, since the company hasn’t really thought through the goals of the digital presence, it does not have any research objectives or hypotheses to test. Instead, it just adds to the pile of already available unsorted, unfiled data on what customers want. Either manually or with a CRM on analytics system you will have to process this into meaningful insights. And depending on the scale of your organization you could quite possibly have gained that same insight by running a focus group discussion, speaking directly with 50 customers, or buying the latest quantitative study. Would you set up a 24x7 tele-helpline without hiring people to staff it first? Same logic should apply to social media too. It’s always on, and people’s expectations of response times are very exacting less than an hour in most cases. Unless you have the staffing arrangement - and the required training, FAQ, scripts etc - in place, you are likely to burn your fingers. Oh, and because you asked for their views and didn’t do anything about it, your previously enthusiastic customers are now turning on you. 4. Your CEO thinks “social wocial” is over-rated Knowing that he is wrong does not make the problem go away. Yes, yes, your CEO may not be your target audience or chosen demographic. But social requires you to engage with customers, interact with them and present a friendly face to them. Unless this is supported by the organization at the top-most level, you will not receive the required support in personnel, processes, and tools. Social has to be understood and treated as another valuable channel for getting in touch with stakeholders and baked into the overall communication strategy. Other channels like TV, radio, web, outdoor, magazines have been around for years, but their adoption has been influenced by the CEOs personal conviction too. (Trust me, everyone in marketing has released an ad somewhere because the CEO says “Oh, but I always read/see that”) Red Book of Social Media This is a direct line of conversation with your customers - you can’t just outsource it and hope for the best. The outsourcing can only take care of outbound communication and managing routine requests. You and other senior members of your organization will have to occasionally chip in and respond/listen to customers. Are you ready for that? I have taken an extreme view on each of these issues to make my point, but that’s the general direction. None of these is a permanent situation - you will eventually have to overcome it. It’s just a question of time. The digital age is definitely the future, it just hasn’t reached everyone yet. About the author: Jessie is the CEO of Paul Writer a marketing advisory firm. She is the author of ‘No Money Marketing’ (Tata McGraw-Hill) 17
  • 21. 7 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE ADDING A BLOG TO THE MARKETING MIX MICHELE LINN Some time back I was talking with a couple of corporate B2B marketers, and the question of blogging came up: do they plan to have a blog? Unlike many marketers who jump into having a blog because it seems like the right thing to do, these gentlemen were very thoughtful in their response and explained that they would only have a blog if they had a clear objective and a way to support it. Amen to that! While I am all for trying different types of content and formats, I’m an even bigger proponent of consistency, which is why I caution marketers before undertaking a project that needs constant care and feeding, like a blog. Here are some key questions to ask before you commit to a corporate blog. 1. DO YOU HAVE EXECUTIVE COMMITMENT? One of the key differences between companies that thrive with content marketing and those that do not is buy-in from executive management. Before you commit to a blog, make sure your executive team is on board. In their eBook , B2B Blogging Basics, Best Practices . . . and Blunders, MLT Creative provides these warning signs that your culture is highly resistant to 18 blogging – and blogging may not be right for you (Note: registration is required for eBook): 1 Hoping for a “grassroots” effort without executive sponsorship 2 Top executives unwilling to be personally involved in content planning and reader engagement 3 Influential executives actively lobbying against the effort 4 All content must go through unwieldy approvals (Legal, HR, etc.) If you don’t have the right culture for a blog, it’s better to know this before you invest time and resources (and, you don’t want any additional ammunition against future content marketing projects). 2. WHAT RESULT(S) DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH YOUR BLOG? After you know you have commitment, figure out what you want your blog to accomplish. The answer to this question will impact everything you do, from how you structure your blog to what the call to action will be. For best results, your blog should directly support your marketing and business goals, and the criteria you use to measure success should be tied to this. Red Book of Social Media
  • 22. This may seem obvious, but it’s really common for marketers to start blogging because they think it’s something they should do to “keep up”. But, without clear criteria to measure success, it will be impossible to know if your blog is paying off. 3. DO YOU HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS? In all likelihood, it’s going to take time to build up interest – and traffic – to your blog. And, truth be told, it’s going to feel discouraging at times. Be realistic about what to expect. For instance, it’s not as likely that your readers will comment if you have a B2B blog. 4. DO YOU HAVE A CUSTOMERFOCUSED MINDSET? Good blogs aren’t about products or companies. This, too, seems obvious, but I’ve talked to many marketers whose blogging plans revolve around what is going on with their organization. Step back and ask how you can educate your readers. 5. DO YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES? Even if you decide that a blog is right for you, it’s a lot of work to do well. Many companies are using a collaborative approach to blogging, which is good as it spreads the work around, but it’s still a lot to maintain. You need to have a plan for who will provide content and how often. Decide on the frequency of your blog posts, and stick with it. Of course, look at your internal resources and subject matter experts, but also think about if you can get customers or other advocates involved. To get your resources to commit their time to a blog, it’s imperative that you have executive support. 6. DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO MANAGE THIS PROCESS? I also suggest that the blogging administrator maintains an editorial calendar not only to track authors and topics but other metrics such as keywords for SEO and the call to action for each post. 7. DO YOU NEED SOMEONE TO EDIT THE POSTS? In addition, if the people you are asking to contribute to the blog are not natural writers, you’ll need someone to edit the posts for logic and structure (this could be the blogging administrator or someone with more writing experience). I love this comment from John Bottom on one of his CMI posts that underscores the importance of strong writing: “I believe a coherent structure is the biggest difference between a well-written piece of content and a poorly-written one. People tend to get sensitive about spelling and grammar but, while these are important, it is the way a story is told that really matters. And one of the biggest failings of untutored writers is that they tend towards ‘stream-of-consciousness’ writing that gets tiring to read and difficult to follow.” Don’t get me wrong: I think the power of a blog is enormous, and if it is something you can maintain, it can be the most powerful tool in your content marketing arsenal. But, I don’t think a blog is for everyone – and it isn’t something marketers should jump into without a detailed plan. What else do you think marketers should consider before launching a blog? About the Author: Michele Linn is the Executive Editor of the Content Marketing Institute and a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B Marketing. Courtesy: www.contentmarketinginstitute.com (Reproduced with permission) You need someone to take ownership of your logging efforts. Amanda Maksymiw had a great post on how her company manages its corporate blog, and one of the things that she highlights as key to their success is having a blogging administrator. Their blogging administrator keeps all bloggers on a schedule, educates them on best practices and simply keeps morale about the project high (don’t underestimate the importance of this). Red Book of Social Media 19
  • 23. “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation.” - Peter Drucker 'Paul Writer believes that there is a rich pool of innovation in India. The key to unlock this potential is marketing. We are a hub for serious marketers that provides CMOs with insights, a community platform, workshops and peer-learning opportunities that will make their professional lives simpler, more efficient and richer. We would love to hear your feedback and suggestions. To host a workshop on Social Media or related digital strategies, please write to us at paulwriter@paulwriter.com.' 'The copyright for the articles lie with the authors and are reproduced in this book with permission. The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors and not necessarily endorsed by Paul Writer. This publication is for private circulation only' 20 Red Book of Social Media
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