I don’t know it all and I never will. But I do have tons of experience and education in public relations, marketing and business. But more importantly, I am infatuated with the Internet and how people use it to communicate. My specialty is Digital Public Relations and my passion is building online communities to educate and build trusted relationships.
In a past issue of Inventor’s Digest, Bonnie Griffin Kaake was asked about the importance of social media to inventors. She said [see slide] and followed up by saying: “Think about it. How powerful or credible is it if an inventor spouts the value of his/her product? On the other hand, how credible and powerful is it if many if not thousands of third parties start using social media to discuss the inventor’s product and comment on it? There is a big difference. Isn’t that why most of us like testimonials, case histories and references before doing business with a company? Examples, referrals and third-party endorsements are far more credible.”The upside as well as the downside of social media is that one has no control over what is said in cyberspace. Those participating in social media are open and sometimes very blunt about why they like or dislike a product. It is in an inventor’s best interest to refrain from getting too emotional about his/her product and dismiss what is being said. Listen and use the information to make good or better decisions going forward.Another downside of social media is that it is public information in the purest sense. An inventor must be sure his/her intellectual property is securely in place before disclosing specific information. It may be best to avoid any Internet communication about the product until the inventor has a solid patent pending.”Bonnie Griffin Kaake is president of Golden, Colo.-based Innovative Consulting Group Inc., which offers marketing services to product-based businesses and innovators.
As with any smart business decisions, always start with your strategy. Ask yourself WHY? and you’ll save yourself plenty of time and money in the long run. Taking the time to plan out your objectives and how you’ll reach them is time well spent. Before you decide to enter the realm of social media, you need to you need to figure out which ones make sense for your audience. An excellent way to discover the foundation of your strategy is to use listening tools to discover where your target market hangs out and what matters to them. Learning where your target audience already participates will give you a better chance of reaching the right people who want to hear your message and learn more about your product.
Listening tools include the use of search (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+), Google News & Alerts and RSS readers like Google Reader. Listening to the industry buzz helps you understand how your product matches your audience and what messages/features really resonate with them.Decide how you will focus on a differentiator to rise about the noise and demonstrate the value of your product or idea. Some will use social media in this early stage to even crowdsource the development of an idea. Websites like Quirky actually use crowds to decide whether an invention should be manufactured. Later we’ll talk about a case study of two young entrepreneurs who take an idea to social media and end up with a major Fortune 500 deal.
Once you’ve decided which platforms you will spend time on it’s time to start posting content. Content not only covers the things you want to say about your product or invention but also about YOU. More importantly, this is the place for you to tell your story. What brought you to creating this product or invention? Why are you an expert? What problem are you solving? This does sound a little bit like how you would pitch a venture capitalist BUT hold back on the hard sell. Remember, even though you’re here to create demand, you need to create awareness and trust first. You have to date for a bit before you get married. So the content should be a fair mix of related content that you curate and share. Be a valuable and trusted resource; not an infomercial. No one likes to be sold to, but people do like to learn. Create content that educates and builds trust even if it isn’t about your product. Talk about your industry, focus on the problem that you’re solving.
Your profile may only be 160 characters, but there is so much SEO you can bake into that short description. Talk about what problem you solve and why you’re different. Try to use keywords without sounding ‘spammy’ and be authentic. Tip: Even if you’re not active on all social media platforms, build profiles out as potential outposts with links back to your website. Give people all sorts of ways to find you. PRO TIP: Get thee on Google+!! Although Google stats don’t show the same massive interaction on Facebook, let’s agree on one major advantage: Google+ is owned by Google. The #1 Search in the WORLD. If for nothing, get the profile up there for the sake of ranking.
Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents, and Google Plus for Business, expresses his love for Google Plus in a recent post by with four major reasons. One is touting its Hangout feature where coaches and instructors can hold video classes for free. The second is to Show Your Stuff. [see quote in slide]. For inventions and products there’s probably no better way to put yourself in the limelight and get people to share it with their own networks. The next reason is since Google search will prioritize Google Plus profiles in rank and lastly to demonstrate your expertise by seeking out people on G+ who might use your product by posting comments, answering questions and positioning yourself as the ‘go-to’ provider. He suggests that you can pre-sell and direct sell and build trust though recommendations. Just remember to balance yourself by not going into used car salesman mode.
The quality of your content determines how far you go with Social Proof and creating demand for your product. Social Proof is about getting your community or ‘tribe’ to talk about you, rave about your products and advocate on your behalf. This is why it’s all about them and not about you. Be sure to reward those who gives you the ‘thumbs up’, the likes and the testimonials which speak volumes about your expertise and your product’s effectiveness. Think of all the buzz you can create by stimulating the conversation. Not controlling it, but helping it grow. TIP: Now you can ‘embed’ individual tweets into your website. How cool would it be to get bunch of a testimonial tweets on a page?
Embedded Tweets are great because when you put them on your website or blog, you are giving visitors another place to interact with you and your brand. The code has the functionality of following you on Twitter, replying or retweeting from the embed. Remember they may find your website or blog before they even know you are on Twitter. It’s as easy as clicking the link under your tweet that says “Embed this Tweet”. It’s like falling off a log!
Brand pages have really taken the Twitterverse by storm. FB and Google has brand pages and now you have a new place to show your tag line and other information beside the profile’s 160 characters. Plus it’s much more visual.
McDonald’s uses their bar to showcase beauty shots of food that begs to be tasted. Unfortunately Brand Pages are still being rolled out, but it’s a great example of how profiles can be leveraged to a bigger extent. Right now the most popular brands have this ability, but at some point we’ll see these extended profile features for everyone else.
Engage or Die a Quiet Online Death. The key to engagement is to be authentic. This means more than just talking about yourself or your product. This means you give back to your online community. Share resources and information about your industry and your audience will give back in terms of trust. It’s important to constantly monitor your feeds and respond timely to messages and comments. Even negative comments can be used for valuable feedback and an opportunity to address any objections out in the open for all to see. It may sound scary, but sometimes the person being negative had a small issue that if addressed quickly can show yourself not only as someone is looking out of the customer’s best interests. Seriously, most small issues can grow into something ugly if ignored. TIP: Create a group around a related topic on LinkedIn or Facebook to quickly build an engaged community.
There are many free and relatively inexpensive tools that you can use to manage your social media. Here’s a caveat: You’re an expert in your field. Sometimes it’s best to let another person handle the day to day operation of your social media. Most VA’s are fully capable of doing your posting and managing your communities. If you decide to hire anyone outside your company to manage your social, it’s important to note that you still need to be engaged on some level in order to address any problems and to show that you are personally involved in what’s going on with your company. It helps build trust and again it’s a great place to show your expertise. Managing the beast that can be social media means you’ll use tools like websites that give you a ‘dashboard’ of different social media streams so you can post simultaneously and monitor mentions across different platforms. Some dashboards are free and some are paid. The paid ones allow you to gather metrics and create reports. They run as little as $9 a month and go up to thousands.
Management Tools allow you to save time by scheduling out your posting and giving a tool to staff members for both monitoring and managing your social media. Some of the bigger brands will use these tools to monitor customer service issues like Best Buy’s Twelp force. People will often voice their frustrations on social media and having these tools can help you keep the pulse on the keywords that matter most to your product.
The biggest win here is the ability to create reports and see which posts get the most attention for retweets and clicks. As you can see I this tool, I can see some demographic information including age and gender which is gleaned from the user profiles. This is priceless marketing information especially for products and inventions to help you define your customer. Think how useful this information will be to provide when pitching to Venture Capitalists or the media. You can track which posts were most popular, generated the most clicks and attention. This is a quick way to test out sales messages, features and benefits of your product or just ask opinions to quickly crowd source an idea. You can talk to your customers in real time and get instant feedback on a global scale. No biased focus groups and no expensive research. One set of entrepreneurs did this with a board game…
Two young entrepreneurs create a persona named Charlie Large and start promoting this rich alterego on social media. They use the channels to get feedback and reactions while developing and promoting their game. Blog, LinkedIn, FB and website. They got so big on FB they maxed out at 5k fans. Eventually Hasbro picked them up and Charge Large was born. (YouTube video?)From link 2009 Article: http://libn.com/2009/02/18/board-game-makes-personal-finance-fun/The eccentric billionaire’s various Web sites have been collecting lots of hits, especially from his business resource center where visitors can find phone numbers and names of Fortune 500 companies or legal document templates. The same goes for Large’s business blog, “From the Desk of Charlie Large,” where he waxes poetic on quantum physics and quotes thinkers you might not expect to see in the same room, such as Walt Disney and Machiavelli.He’s so popular he has numerous Facebook pages. His newest venture, the educational board game “Charge Large,” is manufactured in China and had its debut at the International Toy Fair in New York City this week. To promote the game, Charlie Large hosted a blowout at a lounge in downtown Manhattan that coincided with Fashion Week festivities and the toy fair.And what’s up with that graffiti seen around Long Island: “Who is Charlie Large?”Large is actually two 25-year-old friends who met at Bellmore’s JFK High School. Their names? Joe Davis and Adam Kornblum. The two young entrepreneurs decided on an alter ego because receptionists at corporate offices would be slightly more interested in passing along a call from an eccentric billionaire than two young guys with a lot of hustle but not much muscle, said Davis. Even if that ploy doesn’t work as well as they wish, Charlie Large has taken on a life of his own, becoming their brand.Brashness and bravado paid off when Kornblum recently scored a two-hour meeting with Charles Wang to push the board game. Promotion is ongoing through social networking sites using the Charlie Large persona and also at universities and law schools. Kornblum might attend law school, and at every school interview he brings out Charge Large.
6 Steps to Build Product Demand & Sales Using Social Media
Hosted by Own It VenturesPresented byRosie Taylor 6 STEPS TO BUILD PRODUCT DEMAND & SALES BY USING SOCIAL MEDIA
Seriously, who am I to talk? • Over 15 years of marketing & communications experience • 8 years in public affairs introducing & managing social media to local government • Internet Geek w/plenty of creds like BSBIS & CIW • Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Consultant • Passionate writer fascinated with Digital PR
An inventor-entrepreneur who takes social media seriously and uses it to his/her advantage will be strides ahead of those who do not. More than 70 percent of those who use social media are more influenced by user-generated content when making purchasing decisions than by traditional advertising and marketing methods. Bonnie Griffin Kaake President Innovative Consulting Group, Inc.How important is social media to inventors? 3
The Six Steps Step 1 Start by Creating a Strategy Ask Yourself WHY? Step 2 Create Relevant Content Tell Your Story & Curate Step 3 Stop Being Invisible! Optimize Profiles & Create Awareness Step 4 Develop Social Proof & Create Demand with a Side Effect of Sales Step 5 Engage or Die! Be Authentic Step 6 Get Out the Chair & Whip! Keep the Social Media Beast in Check
Posting a video thatshowcases your productsor services can reallyboost sales. Consideruploading a video with ademo or discussing thevarious services you offer.Or ask your customers tosend video testimonialsabout your business. - Chris Brogan “Why Chris Brogan Loves Google Plus” 9