Fresh Dirt Marketing Social Media "DIG" 7/16/09


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Fresh Dirt Marketing Social Media "DIG" 7/16/09

  1. 1. LEVEL ONE: What is Social Media? Adding Social Media to your Marketing Initiatives The use of Social media as a marketing tool is more than just an addition to the marketing toolbox, it is a cultural change in how we create business. Social media has become the conduit for social message delivery, opinion development, customer support, as well as marketing and sales. There are many things to consider when determining how to use Social Media in a marketing mix. So where do you start? What is it? Let’s start with how Social Media was born. Since the beginning of time, people have been “marketing” to one another. Social behavior dictates that when we like, or dislike something, we tell others. In it’s simplest form, that “sharing” without the intentional goal of selling defines Word- of-Mouth Marketing. This “customer evangelism” is the most pure, and least expensive kind of marketing available. The challenge is that as a marketer, it is nearly impossible to “buy” customer evangelists. They have to be developed over time. Enter: Social Media Marketing After decades of marketing using traditional channels and holding our breath while we hope that a group of customer evangelists emerge on their own, Social Media is generating brand loyalitsts in droves. By creating discussions online, building an online reputations and keeping our “friends and fans” up-to-date literally minute-by-minute, Social Media is changing everything. It is inexpensive as compared to traditional tools, intangible, yet easily tracked to ROI. Finally, marketers can track response and progress. The great thing about Social Media is that there is that we can do much to create our own destiny if there is a proper plan in place using the proper tools. Examples of Social Media: Social networks: MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, LinkedIn, YouTube Micro blogging: Twitter Blogging: Blogger, Word Press Event sites: evite Online Discussion Groups: LinkedIn Social bookmarking: Digg, Delicious Wikis: Wikipedia Who is using it? Just about anyone can use social media to their benefit as a marketing tool. Because of the newness of Social Media, there is a feeling of it being the “next big thing” that will replace traditional marketing initiatives. It is important to realize that social media tools are not a replacement, but rather a collection of more tools for the marketing toolbox. WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  2. 2. It is easy for a company to become enamored with the “cool factor” of social media, but they must remember that social media tools should be selected using strategy and followed-through deliberately. Goals and objectives should be examined and a plan developed so that tracking and measuring results becomes a part of the process. Steps for a social media plan 1. Set overall marketing goals. 2. Determine messages and tactics. 3. Determine what Social Media tools can be used to accomplish the goals and deliver the messages. 4. Assess the staff available to create and maintain a campaign. 5. Nail down a timeline for creation and maintenance. Social Media is a living and ever changing being so time commitment is key! 6. Start implementation. 7. Participate in on-going maintenance. 8. Measure success on monitor reputation. 9. Tweak if necessary and continue. Keep in mind that Social Media is a double edge sword. Once you decide to enter into the Social Media world it requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance. However, you will also be closer to your customers and prospects than ever. So, monitor to your advantage using negative messages to become opportunities to practice stellar customer service. From as of March 2009 Fresh Dirt can help. Let’s sit down and talk about how to fit Social Media initiatives into your marketing plan! | 615.279.1502 WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  3. 3. LEVEL TWO: What are the Tools? Primary Social Media Tools include: Tool Description Examples Social Networks Social Networking Tools enable businesses to Facebook open new channels of communication with MySpace consumers and business prospects. Digital Social Networks are the new town square, the LinkedIn new Chamber of Commerce meeting, it is Ning where consumers and fellow business owners are congregating, it is the new contact point between businesses and potential and existing clients. Email / Newsletters: Email and Newsletter has expanded to offer Emma (Fresh Dirt is an Emma extensive connectivity with the advent of Agency) Mobile technology, enabling businesses to Mail Chimp broadcast their messages and consumers to retrieve and read emails virtually anywhere. Forums: Forums offer businesses an effective method to engage and carry on conversations on specific topics and interest. Forums have the ability to create and develop a close knit, trusted community Wikis: Wikis are web based applications enabling Wikipedia users to develop, edit and to distribute their knowledge on the topic of their choice. Companies are beginning to leverage the power of Wikis to lower training costs, product development and to retain various types of procedural business information. Blogs: Blogs are the most effective, easiest and most Wordpress popular Social Media Tool to develop; Blogger communication and conversation, and to create an environment of trust between your business’s and current and potential clients and customers. Audio / Podcasts: Without a doubt Podcasts enable your business message to be heard, it is not text, it is not a photograph, it is a personal recording of your business message which you can record on your computer / upload to your server and enable those interested to download and listen to on their computers. Humans have used verbal communication since the dawn of time to spread ideas and to influence others. What could be better than verbal communication for your business? WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  4. 4. Video: Video is hard to match for providing an YouTube engaging experience, it is visual, it is audio Vimeo and hopefully it is unique and creative. Video has come to the forefront of Social Media, the popularity of You Tube is proof of this. Video enables you to visually communicate with your target audience in your blog, shared on You Tube and wherever you audience wants to view your video on their IPods or mobile phones, offering you unlimited opportunities to connect and enthrall your audience Micro Blogging: Followers and followed develop online Twitter communities and networks based on interests and previous friendship and associations. Find the Micro bloggers interested in your business and services and begin the conversation and soon, providing you are offering a meaningful message you will soon have a following you can leverage and engage.The immediacy and portability of micro blogging using online applications in conjunction with mobile devises is possibly one of the most powerful Social Media tools. 
 Secondary Tools include:
 Tool Description Examples Photo Sharing: Photo Sharing due to its popularity could be Flickr classified as a primary Social Media tool however, although they say “A picture is worth a thousand words” I classified Photo Sharing as a secondary tool Photo Sharing offers less interactivity than for example, Blogging, Video or Social Networks. Live Casting: Live Casting is both Internet Radio and TV. Create your own online Radio or TV show on BlogTalk the topic of your choosing. Creativity, controversy and informative broadcasts on the Internet have the ability to develop a large following for you and your business. Virtual Worlds: One principle of Social Media and Social Second Life Networking is a business should active in the same space as the consumer. With the popularity of virtual worlds (Linden Labs Estimated Second Life Population 7.5 Million) computer generated virtual world have the potential to connect with consumers and product users. Gaming: Online Gaming has developed numerous global communities where gamers compete and interact in games. In many ways Gaming is a virtual world with the competitive edge. Social Book Marks / Social Book marking sites in conjunction with Digg, Delicious and Reddit Aggregators: Aggregating sites such as offer different Technocrati, Netvibes and Google methods to accumulate information for easy Reader retrieval and later use. From book marking a web site, to following news topics which are important to your business, to automatic RSS feeds of information from numerous web spaces Social Book marking and Aggregation tools will assist you to keep abreast of what’s happening online and share and access this WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  5. 5. information with ease. These tools often offer an insight to trends and the opinions of the general public on an endless variety to topics, services and products. Rich Site Summary (RSS): Managing and keeping up to date with the web Google Reader content that is important to you is not always easy when content is delivered by numerous sources.RSS enables the subscription of content from Blogs, news sites and a variety of web sites which update their content regularly and have the content delivered to your RSS reader or integrated into web pages. RSS is also a valuable Social Media Tool to enable your company to broadcast updated content to web site visitors and subscribers. Communication: Communication tools are not new to Social Skype Media, instant chat from MSN, Yahoo and Ichat AOL have been around for years. However, new Social Media Tools are constantly GoToMeeting developed which assist with communication and collaboration business to business and business to consumer. A couple of my preferred Social Media Communication Skype enables users to have video calls, conference calls all free when computer to computer and access any land line or mobile phone for extremely competitive rates. Go To Meetings is becoming an increasingly effective and popular Social Media Tool for providing Webinars, sales presentation and empowering business to collaborate online reducing travel costs significantly. 
 This is by no means a complete list but rather the tools that you should be familiar with to begin! WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  6. 6. LEVEL THREE: How do I use the Tools? Understanding how to use the tools and their functionality is the first step to utilizing them to their fullest potential. Below are some helpful links to get you started (and dig deeper) on the three major Social Networking sites. Twitter The Twitter Guide Book is a one-stop shop for getting up to speed with everything Twitter. The Twitter Guide Book will be cultivated, maintained and updated to bring the latest tips and tricks as Twitter evolves. Facebook Here are a few resources to help you set up an account and get started: - 10 part tutorial on how to set up your Facebook account - The official help area on Facebook - Official Facebook blog that has up to date info on features LinkedIn LinkedIn provides an official learning center to help you set up your account and learn about functionality: WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  7. 7. LEVEL FOUR: How to Sell Social Media Internally (from Interactive Insights group. Find it online at Trying to make the case to someone on the benefits of using social media? Maybe a boss or a client or a co-worker who’s a little resistant? Maybe a lot resistant? Here’s an arsenal of articles with solid advice, data, and tips to help you think through your sales strategy and put together some convincing arguments: * Get On the Right Side of the Fence From Chris Brogan: Stellar advice and suggestions for explaining the benefits of social media to your senior leadership. You can also view a free webinar from Chris and Hubspot ”How to Demonstrate the Value of Social Media to Your Boss” * 8 Tips for Selling Social Marketing to CFOs From Decker marketing: At some point, you’ll probably have to sell social media to your finance department. Culled from answers to a question posted on LinkedIn, this article provides 8 tips for justifying social media marketing programs to your finance people. From being prepared to provide hard numbers (e.g. ROI) to emphasizing the low capital expenditure of social media programs — this article provides helpful tips. * Selling Social Media “Up” to Management From Pistachio: Advice on how to convince your management that social media can provide value to your organization. One piece of advice: Step off your enthusiasm about how “cool” all this stuff is and cut straight to the value. Also reviews five likely objections (budget, audience size, loss of control, priorities and uncertainty) and ways you can address them. * How To Champion Social Media At Work From Social Media Explorer: If it seems the people you work with think using Twitter or Facebook is simply “playing” here are 6 steps to becoming a social media champion at work – from making sure you operate within your companies rules to targeting the right co-workers to help you in your efforts. * Twelve Ways to Sell Social Media to Your Boss | From Chris Brogan: 12 ideas to help you convince your boss that social media has value for your business from pointing out that social media can help with customer retention to showing that social media can help your business differentiate itself & establish thought leadership in your industry. * Ten Common Objections to Social Media Adoption and How You Can Respond - ReadWriteWeb WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  8. 8. From Read Write Web: An excellent article that list each of the top 10 common objections to new online tools and provides advice on what you can say in response to each of them. From I suffer from information load already to I don’t have the time to contribute and moderate. * The Importance of Social Media Marketing: Why You Should Learn and Master it From DoshDosh: Discussion of the benefits that social media marketing can provide to your business. This definitely will help you craft a persuasive pitch. * Top 10 Reasons Brands should Listen to Social Media From Power Shift - Social Media Blog: There are a multitude of reasons for paying attention to what’s being said in social media. This article lists the top ten which include uncovering complaints so you can remedy them and identifying customers who praise your products so you can use these as testimonials. * 5 Ways to Sell Social Media to Your Boss From Read Write Web: Suggestions on ways other companies have used social media tools that you can use to sell social media to your boss. One way other marketers have benefited from social media: Social media gives marketers the chance to give quick feedback and break down unnecessary walls. * 9 Reasons You Need Social Media Marketing in 2009 From Stuntdubl: Offers up advice on how to pitch social media marketing internally in 6 easy steps along with 9 reasons you NEED social media marketing in 2009. One key reason: No matter how non-technical your customers are - social media impacts their consumption decisions. * 21 Ways to Share the Social Media Love From Altitude Branding: The first step in convincing someone about social media is making sure they understand it. This article reviews 21 things to do share what you know about social media with others — business or individual. If you want to increase your own confidence in social media try our post 100+ Resources to Boost Your Social Media Savvy. * Overcoming corporate resistance to social media From Social Media: Links to 4 good articles with advice on dealing with specific excuses you may encounter for not using social media such as no corporate budget for social media, no one to monitor the social media, not being able to control social media, etc. * Secret Guide to Social Media in Large Organizations From Colin Mckay of Canuckflack: A handy little guide for exploring the world of social media and building support for social media in a large organization. Presents a range of guerrilla tactics from operating as a cell to marshalling external support to sneaking social media over the fence. * When The Boss Fears Social Media From Brazen Careerist: Advice on what to do if you have a boss that doesn’t get the whole social media thing or has concerns ranging from fear of the unknown to discomfort with customers being a too candid to hesitancy about something whose ROI can’t be easily measured. * How to Sell the Value of Social Media To Your Boss From Influential Marketing Blog: To help you convince the people you need to convince to do more with social media, here are the five core arguments you’ll need to make, as well as a WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  9. 9. method for how to back up each with examples. One such argument- demonstrate that people are talking about your company or your industry by noting the number of blogs or conversations listed and having those numbers ready to share. * How to sell social media to your boss From eBizz by Chris Salazar: More ideas on things you’ll want to do if you have a boss who can’t yet see or appreciate the potential value of social media. One idea: illustrating how your company can benefit from the “human” contact that social media facilitates. * How to Get Your Organization to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog From Social Media @ Work: A rundown on some of the objections you might encounter within your organization and how to deal with them head on. One possible objection: Won’t this take our employees away from more important work? * How to Measure your Social Media Program From Web Strategy by Jeremiah: Excellent discussion of how to measure the success of your social media program and how to use these metrics to sell the value of social media to others. * 20 Reasons Why You Cannot Ignore Social Media From Kyle Lacy: Culled from the Wave.3 Presentation from Universal McCann, key facts relating to the power of social media that you can use to demonstrate it’s importance to others. * Social Media Will Change Your Business From Business Week: Discussion of why businesses need to be involved in social media. Their bottom line advice: catch up….or catch you later. * Making a Case for Social Media Marketing From Wild Apricot Blog: Advice for non-profits but helpful for anyone looking for reasons their organization should get into social media marketiing - discusses what is this thing called “social media” and why should your organization get into it. Also includes a link to a helpful resource - an ROI calculator for social networking campaigns from Frogloop to help stimulate thinking about how to measure the success of social media programs. * Data: What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing? From Mashable: Looking to make the case for why your organization or clients should be using social media marketing? A recent survey outlines the benefits that marketing executives cite as reasons to embrace the medium. * Social Media ROI—What’s the ‘Return on Ignoring’? : MarketingProfs Articles From MarketingProfs: Different take on ROI for social media, providing perspective on what is the Return on Ignoring social media. * The Limitations of Social Media From Logtrenpreneur: Social media sites can be a tremendous source of exposure and they’ll help you to build links and indirectly search engine traffic, but the visitors you will get from social media marketing will have some limitations that you’ll need to be prepared for when you put your case together. * Why does your boss hate social media? From Tangyslice: Some reasons your boss may resist your social media pitch. WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  10. 10. * How to Find Statistics on Social Media From Mashable: Great article by Aaron Uhrmacher discussing how to find and use statistics on social media to convey the value of corporate social media participation. * Video- How Do I Explain to My Boss the Value of Social Media During the keynote presentation kicking off the Inbound Marketing Summit - David Meerman Scott - author of New Rules of Marketing & PR was asked the ultimate question during the Q&A session - How do I explain to my boss the value to letting go of control and engaging my customers in a more intimate and public forum? * Consumers Want Businesses on Social Networks From Marketing Pilgrim: Discussion of the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study showing that most consumers think businesses should interact with consumers, Good statistics for your arsenal. * The Top Ten Reasons for Building an Online Community in 2009 From Vovici: If you don’t currently have an online community, and you are not thinking of building an online community next year, you should be- this articles lists 10 reasons why you be. One reason: an opportunity to generate tons of new ideas as Starbucks and Dell have done with their efforts in social media. * Online Communities and Their Impact on Business: Ignore at Your Own Peril From Rubicon Consulting: Review of research done by the firm that provides data supporting the value of online community to businesses. A PDF of the report is available for download. * 20 Reasons Small Businesses should be Using Social Media From Blissfully Domestic: List of benefits for a business in using social media - mainly targeted at women who are small business owners but useful ideas for others as well. Establishing yourself as an expert, increasing linkability, and expanded global reach are just a few. * How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business From Mashable: Understanding how to think through ROI issues will be critical if you want to sell social media. This article will help you get a handle on options for measuring social media ROI - both qualitatively and quantitately. * A Framework For Measuring Social Media From Peter Kim, a nice framework for measuring social media success that you can use to help to shape your ROI arguments. Peter discusses four common factors that can quantify social media success: Attention, Participation, Authority, and Influence. WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  11. 11. LEVEL FIVE: Is my business ready for Social Media? The Social Media SWOT Analysis Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats The SWOT analysis has been used extensively in business to obtain an overview of the critical businesses issues. A SWOT analysis is simply a series of questions asked about your business to assist in determining the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You can be assured all these aspects are present for your business in the Social Media realm. It only makes sense to use SWOT analysis within the Social Media realm to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that business has or will encounter upon initiation of a Social Media program. Without a SWOT analysis it will be impossible to develop an effective Social Media Marketing Strategic Plan, develop company guidelines and effectively initiate the Social Media Program. To leverage the power of Social Media businesses must understand: • Strengths the company can utilize. • Discover weaknesses to enable the development of solutions, thus changing weaknesses to strengths. • Identify opportunities to improve business performance and competitiveness. • Identify threats to develop effective responses to alleviate the business dangers. To determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats your business faces with regards to the implementation and deployment of a Social Media program the following questions are a starting point to what should be asked about your company’s SWOT: 1. Is your company and its employees, familiar with the Social Media tools available and understand how to use the tools to the company’s advantage. 2. Do you currently have employees / business owners who use Social Media for personal use and understand Internet Social Media interactions? • Is there currently any business use of Social Media? • How steep will your learning curve be? 3. Does your company have the creative people required to develop meaningful high quality content and communication on a regular basis? • Are copy writers and public relations experts required? 4. Does your business understand the keywords customers and prospects use to find your Social Media content? 5. Does your business have strong change management skills? WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  12. 12. • Will external change management consultants be required? • Are staff and management adaptable and prepared to accept change? 6. Do you have a happy satisfied work force that your company feels comfortable allowing employee / customer interaction using Social Media tools? • Are you confident a positive message will be broadcast by company representatives? 7. Does your company have a disgruntled work force which could cause detrimental company messages being broadcast to consumers via Social Media? • What can be done to alleviate this issue? 8. Does the company feel comfortable with empowering company employees to interact with customers using Social Media? 9. How do you perceive you customers and potential customer’s familiarity and comfort zone with new technology? 10. Are your customers currently using and adapting to the various Social Media Tools and Networks available? • Which networks, which tools? 11. Are you customers using Social Media for personal or business reasons? 12. How do you currently communicate with your customers? • How will this communication change with Social Media? • How will you manage the change? • How will the effectiveness of both current and changed communication methods be measured? 13. Is it necessary to educate your customers on your product and services? • How do you currently educate your customers? • Is the information your customers require easy to understand and obtain? • Do your customers have easy access to company representatives who possess the knowledge required? 14. Have you identified and evaluated the efforts if any of your competitor’s Social Media presence? • What Social Networks are you competitors active in? • What Social Media Tools are your competitors using? • What is the consumers reaction to competitors Social Media initiatives? This by no means a comprehensive list of questions which need to be answered to complete a SWOT for your business’s Social Media program however, it is an indication of the types of questions you should be considering about your business’s capability to thrive in a Social Media environment. Credit: Pete Hollier and to WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  13. 13. LEVEL SIX: Social Media Strategy Use & Measurement Some of the best known brands are successfully using Social Media in meaningful ways to reach their customers. Here’s what we’ve found… 
 Blendtec is famous for its bevy of inexpensive “Will It Blend” videos posted on YouTube (YouTube) and shared by millions. Adobe maintains a list of interesting company related websites and conversations on the social bookmarking site Delicious (Delicious). Best Western sponsors a blog, “On the Go with Amy,” where the author travels the country writing about her experiences. Cisco hosts 12 blogs addressing a variety of audiences for their global business. Coca-Cola Conversations is a blog written by company historian Phil Mooney that focuses on Coke collectibles. Dell leverages a variety of social media platforms for customer engagement, including an island in the virtual world of Second Life. Ford publishes news releases with lots of multimedia content and employs a social media news release format to display them in their newsroom. Fujifilm recently launched a social network to build a community of photo enthusiasts around its newest camera. GM uses blogs to communicate directly with its customers around topics ranging from design to green tech. WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  14. 14. H&R Block created a Facebook fan site to aggregate its social media activities, engage customers and offer tax advice/resources. HP used Twitter to power a scavenger hunt at a recent conference. HSBC built the HSBC Business Network to connect entrepreneurs using blogs, videos and forums. IBM was the first large enterprise to embrace employee blogging and now boasts thousands of blogs related to every facet of its business. Intel has also developed many social media touch points with its software communities, which includes blogs, Twitter and virtual worlds. Intuit sponsors the Tax Almanac wiki, where anyone can find and contribute to this resource for tax information. Jeep connects with customers via a community page with links to photos on Flickr, the company’s MySpace and Facebook pages and a list enthusiast groups. Johnson & Johnson uses this blog to show another side of the company, with frequent video posts and interviews. Lenovo launched “Voices of the Olympics Games” to aggregate posts from the athletes competing in Beijing. Marriott CEO Bill Marriott posts regular updates and stories from his travels to Marriott properties around the world to fuel the content for this entertaining blog. McDonalds maintains a blog to highlight the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. National Geographic uses Google’s new virtual world, Lively, to bring people together around its new show, LA Hard Hats. New York Times is beta testing a Firefox add-on that allows users to share and comment on stories through a decentralized social network. WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  15. 15. Nike started a social community on Loopd to connect athletes interested in surfing, BMX bike racing and similar activities with the brand. Sears partnered with MTV to create a social network around Back to School shopping. Southwest Airlines employees share their stories and communicate directly with customers through the “Nuts About Southwest” blog. Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz’s blog is the example most often cited for what the CEO blog can be. Starbucks started MyStarbucksIdea so that customers can submit ideas for the company which are then voted on by other users, the best of which will be implemented by the company. Toyota started its own virtual world to promote its products in Japan. Visa launched The Visa Business Network application on Facebook to connect small business users and to help them promote their businesses to a larger community. Measuring Impact of Social Media Activities Social media measurement is one of those topics about which everyone has an opinion, but nobody agrees on the solution. The question about how to measure the return on investment (ROI) for social media participation comes up in every workshop I deliver, as definitive, statistic- based metrics seem to be the primary way communicators feel they can secure approval and budget for these programs from their management teams. If you’re waiting for someone to provide that magic bean, then put away your watering can. It ain’t gonna happen. That’s one of the reasons why I tend to think that social media (by which I mean actual conversations and relationship building exercises, not widgets and Facebook (Facebook) fliers) is more aligned with the goals of a PR program than it is with marketing. WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  16. 16. In the absence of any accepted metrics, businesses still need to be able to determine whether or not a social media program is moving the needle, moving product or otherwise making an impact. This largely depends on the company’s social media objectives. Because these dramatically differ based on the organization, it’s impossible to agree upon standards. That doesn’t mean we can’t measure ROI at the company level, though. With that in mind, here are a few ways to consider measuring social media ROI for your business: Qualitative First, determine what you want to measure, whether it’s corporate reputation, conversations or customer relationships. These objectives require a more qualitative measurement approach, so let’s start by asking some questions. For example, if the objective is measure ROI for conversations, we start by benchmarking ourselves with questions like: - Are we currently part of conversations about our product/industry? - How are we currently talked about versus our competitors? - Then to measure success, we ask whether we were able to: - Build better relationships with our key audiences? - Participate in conversations where we hadn’t previously had a voice? - Move from a running monologue to a meaningful dialogue with customers? There are companies that offer services to assist with this kind of measurement, which requires a great deal of human analysis on top of the automated results to appropriately assess the tonality and brand positioning across various social media platforms. Quantitative If the goal is to measure traffic, sales or SEO ranking, we can take a more quantitative approach. There are some free tools that can help with this type of measurement, including: AideRSS allows you to enter a feed URL and returns statistics about its posts, including which are the most popular based on how many times they are shared on a variety of social networking sites (Google (Google), Digg (Digg), Google Analytics and Feedburner are essential, free tools to help analyze your company’s blog traffic, subscriber count, keyword optimization and additional trends. Xinu is a handy website where you can type in a URL and receive a load of useful statistics ranging from search engine optimization (SEO) to social bookmarking and more. In addition, you might look at how many people join your social network (or become your connection) in a given period of time, how much activity there is in your forum or what the click- through rate is to your product pages from any of these platforms that result in direct sales. The key takeaway, regardless of how your company chooses to measure engagement, is that you have a success metric in mind before you begin. Without some sort of benchmark, it’s impossible to determine your ROI. [Aaron Uhrmacher is a social media consultant. In addition to his posts on Mashable, he blogs at DISRUPTology.] WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  17. 17. LEVEL SEVEN: Best Practices The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media & The Five Second Challenge Seven Deadly Sins There are a million ways for businesses to use social media well, and only a handful of ways to do it horribly wrong. So why do companies keep falling into the same traps? The answer is easy: human nature. And as we all know, humans are constantly beset by malicious temptations. So as a public service, I've decided to break down the Seven Deadly Sins that make social media go sour. 1. Lust: Loving your customers is great, but take it slow. In the ribald days of 2006, a business would sign up on MySpace and then start “friending” everyone with a pulse. These days, lusting after fans like that will get you labeled as desperate — or even as a spammer. So keep it in your pants and truly get to know the first people who connect with your brand. In return, they might just love you for life. 2. Gluttony: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Once companies decide to take a seat at the social media table, they often dig in with gusto. The downside: They want to be everywhere at once, spreading themselves across the Web instead of being strategic and focused. You don’t need accounts on all social networks — just the right ones. 3. Greed: It’s hard to shake hands while you’re reaching for someone’s wallet. We’d all like to make money through social media, and if your business is strong, it’ll happen. But if all you do on your Twitter feed or Facebook page is spout off sales messages, no one’s going to stick around. Be yourself. Be helpful. Be a good listener. Then the money will come to you. 4. Sloth: Always avoid the temptation to “set it and forget it.” Starting a blog or creating a presence on a social network? That’s easy. Keeping it alive and growing? That takes commitment, adaptability and good-old effort. You would never open a storefront, then close shop two weeks later because of low turnout. Go for the long term, and plan accordingly. 5. Wrath: There are a lot of people out there itching for a punch in the nose, but you’re not the one to give it to them. Once you’re active online, you’re bound to get a few critics. Some will offer valuable feedback. Some will shout obscenities. You won’t WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM
  18. 18. have a hard time telling the difference, so focus on the ones who deserve a response. And no matter what, never lash out. Your scathing “private” e-mail will probably end up on 100 blogs before breakfast, and the Internet has a long (if not infinite) memory. 6. Envy: Don’t be dissuaded by other people “doing it better than you.” Someone will always have more followers, more blog comments, more write-ups in Wired. Focus on who you are and what your business has to offer, not on what the other guy is doing. And when you must steal an idea (because hey, it happens), find a way to make it so much bigger and better, no one can even recognize the original. 7. Pride: Stay humble, rock star. Successful social media really is easier than you’d think. If you plan ahead, pace yourself and listen more than you talk, you’ll strike a chord with existing customers and potential fans alike. It will open new opportunities and enhance your brand in ways you never imagined. But don’t let it go to your head. There’s always more work to do. The Five-second Challenge Here's how it works: Next time you're about to post a Facebook status, Twitter update or blog comment, pause for five seconds. At worst, it might help you think of a better way to phrase things. At best, it might stop you from writing something that could have unintended consequences — like identity theft, hurt feelings, embarrassment or burglary. A few things you might ask yourself in that five seconds: • Why am I writing this? • Am I giving away private info about myself or my family? • Would I ever say this to a stranger on the street? • Am I revealing my travel plans or otherwise showing when I'm not home? • Am I just bragging to impress people? • How will I feel if my boss sees this? • What about a client? • This will live on the Web forever. Am I cool with that? • Am I adding to the sum of human knowledge? • Does anyone really give a crap? OK, so I doubt you'll have time to tackle all that. But you get the idea. I've tried my best to do this since that talk with Alan months ago. And you know what? I've probably deleted a fourth of the updates I've started to write. Oh, I doubt they would have done any damage. But they also wouldn't have had any benefit to anyone whatsoever. So take the Five-Second Challenge and let me know how it goes. The goal isn't to make you paranoid or to suck all the fun out of social media. But if it makes you a little more cautious and insightful, then I'd say it's five seconds well spent. Credit: The Social Path by David Griner WWW.FRESHDIRTMARKETING.COM