Social Media is the New Marketing

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A well-defined and deployed CRM solution allowed us to see all aspect of our customers — tying in service and sales, social media usage, marketing response and back office data to create a view that drove sales and service intelligence day in and day out. Over the last fifteen to twenty years of CRM, we’ve been talking a lot about customer touch points and tracking those activities – specifically, customer intimacy and engaging with those customers. I worked for a company in the CRM space in the late 90s that coined the term “360-degree view of the customer,” and we were passionate about that – it meant something to us.

Fifteen years later, we’ve reached an era in which the cloud has helped track customer activities across the web that used to be anonymous to most companies in the channel, unless it was an abandoned cart, and even then we didn’t know a lot many times. The actual experience your customers are having with your brand to the point where 360-degree view of the customer isn’t a noble enough goal. We’ve actually reached a point where the art of the one to one conversation we aspired to in the late 90s is a reality due to the social media tools we have at our fingertips. People become customers of your brand as soon as they see a post on Facebook, Retweet a Tweet or read a blog. What this means is your brand has been taken over by your customer’s experience. Your ability to serve customers or prospects (i.e. people) in a human, conversational way, directly impacts how much you can sell to them at the right perceived value from consumers.

People connect with people. People connect and find information in a millisecond with the social media tools today. Information about your company and brand is out there and in some cases out of control.

What people are interested in from companies is less about the company and more about the experience your company creates for people. As we move into the next generation of conversations between people via the social channels we use – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, etc. – it personalizes your brand.

They want to know there’s a person behind the conversation.They want to know that person is taking the time to listen and learn something about them. They don’t want to feel like they’re talking to a bot, or an outsourced call center/telesales agent in some other country thousands of miles away.

That’s being human. If your company approach isn’t geared towards that intimate one to one customer conversation and learning about that individual, then your competitors are going to do it instead. When that happens, it’s much harder to win your customers back. Your competitors will have already cemented the representation that they care, even if you end up doing it better later.

The time to sit down and spend the money, energy and effort into learning about how your customers want to be serviced – and ultimately really the core fundamentals of the marketing conversation you need to have — is going to help you figure out how you’re going to make that connection with them. That conversation will help you complete the cycle – you will now be able to deliver the right product, at the right price, to the right consumer with the benefits that you learned from that conversation. Companies are doing it in many industries, and the benefits of their personalization, and their genuine “interest” in have conversations with other human beings is making a difference.

Ultimately, a conversation is social in nature. This isn’t new stuff. Great companies have been doing this for hundreds of years. And the companies who are going to flourish in the next ten years are those who figure out how to integrate social platforms, marketing platforms, and service platforms into a holistic contact strategy that starts presale – before someone buys your product or service. When you hear the nuances in those conversations, that’s the differentiation you need to create a strong social company built around a platform that is both technology and human – a platform that can enable conversations with other human beings that want to use or buy your products which in return will help their corporate or personal lives for the better. That’s the goal that we should all have, both as marketers and customer service people.

Social media is the new service. Service is the new marketing. What are you doing to start a conversation that someone cares about?

Source: SalesforceMarketing

Not Defining Social Media Success is a Mistake

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The term social media marketing can make even the most seasoned business owner roll their eyes in shame. They know they need it to connect with their customers and leads but aren’t sure how to start. Did you know that advertising on Facebook increases the number of qualified leads walking in the door? Did you know people are searching – and buying – your products online?

Common social media questions and concerns include: 

What kinds of social media accounts do I need? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram?

What will I post about? Who cares about what I ate for breakfast?

Do my clients really use social media? Is it a big waste of time?

The questions vary but the concern remain the same. How will social media help my business?
The answer is simple: social media will increase your bottom line. Social media marketing, done correctly, will increase brand awareness, keep you connected to your customers and community and will make you more moneyThat’s what’s really important right? According to Forbes, 80% of executives believe social media engagement leads to increased sales. 

Some marketers will tell you a bunch of fluff as to why you need social media, but I’m here to tell you the cold, hard facts.

You need social media because your competition is using it.

You need social media because your customers are looking for you online.

You need social media to monitor what people are saying about you. People are talking about you and your business online. It’s your choice if you decide to listen. Wouldn’t you want to respond if someone posts a negative review of your products or services? I would.

Let’s say you decide to make the jump and start a social media strategy. The most important step is defining what social media success looks like to you.

Picture yourself a year from now, what has to happen to make you believe social media marketing was a great choice for you?  Maybe it’s 50% more customers in the door, or perhaps you sell 10 times more “X” product. Brainstorm your goals and timelines before creating your first social media account. Afterwards, track your results. If you aren’t meeting your monthly social media goals, re-evaluate your strategy. Do your research. Get some professional help. Social media is a cost effective way to reach your business objectives and increase your bottom line. Stop worrying and get started!

Source: Social Media Today

If You Use the Web, You Are a ‘Curator’

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When you were four, you imagined “engineers” as men in striped overalls who shouted “all aboard!” from trains. Later you learned that most engineers study more than just locomotives: mechanics, chemicals and even complicated structures like roller coasters.

Similarly, you pictured “curators” as snobby museum employees who talk about brush strokes and Impressionism. Today, however, curation encompasses a whole new catalog of professions, brands and tools — and most revolve around the web.

A curator ingests, analyzes and contextualizes web content and information of a particular nature onto a platform or into a format we can understand.

A curator ingests, analyzes and contextualizes web content and information of a particular nature onto a platform or into a format we can understand. In other words, a curator is like that person at the beach with the metal detector, surfacing items and relics of perceived value. Only, a web curator shares those gems of content with their online audiences.

And since people create 571 new websites every minute, tweet175 million times per day and upload 48 hours of new video each minute, a curator’s work is never done.

It seems everywhere you look on the web, a different kind of curation is cropping up. Do you use Pinterest or Tumblr? Believe it or not, you’re a social curator — or you’re following users who are. These social platforms are as much about repinning and reblogging content from other people (curation) as they are sharing your own ideas (creation).

Take a look at your Facebook profile, at the types of articles you save on Pocket, at the list of subreddits to which you subscribe. Notice any patterns? Maybe you tend to share cat GIFs or Pocket news about the oil crisis. Sharing those interests makes you a curator.

The term’s sweeping definition has led some to criticize and attempt to narrow its use. Some believe “curator” to be a reappropriated, throwaway term, one that simply elevates marginally focused web users.Some believe “curator” to be a reappropriated, throwaway term, one that simply elevates marginally focused web users.

“Guess what? Assembling a group of tangentially related things and publishing them online does not make you a curator,” writes Mel Buchanan, the Hermitage Museum’s assistant curator in a blog post titled “An Open Letter to Everyone Using the Word ‘Curate’ Incorrectly on the Internet.” [The link to the original post has since been disabled.] “So what does it make you? A blogger? A list-maker? An arbiter of taste? Sure, I’ll take any one of those. Just stop calling yourself a curator,” writes Buchanan.

But it’s hard to argue that some people are capitalizing on their curation talents. As founder of Brit.co, Brit Morin has successfully merged two seemingly disparate niches to form a new community: a site for connected crafters. If it sounds zany, think again. Turns out, some of the same people (primarily women) who churn out Pinterest boards by the barrel-full scramble the web for innovative DIY projects and digital lifehacks. Morin recognized that community existed, then fashioned a custom menu of content to serve it. Curation.

It’s also one of the reasons you’re encountering “lists” all over your Twitter stream or RSS feed. Think “15 Signs Your Best Friend Is a Sociopath” and “45 Cats Posing as Pinup Models.” Many in the media industry criticize this form of journalism, but in the end, it’s yet another form of content curation. Instead of googling “Mother’s Day gifts” and sifting through 22 pages of individual results, you can click on “15 Best Gifts for Sporty Moms.”

Some media sites choose to curate articles already published and reported by other sites. For instance, Boing Boing and The Awl feed links that reference news reported by other sites around the web, tailoring content that will resonate with their readership. Much of this type of curation requires a keen understanding of the web zeitgeist.

Others take a more scientific approach, in the form of data curation. People like Nate Silverproved that strategic data scraping not only lends itself to incredibly precise journalism, but to industries like graphic design, marketing, politics and much more.

More and more people are taking the reins into their own hands. Consumer curators are flocking to sites like The Fancy to browse products and silo them into categories, for example, “Things to Buy for Our Trip to Italy” or “Baby Shower Gift Registry.” Other curation tools, such as Pearltreesand Bundlr, aren’t as consumer-driven but nonetheless help users organize and structure web content that matters to them.

As much as the term gets criticized, curation requires patience, resourcefulness and a keen editing eye.

As much as the term gets criticized, curation requires patience, resourcefulness and a keen editing eye. It means becoming fluent in one particular dialect of the web, versus trying to speak its entire language. It’s the reason journalists have beats, and the reason you chose one major in college, instead of seven.

“I think that the liberal use of the term curator makes it stronger and more valuable,” writes self-proclaimed “museum geek” Suse Cairns. “Some of our sector’s lingo is making its way beyond the walls of our institutions, and getting picked up by the mainstream in a positive way … If the hip and awesome are associated in some way with museums, great.”

Perhaps the best part? Curation is a never-ending job, and it never gets boring. Because chances are, you’re one of those contributing 684,478 pieces of Facebook content every single minute. Give us a break — that’s a lot of stuff to sift through.

Source: Mashable

Too Many Top Executives Aren’t Taking Social Media Seriously

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Does social media have a glass-ceiling problem? Even as companies rush to exploit social media in every conceivable way, a report from The Conference Board and the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University finds that senior executives don’t seem to take the results seriously — if they look at them at all. For example:

• Fewer than 24 percent of companies report that senior management sees reports gleaned from social media metrics; even fewer (14 percent) build it into their KPIs.

• Twenty percent say social media information is too low-level for senior management, and 32 percent say it’s too low-level for board members.

Ironically, senior executives are actually more likely than the population at large to use social media (see table). So if they’re laggards, it’s not because they’re unfamiliar with the platforms. More often, surveys find, companies simply fail to collect social media data, and when they do, they’re unlikely to pass it up the chain of command. In those rare cases in which companies collect it and senior execs see it, they say they find it helpful. The lesson here? To paraphrase a classic “Seinfeld” joke, it’s not enough to read the tweets; you have to analyze the tweets.

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Are CEOs anti-social media?

THE PLUS

“One key reason the lead decision makers aren’t up to speed,” theorizes consultant Shel Holtz on his blog, “is that, despite any [social media] training given to employees, the board and C-suite rarely undergo any training themselves. When was the last time you took a training course [and saw] an executive VP among the other students? Somehow . . . membership in the upper echelon of the corporate org chart seems to confer special status that assumes you can no longer benefit from a training program.”

Source: Business Insider