More Companies Are Embracing Social Media …With a Little bit of Caution!

Aug 18
2010
Listen to social

More companies are Listening well before they speak

Companies now see that they have to go where the people are, but in this media, you have to be aware of what you are saying, I suggest you Listen for several months before you even say hello. Eric Frazier from the Charlotte Observer

As social networks like Facebook and Twitter keep broadening their reach and influence, they’re taking socially savvy entrepreneurs and companies along for the ride.

Few examples have been as conspicuous in Charlotte as social media consultant Jason Keath and Social Fresh, the social networking conference he first put on in Charlotte a year ago. The one-day event, geared toward teaching corporate marketers how to navigate social networks, has proven so popular that it’s expanded to Tampa, Nashville, St. Louis and other cities.

It returned to Charlotte for its second year on Monday, with a daylong series of panel discussions and speakers at the University Hilton. Keath said it attracted 305 attendees – the most ever for the conference. “Charlotte is our home market,” he explained. “It’s our first repeat city, and so we’ve got a built-in audience.”

He structured this year’s conference to be less of a Social Media 101-type gathering and more of an opportunity for corporate social media types to learn how to push into more complex social media strategies and campaigns.

“We really want to improve the social media community,” he said during his opening remarks. “I want companies to take more chances… and to take more chances you really have to have confidence in what you’re doing.”

But, as fretful corporate executives everywhere realize, one rash Twitter or Facebook post can provoke the kind of backlash that takes weeks, months or even years to beat back. More and more companies are jumping onto social media “because that’s where all the people are,” but then they find themselves dealing with problems when the natives don’t always react in the ways companies hope or expect them to.

Bert Dumars of Newell Rubbermaid, the household products manufacturer, used Einstein Bros. bagels as an example. He said, in a presentation, that Einstein brought in 300,000 new Facebook fans in one week with a free bagel giveaway. But now, he said, many of the messages on the company’s Facebook page come from spammers, or from people who are simply asking for more coupons for free bagels.

“My biggest (piece of) advice when you’re starting out is don’t go too fast,” he said. “Growing fast does not equal growing well.”

Amber Naslund of the social media monitoring firm Radian 6 gave a keynote address in which she said the social web has revolutionized the way companies do business. Customers routinely shoot messages to companies via Facebook or Twitter, and increasingly, they expect immediate response. She called listening to those networks “answering the new telephone” that customers prefer using.

“While it is a challenge, there’s unprecedented opportunity,” she said. “And while it might sound a little dramatic, you’re witnessing history – business history.”

21 Marketing/Advertising Tips for Small Business!

Jun 10
2010

All Dresed Up and No Place to Go!

I’ve heard from small & large clients for the past year, “I can’t afford to advertise” or

“I don’t need to advertise” or even worse, “my customers aren’t swayed by advertising”.

Here’s how it works plain and simple. You go to the Dentist when your Teeth hurt. You call a plumber when you got a leak. And you contact a marketing professional when you need to get your products moving. I have to tell my clients all the time, I won’t write your magazine if you don’t write my ads – Deal?

Because each of us are somewhat good at everything, but when it comes down to counting pennies, it pays to hire a professional. I did my own Taxes for years, and got money back. Then I went to a Tax account and he charged me $1,300. He also increased my Refund over 10,000 from the year before and nothing dramatic had changed. He was able to take deductions that I had never thought of. And to make it better, if there was ever an audit I don’t even have to go. He does. He sits in front of the auditor and explains everything in accounting language so I don’t make a costly mistake.

It’s the same with marketing/advertising and I was once a newspaper Adv. Sales Rep at Gannett. We had almost a year of sales training learing how to overcome almost every objection (from a newspaper point of view). I would guarantee you that the TV, Radio and Magazine reps had the same tools in their arsenal.

Point is, listening to the Sales rep will generally give you a one-sided opinion. And there is sanity in Dominating a media, or was when the media was Radio, TV, NP,Mag and Billboard. But now, there are hundreds of ways to spread your $$’s and targeting your customers is the only way to do that.

So how to you target a customer.

1. A Customer is Someone who comes back for the 3rd time
2. Treat Everyone that walks through the door or calls Like a Customer.
3. That includes Suppliers, Reps, Vendors & Competition.
4. Divide your Customers into Categories and define the Heavy Users
5. These are the ones who make up “Most” of your Sales.
6. Find out everything you can about this group, Make a list!
7. Look for patterns, Income, Geographic, Age, Psychographic, Attitude,
Religious, Political, Kids or not, Pets. (what ever makes them unique)
8. Now you may have an idea of how to reach them, and it’s ALWAYS with a Mix of efforts
9. And Remember, Loyal Customers are rare, so treat them special, and ask them to recommend you.
10. Reward them when they do! They are your best advertising!
11. If your Customers are Local do things for the Community when you get a chance.
12. If not then Join Professional organizations and become an active member.\
13. Make sure you and your Employees Always carry enough Business Cards with you .
14. No Advertising or Marketing plan will help if your Product/Service is flawed
15. Call in a professional to help you, and tell him everything, Profit, Loss, Debt, Everything.
16. Follow their plan (if it is sound) without making changes. Cakes are made, they don’t just appear!
17. Find one that is “Right Size” You do not need a Huge Agency to do a small task. Many small even
one person shops can handle a great deal of work because they spend less time in meetings and
work very efficiently.
18. Ask for Explanations of the Rational and Strategy. If they use “Industry Speak” tell them to “Dumb it down”.
19. Pay them on time. As with any Vendor, they do it for a living – It’s Their Job.
20. Tell them the True Results. Then Everyone Learns. Adv/Mkt are Learning processes. Like fishing
you have to test lures. That’s why they sell Tackle Boxes!
21. Be Nice! You never get GREAT WORK from someone you aggravate!

And that just defines your audience and gives you the idea that there is someone whose job it is to spread your word. And you are probably not it. But you can do your part, by trying to be objective about your business and never see things in Black & White. Nothing is black & white, there is always an exception and one small creative break through is all it takes to make you a success.

For instance, while working as a newspaper ad salesman in Portchester, NY for the Westchester/Rockland Gannett Newspaper Group, I was selling a Joint promotion page for Portchester’s Fashion Retailers. A Full page ad with a Big Banner on top and 9 Square ads on the page. Imagine a Tic-Tac-Toe board. Well conveniently there were just 8 Fashion Retailers in Portchester, from Athletic Shoes to Fine Lingerie. And having a good relationship with them I was able to get all 8 on the page. Which left a hole dead center. A 2 column by 5 inch Hole., which my Ad Manager suggested we do a House ad for our newspaper. Not wanting to look out done and fearing the comments I’d get from my advertisers who would obviously know what the situation was, I chose to fill that hole some how some way.

At 4:30pm on Thursday, I was sitting in Portchester on a bench with my mockup of the page in my lap and was trying to calculate how much $4 I would lose if I simply bought it my self and thanked the community for their support. Just when I had figured it would put me about $20 in the hole I stood up to go back to the office. I was thinking about the $20 and wondering how I would explain that o my wife because she had made plans for us to go out on Friday night and I’d have to let her know that it wasn’t going to be a real exciting evening.

And then it hit me — Straight in front of me was a Travel Agency. I took one long deep breath and walked in and asked for the Manager. He was available, but hadn’t done much advertising with our paper. I told him that I had an idea, and I was grinning ear to ear. He’d never been that welcoming and wasn’t this time, but I guess my timing must have been right. He sat behind his desk, and I couldn’t sit down. I Held the sample page away from him and said, “I’ve a Portchester Fashion promotion Page coming out this Sunday..” and he cut me off,”I’m not in the Fashion Business, I’m in the Travel Business!” and stood up to walk us both out. As he Came around his desk, I was so excited I couldn’t wait to unleash my idea. He stopped and looked at me. As I turned the Page around to show him that I’d signed up all 8 of the Advertisers in town and that I had one hole in the middle, he still was shaking his head. And then I looked him straight in the eye and let it out nice and slowly with a wave of my hand like I was presenting an Oscar to the man. “Imagine This Headline!” I said. “All Dressed Up And No Place to Go?” in a questioning but promotional voice.

He began to grin and it seemed to get just bigger and bigger. He turned around Opened his top drawer and pulled out a Leather Ledger. Sat down, opened it towards the middle and Said with the same grin, “How Much” as he was writing out “Gannett Westc….” on the top of the check. — SOLD

He then said that no sales rep of any kind had ever taken the time to give him something of value. And when the ad ran, he booked almost 3 times the volume of what he did last year. And the best thing, Not only did he become a loyal Advertiser, but he was the talk of the town because of his brilliance. And I never said a word to any of the other advertisers. I let him live in his glory.

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