Monthly Archives: July 2011

Three Common Mistakes to Avoid When Blogging

We know that you know what social media is and how it works but do you know how it can work for you? Yes, there is a right and a wrong way to ‘do’ social media. Some unfamiliar with the ins and out of social networking can make mistakes that can drive customers away. Here are a few of the worst gaffs that we’ve seen.

  • Overselling your company. No one wants to  be bombard with ads every five-seconds, it will drive business away. Remember that the point of social media is to interact with your customers.
  • Repetition. Repeating yourself on the company blog or in a tweet  potentially  alienates current and future followers. If you wouldn’t do it in conversation, why would you do it on the Web? If you have different social networks synced such as Facebook and Twitter make sure it’s not resulting in embarrassing redundancies. Use the features that each network has such as Twitter hashtags.
  • Everybody else is doing it. You can’t just join social networks because they’re there. You need a clear idea of how they further your company’s marketing or customer service strategy. When you’re starting your social media marketing efforts you will get frustrated, it takes time so avoid the unnecessary frustration and come see us.
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Can Social Media Mistakes Cost Your Company Millions of Dollars?

According to a recent survey, it can.  A survey focused on public relations disasters, lawsuits and other business risks found that on average, participation in social media cost major corporations $4.3 Million dollars. According to the InformationWeek article, the survey was performed by the market research firm Applied Research and was taken of businesses with 1,000 or more employees. Should you be worried about your company or business making a mistake through social media? The results suggest yes. Companies reported financial losses due to social media mistakes in many different areas. 28% reported damage to the brand or loss of customer trust and 25% reported a loss of revenue. 18% of companies said that they lost money due to regulatory fines and 17% due to legal action taken against them. 16% even reported a decrease in their overall stock price. Yet, it can be just as costly to avoid social media entirely.

So what can you do to minimize these losses for your company?  First consider creating a social media policy for your organization. Make sure that everyone in your organization understands it. Maybe consider employee training in social media, or hold a workshop about it. Another thing you can do is make sure that you have a policy in place to manage sensitive data or material in order to avoid getting into legal trouble. A third option to consider is hiring an outside media company to handle your social media.  An experienced media company knows how to avoid making mistakes in social media. They can manage everything and you won’t have to worry about confidential information leaking out in-house. Social media isn’t just something you do when you are bored. Social media is impacting your business and most importantly your pockets. Its time to protect them both.

Benefits of Having a Blog for Your Business

Old Spice: A Powerful Example of an Effective YouTube Campaign

We’ve all seen the Old Spice commercials featuring Isaiah Mustafa (and if you have been living under a rock and somehow managed to miss it, stop what you are doing and immediately watch them because you have been missing out!). What is amazing is how Old Spice was able to take a simple commercial and turn it into a viral online campaign that has increased their revenue and made Old Spice a household name again. They did this through the use of their own YouTube Channel where they posted a sequence of internet responses from the Old Spice guy to the hundreds of comments and parodies from customers and Old Spice guy fans. Check out this video from CNN Money and hear what Bob McDonald, CEO of Proctor and Gamble has to say about the success of their campaign and the importance of engaging customers through social media.

Microsoft getting into social networking………?

There are numerous rumors floating around that Microsoft may have something up their sleeve. According to a Tech News World article, these rumors suggest that Microsoft is working on their own social networking platform. This news comes several weeks after Google’s big reveal of Google+.  These rumors were started with an image posted online. It showed a landing page for a service called “Tulalip.” There was a message on the page that said “With Tulalip, you can find what you need and share what you know easier than ever.” The image appeared on the website “Socl.com,” and the Domain registry lists Microsoft as the owner of the site.

The image is no longer on the website and Microsoft of course is downplaying the whole incident, saying that they accidentally published the image.  Was the publication of this image really an accident? Google+ has been the most talked about social media story for the past several weeks. Would anyone put it past a competitor to try to steal some thunder? While it will take Microsoft a while to create their own social network, do not be surprised if they eventually do.  All we can do is stay tuned.

LinkedIn: The professional Facebook

Maybe you’ve soiled your name on MySpace or Facebook or perhaps just refuse to support the ever-changing ways of social media. LinkedIn has proven to be something else. LinkedIn is essentially a professional Facebook. I would say it’s the “behind the scenes” networking of businesses, employers and employees. It’s the network that lets you post your resume, recommendations, (work) experiences, education, connections and more business-y stuff. It’s the kind of website that you would only have profile pictures of you in business professional clothing. So how popular is LinkedIn? According to Socialnomics, a new member joins LinkedIn every second, 10% of all college students in the U.S. have an account and its in the top three most popular social media websites. LinkedIn has become essential in making business connections through social media in a professional setting. Through connecting with business partners and employers, it’s a perfect way to either get a job or collaborate with other businesses.

But let’s face it, it’s no Twitter or Facebook. Yeah, it’s expanding, but a lot of people who have it, tend to be distracted by their other social media websites, like Facebook or Twitter, and don’t spend time on LinkedIn. As a business, LinkedIn is not aggressive enough with its promotions and marketability. How exactly is LinkedIn making capital? It hardly has any ads or way to make income yet it has tons of investors and tons of cash. And how many businesses and business people are actually using LinkedIn? Even more, how many even know what it is?

When it comes down to it, LinkedIn is a different kind of social media. It’s much more private, professional and almost dull. But when it comes to connecting with business owners and possible employees/employers, it works fairly well and it lets you advertise yourself to others in a very professional way.

A Social Media Firestorm in Progress

I’m talking about the announcement that Netflix made yesterday regarding their pricing changes. The purpose of this post isn’t to vent any outrage over the 60% price increase for the service that I personally receive. More, I wanted to comment on the use customers are making of social media in order to vent their outrage and Netflix’s response to that use. In an article on PC World, one author talks about the power of the people. Businesses have to understand that social media offers its users a powerful tool to express themselves and organize a coherent response. The Netflix blog post that announces this decision currently has 5,000 comments, mostly negative. “Dear Netflix” is a trending topic in the U.S. on Twitter and these tweets are mostly threats by members to cancel their subscription when the new price structure goes into effect. There is already a couple of Facebook pages that have been created to protest this change. Finally, when I checked Netflix’s official Facebook Fanpage, there were already over 30,000 comments on the price increase post. But, it seems this number would be higher if Netflix wasn’t deleting these posts almost as fast as people can churn them out.

It is this response by Netflix that I find most disturbing. While, certainly any business with a fan page will need to prohibit and remove any vulgar, aggressive, or violent comments, is it in the best interest of the corporation to silence all negative feedback? The point of social media is to engage with your customers. This form of communication isn’t just meant to be one-way…if that was all you wanted, you’d just have a website. This communication is meant to go both ways from the the business to the customers and from the customers to the business. Now, obviously, any business hopes that most of this feedback is positive, but it won’t always be. In order to maintain the level of trust with your customers to allow for a rich dialogue, you will have to allow the negative comments to remain. It’s how you respond to those comments that will frame the dialogue going forward.

It will be interesting to see how things turn out for Netflix after this. Will they win this round? If they do, at what cost to their relationship with their members? (The cost I’m referring to is not a consequence of just the price change, but also the cost of Netflix’s reaction to this firestorm.) Will the members’ reaction to this news via social media cause Netflix to walk back from their price changes? We shall be watching.

 

Facebook and Skype Join Forces-Impact on Workplace

Facebook and Skype team up

The world’s most popular website and video software program have joined forces. It was recently announced that Facebook and Skype are teaming up. This means that users on Facebook will now be able to video chat via Skype with their friends. This has obvious benefits to both Facebook and Skype users, but the bigger question is, what will the impact be in the workplace?

You have heard about companies using Skype to interview potential candidates for the position, right? Now, with this technology, there is a good possibility that organizations will be doing this more and more. Facebook is also working towards adding a group chat feature, which will enable organizations to have video conferences with their partners with just a click of a button.  There are 750 million Facebook users, so communicating with colleagues and business partners on the other side of the world via video is now even easier. I mean, who doesn’t have Facebook account these days? Oh, wait…there are still a few out there without a Facebook account.

Yes, there are obvious benefits, but there are some things that organizations need to be wary of. According to the Bnet article,  employees are distracted enough by Facebook already, but now with the ability to video chat, work productivity may decrease even more. Also, what about those poor anti-Facebook users? Or those employees who don’t know anything about Facebook? This is not good news for them. This added feature will either go right over their heads’ or confuse and irritate them even more. If you are going to incorporate this into your organization, they will need to be brought up to speed. So, while this partnership between two social media giants is convenient and beneficial in the workplace, it will certainly bring its share of challenges.

Google+ Still Dominates Social Media News

Its probably a good sign for Google that the internet is still buzzing about the release of Google+.  I received my invitation to join this weekend and am really impressed with my initial exploration. The interface is clean and crisp.  The ease of creating circles is wonderful. I also really like the ability to choose which circles will see my posts. I am really anxious for the addition of the business pages and hope that doesn’t take too long to be up and running. But most of all, in my opinion the privacy features are an improvement over Facebook’s.

Ultimately, if we do have a war between social media sites, I think it will be over the issue of privacy controls. Mark Zuckerburg has made it clear that he believes social media and the internet should be open – the default should be to share everything. Unfortunately, this fails to take into account the reality of people’s actual lives. Does anyone want to share their weekend debauchery with their professional colleagues? Probably not. Is our choice then to either live completely blameless lives where nothing ever happens that we can’t disclose at the office or do we have to be privacy nazis where we constantly check our wall for an unseemly photo that might slip through by a trusted friend? Perhaps, this is where Google+ really gets it right. If the circles work correctly you’ll be able manage all of your social media in one site and still keep your lives separate.

Google+ and what it means to the world of social media

Google just announced their latest venture into the social media arena with the limited introduction of Google+.  According to an article at PC World, this new attempt at social media may be more successful than their last attempt, Google Buzz. But, even if its not, its important to remember that there is more to social media than just Facebook and Twitter. Its important to have a broad social media presence and to be prepared for the changes in social media as they come or be left behind.

Additionally, PC world wrote the following article about what Google+ means for businesses. Essentially, if Google+ gains a following then status updates and other content will need to be even more relevant and valuable in order to accomplish what businesses use social media for…connecting with their customers.