Monday, December 20, 2010

Magic 8 Ball

Social Media is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. In 2010 the use of social media through mobile devices increased in the triple digits. I predict that it will continue to grow & evolve. The past year we also saw many more companies integrating social media into their business plan. Companies like Pepsi, Starbucks & Ford become innovators in the social media world.

So what's to come in 2011? My Predictions:

-Businesses of all sizes will begin to embrace social media as an essential integrated tool. Executive level management will start to understand that the new workforce (millenial generation) have become accumstomed to a lifestyle that inludes a great deal of social & digital media. In order to reach this generation and fully embrace the lifestyle, it'll become more evident that digital media should be incorporated into business plans (including LinkedIn participation, blogging, etc.)

- Increased platform complexity and expansion. Social networks will continue to evolve and vie for top attention. New social media platforms are being developed currently and some huge competition is possible shortly for Facebook.

- Cross-promotion. Social media platforms will continue to work to cross-promote functionalities and capabilities to appeal to larger audiences. Mergers/acquisitions of the larger platforms are not out of the question.

- Mobile & social lifestlyes will continue to grow and become more acceptable in the mainstream. With the increase of smart phone usage, social media use through mobile devices will continue to grow to an even larger audience beyond millenials.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Are you Guiding your Brand or Letting Users do it for you?

Social media content is essentially an extension of a brand; it becomes part of the brand image, “25% of search results for the World’s top 20 brands are links to user generated content” (Siobhan, 2010). This is a very new concept for marketers to grasp. Traditionally marketers were responsible for creating a brand image and implementing marketing tactics that aligned and promoted that image through all marketing medians. It today’s era the marketer no longer has 100% control of the brand image. It’s up to the marketer to understand how to guide the brand through social media.

When users post content about a brand to the internet this information becomes public world-wide knowledge. This information can be positive but more significantly it can be negative. When negative content is posted about a brand and company it takes away from the brand equity created through all other marketing medians.

Social Media Marketing is about participating in consumer conversations to help guide the brand. Pepsi understands this concept. This is a great article from Business Insider about Pepsi and their social media efforts. But remember this isn't just for large companies; mid and small size companies need to be just as aware.

Reference
Siobhan, C. (2010, May 9). Social Media Revolution 2: How it affects PR, advertising and brands Message posted to
http://claresiobhanpr.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/social-media-evolution-2-how-it-affects-pr-brands-and-advertising/

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Connecting the dots...

Since I began in social media marketing, I notice that a lot of 'social media experts' lack the ability to connect the dots between social media and sales. Many of the experts that I've encountered simply understand the basic rules of participating in a social media realm but they do not understand how to utilize the platform for business purposes.

Marketing is about making money, it's about driving the brand, it's about increasing sales. You should not be simply participating in social media and simply hoping that ticket sales, service sales, etc. will increase. You should outline a strategy WHILE engaging with your audience to increase sales.

You don't want to sell, sell, sell but at the same time your marketing efforts need to be monetized, this includes social media. There is a very fine line in social media where you need to sell and also engage. Find a social media marketer that is able to really make a correlation between selling and social media. I am simply amazed at how many so-called experts lack the business sensibility! Some of the most profitable brands in the world truly understand this concept.

Look at Starbucks on Twitter. They engage but also sell. http://twitter.com/starbucks. If you want to stay in business you have to make money, right? Social media may be free but it does take time. So make sure you invest wisely and strategize to create ROI. Your investment being your valuable time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Social media policy, Part 3

This is a really great snippet from Coke-Cola's social media policy.

Coke-Cola policy is the 10 “Principles for Online Spokespeople”:

1. Be Certified in the Social Media Certification Program.
2. Follow our Code of Business Conduct and all other Company policies.
3. Be mindful that you are representing the Company.
4. Fully disclose your affiliation with the Company.
5. Keep records.
6. When in doubt, do not post.
7. Give credit where credit is due and don’t violate others’ rights.
8. Be responsible to your work.
9. Remember that your local posts can have global significance.
10. Know that the Internet is permanent.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Social media policy, Part 2

Social media marketing is about aligning user content with the brand which is created through all other marketing efforts; this begins internally with a social media policy. Employees are the first step in helping to maintain a brand image that the company has created. When employees post content on the internet while associating themselves with their place of employment, all of that information now becomes directly associated to the company in which they work. Essentially the employee’s attitude, demeanor and postings are a direct reflection of the company as interpreted by the audience reading the content.

What is your company doing to make sure that your employees aren't presenting a contradictory image of your brand? You've spent so much money on policies and marketing but what good is that if your employees are conteracting those efforts.