Category Archives: Media

Sunday Round-Up: Facebook Tips

It’s Sunday. Oscar night. And it [social media] was the topic of conversation last night at a friend’s engagement party. It’s funny (and ironic) that social settings are always telling of our state of social media adoption. Since there’s nothing that brings me more joy than talking about Mark Zuckerberg on a Saturday night, I took a sip of my non-alcoholic beverage and jumped right into that pool of daggers. These conversations always start off a little rough (for me). I listen, and listen, and listen some more. And what I came to realize was, these casual chats always revolve around three questions:

  1. I don’t see a point in <insert social platform>. It’s just another fad. (okay, not really a question, but for some reason this tiger starts to crouch for a pounce).
  2. I only use it for personal use, how can I use <insert social platform> at my company or in my job?
  3. How do you make <an account, a page, an event, or insert anything here>?

Since these seem to be recurring themes, I thought I’d start doing a Sunday round-up of great tips from pros in the business. This week, we’ll focus on Facebook in honor of The Social Network and its Oscar nominations. Check out the articles below and share your helpful favorites.

Setting Up An Account (How to Facebook 2011, via WeeJee)

How to Set Up a Winning Fan Page (via Mashable)

How to Keep Facebook Fans (via Social Media Today)

How to Tag People for Personal and Business Use (via Mari Smith)

Creating the Perfect Facebook Event (via Social Media Today)

A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Insights (tips on FB measurement via Mashable)

Have you seen any helpful articles? Share them in a comment!

Putting People Back at the Center

Yesterday, my colleague Sean and I braved the weather and attended Social IRL Explore and Engage with Brian Solis and Jason Falls. The conference got me thinking – we’re at a shift in how we communicate, how brands impact our lives and how we, as professionals, need to re-focus on learning, leading and engaging.

One component of Brian’s keynote that really struck me is the Interest Graph. In order for us to reach our consumers, we need to be more relevant, more helpful and more human. Companies need to quit functioning like faceless organizations, and put people at the center. However, in order to do this, we have to turn the organization inside out. We could list the many reasons why the C-Suite would prefer not to do this, but we could also name the long list of reasons why companies must change, or die. Or in Brian’s words, “Engage or Die.”

The more and more that I’ve worked on social strategy and communications, the more I learn that no external strategy will ever accomplish an organization’s true goals. So, before you decide to create a Facebook page or get a Twitter account, start with these three steps:

1. Ask yourself: “Are you ready? Really?” Are you listening? What’s your review process? Can you respond to consumer questions, comments and concerns in a timely fashion? Can you truly engage in a two-way conversation? Do you have guidelines and guidance? Do you have a brand/voice guideline? Who will be engaging? Are your employees happy? You never want to hang your dirty laundry out for everyone to see, but in a world where access to information is endless, it is inevitable. Are you ready?

2. What can you provide that is of true value and relevance? Yes, corporate messaging on your Website is great and all, but it doesn’t give consumers information that they want and need? If you are listening, you have an idea of what customers really want. In a world where we’re bombarded with messages, what makes yours stand out? Relevance. This means that what we provide customers needs to be helpful to them as individuals. The days of mass broadcast are over.

3. What’s your long-term strategy? Social media is not standalone. In order for us to be successful, we need to look at all components of authentic marketing from paid to owned to earned to shared media. Integration and collaboration are key. Establishing an online presence doesn’t mean simply creating a page. It requires time, effort, passion, risk-taking and resilience. Do your employees live and breath the same mission that will resonate with your customers?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Any examples of companies you think are putting people are the center of their business?

Engagement is a Privilege, Not a Right

In the old world of marketing, there is a level of expectation that consumers want to hear about our brands and that if we push it – it will sell. Today, that has changed. In today’s world of personal filters and lenses, consumers don’t see your brand unless they want to. We are blind to web ads, we fast forward to TV ads, and have the option to choose to “like” a brand. Consumers hold all the power.

Daily I face the challenge of finding ways companies can engage with their target consumers. And the answer is simple, but not one that many companies want to hear. So, I’ll tell you instead.  Brands need to be human, customer-focused and provide good products in the first place. Grab a piece of paper and answer the following questions in this exercise. Come on, it’ll be fun!

Step 1: For kicks, let’s go back to middle school or hell, high school will do too. It’s your first day. You know no one. Your backpack is filled with Five Star note books and all the essentials on the school shopping list. You know, because you checked twice. What’s the first thing you do? What do you see? How do you feel?

Step 2: The bell rings and it’s the dreaded lunch time. So the question is – do you lock yourself in the bathroom, do you eat lunch alone and wait for someone to come to you, or do you try to make a new friend? What do you say, how do you make friends?

Step 3: Two weeks have gone by. You now know the popular kids in school, the sports they play and the ultra-cool language they speak. There’s a party coming up and you want to go. How do you find the in?

Step 4: You got the invite and to be honest, it was a blast! But, the weekend’s over and it’s Monday morning. What do you do?

Now, imagine that these four steps were just a different setting. The new school was an online community, lunch
time is your moment to truly engage. Step 3 is focused on what you talk about, what you do and how you build relationships within that community. Step 4 is aimed at maintaining the relationship, so that you can keep getting invited to that party. The only world is all about cliques and niches, and becoming a member isn’t a right – it’s a privilege to be welcomed. Be real, be yourself and consistent. Same rules apply for engaging with consumers.

What Happened to Innovation?

Last week, I happened upon a Bloomgberg article spotlighting Merck’s new CEO – Kenneth Frazier. The article was named, Merck New CEO Frazier Vows Innovation, Wider Markets. Of course, you can imagine my intrigue as a pharma marketer and lover and advocate for innovation. So, I read on.

Line after line, I read empty meaning to a word I hold so dear. At the end, all that was left with a slight feeling of resentment. Has “innovation” simply become another buzzword with subjective meaning? My colleague Wendy shared a great post with her thoughts on what innovation requires. At it’s root, innovation is about renewing something existing or introducing something new. Our hope is that this new whatever-it-is will solve a problem, bridge a gap and be a positive change within the organization, company, industry and world.

For the purpose of this blog, innovation is two-fold – how it’s done and then how the story is told. For companies who are truly innovative, there is a specific type of leader, culture and goal. You can feel it when you walk into their office. We know these companies. They’re the Facebooks, Amazons, Apples and Googles of the world. For a full list, check out Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies.

As for how you communicate it, my fear is that innovation was inserted into a key message document to perk our ears. It worked, but left me disappointed. As communicators, we need to stop inserting in words that make our clients sound smart, but fall short. Tell us the true story, in their own words. The next time you create a key message matrix, look at it, highlight on the buzzwords, and revise.

Have you seen companies be truly innovative? If so, what are they? Any bad experiences with buzzwords? Please share!

Social media is not…

Social media is not …

  • A stand alone tactic
  • A magic button to get you increased results, impressions or sales
  • Cheap
  • Easy
  • Successful without a strategy
  • Successful without integration
  • A trade for the rigid
  • Marketing
  • PR

Should I keep going?

In my opinion and I know others share my sentiments, social media is a philosophy. It’s a mindset of how we live and share. It’s a lifestyle of transparency and authenticity. It’s the core component of being human, talking to humans and trying to be helpful. It’s about putting people and our customers’ needs first, and our desire to sell latter.

Yes, the term “social media” is about channels, and marketing is a discipline. Thanks Chris Brogan. In the nature of breaking out the word “social,” this requires us to re-think our strategies of integration and collaboration. We’ve talked time and time again about the importance of collaboration (social), and social media forces us to do just that – work together.

Social media by nature means that we can’t worry about the turf war. Instead, we need to think about what assets (from our  company, our brands and divisions) we all have that bring value to our community. Social movements only happen when people (online and offline) work together to achieve a common goal – be a better company with the best products, providing better service for our consumers.

As you go through the growing pains of adopting the social media philosophy, what are your specific key learnings ? Please share!