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When we talk to our clients about Social Media, we talk a lot about creating, building and growing relationships for the long haul. While you definitely need to retain your current audience (whether it is your partners, customers or employees, it does not matter), you also need to figure out how to engage with a new audience, or those who may not be aware of who you are and what you do and acquire new individuals. This is not specific in the B2B or B2C world; it is about business in general. When I was at eBay, we went by the rule of the 3 A’s – Acquisition, Activation and Activity. This is a good framework to think about when you are thinking about Social Media. How do you plan to acquire a new audience, activate them and get them involved, while at the same time engaging with your current audience? How busy is your website? Are you doing the right SEO steps to place higher on the result pages? Are you engaging with your audience and putting a personality behind the brand? Are you providing a compelling and interactive experience once your audience visits your site? Does your audience on your website know that you have a Twitter or Facebook account and vice-versa? How are you communicating on these platforms and broadcasting messages to them? I came across the following graphic a few months ago, and modified it slightly to update it with current Social platforms:

* original viewed on www.socialmediavision.com/social-media/

Now when we describe Social media and how it relates to your website, we envision this concept of the wheel. Your website is at the center of it all. You control the content of your site and the organization of that content – now granted user generated content (UGC) you may not control, but you do have the right to enforce policies so that you can remove specific pieces of content if they violate those policies.

You can leverage SEO techniques in order to get your ranking higher on the search results pages for the larger search engines (I realize that YouTube is one of the largest search engines, but I place them in the Social aspect for this purpose).

You can also leverage these external Social Networks in order to create brand awareness and drive an audience back to your website – after all, is that really not the reason to have a presence on an external network – to drive people back to your website and increase your brand awareness? As I mentioned on a follow up blog post from my webinar a few months ago, leveraging these external networks are only 1 aspect of a Social strategy, you should not put all of your eggs in 1 basket.

Once you are able to drive people back to your website, what are they looking for, and how can you provide them with a pervasive web experience (I also borrowed that term from @rustyw who I believe coined the phrase).

Whether it is Blogs, reviews, ratings, forums, profiles, testimonials… you could go on and on with the different ways to provide your audience with a great interactive experience on your website. But the key is finding the right way to do it.

*cross-posted on Ektron.com and eBizq.net

There are so many overview blog posts from SXSW that I almost did not plan to write one up, but then thought, “Why not?”

The event is great on many different levels. The networking opportunities are never-ending. There are so many people there (attendance increase +40% compared to last year) that you run into people that you know (or recognize) on every corner. There are a lot of smart people that attend the event, and I was very happy to network and meet all of the people that I met. This was my 1st year attending, and I will say that it did live up to most of my expectations. I do have 1 complaint that I have heard many people talk about, and I also wanted to add in my .02.

Sessions
Everyday there are a ton of sessions. The variety of topics that were covered ranged from “Protecting your teenagers online” to “How the porn industry leverages Social Media.” I think that the variety in sessions really displays how important Social Media is in everyday life, both professionally and personally. An increase in variety though, generally means an increase in sessions – which ends up being a decrease in quality and watered down content.

I was only able to attend about 5 sessions the entire time that I was there, but I was also informed by people that have attended the show before that 5 was actually a good amount. To my dismay 2 of the sessions were “iffy” at best and not billed up to what there were supposed to be. I have also read that the Keynote with Twitter CEO Evan Williams on Monday was a disaster, with ~80% of the people leaving before the end (I was not there, but that was the general feeling from the people that I had talked to).

First, let me say that I respect every speaker at SXSW and all of the sessions that were held. It takes a lot to get up in front of any crowd, create a descriptive presentation, present it and take questions. I have done this a couple of times and I still get that pit in my stomach beforehand. Sometimes I am able to walk right through the presentation and everything works out, and sometimes I am off of my game and lose my audience. I get that, which is why I am a professional speaker. I also accept that. You only get better at things through practice.

While I was sitting in some of these sessions, I started to wonder how many times that some of these speakers have ever sat up in front of a large audience and ran through a presentation. How many have ever attended SXSW, sat through a session and thought, you know what, this session could have been better, and here is how. It is very important to experience an event like SXSW before you jump into thinking that you can submit a session, get it voted on and then you are off to the races.

In closing, I really do want to say that I respect all of the speakers at SXSW. It is easy to judge coming from the outside. I just hope that in the future, that we can improve the quality of the sessions.

The title of this post is the same as the title for the Editors note in this February’s Inc. – The Magazine for Growing Companies – magazine. I found it to be a very interesting Editors note, and wanted to highlight the closing point from Jane Berentson:

“Maybe we should replace “the customer is always right” with a saying that is more appropriate for the times that we live in: Customers and companies should do right by each other.”

The paragraph before that is actually better:

…customers, too, have a responsibility to make a commercial transaction easy and pleasant, and if something goes awry, they should make their feelings known in a way that’s considerate – and considered. It’s always been possible to complain about a sloppy salesperson or a slow waiter or aggravating help lines, but the Internet makes it possible to criticize in a public forum, which increases the string of that criticism exponentially. The web shouldn’t be a tool for cleverness or cruelty at the expense of someone else. Care should be taken.”

Now I understand that in some cases, emotions get the best of us, but time and time again I have also recognized the way that some of our expectations have become unreasonable. I briefly talked about this in a prior blog post, “Have we become spoiled”, but after reading this Editors note, and observing some recent incidents on Twitter and elsewhere, I wanted to revisit the concept.

Take this potential scenario from Twitter:

Customer – I just had the worst experience with Brand X

Brand X – We are sorry to hear that, please email us (help@brand_x.com) and tell us your story.

Customer – I just sent an email to Brand X and received an automatic email saying that they will get back to me in 7-10 days #fail

Customer – So much for Brand X addressing my situation, can’t believe that I have to wait #fail

Is that really a #fail? As a customer, you were able to vocalize your opinion to your network of people. Brand Y actually did engage with you and sent you down a communication path to inform them of your experience.

Somewhere along the road though, you are not satisfied with that. Is it because you have 10,000 followers and believe that you should be treated differently? What about everyone else whose email are waiting in that queue, why do you all of a sudden feel that your complaint should be put above everyone else’s?

If you do right by them, odds are they will do right by you!

New Domino’s pizza recipe double quarterly profits

Wow, I am shocked. While I am not a Domino’s regular customer, I have obviously been following their Social Media strategy as you can see from prior posts, Domino’s Part 1 and Domino’s Part 2. Because of what they have gone through, and what they are currently doing, I actually ordered a few pizza’s last week from Domino’s – it was the 1st time that I had their pizza in probably 10 years, honest ABE.

It was good and I was happily surprised with the results as were the 6 nine year-olds that also ate it.

Now is it because of this new recipe that they doubled their profits? Is it because of the way that they communicated this change via Social Networks? Is it because of their commercials? Is it because of the way that they gathered direct feedback from their customers in order to create a better product? Is it because of the fact that they took the direct and honest feedback and distributed it to the powers that be, and they took action to improve their product? Was it because of their new webpage, http://www.pizzaturnaround.com/?

Was Domino’s ready for this? Were they ready, really ready to listen to the feedback and take action depending on what the feedback was? Obviously they were, and not only were they ready, they were also unified in their approach and in their communication methods, from start to finish.

This is really a great business case for integrating Social aspects into your Marketing channels in order to build for success. While it is one piece of the puzzle, it is a significant piece that can generate significant results. What do you think of Domino’s, have you tried it recently? Maybe you should 😉

Employment

I am currently employed at Autodesk as a Senior Manager of Online Community and Social Engagement. My team is responsible for the Customer Support initiatives across all of our Social channels.

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