Friday, October 29, 2010

Fetch or Sit, What is your Social Media Strategy Part 2

Last post I discussed the two strategies and focused on the Sit Strategy. Today it is the turn for Fetch.

Fetch Strategy is much more interactive, more personal, and has a higher risk, but much higher reward. It is also the hardest to implement. You need people power. You will find yourself involved with Social Media beyond the 8-5 work day. It can be fun. It can be scary. But if you want to move your business from using Social Media as a Push Advertising Strategy to a more Interactive Engagement you must implement Fetch. This will lead to longer threads of communication, greater loyalty, opportunities for customer service/feedback, and you can help groom your future Brand Ambassadors.

The Features of Fetch:

1] Must have Great Content. This removes some of the marketing via the Live Feed, people come to visit you on their own. Great Content could be anything from amazing specials, informative content, comedy/humor, great conversation/discussions.
2] Higher Expectations for Reward. Reward can be anything from the great content, discussions, to a contest or a financial incentive.
3] Greater Loyalty, Greater Pressure. As the person invests more in the 2-way experience, they will grow more loyal, but also be more angry if you let them down.
4] Deeper Brand-Consumer Conversations. Expected to react faster in real time to issues, and you had better learn to be human, and exhibit some Empathy. Customer Service is going to bleed into Fetch. Customers will know there are real people having real conversation and use this as an easy channel to 'Contact the Company'. 
5] Have Personality: It is very important to choose the right people who are empowered, know your brand and product, balance being professional and fun/human etc, who represent your brand properly especially under duress. If you get invited into my Personal Private Network I want someone who I enjoy showing up in my feed, not some pompous, arrogant or robotic person. 

This is hardest for Big Business...letting go and trusting. They want the elevated relationship, they want to be invited into Private Personal Networks, but they fear attack, they fear losing their message, they fear losing an iron grip on their image. If this is your fear stick to a Sit Strategy it is much safer.
Depending on the type of Business in terms of the product or service you sell, the personality and culture, and the size of your company, you will choose which type of marketing presence is best for you. Also once you are invited into a Personal Private Network, this does not mean you will get a sales boost, or any type of boost for that matter. Soon I will discuss ways Social can help increase ROI/Sales.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fetch or Sit, What is your Social Media Strategy

On Monday I discussed why Twitter and Facebook are Operating Systems which make them tough Marketing Platforms. LINK

The problem we face is the activities you undertake via Social Media to get invited into people's Private Networks doesn't always lead to sales, and in some cases could lead to erosion of your profit margins. There are two primary distinct forms of Social Media Marketing. I call them Fetch and Sit.

Fetch is Marketing by a person initiating Engagement. To the left of this blog post are blogs I read. I have them bookmarked and go there directing. They have great content and worth the effort to actively visit them. So Fetch is 'Playing' a game so to speak. It is a two way relationship, and thus has greater risk and greater rewards.

Sit is Marketing via Live Feeds.  Pumping out your message hoping it get's seen. Mostly one way interaction. I call it Sit because your target is passive and is not required to do anything to interact with you after they initially become a Fan or Follower. This doesn't mean you don't want a response.

The Features of the Sit strategy:

1] It's Easiest - you just need to meet the basic requirement of your product or information you are posting is worth being in the persons live sream.
2] It's Immediate - so something good could go viral quickly.
3] Low level of Expectations - harder to mess up, Quality of Content expectations low. But the better the content the more you will excel.
4] Low level of Engagement - exchanges are usually brief more light banter than anything else. Sometimes there is zero engagement directly with the Brand.
5] Face of the Company Facade - Sticking to the Script, more Robotic in style.

The benefits of this is that there will be no expectation of responding to 'issues' people have with your Product, Service, Company because you won't be seen as a Human. This doesn't mean you can't allow people to post on a Facebook Page Wall or collect Tweets for intelligence, customer insights etc. You can view this form of marketing as Broadcast style. It's low maintenance, low cost. Great for posting links trying to get people to visit a website off network.

The disadvantages is you are seen as robotic not Human and Social Media was built for Human to Human. So you eliminate a channel/platform to have direct contact with a customer/fan etc. You also are handicapped by the volume of the Live Streams which means for each of your posts, only 5-10% of your Network will see the post. You also have a low bond/low loyalty. Much more likely to have someone boot you from their Private Network.

To succeed:

1] Don't spam/over load with posts
2] Choose content wisely
3] Be Realistic when deciding your Goals
4] Be consistent in post quality

Next post will discuss the Fetch Strategy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's an Operating System Dummy!

"Twitter and Facebook are Operating Systems"

Recite that a few times. Understand it. They are not networks. We are the networks. I have my own. You have your own. Without me or you creating it, it does not exist. If I close my Twitter account, Twitter can not keep my network going without me. So we are the networks. We use tools to do this. We have many tools to create our own social network. Sometimes we use the tools themselves (Facebook, Email, live Phone Calls etc), other times we use 3rd party platforms (think Tweet Deck). Everything is a module that makes my Social Network, and often much activity occurs off line.

So when a Marketer wants to Market via Social Media it really means working your way into someone's Personal Network (or playing field inside a Stadium..onto the field and into the game, invite only). This is not Facebook or Twitter Marketing. It's personal marketing into a private space (aside from Facebook Ads). But to get into the stream of discussion and sharing you must work your way in, past all the permissions and locked doors. Once you are in you can get kicked out any time. Remember that. There is no contract preventing you from being kicked out the moment your value to my Personal Network is not work me letting you stay. You must bring value.

To put this in a better frame of reference. Marketing to people on Facebook or Twitter is no different than trying to market to me via Microsoft Windows. It's not fit, form, and function. You must do special actions to be successful. Most will fail. Remember that, Most will fail and that will never change. Each of us has 1000 Brands screaming to connect with us online Socially, and maybe we have time for 10 or 20. But all 1000 reach us without Social (another thing to remember!)

But for those that don't get on the playing field, but insist they have to connect via Social Media there is always Facebook Ads. Not the same personal interaction and engagement. But you are in the Stadium. But hey that's easy, anyone with money can buy a seat inside the stadium. Only those truly gifted will get on the field playing directly in the game.

Tomorrow I will cover ways to improve your chances to get on the field.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Context, Context, CONTEXT!

One thing I get aggro about when I read news, blog posts etc is lack of context. They take big numbers, great numbers, and use them to promote an agenda. But fail to put things in context so you can see if it is really news, important etc. It really is very poor reporting and more towards propaganda (calculated or innocent). Sadly many people buy it hook line and sinker.

Story: Facebook breaks 250mil video views in 1 month (second most on web)
Context: 0.46 Videos per Person Per Month. Think of the tens of hours per week so many watch TVCable.
Context: Even YouTube's claim of 2bil videos viewed a day comes out to a few minutes per person who have the internet vs the hours per day spent watching TV Cable.

250mil video views is nice on Facebook in a month. How much can they monetize out of each view? Can I compared costs for Facebook, YouTube, or Cable/TV advertising to judge what will give me best results for my budget? Maybe Facebook winds up limited reach but high value per video view.

Story: New York Times now has more Twitter Followers than Print Subscribers.
Context: Apples to Oranges. They get $2/day in NYC more elsewhere plus Advertising for Print. To follow on Twitter is free, brings in little revenue and takes little effort on behalf of the follower.
Context: a better story would be how many click throughs from Twitter to an Article hosted on the Times Website are they getting each day/week/month. Yet no mention of this.

This could be a non-story if no one is clicking through to the NY Times Website hopefully generating some Digital revenue. Maybe it helps convert some followers to print subscribers or newsstand buyers. Maybe it will help convert digital only subscribers once the pay wall goes up?

Story: Twitter passes 150 million user account.
Context: with 100 Million Tweets per day most Twitter Accounts are not used each day.

What if only 20-30million people world wide were tweeting each day? But those people generate increased revenues and business activity from connections, faster awareness, loyalty, engagement where the value per Tweeter is worth more than a passive print add, cold phone call, or PR efforts will bring in per contact? 

This is business news to me and needs to be more accurate with proper context. Often the shiny coat being spun over shadows very impressive achievements. It's easy to be suckered into the Mashable/People Magazine type reporting. But ask more questions, and ask the right questions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good Advertising Bad Advertising

This works!

It is direct. Immediate. Presents Features/Benefits. And gives you pricing. Ready to sell! I bet it also cost less than $2!

This does not work:

I can just imagine the days or weeks it took to come up with this tag line for this ad in the Village Voice. 5000+ years of history. Some of the biggest names ever: Moses, David, Noah, Jesus, Einstein. Writers of the first half of the Bible. Nuclear Enabled. Great movies like Inglorious Basterds and sad ones like Life is Beautiful. And all they can come up with is 'More than Just a Bagel'. No mention of Chopped Liver? 

Something tells me if all you have as ammo to win a convert is this.......

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Fall Mobile Social Travel Issue Rant

I had an Alien Fall Road Trip last week. Left on Thursday and visited:

Humongo was gracious to allow me to visit them and I can't say enough about them, fun, smart, sharp, witty, energetic and a little dangerous. Darryl Ohrt the Prime Minister of Awesome gave me a tour of their fourth floor Penthouse spread in Danbury. Darryl took the group to lunch, where we broke some Tortilla Chips together.  We also did a traditional people's bartering ceremony. I did very well, I got some Humongo gear, a rare Plaid T-Shirt, and 2 homemade Brownies (made by @kdel713 ) in exchange for some Hudson Valley Cider Donuts, Hudson Valley Apples, and a jug of Hudson Valley Apple Cider. It was a huge Hudson Valley Branding effort and it seriously gave me pause to ponder of the tough negotiations over Manhattan Island. It was the Humongo buttons that sealed the deal. I was going to take the Cider Donuts out of the agreement but then the buttons increased the value enough to make a deal. Sadly I was not able to take the goats Darryl was offering.

If you need some awesome creative digital of any kind Humongo should be on your list! Trust me they are more than just Bobble Heads on a Killer Website.

Then drove to my sister's on Long Island. Friday I spent in NYC taking the train in. Saturday went Pumpkin Picking with my almost 7 year old nephew, attempted to go wine tasting, John Harvard's makes a great dry Stout, went to my nephew's soccer game, then drove back up to Albany stopping in James Baird State Park for some Fall Foliage hiking in a bright yellow Forest.

Mobile - Social Technology Notes:

Really sucks that you need a Satellite for Four Square. Often had a hard time in NYC when I had really tall buildings near by. And why don't you dump all the businesses in the phone book into your system. And it is kind of fun checking into places from the Parkway, kind of defeats the purpose of the 'game' but quite amusing seeing what I can check into, highlights: NY Times News Room, Council for Foreign Relations, Hell and Aunt Tooties.

Verizon you really need to pump service into the Subways and too often you did not have 3G service. Even above ground. No excuse to lack 3-G service in Manhattan! And the Droid2 battery life of about 4-5hours max means bringing my recharging cord with me. Talk about lame Motorola. No excuse to not have a full day or evenings battery life. Would of been great being able to read the news while on the 1.5 hr ride into Manhattan from Suffolk County but needed to conserve battery life.

That said GPS with Google Maps was pretty slick, though sometimes it tried sending me in the wrong direction! I also have an app with a Subway map, and was able to check what time Long Island Rail Road Trains were running at night. I left my Digital Camera home and got some great quality shots with the Droid2. But the photos were better in the Yellow Forest with my Olympus than with the Droid2. And the voice search/gps is amazing. Very rarely does it not understand what you say.

I decided Twitter is fun when traveling, but when Verizon wasn't 3G service uploading photos takes a long time. Sometimes had to kill the upload. Still way too many actions needed to upload a tweet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Brands Have Low Engagement via Social Media

*title change from Why Social Media is not a Good Sales Channel

I recently blogged about why Social Media is not getting the attention of the C-Suite

Specifically those folks want sales. Facebook is promoting itself as a Sales/Marketing Channel. Thought Leaders like Joseph Jaffe view Social more as a Customer Retention (Customer Service) and Loyalty Building Platform (Conversation when you can get it). In my blog post I trounced Facebook Fan page engagement numbers from the Sales point of view. But is it the Brand's fault? I think it is the platform's fault. And it is not changing any time soon!

I have done studies showing that 90-95% of all Tweets and Facebook Updates do not get viewed. What I mean by this is the volume in the streams are so much that no one with 200+ connection will ever see them all. The total I have unread is 462 since yesterday afternoon. If you are not on my first log in page...your post doesn't exist.

I get about 2400-3000 Tweets in my daily Twitter feed. At least if you Mention me I will see your Tweet. You can not Mention all your followers in 140 Characters.

So the real Engagement numbers from the following viewpoint is better looking than using the percentage of Total Fans. I have a client with 1100 Followers and when I post a Schmap showing their up coming location I get around 20-40 Views per Tweet. The one below I tweeted 4 times yesterday. Taking a very generous 10% seeing each post, that is a decent 15-30%+ engagement rate. When I post photos from my runs I get around 20+ Views on TwitPic which is great if only 70 people see the post.

So the problem isn't always bad content. When I view a Brand's Facebook Page and see pitiful numbers, the reason isn't because people don't care, it's because they do not see the Posts! 

Which completely devalues Facebook as a Viral/Engagement/Free Marketing Platform. As you can see Doritos is giving away $5mil so you know very well if people saw this post they would at a minimum 'Like' it. I mean why are you a fan? Even if I use the 10% rule and only 91,000 saw this post, they had 109 actions of engagement....for a $5mil contest? (This is very pitiful most do a little better).

My next post will discuss some potential solutions which all have Pros and Cons.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some Brands Do Charity Right!

I won't bring up Pepsi Refresh because that has been beaten to death. But I once blogged about General Mills and Yoplait with their Pink Lid for Breast Cancer program which while it racked up money for the cause, they didn't do it in a way that in my opinion was sincerely genuine and wasted resources.

But in a recent Sunday Circular Coupons Insert I found a few that I liked. They just required you to use the coupon and buy something. No sending back lids which kills trees, burns fossil fuels, or requires dollars to pay humans to manage the program that could be best spent on the charity. It helps boost sales, and gives to charity as a reward for buying.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Facebook the Big Phat Social Video Failure

First off I wish to state something because I don't want to sound like a complete jerk. When I normally rail on Facebook, it's specifically for their selectively hyping things that make the site seem more impressive to Brands, Marketers, Agencies, Investors, Media, and Humanity than they actually are all in the name of trying to go IPO and not lose their Mafia Money Investor's shirts.

What Facebook has done is pretty impressive. Having 60 million US consumers log into a site each day is something to be complimented. Even using Nielsen's more believable numbers of 146 million unique visitors for the month of August would have over 40 million US consumers logging in. Very few web properties can say this.

What has me in a huff today is several news stories hyping the fact that Facebook has passed Yahoo into second place for online video views with 250 million in August. 

I hate aggregation when it makes things sound incredible. Too many of you (especially the Mashable's...ahem..I mean media) sound like that Big Dumb Dog who follows the Little Smart Dog in the cartoon repeating everything the Little Smart Dog says without thinking what you are saying.

But I live in reality!

I know you think wow 250 million views, but we forget this is a worldwide network with supposedly 540 million members. This network claims 55min per day per user spent on Facebook. This network has pretty much conned everyone into this Viral bullshit that really is false. Facebook might help make a You Tube Video go viral, but Twitter, email, and word of mouth in person and on the phone are also part of this.

Using Facebook's own numbers here is the proper perspective:

Every active user watches 0.46 Videos per month. Not even half a video?

Facebook claims 491 million hours per day spent on the network or 14.72 Billion hours of time per month. 

And we all know how many people post videos into the live feed. And all they could get is 250 million views for a whole month?

If I was a Brand or a Marketer I would be saying WTF? How come such a big massive failure when it comes to video? And even using the lame excuse 'Well it's ramping up!' Did you just read what I wrote. 27.5 Hours of time per user per month and each user watched 0.46 Videos? That probably averages about 3 mins out of 27.5 hours spent, are watching video per user. 

I hate to say it Facebook, but your numbers look better using Nielsen's 146 Million unique visitors and 6hrs per month spent per user, than the bullshit your shoveling down peoples throats.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Social Media is a Communications Technology Platform

Remember the nice Wi-Fi Adapters we used to buy so we could connect our laptops? They came in various forms like a Card Slot type or a USB Adpater. They came from various brands like Netgear and Linksys and the Electronics Stores included them in the Sunday Circulars. They were a stand alone device that we bought and added to our computing Ecosystem. Then one day when electronics got small enough and adaption wide enough, you started seeing them included inside the hi end Laptops and eventually all Laptops and now even my Motorola Droid2 has Wi-Fi included in my little phone.

Think of the Laptop as the Media/Communication ecosystem. 

Right now we have Facebook, Twitter, etc. They are Add Ons right now. None of them are integrated into our Laptop or Phone. We have to go to a website, download an App. Just like with early Wi-Fi some of the first movers didn't pan out. They had clumsy solutions, but smart people eventually caught on and took the early work and ran with it. Think today of Motorola Blur, Google Wave as stabs at this.

Within 10 years there will not be a Twitter or Facebook Network as we know them today. The technology will exist. But not as stand alone businesses. We will be integrating Social in every device, and it will be technology to be bought and sold. The winners will be able to craft strategies that cross all platforms and technologies.

Creative's will not just be people who craft messages and make Advertising. Creative's will also include people who dream up new Strategies and Campaigns for their clients to reach their target demographics in ways that reduce wastage/over spend, but make the activity of that engagement much more rewarding and enjoyable for Consumers.

At our finger tips we will have choices. 

And all these choices will have privacy levels that we decide with a voice command or a simple touch stroke who we want to share what with. We can group together in anyway with anyone at any time. And only those we choose will see what we wish to share or participate with. We can include anyone in any communication, to any level of involvement we desire. I know I just scared the shit out of you Marketers but your job will get easier. Trust me. (I have Space Daiquiris if you need to calm your nerves).

Imagine conditioning people with this technology to enhance their buying and sharing experience. 

That they know they can go into a store and opt in with a simple action to see if they have special offers? Maybe a deal that with a simple electronic tag if I share a purchase with my network I get rewarded. And we will all have filters for everything so we only receive relevant communications. These filters get built over time by us blocking similar communications when we receive something we don't care for. So technically a Store or Brand could customize all offers based on an Individual's filters.

Maybe I will ask my friends for help deciding on whether to buy something by sending a digital 3-D image/avatar of me wearing a new shirt and ask if they like it? And the ones I send it too possibly get a rider offer from the Store or Brand?

There will be a two way bargaining of information between Brands and Consumers.

All of this across all Networks and all Providers. It will be woven seamlessly into our Mobile Devices and Networks. And the real players not being Facebook or Twitter, but they will be the Communication Device Manufacturers (CDM's) and Communication Network Providers (CNP's) who make these tasks easy for People, for Marketers, and for Brands. 360 Deg Communications in every way we can imagine. 

This will be the convergence of Social, Digital and Mobile. And it is coming. If you don't think so...what if Motorola Blur was so slick it handled every one of our Social Networks without us every being on a specific network? It would of succeeded right? They were first movers. But don't think they won't be the last. Get ready.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Can Social Media be Scaled for Big Brands?

I recently wrote a post saying that for Big Brands they should think Local.

I also listened to a great Webinar given by @GregVerdino and @JimStorer on microMarketing. I also linked via my blogpost a discussion on Greg's new book of that title. BTW @PoweredInc is giving that Webinar again and I highly recommend you participate. *correction the Webinar is now in the Powered archives. Its a must view. LINK

LINK to @AaronStrout 's review of microMarketing 

Now I wish to get to scale. I have a client @chunknchip that makes a delicious gourmet artisan ice cream sandwich. I helped them grow their twitter followers from 50 to almost 1000 since May 1, and Facebook Fans from 120 to almost 800. I have also trained an intern to help with Twitter and at some of the events they sell at. They also just recently launched their gourmet BOO-Yah!! Truck which a friend of mine painted to much fanfare and acclaim. They took second place out of 49 Trucks for a Yelp! contest at the OC Foodie Fest for favorite truck the day they debuted.

Chunk-n-Chip is only in Southern California. By communicating and growing their fan base especially via Twitter in combination with a superior product they now have a rabid following. So rabid that it is getting hard for me to manage their twitter traffic and interact with everyone who wants to interact. We have gotten many compliments from varied sources that we do Social different than everyone else. But we are getting to a tipping point. It's harder to keep in touch with the early fans because the stream is now handling 900 accounts we follow.

The question I pose is when volume of interaction exceeds people power, how do you remain genuine and keep the relationships going? We have a ton of brand ambassadors that did not exist before. All need to be fed in some way in terms of ensuring they still feel our attention, thanks etc. We can not #FF all of them and not spam everyone's feed. No automated system could make us stay real. And adding people will reduce the ROI.

Let me first state the Chun-n-Chip Brand Ambassadors drive sales. They tell their friends, they post photos of their BOO-Yahs!! on Twitter, they drive 30+ mins in traffic to have one. Its incredible the power of One! I am amazed at what I helped create. Yes it takes a great product, a great business owner willing to take some risks. But this was all done via microMarketing via Social.

But can this scale to large businesses that will impact sales on a large scale? The fact is Brands can not automate social. It must be people connecting with people, or your fans and followers will leave immediately and find other Brands that give them a personal relationship. Remember Brands are hijacking Social Media. Social Media was not created as a Marketing Platform. In fact we are forcing the square peg into the round hole, and very few are achieving success so far. I don't have answers, just observations. I will end though with a simple reinforcement that these individual relationships are powerful when cultivated. And Greg Verdino is right when he discusses microMarketing*. But can it scale?

* I have not read the book. I did participate in Greg's Webinar. I do have the book and I am looking forward to reading it, thank you to Aaron Strout for sending me a complimentary copy. I have no financial interest vested in Greg's Book, Powered Inc, etc. It just nicely fits into the purpose of this blog post.