Meshwork Consulting

Social Media At The Center Of The Marketing World?

Agencies like Big Fuel are shifting focus as they continue to evolve with an ever-growing array of social media tools. Clients still need their branding expertise. But the days of pitching print ads is fading. Social media tools deliver benefits like:

  • Immediacy
  • Measureability
  • Authenticity
  • Affordability
  • Reach
  • Connectivity

If you work at an agency, is social media now the center of your marketing world? Does social media account for more than 50% of your gross revenues? Be sure to check out this Advertising Age article on Big Fuel and how they’re managing the growth in social media. Next step — get myself a cool headshot (and name) like Jon Bond.

Stalking The Competition

Did you know that you can use social media to keep tabs on your competition? This article digs into tools around Twitter, but you can add more to your arsenal. My recommendations:

  • Set up a Google Alert with your competitor’s name, or variations of it.
  • Tap into RSS feeds with Google Reader — a great way to consolidate any feed from Twitter, blogs and more.

There are more ways to stalk your competition. What online tools/techniques do you you use?

Searching for the Keyword

Let’s talk about keyword searches for a second. As I’ve stated in my previous posts, it’s about content repetition and freshness. There are other keyword tools, but let’s focus on content.

Let’s say that you’re a running shoe retailer, have an existing site and want to optimize it so people and prospective customers find you faster. Start by thinking like your customers. Ask yourself what kinds of keywords your customers would use to find you online: running shoes boise, running experts, trail running, etc. If you’re not sure how you might be found, talk to your customers. You might be surprised at the feedback.

And bounce your ideas off of the Google AdWords keyword tool. It’ll provide some interesting results on your keywords and how relevant they are in global and U.S. searches.

What other ways do you determine keywords?

Top Five Social Media Mistakes

Listening to others — it’s critical to our daily lives at home and work. Are you listening in social media? If not, you’re missing out on one critical element to the success of your social media efforts. Here are four more social media mistakes:

  • “Down-sourcing” to Interns or Junior Staff (better yet — family members)
  • Fast Beats Perfect
  • Faking It
  • Having an “Off” Switch

Thank you to Mike Proulx on his great article that explains these mistakes in more detail. What other mistakes have you seen?

Social Media’s Not Free

I’m sure this won’t be the last post on ROI. A few weeks back I commented on an article about the ROI Leprechaun. A couple of points to consider regarding ROI and social media:

  • Social media’s NOT free
  • Establish a baseline
  • Create activity timelines (back to defining your strategy and tactics)
  • Look beyond digital figures

For more information, check out this great article that recapped a presentation given by Olivier Blanchard.

What’s Your Social Media Road Map?

You know that your company needs to engage in social media. You’ve set up accounts in Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and charged right in. After a couple of months you find that the novelty’s worn off and slow down on those updates. Finally, you begin to wonder, “Is this social media stuff worth it?”

That’s when you need to go back to your strategy. Don’t have one? Don’t have time to figure it out? That’s what Meshwork Marketing is for. To help you get the wheels turning and get back on track, check out this article on a 12-point social media road map.

I love point No. 2 on looking out for “experts.” There’s a big difference between social media as a hobby and career. Can you recommend any other points to the road map?

Can We Catch The “ROI Leprechaun”?

I’m finally back into blogging. In May, after two years, I finally completed my MBA. Needless to say, I neglected my duties here with end-of-term projects, consulting and more. Now, on to the good stuff.

Fortunately, I work with clients who get the need for social media to manage their brands and get the word out. But during my two years of biz school, I thought about what ROI means to social media. I’ve developed several methods and reports, but I always ask my clients what meaningful to them — it also allows me to define expectations and the realities around social media.

This article is a great read on ROI and social media. It’s simple:

  1. Don’t fall into the follower trap
  2. Don’t obsess about your brand’s buzz
  3. Don’t forget social media’s hidden benefits
  4. Don’t expect instant returns

This sounds like SEO and ROI. A few years back I launched a web site for a client and the next day they asked why their site wasn’t at the top of their Google search.

And be sure to check the article’s comments, which reflect one of social media’s best benefits — dialogue. What are your expectations for ROI and social media?

A Future with Google-powered Elections

Last week, I listened to NPR’s Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal on a future with Google-powered elections. For any internet strategist, it appears obvious (to me, at least) that Google AdWords would be a critical part of a candidate’s election campaign checklist. And I was happily surprised to hear that Google has a division dedicated to the task: Elections & Issue Advocacy.

Awareness, Cash and Bias
But there’s a rub — awareness, cash and perceived bias. On a state and national level, AdWords awareness and cash are high on the list. But for the local candidate seeking a city council seat, they may stick to the same routine for a lack of awareness and cash. Back to the checklist: Candidate. Check. Candidate position. Check. Web site. Check. Facebook page. Check. Google AdWords. Umm, what’s our budget?

Lastly, there are perceived bias issues, which are explored in more detail on Alfred Yen’s blog. Google could tweak the information in a candidate they favor; become a political powerbroker, or account holder personal information. While these are valid points, I’m not as concerned.

Here’s the NPR story. What are your thoughts?

Building Customer Confidence the Express Scripts Way

Talk about irony and timing. Earlier this week I posted a Tweet, denouncing my health insurance carrier’s former prescription partner, Express Scripts, owned by an Andy Mayer.

I won’t bore you with the details, but Express Scripts claims not to have any technology in their offices (like faxes, e-mail, copiers or people to sign a USPS delivery confirmation) and ask you to resubmit your claims for any reason, like including a pink paperclip. You then repeat the process, until the term of appeals expires.

So, I looked them up on Twitter, followed them, then Tweeted that they sucked, hoping to elicit a response. Yesterday, a colleague popped me a note saying that the account is no longer in use. Coincidence? Psychic phenomenon?

Did Andy Mayer set up the account and was then asked to shut it down? Was he laid off because he didn’t deny enough claims? Is this their way of closing off more channels for customer feedback? Or was it corporate ignorance where some aging executive said, “Why do we have this Tweeter on the interwebs? I don’t want to hear from customers. Shut it down!” I’m not saying that any of these scenarios are true, but this is what I perceive as a rejected former customer.

If I was a current customer, I’d be worried about this company. You?

5 Questions to Help Maintain a Positive Social-Media Persona

This is right on target. This is a bit long, but it’s what I always remind my clients. Social media is all about authenticity and meaningful engagement that best represents your brand. Your wait staff is your customer’s connection with your brand. And they’re a reflection of your company’s culture.
For example, we have a contemporary dance troupe in town called the Trey McIntyre Project that’s critically acclaimed. Each dancer has a Facebook profile and they’re ecouraged to engage the community at large, including Trey. Despite Idaho’s characteristically conservative nature (Boise’s more the exception) the group has built loyalty, crediblity and support among the community rather quickly compared to more traditional marketing techniques. An idea for the Rib Company?
On the tool side, I agree that we’ll see these to continue converging. Most are differentiated by function (e.g., photos, video, personal relationships, professional relationships, music, etc.). But we’re witnessing a merging of tools – like Twitter updates and YouTube videos on Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. And there’s a new tool (I’ll have to look up the name) that offers social networking for college students who don’t yet have lots of job experience (a sort of LinkedIn meets the early version of Facebook for universities).
Lastly, whether we like it or not, these tools are expanding and blurring our personal and professional digital footprints. Like real life, they reflect who we are.
Your thoughts?

Doug

A couple of weeks back, a client forwarded this article to me. I thought it was right on target and worth passing along.

Key takeaways:

  • Social media is all about meaningful engagement. For example, a contemporary dance troupe in town, Trey McIntyre Project, which is critically acclaimed is very active in social network. Most dancers have a Facebook profile and they’re ecouraged to engage the community at large, including Trey. The group has built loyalty, crediblity and support among the community rather quickly compared to more traditional marketing techniques. An idea for your business?
  • On the tool side, I agree that we’ll see these to continue converging. Most are differentiated by function (e.g., photos, video, personal relationships, professional relationships, music, etc.). But we’re witnessing a merging of tools – like Twitter updates and YouTube videos on Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs.
  • Lastly, whether we like it or not, these tools are expanding and blurring our personal and professional digital footprints. Like real life, they reflect who we are.

Your thoughts?