Posts filed under ‘twitter’
In search of insights on successfully navigating the social media landscape, I talked to Gregory Bramman, Director of Marketing for Magnet Media, an award-winning production company and interactive marketing agency. With a client roster that includes Apple, HP, Toyota, Lexus, Sundance, Adobe and Microsoft, I figured a social media dummy like myself would have a lot to learn from a pro like Bramman.
Q: I’m very interested in the work you’ve done in “An Executive’s Guide to Social Media and Digital Technology“. What are some of the top areas your clients need help with in social media?
Bramman: I think one of the top areas our clients need help in understanding is what goals should be set in Social Media. These goals should be trackable and tie into their larger business goals. I think everyone understands that social media is here to stay and that it can’t be overlooked – but where it fits in the business landscape is where it gets hazy. You need to understand not only the different metrics that you should be striving for in each, but also how those metrics fit into the larger picture.
Q: No doubt plenty of companies are diving into social media without first planning what their objectives are or what they need to get out of it. What are the most popular misconceptions that business executives have about social media? What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve seen?
Bramman: One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is not understanding the culture of these various networks and mediums. Understanding how people consume in each environment is critical to being successful. A business needs to have a very different strategy and approach when running a Facebook fan page or Twitter feed versus its regular corporate communications. Consumers are inundated with more information everyday – and now with social media even more so. You have a very small window to make your impression. If you annoy someone or they don’t find what you’re giving them useful – you may not get another chance to win them over.
Q: For a business that wants to build a Facebook presence, do you have any tips or basic suggestions for how we can get started? How is a corporate profile on Facebook similar or different from an individual profile?
Bramman: A business should never be using an individual profile. Fan pages and groups are the only accounts that should be business related. A fan page should be the official presence of the brand on Facebook. Although it’s business related, the tone and communication should be in the same vein as a personal profile, that goes for the status updates, wall comments and photo posts, and so on. This is key to staying within the culture of the network. Groups have to come across as more informal and not necessarily corporate controlled. This is something that would be started by users of the product or service. It’s a great way to create a larger community around the brand and have more credibility because it isn’t run by the actual company.
Q: Can you give an example of a business that really gets social media and is doing really good things with it?
Bramman: Huffington Post is a great example. I’ve read that their traffic referred by Facebook as well as their overall comments coming through Facebook are growing in exponentially every month. They’re doing some very innovative things that seem to be driving great results.
If you’re looking to get the basics on understanding Social Media and how to use it for your own personal brand, check out ZIO Pro’s ‘Executive’s Guide to Social Media and Digital Technology’. Magnet Media offers a range of marketing services to help companies big and small capitalize on multi-platform ROI-focused media campaigns. For information on how Magnet Media can tailor a social media campaign for your business, contact email@example.com.
In search of top tips from a social media pro, I talked with Alona Cherkassky, a social media strategist who recently came to speak to my Digital Communications class at Columbia. After a ten-year career in broadcast journalism, Alona obtained her M.S. in Strategic Communications at Columbia University, then went on to work at Fleishman-Hillard on their strategy and social media business. Most recently, Alona and a fellow Columbia alum launched their own company, Bite Size Strategies, which Alona manages along with various communications consulting projects for clients that include UNICEF and UN Peacekeeping.
Q: How important is it for a business to have clearly defined social media policies/guidelines?
Alona: It is crucial for businesses to have clear policies that outline exactly what employees can and cannot post on their private blogs. It is mainly done to protect company’s reputation when people not employed by the company are searching for information. Employees must know that posting any type of slander, or uncomplimentary information, or even information that could be considered private to the company, is just not acceptable. However, there are ways to make it work. As an example, I’ve known former colleagues to have had their own blogs. They were able to express their opinions intelligently, but were clear about disclosing that were an employee of a large public relations firm.
Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when they jump into social media without a clear strategy?
Alona: One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is taking the old “kitchen sink” approach, as well as the “me too” approach. Companies think, if my competitor is doing it, then I must do it. Social media is just a vehicle for one’s message. That message can be relayed through other mediums but social media allows for interactivity like no other mediums have been able to previously. It requires a carefully thought out strategy, which involves potential crisis management. But most importantly, it requires engagement. If you don’t engage your audience through questions, quizzes, interactivity of any sort, you’re going to lose at this game. The point is to have people come to you because you not only have interesting things to say, but you also facilitate the conversation. And you enable others to congregate under your umbrella, and so on. Remember, social media is a marketing vehicle but it should never be showcased as such. It should be authentic, smart, but never a tool to market your products. It’s a conversation tool. Strategy, potential crisis management (not everyone will say something complimentary about you), engagement, consistency, creativity and out of the box thinking are all keys to successful social media program.
Q: Can you think of any examples of companies/brands that are really doing it right?
Alona: Zappos’ CEO regularly tweets and engages with his customers. Ford Motor Company’s Scotty Monty who manages social media, responded to thousands of inquiries/questions when US automakers got into a ton of trouble. Dell has a robust social media strategy and may have even rescued what was a dying brand. Apple computer – unquestionable. Wells Fargo Bank has at least 7 blogs. Sun Microsystems’ CEO regularly blogs. Visa Business Network started a small business Facebook application and community.
Q: Any tips for a company new to social media?
Alona: Engage! Social media is all about engagement with your audience. Do not use every tool if it doesn’t make sense. Use only those that make sense. It may be just a blog. It may be just a facebook page. Take it a step at a time. Monitor and monitor constantly! Watch what people are saying about you. What is their tone? What is the volume of conversation? Take your cues from this monitoring. Don’t be afraid to lose control. Allow for it all to take a bunch of time. It’s not an overnight turnaround. You have to be patient and wait for results — but social media actually works, so results will come!
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If you haven’t decided on whether or not Twitter is right for your business, you should at least check it out to see how other brands of interest are using it. Some of the worst offenses I’ve noticed are as follows:
- Tweeting a dozen times a day.
This is TMI. While it’s great you obviously have a dedicated Tweeter, please be wary of risking your target audience tuning you out.
- Topics that are irrelevant to your brand.
While it makes sense for my health club to ask followers how many times a week they work out, it seems out of place when my favorite junk food brand poses the same question.
- Tweeting in a vaccuum.
After a local spa announced a promotion via Twitter, I called immediately to make an appointment. None of the sales people had heard about the promotion. I had to go back and forth all day and almost gave up booking the appointment. Note to Corporate: next time clue in your affected staff / deapartments first.
- Delegating a spokesperson who doesn’t reflect your brand image.
I used to get online e-newsletters from a popular women’s health and wellness magazine. In one issue, the Online Editor proudly announced “Follow Me on Twitter!”. But when I clicked on the Twitter profile, all I saw was a bunch of cheezy and juvenille banter that looked more like someone’s personal gossip page rather than a professional image of the women’s magazine. I promptly opted-out of the newsletter.
For more ideas on what not to do, blogger B.L. Ochman has posted a well-rounded list of reasons your business should avoid the Twittersphere:
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