vrijdag 18 september 2009

What works with small businesses and what doesn't?

Hubspot did a survey amongst its customers about lead generation. You should watch their video to get the whole picture, but a graph I found particularly interesting is this one:


Of course, effectiveness of a channel also depends on the sector you're active in, but 'old' media as trade shows and direct mail perform not so bad at all. Due to nature of the channel or inexperience of sme's with new & social media? Or both?

dinsdag 2 juni 2009

Twitter: a waste of time?

No doubt you have by now already been swarmed by people who want to give you advice on whether you –as a business- should use Twitter or not. Some say Twitter is indispensable to companies; others say Twitter is literally a waste of time.

Whether you feel the Twitter vibe or not, you should at least consider using Twitter to enhance your business. To help you -my dear readers- out, I’ll point out some absolute dos and don’ts.

Watch. Read. Act.
DON’T rush into things. Watch and learn and ask questions. It doesn’t make your look like and idiot; on the contrary people will be happily surprised you are human too.

Even the smallest twit deserves a plan
DO make a plan, be strategic. Begin small and keep the amount of friends equal to your amount off followers. When you feel you are getting the hang of it, evolve as you see fit.

Personal or business?
Off course you can use Twitter to encourage people to follow your blog or tell all your followers about new developments. Subtlety is, however, the key. DON’T just brag or put yourself in the spotlights all the time. Some people will easily be put off by that kind of childish behaviour. Lead people to your blog, your website, … as it is your territory, but keep business and pleasure well balanced. DO post interesting content, whether it has to do something with your company or not. Choose wisely and be strategic. Richard Branson (Virgin) is one of the guys that really gets it.

Surprise! Interaction comes both ways
Twitter is all about social interaction, so interact! If someone asks a question and you know the answer, DON’T hesitate and tweet. It flatters people to know that you actually care enough to answer. Please DO ask questions yourself. It shows you are human. It is also a good way to gather opinions. DON’T be afraid of criticism. The sooner you detect (possible) problems, the better. There’s a great interaction between Starbucks and (potential) costumers. Check it out!

Have a personality
Be personal. People generally do not only want to know what a company does, but also who is part of the company. Consequently your Twitter profile should tell something about the user. Comcast is a company that understood the importance of a personal approach. DO choose a good username. It is generally a good idea to have several staff members ‘infiltrate’ into Twitter. It is nice to have some diversity, besides, your colleagues won’t always find the time to tweet if they go for instance on holidays.

Greet Jansen

zondag 19 april 2009

5 reasons why companies resist social media

Why do enterprises have so much difficulty embracing social media within their corporate culture? that's an important issue. With technology emerging, platforms and networks abundant and social interaction between consumers on the rise, why don't enterprises just don't jump into it? I detected 5 reasons why you will meet with resistance when introducing the concept of social media involvement.

1° What's the ROI?

Social Media advocates have to prove that it's more than 'chatting' and 'exchanging recipes' and gossip. You don't do that by providing traditional metrics like 'reach' or 'frequency'. The powerfulness of people interacting on social platforms goes far beyond that. Having one million Facebook fans doesn't mean a thing if these people don't interact about your service or product.

The easiest way to prove ROI is by measuring business results as compared to effort produced by the company. E.g. we were able to hire two sales managers by spending 5 hours posting and interacting through social media. There are efforts to make social topics measurable (have a look at 
Google Trends or BuzzTrend), but they don't go yet in the core of interaction.

Remedy: test and build business cases. Link to your business objectives. In the end, that's the only ROI that matters.


2° Who should be in charge of Social Media? And who will be paying it within the company?

Social media are cross-departmental. It's about customers service, customer relations, product placement and positioning, marketing, HR, selling, corporate governance... I think it would be wise for companies to install a cross-departmental cell exploring social media, and allocating budgets to them. When deliverables are tested, ready to implement and business value proved, budgets will become available. This will make it easier for social mediaters to become part and parcel of the department concerned.


3° Fear of handing over control to customers

Letting people determine how image of a company is perceived, well that's....freaky to CEO's.They want to stay in control. As we all know by now, that 'control' has been lost a long time ago. If you're in the middle of controversy (like banks or automobile manufacturers), fighting off negative news or having to deal with a bad reception of a new product (or even packaging, as the
Tropicana case proved), you will experience that losing control goes very fast when it comes to reputation, sales, stock option value, staff loyalty and finally, income. As Warren Buffett tells, "it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently. " (or 10'23'' if you're the phone house and you have to deal in real life with angry customers. In Dutch)

DON'T: confront company executives with all negative comments on twitter, Facebook, forums, etc... to make a point. They will immediately go on the defensive.

BUT: offer them a standard monitoring of some keywords of his choice by using e.g. Yahoo Pipes which allows a customer easily to view reports every day/week/month. And then go back. It will give you and them a common ground for discussion.


4° Fear of handing over control to employees

Companies have very clear regulations about blogging by their employees or using social media during working hours. With stakeholders and competition reading along and monitoring what's going on, giving much liberty to your employees to express what they think on behalf of the company can be damaging. But not interacting with your customers can be even more harmful.

Employees have their own online social networks. It can be used to the benefit of the company for recruiting, testing, marketing, sales, training, gathering information in many innovative ways. The trouble with non-customer oriented employees is that they're not always the best communicators. And that even excellent communicators may not have all necessary social media skills to blog or twitter the appropriate way.

It helps when a company has a customer service or call center operations. Address them to champion your projects.  Establish blog policies and train the people who are willing to go along with you in whatever social media skills they need to perform brilliantly.

5° Fear of marketers, advertising and PR-professionals of having their expertise being challenged by new paradigms

There are agencies and marketers out there whose main focus lies on positioning brands and products. They want to give customers a well-controlled image of the brand and product.

A second class of marketers goes for all kinds of activating the brand. Experiencing and feeling a brand is their main objective. But it's still 'we decide what you have to feel or believe about our brand' type of manager.

A third kind of marketer is to be found within DM and online. Interaction is essential, but it still follows a well-defined scenario for talking with the customer: a fill-out form on a website or a reply-form in a paper mailing.

All these communication professionals have to let go of their paradigms and experience to embrace social media. Some do, and some don't. Your efforts of providing information, sensitizing, generously sharing learnings are key to marketing and pr-departments, because other departments will turn to them for advice and guidance when they want to set up their proper social media projects.

zaterdag 4 april 2009

embrace what you preach: Michelle Obama vs Balkenende

Amazing footage about the Obama family in Europe. Not only does the President receive kisses from French women, 'mom' Michelle gives every pupil a hug after a speech in a London high school. It's the emotional flip-side from being president 2 0.

one more time: Obamanomics

Imagine Balkenende (Dutch prime minister and known for talking about high moral values and for acting in public a little bit stiff) standing before a classroom and telling: you should always try to have A grades. Always work hard. Never skipp a class. I adore being smart, and so should you. I'm the example that by working hard, you can achieve anything. I bet that the video about that speech will be a smash hit on You Tube, but not for the right reasons. It's a conservative, old school old style message which will only be welcomed by an older conservative audience.

It's not a technique, it's an emotion

But it's exactly the same message that Michelle Obama delivered to a school audience in London. What she added was that she was able to achieve success because she was surrounded by strong and caring women, family, neighbours, friends who encouraged her. The Obama's always have message and emotions in sync. And the bottom line is: if you want to connect, exchange and dialogue with the people in your network (can you name someone who has a greater emotional network on earth than Obama?) your emotions should be genuine. If you can't, don't talk. So the first lady embraces all the students. I don't think it was preconceived, look at the reaction of security in this footage.

Web 2 0: don't forget it's about emotions

In this connecting world, you follow and you are followed. You can't say one thing one day and the opposite the next, without your network reacting on that. For better or for worse, you should be genuine. You should be honest (yes, admit if you're wrong and tell why and how. People may forgive you). And you should be transparant. that's true for people and it's even more true for companies. Have a look at Glassdoor.com. When employees get a platform where they can post their salary and their opinion about management, how can you still think that you as a marketeer can 'build' the image of your company? Who will people believe? Your smart recruitment ad or the opinion of people who work there?

Persona vs persons

Web usability gurus talk about 'persona': different profiles with specific demographic, needs and interests characteristics. These 'persona' don't really exist, they are just constructions to help website architects to design flows and content for real persons who more or less behave like these persona, to find their way throughout the site. Typically, persona are constructed by market research.

The key difference between persona and real persons is that persons are real. It's as simple as that. And you can't connect to constructions. It's fake vs real. Companies should stop to behave like persona and act like persons. Building a brand is constructing a 'persona' of yourself. And if that profile you are constructing has no connection with what you do and what you sell, you become fake. Exit your company, exit your brand and exit your connectivity.

Your brand is a commitment to what you're selling

I don't think that marketeers are powerless or useless, even if consumers determine how you are perceived as a brand. You still have to compose the promise of what you're going to offer, and communicate about that. I'm going to give you access to all information for free (Google), I'm going to make it possible for you to connect with other people regardless of time or distance (Facebook), I'm going to give you products that exceed each time your expectations and are so beautiful designed that your friends will be jealous (Apple). A commitment is an emotion, an act of will. If you stay consistent with that, people will connect to you. And they will be willing to pay in one way or another, as long as you keep your promise. Even if your promise is free of charge (Google is free of charge, but you are willing to look at the ads and you are willing to pay for a high-speed on line connection. In one way or another, you pay for free).

Back to the Obama's. And a bit of Hillary too.

I like Mrs. Clinton. Read her biography. Hoped at some point that she would get the nomination and become president. I think she's a very smart woman. But look at her waving like a scarecrow, not really knowing how to react spontaneously to the genuine enthusiasm of French people (remember, the French, those people who said no to the US about going to war in Iraq). She's not only discovering what life is about in Obama world. She's discovering as well why she lost the elections.

woensdag 25 maart 2009

Google Moderator: participation tool made its way to white house


Another freebie (in Beta of course, noblesse oblige) made by the Google house: Google Moderator. It's a simple, yet effective way to let readers, customers or citizens have their say about a topic you suggest. It works twofold: it enables customers to formulate an opinion, and to vote for an opinion. Result: the most popular opinions come ahead of the rest, often well-formulated.

It stresses the point that participation must not be censored, but channelled: popular fora on newssites like www.hln.be are often crowded with people who are kean on expressing their very explicit, extreme shouts and opinions, overshadowing the majority of opinions, and not letting much room for debate.

Meanwhile, if you want to have a look how the Obama administration is using Google Moderator, have a look for yourself on the 'open for questions'-section on the white house website.

dinsdag 17 maart 2009

today..... F*** my life

Today, me and my boyfriend came back to my house after a night on the town. Thinking the house was empty, we proceeded to have sex. Just as it was getting good my phone rings. It was a text from my mom, "Quiet down. Even your father can tell your faking." FML
#415809 (45) - 03/17/2009 at 4:40pm by MrAwsum - sex - I agree, your life is f***ed (7684) - you deserved that one (4158)



Start every message with "today" and end your sentence with "FML". That's a concept simple enough for creating a website (or social site or whatever you want to call it). It's nice, simple, user-generated and puts a smile on your face. Find out for yourself or put your anecdote on FML. The FML page on Facebook is also one of the fastest growing pages.

social media taking off company-wise triggered by recession?


Investing and exploring social media is - according to a recent Forrester study - taking off with companies who employ more than 250 employees. The following chart is for us in Europe revealing, and predicting what's to come. Read the complete article by Sarah Perez

zondag 15 maart 2009

how did the obama campaign start the grassroot organisations?



Watch the lovely Amy explain to you how you can enlist in a local organisation, visit your republican neighbours to convince them, set up a donation campaign and start their own blog.

zaterdag 14 maart 2009

Lance Amstrong as a photographer

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

├╝bertwitter Lance Amstrong also makes use of TwitPic - the photomicroblog of Twitter. And sometimes has apart from pics of kids and colleagues a keen eye for detail on the road.

To read more about the man using Twitter, read the interview with LA

vrijdag 13 maart 2009

ABC of Twitter

okay, I've started twittering. And I did about everything wrong in every possible way. There's an etiquette to follow. I connected to people I don't know not knowing if my messages would annoy them or not. And hell, was I to know that you could follow conversation by selecting keywords?

But then an article by Michael Hyatt caught my eye, The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter. A should read for everybody starting to Twitter. A second great resource was Deb Dib's Twitter Toolbox. So I learned, I wasn't the only one trying to find my marks in this universe of 140 character infobits.

enjoy your lecture.

donderdag 12 maart 2009

betalen om naar je i-pod te luisteren?

http://webwereld.nl/nieuws/56334/rechter--toestaan-ipod-luisteren-is-openbaarmaking.html

Lance Amstrong twittert me berichtjes

Voor een klant op zoek naar recuteringsmogelijkheden via social media. Het valt allemaal samen met mijn lectuur van WWGD (what would Google do?) van Jeff Jarvis, die ronduit beweert dat klanten beter hun agentschap buitensmijten omdat alles kan via social media. En dus aan het twitteren geslagen. Bij Twitteren (soort sms op web) krijg je 140 karakters de tijd om je boodschap kwijt te raken. Kan je daarmee recruteren? Sommige Nederlandse headhunters plaatsen daar een vacature. De Standaard plaatst er zijn nieuwskoppen. En Lance liet een paar uur geleden nog weten dat hij naar een liedje aan het luisteren was.