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Category: Social Media Published on Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Marketing Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude

 

 Figure 1- Customer Relationships – The social media arena enables companies to direct very customized messages to specific segments more efficiently and more effectively than broad-spectrum messages.  One of the key benefits of this 1:1 approach is the opportunity to win customers and retain them for long periods – hopefully a lifetime.  Illustration -- IDC 

Social media --1:1 marketing and communications is so new, it sounds glamorous. Some see it as a new sense of freedom, romantic even. 

Just you and him (or her) bonding, building a relationship, building sales. 

The first thing the company has to do is forget about employing their mass advertising thinking to social media.  People don’t want, expect, appreciate marketing messages being pushed at them on the Web. 

According to a study by Digital Brand Expressions, nearly all of the firms surveyed in the consumer industry are committed to carrying out a social media program.   

Research where respondents were asked who should be dealing with the social media activities shows how clear “ownership” really is:           

- 94% said it is a marketing activity           
- 71% thought public relations should handle it
           
- 55% said social media should be of the sales related activities
           
- a mixed number said HR and customer service should be involved
 

Meanwhile, most companies appear to be shooting from the hip, with no cohesive game plan or measurement systems in place.  

Over-Planning Fails

According to Digital Brand Expressions, less than 41 percent of companies have a cohesive, strategic social media plan.  Fewer yet have policies/protocols for handling/managing the activity. 

Even among those with a plan, few have written policies and communications protocols in place, leaving the organization exposed to problems arising out of employees communicating in ways that inadvertently hurt -- rather than help -- their company brands.  52% of social marketers are operating “without a game plan.” 

The majority of the firms with plans in place admit that the policies and programs are not widely distributed within the organization. However, there is strong consensus in what the company wants to do, what it wants to achieve in the social media arena.

 Figure 2 - Depth/Breadth – The expanding social media opportunities enable companies to obtain solid customer reviews, ratings (assuming the products perform “as advertised”).   People with a good foundation in communications and human relations/interaction should be encouraged to participate in blogs, social networks to build and reinforce the company’s, product’s, services customer relationships.  Source – Internet Retailer 

The uncertainty of responsibility/authority over social media should not deter a company from becoming involved today!   

It will inspire fundamental business improvements through:

·         Emergence of new social media-enabled business models.
·         Ability to increase the "stickiness" of relationships by improving loyalty through customer engagement
·         Use of communities to improve innovation by providing quick feedback on products and services. As social media evolves, so will a company’s social media programs.  

The company’s product information/support Web site areas are good – albeit less glamorous – places to start. This is where consumers visit to:
-        discover products, services
-        refine choices
-        decide on a product, service
-        gain assurance, inspiration
-        execute, find where to purchase
-        get support, answers 

One Small Step

Once the fundamentals are in place, you’ll probably want to move to brand monitoring. 

Twitter is useful in this area because negative remarks can be quickly monitored.  As more things migrate online, complaining seems to rise to the top…quickly.   

Some organizations have created their own content to offset negative consumer opinions.  Faked or camouflaged responses are quickly uncovered, often amplifying the issue. 

Microblogs such as Twitter have become very effective means of providing customer service and gathering customer feedback.  Anyone can Twitter, and an estimated 50% of the tweets are idle chatter. 

However, according to ROI Research, 33% of active Twitter users share opinions about companies, products, 32% make recommendations and 30% ask for recommendations. 

Many manufacturers and retailers use Twitter as a customer service tool because it enables you to: 

·         Offer immediate customer advice/assistance
·         Builds your brand as a customer-centric business.
·         Solves problems quickly. Monittor.com enables you to track real-time keywords on Twitter. 

Tweetbeep keeps track of that mention your company, products, your areas of interest. 
To ensure you’re aware and can give prompt attention to discussions, set up Google Alerts which can be sent to your inbox daily or weekly. 

Again, it identifies who, what, where discussions of your business/products/services.   You can then determine how to best handle negative comments/feedback or even positive comments/feedback to enhance your customer relationship.

Establish one or more Google Profiles about your company, your products/services, yourself. 

Using Google templates, you can quickly/easily produce a Profile page. 

You write it about your business, why it is special, what it uniquely provides and can be linked to your website, blog, social site page or other online area.  

The profile will always be on page 1 of a Google search about your company, your products. 

Google "Gideon Marken.” 

At the bottom of Page 1, you will see two Google Profiles – one our son’s, one ours.  It’s our separate but equal statements.  

There are a myriad of social media areas we will explore later; but basically, it includes everything the company does in reaching out, touching, working with people in the firm’s many/varied publics.

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