Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm back and so is Google

I just started a new job back at Borders as an analyst so while I have been getting back in the swing of things  my blog and social media interactions have been slipping. I'm back and ready to get involved again.
So I wanted to introduce you to the latest from google know as Google +.
I really love many of the concepts behind Google's new social network site. As you can see from this video that you can organize your friends into circles so they see what you deem right for that group.  Well here watch the video and let Google tell you more about it.

The program also offers what it calls hang outs where you can just join in on video discussions with friends.

You can also utilize the power of Google to have articles videos and anything else delivered to you in a nice neat package that is easy to share.

So tell me what you think and if you want an invite to try it out let me know and I will send one out for you.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Customer Engagement

Enchantment by Guy KawasakiI wanted to announce that according to Guy Kawasaki I am an "enchanting person". Just thought you would like to know. Moving on this idea of being enchanting is key for any organization when working in social media and CRM.
(PS. If you would like to take the test here is the link to Guy's blog)

I found a company that has the tools and know how to help people achieve greatness in social media and customer engagement 3CSI. These great ideas come from 3CSI's blog.

"In this early world of Digital CRM, two basic approaches have emerged — one of Monitoring and one of Engagement. Monitoring, the forerunner of the two, is the passive tracking of things like sentiment and experience (whether positive or negative). Engagement, on the other hand, is much more active and takes Digital CRM a step further by involving both conversation discovery and proactive engagement. The result is a direct and personalized communication channel between company functions (such as Marketing and Customer Care) and the customers and prospects they serve. Certainly, between the two, engagement offers brands greater opportunities, while at the same time offering consumers greater value. And while Monitoring can help a company with the broad strokes, it’s Engagement that leads to meaningful interactions with individual customers. This is important because as all relationship managers know (or ought to), it’s measurably less expensive to retain existing customers than it is to create new ones."

Thanks for that insight 3CSI. I wanted to take this a little further in how do you engage with the customer because monitoring is dull and easy to understand. But to be successful in customer engagement you need to find ways to become enchanting to those customers with whom you interact. This chart was taken from Tom H. Anderson's blog  I found it to be extremely useful and much easier to read and useful than my boring writing.

I truly feel that if you can become enchanting and understand the tools available, you will achieve truly great customer engagement and work magic within the realm of CRM in a social environment.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Listen and grow your business

Listening is such an important part of customer interaction. I recently read a great example of this by a company named Cinch on Scott Monty's blog (from Ford).

Cinch is a company that combines Social Media with voice messaging, which is a pretty amazing service. It allows you to hear the intonation and other cues of those who are messaging. This a company you would think would excel at listening. I am pleased to state that they do.
This is what Scott Monty wrote on his blog;

"On May 31, Cinch announced to its customers via email that it would be changing the service's URL from to the shorter Easier to remember, right? And since they have an iPhone app, iCinch seemed logical.

Evidently not.

Customers didn't take it that way, at least. And while I didn't see any violent backlash online, the team at Cinch must have gotten an earful, for on June 1 - the very next day - they issued the following email to their customer base:
Yesterday, when we sent out the message regarding our upcoming website transition from to, we heard back from several of our community members that they did not like the new domain choice. While it was short, they thought it was hard to remember and share with others, and did not clearly represent the Cinch brand.

Well, we took your feedback to heart. We still need to transition domains on June 7, 2011. However, we have decided to transition the Cinch website to instead. Again, other than the URL change this transition will be seamless to our users.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We apologize for any confusion.
Best Regards,
The Cinch Team"

I agree with Scott that this is an amazing example of listening; not only that, it acknowledges their customers. Cinch really wanted to let their customers know they listened, and acted on the comments.

This is the power of social media and e-marketing. Many of the comments came via the social media accounts linked to Cinch.

I also wanted to add a great social media tip I learned from Belgium Brewery. They ran a contest to promote pictures of people's dogs where the winner got dog-related prizes. What made this contest unique was that they also gave $1 for every entry to the Humane Society, which created a huge support from dog lovers everywhere. Giving to charity often motivates people more than just a prize because people such as myself don't believe we will win, but we are doing something for charity.

Another great idea my wife is addicted to is Free Kibble  where you answer questions about dogs and cats and they give away kibble to animal shelters whether or not you answer correctly. A great cause you should go check out!

The message for today is: listen and provide service and people will come.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tips for intergrating between platforms and search.

The following are a combination of my ideas as well as those of Hub Spot and Jeff Bullas. I recommend checking out their blogs too. When you are looking to get the most out of all your social media it is important to sync up your information. The concept of branding is universal and one of the biggest parts of marketing. Companies pay millions and even billions to protect and promote a brand. Many brands are household names and have become so because of years of careful marketing and planning. McDonalds and Walmart are two of every marketer's favorite examples. When you hear the name McDonalds you think of several things: cheap, fast, kids, fun, and I'm sure a few others. When you think of Walmart you think of low prices. These two companies have built this reputation and live and breathe these ideas.
This relates to you because you need to have an idea of what type of brand you want to achieve for yourself or your company.
I will be discussing your blog, Facebook and some video ideas to build a brand and grow your brand.

Your Blog:
  1. The number one rule is great content. In anything you do make sure you provide great content that is relevant and compelling. People like lists because they are scan-able and easy to follow. 
  2. Part of this idea of content is a great headline that people on Twitter and Facebook would be willing to click on.
  3. Have a re-tweet button and a Facebook share button on your blog. Mine should be above the article and at the bottom of the page. Please feel free to tweet and share my page on Facebook.  
    1. I also recommend adding a Digg button and maybe a few more depending on which sites you monitor.
    2.  Linkedin groups are also a great way to share blog content. 
  4. Have an RSS feeder capability on your blog.  People use many different readers to keep track of blogs. (I prefer Google reader).
Your Facebook Page:
  1. Run a poll on your page. Facebook has great features you can use and share. I love polls because people like to express their opinion and you can capture that opinion.
  2. You can also run contests and sweepstakes. This is powerful because you can capture an e-mail address and other contact information.
  3. Link your page to Twitter so every post goes out to your Twitter account.
Your Twitter Account:
  1. Use different tools to capture information, organize accounts and search.
    1. Tweepi- Combines and manages your accounts so you know who is inactive, who is super active, and link to people's blogs.
    2. Twellow - Searches through people on Twitter. It is like the Yellow Pages for Twitter.
    3. Tweetdeck - Allows you to post tweets at different times and is just an amazing all-around tool that is simple to use. It was also just acquired by Twitter so you know it is powerful.  
    4. Hootsuite - Is the last I will mention. It allows you to monitor all your social media from one place and to put out information across your network quickly. 
  2. A huge part of Twitter is to become active within your niche. Learn who the experts are and follow them. Try and contact them. Build your network within your niche. While I agree it looks cool to follow 100,000+ people, are you really reading anything worthwhile? Build a strong network in your industry, not just to get a million followers. 

For some great advice on making viral videos check out Lilach Bullock's blog post .

Thank you and good luck going social. Feel free to connect with me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

8 Social Media Marketing Princples

I have read several blogs and wanted to add my tips along with theirs. Several of my ideas come from Jeff Bullas' blogMarketing Pilgrim and Quirks blog.

I wanted to state a couple principles of social media marketing. 
Whenever you start with working in any new area the key is to understand several basic principles:

  1. The headline has to be compelling and grabbing. This is not a new concept. Any writer knows the headline has to grab a reader or they won't read the article.  This concept just means more in the digital age when we are inundated with information and our mind has to work through hundreds of messages a day.  
  2. Everything happens in real time and needs to be immediate. If you wait 3 days to respond to a customer comment on your Facebook page they will have moved on. People expect almost immediate responses from everyone. 
  3. Use social media to entertain and educate. Too many people try to sell through social media. They figure people want to look at your product and want to buy your stuff when they "like" your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter.  People primarily follow others to get a deal (see below for more about that) or to learn.  People will also come if they are being entertained; games, contests and great videos draw people in.
  4. Give aways. People love free anything and the web is so packed full of free things that it is essential that you give something. Whether it is an actual product or just information it draws people in.
  5. This one I think is the most powerful idea out there and it is:  go niche.  This is well known in marketing. If you have a corner on the market you win. The key is to find experts in your small niche area, connect with them, and become an expert yourself.  
  6. Become a publisher. This is huge! You want to be the one sending out information and getting others to work for you by having them give you information.   
  7. Be passionate. If you don't love mountain biking don't blog and create a Facebook page about it even if you think you can make money. You are spending a lot of time in this area and insincerity can show through, even in an online world. 
  8. Listen. This is one of the most commonly talked about issues with social media. We spend all this time shoving things down other people's throats that we don't learn from our customers, followers and readers. This is what makes social media marketing so powerful: you can connect directly with customers and experts. 

Now I would like to delve a little more into number 8. Many experts have learned that you need to be monitoring many different words and ideas, not just your brand name.  In an article on Quirks blog by Joe Rydholm, he talked about how Kraft doesn't just monitor its brands; it looks for what people who are talking about grocery shopping are saying. They went as deep as to see what type of people use grocery lists and what these shoppers are saying. This wealth of information allows you to connect with others and also to understand what they are looking for. 

As promised I also wanted to bring up a little about deals, or number 4. Deals are one of the main ways to utilize social media to drive sales.  The following statistics were taken from the Marketing Pilgrim website
  • 82% of consumers said that finding a great deal on a product contributed most to the feeling of winning.
  • 60% mentioned the competitive aspect of shopping, saying that getting a better price than other people made them feel like a winner.
  • 69% of shoppers now seek more deals and coupons online.
  • 49% of shoppers use more coupons now because of the Internet.
Everyone wants to feel like a winner and most consumers "like" pages to get deals; not because they love your razor or whatever you sell (unless you're Apple or maybe Google).  

Remember to be smart in your social media marketing endeavors and to have a plan and a way to measure the results of that plan.  

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Interesting sites.

    I wanted to share some of the sites I use and follow for your use. My first site is one I recently came across that allows you to create free flash-based websites and it looks pretty awesome. gives pre-made flash sites  where you change the content and the pictures. They even do Facebook pages as well.

    I will also bring up Empire Avenue again because it really is a lot of fun and a great way to connect with serious social networkers.

    For those few who have not used Linkedin, it is an amazing site to connect and to keep up with your chosen field. You can join groups and connect with others in your business field and it is the social networking site for professionals.

    Also, a great resource is Seomoz website and blog. They are the leader in search engine optimization and what is going on in that part of the industry.

    I also wanted to list a couple of the marketing blogs I follow and invite you to comment and tell me what blogs and sites you follow.

    The Marketing Pilgrim-Started by Andy Beal, a top social network marketer for fortune 500 companies
    Forrester Research blog- The top market research firm in the country
    Chris Brogan's blog - An independent consultant
    Scot Monty's blog- Head of social media for Ford
    Content to Commerce blog- The blog for Big Fuel, a leading company in social media
    Social Media Pathways- A social media company

    I hope you find some of these sites interesting, and please don't forget to share some of your own.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Why Social Media

    This 2-in-1 question is frequently asked by marketing professionals: Why and how do we focus on social media?
    Well the why is because it is a powerful tool that is not going away.  It has become the way of communicating and building awareness throughout the the world.  From connecting protesters in the Middle East, to announcing product recalls, to telling me you're out walking your dog.  Social media is powerful and huge.

    It can be used by both small and large companies.  I will use my wife's Etsy business as an example for small companies (I am not ashamed to promote family here). Her business is called MS Puppet Queen. She uses the power of Facebook to help her build a community of connections of people interested in similar areas. This is a powerful way to grow awareness beyond family into the larger and broader social world.

    For larger businesses that are already a household name it helps connect with customers. The following is an example from Starbucks taken from

    "Starbucks Corporation is a social media giant when it comes to engagement, including incorporating blogs, status updates, tweets, and forums. When the trendy Seattle-based coffeehouse chain realized that its sales were stagnating and that competition was becoming fierce, it had to find ways to solidify and expand its market share. In 2009, Starbucks launched the interactive MyStarbucksIdea website and corporate blog. While some industry analysts doubted whether the site would catch on, well over 100,000 internet users had visited the site by the end of its first week online. The site allows users to submit ideas for new drinks, food items, packages, even store designs. Suggestions are voted on by Starbucks consumers with the most popular ones getting highlighted.

    But Starbucks took it a step further, adding an "Ideas in Action" blog that gives updates to users on the status of suggested changes. Starbucks doesn't just communicate news and business developments with its audience, but it also lets them know which of their suggestions the company has really taken to heart. Starbucks also has fully embraced Twitter beyond notifying consumers about bargains; @Starbucks focuses on sharing interesting events and music information or brand- and charity-related topics the company would like to address. It's not a one-way monologue. Followers are not just entertained. They are being engaged in a brand and conversations around it."

    What a way to connect with customers! The key is to be creative, consistent, and have a plan.

    Here is a video I also found very useful.

    Next I will be looking for different metrics used in social media.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Build your social network empire

    I recently came across the site and found a whole new level of fun with social networking.  This site allows you to play the social stock market.  You link several of your social networks together and the site creates a stock value for yourself that increases the more connected and active you are across key sites like facebook, twitter, linkedin and also blogs.  You can see who some of the most active people are and invest money (not real) in different social net-workers.  This site is very interesting and fun to see how your stock is doing and to learn about others that are part of the social network scene.
    When you do sign up invest a little in stock symbol SHEP.

    Thanks and watch for more as we continue to understand this ever changing world of social media.

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Social Media

    We have all heard that social media is the new web.  It is the way we connect and the way we do business.  I'm sure most of us have multiple accounts just to have them.  I personally have a Facebook page with two business sites, 3 twitter accounts, 7 blogs registered under me, and a linkedin account to name the ones I might use.  But what are some ways to really grow your business via social media?  I am going to over the next two weeks share what I am learning as I delve deeper into this topic and see what I can learn.  So come along for the ride it should be fun.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    The brand

    We hear so much about branding and creating a great brand (McDonalds) or a "hot" brand (Apple).  But why is this so important and why is it so hard to do?  To be synonymous with any industry or concept it requires a deep understanding of your consumer base and constant emphasis on excellence.  While it takes a lot of work to create a brand it takes almost no time to tear it down.  I remember a commercial yesterday for actually I don't know what it was really for but it had a gerbil in it.  The problem is without market research companies put what they thinks works into the brand but the average consumer doesn't get it.  I loved a part of the show 30 rock when a couple characters were debating about who is the Geico spokesmen, A clump f Money, a Gecko or a caveman. While I thought personally the caveman was pretty bad the one good point was the catch was always the same.  "15 minutes could save you 15%".  This is something that resonates with the consumer. 

    So please for all our sanity do some research and seek to promote one single brand.

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    Marketing Payment

    I found this interesting article on what the average Marketing professional is paid.  Feel free to check it out and see if you feel it is accurate to your area.
    Suite 101 Marketing

    If you are interested here is a link to a free seminar on online bar codes.

    This is an interesting review of writing a Marketing plan.  It has probably been a while since you have written one (I know it has for me).