Online Cliques

Online Cliques

Sometimes you have to forget what you learned (or were told) in high school. Back then cliques may not have been good for you – contributing to peer pressure and leaving some of the “un-cliqued” feeling left out.

But in the online world, getting into a clique can propel you forward. There are several different ways to create or insert yourself into a clique.

There are three roles that people fill in online cliques. Each of them can help you:

  1. Leader. If you are the leader of your online clique, you get to be the expert. A good way to be an online clique leader is to create a Twitter following where others can’t wait to hear what you’ll say next. This could be appropriate for a restaurant (especially a mobile one), a thought leader (innovator in your field), or a producer of original content.
  2. Connector. If you are an online clique connector, you help others find the right online clique for their needs. This means that you’re out there in the online world and know what is the right spot to suggest for someone. This might be in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups or even connecting people to each other on LinkedIn.
  3. Participant. If you are an online clique participant, you get to meet, interact with, and “rub shoulders” with others. To be a successful participant, you have to pay attention. Identify who you should be following on Twitter and then do more than just follow – interact with them and retweet them. On Facebook, choose the groups or pages you join carefully, pay attention to the conversation(s) and contribute as appropriate. The same applies for LinkedIn as well.

In high school you usually only had one clique – perhaps two – that you could be a member of. In the online realm, you can participate in several. In fact, you are only limited by the amount of time you have to put into it.

Having said that, I don’t recommend joining every group. You’ll spread yourself too thin. Remember the power of focus. Concentrate on a select few groups or perhaps just one and get engaged. How should you choose the group? Consider industry group(s) or geographic-based groups that are in your niche.

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Lessons from Conan O’Brien

I’ve never been a fan of Conan O’Brien’s style of humor. But I am now a fan of Conan. CNN Money did a story on how Conan O’Brien turned a “failure” into a new lease on life. I highly recommend this article to anyone interested in how to use social media and in understanding how YOU or YOUR COMPANY is a brand to be nurtured and marketed in new ways.

I learned or re-learned four lessons from reading this article that pertain very specifically to social media marketing:

  1. The old media mindset doesn’t work with digital media – a given time slot (11:35 PM) is old media. Realizing that fans will interact with you whether they watch (and tweet) on TV or watch clips on Facebook or from Twitter is the digital media mindset.
  2. For the kind of content Conan provides, real life fans are eager to become Twitter followers or Facebook fans (or likers).
  3. A strong brand can sell on social media very well – Conan’s 30 city tour sold out. Their method of advertising? Sending out Tweets. Cost = $0.
  4. Failure is an option. Sometimes it is the best option. By “failing” on the Tonight Show, he was in a situation where he and his team could think differently. So they did. And now instead of the old media bosses being in charge, like at NBC, Conan and Team Coco are in charge and blazing the trail that other artists will be sure to try to follow.

I would encourage you to think about what has driven your dream or ideal forward. Does it still make sense in the year 2011? What could you try differently? Want some help thinking this through? Give me (Brian) a call at 303 268-2245 x. 4 and we’ll help you learn what you could do differently.

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Social Media Marketing Made Easy

Everybody wants to do it quickly. “How much time does it take?” is the number one question I’m asked. It can be fast and it can be easy. But first you have to invest in a plan. That can be investing time or investing money or both. Without a plan then your “investment” is about as solid as investing in the crap tables in Vegas. With a plan you are investing in the growth of your business.

What does a social media marketing plan look like? That depends on what you want to accomplish and on what social media is doing when you create the plan. Remember that this technology or medium is very much in its infancy so what works in August of 2010 might not work come November. It really does change that quickly.

So what is the easy part of all this?

The most crucial part of your plan is to decide what action or actions you want people to take. A good starting action is getting people to LIKE you. On Facebook this means to click the like button. In the olden days (April of 2010 for example) you wanted people to become a fan but it changed, just that quickly. Now you want them to LIKE you.

So folks say liking isn’t enough. I say that depends on your plan. Once they’ve liked you, you can communicate with them more directly. If your company or purpose is based on a particular event such as a charity run, then getting them to click the like button might be enough because now you can share information with them about the event.

Other actions that could help you get what you want out of social media:

  • Fill out the form to sign up for your newsletter (now these can be put right into facebook)
  • Click through to your web site
  • Click a link to a coupon or social media only special
  • Call you directly from info on your profile
  • Make a comment on your posting
  • “LIKE” a particular post
  • Start a new conversation
  • Respond to a poll question
  • Post a picture
  • Post a video
  • And the list goes on and on . . .

Now we’re to the easy part. Once you’ve got your goals and your desired actions, engage your friends / fans / followers accordingly. It really doesn’t take much time with a plan – or if it does take a lot of time, it does so because it’s paying off for you.

But don’t forget to measure the results. If they aren’t turning out as desired, then it’s time to revisit the plan.

Want help? That’s what we do. Call 303 368-2245 ext. 4 to get started.

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9 Measurable Social Media Marketing Goals

It seems like I’ve been focusing a lot of my attention lately on helping understand or plan out their goals. Whether it be goals for a new web site or social media marketing goals, it is absolutely critical to have goals and then . . . wait for it . . . actually measure them.

So if your goal is to get more business you’re going to have to refine it just a tad. Otherwise when you get one new customer you will have reached your goal. But what it a good measurable goal for social media marketing? That’s the heart of the matter for most folks. What does a goal look like?

Here are 9 measurable goals for social media that, if they don’t work for you, will hopefully spark something that will work:

  1. 200 more followers on Facebook. This is definitely measurable simply check today and at the end of the time period and see what the change is.
  2. 20 retweets a week on Twitter. This will help you figure out what really gets a lot of attention. Last week’s blog on “5 Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistakes” for example caught a lot of attention.
  3. 15% more click thru’s from Social Media sites to your main web site. This is pretty easy to see how it would translate into more business.
  4. 4. 20% increase in “fans” who “like” your posts on Facebook. Like #2, this will help you figure out what gets people’s attention.
  5. 5. 20 check-ins a week on Foursquare (this is a great site for location based businesses like restaurants, bars or coffee shops). Again, this is easily measured and if you’re getting folks checking in, it gives you a chance to interact – give them a to do while they’re there.
  6. 30 newsletter signups each month directly from Facebook. Check out FBML and learn how to add html to your page.
  7. 10 sales each week from Twitter. You need to be careful about pushing the business too hard in social media but with the right plan and the right product(s) it could work well.
  8. 4 leads each week generated through social media (best tracked if you create a separate landing page for social media). This is more marketing-focused but could really boost your business.
  9. 15% decrease in returns because of customer outreach through social media. Took a different tack on this one to help you imagine the possibilities. It’s not necessarily directly sales related. If you’re saving costs on the backend, you’ll be more profitable.

Note that all nine of these are very measurable. Note also that these are just the goals. Once you have the goal established you need to develop the tactics you will employ to achieve your goal. What are your goals?
 

 

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5 Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Everyone is joining in the Social Media Marketing blitz – or so it often seems – but not everyone is doing it well. Are you?

Here are the five biggest mistakes businesses make in Social Media Marketing:

5. Not being consistent
Some really good folks come up with a plan and start implementing it and then get distracted or busy and don’t consistently implement it. Using tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck can help you manage the flow and be more consistent.

4. Being too business focused
It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. People want to get to know you. They want to understand you from the human perspective, not just the business side. Take some time to tell people what has your interest, even if it’s watching your daughter’s hockey game.

3. Not measuring the results
I often hear “I tried Facebook and it didn’t work.” I follow up with a “How do you know?” and get blank looks or vague answers. If you’re going to engage in social media marketing, measure your results in as quantifiable ways as possible.

2. Not following the plan
It is easy to get distracted in social media. You log on to post about your next event or a special you have coming up and the next thing you know you’re chatting with your high school football buddies or “friending” your college sweetheart. Be disciplined. Tape your plan or goals to your monitor to remind you of what you’re doing. Then follow through.

1. Not having a plan
Simple as it may seem, a huge number of businesses engaging in social media MARKETING don’t have a plan for what they want to accomplish – or their plan doesn’t fit with their business goals. I met a recently laid off individual who went on to LinkedIn and established links with 1000s of people – and he only knew about 25 of them. He asked me “What do I do now?” I had no idea what to tell him because he didn’t have a plan that he could articulate.

Create a plan that fits your business. Include measurable goals in your plan.

You’ll see results.
 

 

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Measuring the Success of your Company’s Social Media Marketing

I know a business owner who has complete command of his business numbers. He measures and analyzes the statistics of every aspect of his online marketing. He’s on top of making critical adjustments to his marketing plan on the basis of these numbers.

When it comes to investing in social media marketing, for him, there’s a pesky problem. Measuring the return on investment, or ROI, of such a plan isn’t pretty. The numbers don’t stand alone.

Why? First, it’s critical to understand that a business’ social media marketing is tied directly to the success of the website in one critical area — conversion. The goal of a successful social media plan in business is  to drive traffic to the company website. So, logically, if the website is optimized to convert traffic to sales, then the company can measure THAT success in business volume — or response to the call to action on the site.

Even the best social media marketing plan might be dynamically effective at driving traffic to the website, a measurable statistic, but it is a stand-alone number. Then, the number to focus on is how well the website is doing at converting traffic to sales.

Savvy business owners get this. Still, the compelling factor for investing in any marketing is always the ROI.

Here’s where the argument for using social media for marketing seems to come apart and why it can be so difficult to convince owners to invest in it. It isn’t a stand-alone measurement. And, like the owner I mentioned before, businesses  are usually making decisions about marketing dollars based on the numbers.

There are lots of numbers that help a business owner feel good about their marketing investment. And, there are plenty of companies that will throw numbers together in a convincing way that promise a return on social media marketing.

But, let’s be honest. It’s only a tool to drive traffic to the website. Social media sites are a place for people to connect with a business online through interactive dialogue. They have a chance to informally “like” you. Then, they “like” you enough to use another tool in your marketing arsenal — the website. Once folks are on the website, then you’re talking about numbers that really count in business.

Social media marketing in business isn’t talking about when you’ve brushed your teeth or what color your shoes are today. If it’s done correctly, it’s a way for businesses to generate a buzz about their passion — whether it’s culinary or construction or counseling.

It’s a tool. It works and plays well with others in the overall online marketing plan. And all together, they build a business’ online success. Collectively, the numbers matter.

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Your Web Site, Internet Marketing and this Funny Thing Called Twitter

We talk to lots of business owners who see the value in having social media accounts with Facebook and LinkedIn but who simply don’t see the value in having a Twitter account and doing goofy things like Tweeting or ReTweeting.

According to a recent eMarketer report, there are lots of reasons that businesses should embrace Twitter as a marketing tool. First they project nearly 50% growth in Twitter users this year – to a total of 26 million users and by 2012 that number is projected to be 36 million. And those are just the US Adult numbers. All total, Twitter has 106 million registered users.

In another eMarketer report, we learn that B2C (business to consumer) businesses that use Twitter get a MUCH better return on their marketing. For example with businesses of 1 to 10 employees, the number of leads Twitter users generated as compared to non-Twitter users was 100% more. A company not using Twitter would generate 5 leads. A similar company using Twitter would generate 10 leads.

Simple math suggests that if you can double your leads using Twitter, why wouldn’t you?

Other reasons to use Twitter:

  • Twitter recently signed agreements with Google and Bing to include real time tweets in their search results. So if you send a tweet with a link to your site, you’re getting more links back to your site – more opportunities for customers to find you.
  • Once you have a plan in place, sending out tweets and interacting with your followers doesn’t take a lot of time.
  • You can monitor your brand (company name, personal name) so that if you’re mentioned, you can respond.
  • You can “eavesdrop” on your competitors to see what they’re doing
  • You can network with key partners and vendors without having to make lengthy phone calls or meet in person.

So what are you waiting for? Visit www.twitter.com and get started.

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Twitter Done Right

Twitter isn’t all fun and games. There’s some serious business happening among the tweets about Tiger and Charlie and what your accountant had for lunch. Business people want to know, “How can I use Twitter to build a following and promote my business?”

Twitter Done Right! is EduCyber’s January seminar that will teach you how to harness the power of tweeting to build traffic for your business. In this fast-moving seminar, host Brian DeLaet will teach you:

  • How to create a plan for promoting your business on Twitter
  • Who to follow and why
  • How to build a following for you and your business and turn that following into customers
  • Real examples of how businesses have used Twitter to explode their sales.

In other words, you’ll learn how to do Twitter right!

Register online at https://www.educyber.com/upcoming-seminars.php

(Space is limited, so call today!)

When: January 28, 2010

Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Where: 4251 Kipling St., Suite 190, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
(2nd Floor Conference Room)

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Why Bother With Twitter?

I’m often asked why anyone in business would want to spend time tweeting. That question often comes from the very same people who spend lots of time in meetings and events with local business associations, chambers of commerce and other opportunities to meet new people or make connections with existing contacts.

Hmm . . . is what I think. I’m not sure why people don’t see the value of tweeting to friends, colleagues, vendors and customers (and in fact all of Twitterland). Here are the reasons I find time to tweet:

  1. I can connect with my known circle of friends and tell them about what is happening (remember, don’t tweet about what you’re doing but about what has your attention).
  2. I can read my circle’s tweets and join in the conversation, letting those folks know that I am engaged in their conversation.
  3. I can share my news – typically that I have posted a new blog article but also about things related to my company.
  4. I can meet new people who share my interests, industry, politics, religion and more.
  5. I can connect with potential employees or staff members.
  6. I can stay abreast of what is happening in the world and in my industry (I learned that Michael Jackson had died through Twitter and I learned that Facebook surpassed 350 million users via Twitter)
  7. I can do research on what my competitors are doing

Most importantly, I realize that Twitter is one more way to network but it is unique in the real-time information flow and the method of using it – I often go days without visiting twitter.com but a day very rarely passes without one tweet or interaction on Twitter.икони

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Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Question 7 from 10 Essential Questions for your Social Media Marketing Campaign: ” What tools are available to make my time in SMM more efficient?” can be answered in different ways.

There are tools and then there are tools. Every day there are thousands (yes thousands) of blog entries and tweets about all the wonderful tools available to help you leverage your Social Media Marketing time to maximum advantage.

This isn’t another one of those messages. Instead, let me tell you about two that I use and point you in the direction of finding others.

The tool that I use to tie things together is Friendfeed. Friendfeed lets you tie your various social media accounts together in such a way that you can post once to one account and the post will automatically be updated across all your accounts.  What does “all your accounts” mean? Friendfeed can talk to your blog, to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to name a few. If you use pictures, it can talk to Flickr and to Picasa. If you are into bookmarking and news, it will talk to delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Google Reader. In fact, there are currently 58 different sites that can be tied together through Friendfeed.

That sounds a bit overwhelming.  It doesn’t need to though. You can start with just a couple and still save time by using Friendfeed. Then when you’re ready to add, you can do so and tie them into Friendfeed as you add them to your repertoire.

The second tool I use and like is TweetDeck. While it sounds like it is just a Twitter application, it actually ties into Facebook and MySpace as well, allowing you to post once but push it to all those accounts. I only use it with Twitter but even then it helps. I have a personal account twitter.com/edubrian and a corporate account twitter.com/educyber and I can post to either or both at the same time through TweetDeck.

The power of TweetDeck comes from being able to create groups. I follow more than 1400 people but it works its power even if you follow a handful. For example, you can create a group called “My Industry” and add the people from your industry into that group. You can create a group called “Customers” and add your customers to that group. And so on. The simplicity of that makes life easier and will likely encourage you to follow more people because the flow of Tweets becomes more manageable.

What else is there?

Here are just a few links I found:

42+ Social Media Marketing Tools

4 tools for easier social media management

35+ Social Media Tools That Make Life Easier

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