Monthly Archives: October 2011

Social Media Hot Potato – It’s No Game!

I wanted to shoot out a quick post today due to the many recent fails occurring right now. Brands need to understand that the days are gone where a dissatisfied customer tells 10 of their friends when they are unhappy with your company. With the rise of social media, we now tell thousands and thousands.

This phenomena is nothing to be ignored. The benefits of social media marketing for brands is significant. Doing it wrong comes with equally drastic down sides as well.

Now if you are a brand, large or small, and still ignoring social media or doing it poorly, you may be in significant jeopardy. Whether you are active in the social graph or not, consumers are. They are talking about you. The good the bad and the ugly are being discussed and shared.

If you wish to stay out of this lovely game called Social Media Hot Potato, and intend on keeping your logo off this darling spud, get active. Larger brands need to deploy social media monitoring and analytics tools, such as Mantis Pulse – @mantispulse. Listen to the discussion and proactively respond and manage the story quickly. Senior executives must have access to this information and make quick business decisions that head off being forced to catch and hold the hot potato.

Smaller brands as well must not ignore the conversations and move quickly to respond and engage. Show your audience that you hear them and empathize with their feelings.

Don’t get caught holding the hot potato that will literally burn you and your company. Realize that the power of social media is real and not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

3 Comments

Filed under FAIL, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

Klout Changes Affect Millions – What You Need To Know

Did you notice?  Of course you did. Millions of people’s Klout scores were affected by the recent changes to their scoring algorithm. The majority affected saw a decline in the overall score they previously garnered through the site. My score dropped by 11 points. OMG, the sky is falling!!!!

Now, hold on here. Take a deep breath and relax. My take on it is this…  Anything that improves the overall measurement of ones effectiveness and influence in the social graph is a great thing. Having no third party measurement tools is not an option, nor is ignoring tools that are out there. Some kind of independent measurement, scoring is crucial to being effective in social media marketing.

But listen to me carefully here. It’s NOT the number increase or decrease that is important here. What’s important with the score is what that number can tell you and how you can make changes to your activity. Not changes that improve your score for score’s sake, but rather changes that improve your results and ROI.

My Klout score is important to me about as much as wearing the right attire to a business meeting, or that the outside of my office looks nice. It is often first impressions that make a huge difference. What should be most important to YOU is what are you doing within social media to impact others positively and obtain an appropriate return on your time and resource investment with the medium.

Based on all the changes made to the Klout algorithm, the one most important to me every day is True Reach. Mine went from 9k to 17,000. THAT is the number I care most about. How many people am I actually reaching and engaging with. The significant changes to the scoring platform seem to measure influence now more on how many people with more influence than you engage with you. This is perfect for many, not for me. Our users and clients are peers, like social media marketers, agencies and consultants. Therefore, most will not have more influence than I do and I am ok with that.

Honestly, if my Klout score is a 5, but our social media accounts drive the appropriate level of users and subscribers to our technology, then I am happy with that. You need to keep your eye on the proper measurement items and not the superfluous ones like your score. Measure your effectiveness based on return and goal achievement, and pay attention to your Klout score as a helpful way to make improvements that impact those goals.

As many of you have gotten used to from me, I tend to just go ahead and tell it like it is. So today is no different. Stop whining and complaining. Klout says they made improvements to their system to better reflect influence, so that is what’s important. Accuracy should trump your ego in business always!

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

36 Comments

Filed under Klout, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Uncategorized

The Big Bank Social Media Failure – Netflix on Steroids

With people occupying everything, everywhere in the USA right now and many others with bailout blues it is amazing to me how the major banks are arrogantly ignoring this crisis and thus missing the boat. Maybe better put, how they are firing shotgun shells through the bottom of their own boats.

It seems like every single week I am seeing stories on major news networks regarding the foreclosure boom in this country. We know we are in very difficult times due to the many failings by lenders giving inappropriate home loans, as well as consumers seeking and obtaining loans that they could not afford. However, we are where we are. The stories constantly being reported are of lenders promising loan modifications or refinances for homeowners, then dragging it out only to start the foreclosure process anyway.

If this wasn’t bad enough, Bank of America continues to blast consumers with huge new fees. Account fees and debit card fees are moving upward for B of A customers, which tend to mean that other larger banks will follow suit.

These individual stories of people dealing with these major banks are being brought to light one at a time by reporters and shed some light on a  disturbing trend in banking. Banks clearly do not understand the social climate businesses must navigate today. Due to the rise of social media (where most consumers are now) all businesses, including major banks must be engaged and effective.

The Credit Union National Association recently reported “two polls say a good portion of consumers surveyed would switch banks if they were hit with debit fees, according to a number of reports in national media“, among other alarming reports banks need to consider.

The point is this… Since social media is now integrated into every aspect of our lives as consumers, banks are in for more than a few protests if they do not heed the warnings of the marketplace. Consumers are fed up. Short term strategies of balance sheet fortification during this down time could result in these banks losing significant market and more importantly mind share. Social media is a powerful platform that can and will topple organizations that don’t use it effectively, or worse get used by it due to ignorance.

Let me stop here and clearly state something about my beliefs. I am in no way a government control proponent. I am a very strong free market guy that believes in consumer control via pocket book voting. I am also not a banking expert, but I know a thing or two about social media, its power and how to use it effectively. (back to my regularly scheduled article)

Since it appears that these brands not only don’t understand social media marketing or its power to bring them to their knees and the fact that they have created a significant PR mess that could potentially cause lasting wounds, I am going to throw in my social media two cents in an attempt to smack some sense into them. Here’s what they need to do:

1) Cut Fees – Simply put, this is a must. In the short term, B of A, Chase and the like should bite the bullet and throw the average consumer a bone. Think of the positive social media firestorm they would achieve by temporarily cutting fees to show consumers they get it and want a relationship with them over the long-term.

2) Deploy Social Media Effectively – Recognize the current anti-bank climate, coupled with the social media boom and create a strategy to get this new message out effectively. Get in front of these horrid stories and respond within the social graph to people in bad situations.

3) Help – Proactively look for opportunities within your customer base to deploy loan modifications or rate reductions. Letting a fire get out of control only to have to use a lot of resources to fight the resulting blaze is incredibly stupid. Finding those bank and home loan accounts that you can help quickly will retain customer base and offer a huge PR windfall.

4) PR – Drive the message. Social media affords an opportunity for these major banks to follow the above points and control the conversation with media and consumers. If you are proactively touting your efforts in 1-3 above with real stories of helping consumers, understanding their pain and doing something positive to help in the situation, you now control the conversation and can use it to win hearts and minds.

Word to the wise oh banking executives in the country. Failure to change your substance and message to consumers using social media will be your downfall. Hard to believe, but you are actually making Netflix recent massive failures look like a win somehow.

**Pre-Post update – I finished this post Sunday night. Monday night, as I was driving home from meetings, I heard on the news that the revolt has started and some Credit Unions are seeing 350% increases in new members.  I think we got this post right…  It appears it may be too late.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

7 Comments

Filed under Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

A Huge Market Social Media Agencies Shouldn’t Ignore

Since our company, Social Resolve LLC is no longer a social media marketing company, and is now exclusively a software company, it affords me the rewarding opportunity to help marketers and firms with what we have learned over several years in the space. There are a ton of vertical markets within social media that can be tapped to build a successful agency. One of the biggest of those markets is the restaurant business. This market represents a significant opportunity for both new and existing social media firms to see significant growth and profit.

Here are some statistics you need to know:  According to the National Restaurant Association, “Social media savvy consumers (frequent users of at least one social media tool, including Facebook, Twitter, mobile phone applications such as Foursquare or Urban Spoon, or online review sites such as Yelp) are more active in the restaurant community and dine out more frequently than the general public.”

Their study goes further by stating “More than eight out of 10 restaurant operators say social media will become a more important marketing tool in the future. More than half also say they are likely to incorporate Facebook, online review sites, Twitter and blogs into their marketing mix in the next two years.”

My experience in developing and executing social media strategies within this space has uncovered several keys to success. Here are some of the things that you need to focus on:

1) Be known for something – There are millions of restaurants in the US. Sometimes several on a single corner. Your clients brand is competing against national chains and larger more financially backed restaurants that spend millions on branding and marketing. It is imperitive that you make your clients restaurant unique. Leverage their specialty to create a following and drive traffic. Whether it’s their specific food type, a unique drink they make or entertainment, find the unique niche and use it.

2) Targeted Community – Audience size is massively important to having a successful social media program for restaurants. You must have a large enough, highly targeted community that takes into account both demographic and geographic specifics. I believe that a Twitter following of 1,500 and fanpage community of 400 is the minimum bar to focus on initially. The audience must be big enough to drive enough activity.

3) Content strategy – Remember, social media marketing is about relationships. It’s not about you but your community. Their interests, desires and hot buttons. Determine their interests and share relevant, valuable content they will enjoy and prompt them to engage with your restaurant in conversation. Then share some content about special deals and events you are having, while paying special attention to targeting offers during your slow times.

4) Engage – If you are a social media marketer or agency, you should already know this. Remember the social media formula is – Content leads to conversation. Conversations lead to Relationships and Relationships lead to Business and ROI.

5) Staff – The most important part of the restaurant social media marketing program is staff training and involvement. They need to understand the program being executed and how it relates to their customers. Be sure they know the companies social media sites/names and how to converse with socially savvy customers. The key to getting staff buy-in of your social media program is helping them see a direct connection to their improved income.

We know we tend to tip better when out waiter connects with us or has a similar interest in a sports team, etc. Help the wait staff understand that social media people are nuts about it. Connecting with them about social media leads to bigger tips and repeat customers that want to sit in their areas. Once they realize this fact, staff tend to get on board, resulting in a powerful partnership that will push your marketing efforts forward far more rapidly and effectively.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

8 Comments

Filed under Facebook, location based services, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

5 Important Ways To Optimize Your Twitter Profile For Improved Results

Do you realize the importance of your Twitter bio? It can literally make or break your effectiveness on Twitter. There are several things I consult on regarding Twitter profiles and today I am going to share them with you. Whether you agree or not, understand that what I am sharing I have proven over a long period of time. Your social media marketing can depend on having this tightened up.

Number one and two I am most passionate about. The rest are things I teach and believe, and still quite important. The more of these you commit to doing, the more effective your profile will be within your social media management results.

1) Profile Picture – One thing I have learned is that people build relationships with people, not logos. I can’t have a relationship with your company OR your logo. I can have a relationship with YOU, or a person from your company. Use your photo and include your logo in the graphic if you like. Just be aware that whether consciously or not, people will engage and be much more open to a relationship if you are you, not simply a company.

2) Account Name – Equally as important to number one is account name. Go ahead and use your twitter name as your brands name, but make sure there is a human name in the name field. People can’t really have a relationship with a brand or a company name. They can and will with a human from that company.

When someone retweets a post of mine, I want to thank them as an individual. I want to call them by name and show sincerity. When your name is your company name, I have to call you ABC Company. See the point? People talk to humans, not logo’s or companies. Heck even when you call Home Depot, you get to talk to a human that answers the phone, not their brand or logo. More importantly, it’s likely your company is nothing close to the size or recognition of a brand like Home Depot. Just be you…

3) Location – The location field of your bio is frequently not made important by many Twitter account holders, yet it is very important to those viewing your account. Leaving this blank or using latitude and longitude settings aren’t helpful. You are missing opportunities to be found by your target market, as well as opportunities for conversations with your audience. Be specific, yet broad enough to be inviting to your audience. Example – Mine is: Oregon, PDX, Portland, USA.

4) Bio – Another highly important field is your Bio. Be sure to give some information about YOU, as well as your company and what you do. Displaying yourself as human makes you approachable and real. Topics of interest and the details that make you unique help others feel like they know you better, resulting in more topics to engage on. Note things about you in your bio that invite conversations. Conversations lead to relationships. Relationships lead to business and ROI.

5) Website – Every single one of us has either a website, Youtube channel, a video, blog, Facebook account, social portal, etc. If you don’t… get one. Give your target market the ability to find out more about you and/or connect with you in other ways. I am amazed at how many people/companies leave this blank. A big fail!

Optimizing your Twitter profile is just as important as engaging with your target market. Don’t underestimate that social media is about relationships and humans are attracted to having that with other humans, not some brand or logo.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

45 Comments

Filed under Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Twitter, Uncategorized

Google, Plus Too Many Mistakes = An Accident Going Somewhere To Happen

There are few things in the world you can get away with failing over and over and continue to survive. Ever heard the saying “If you keep doing the same thing, you will get the same results”? Here we go again…

In case you didn’t know, I have written on the Google Plus thing more than a few times.  Here is a little timeline…

April 12, 2011 – I started writing on the shift I saw in Google’s internet dominance and that a significant change in their business needed to occur in their business focus or they may be in trouble. I wrote – Google and Goliath – The Social Media Wars where I first predicted Google would be in trouble if they did not “innovate within the social media space, producing the next significant platform or component”, they would go the way of AOL.

April 13, 2011 – I continued this post with a Part 2 due to the massive response and uproar from many people that essentially called me nuts. I ended the post with a word to Google that stated “Either innovate, integrate and dominate, or face very troubled times ahead.”

June 23, 2011 – I wrote The Future of Social Media is NOT Networks, But Relationship Management – Where I discussed that the last thing we need is another social network, but instead need additional and better technologies that improve the ability to manage and improve relationships.

Jun 28, 2011 – Google Announced Google Plus – After two previous social network failures, Google makes a third attempt extremely late in the game, well after the industry has established itself.  Mistake 1

* That day I privately said to my business partner and two others “What you just saw was Google Tapping Out”.  As in, calling uncle…

Over the next several weeks their decision to limit users allowed to a select few and invites only, builds frustration and anger that alienates many potential loyal users. Mistake 2

After a few insignificant posts on this issue I continued with:

August 29, 2011Three Reasons Google Plus Is Facing Difficulties – Here I outlined what I believed are the major obstacles Google Plus was facing and that this endeavor was a large mistake.

September 19, 2011 – I came completely out of the closet on my G+ views with a post entitled The Google Plus Failure, Now Jeopardizing Google Itself, which publicly predicted the general failure of their social network and how their decision to try yet again in the space now put their entire business at risk. I went further and provided a five step plan they should adopt to thwart an impending disaster.

Beginning of AugustGoogle announces it’s purchase of Motorola Mobility –  Mistake 3

Say what you will about this, but beginning to see major gains in the mobile OS market that are resulting in massive market share improvements against the iPhone, driving you to then compete with your other customers using your OS is epic stupidity!

Through all of this, I have taken a significant amount of heat from people on my views. Most of the industry “Experts/Guru’s” where touting how great G+ was, how it was going to kick butt and take over, even changing their Facebook profile pics to be the “I’ve Moved” Google Plus logo. Though many continued to call me crazy and beat me up publicly on this blog and in the social graph, I stood firm in my views on this issue. Then…

October 10, 2011 – Mashable releases an article titled Google+ Traffic Falls 60% putting a nail in the coffin of this debate. Is it over, no. Is it as good as, I think so…

Make no mistake about it, I am NOT a Google hater. In fact they are my default search engine, I use Chrome religiously and am a HUGE advocate and user of my Motorola Droid. But the facts are the facts.  Google has made three major mistakes in the marketplace, not the least of which is Google Plus. These poor decisions have put them in a extremely bad position looking toward the next five years.

My appeal to the leadership and board of directors at Google is; Get some focus and determine where you can compete, innovate and most importantly lead market share and put your resources and talent there. Failure to do so is a train wreck.

I will end this post with something I have been saying to the folks that have vigorously hammered me on these views over the past year. “Better doesn’t win. Market share does.”

UPDATE: As if it couldn’t get any worse, Mashable released a post called Google Engineer Accidentally Posts Rant About Google+ A train wreck, just a train wreck!

 

 

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

17 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Google, Google Plus, Social Media, Uncategorized

Social Media Is Poetry In Motion

Social media is poetry in motion. It is a symphony of various content and platforms all working together. Each platform with a different pace, tone and frequency that resonates a message of harmony.

Now I want you to remember, I am a Social Media Technology guy, not a writer. That being said, we all know that humor, fun and creative content tends to get a tad more traction then stodgy old articles. So, I had an idea…  Why create an actual poem using the platforms and technologies we all utilize and wrap it up with a point?

Here is my attempt at creative social media poetry that makes a subtle yet profound point.  I hope you enjoy it.


Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

16 Comments

Filed under Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized