Monthly Archives: February 2012

Flying High On Coffee, Relationships And Revenue

I started writing this post some 30,000 feet in the air on a United Airlines flight out of Portland, Oregon on Thursday night. As I looked out of the window before boarding I noticed something very odd about the plane I was about to get on, specifically the engines and additional markings. Is it really possible that this airplane is powered by coffee?    See photo –>

Ok, yes I have Photoshop, I admit it.

The reason I headed to Chicago was to attend @CoffeeCon12, THE coffee conference. Most of you know I am a coffee fiend at this point, but there is so much more to this story that is relevant and interesting. I would have never thought I would be highly influential on the topic of coffee, let alone meet and develop relationships that were so meaningful. What an amazing journey it has been…

I wanted to share an example of how this trip was inspired by social media and the powerful relationships the medium has enabled me to develop personally, as well as how it has positively effected our brand, BundlePost.

Meet @AnneReuss, an amazing young lady, social media strategist, writer and new business person. Located near Chicago, Anne and I developed a relationship through the social graph, culminating in her being a Pro account user of our software, and then also attending the @CoffeeCon12 event in Chicago this last weekend where I was an event guest.

Not only is Anne amazing at social media, beautiful and incredibly smart, she also happens to be deaf. So what, right? That’s what I said too! Surprisingly though, Anne later expressed that she was a bit shocked at the time I spent with her to demo the Bundle Post software. She explained she was surprised that I still treated her the same after she had to smack me because I had not yet realized she could not hear. But for me, I saw the same person, only now in an even more impressive way.

Here is her article she posted yesterday: “Starstruck: But Not by Number of Followers

Check out the shout Anne throws on video at the CoffeeCon event as we sat and watched a presentation on sustainable coffee together.

I am truly blessed to have Anne as a friend, Bundle Post client and a life-long connection in social media! I for one intend on investing in Anne and where she is going and recommend you do too!

I was also able to finally meet Aaron (@Biebert) of @8pmWarrior & Founder of Attention Era Media, Anya (@AnyaDowning) of Engage and the talent behind our Coffee-based infographics and more, then also Jason (@CoffeeCupNews) among many others on this trip. So amazing to meet such incredible, talented and fun people I have built business relationships with and now even deeper personal friendships!

My challenge to you is to start thinking and acting differently in your daily social media marketing. Take the time to truly get to know your connections. Care about others and be willing to help. As with Anne, you will realize new clients and gain something even more valuable than revenue… Life-long friends.

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


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

Social Media and @CoffeeCon12

Today I am in Chicago attending the @CofeeCon12 conference. I will be doing a normal post that will go live on Monday, but thought I would try to push something up while here at the conference.

The power of social media to bring brands as well as consumers together around the love of coffee is simply amazing. Being able to meet such incredible people like Jason @CoffeeCupNews and the awesome folks from @Bunn has been truly awesome!

I have learned a lot about coffee already from the distinguished George Howell . Who knew coffee was nearly as complex as the wine making process!!  Good stuff.

Highly suggest checking out the new Bunn Trifecta . Think french press, automated with the ability to modify the flavor and intensity of your brew based on settings. I got a great demo today, the day they launched the new device. This whole new way of brewing is expected to create a new category within the space called “Full Cup Coffee”. The innovative way the technology handles “french press-like” brewing is a completely new approach. Check it out!

Never ceases to amaze me how social media is so powerful at making connections, executing business and developing significant partner and client relationships.  Today is more proof of that!

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

 

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Filed under Relationship, Social Media

3 Keys To Having The RIGHT Social Media Conversations

We know that conversation leads to relationships both inside the social graph and out. This behavior is at the core of social media marketing and we often refer to it as engagement or the act of engaging with others.

In this post I want to help you get some focus on those conversations in order to be effective with your social media marketing. Conversations with your target market can be very powerful. Conversations for the sake of engagement can be a considerable waste of time. You need to make sure you are having the right conversations…

Lets put some clarification here before a few of you decide to go off in the comment section. I am in no way suggesting that you ignore anyone in your feeds. I am not suggesting that you randomly unfollow or unfriend non prospects. What I am suggesting is that you focus the majority of your time and conversations that build relationships with your target audience and influencers thereof.

Three keys to having the right social media conversations are:

1) Spend your time building relationships and having the majority of your conversations with your target market most likely to do business with you.

2) Don’t always make the conversations about what you do. Get to know your prospects on a human level. The business conversations will come naturally.

3) Don’t miss opportunities to get into conversations about what you do. If you are doing number one and two correctly, you will easily be able to find situations where your fans/followers are expressing a need, frustration or problem that you solve. Don’t over look those opportunities to engage about what you do.

A big mistake I see many social media agencies, consultants or virtual assistants making within social media is in this area. They spend the majority of their time engaging with their peers and competitors rather than effectively finding and building relationships with their target audience. I am not saying they shouldn’t with their peers, but I am saying it should be minimal and not where the majority of their time is spent.

If you are using social media for marketing, you need to have a strategy that covers all levels of the experience. From growing your target audience, content strategy as well as engagement. You need to ensure that the efforts you are making get results. Having the right social media conversations is imperative to achieving that goal.

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


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Filed under Agency, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

TV Show GLEE Raises Fanpage Marketing Bar With New Page App For Fans

Every once in a while a brand does something really unique in social media that ups the bar by a huge level. Even more rare is a social media marketing technology that does that very thing also. This week, Fox Broadcasting‘s hit show Glee did both in partnership with the unique custom fanpage app created by Social Stage (read the announcement).

The campaign allows fans of the show to create their own personal Glee fanpage.  Fans are able to select their favorite characters and build their own customized Social Stage micro site complete with images, video and more right within their own created fanpage on Facebook.

The shows popularity is not only clear by viewership, but also within social media. Fox’s Glee fanpage has over 18 million fans. No doubt that number will climb dramatically with the technology and marketing scheme they have deployed with this campaign!

Clearly the strategy of the campaign is to further engage with their target audience in new and unique ways. Giving their fans the ability to have their own custom fanpage using the Social Stage application will extend their reach by leaps and bounds. Furthermore, adding buzz, a flood of new content and conversation about the show will certainly not remove it from the top social and viewer rankings.

What I find very interesting about the campaign and truly unique is how the fan is empowered by the TV brand. They get to build their page and customize it the way they want it to look. The fan is involved in the process, yet has empowerment to make it what they want.

Added to the application on the main Glee page is a leader board, which tracks the various extension fanpages built by users and ranks them to show which fanpages are leading with likes, etc.  No doubt this functionality will go over big with the intended fan base, furthering the overall reach, adoption rate and engagement overall.

I asked Social Stage for some initial numbers on adoption rate and new pages created as well as some traffic numbers, but probably wisely, they declined to deliver that. Not sure I would either if my client was Fox Broadcasting. However, they did say that the customized application running the Glee site is a custom installation of their already available app suite. Their suite of micro website fanpage apps are easily modified to make single tabbed, multi-page landing pages that do not require programmers or designers to implement.

In my opinion, this campaign is an incredibly unique and effective way to take the social media brand/fan relationship to new levels. Anything a company can do that deepens the connection with their audience and empowers them to be “a part” of the brand itself, is a win-win endeavor!

How could your brand use this unique technology to get your fans involved?

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

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Filed under App, Facebook, Fanpage, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

Social Media RSS feeds for Dummies AND Pro’s

To start with let’s define RSS – Really Simple Syndication. Well, that was clear as mud when I first read it a couple of years ago. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I spent reading everything I could to get a clear understanding as to what in the world a RSS feed is and why in the world should I care.
Some more experienced readers might be rolling their eyes now in boredom, but stick with me here because I am going to share some valuable information to even the best of Bloggers.
A simple way of describing a RSS is having your favorite blog or information sent to you whenever something new is added. You subscribe to receive it, either via email or sent to an RSS reader like Google Reader. Whenever the site or blog author writes something new, it automatically updates your reader with the new content so you can see it.
Here is where it gets interesting and how I learned the hard way how dangerous RSS feeds can be. I found a system that allowed me to input RSS feeds that could be sent to my Twitter audience automatically. How clever was that? Right? Set the Twitter account on autopilot and not worry. Oh boy….not very clever when you are in the middle of a Presidential campaign and the authors of what I was subscribed to started writing about their political opinions which happened to be opposite of mine. I could not unsubscribe fast enough.
By the way, I have also learned that there is nothing in social media marketing that is on autopilot and also effective. Social media is about conversation around content with people, not mindless cruise control. Not only that, but to many autopilot type technology is highly frowned upon in the social graph.

Previously in the Real Estate industry for 13 years, I looked for more home related content and blogs that would be solid content for my audience. I could control how often they posted on my twitter account but I had no control as to what or when they would post. Disappointed, I pulled the plug on a majority of what was being fed through. I finally decided to hand pick things from my Google Reader, Google Alerts and other sites I visited and manually scheduled them out using Hootsuite. This was an exhausting and totally time sucking activity, however it always resulted in better content and conversations.

Why are RSS feeds important? Because they are an incredible way to receive relevant content that you can share with your audience.

Why should a business care about RSS feeds? Because they save a tremendous amount of time.

Are you totally confused yet? I told you the pitfalls of them…which boils down to this….YOU ARE AT THE MERCY OF THE AUTHOR.

So, what if there was a way to input RSS feeds into a system that databased everything for you, prepared already as a social media post for any social platform? What if it allowed YOU to pick and choose which articles or blog posting you wanted to share and more importantly allowed YOU to schedule when you could post to your audience? No longer updating your Twitter account at 3am while you and your audience are asleep… No longer posting to Linkedin something not relevant. No longer posting 4 things to your fanpage at the same time. But something that YOU controlled posting times, content posts and topics exactly when you know your audience would actually see your posts.

BundlePost.com is a system that allows you to do this. I would think from a author’s perspective they would want their content shared with their reader’s audience. The peek time for my audience is sometimes not the same as the authors peek time for their audience. Which makes Bundle Post a total win win solution for both subscriber and author.

I want the biggest bang for my buck when sharing content. I no longer wish to randomly post, just to be posting. Having complete control over RSS and Google Alert content has proven to be a complete time saver, but more importantly has resulted in huge improvements in all metrics we track on my account.

I asked our CEO, Robert (@fondalo) if I could write this blog post because I feel this is a very powerful feature of our technology that many are not quite understanding. I hope it helped you.

Julia Hull
Bundle Post Account Executive
@PerfectJulia

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Filed under Relationship, Social Aggregation, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Uncategorized

The Second Content Revolution – How Social Media Is Changing Again

Social media has itself created a revolution worldwide, where brands and consumers can connect directly around content and conversation. This revolution has changed the way brands market, as well as how they deal with prospects and customers in many ways. The change has allowed consumers to take a much more active role in shaping everything about their favorite brands methods and tactics.

We have seen social media solidifying its place within larger brands and now small and medium businesses are also adopting it at a fast pace. We have also seen how content sharing has become the center point of social activity, sparking the conversations and leading to deeper relationships.  Social media has given content “the” platform that enables it to be seen by far more people, shared and consumed more effectively than previously imagined.

The second wave of the content revolution is content creation. Now of course we have had content creation even before social media became what it is today, however I believe social media is migrating again to raise the level and the requirement of content creation to new heights. The next coming requirement for all brands, marketers and individuals using social media for marketing will have to develop an effective strategy of consistent, relevant and engaging content.

As more and more consumers join both mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as more specialized networks like Linkedin and Pinterest, more and more content is being consumed. The growing demand by consumers for more fresh, interesting and relevant content is only going to continue to scale. The ever increasing noise as a result of this growing volume is going to put more and more pressure on brands and marketers of all sizes to consistently put out fresh, unique content. When I say all sizes, I mean the local mom and pop restaurant, all the way through International brands.

Some larger brands have a significant advantage in some aspects in this next phase of social media content. With substantial budgets, numerous ad campaigns already in place and larger resources, they are going to best execute to this growing need. Small/Local businesses and/or their social media agencies will have to become experts in content creation or at least allocate financial resources to the endeavor if they are going to compete and win

What should you take from this post? Start shifting your planning toward content creation. If you are a social media agency, start putting consulting and creation options in place that help your clients move in this direction now, so they are leading in the space. Develop solutions that enable your firm to capture more revenue, while covering this aspect for your clients.

Very soon it will not just be about having a presence in the social graph and sharing relevant content, but also about consistently developing your own fresh, unique content that your audience will value and share. A commitment to doing it and then executing it is not cheap, but it is a lot less expensive than being left in the dust by your competition!

Must have consistent content creation types for ALL businesses will be:

1) Blog – Yes many have them now, but being consistent with frequency and a strategy that caters to your audience and not just your company information is required. Focus on what it is your audience wants. Give it to them in creative ways that keep them coming back for more.

2) Video Content – Not just a YouTube Channel of your company product videos, but relevant, fresh content surrounding your audiences interests. Entertaining, humorous, relevant.

3) Photo’s – Look for unique ways to bring photo’s and images into your content stream. The birth of Pinterest has once again highlighted the need for content creation that delivers value to your audience. Again, you need to be creative with your photo’s to make them relevant and interesting. Tell stories, moments with customers, humanize your brand and entertain in order to capture your audiences attention. Create graphics from regular photo’s to extend the reach.

Again, content creation is going to be a requirement for all brands, large or small to compete. Start planning now and lead in this revolution.

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

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Filed under Agency, Facebook, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized, Video

Effectively Using Twitter Direct Messages – But What About Auto DM?

Have you ever noticed that I tend to not shy away from the more controversial social media marketing topics? This will be no exception as we tackle Twitter, Direct Messages and the automated DM message. This topic is one that is often polarizing within the social media community, broken into two main camps.

1) Anti-Automated Direct Message Folks – These folks are typically very passionate about social networking. They have very strong feelings about how it should be done. Their views are exclusive and either black or white, with little tolerance for anyone or anything outside of those beliefs. I find these are often the ones that attack and are extremely critical of others, both in and out of the social graph. Don’t try to please them, you never will.

Just posting that today’s blog would be about the topic spawned several opposition posts, like “Dislike those auto DMs. I usually unfollow folks who use them.” and “(It’s a BIG no no)”. These were from social media people too. Seriously? That’s like a professional singer not engaging with their potential fans/purchasers of their music because the fans don’t sing well… Shaking head!

2) Active Auto Direct Message Users – This group is the other side of the spectrum. They hammer out automated DM’s left and right. There are typically two world views within this group – 1) Direct marketers that don’t care about etiquette or relationships and only care about right now and revenue. 2) The newer social media marketer/consultant that just wants results and have seen others do it, so they are too.

The problem with Active Auto DM users, in the second category, is that they do not have the experience and understanding to make those auto DMs effective. They are doing what they have seen and assume it must work because others are doing it. So they set up automated DM messages about their client, their fanpage or product and hope for the best.

Me? I fall somewhere in between these two polarized camps. Rather than get into the details of each of the camps and their valid or often invalid views, I wanted to give you some insights on how to use Twitter DM’s effectively, both auto and manual.

There are two Twitter DM types to focus on:

1) Automated DM’s – Here is a secret… I use Auto DM’s on my personal account. But it’s HOW I use them that makes the difference. Why? I definitely want to thank everyone of my new followers and I can no longer do that manually since it averages about 150 per day. If you are going to use Auto DM’s here is what I suggest:

What I DON’T do – I do not pitch, send to my website or try to sell anything in my auto DM message.

What I always do – I thank in a unique, authentic way and give them an opportunity to connect with me in other ways.

Here is my Auto DM message:  Honored to connect with ya! Thanx for the follow. Here are all my connection points: http://ow.ly/6vl7s Socially yours, Robert

Be simple, inviting and never pitch. Social media marketing is about building relationships. You need to have a relationship before you pitch. Pitching at the very moment you connect hurts you, not helps you. I receive both DM replies and in feed comments about my DM frequently that are HIGHLY positive. The image in this post show’s one of those comments from @itgalnwn.

2) DM Opportunities – There are several business and relationship building opportunities within the Twitter Direct Message platform. I am shocked how often I speak to people that never take advantage of DM’s. Here are a few ways we use them effectively:

a) Responding to DM’s to spark conversation – Look for manual or auto DM’s that warrant a reply. I read every single DM that comes in and look for opportunities to connect, engage, start conversations and build relationships.

b) Taking a conversation out of news feed – When you have an interested prospect or follower, be open to taking the conversation into the Direct Messaging system. This can allow you to get into more detail without them fearing others knowing they are interested in what you do. It removes the magnifying glass of the social graph and becomes one on one. This often helps your prospect drop their walls and open up.

c) Making yourself more human and approachable – Many social media accounts ignore all DM’s. Being the account that always responds, automatically makes you more human and approachable. A great starting point for a relationship!

d) Setting appointments and demo’s with prospective customers – I often move conversations to DM to ask for an appointment and/or a demo call. Similarly to “c” above, this is a very effective way to get more personal and ask for the sale or appointment, without the pressure of the open feed on them.

The wrap up word:

All of what I have put in this post are things I do and have made effective without being annoying or intrusive. It is free advice and worth every penny. The focus is to help facilitate your thinking toward opening your mind and staying clear of hard line approaches to social media.

Unfollowing  a potential client that uses social media wrong or different than you is just plain poor business. You are hurting YOU, not them. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be rich? Get off your arrogant high horse and lead, help and build relationships with those that need you and your service. It’s not about YOU!

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

P.S. If you are a troll that just want to argue about DM’s, I respect your opinion, I just disagree. I will not get sucked into an argument. You are free to have your opinion, this is mine…

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Filed under Direct Message, Relationship, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized