Tag Archives: Relationships

7 Traits That Define A Company’s Business Culture As Social

What defines a Social Business CultureThis last week I was involved in a few conversations that surrounded businesses that are on social media, more specifically those that either are executing it well and those that are just there. It got me thinking about the millions of brands, both large and small that have a social presence, yet clearly do not have a corporate culture of social within their organization. As I pondered this, I also thought about our organization that not only lives in social, but was born out of a social media agency and used this as our guide.

Since many large brands are now in social media and easily garner large audiences due to their prolific branding and massive advertising budgets over many decades, it is important to point out that MOST have anything but a corporate social culture. In fact many of the larger brands we all know around the world have some of the worst social media marketing execution. I am not talking about just the epic fails we read about from these massive corporations, but even their daily social media activities are a slap in the face toward what any experienced social media professional knows about this space.

For this and many other reasons, I personally avoid large brands online. I stay clear of their noise, self-promotion and other social marketing efforts. If I based my shopping on their lacklustre social media marketing and poor engagement, I would never be able to bring myself to visit many stores. But I digress.

Rather than detail all the failings of brands within social media, we decided it might be far more helpful for many small and medium brands to develop a list of traits that are displayed by brands that have created and fostered a corporate culture of social within their business. We got feedback from our awesome community as well and are including their thoughts on some of the traits.

Though this is not an exhaustive list, we believe it embodies the large bucket items that define what a social business is.

7 Traits That Define A Company’s Business Culture As Social

1) Priority Top Down – Bar far, the most important trait that establishes social into a business culture is top down leadership. When the executive team at the top make a clear commitment to social media, done properly, it becomes clear to everyone inside as well as outside that organization. Without embracing social as a corporate priority, social media departments are clearly handcuffed and it shows. Empowering teams around social from the very top of your business not only unleashes the other traits in this post to be free to execute, it mandates the traits into every member of the company.

Tangent – Just last week on a call with our CTO (Chief Technology Officer) going over our development priorities, we were discussing something an existing Bundle Post user brought up that they really needed. Our CTO said “Well that is a current customer that has a strong need, so I think that should be a priority.” Adjustments were made to the priority list accordingly because our entire leadership has a social focus.

When the leaders of an organization have a commitment to and then drive a social culture, nothing but good will result.

Tiffany Keuhl

Keri Jaehnig

Ben Risinger

2) Consistent Communication – A social business culture isn’t just ON social media, they continually communicate internally their social priorities, what those priorities mean and how they are expected to be executed.

Timothy Hughes

Nancy Kenney

Tabatha B

3) Transparency – A social business doesn’t hide their mistakes internally or externally, instead they admit to them quickly and take steps to correct them. They don’t pretend to be perfect and portray a sense of reality of their business that is human and approachable.

Brian Vickery

Bryan Kramer

4) Responsiveness – It’s true that people want to know they are being heard, but even more importantly, they want a response. Social media is social AND media combined. When a brand has a presence but doesn’t respond to the good, bad or otherwise, people feel that they are not heard. Even worse they are made to feel they and their issues don’t matter to the brand. When a brand is responsive to their customers and prospects on social media, and do it in a timely manner, the opposite impression is made. Brands that truly understand this and have a social culture in their organization build life long customers.

SherylBionic

5) Sincerity / Authenticity – It’s one thing to go through the motions, it’s another thing to actually care. When a company has fostered a culture of social in their organization, every team member has sincerity and authenticity in what they do. Customers are never left wondering if the brand cares. It shows through the way the brand conducts their social media efforts.

richtatum
RebeccaC

6) Empathy – Social businesses teach empathy within their organization. It is a priority that all levels of the organization understand the plight of their customers before and after the sale. This means that the business educates its teams on the pain points their customers have, how their products and services ease those pains, but most importantly the importance of the customer later in the relationship. Not just the ongoing revenue opportunities down the road, but the utter importance of handling that customer properly when they have a problem.

chloe

7) Customer Priority – The social business doesn’t necessarily believe that customer is always right, but the customer is definitely a priority in the business culture and it shows.

What we find so interesting about these traits is that they are the same traits that any successful business should deploy. What I mean by that is, if the social media element was removed, the leadership, customer centric empathy within all of these traits are what great businesses have been doing for decades. Instill them in your social business culture as well and the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts will breed loyalty, revenue and sales growth beyond your expectations!

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Filed under Engagement, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

Social Media Conversations That Become Leads

Conversations within social media is what builds relationships. Those resulting relationships are what lay the foundations for real results like sales, revenue and customer acquisition. But the question I hear most often is “How do you get into conversations that become leads?”

Social media conversations that become leadsOne way to get into conversations is to simply start them with others. For brands this is an infinitely more difficult task given the resources required, the restrictions of certain social networks and simply time. This doesn’t scale well and therefore is often only a small part of a social strategy long-term. Starting conversations with your target audience is effective, but requires massive resources to pull it off with anything resembling return on investment (ROI).

Another and more frequently used approach to starting conversations is something I call luring.

I frequently use analogies to correlate social media marketing to things that most people already understand. I find that many comprehend some of the complexities of social media much better this way. So let’s look at social media engagement or social selling as fishing.

Lure, luring, fishing. Get it?

If you agree that “Content leads to conversations, conversations build relationships and relationships result in ROI“, then we can equate content to a fishing lure and getting a bite on the line as a conversation. The reason for a fishing lure is to attract and catch fish. Different sizes and types of lures are designed to attract different types and sizes of fish. Therefore the right content, created and curated (the lure) in your streams will attract a certain type of prospect and therefore increase the chances that they share, comment or like the content you post (the bite).

Furthering our analogy, if you don’t cast enough times on the day you are fishing, you greatly reduce your chances of getting any bites. Casting your lure into the lake only a few times will likely result in no fish being attracted to your lure. You have to keep casting, reeling in and casting again in order to increase the odds that a fish will even see your lure, let alone be attracted to it. This is why having enough consistent, relevant, valuable content in your streams is so important.

This gets even complex when there are numerous types of fish in the lake, but you’re only interested in catching a specific kind. Now you have to consider WHICH lures (content subject matter) are best to attract that specific type of fish and also how many times you need to be casting and reeling in your lure each and every day in order to get a bite. If you want to attract fish that have a higher propensity to engage with you from the content you post, focus on curating content that highlights the challenges that your product and service solves for your target audience.

5 Social Media Ways To Foster Conversations With The Right Audience -

  1. Enough Posts (Casting) – social network users are logging on and off, and switching from desktop to mobile all day long. If you do not have enough posts all day, every day, you’re likely to be seen less.
  2. Content Type (The Lure) – Whether you are curating or creating content, you need to ensure that what you are posting is relevant and interesting to your target audience. Know what THEY are interested in and post about those topics. This is what will get them to engage YOU.
  3. Crowded Waters – Just because an article is popular or comes from a popular site, doesn’t mean you should post it in your streams. In fact, I would say that in most cases the opposite it true. Sharing content that everyone has already seen, read and shared themselves is hardly an effective strategy. If your peers and competitors are fishing in the same cove of the lake, grab your fishing pole and fish somewhere else where this fish see less of the same lures.
  4. Create Lures – Along with posting curated content, you should also be creating content. Think of this as the experienced fly fisherman that ties their own flies. Know your intended audience (fish) and what they’re interested in and create content that connects their needs, challenges and interests with what you do, without overtly pitching your product or service.
  5. Leads – When you have a “fish on” (conversation started) don’t reel it in as fast as humanly possible. Take the time to expand the conversation around your contact without immediately moving to what you do. Building relationships over time is what gets results. Getting a bite and immediately attempting to land the fish is a great way to rip the hook out and lose the fish altogether.

At the end of the day, social media marketing lead generation is not dissimilar to the real world. Relationships take time and often require many conversations to build trust. Taking the time to earn that trust will open doors to discuss what you do with your connections and turn relationships into leads.

If you’re having the right conversations with the right connections, your conversations will become leads.

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Filed under Brand, Community, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Uncategorized

4 Ways To Reduce or Kill Social Media Engagement Over Time

In a post last week, we discussed an “Easy Way To Increase Social Media Engagement Right Away” where we covered the fact that social media marketing is real-time and the more you respond and engage with your audience in real-time, the more likely they are to do so more frequently. This post is going to take a look at the opposite approach and detail 4 ways that will reduce or kill your social media marketing and engagement efforts over time.

Don't reduce social media engagementIn order to scale social media engagement, you want to build upon the community interaction you have already established. If you are building relationships well, this will mean that the audience that is regularly engaging with you on social media increases and expands. The accounts that engaged with you yesterday and months and years prior should still be engaging with you now, and you should also be adding even more new relationships to those ranks consistently.

Too often social media marketers find themselves in a cycle of “new”. What I mean by that is that the portion of their following that engages them are often their newer followers and friends, yet the larger portion of their community that they have been connected with for a longer period of time engage at increasingly lesser levels. This is often an indication that there may be something wrong with the social media management or processes being employed.

Here are 4 ways to reduce your social media engagement:

- Responding Slowly: If you are managing your social media marketing in real-time as we discussed in our last post, you are going to scale your social media engagement. Conversely, if you are responding hours or even days after comments, shares and engagement, you are showing your community you are not truly engaged. They WILL stop engaging with you over time.

- Never Responding: When your audience comments on your posts or shares your content, a response is imperative. It tells them that they are important and you appreciate their efforts on your behalf. If you do the “post and leave” tactic and/or never respond to comments, they WILL stop engaging with you over time.

- Never Thanking: Social media marketing is really a parallel universe to the real world. Whatever you would do in real life, you should be doing with your social media management. Thanking others that mention you in conversation, share your content or tell others about you is something you would always do at a networking event. Ignoring those that share your content in social media is a sure-fire way for reducing and ultimately killing their engagement with you and your content over time.

- Notification Hell: As we all should understand, every social network is different and they all have their own unique capabilities, technologies and nuances. If you continually put people into notification hell when they share your posts, they WILL share them less frequently.

For example, if someone clicks the like button on one of your posts on Facebook and you always follow that by tagging them in the comment section of your post, you have now put them into notification hell. Every new comment and additional thank you that you make on that post is sending a notification to someone who just liked the post but didn’t comment.  Thank tagging for everything on Facebook will often create a negative feeling that will result in them engaging with you and your posts less often.

It is hard enough to build a community in social media, let alone get that community to see your posts, engage with you and achieve real measurable results. Don’t get caught up in the cycle of new by alienating your existing audience in ways that cause them to stop engaging. Relationships develop over time and giving your community reasons to continue to engage and do so more often, over reasons to stop engaging is crucial to your social media marketing success!

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Filed under Community, Content, Engagement, Facebook, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

1 Easy Way To Increase Social Media Engagement Right Away

There are a few things we know about most human beings. Things that make us human and also extremely unique in the animal world. We are certainly creatures of habit we both consciously and unconsciously migrate toward the path of least resistance and embrace activities that make us feel good inside. We also avoid things, activities and people that hurt our feelings consciously or even unconsciously. These unique aspects about people also correlate with our online connections and relationships.

Increase EngagementThis came up Monday on one of my Facebook threads where I posted about sneezing and subsequently popping my neck and back out. Yes, I know I am old, let’s move on shall we? :-)

In this thread, my good friend Rick Cooper made a comment of – “Rick Cooper – Is there anytime you don’t have a computer or mobile device at your fingertips Robert? You’re the fastest responder in the West!” To which I replied, “Robert M. Caruso – When I’m asleep Rick Cooper. Social media is real time. When people comment it’s because they are there, right then. The best way to get fewer comments on your posts over time is to lengthen the time you respond. Guess the best way to get more engagement over time?”

Social Media RespondingHere’s the full thread.

Whether you are consciously aware or not, you are gravitating to people that spark a good feeling inside your being. People that are helpful, like-minded or provide you value and insight that you connect with. You are also often unconsciously avoiding people or situations that make you feel uncomfortable, unvalued or hurt. With the higher frequency of social media interactions as compared the number often experienced in real life, the life cycle for feelings, good or bad about a specific person or situation are often much shorter. In other words, we do way more online in terms of interactions than we are able to in real life.

Social media is real-time. What I mean by that is that just as in an offline interaction, it is happening right then and each comment/response cycle is not typically spread over days, but happen in the instance the first communication begins. In social media however, some tend to extend the interaction cycle over an extended period of time by not responding to comments on or shares of their posts.

The easiest way to increase social media engagement over the long term is to be in the present.

It is extremely important to understand the parallels between social media marketing and the real world and the subtle dynamics that make the difference. If in fact social media marketing is real time, responding and engaging in real time is extremely important. The fact that someone is commenting on or sharing one of your posts, right now, means that they are present and available, RIGHT THEN.

Unless you are a celebrity that millions are following and hang on every post you make, all the while knowing that you’re likely never going to acknowledge your fan comments, shares or presence whatsoever, you should be, just like in real life. You see, most people have a genuine expectation to be appreciated and recognized when complimenting, commenting or otherwise “helping” someone else. It’s human nature.

Think about it. If you spoke to someone at a party and they didn’t respond, or if you introduced them to someone interested in what they do for a living and they stepped in front of you and pretended you didn’t exist, would you engage that person or share their business card again? Most people that are willing to be honest about their feelings would have to say they wouldn’t.

So the best way to increase social media engagement is to respond in real time. By doing so, you put a few things into motion in your community that make a massive difference over the long term;

1) Feel good – Everyone feels good when they are acknowledged. Doing it in real time increases the chance that they will engage more at that moment, and more importantly, engage you again in the future.

2) Appreciated – When you feel appreciated by someone, you desire to be around them more and know more about them. You make your audience feel appreciated when you are there and responding when they engage with you or your content.

3) Repetitive – In keeping with what we know about human beings in the opening of this post, we know we can subconsciously create repetitive actions with people by making them feel good, appreciated and like you are always there when they are.

People repeat activity that makes them feel good. Responding in real time, when your audience is there and engaging makes this possible.

In our next post we discuss 4 Ways That Reduce or Kill Social Media Engagement Over Time.

 

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Filed under Community, Content, Engagement, Facebook, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

How To: Expand Local Business Social Reach Through Content Creation

Even the smallest brands and individual online marketers need to create relevant content for their target audience. It’s about creating thought leadership in certain topics, staying top of mind with your audience and driving traffic to your site through your blog or other social platforms.

Expanding Social ReachThere are many types of content creation that marketers and small brands can and should be doing. Some of the types of created content are; Blog posts, video, images, graphics, infographics, email newsletters, landing pages, events. Most of these kinds of content creation can be done with limited resources, using smart phones or by outsourcing to experienced small agencies.

Expand Your Social Reach:

One of the important and often overlooked reasons consistent content creation is so important is that it provides the opportunity for local businesses and small marketers to expand their social reach. By consistently creating content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience, you also generate content that other social media users want to share.

At the heart of effective social media marketing is sharing or “curating” relevant content from others. In fact, when done properly, about 80% of what a social media marketer posts should come from sources other than themselves. This means that they need recent, relevant content on a daily basis and a lot of it!

Some How To’s:

  • Be consistent with at least 1-2 blog posts per week. Make it easy by using images and videos you capture in and around your daily work and personal activities as the basis for your posts.
  • Optimize your posts around locality and topics both your audience and content curators are interested in.
  • Share your content with hashtags both your audience and content curators are using and following around your locality and topics.
  • Write for legacy, not always events. In other words, create content that is not event-driven but is timeless and can be posted, read and consumed long-term, not just for a specific date or event.
  • Identify and build relationships with social media accounts that post and share about local content frequently. By developing these relationships, they will likely find and share your content as well.
  • On the day’s you publish your posts, schedule shares on Twitter up to 3-4 times across the day and once on other social platforms.
  • ALWAYS include at least one graphic in your posts.
  • Share the graphic from your blog post on image networks like Instagram and Pinterest with a link to the blog post it came from.
  • Share your legacy content in your social streams repeatedly over time.
  • Start conversations with your target audience when they post something that is connected to one of your recent posts. As the conversation develops you can mention a blog post you did on the topic and share the link. (when appropriate)

Some Never Ever’s:

  • Never tag people/accounts when you share it on social media. We call this spam. Earn relationships that want to share your content.
  • Don’t create content that is only and always about you, your company or what you do. Instead create content around what interests your target audience at a rate of 80% and 20% of your blog posts should be about you, your products, services and specials, etc.

Content creation can be a very effective way for local businesses to drive traffic to their website. It is best done when it adds value to the target audience and is not-self centered. Include outreach campaigns to develop relationships that need your content for their social media strategies and always thank those that mention and share your content.

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Filed under Blog, Content, content creation, Curation, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, SEO, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Spam, Strategy

Questioning The Status Quo Of Content Marketing, Traffic, Social Reach and SEO

When it comes to blogs, content creation and digital marketing, most content marketers are trying to achieve one main thing – TRAFFIC. You develop quality content for your audience in the hopes that you can generate new traffic and then repeat traffic that returns often. Mostly this is done through SEO, social reach and email subscriptions that connect your created content with those that find it interesting, relevant and valuable.

For the professional blogger, big brands or content sites, all of this comes together through high volumes of frequent new content, multiple authors and massive traffic. With very little budget, the average business, marketer or brand is often competing in all Status Quo of SEO and Content Marketingareas of online marketing, including social media, SEO and email subscribers in an uphill battle for eyeballs. The resulting content marketing, social media and search quandary becomes a high school-like popularity contest with few winners.

Popular content becomes the driver without regard for quality and social media becomes flooded with people sharing the same piece of marginal content. The social graph is flooded every day with shares of blogs, articles and news from the same sites and writers, which often contain tired, reused story ideas. Does this sound familiar?

Here are some questions we are asking ourselves:

  • For Social Marketers:

1) Is there a difference between recent/popular and recent/relevant content?

2) If curating recent/popular content drives more clicks and shares, does it also result in the desired engagement and relationships with your target audience?

3) Does curating the same popular content sources/authors day after day achieve real net results?

  • For Content Creators:

1) Is most popular search results benefiting the content creator as much as driving Pay Per Click competition for an advertising platform?

2) Does “tribal” sharing really achieve measurable results, clicks, views and expanded social reach of/by your intended audience?

3) Does the status quo effectively get your content in front of both your target audience and those that need it for curation?

Should the Status Quo Somehow Evolve?

As we continually ponder these questions at Bundle Post, we are also considering answers that have the opportunity to level the playing field between big brands, content sites and the average blogger, writer and brand.

  • Are there more questions we should be asking?
  1. What would it look like if content marketing, blog traffic and SEO were turned on its head to better benefit content creators, curators and the content consumer?
  2. What if there was an easier way for content creators to get their content in the hands of those that need to curate it, thereby expanding their social reach with their actual target audience?
  3. What if all the great content that is often undiscovered could better compete with the recent/popular content sites?
  4. How would content marketing, SEO and traffic evolve effectively if most recent/relevant quality content, not popularity became the bar?
  5. How can something like the Bundle Post RSS Project be used to positively impact brands, curators, consumers and social media marketers?

We are purposefully not answering some of the questions because we want to know what you think. We’d love your input and ideas.

 

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Filed under Blog, Brand, Content, Curation, Results, RSS Feed, SEO, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing

Should Engagement Be Valued Over Sales In Social Media Marketing

Social Media Confused BrandsIn a word, NO!  Engagement should not be valued over sales in social media marketing. Engagement is simply part of the required functions of social media marketing that leads to Sales, but only when done properly.

A report published by eMarketer last year states that brands believe consumer engagement and brand lift were the number one goals of their social media marketing. Consumer engagement represented a 17% increase in this goal, which replaced “positive sentiment” as the number one goal just a year ago.

The study further shows that in 2011 increasing sales was the number one goal of social media marketing, yet it quickly dropped below 50% by 2012. Now brands seem to be even more confused on priorities, as increasing sales is now cited as the leading goal by 58% of the respondents.

These new statistics seem to indicate to me that many still don’t have an understanding of how social media marketing is best utilized at the brand level. It also makes me think that confusion and lack of proper strategy and execution make changing the primary goal of their efforts an easier migration, then actually achieving real results. Scary? I believe so…

In just three short years, brands have modified their social focus from actually achieving results from the channel to the fluffy measurement of likes, comments and shares as a metric of success. So the question is, should engagement be valued over sales, or should engagement combined with a proper strategy lead to a focused sales, revenue and ROI metric approach?

Here are some questions that I think should be answered by most brands:

1) Is the Effort vs Return worth the time spent to obtain engagement?

2) Are you seeking False Positives in the form of engagement in order to measure how well you are doing?

3) Is the Activity you are performing to achieve engagement appropriate?

4) Is your Strategy and Execution wrong, therefore leading you to focus on engagement instead of sales/revenue?

5) Have you defined your Target Audience appropriately in order to actually achieve sales/revenue?

6) Are you avoiding Sales and Revenue as a top priority because you don’t really know how to achieve that?

7) Are you Changing Your Goals year after year to fit what you ARE achieving, instead of adjusting what you are doing to achieve what you know you should?

I think there are some significant flaws in the thinking associated with this report by the brands that responded. I believe there is a disconnect in understanding effective social media marketing and how to do it. I believe that the limitations brands are self imposing, prevent them from actually doing social media marketing in a way that achieves real results.

What do you think?

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Filed under Brand, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Uncategorized