Tag Archives: fail

When Brands Fail To Remain Relevant, They RadioShack – Who’s Next?

Now that the buzz and media frenzy about the demise of RadioShack and the analysis of why by Wall Street and other experts  is beginning to subside, another consideration should be examined. What happens to brands that do not remain relevant, stop innovating and sit on their hind quarters? Well in short, they RadioShack…

When Brands Fail to Remain RelevantAre You Relevant?

On and offline businesses should be getting a clear message that remaining relevant through evolving with changing times is a must. The penalties for not doing so can be incredibly harsh as we have seen with many top brands in North America that became so massive and full bureaucracy that they could no longer move or even make decisions quickly when times changed. A reliance on their “brand” coupled with an expectation that their customers would remain loyal if they continued to do business and usual has resulted in many going the way of RadioShack.

Many have commented and speculated as to the reasons for RadioShack and other big brands falling, but the details all tend to simply boil down to not remaining relevant and changing with the times. We’ve seen very similar results with the likes of Palm, BlackBerry and even Kmart. Regardless of the industry, company size or product niche, brands and marketers must realize what their customers want, how their buying habits change and how marketing and delivery of products and services continually change.

Who’s Next?

We believe the next industry that we can expect to experience a significant shake up is in the content world. Now we bet you are thinking we mean online, and that will be part of it, but for this discussion we are referring to content providers, television and Hollywood.

Just like digital disrupted the music industry with the rise of the iPod and later online music services like Pandora and iHeartRadio, the cable and satellite space is going to be in real trouble. Visual content we normally think of for television, movie theaters and DVD players has been on a long transition toward streaming services via the likes of Netflix and others.

Now before you start thinking “duh, we know this”, it’s important that we take the discussion to a deeper level. Beyond the innovation of technology resulting in an advancement in relevance that Streaming Video providers are delivering to the market, there are a few other things that they are taking advantage of that might not be as obvious.

1) People hate their Cable Company – Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but most of us dislike Comcast and the like. We feel you have extorted from us for years, displayed horrible customer service and near zero concern for us as a customer. Your social media has highlighted these facts to many and your prices are not sustainable. Most of use want something better, that gives us control, without the $200+ monthly bill.

2) Content is becoming a Commodity – With the internet expanding in technology and access on a daily basis, we know how to get the content we want, without being tied to our television. Though we like our local content and special “shows”, we are tired of you controlling the content we have access to and when and how we can access it. Additionally, your technology is seemingly ancient and we want the latest, easiest to use and non-tethered options that fit our lifestyle.

3) On Demand Rules Consumption – The way we want to consume content is changing. We have increasingly busy and diverse work hours and responsibilities for career and home. We want access to content when it is convenient for us, not you.

These are just a few of the reasons that Comcast and the like are going to see a disruption in their monopoly businesses. Technology is advancing and driving down price, while increasing access, mobility and on demand capabilities today’s consumer wants. Innovation, service and care has all but disappeared in the space, while prices and restrictions continue to rise. Consumers are screaming for alternatives and the industry is only clamping down harder to retain their domination. This opens the door for massive market disruption.

Online Disruption As Well?

These similar constraints and concerns will ultimately disrupt online content consumption patterns as well. As consumers increasingly tire of Google and Facebook controlling the content they’re able to see and easily discover and marketer frustration is amplified for many connected reasons, a shakeup to the status quo is certainly going to come in short order. Consumers want the most recent relevant content in increasingly simplified ways and content marketers, brands and blogs need improved abilities to get in front of those consumers with their content. Do you see the similarities here? Another space rife for disruption.

How do you see relevance and innovation disrupting on and offline brands, marketers and consumers in the future?

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under Brand, Content, customer service, Facebook, Google, marketers, Marketing, Social Media

4 Significant Advantages You Have Over Big Brand Social Media

Social Media AdvantagesSocial media marketing often gets media attention and viral activity when big brands create a big budget video designed to attract attention and be shared. Consumers often connect with humor or emotion contained within such videos, share them and the next thing you see is the media and news sites writing about how awesome or effective the campaign was and what you need to learn from the situation for your brand. Sound familiar?

Big brands are also singled out when they commit an epic fail within social media marketing. Writers and the media love to jump on the bandwagon for these situations and turn another company’s misfortune into traffic, viewers and subscribers.

In both cases, there are often few connections between these fortune 500 companies and your business or personal brand. Nothing they do within social media can seriously be translated over to what YOU should be doing. In fact, it is my belief that most major brands are largely clueless about social media marketing, engagement, relationships, selfless value and their audience. And you know what? They don’t have to.

Large brands have spent millions and probably more like billions on branding, major media advertising and exposure over the last 15 years prior to the heydays of social media. Their purpose and focus for being in the social graph is more liken to being forced into it or solely to further their other advertising efforts, rather than a corporate culture shift that compels them.

Let’s be very clear here. I am not speaking about EVERY major brand out there, but certainly MOST. Don’t believe me? Just mention your favorite major brand on Twitter, or comment on a post on their Facebook fanpage and prepare for the ignored silence you will receive. For most it is about branding and additional impressions, not relationships, conversations and connecting with their audience.

Having said this, there are several distinct advantages that small and medium-sized business (SMB) marketers and brands have over large behemoth corporations that you may not consider. Understanding these advantages and leveraging them within your social media management is paramount to winning in your space. Let’s outline a few of these advantages.

“there are several distinct advantages that (SMB) marketers/brands have over large behemoth corporations”  Tweet:

4 Significant Advantages You Have Over Big Brand Social Media

Decision Making – One massive advantage you have as an SMB is a lake of corporate bureaucracy. You have the freedom to make decisions and execute on them without committees, corporate politics and meetings. You can perceive needs, identify opportunities and respond to them as you see fit.

Nimble – In business there is something to be said about having speed. Speed to market and the ability to shift, change and pivot are distinct advantages online. Having the freedom to make decisions and the ability to quickly act upon those decisions is incredibly valuable to a social business. Market changes, trends and the latest news provide opportunities to the nimble brand within social media. Your ability to act upon these information pipes faster than the larger brands should be an important part of your social media strategy.

Relevant Value – As we defined above, large brands often make their social media marketing an extension of their media advertising and branding efforts. YOU have the ability to transcend branding and elevate your efforts to the human level. You are able to share relevant, selfless content with your audience that big brands don’t. You’re able to comment on your target audiences posts and open communication channels that build real and lasting relationships.

Understanding this point and executing it properly, provides your SMB with numerous opportunities to out maneuver big brands and gain traction far more rapidly than they ever could.

Mistakes – Finally, you can make mistakes with your social media marketing efforts with far less impact to your brand. You’re not a massive publicly traded company with executives that are far more afraid of what could go wrong within social media, than how to make it effective. You can make mistakes, own them, apologise and move forward without a massive media or social graph backlash that requires thousands of dollars, public relations repairs and time to heal from the impact. You can press your social efforts ahead without fear of making a brand-killing mistake. Talk about freedom!!!

As you finish reading this blog post and go back to your day, I would like to challenge you to consider these advantages. Ask yourself if you are actually leveraging them in your favor. At the end of the day, you have many opportunities to be more effective than these big brands. Maybe not in raw numbers, but certainly with more speed and as a percentage.

Stop trying to emulate what big brands do in social media and instead focus on being human, engaging and with selfless value. At the end of the day THIS is where you can outperform your biggest competitors.

4 Comments

Filed under Brand, Content, Fanpage, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter

Part 2 – 18 Amateur Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

More Amateur social media mistakes to avoidIn Part 1 of our series on Amateur Social Media Marketing fails, we covered some of the more common mistakes we see on a daily basis. We are continuing our series with an additional nine mistakes that you really should avoid.

Again, we want to reiterate that this post is specifically for those that are using social media for marketing. We also want to restate that there are no steadfast rules to social media marketing, just best practices.

Everything in this post is designed to educate you on things that you may want to avoid and provide you with the details as to why.

 

Here are the 9 additional amateur social media fails:

10) Inviting Followers to Connect Somewhere Else – Someone walks into your store and someone on your staff tells them, “hey, it would be great if you went to our OTHER location on 5th street.”  How well do you think that will go over with your customer? If you wouldn’t do it real life, don’t do it in social media.

Your new connection has connected with you where THEY wanted to. Make the connection valuable and interesting enough for them to WANT to visit your other connection points.

11) Not Following Others – You’re so cool that you don’t care about anyone else but yourself? #FAIL When I see a social account that has thousands of followers/friends, yet follows very few of them back, I run!

There are typically only three reasons that they do this:

a) They’ve purchased friends/followers/likes to appear important.

b) They think they are really important and it’s all about them. (they don’t care about anyone else)

c) They have no clue about social media marketing -or- relationships.

12) Mass Event Invites – So you have a new event and you want everyone to be there so you click to invite people on your friends list. STOP! It is more than acceptable to invite people to your event that you have a relationship with and/or are in the city/state of the event you are promoting, but mass inviting your entire “friends” list is a huge fail.

Would you send invitations to everyone in your address book to a local Christmas party you are holding at your home?  If you answered yes, we really need to talk…

13) Cold Facebook Page Invites – Nearly identical fail to number twelve is mass inviting people to you or your clients Facebook page. If we had a dollar for every time we had been invited to like a page for a company that is thousands of miles away from us, about a product or topic we have no interest in, or from a person that has never engaged with us in any way, we would be driving a Bentley.

Build relationships first and earn the right to pitch what you do, your other social properties and events, etc. – And for the love of everything that is Holy, target your invites to people who are geographically or demographically appropriate! (*takes deep breath)

14) Cold Group/Community Invites – Groups and communities are great for some people and niche topics, but remember that many others don’t think so. Before you invite someone to your group or community, be sure they want to be in it. Recognize that the notifications and noise that many groups generate are much more than individuals want every day. It’s not about YOU!

Build relationships with people you would like in your group and ask them if they’d like to join. Randomly inviting people to your group is such bad form and annoying to most. You’re showing your newbie again.

15) Falling Asleep – Ok, not literally, but figuratively. The best way to kill your social media engagement is to not respond when mentioned. On the same note, the slower you DO respond, the less effective you are going to be.

16) TrueTwit Validation – Probably one of the biggest Twitter newbie fails is TrueTwit. Imagine starting out a relationship with a new connection telling them that you don’t trust them and you are also too lazy to look at their bio to determine if they’re real or not. THAT’s what you are doing by using the TrueTwit app.

Read more on the fail that is TrueTwit click here

17) Klout Focused – So you got Klout game? So what… We suggest that you spend far less time focusing on your Klout score (which can easily be gamed and has no relevance to your social media marketing skill, ability or results) and focus your time on actually getting real results.

Because you have a number that makes you feel important, does not change your pocketbook. Focus on real results and the things that you should be doing to get them.

18) Cluster Posting – Since social media marketing is not your “real focus” and you’re awful busy, posting 22 pictures in a row on Instagram every morning, 14 Twitter posts that same hour and 8 Facebook posts that afternoon makes sense. At least you got your required number of posts done today, right? Not so fast.

Cluster posting as we like to call it is kind of like the person at the dinner party that never shuts up, takes over every conversation and makes everything about them. Don’t be that person. Spread your posts out across the entire day, every day. Do it consciously, with intent. You’ll lose less connections, frustrate fewer people and most importantly get way better results!

Wrapping It Up

You really need to understand the why surrounding what you are doing in your social media marketing, not just the what. Understand the effect your activity has on your connections and the things you should really avoid doing. If you are just doing something because you saw someone else do it can be a recipe for disaster.

Did you miss Part 1? Read it Here

What stood out to you in this series? Is there anything you disagree with?

14 Comments

Filed under Engagement, FAIL, Followers, influence, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

18 Amateur Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid – Part 1

Social media marketing isn’t rocket science, however there are an incredible amount of details, nuances and procedures that not only take time to understand, they’re changing on a daily basis. If you’re using social media for marketing, you are constantly bombarded with tools, activities and methods from thousands of people. Without knowing, we often replicate what we see others doing without regard for that persons experience, methodology or effectiveness.

This post is designed for anyone attempting to use social media for marketing. If you are a happy social networker that could care less about the marketing elements of this space, this is definitely not the post for you.

Amateur social media mistakes to avoidThough there are no specific “rules” to social media marketing, there are best practices, methods or procedures that are considered to be proper etiquette or conversely, actions that are just plain amateur. You are free to use social networks in any way you choose, but you need to understand that the activities you employ and the conduct you display says an awful lot about you, your experience, professionalism and real understanding of what social media marketing is.

One of the most frustrating things about some of these mistakes is that many that claim to be social media experts, consultants and coaches make them every single day. It never ceases to amaze us how when the inexperienced are leading the less experienced, a large population of ineffective marketers result.

In an effort to avoid furthering ineffective activity, we have put together a short list of amatuer mistakes that we see on a daily basis. Following are the first nine, which represent some of the most common newbie mistakes we see all too frequently.

Are you making any of these amateur social media fails?

1) Automated DM Pitch – We just met (connected) and you’re already trying to take us to bed? Date a little before doing beginner things like this.

2) Spam Tagging – Don’t tag people in posts that pitch your stuff or link them to your blog post. Just like in the real world, you need to EARN the right to share your stuff.

3) Group Tagging – I know you’re busy, but there’s nothing at all personal about tagging 12 people in a post to thank them all at once for sharing your post. This not only won’t build a relationship with any of them, it won’t make them want to share your stuff much longer if they’re simply grouped up with a bunch of others.

4) Keyword Spam Tagging – This is one of the biggest social media marketing fails of all. Searching for a specific keyword/phrase used in posts on a social network, then based on the keyword, tagging the account in your sales message.

Social media requires relationships and conversations. If you don’t know someone who is using a keyword or hashtag or have not yet built a relationship with them, it’s no different from sending cold spam emails. Don’t do it!

(BTW – we ALWAYS report and block for spam like this)

5) Automated Engagement/Responders – Social automation is required to be effective and efficient. However, automating “engagement-like” messages to your stream is simply amateur and everyone can tell it’s automated. It’s like being in the first century and screaming into a crowd that you have leprosy. Nobody wants to be around you.

6) Automated “Newspaper” Posts – Lazy much? Automating these useless things to your stream and tagging people in them provides what value?

Posting that something someone tweeted was so good you added it to your “rebel page”? Really? Why would I want it there and not shared or RT’d on the platform in which I posted it. If you think you’re doing anyone a favor, you should think again.

7) Automated “Top Influencer” Posts – This one seems to be used most by folks that have no strategy and really put little effort into their social media marketing. Tagging people who you never engage with in order to claim how cool, influential or engaging they are isn’t very helpful to anyone. In fact, everyone knows it’s automated and you never engage or do much else on social media anyway. We don’t recommend it.

8) Cryptic Bio – Imagine going to a live networking event and you meet someone for the first time. You ask them what they do and they avoid the question or give you a lot of cryptic gibberish. Trust is immediately in question and you will tend not to engage in a conversation with them much further.

Be clear and tell people who you are and what you do. This builds initial trust and will increase social selling opportunities that come to you automatically.

9) No Name In Bio – People connect with people, not small brands and logo’s they’ve never heard of. Now we know you are very proud of your company and want it to be huge like Starbucks or Pepsi, but you’re not yet. So treat your Twitter profile as if you are attending a live networking event. You wouldn’t put “ABC Company” on your name tag, would you? Tell people your name so they can connect with a human. Do it right and they’ll want to know what ABC Company does.

We continued with Part 2 of our post and you can Read Part 2 now. In the meantime, consider these 9 best practices and upgrade your executional efforts to things that will actually get real results.

10 Comments

Filed under Engagement, FAIL, Followers, influence, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Strategy, Twitter

How NOT To Do Facebook Ads

Over the weekend I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook and came across this Sponsored Post from the United States Postal Service, USPS. It caught my eye because it had Spider-Man prominently displayed with the caption “Always at your Facebook Ad Failservice” accompanying it. This immediately trigger some thoughts and emotions about the USPS that many Americans might have. The words “Always” and “Service” are not some of the words that we typically or positively feel about the sinking giant.

Nevertheless, I clicked on the link in the ad to view the website, then I clicked the comments of the sponsored post to see what people were saying. I don’t know why I was so shocked, but I was. There were over 350 comments on the post and the majority were highly critical, negative or at least asking questions about the responsibility of the USPS to run such an ad.

The Spider-Man Facebook ad is part of a larger media campaign that is coupled with the release of the new film. Here’s the television ad that is also part of the campaign.

Whoever inside the USPS leadership and/or their ad agency hired to create and executive this campaign that did not see a potential negative backlash, should receive at least 40 lashes with a wet noodle. The messaging surrounding the post flies in direct contrast with the average consumers view of the government agency. Furthermore, as many of the comments surrounding the campaign point out, the agency should not be spending massive sums of money to partner on such things with Hollywood, when they are in such financial trouble to begin with. Isn’t this just common sense? Epic Fail in my humble opinion.

What can the average marketer take away from this fail?

1) Know your audience and the potential negative perceptions they have about your industry, product, service or brand. Don’t set yourself up for failure by using the wrong messaging that may spark negative results.

2) Be careful what your ad claims. Ask yourself how your audience might react to the claims you are making in your ads. Instead, adjust the messaging to fill the needs that your target audience has or a provide a specific offer that is valuable to them. Do NOT make claims that your audience may readily disagree with and spark controversy.

3) Stay clear of controversy. Brands, industries, products and services should be extremely aware of their audiences sentiment and steer clear of controversial language. Advertising is hard enough, don’t make it more difficult by introducing potentially controversial things into your campaign.

The USPS situation teaches us to know our audience very well before we conduct a Facebook advertising campaign. Their fail is less to do with who they are as an agency or how well they actually perform what they do, but more about their failure to recognize their audiences perceptions, how it relates to their claims in the ad and most importantly the controversy that could arise from it. What’s more, they failed to recognize the social media marketing consequences that can result from missing on all these points.

 

11 Comments

Filed under Agency, Brand, Community, Facebook, FAIL, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

Customer Service “IS” Sales In Social Media – 2 Examples and 3 Tips

Customer service is at the core of effective social media marketing. The beginning of effective customer service is  listening to your customers and prospects, but more than that, it’s showing that you’re listening by responding. Even further, it’s responding in real-time that delivers the message of responsiveness, authenticity, priority and that the your connections are important. Taking it all the way to an end game, proper social media customer service actually results in sales, WHEN DONE RIGHT.

Don’t believe it? Here’s one example of the right idea that misses the mark.

(I apologize early in the post for the numerous graphics, but I felt it was important to show actual threads and engagement that depict the points we are covering.)

Example 1:

Last week I had some tire trouble. Specifically, I had a leak in one of the rear tires and had to get it resolved because it would no longer hold pressure. I tweeted about it and headed off to Les Schwab to get it handled. As usual, Les Bad Social Media CustomerServiceSchwab (on site) has fabulous customer service and quickly removed the nail and got me on my way after pointing out another issue with my front tires. With no time to have the front tire issue handled that day, I got back to the office to get back on schedule.

Later that day, another Oregon tire company jumped in to check on me via Twitter. Being a social media professional I really dig attentive brands and eagerly responded about the situation. I loved that they were watching for opportunities that make sense to make a connection, but my enthusiasm didn’t last.

They took three days to respond to my reply and dropped me like I was hot. No attempt to be better than another option close to me, offer alternatives or pursue a relationship or a sales opportunity. They just bowed out altogether.

To make matters worse, Les Schwab never responded at all. In fact their Twitter account is completely inactive and never responds to anyone. What missed opportunities to make connections with customers and prospects. What missed opportunities to stand out and get a sale. Needless to say, I will not be buying tires or having my alignment done at either of these companies.

Customer service within social media is too often NOT matching a brands brick and mortar reputation or intent. A fail any way you slice it that does not achieve social selling.

*Bonus Example:

Social Media ResponseAn article entitled “Customer Service as a differentiator” last week about our customer service was published by another one of our users and sparked a pretty interesting comment thread from one reader. They seemed to have a pretty negative and misguided view of customer service that many may share. It badly needed a response and of course we responded. Are you responding to comments on blog posts that reference your brand? You should be, as they represent incredible opportunity to show ways you are different.

Example 2:

Our brand is constantly listening AND responding online. Whenever we are mentioned as a part of a discussion, we do not delay in responding, offering assistance and showing our authentic brand. When someone expresses interest in what we do, is referred by one of our users or is having an issue, we do not take it lightly. Review the following thread to get a good idea of how this works and contemplate how you can replicate something similar in your social media marketing.

Example of social media Customer Service

Customer Service Bundle Post

The results of approaching customer service in this fashion can clearly be seen. In less than an hour we had engaged a referral and helped them not only register for Bundle Post, but also got them setup and trained! Clearly people appreciate when you respond at the time they are there and not days later. In addition, sales, customers, referrals and an incredible reputation often result.

3 tips to amazing social media customer service:

1) Respond – Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it?” In social media customer service it’s more like “It is what you say and WHEN you say.” Listening and responding quickly has many benefits in social media marketing. Two of those benefits are 1) defusing frustration before it escalates and 2) striking while the iron is hot.

When someone mentions your brand in the social graph, they are doing so when they are logged in. Responding quickly ensures the conversation can progress fluidly since you already know the person is online.  The sooner you respond to a customer or prospects comment, the greater the opportunity to be of service, resulting in a sale or a positive outcome.

2) Acknowledge – Like responding, acknowledging someone and their comment or concern goes a long way. You acknowledge by responding quickly. Offer resolutions, options and suggestions that address and acknowledge the comment the user had.

**Be sure to show empathy if it is a complaint!

3) Be Authentic – You have to really care and show it. If you or your brand does not have this real view at the core of your culture, it is really going to be challenging to show it.

As we stated in the comment thread of that earlier mentioned Bonus Example blog post from last week, “We approach our business from our experienced social media marketing perspective, combined with our real concern and relationships with our users. We have thousands you can ask if you care to. We do in fact love our users because they are all based on relationships. We aren’t some gear heads that decided to make some software for social media because it’s a hot industry.”

Customer service within social media is actually selling. Sales within social media marketing should also include a mindset toward effective customer service. Together they are powerful forces that lead to real measurable results. On their own, without working together they are often short-term or at least considerably less effective.

By @fondalo

17 Comments

Filed under Blog, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Twitter, Uncategorized

The Importance Of Thanksgiving In Social Media

Regardless of whether you are in the United States, celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday or not, its role in social media marketing is eternally connected. Not the way you might think. The Pilgrims didn’t use twitter and there is no social media turkey destined to be on anyone’s table this year.

Effective social media marketing should come from a spirit of thanksgiving, lower case t. A sense of gratitude and showing thanks makes connections and relationships that cannot be accomplished using any other type of marketing. Conversing with your customers and prospects is a given, but always being grateful for their shares, comments and likes is where many big brands fail miserably.

Our experience as a social media marketing agency, and now a social media software company has shown over and over that consistently responding to your fans and follower connections yields incredible results. The overlooked portion of “engagement” is often the thanksgiving part. Always showing gratitude to your audience for their sharing, involvement and promotion of your social accounts and brand. We are hyper focused on this at Bundle Post. Both our company accounts and my personal accounts always thank those that share, retweet or like our content.

The biggest challenge with doing this at higher volumes is not simply the time required, but doing it with a true grateful heart. For us, this is easy, as we have this true authentic belief from the top down within our company. We truly do care. For other brands or agencies handling a clients’ social media, this is apparently a challenge. The biggest offenders are the major brands with the biggest followings, but small business has a lot to learn here as well.

At this point I suspect some of you reading this are thinking “Respond and thank everyone, every time?” The answer is yes. If you ignore people in your office or retail establishment when they buy something or comment about how great something was, do you think they’ll come back? If someone refers you to a friend for a business connection and you ignore them, do you think they will do that again?

Here is a cycle I have noticed when doing this for ourselves, as well as previously for other brands.

Following this simple cycle will ensure that you do not ignore your audience, while building relationships and reducing the time it takes to do both. Consistency is key here. Make a commitment to do it and be consistent for best results.

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

Google+Google

34 Comments

Filed under Agency, FAIL, Fanpage, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Retweet, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized