Tag Archives: Social media

Tactics, Tactics…Strategy

Too Much Sex, Too Little Jesus
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

The caveat about reading this entry and my blog, is that you’ll instantly see that I’m direct and honest. It’s because I’m passionate about what I do and because I care.

So, as a Social Media & Marketing consultant, it’s my job to understand my client’s business. As a 15+ year brand marketer, when I work on an assignment, I need to know what they want to accomplish and how it fits in with their overall business objectives. It’s just how I think and do business. I want to know the whole Megillah because I provide better value that way.

Having been on the client side for most of my career, I feel comfortable in being able to write this article from the context of a Client’s POV. When a client hires a consultant, a lot of the time, they  have a very specific initiative in mind. Ok, so I can take that and run with it, no problem. They know what they want to achieve and I’m the catalyst to get them there. Again, no problem.

However, when clients want to join the “Conversation”, or do any kind of marketing for that matter, I sometimes see a knee-jerk reaction to Just Do It. And, as a consultant, who knows to ask the right questions, sometimes the client just wants to enter the space because they can’t stand reading about it, or hearing about it at the water cooler or hearing about it from their boss (or from their kid for that matter). They come to me and say Savvy, I just want to be there. Make it happen.

Ok. You say you want to enter the space. You say you want to be on MySpace or LinkedIn, or Facebook and have a blog and go on Twitter. Or, you want to do this promotion, or a campaign, or a stunt. Ok. And so I ask…Why? What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to reach? What do you want to say? Do you know what people are saying about your brand?

Oh.

In any area of social media, or even marketing for that matter, looking at the particular project and how it maps back to your overall business objectives is the first thing to look at. As the consultant, I’m always going to want to ask my clients these questions. It’s my job to do that. It’s my job to tell you solutions that will work for you and your business.

The title of this entry was inspired by game Duck, Duck…Goose. Why? Because, and we’ve all been guilty of it, we get stuck in the tactical side of marketing. The cobbler’s children have no shoes…right? So, sometimes it’s difficult for us to take a look at our own business and we think very tactically. It’s Ok, you’re not alone. Whether you use a consultant or an advisor, make sure someone (besides your boss) holds you accountable for what you want to achieve with your marketing. Savvy has to do it too! So, my advice…when you have a great tactical idea, make sure you stop and ask yourself, “How will this initiative support my marketing objectives? What results do I want to achieve that will justify this spend?” You’ll be a better marketer for it. And a better client.

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Ideas Worth Spreading
Image by Rico-san via Flickr

I was recently introduced by a friend and former colleague to Ted Talks. I had always known about the conference, but not that they were hosting all of the talks via video on their site. I was amazed and so excited by it. So, I went and took a look.

After completing my profile (I was intrigued because they asked interesting things of me, not just my email address and Opt-in) that I willingly signed up. I then performed a search based on specific criteria, and I was amazed to find Sean McCullough of ping.fm, and Kay Koplovitz — media mogul turned VC listed on the site. I thought to myself, wow, you’re in good company!

Cut to I listened to the guru of all viral media (and a rather intuitive Marketer), Seth Godin. Ok, I know, you’ve read all of his books. You subscribe to his blog. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But in the 20 minutes that he had to speak, he hammered home one of the MOST important differences in Marketing. It’s that we HAVE TO STOP INTERRUPTING OUR AUDIENCE. I was yelling. Did you hear me? Go and view it for yourself. View video now.

The A #1 Rule. Find the Influencers. They’re out there. We can find them. Let them tell your story…through podcasts, through blogs, through Facebook pages, through LinkedIn Expert requests. Give them something valuable and compelling to promote. Have your audience put widgets on their sites and then push content to them. Heck, start at the top and make those people your ambassadors. Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s like that shampoo commercial that Joe Namath did back in the 70s “And she told 2 friends, and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on.” I’m not telling a lot of you Marketers something you don’t already know — or haven’t been doing. A lot of B2B and B2C Marketers have been doing this for a long time now. I’m just reiterating the importance.

That’s why I love Social Media as a part of the overall Digital Marketing strategy for a brand. Big or small — Social Media is a new avenue that we never had before where we can really talk to our customer on this deep a level. I’ve heard it quoted and I wish I could attribute it that Social Media is “The World’s Biggest Focus Group”. Why I get so excited about it is that it allows us to have conversations and really get in touch with people that are passionate about your brand. In traditional marketing (and I’m very much a fan of some of traditional marketing practices still), you are pushing, pushing, pushing. If the a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? Nobody knows. (That’s a whole other debate.)

But in the Social Media world, and this is where it can get sticky for larger brands…your fans will let you know exactly how they feel about you. And boy will they. But what separates the wheat from the chaff are the brands that are willing to take a dive, and be strategic of course, do a little listening, and enter the space. Have those conversations. Value your consumers. Think of Social Media as another tactic in your marketing arsenal. And don’t forget to budget for it. I’m a marketer that has worked in TV, Radio, Print, and now online. As I was telling one of my clients, On-line is becoming splintered or segmented — just like what Cable did to Broadcast. Embrace it! Amazing!

Comments are accepted and welcome!

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Newspapers Getting Smarter – Taking it Local

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

Now, we’re starting to see some smart things happening in Media. But unfortunately for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, it may be a too little too late.

However, one of my favorite iconic newspapers, The New York Times, is finally getting smart. From my local Brooklyn blog, Brownstoner, it was announced today that “The New York Times is introducing a hyper-local neighborhood blogging initiative today accepting postings on cultural events, bar and restaurant openings, real estate, arts, fashion, health, social concerns and anything else that goes on in the ‘SoHo of Brooklyn’. Beginning with pilot sites covering Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and Millburn, Maplewood and South Orange, N.J., each site will accept text stories, photos and short films and will be overseen by a writer/editor from the Times.”

What I love about this announcement is that the Times is figuring out a way to build community. What’s also interesting, is that they are focusing on a very specific audience segment. Another really smart move. They are taking what’s important about Social Media – making it authentic, transparent and relevant and they are bringing passionate people together who love their neighborhoods — and connecting them. What’s also interesting is that I personally know that there has been a huge migration of people from these Brooklyn neighborhoods to these NJ, suburban communities. The authenticity by bringing neighbors together and connecting them is spot on. Maybe this is a real estate strategy too?!

What I don’t think people, who are new to Social Media understand, is that doesn’t always have to be about Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. That’s where other so-called strategists fall down when working with clients. They push to develop communities on these sites as a band-aid approach, but never really take a look at the over-arching digital strategy for the brand. That’s where I differ from other strategists. I want to know the business objectives and the total brand strategy when working with my clients. Shame on those who just push Facebook pages at you.

Sorry, I digress…Social Media is very much about connecting people with aligned interests. That’s what brings value to your readers and audience. And, in this case, the funny thing is that I happen to live in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, right in the footprint of this social exchange — with many friends and relatives in South Orange/Maplewood NJ area. That hits me right in my “community”. So, NY Times, nice job. Really nice job. I just may go and contribute some valuable content to my community. Isn’t that what being social is all about?

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Business Development in Today’s Economy

View of Wall Street, Manhattan.
Image via Wikipedia

It’s no secret that budgets have tightened up, businesses are scaling down and that cash is king.

Business development efforts are becoming the lifeline of companies right now, but there are still some simple, strategic best practices to implement that can help you close more business.

There are 4 simple mantras, which I call the 4Cs. They are:

•    Connection
•    Collaboration
•    Clients
•    Criteria

There’s a 5th mantra, but I’ll save it for later.

Connection: It’s exactly what it means. It means finding new and different ways to connect with people and companies that creates awareness of your brand/company as well as driving leads. Connection means reaching out to your current clients who can direct you to other companies that may benefit from your product/service. It also means have a lot of conversations with people in an industry that can lead you to more people. It means being courageous to really put yourself out there. It also means having a refined position or elevator speech that can get someone’s wheels turning on how to help you right away. Offer to buy someone lunch or coffee. People always need to eat, right? Other ways to find new people are through social media (LinkedIn), industry organizations, networking events, your family and friends. Don’t know how to really leverage social media? More on that later.

Collaboration: Who could add a vertical channel to your business? Who could you be aligning yourself with strategically? You offer X to clients, and you know someone that offers Y, so how can you pool your resources and knowledge to win new business? Seek out partners that bring something to the table that you don’t, but have a shared sphere of influence where you can both reap the benefits. Be willing to share as opposed to keeping it all of yourself. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Clients: For god sakes, know whom you are talking to before you contact them. Research their vertical. Read their website. Google them. Find them on LinkedIn. Read the trades, WSJ, get on to Hoovers. But make sure you do your homework before you have a conversation. Your potential client wants to know you have an understanding of their business. It makes for a productive and intelligent conversation and believe it or not, many people don’t do this simple exercise. Clients want empathy and want to know you understand their challenges. Do the same when you’re networking with someone as well.

Criteria: Before you ever pursue a particular business vertical, establish clear criteria upfront on what would make a good client. I know, right now you’re thinking, jeez, anyone will do. No, they won’t. You still have to grow your business smartly and strategically. You want to have clients that you can bring value to, but they should bring value to fuel your growth. Are they a portfolio/client list builder? Is there a service you don’t get to offer often, but can with this particular client/vertical? Is it a good case study? Will it give you entrée into a new vertical you haven’t pursued, but are well positioned to capture? These are just a few things to look at, but you should determine what the exact criteria should be for your business.

Oh, so, I promised you a 5th mantra…It’s P, for Passion. Be excited, be motivated. You should be driven to pursue this client, business, vertical. It should inspire you. It will actually take you further – to work harder, later, smarter, faster. Clients can smell that. They want to know you’re excited. And during this difficult time, there’s something intangible but yet measurable about Passion.

Questions, comments? Please send them my way.

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