January 19th, 2012
I guess it was inevitable, but we’re quickly seeing companies dividing up into two social media camps: those that get it, and those that don’t. Take one indicator: how companies respond to customer complaints. As Jay Baer pointed out, an amazing 70 percent of companies didn’t respond to customer complaints in a study of 1,298 Twitter complainants (Maritz and Evolve24).
I’ve personally tweeted negative comments about experiences with big companies like United Airlines and Chase Bank, with no response (vs National Rental, which responded quickly to my tweets about a mishap at one of their rental locations). By comparison, I’ll bet you’d respond if you’re a small business owner and your business depended on it.
Why? Because you’re closer to the customer. Bigger companies-ok, let’s say marketing and communications departments-are several degrees away. They’re detached from the customer. This will have to change.
Getting to know and help your customers-customer service- isn’t rocket science, but it does take work. Entrepreneurs and small firms who depend on repeat business get this.
I was reminded of this recently when I hired an exterminator to get rid of some pesky ants around my house. Read the rest of this entry »
November 2nd, 2011
People talk a lot about passion, and for good reason. Without passion, nothing happens. For me this applies to every life endeavor: building a company, nourishing a relationship, raising kids — or driving a social media program.
Whenever I’m lucky enough to work with a company with passionate bloggers and content creators, I know the deck’s stacked in my favor; things just tend to fall into place much easier.
But unbridled passion by itself isn’t enough. Like a wild racehorse running around a track-it needs to be managed, channeled and sustained.
Here’s some suggestions, based on my ups and downs working with giants like Cisco, HP, and Sprint and many smaller firms.
- Recruit motivated bloggers: Sounds simple, but many companies try to shoehorn people into this who don’t have time or interest. The challenge in any organization is getting people’s time and attention, training them and channeling their energy. You need to cut through all the inertia and make your program a priority-no easy task. There’s always something more urgent than writing a blog post-so find people who’ll find ways to do it anyhow. Read the rest of this entry »
November 2nd, 2011
Volumes have now been written about Steve Jobs and his monumental achievements and contributions to the business and consumer world. Paradoxically, though, it’s what he “left out” that helped shape so much of his success before he died October 5th.
Jobs had an uncanny ability to define the essential elements of anything-and ruthlessly cut everything else out. The result would be a long string of artistic masterpieces: the Apple logo, the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad. Compare it to the typical hardware product like a Windows-based PC, usually loaded with features we don’t need. Simplicity and elegance vs complexity and baggage.
“That was the essence of Jobs’ unique genius — understanding that absence defines presence; that the only path to the great new things of the future was the merciless elimination of the good old things of the past,” Jeff Yang writes in a nice piece in the Wall Street Journal. Read the rest of this entry »
September 2nd, 2011
So you’re still not on Google+? Or maybe you’ve stuck your toe in the water but holding back to make sure G+ is the real thing.
Better get busy. Google’s already grown to 25 million plus users in only a few weeks, and they could be opening thefloodgates to brands soon-Ford is already test-driving its business page. No one knows, but I believe with its financial muscle and market power Google+ will emerge as the leading social platform for business once it fully integrates is search and other tools (Gmail, Chrome, etc).
So you need to hedge your bets by getting involved in G+. But that doesn’t mean you need to throw all your eggs in this basket, or spend all your waking hours on G+. There are ways you can manage your time and use G+ selectively and strategically.
Below are seven examples of maximizing Google+ (efficiently), based on my last few weeks of working on the new platform.
1) Think rifle shot vs shotgun: Avoid the temptation to use G+ like another broadcast medium, as many do on Twitter, or duplicate what you’re doing on other platforms. Use G+ to supplement your other channels. What are you missing from you other channels? What can Google+ provide, keeping in mind some of the unique features? What will your key audiences be looking for from G+ they’re not getting from Facebook or Twitter? Read the rest of this entry »
August 31st, 2011
Why Can’t Brands Connect?
So brands are chomping at the bit to jump into Google+ ?
Understandable with all the hype, but we may be getting the cart before the horse. The truth is most brands-and most companies–are still struggling with the other platforms. Social media is still foreign to them, and most flail around like fish out of water (to use another animal analogy).
Marketers know this problem. The issue was raised again in a nicely written piece recently in Advertising Age. The author concludes with, “In a nutshell, they need to act less like brands and more like people.”
The problem is “brands” are not people, though they are made up of people. And in many ways a brand is the antithesis of a social-oriented business, mostly driven by processes and an insatiable need for “results” and ultimately profits.
Rather than reinvent, we’ve shoehorned social media into our corporate framework. We’re still doing everything the same, just in new channels, disguised as social media.
“Schedule 10 tweets this week” (and make them sound real).
“Focus on driving our XYZ corporate message in next week’s blog.”
Companies should know better, given their experiences with content. Read the rest of this entry »