Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

What Could Happen With A Google and Twitter MashUp

Here’s a short post – literally a brain vibe.

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Everyone talks about Twitter as the next disruptive technology.  It is the window into the soul of society.  Is that profound enough?  The real value in it is the ability to search and gather information keeping your pulse on the market and your friends.  Some, like DigitalBuzz, and TechCrunch suggest that it is the new search engine.

TechCrunch:  People searching for news. Brands searching for feedback. That’s valuable stuff.

N0w that’s pretty powerful.

On the other spectrum or search, you have Google.  The mac-daddy of all search engines.  It crawls through our websites, blogs, and social networks catalogueing our thoughts, interactions, purchases, and work habits.  The all-time best past time is Googling yourself.

Here’s the thing.  Twitter is great if people follow a structured approach to how they voice their thoughts in 140 characters.  Simply stating they are awake and brushing their teeth isn’t really all that valuable.  It’s when a brand or topic is mentioned in itself or with a link that things become interesting.  In addition, conversations are not the easiest to follow.  Google, is great for providing the synopsis but, they don’t have the ability to get into the conversation.

What if you could take Google’s crawling, catalogueing, and summerizing capability and mash that up with Twitter conversation streams?  Tweets could contain added context to their submitters, the urls sent, and the topic of conversation.

Now that would be cool.

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Conversational Preference in B2B Social Media

Anyone that tells you it is simple to get real engagement from your customers through social media – call their bluff.  If they can prove they did it, hire them!

We all know that social media is the wave of the future.  Every marketing department is putting more effort and resources toward it.  The problem is that no one can really get their arms around how to engage the customer.

Eric Brown is on target when he says:

“If there are no comments on you blog and nothing on your facebook wall except from posts from you, You have an ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD, Which is NOT Social Media”  see article

He is right.  You are really just creating another brochure website.  Why do you want to do that?

It’s only been a few weeks since I started Brain Vibe and have found that the easiest part of the processes was getting some traction.  By leveraging social networking venues, letting friends know, commenting, and paying attention to SEO, I’m pretty happy with the results.  People are starting to subscribe and follow, bookmarking is happening, syndication is working, and I’m getting good feedback and comments.   Here’s the thing, those comments, they don’t come in how I expect.  I get emails.  People don’t comment on the post, they go to my contact page and send me an email.  I also get voted up without any feedback and commenting.

I’m not getting a ton of feedback. I’d love to get more, particularly on the articles that seem to be driving viewership, subscriptions, and bookmarking.  I do what everyone says, ask for comments, create interactive posts, put up polls.  I tried a Blog Improv to get participation as well.  Interestingly, the Improv only generated 2 comments (1 from a new professional connection and I’m extremely greatful!).  But, it drove subscriptions and traffic.  Go figure.

Particularly for business marketing, I’m finding that people have preferences in how they want to interact with you.  Social media is one of those avenues and even within it is a microcosm of conversational preferences.  How we measure our success around commenting and interaction needs to be looked at in its entirety.  If I only used direct comments on my blog to determine effectiveness, I miss out on the fact that the way people are connecting with me is through email.  Some people may only vote up your post.  Sometimes, the value is “paying it forward” through reblogging or re-tweeting.  Measuring success of your efforts early on may be looking at indicators that show traction that should lead to participation and interaction.

Look at the big picture:

  • Are people sharing?
  • Are people bookmarking?
  • Are you receiving email comments?
  • Are you receiving tweets?
  • Are you getting comments in syndication but not on your site?
  • Are you finding doors opening because someone saw your work?
  • Are people voting you up?

If these things are happening, it is only a matter of time before people will comment and interact with each other and you.

Here’s what I’ll say about conversation and interaction.  It is something that you will need to nurture and develop.  What I’ll add to Eric’s perspective is that unless you already had a strong following and network to begin with, it is going to take time.  I’ve seen numbers ranging as high as 99% of blog readers are lurkers.  In social networks, there was usually an offline connection that helped to generate interaction on walls and blogs.  For business marketers that are trying to build networks with their customers, a different mindset is needed to get commenting and participation to happen.  You may need to seed participation by leveraging your offline relationships.  And, even then, if you are in PR, you know how hard it is just to get references.

What have you done to get comments?

Please, leave a comment…  🙂


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Social Media Improv

I’ve talked a lot about marketers giving up control of content.  I suggest allowing sales to be the conductors for social media in your organization.  I also suggest allowing customers to take control of the website.

I figure that if I’m going to preach, I should probably practice.  I’m going to hand over the reigns to you to create a blog.  The only guidance I’ll give is the topic.  You fill in the rest to create the story.  However, the story is collaborative.  You provide one to three sentences then the next commenter provides the next one to three sentences.  At the end of collecting, I’ll pull everything together for a single blog.

I think of this as those games where one person says a word of a sentence, the next person adds one, and so on and so on.

Note: The comments are moderated, but I’ll only remove those that are inappropriate (bad language, sexual content, you get the idea).  Comments that are supportive of the site or effort I’ll group onto another page for everyone to view.  I’ll try to fix inconsistencies due to date or where comments come in.

I encourage you to not only to participate but, play tag with your friends (25 Things Facebook style).  So, here it goes.

TOPIC:

If you could change the world, what would that world look like?

Ready, set, GO!!!

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Be Available, Be Open, Just Be There to Connect

We (my family) recently moved to a new community and needed to settle in.  Interestingly enough the easiest part was the unpacking and organizing.  The hard part, connecting to and building relationships with neighbors and others in the community we seem to have pulled it off, at least according to others.  In fact, people ask how it is that we were able to fit right in in such a short time when they or others had been here longer and didn’t know or become friendly with anyone.

It really came down to a state of BEING.

It may be stating the obvious for marketing.  However, I’ve seen many a client and company fail at marketing efforts and conversion simply because they are not where the customer is.

Building relationships is hard.  Networking is hard.  Step by step guides or top tips aside, the reality is that you have to jump out of your comfort zone and put yourself on the line.  There is the direct rejection and then there is the indirect rejection of avoidance.  I think in some ways it is easier to get over the direct rejection than avoidance.  At least you know what you did.  Silence can feel alienating.

Here is how I think marketing can focus on building relationships with customers and break out of long held patterns.

  • Be available for customers when they are ready.
  • Be open to customers for dialogue.
  • Be there, where the customer is.

If you follow these simple rules and start every marketing effort with BEING, whatever you want to communicate to your customer will get there.  If there is a fit between the value you have to offer and their need, just the fact that you are there will make you successful.

Marketing has shifting from one way company/product centric communications to customers calling the shots on how you need to connect with them.  You want them to attend events, listen to webinars, read your blogs and articles, buy your products.  However, if you are not there in availability, openness, and state, you will not connect.

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Social Network Marketing: 5 Tips to Befriend Not Sell

In a world where every marketing action has to show value and ROI, the idea that this has to change when entering into social media marketing is so completely foreign.  We all talk about the customer relationship and the customer experience, but in the end, the majority of marketing is narcissitic.

Welcome to your customer’s world.  Here, it is all about the customer.

While participating in Q&A boards on LinkedIn there was a question from a Realtor on the use of social media to help sell real estate.  A resounding “NO” hit hard and fast.  I felt for this person.  They probably thought it was a simple and harmless enough question.  But, it goes to the heart of how people feel about marketing and sales in their social circles.   Ultimately, people participate in social media and networks out of friendship and the ability to grow professional connections.  This is not a shopping experience.

I recently red a blog by Art Barron.  He wrote:

“The weekend is here! You go to party, hoping to catch a few friends, knock back a few drinks and just basically relax and have a good time. Suddenly, some stranger comes up to you, introduces himself and suddenly launches into a sales pitch.

How much of a turn-off is that? That is exactly what happens when you use certain social media sites for purposes they are not intended for.”

The key things to consider are not how to sell your wares.  It is how to connect through trust and nurture a conversation.

  1. Blogging:  Utilize in a conversational form to open discussion and allow for opinions.  Links should be to reference your other blogs or experts that may support your information.  This is not the place to link to your products. Leave that to the About or Contact sections.  If they want to know, they’ll find it.
  2. Twitter:  Promote simply.  Drive to a recently written blog, event announcement, or major news item.  Keep communications valuable and relevant.  Time limited offers should be sent only if opted in.  Don’t kill customers with Tweets!  It may cost them money but they also won’t read them.  Think about how you send emails – same context goes with Twitter.
  3. Befriending: Have a reason.  Explain why you want to connect.  An invite to a fan page on Facebook when they aren’t your target audience is spamming.  An invite to connect because you met at an event or have conversed in comments on a blog is appropriate.
  4. Be Nice:  The old adage of you attract more bees with honey should be your motto.  Don’t use social media to trash your competition.  It is not nice and in the end you look desperate and the worse for it.
  5. MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Your conversations and connections should resemble how you get to know someone at a party.  Break the ice.  A little personal flattery (I like those shoes!).  A little banter (Can you believe the weather we are having?).  Focus the conversation around the other person (You just got back from vacation?  How was that?).   Find a mutual topic for an interesting conversation.  If you are interesting, your new found friend will ask about you.

It will feel like you are not marketing at all.  You will wonder if this is what you should be doing.  But, in the end, the conversation is genuine and a relationship is born.  People recognize that you have a motive.  The trick is to entice them to ask.  If they don’t, maybe you need to work on what you have to offer.

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