Using Social Networking Sites To Tune In or Tune Out?


I was on Facebook yesterday when I saw my friend Ellin’s update and post of this picture.

1234944_520237344730640_708798
© Good Lord Above on Facebook

The shared photo was created by a satirist who goes by the name  ‘Good Lord Above’.  You can read his witty and relevant commentary on Facebook. He is wildly popular and to date has received 1,000,000 ‘Likes’.

PROVOKING A RESPONSE

The bite of the  message was shocking and stopped me in my tracks. Clearly, “God” as he is sometimes called, was poking fun at the collective outrage displayed on social media outlets concerning the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman the day before. Could Affleck generate more social interest than Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s alleged gassing of his own people? As many as 1300 people had recently died in the latest attempt to quell a civilian uprising.  Yet, a great deal of the buzz on social media was whether Affleck was the right choice for a movie not yet shot and due for release in 2015. The irony, Affleck is a humanitarian in his own right and has lent his fame to highlight the plight of Congolese refugees.

DO WE TUNE IN TO TUNE OUT ?

Where was the uniform moral outrage about Syria instead of Affleck? We live in a world where we have never been more accessible to people and the sharing of information instantly. And yet, I think at times we have become increasingly superficial and disconnected from each other.  So, I am asking the question: Are social networking sites to blame? The cool thing about social media was the notion it could bring society and people even closer. In fact, Facebook – the mother of all things social media – states their mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. I think our fascination with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest is having the opposite effect. Now you can share and connect without leaving home or even speaking to people. Compared to our grandparents or even our parents, we appear to live in a more isolated and disconnected world. Can we really be alone while living with 7 billion other people?

Another friend, who is a wellness professional, recently used her Facebook page to implore her male friends and family members to request ultrasounds to detect early signs of  kidney cancer. She was spurred to write the post because a friend (the 5th one to be exact) had recently confided he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer.  She had also lost a cousin far too young to that same disease so this is a cause she understands first-hand. To her amazement, her friends and extended family were far more interested in knowing who the sick friend was. The superficiality and gossip held far more interest than the important warning.  She was shocked.

 ILLUSION OF CONTROL IN A WORLD GONE MAD

Long before the Internet, people took their message to the people to affect change. People naïvely wrote their government officials; protested, sat-in or marched  to be heard. What would have happened to the Civil Rights Movement if it had been launched via the Internet?  As we mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream speech’ at the end of August,  it is timely to ask if it would have had the  same impact  had he posted it on LinkedIn and Facebook. Now, success would be measured by the amount “Likes” or “Retweets”? Dr. King’s oratory skill and passion would have been lost if communicated through most social media channels….YouTube would have been the exception. The impact of having 250,000 people marching to the Lincoln Memorial united for change and hear Dr. King deliver his speech would have been lost as well.

Perhaps in a world often out of control, social network sites allow us to block out the bad and focus on what we deem relevant.  By and large, it is an environment you can create and control. These sites tend to form people into groups who all have the same point of view and opinion. It is the illusion of control in a world sometimes gone mad.

Does social media allow you to tune in or to tune out?

Building Consumer Trust To Earn A Greater ROI


Trust Filter by Intersection Consulting
I was at the gym yesterday unwinding after an awesome Spinning® class when I overheard some workout friends discussing how some businesses are just better at building consumer trust with both action and words.  You see, our gym is under new management and poor customer communications are a very hot topic for many of us now.  It might have been the feel good endorphins from the class; but even on a day off, I love hearing non-marketers describe what makes up good marketing communications. It seemed the criteria valued the most were “Honesty”, “Credibility”, “Responsive Customer Communication”, “Accountability” and “Transparency”. They are 100% correct and even more so in today’s socially connected world.
The discussion also provided with me a new audience to tell my favorite cautionary tale on how NOT to market your business.  Several years ago, I was flying to Los Angeles one early morning when a fellow passenger arrived late and was clearly hung over.  He flopped into the seat next to me and took a badly needed nap. He woke up 3 hours later dehydrated and needing lots of water.  Once rehydrated, “Ron” informed me he was a celebrity chiropractor to the stars and knew he could help re-align my body with a few adjustments. I am pretty immune to spam advertising and junk mail.  However, travelling at 500 miles per hour with no place to hide is another matter. At least if I had been on my computer I could have easily hit “delete”.  Ron gave me his business card and told me to call him for an appointment. I looked at his business card and could not help but notice several of his listed clients were well-known BUT also deceased! Based on this encounter, I would say Ron blew an opportunity to gain a potential client. It was also a good thing for him social media was in its infancy because stories like this now travel faster than any airplane with just the press of a button.

Consumers now in the driver’s seat

Once upon a time brands were successful without consumers knowing anything except the advertising and cost when making buying decisions.  Social Media has now empowered consumers with both knowledge and the cojones to hold brands accountable. Everything is transparent and now it the companies who have no place to hide. Consumers are savvy on everything from corporate manufacturing policies in Third World Countries to product ingredients, or deciding if the brand successfully delivers on its claims or promises:  Sketchers and Nutella have recently been sued by U.S consumers for using misleading or false advertising claims and found guilty as charged.

The new reality of a modern marketplace means brands and even smaller practitioners like Ron need to get on board. Building trust is not complicated, but it does take a great deal of work and skill to get it right. If you hope to build trust and the ability to collaborate with customers the messaging is just as my gym buddies mentioned: “truthful”, “credible” “responsive”, “accountable” and “transparent”.

Be the one who does it best and watch your ROI grow!

Google has the enviable claim of being rated by FORTUNE Magazine as the #1 most trustworthy company in the world for the fourth year in a row.  When a company garners that kind of trust it makes them even more productive and can actually help propel their business forward. Google went public in 2004. Over the next three years, the stock proceeded to blast from $100 to $700 per share. And in 2013, that stock is poised to hit $1,000 a share. Great Place to Work®, a global human resources consulting company, has spent 30 years identifying the tangible business benefits for companies considered trustworthy.  Case studies of specific workplaces demonstrated added industry-specific benefits, including reduced shrinkage, improved track records on safety, higher patient satisfaction, better quality job applicants, and more. So, regardless of the size of your company or how long you have been in the marketplace, make sure your brand promise is clear and you can be held accountable for it. Customers become loyal fans when they feel they can trust a company and that trust must be earned. Consistency in your brand messaging and fostering trust cultivates loyalty and hopefully fosters brand advocacy.  Be the one who does it best and reap the rewards.

CC BY-NC 2.0 Trust Filter, a photo by Intersection Consulting

The future becomes even more friendly-social media predictions for 2013


fc50bu

New Year’s has always been a time for reflection and looking forward to what will be. Many of us (almost 40%) plan on improving, progressing and bettering ourselves personally as well as professionally. It is with this in mind that I sit down to write my first blog of 2013.

Professional Growth

In reflection, 2012 was my year of professional growth. I stopped talking about Social Media and started walking the walk with my  own marketing blog. I also committed to being more active on Twitter and LinkedIn and sharing my professional insights and observations. And I created my Pinterest page.

2013 Predictions and Prophecies

Many of my fellow marketing bloggers have also wasted no time wading into the marketing prognostication pool for 2013.  It seems we all agree 2013 will be exciting and subject to rapid change. Perhaps the key takeaway? The consumer will continue to stay in control of the mediums and how they interact with the messaging,

Here are some other interesting trends to take note for the coming year:

• Mobile marketing has finally come of age and maturity due to smartphones and the mobile internet. It will no longer be
considered an after thought in marketing campaigns and tactics.

• There is no much more to social media life than Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  To reach your customer/audience, an increased
focus will be paid to Google+ and to more non-traditional social channels like SlideShare, Pinterest, Flickr/Picasa/Instagram
and discussion forums and question areas.

• Companies are recognizing and embracing the power of retail time marketing content to build deeper relationships with
customers and increase sales. Newsjacking will be key to being found on-line and delivering the appropriate message.

•  Companies will convert consumers into friends and friends into customers by building their web presence. Once they receive
permission and validation these companies will then develop the appropriate tactics to maximize that dialogue.

• Companies with large brand footprints such as Nike and Coca-Cola are bringing their social media and content marketing
activities in-house as opposed to leaving it to their digital agencies to handle. In doing so, they are now able to build a more intimate relationship with their social community and produce the editorial content they would like to tell.

• Integrated social marketing gains further momentum and the use of e-mail continues to remain strong but there will be an increased  focus personalization and real time communication. As an example, you now receive location-based phone texts and  e-mails as you walk by a retail location with a special offer. The opportunity is personalized and the message delivery is timely.

• Some new application or platform will come along to energize the marketplace.  It may be just like Pinterest or Instagram. At one point, few people knew of these applications, and then suddenly, everyone was using it.

What are your predictions for 2013?

 

How to Overcome the 5 Most Common Social Media Mistakes in B2B Marketing


Check out the most common social media mistakes made by B2B Marketers in this webinar from Marketing Sherpa and how to avoid them.

Oddly enough,  the #1 mistake is considering the Chief Financial Officer as the enemy when requesting more marketing dollars to deploy social media initiatives. This can often lead to a disconnect between the Marketer and CFO because the metrics presented with social media can be considered “fluffy”.  Remember, the CFO’s role is to focus on results so be ready to correlate how those conversations have a positive and measurable impact on the bottom line.”