Staying Ahead of the Curve with Social Media Reading You Can't Afford to Miss

esther-dysonMaybe it’s a coincidence, but this week a number of people have told me about their upcoming summer vacations. For weeks now, magazines and newspapers have been writing about “good summer” reads, and the criteria often includes whether it’s “light enough” both figuratively and literally. Beach reading is another term which often gets thrown around. But what if you’re not heading off on vacation? What if it’s still work as usual? Or, perhaps you’re using this summer to re-group after a recent lay-off, restructuring in your organization.

August is a good time to not only think about the curve, but stay ahead of it.  This month I’ve come across several great reads which I’d like to pass along to you. This one is an article from Strategy+Business, entitled “The Thought Leader Interview: Esther Dyson” by Art Kleiner. Esther was making her mark in the computer world in the 1980′s, as the editor and publisher of Release 1.0. “Throughout her career, Dyson has championed a diversity of ideas, social networking, design quality, and the pragmatic involvement of business and technology experts in solving large-scale social problems.”

As Dyson says in the Thought Leader Interview, “A lot of marketers call the Internet an “attention economy.” They are looking for consumers who will pay attention to their product, and they try to calculate consumers’ propensity to purchase. They think that attention mean intention. But it doesn’t…the reality is, people don’t go online to give attention, but to get it. They don’t want to be part of the audience. They want to perform and to be heard, to be present.”

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Marketing Measurement, Operations & Return on Investment

magnifying glass and moneyOn Wednesday, I attended MarketingProf’s webinar “Improving Marketing Measurement, Operations, & ROI” with Jim Lenskold, President of Lenskold Group and author of Marketing ROI, The Path to Campaign, Customer and Corporate Profitability. Jim presented the findings and implications of two research reports, Marketing ROI & Measurements Study, and the B2B Lead Generation & Performance Evaluation Study, where over 600+ marketing practitioners had been surveyed through MarketingProfs.

Jim described the challenges marketing is up against during a tough economy, what’s required of marketers, and how ROI insights can guide strategies and tactics. It’s a great presentation with valuable insights which marketers can put to immediate use. If you missed the webinar, you can view the recorded webinar here.

In a conversation I had with Jim following the webinar here’s what he has to say about Social Media:

“The strategy needs to be clear and at this time, I believe it is better suited to change the customer experience than as a traditional marketing communications channel. From an ROI measurement perspective, the level of spending on social media is often small so it is hard to detect an impact on sales compared to much larger initiatives. As social media becomes a more prominent part of the marketing mix (and the budget for it grows), it should be more easily detected.”

Are you changing your customer’s experiences with social media? Let us know.

How To Balance Your Media Diet: Wired Magazine's Suggested Servings

laptop-balancingWired Magazine’s article in Issue 17-08, “How to Behave: New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans” contains great advice on blogging, twittering/following, googling, facebook friends & photos and more.

One of my favorite parts of the article is Steven Leckart’s piece, “Balance Your Media Diet.” Leckart says, “When you add it all up the average American spends roughly nine hours a day glued to some kind of screen, and like your diet, quality is as important as quantity.”

While Wired Magazine offers their suggested servings for optimal media health, I think it’s worth stating, if you’re not spending as much as nine hours a day in front of a screen—no one is advocating for you to add more time. The message here is to keep it under wraps, and find balance where you can. So, dear readers (and family members who by chance are reading), here’s my promise; I will try to practice what I preach!

Wired Magazine’s Suggested Servings for 9 Hours of Total Daily Media Intake:

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A Little Knowledge Goes a Long Way

knowledgeThe other day I had an opportunity to speak about social media with a team at a Boston-based non-profit organization. In their profession, social media has been slow to be adopted. Some niche areas are like that; they always have been and likely always will. In this organization they were able to recognize that social media could be beneficial to their line of work.

We were together for two hours. Fortunately, I had given them an assessment form in advance to obtain information about their familiarity with social media e.g. Who has pages on facebook, linkedin. Do they send email newsletters? Are they familiar with RSS feeds? Do they read blogs? Know how to set-up up google alerts?

It was not starting from complete scratch, but I did find beginning with a definition of social media to be useful to get us all on the same page; and answering the overarching question which I believe was on most people’s minds in the room, “Why should we care about social media?”

When asked about why social media matters, I typically give my standard answer, “Because it’s here to stay.” Just like the turnabout we witnessed in the ’90s during Web 1.0, when to be a credible business you had to have a web presence whether you liked it or not, we came to expect to find organizational websites, email addresses, online contact forms, faq’s, and search capability. We’ve come to expect immediate response, and notice when we don’t receive it. When someone doesn’t have an online presence (even today), we notice it—big time!

Your guess is as good as mine as to whether facebook, linkedin, twitter, blogs and the tools we’ve been using in 2009, will be the ones that will have the most longevity, or whether a whole new host of solutions will take their places in the coming year. I think it’s fair to assume that we’ll be talking about a variation of the web 2.0 language in the not so distant future, but some of these tools will be with us for a long time as we move into the 2010′s.

As Marketing Sherpa reported, “The most significant barrier to organization’s adoption of social media, (namely 46% of the respondents) identify the reason as ‘lack of knowledgeable staff.’”

Bottom line, if we want staff to become knowledgeable then organizations need to make the resources available to them so they can acquire the tools they’ll need to work in social media.

Within twenty-four hours of my social media talk, I received an email with a link to a work-in-progress with photos and videos that the team had put together. The group had also outlined categories for blog posts, who they’d like to ask to be guest bloggers, resources to add to a delicious account, what they had hoped to monitor on google alerts. Needless to say, I am bowled over and excited for them. (BTW, If you’re reading, kudos to you!)

I’m also excited to report that we don’t have to accept “lack of knowledgeable staff” to be among the reasons why organizations don’t adopt social media. Think about the possibilities when we provide more in-depth training. Knowledge goes a long way!

Six Tips for Using Twitter for Business

Twitter Book CoverThe Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein offers six great chapters to get you up to speed on Twitter.  If you’ve already been using Twitter, you’ll still benefit from the more introductory chapters with info on retweets (RT), direct messages (DM), hashtags (#) and much more.  If you’re planning to use Twitter as part of your business communications toolkit, then you’ll want to spend considerable time and focus with Chapter 6, Twitter for Business: Special Considerations and Ideas.

There are many great tips in the business chapter, here I’m going to focus on six which I’ve found most useful (also, because I want to encourage you to go out and get the book, and not tell you everything!)

1. Start using Twitter slowly, posting once a day or just a few times a week. Once you find your twitter account to be proving useful then devote more time and resources to it.

2. Use Twitter as vehicle for holding conversations rather than for making announcements

3. Identify the Person or People Behind the Account: 

According to O’Reilly and Milstein, people aren’t interested in connecting with a “nameless, faceless entity…identify the person from your company doing the twittering on your Twitter account page.” When you have multiple staff twitters you can create a custom background to identify everyone. And you can also individual pages as we do at Weber Media Partners, where CEO Catherine Weber. also tweets messages from her own page.

4. Retweet (RT) your customers. The authors define retweeting as the act of reposting somebody else’s cool or insightful or helpful tweet and giving them credit. For example, Tim O’Reilly recently re-tweeted:
 “RT @pascale: “Her Code – Engendering Change in the Silicon Valley” here is the now public video: http://icanhaz.com/hercode

.”

Not sure about how to retweet, look at the pages of the people you follow to see how retweeting is being used.

5. Offer solid customer support: You can reply in public to customer service messages, e.g. Comcast’s page Comcast Cares, @comcastcares, is referenced as a “gold standard” for this model

6. Post mostly NOT about your company: “…think about Twitter as a way to exchange mutually interesting information…post mostly third-party links, resources and tips that would be of interest to people who follow you.

What tips can you share about twittering for business?

3 Tips for Preparing for an Off the Grid Summer Vacation

off_the_grid_iconIf you’ve spent this year getting on board with social media, you may be wondering how to prepare for vacation. Let’s say you’ve embraced the whole enchilada (twitter, blog, facebook, linkedin, google alerts, etc.) then there’s a lot of activity going across your monitor every day. So the question may be, how do you walk away and take an “off the grid” vacation?

Keep a List of Passwords & Usernames
Along with multiple social media/networking accounts comes a list of login pages, usernames and passwords. So to keep your mind at ease, bookmark the pages and keep a list in a shared file where others can access the passwords and usernames, if they plan to post during your absence.

Publish Posts for Future Dates
If you’ve been tweeting on a regular basis, you don’t have to stop cold turkey. Write and prepare any number of tweets you’d like, and set up a page on tweetlater, where you can post messages for future dates. You can do the same for your blog posts, and voilà, it’ll look like you’re working morning, noon and night.

Change Setting Google Alerts Settings
Monitoring a number of topics across the web isn’t only time consuming, it can fill-up your email pretty quickly.  Google alerts provides the option of three different settings —as it happens, once a day, or once a week. It’s easy to change the setting so you don’t come back to an overflowing inbox.

How are you preparing for your off the grid vacation?

Make Every Tweet Count Challenge

twitter whaleHow well can you encapsulate information into 140 characters? We think it can be done quite well and are up for the challenge. Over the next few weeks, beginning on July 1st, we’ll be tweeting messages from Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Marketing Benchmark Report . The 140 characters will include a reference to MarketingSherpa and a tiny url link (from MarketingSherpa http://tinyurl.com/mfjjqy), so in actuality the tweets will need to be a maximum of 94 characters–but who’s counting!

We’ll be updating the list as we go along, as well as writing comprehensive posts about lessons learned from the report. Comment here if you’d like to join in the conversation, and on twitter for realtime results.

Follow Weber Media Partners on Facebook (become a fan!), LinkedIn, and of course right here at Impressions through Media. Sign up to receive posts by email, and rss feed, too.

To obtain a copy of Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, you can find it online.

Weber Media Partners Tweets: https://twitter.com/webermedia

  • On average websites absorb 1/4 of marketing expenditures followed by search tactics & email
  • Company website elevated from a spoke in the marketing mix to hub of marketing strategy
  • Lead management process has become critical to success of marketing and sales programs

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Make Every Tweet Count: B2B Marketing Insights from Marketing Sherpa's B2B Marketing Benchmark Report

MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Benchmark ReportIn my last post, I mentioned Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. The report’s 200+ pages of research findings from 1,147 B2B Marketing professionals, and 157 charts and tables, provides an abundance of valuable information; more than I can do justice to in a solitary summary or post.  So, my plan is share portions of information which I find most compelling, a little at a time.

Make Every Tweet Count

You know as well as I do, there’s been quite the hubbub about Twitter lately, and some people are still a little cynical about how much can be communicated in 140 characters. So I thought what better way to take on a “make every tweet count” challenge, and post a series of insights from Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. The fun part too, is encapsulating the messages as best I can, while maintaining the essential part of the message. I plan to add commentary in weeks ahead, expanding on concepts from the report, along with my regular posts and social media marketing coverage.  I hope you’ll follow, and join in the conversation.

Today, I’ve posted:
“On average websites absorb 1/4 of marketing expenditures followed by search tactics & email, from MarketingSherpa http://tinyurl.com/mfjjqy”

Be sure to follow Weber Media Partners on Twitter, Facebook (become a fan!), LinkedIn, and of course right here at Impressions through Media. Sign up to receive posts by email, and rss feed, too.

To obtain a copy of Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, you can find it online.