You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘marketing tips’ category.

While many organizations are jumping on the social media bandwagon and joining Facebook and Twitter in droves in an effort to reach the highly coveted Millenials, there is a another important group out there that marketers want to reach: Tweens.

My regular readers know how big I am on the importance and what I call the art of engaging users online, so I was pleased to see emoderation’s new whitepaper: An introduction to using community and interactive advertising to engage tweens/teens.

CEO and founder, Tamara Littleton characterizes the habits, wants and needs of this demographic and provides a wealth of helpful information and tips to marketers in this nine page document that is definitely worth a read.

Here’s an excerpt:

The biggest challenge though, is how to engage with a younger audience who has less patience, lower tolerance levels and obscure loyalties, on their own turf, without being intrusive. Brands that do it reap high rewards: word-of-mouth recommendations between peers are rife, and immediate response and high interaction levels allow smart brands to create a dialogue that can influence sales. But social media sites and online communities are where younger people hang out with each other, not with brands, or 30+ marketers. They expect to talk to their peers, and interact with their friends (although even the term ‘friend’ has been redefined by social media – many teens will have upwards of 500 or 1000 ‘friends’ on Facebook, for example. The visible number of friends has become a badge of popularity).

Read the complete document for more. Littleton offers excellent advice and various case studies that are sure to enlighten.

As a community manager, social media enthusiast and most importantly in this case… mother of a tween, I think this report is dead on.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Subscribe in a reader

In yesterday’s post, I expressed my dismay over the lack of advertising and marketing interest in online communities. I think it’s a big mistake and concluded that the main reason for this lack of participation must be time. They simply don’t have the time to invest in these communities to reap the benefits.
Yes, I know…it likely has everything to do with scale. Been there, heard that. Over it.

Peter Kim wrote an excellent post about social media marketing’s scalability problem back in August. And it is certainly an issue. I will acknowledge that.

But I’m also reading in countless blogs about how companies are now aware that it’s time to shift strategies, embrace social media and “join the conversation.” That conversation does exist beyond Facebook and twitter, and even a corporate blog, though some haven’t embraced those yet either.

Bryan Person listed what he calls some obvious reasons why marketers aren’t jumping into some of the conversations taking place in online communities, such as the one about Lasik eye surgery, that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Here they are:

  1. They (or their PR reps) aren’t doing a good job of monitoring the social web, and they haven’t seen this conversation.
  2. They *are* monitoring, see the mentions, and it just takes time to respond.
  3. They *are* monitoring, see the mentions, and don’t know exactly how to respond.
  4. They *are* monitoring and see the mentions, but the high volume makes it impossible or unrealistic to jump into all conversations (for many brands, this is certainly the case.)
  5. They *are* monitoring, following the conversations, and simply choose not to respond.

I bet Bryan’s right, and all five of those instances certainly occur. Richard Millington agrees with Bryan. He chimed in with this:

I would add that too many companies focus on the macro sales rather than the micro sales. They don’t realize that the macro attempts nearly always push people away, whilst the micro always draws people closer to the company.

BINGO! Someone hand Richard the door prize! Micro sales. That’s it!

Now, if you’re a marketer, please tell me why the time investment isn’t worth it. And how do we make this paradigm shift from macro sales to micro sales?

It has to happen. And like I said yesterday, I’m going to help lead the charge.

I still don’t know how, but as long as we keep talking about it, we’ll figure it out.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

My recent blog post about Peter Shankman’s press release prediction caused quite a conversation. In case you missed it, Shankman predicted that the press release would be dead in 36 months at a TIMA presentation in Raleigh last week.
So, I contacted Peter and asked him to respond to some of the comments left on the post. And he did.

Danny Brown wrote:

“With respect to Peter, I’d have to disagree. I would be more inclined to say that the press release will evolve and take advantage of the newer ways to communicate, but dead? I can’t see it, personally.”

Shankman’s response:

A press release on Twitter or on a Blog is as pointless as a press release itself. What good will it do? Give me information NOW, to the point, and how I want it. A three page press release, with each company blowing smoke up the other’s a__ about how great it is to merge is BS. “We merged with company ABC today to create company ABCD. This will give our customers more options, more sales, and more products. It’s good.” That’s what I need. If I want more, I’ll find it.

Johnnypr wrote:

“It’s certainly on life support but agree that it still has a chance to evolve, I just wish companies would avoid releases that start with the company name and how great they are.”

I asked Peter: “Does the press release have time to evolve?”

Shankman’s response:
Yes – The press release can evolve into NOT BEING A PRESS RELEASE. It can evolve into relevant information, when I need it, how I need it, and what I want it to be. End of story. Again, 3 pages of fluff doesn’t do it for me, or for the next generation.

Danny Brown also wrote:

“The press release is still one of the most useful mediums for recognized news sources. The newer social media release format will only encourage this, and used with a search engine optimized press release will be an incredibly powerful tool to reach as many outlets (media and otherwise) as possible.

I asked Peter: “Does this comment make you change your stance at all?”

Shankman’s response:

Useful and recognizable for who? I had a PR flack show me all the press he “got” for his client once. You know what he showed me? 35 pages of his PRESS RELEASE, REPRINTED on search engines. I literally drop-kicked him out the door.

And finally, Heleana Quartey wrote on her blog:

“One thing this argument does forget is there are still many niche trade publications that aren’t even online, and clients that don’t even read e-newsletters, never mind Twitter, so they don’t value ‘online coverage’.

I asked Peter: “What will happen to these people if they continue to stay offline?”

Shankman’s response:
Back in 1993, a Wall Street Journal reporter said to a mentor of mine, “Yeah, if this Internet thing ever goes mainstream, call me.”Enough said.
Alrighty then! Thanks Peter for sending me your responses.
Any more thoughts?

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

shankman111208Those aren’t my words, but the words of PR and marketing guru, entrepreneur extraordinaire, author and all around crazy man, Peter Shankman who you may know as @Skydiver on twitter.

I attended an TIMA event in downtown Raleigh today where Shankman was the speaker. Having served on a panel with him at the same venue just one short year ago I knew that we were in for some innovative trains of thought.

So, Shankman declared in a room full of mostly interactive sales and marketing folks that the beloved press release will be dead in 36 months. He asked if anyone in the room had even read one recently, and the number of hands that flew up were slim. He drove home four points:

Transparency, relevancy, brevity and “top of mind presence.”

He says if your clients can’t send their message in 140 characters of less, it needs to change. He also said PowerPoint is for the weak, but that’s a topic for another discussion.

Interested in some of Shankman’s other colorful quips and trains of thought? Here are all of my tweets from the event in chronological order: BTW, I’m @communitygirl on twitter.

  • communitygirl: @skydiver tells me he has no idea what he will say to this audience of 100 plus.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver has taken the podium. He is a wild man. Says powerpoint is for the weak!
  • communitygirl: @skydiver says social media doesn’t exist. Gives the power to screw up many times over.
  • communitygirl: You can’t make something viral. You can make it good and it becomes viral. @skydiver
  • communitygirl: Social media is more like human nature per @skydiver. He helped launch the AOL newsroom without a clue.
  • communitygirl: Too many self proclaimed social media experts says @skydiver.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver says google will be the winner of the profile war. People in this audience say LinkedIn is more professional than facebook.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver predicts the press release will be dead in 36 months! Anyone agree?
  • communitygirl: Teach clients that if they can’t send the message in 140 characters it needs to change. Per @skydiver
  • communitygirl: You have to like social media. If you don’t it will be obvious. If the PR guy blogs for the CEO people know it. @skydiver
  • communitygirl: @skydiver says the personal vs professional profile will go away in 12 months. You will have one profile on whatever network wins!
  • communitygirl: Ever heard of unjust tagging? How about facebook purgatory? I will blog about it later. @skydiver is a fun speaker. Hilarious!
  • communitygirl: Kids growing up with technology will be smart about it. No need to pity them at all says @skydiver.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver is now talking about top of mind presence. Use social media to the point of “remembering.”

I couldn’t tweet everything, as i also needed to eat lunch, but those are a few highlights. Tomorrow I will blog about two concepts Shankman shared: Facebook Purgatory, and Unjust tagging. Pretty funny stuff. Yeah, he’s definitely a wild man.

RELATED POST

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Subscribe in a reader

I’ve been an assignment manager at numerous TV stations throughout my career, and that involved making hard decisions about news coverage. There was always more than we needed and the day file was typically flooded with news releases.

Unfortunately, most of them found a home in the bottom of the recycling bin. I know that’s not what you want to hear if you are the one who poured over the document with the goal of creating a masterpiece, but it’s true. The good news is you have the power to change that.

Here is what you can do to keep your press release out of the recycling bin and the deleted items folder of Outlook.

  • Make them shorter! A press release is not a novel. Remember that.
  • Stop burying the lead. If the reader has to read through three paragraphs to find the most pertinent information, he never will.
  • Write a snappy headline. Try headlines that are five words or less, and make it descriptive. Avoid long company names. I don’t need to read the company’s name in the headline unless its a major news maker.
  • Experiment with different layouts. Are the words”for immediate release” a necessity? Think about it.
  • Stop using the phrase “for immediate release.” I know it’s customary but isn’t that assumed in most cases?
  • Ditch the history lesson and provide links. Is it necessary to provide such lengthy paragraphs about the history of each company mentioned? Try using “for more information” and providing links to additional information.

I suggest playing around with your press releases with the goal of making them mean and lean. And now for something fun. I will transform a press releases (into a mean, lean informational machine, (free of charge, of course) for the first two people who send me an e-mail with “Make me mean and lean” as the subject.

I will contact you later requesting the press release of your choice and we will go from there. All you have to do is give me permission to display the original and the new version in a future blog post.

Send it to angeladconnor-at-yahoo.com.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

One of the messages I tried hard to drive home during a session I held at the NC Center for Non-profits Statewide Conference two weeks ago, was this: Stop depending on the news media to tell your story!

It’s amazing that in this day and age of social media, many organizations and industries are still so heavily reliant on traditional media. I got the feeling during an informational lunch which was hosted by the Marketing Director of a local TV station and attended by several leaders of non-profit organizations, that everyone around the table would give their left arm just to know the magic secret behind getting news coverage.

“How do we get you to come to our events,” one woman asked.
As a former assignment manager at numerous TV stations, I know that there is no magic secret and I told them as much. I even went further to tell them that I was one of many managers in newsrooms across the country, who routinely tossed their well-crafted press releases in the recycling bin.

I saw shock on the faces of many. I went on to discuss the 22 minute news hole and the plight of producers charged with presenting the best and most important news of the day during that time frame. Couple that with a small number of news crews, and throw in a 2-alarm fire, and the chances of your festival or major fund raising event getting coverage are really slim. Actually the chances are pretty much non-existent.

“Have you ever thought about shooting your own video and providing it to the station?” I asked.
“We can do that?”

Yes, but you can also post your own video on YouTube and other video sharing sites. You can post it on your own website, or provide a link. You can submit it to communities that accept user-generated video. And that’s just a start. There’s so much that can be done beforehand to generate buzz that doesn’t involve traditional media.

It’s a brave new world, where you control a lot more than you once did, so learn the ropes and get involved. With social media comes freedom and it’s time for non-profits to break free.

Additional Resource


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Get the blog delivered to your inbox

Online Community Strategist

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

If you have a product or service that you think most people or a large percentage of the people in an online community would find interesting, I think you should delve right in and give it a shot. After all, isn’t one of the goals behind marketing in online communities to essentially capitalize on the sheer numbers and niche topics?

If done right, it can be quite effective. If done wrong, as it most often is in my opinion, it can backfire in a way that can turn ugly fast. I’ve seen it time and time again. A well-intentioned individual joins the community and casually starts mentioning their travel site or automotive services complete with links in every post and the promise of a discount.

What often happens next is they receive a slew of comments from the natives about the community not being a place to sell their services and it’s all downhill from there.
I once saw a user upload 750 images of wristwatches. Seriously. It was his entire catalog. Need I say what happened to him?

I call it the scarlet letter, “S.” it stands for SPAM. It’s a word you don’t want to be associated with in an online community. Trust me. So, before you jump right in to the next community, here are five things you shouldn’t do. Remember, this isn’t the do list, it’s the don’t list.

Don’t:

  1. Add links to your website in every single blog and comment you post.
  2. Write blogs with titles like: “Great deals on travel” and only mention your organization. It’s the quickest way to illustrate a lack of genuine interest in the community.
  3. Start blogging about your product or service the minute you create a profile. It will be noticed.
  4. Misrepresent yourself as a satisfied customer, just to convince others to get on board.
  5. Disrespect the culture of the community. Take time to see how things work before you jump in and shake things up.

RELATED POSTS

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Subscribe in a reader

I believe in the power of online communities. And, contrary to popular belief, I know that businesses and business owners can successfully interact within these communities, getting their messages across without being shunned, ignored or worse…labeled a spammer or marked as abuse.

It’s a delicate balance, but it can be done. It takes time and commitment and I would discourage anyone without the time to invest, from jumping in head first. Perhaps micro-blogging on Twitter or Plurk would be a better option. Online community members expect more. They demand more. And trust me, it takes a pretty hefty time investment and a certain type of approach if you want to do it right.

If you are someone who wants to do it right, here are five things you shouldn’t do, unless of course your goal is to suffer irreversible consequences, in the form of a public hanging or worse, the scarlet letter “S” (spammer) posted on your profile page.

So, if you want to successfully engage members of an online community, do not…

  1. Post a link to your store or product in every single comment or post.
  2. Post all 750 images from your catalog or brochure in your image gallery.
  3. Make your profile name the name of your website (goldwatchesdotcom.)
  4. Post blogs without any relevant content other than your huge sale or grand opening.
  5. Fail to learn, disrespect or simply ignore the culture of the community.

Do any of the above, and you’ll soon be overlooked. It only takes one time to screw up and your chances of getting back in with that particularly community become pretty slim.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The topic was: Managing Online Communities: Getting YOUR Message to the Masses.  The audience consisted of furniture retailers, independent owners and other industry professionals and all were quite interested in online communities once I began to share the value of participation.

I could tell by the questions after the seminar that business owners are interested in blogging and reaching people online in this capacity and that with the right direction and input, many of them will likely engage.

It’s a smart move.  I shared three examples. Two of which seem to have established themselves within the GOLO community , and another that probably came on a bit too strong for the community and was immediately classified as spam. Well, when you upload 357 images of your product as soon as you join the community  and never bother to introduce yourself to the community or establish your area of expertise, this is bound to happen.

I’m happy to report that the audience seemed to “get it” and I think many will seek out online communities as a way to reach a new audience.  I think that’s a good thing.

If you’re interested in my oresentation, i will gladly share. Just send me an e-mail or leave a message in the comment area below.

In my quest to deliver an informative message to the audience at tomorrow’s seminar,  I decided to reach out to a GOLO member who I’ve watched for a while.  She runs a business and has in my opinion, discovered how to co-exist in an online community by choosing the right balance of promotion and engagement. I asked Diedre Hughey, of Dancing Elephants to share some of her experiences in the GOLO community so that I could share what I deem to be her success story.  

Deidre wrote something in her first sentence that I think is very imprtant.  She said you have to have a “BURNING desire to get your message out to the public.”  I could be wrong but I attribute some of that  to the time commitment required to gain respect in these communities.

One message that I hope to send tomorrow is the importance of interacting within the community and refraining from pushing your product or service every time you post. It’s important to engage and interact with people, and understand that they don’t want you to slam your product down their throats.  If you do, you will be rejected and getting back in the good graces of the community will be virtually impossible.

Diedre indicated in the e-mail that it can be tough and she has wondered if the community is indeed her target audience.  But one thing she finds valuable is the ability to fine-tune ideas by seeing if they resonate with users, stir controversy, or “fall flat.” 

As I looked over my presentation, I was pleased to see that I’d mentioned much of what Diedre shared with me and I now feel like I’m on the right track.

So, wish me luck tomorrow and I’ll be sure to blog about the experience.

Angela  

 

Get my Book

A must read - 18 rules of Community Engagement

My Twitter Updates

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Just so you know

This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

del.icio.us

StatCounter

hits counter

Blog Stats

  • 107,262 hits
View Angela Connor's profile on LinkedIn Subscribe to me on FriendFeed
Clicky

Top Rated