Tag Archives: social marketing

Measurable Social Strategies for Corporate Communications – Part 4

6 Aug

Here’s the fourth of this week’s ideas for measurable online social engagement strategies.  I’ll collect these into a single post for easy viewing tomorrow.

In many ways, I think this is the most important idea of them all.

Idea 4: Empower Employees…and manage them.

Employees are consumers. Employees are people. Employees have networks both professional and personal. And you never know when that will help … or hurt … your corporate goals. Employees engaged online — through blogs, private forums, social networks like Facebook or Twitter, or industry forums — are ambassodors of the brand. They are problem solvers. They are recruisters. They are sharers of the promotions you want to “go viral”.

The Knowledge@Wharton blog offers some great case studies in a recent post — Del Monte Pet Foods chats with consumers about problems and ideas to shape new products. HP has 50 bloggers engaged in product communities every day.  E&Y uses Facebook for recruiting.  As Joe Kraus of Google is quoted in that post:

“What all organizations need to prepare for, said Kraus, is a completely social web, where “your users will simply expect to be part of the conversation.”

What communications needs to provide is policy that guides engagement but does not constrict.  Or, to put it another way, to encourage employees who want to help the company, while offering reasonable advice on how to do so without hurting the company, or their own livelihood.  Charline Li offers an informative listing of corporate policies that are great examples of how very different companies come at the challenges and opportunities of online social engagement.  Worth a read…and a whole new post that I’ll save for next time.

Measure by improved search engine positioning, increased media attention, greater website traffic and sales leads.

Further reading:

Idea 1: Doing better PR

Idea 2:  Geting in front of…and catching up to competitors

Idea 3: Being ready for the crisis.

Contact me to work with your company.

Measurable Social Strategies for Corporate Communications – Idea 2

4 Aug

We’re talking about measurable social engagement strategies for corporate communications — reasons to get started for public relations professionals who haven’t made engaging in online networks a part of their day-to-day business.  I’ll be sharing an idea-a-day this week.  I’m suggesting ideas that can become part of your daily routine, and part of strategic programs, along with ideas for how to measure their success.  Here’s idea #2:

Idea #2: Getting in front of…or catching up to your competitors.

You might do a few searches and find that no one is talking about your brand and think, “My customers aren’t using social media — I don’t have to worry about this yet.” But…are you sure about that? Maybe they just aren’t talking about you… The first, most important step is to make sure you’re watching — that you’re monitoring the forums, topics and keywords that are important to your reputation and sales.

If your competitors are being discussed without you, there’s an issue to address — how can you become part of the conversation?

If customers are complaining about competitors’ products, is there an opportunity?

If no one talks about what you do…there may be an opportunity to start something new — a web portal, blog or partnership — or an indication that online resources need to better support offline interactions.

The remedy is to actively monitor, evaluate and plot a strategy that delivers for your company.

Measure by links back to your website from social networks, tone of key messages visible online, search engine positioning.

See also:

Monday — Intro and Idea#1

Contact me to talk about communications strategy, positioning and messaging for your organization.

U-Haul or MyHaul?

25 Aug

My wife and I needed to move a couch yesterday, and re-discovered the great deal that is the $19.95 rental fee for a 10-foot U-Haul truck.  My wife admitted — and then was picked on for doing so — that she never realized that “U-Haul” is so named because they let “you” haul stuff.

So I suggested back that you’d never name that company “U-Haul” if you were starting it today.  Back in 1945, it made sense.  The country was on the move, and folks were willing to move themselves.  But it was almost impossible to rent a truck or trailer for a one-way trip.  Sam and Anna Mary Shoen came up with a business model, a name and painted a lot of orange trailers.  U-Haul was born with a promise to a “do-it-yourself” nation — as U-Haul puts it, “Serving U Right Since 1945.”

Today, the Shoen’s would probably have come up with “iMove“, “MyTruck” or “MyHaul” (and, for the record, I was picked on right back for suggesting this — U-Haul is a great name!).

Today, it seems like branding isn’t about the feeling that “we” the business are serving “you” the customer, but more about how “we” and “you” are all on the same side.  It’s not just a business where I buy stuff, it’s all about me, myself and I.  It’s not “YourSpace”, it’s “MySpace”.  There’s a burger joint that’s not the Burger King, it’s “MyBurger“.  At Coke.com, you can ‘Design the World a Coke,” as if you were a part of the great effort to bring cola happiness to every corner of the globe. There’s MyYahoo, iTunes and iGoogle (OK, so yes, “YouTube” is the exception…).

In social media circles, we talk constantly of engaging the consumer, of enlisting our biggest fans as advocates, of encouraging consumers to take over the brand by empowering them to discuss, review, comment and create.

This is an important, vital shift in the marketplace that is only growing in strength.  To a point. There’s a population out there with a passionate need to create and express themselves.  If they love a brand — or hate it — they’ll find an outlet in that.  They will “create” for your business, and you can be a part of that with them and with the right care and feeding it open all sorts of opportunities.

There seems to be a backlash.  Small example, interpreted far too broadly:  Microsoft Office 2007 puts files in folders called “Documents,” “Pictures”, “Music” and “Downloads” — they’ve removed the “My’s”. I think the pullback of the “my” trend will save the news business as well: While people want the news they want, and many want to participate in sharing and amplifying the news, the popularity of blogs and collaborative news sites like Digg and Metafilter indicates an equal desire for news judgement — whether it’s a guy with an opinion, the wisdom of crowds, or the (hopefully) evolving standards of a proud journalistic tradition.

The answers are complicated, and they are simple.  Complicated, because customers are diverse, individualistic, and exacting — and expect you to treat them that way.  Simple, because good businesses come by the right approach naturally.  They know that there are plenty of folks out there who don’t want “your business” to be “my business.”

They serve.  They entertain.  They inform. They deliver.  They don’t just create one more thing for me to do. They do something for me.

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