Listen, Monitor, Adjust | *Blueprint for Social Media Success*

Have you ever Googled your name or the name of your business?  Of course you have. Researching your reputation on line is an essential part of launching and growing a business.  In fact, listening to the social conversation should be the very first step you take in creating a strategy around your social media marketing.

Brand marketing success often depends upon asking the right questions. Here are five key questions to ask yourself before launching a marketing campaign.

What are they saying about me now? It’s essential to know exactly where you are, right now, in terms of visibility, reputation and brand trust.  You can’t change the consumer’s mind or reinforce what they already think of you unless you know what they’re saying.

  • Setting up Google alerts for your name, your business name, your product, your competitors and leaders in your industry is an easy and free way to begin monitoring the conversation.  Twitter can also be used as a real-time conversation monitor.  Checking your @replies, DM’s and RT’s will show you how well you’re doing in spreading influence.

Are they saying what I’d like them to be saying about me?

  • Through listening and monitoring, you’ll be able to gauge the effectiveness of your messaging. Take a look at how others list you on Twitter. If they’re using the kinds of keywords that you’d use to promote yourself, then your message is hitting target. But if you’re being listed as “annoying,” “follows back,” or “sales oriented,” you might not be hitting a homerun with your messages.  This is simply information.  Listen, learn, and adjust.

What are they saying about my competition?

  • Again, Google searches and using Twitter and Facebook to keep an eye on your competition, can help you understand how consumers are responding to competitive messages. You can use this information to adjust or increase your messages.

Is there a weak spot in the competition’s offering I can fulfill?

Listening will help you discover new product and services that a competitors fans and followers are asking and give you the opportunity to fill that need before someone else in the marketplace does.  Think of the listening and monitoring phase as market research for new product development or as a way to develop enhancements to your current offerings.  Let the customers tell you what they want.  Then produce it.

What if no one is talking about me?

This is valuable information.  If nothing comes up when you Google yourself and/or your business, you’ll know that you’ve got work to do.  A strong social media presence, strategically delivered content, and a good marketing plan will change that and help you garner the visibility you and your brand need to succeed.  A solid social media marketing cycle will include, at least these five key platforms:

  1. Facebook Fan Page for your business
  2. A Twitter Account
  3. A Branded YouTube Channel
  4. A Blog
  5. A LinkedIn Profile

We’ll be talking about how to use these five tools to drive your brand messages and conversations across multiple platforms to engage with the widest possible audience in a new 9 module training beginning in April.  Until then, please let us know if you have specific questions about increasing your visibility and building your brand.  Post your questions here and we’ll continue the conversation.

Nice is a Brand Strategy | *Blueprint for Social Media Success* Tips

It cannot be said often enough.  People do business with people, not companies.  The “know, like and trust” factor will differentiate your brand above others.  This is especially true for companies who want to market to women through social media.  We do not want to have messages pushed at us by strangers. We want to be seen, and heard and we want brands to respect our time and offer us value.  We value them even more if we develop an emotional response to the brand and the product.

Social Media platforms evolved as a quick way to stay in touch with friends.  Individuals posted short updates about their state of mind, their plans for the day, invited others to join them and, in general, used social platforms as expanded text messaging.  These social beginnings have rapidly morphed into highly sophisticated spaces for marketing, building brand awareness, real time data mining, list building, selling and community building.  Yet what has endured is the value placed on a culture of nice.

Nice is the underlying attitude that people connect on Facebook and YouTube as friends or fans, people on Twitter follow one another and even on the more formal sites such as LinkedIn people are connected.  Brands who understand social media language are mastering the art of nice by remembering that friends, fans and followers expect to be treated differently than clients or customers.  Social niceties are not a surprise.  They are expected and respected.  Acknowledging comments from fans, retweeting something important or interesting from a follower, saying happy birthday to a friend, solving a problem for a frustrated connection—these are the ways successful brands use social media to increase their social currency, develop brand evangelizers and promote positive feelings about their brand.

Gary Vaynerchuk understands Nice. So does Dani Johnson, Kathy Kinney, Mari Smith, Zappos, and Social Media Examiner. Zappos highlights a “fan of the week” on their Facebook Wall, Mari Smith holds regular free Facebook chats to help fans solve problems, Gary Vaynerchuk says Thank You and encourages others to do the same.

There are unlimited strategies any brand can take to make sure Nice is at the heart of their social media marketing strategy.  Here are five ideas to jumpstart brand nice-storming:

  1. Notice your fans:  Everyday visit the Facebook profile of at least one fan who have commented on your brand fan page.  Acknowledge the comment and answer if there was a question.  Thank them for taking the time to visit your brand page. Take an extra moment to read their last two posts. Make a mental note.  Are they a parent? Do they love the Knicks? Is there some emotional connection you can make with them over a shared interest?
  2. Acknowledge your fans: Once a week, on your business fan page, do a mini profile of a fan you’ve connected with during the week.  Introduce them to your community and thank them for being involved with your brand. Invite them to post their business page or website link. Celebrate them.
  3. Reward your fans:  Once a month give something away—advice, coupons, a personal consultation, something that rewards the community for being involved with your brand. Their “like” action is valuable.  Make it worth their while.  Let them know they were smart to like you.
  4. Build face time into your strategy: Once a year, engage with your community in person.  Offer the community the opportunity to meet you, your brand representatives or someone from your company in person.  If you’re traveling, host a meet up.  If you’re in one location, simply set aside a lunchtime and let people know where you’ll be.  This doesn’t have to be hard or expensive.  Just be available and make it known that you are.
  5. Put a face to your brand: Occasionally post video messages on your social media sites.  Make these short, pertinent, timely, useful or simply grateful messages designed to let your friends, fans and followers know that behind your brand is a real person—a nice person.

Brands that do not understand the importance of Nice are losing mind and heart share to those brands actively courting the friendship of millions online.  Nearly ten million people chose to be fans of brands on Facebook—everyday!  Every marketing and publicity firm needs to be asking themselves where Nice fits into their overall brand strategy for clients.