I started this post over on my own blog, on how to get an internship using social media. Now I can officially take you through the steps on how to use social media to land yourself a job. In this case, I landed the job as a Content/Community Manager at Resonate Digital – all because I connected with the right people using social media.
Here are some tricks on how to use social media to sell yourself as a brand, make yourself desirable to companies and have fun while you’re job hunting.
1. Follow, follow, follow. – Use social media tools to search for people that share the same passion as you. Find those people that influence you, and follow them. Use Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Google Plus search, or Google your passion (example “Wine Bloggers on Twitter“). Follow them.
2. Stalk ‘em. – Yes, stalk these people.. Online (not in real life, there is no need to get a restraining order to get a job). Get to know what they do, what they like, if you will get along with them, etc.
3. Say hello. – Everyone likes making new friends. A simple, personalized “hello” online goes a long way.
4. Stick your neck out and ask for what you want. -That’s what I did. It worked. Sure, I got some “no’s” but this “yes” was so worth it. – Asking for an internship was so scary, but it turned into a solid job that I love and I actually have fun doing (no, I’m not being bribed to write that).
5. Be reliable, focused, be able to back up your claims. – If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
Let me know if you have any other questions about using social media to get a job (Resonate Digital is looking for a new social media intern)!
~ Bethany Fautley
Occasionally we like to “toot our own horn” because we are proud of our clients’ success. But this story stands above and beyond as a little 8-year old girl takes on global child slavery through a small lemonade stand that grew into an organization called Make A Stand.
Our challenge as an agency was to harness the channels of social media to take a local lemonade stand and build a global movement.
Make a Stand was born when an 8-year old girl named Vivienne Harr, saw a picture of two young boys in Nepal. They were about her age. They were brothers. And, they were modern-day slaves. They carried slate rocks on their backs, but they were holding hands to make them “feel better” as Vivienne said. She didn’t understand, but she knew it was wrong. She told her dad they needed to “make a stand” for them.
And so, as kids have done for time immemorial, Vivienne set up a lemonade stand and started selling lemonade to end child slavery. “It was the only “business experience I had,” she said. She didn’t understand that one child selling one small cup of lemonade at a time couldn’t possibly make an impact on something as big as global child-slavery, but she was undaunted. “I didn’t think of all the reasons why I couldn’t help; I thought of all the reasons why I must help.”
Vivienne set out to raise $100,000 by setting up her lemonade stand, every day, rain or shine.
Resonate was tasked with spreading the story as far, fast and wide as possible—without losing the remarkable authenticity of its origins. Moreover, we wanted to help Vivienne raise money for her cause of ending child slavery.
So, the agency established a “crowdfunding” page for her, and leveraging social media, the donations started coming in.
On day #52 of , the agency helped Vivienne reach out, via Twitter, to New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Nicholas Kristof.
It worked. Kristof retweeted Vivienne and that set off a firestorm of traditional and social media. The agency helped to engage influencers such as Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, Giants Pitcher Jeremy Affeldt and The Duchess of York.
On 12-12-12 in Times Square, the agency provided live coverage as Vivienne sang Katy Perry’s “Firework” to hundreds in person and millions worldwide. She raised over $60,000 in crowd-funding dollars in six days.
The agency also deployed Facebook ads and generated daily content to drive audience reach from 0 in August, 2012 to over 22 million in April, 2013.
Little Vivienne Harr sold lemonade every day for 173 days straight and exceeded her crowd-funding goal of $100,000 ($101,320 to be exact) and contributed to the freedom of hundreds of enslaved children.
Since then, she has raised close to $1 million in crowd-funding and traditional investment to start her own company and “bottle the movement.”
While the story was inherently “share-worthy,” the agency was successful in helping Vivienne’s moment become a movement. Millions of people around the world are now aware of her story. The BBC World News, ABC News, CBS News, Parenting Magazine, The New York Daily News, The Huffington Post, FOX News, Yahoo News — and over 700 media outlets across the country and around the world from Australia to Brazil to Hong Kong — have covered the Make a Stand movement. Vivienne has touched the hearts of millions and sparked a movement to help end child slavery.
The agency also helped Vivienne develop marketing partnerships with the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Disney and Hilton Hotels, primarily by establishing such a robust and authentic social media presence. The agency also helped Vivienne develop a relationship with a film crew that is going to follow her for five months and create a feature-length documentary about VIvienne’s story, leveraged in social media along the way to a nationwide theater release. After the showing, the agency will coordinate a live-cast interview with Vivienne.
What Resonate is most proud of is that we managed to build a sustainable groundswell of support for Vivienne’s cause that will carry forward for years to come. We built sufficient “social capital” so that the Make a Stand movement can continue to grow and flourish as bottles hit the marketplace.
“Today, one bad experience might cost you a hundred, maybe a thousand customers. Because of this, social media has irrevocably shifted the role of customer service from an easily outsourced, back-office function to one of an organization’s most important tactical assets.”
~Oliver Blanchard, Author of Social Media ROI
Your brand has never been at greater risk than it is at this moment. And, that risk grows not by the day, but by the minute. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
You invest thousands, perhaps millions–and untold hours–building precious brand equity, that can be literally unraveled in minutes. A single negative Tweet, Facebook post or YouTube Video can race across humanity and burn down your brand (or your name) with blinding speed. We’ve seen it time and again with vaunted brands from Amazon to Zappos. They have all the resources in the world to put out fires, and they could not even begin to contain the tsunami-like brand revolts against them. Consider this video that has garnered over 10 million views and will continue to damage the United brand, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year…for the rest of time.
And, don’t think the risk to your brand exists only from the outside. Someone who works for your company can post what they believe to be an innocuous comment that can inflict terrible damage on your brand. Case in point (WARNING: Do not drink & Tweet. It can erode brand trust in 33 nanonseconds)
That is why brand monitoring and online reputation management has become such an important component of social media. A few bad posts on Yelp, Amazon, Facebook or a mom blog—without your engaging in the conversation—could seriously hurt your bottom line. People simply won’t do business with you. Virtually every study shows that people trust peer recommendations orders-of-magnitude more than they trust corporate marketing. In other words, the consumer now holds the cards.
The ability to hear what everyone is saying about your brand online is unprecedented—and a dream scenario for any company.
It is said that every dissatisfied customer will tell ten friends about you, and every satisfied customer: maybe two. As review sites and “complaints boards” become more pervasive, an unhappy customer’s comments can reach hundreds, even thousands. These websites elevate everyone’s influence—and reach. People will never give back that power, which is social media is never “going away.”
Online reputation management is critically important, but relatively simple to develop. It requires three things: planning, proactive listening–and a clear and well-defined response mechanism.
Here are five actionable insights that can help you build a cohesive, effective brand management strategy:
You may have spent millions on branding, website design and corporate communications, but these efforts pale next to the hundreds of millions of people sharing ideas and opinions in social media. They are talking in public about companies—and in doing so, they are defining brands.
Put your ear to the ground and start listening to what people are saying. Not doing this because you are “afraid of what you’ll find” could be the death knell of your business. To move from good to great, you must face brutal facts and improve that which needs improving. Be unwavering on this. Perform searches for your company on the main social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIN. What are people saying? Is it accurate? Don’t get defensive if you find something negative. In fact, those can be valuable business insights. If a blogger laments the poor workmanship or customer service of your irregular pants business, don’t ask: “How can we get rid of this post? Ask: “Are they right? What can we do to fix it?” Then fix it and let them know you’re fixing it. I also advise against leaning too heavily on technologies for online reputation defense and “sentiment analysis.” I speak from personal experience: At the time of this writing, even the very best technologies miss critical posts, misjudge “sentiment”–and lack the “human element” so important to effective brand management. Your brand is too important to leave to chance. Put human eyes on this stuff.
You cannot control the conversation, but you can be part of it. If someone posts something negative about your brand, even if it’s not accurate, others will pile on in a mob-like fashion. For every moment you allow that to continue, you risk permanent damage to your brand.
Gone are the days when you can issue a press release to respond to crises—and be done with it. “Corporate statements” are now not only largely ineffective, they can be counterproductive. If I were advising Tiger Woods during his fall from grace, I would have silenced his attorneys and PR firm people, who made things worse. I would have sat Tiger down, showed him how Twitter works and instructed him to to be honest, admit his mistakes and tell people what he was doing to make things right. From a communication standpoint, it would be a win. Tiger’s Twitter page would likely have trumped the media coverage, and Tiger would have been able to influence the conversation. It might have salvaged a few of his sponsors. More than that, it would have salvaged his reputation.
You can turn your most vitriolic critic into your most vocal evangelist if you have humility and listen. Remember: social media is not a media. It’s not marketing. It’s not PR. It’s a human relationship. Treat it as such, and your brand management strategy will be more effective than most.
As Oliver Blanchard says in Social Media ROI: “Never get defensive, never take attacks personally, and never allow yourself to be drawn into an argument. Present the facts calmly and professionally, monitor the impact of your activities on topics relating to your brand and overall sentiment, and either press on with your response or move on.”
Do the Right Thing
When you engage in social media, be honest and have compassion. You may be managing social media for a major corporation, but you’re a person–and the person on the other end of that problematic post is a person. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it. Offer to fix it—and then, do it. It’s not good for business; it’s great for business. Bring “old school” to “new media.”
Shakespeare aptly summed up effective brand monitoring and reputation management: “Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes.”
An effective online reputation management strategy is not something you can put off until tomorrow, because consumers are defining your brand online–today.
Eric Harr is the Founder & President of Resonate Digital an award-winning integrated digital media agency in San Francisco. He is the CBS News social media expert and the best-selling author of: “The REAL TRUTH About Social Media: 8 Timeless Truths Uncovered & 8 Monumental Myths Revealed” available on Amazon.com.
“Instant karma’s gonna get you.”
Poor Charlie Wenzel. Poor, poor Charlie Wenzel. He’s quite like the hapless fella in the cartoon above. To find out why, read on. You’ll want to hear this.
On October 2, 2005 at precisely and fortuitously 9:21pm, this struggling 19 year-old decided to sell some truck gears. He listed them on an industry website for $100, plus $15 for shipping. Sounds fair. A buyer cut him a check, which Mr. Wenzel speedily cashed. Sounds good. Happy ending, right?
Actually, wrong is not a big enough word. People like money. It’s nice to have. And Mr. Wenzel wanted more. So naturally, he surreptitiously edited the original post and “showed” the buyer the “real price”: “$125, plus $15 for shipping.” The buyer didn’t buy it. He asked Mr. Wenzel to do the right thing. He didn’t, so the buyer asked for his money back. Mr. Wenzel not-so-politely declined.
Then, all [h-e-double-toothpicks] broke loose.
Mr. Wenzel didn’t nearly grasp a key aspect of social media, namely: people are in no mood. They don’t want honesty and transparency. They demand it. And they’re willing to defend it furiously.
A small but passion-driven army of red-faced people let loose on poor Mr. Wenzel. The threats eventually moved from “clicks to bricks”—in other words, from digital intimidations to real-life ones. One man, who claimed he knew where Mr. Wenzel lived, threatened to “back up a truck and pour cement” on his front lawn if he didn’t return the buyer’s money.
Naturally, Mr. Wenzel caved. I mean, concrete on your front lawn —for gears?
He genuflected on the forums, begging for forgiveness, and sent the gears back to the buyer. Too little, too late. In that time, the buyer learned the gears were not, in fact, shiny and new, but used…and used. Like any self-respecting gear buyer, the buyer wouldn’t take them back.
What ensued likely stunned Charlie Wenzel and serves as a sobering lesson for us all: His last name became synonymous with the word “fraud” across the internet. In fact, “Wenzel” became an Internet “meme,” which is essentially an idea that is propagated so far and so fast across the Web that it becomes a verb, like “Google.”
Mr. Wenzel earned a lifetime achievement award—in the Urban Dictionary, a Web-based, user-generated dictionary of millions of slang words and phrases. Here it is: “
To get wenzeled: 1. Defrauded by an Internet seller. 2. Publicly outed as fraudulent person of low character. 3. The act of being screwed on a fraudulent internet sale, as in:
“Hey, wanna buy some brand new gears for your truck?”
LOL ok, here’s $115.”
“Now I want $140 for used gears out of my 2WD truck.”
“Oh snap! I just got wenzeled!”
Imagine how you’d feel if that were your last name being bandied about like that online. Unlike an ink variety, the “digital scarlet letter” will never fade. There’s so much association between the words “Wenzel” and “fraud” online that Charlie Wenzel will forevermore be remembered as a fraud, unless he does something cosmically impressive to crowd out those search results—like discovering life on other planets.
Someone actually found Charlie Wenzel’s yearbook photo, scanned it and made t-shirts with the photo and a line that says “Handtool.” The t-shirts are selling. Just writing that makes me chuckle (and cringe).
When Mr. Wenzel’s children and grandchildren want to learn more about him, they’ll go online and discover that grandpa was…a low-class, fraudulent hand tool. And there is nothing he can do about it.
Most people have a strong sense of social justice. Now they have the tools to inflict justice. I love how the new rules of social media are in fact old school.
Mr. Wenzel isn’t old school—and in this new media, he got punished for that. He was dishonest and deceptive in his dealings with the buyer. The community made him pay more than $100, plus shipping. He paid with his reputation, plus humiliation. Sorry, Charlie.
Eric Harr is the Founder & President of Resonate Digital an integrated digital media agency in San Francisco. He is the CBS News social media expert and the best-selling author of: “The REAL TRUTH About Social Media: 8 Timeless Truths Uncovered & 8 Monumental Myths Revealed” available on Amazon.com.
You receive 77 emails everyday. (Well, according to the The Radiacti Groupanyway. Doesn’t it feel like they under-shot that by roughly 46?)
Today, I received the email pictured above from CARE. Granted, I am a CARE Ambassador, so it’s not fair: I am utterly helpless to the message. I spent time with them in Africa and it changed me in every way a person can be changed. While there, a woman asked if I would like to drink the same (cholera-infected water) she had to give to her baby girl (who was the same age as my baby girl). I started weeping, right there, in front of 100 people–with documentary film camera rolling. (Proof of how much this changed me, the day after I returned home, I sold my new Aston Martin (monolithic testament to testosterone) and made a monolithic donation to CARE.
My agency, Resonate, does email/funnel work like this for clients every day. And, something about this email “resonated” with the social strategist/marketer in me: Anatomically, this is the perfect email to compel action.
1. It’s emotional. CARE hijacked my emotions. I don’t mean that in a crass way. It’s an expression I learned recently; and it’s accurate. CARE made me feel first, think second. The old brain calls the shots; the frontal cortex merely justifies our decisions. “Pounding Mid-Day Sun.” That hit me right in the amygdala. It made me feel. The headline copy grabbed me. Journalism 101. I felt hot. So, I read on…
2. It asked for my input. People love to give their input and be asked questions. This was a savvy way move me deeper into their message (marketers would use the word “funnel”).
3. It’s didn’t make me think. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. This is fewer than 50 expertly-crafted words. I’ll read that every time.
4. It’s from a person, not a company. And, not just any person: Dr. Helene Gayle. THE person. I don’t want to hear from companies; I want to hear from people, preferably their leaders.
5. It moved me deeper into their funnel with even more emotion. Kids carrying water? Another powerful emotional hook. Now, I’m theirs. And, at the height of my emotional vulnerability…
6. They close the deal with that big, beautiful Call-to-Action (CTA) button. You have to close the sale–and it has to be compelling. (Minor improvement. In lieu of “DONATE NOW” (that’s asking for something), “CHANGE THIS PICTURE” would be more effective. It inspires and galvanizes me and makes me want to be a better person.
Oh, there’s a #7–and it’s critical: The landing page is congruent with the email: in look, feel and messaging. I learn the answer to the question about the weight of water. I learn more ways my money will help. And, I can do it all in under two minutes, from a single page.
Well done, CARE. I made another donation to you–and it felt great. I know, from first-hand experience, how much of a difference it will make, and I am profoundly grateful to you for that.
Thank you, CARE, for everything you do every day to make this world a better place. I love you every last one of you. (And stellar work on the email marketing!)
~Famous–and incessantly mocked–line from Lifeline Medical Alert TV spot
IF YOU’RE A BUSINESS OWNER, the pain of getting “Yelped” falls somewhere between a moderate migraine and a worm burrowing in your brain.
There you are: cheerfully flitting about, running a beautiful business–and BLAMO! A rageaholic on a bad day (or rather, a bad life) spends an inordinate amount of time churning out pure vitriol about your brand. Vitriol that spews every minute of every day rearing its sinister head–sending potential customers into the warm embrace of…your competition.
Frightful, I know. But, it’s a scenario that plays out thousands of times every day.
In this “word-of-mouth” economy, people trust one another more than company messaging. In fact, a recent eMarketer study found that people trust peer reviews roughly 14 to 1 over traditional marketing.
So there we have it. You may work for a billion-dollar brand with a veritable army of PR and communications people, but one articulate, scathing review on a popular review site can burn through your brand equity–and there’s almost nothing you can do about it.
Or is there?
My agency has worked with dozens of clients, monitoring their brands and managing their online reputations. We’ve learned jaw-dropping lessons about the art and science of reputation management–and I’d like to share some of what we’ve learned with you.
First, please understand–and I said it above–you are not in control. And, that’s okay. Trying to muscle your way through this process will only draw the ire of the Yelper–and the community. It’s like leading a horse to water and forcing him to drink. Not a good idea.
We’ve seen it time and again with vaunted brands from Bank of America to United to Verizon. They have plenty of resources to put out fires, but because they responded so poorly, even they could not contain the tsunami-like revolts against them.
Brands have never been at greater risk than they are at this moment. That risk grows not by the day, but by the minute. The power of the people is becoming greater than the people in power.
You cannot control the message. But, you can shape it.
That is why reputation management has become such an integral component of social media. It is important, yet simple to develop. It requires three things: smart planning, proactive listening–and the right response.
Before you respond to an online review, take a breath. No seriously, take a nice big, cleansing breath. If you must, write your angry response. Then, toss it. It will do more harm than good. And, really: When you get down to it, this one review will not matter one bit to the 70 year-old you. Let’s keep things in perspective here.
3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR
1. What is your aggregate rating? If your business is ranked above four stars on Yelp, Amazon or any other review site, studies show that the impact of one negative post is less significant. People look at your aggregate rating and number of reviews (for statistical significance). If you’re good on both (e.g. 4 stars, 62 ratings), you’re good. All you need to do is reach out to the person and post a diplomatic, decisive and public statement (See below).
2. How bad is it? Not bad as in bad, bad as in good. In other words, is it a well-composed, articulate, fact-based and non-emotional critique from someone with credibility on the review site, or worse: Web-wide? (If so, it’s time to start panicking slightly. See below.)
3. Is the person unstable? If so, that actually works in your favor. Remember most people are reasonable, forgiving human beings. If they see someone going off half-cocked IN ALL CAPS, as in: “MY FOOD WAS 1 MINITE (sic) LATE! AND THESE PEOPLE COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT MY DINNER OR MY PAIN OR MY DIVORCE! I HATE THAT WOMAN!!!!!!!!! (9 exclamation points), the people reading know the person is angry with the world and not so much their pasta primavera, and they’ll put that review in perspective.
Before I talk about how to handle a negative online review, let’s start with how to prevent it. (Sounds morbid, but this is analogous to cancer-prevention. You don’t want cells metastasizing in the first place, so preventative medicine goes a long way.) Remember: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
3 WAYS TO PREVENT IT
1. Fix Things Fast. Make it clear to everyone at your company that they treat every client, caller, and anyone with whom they have contact as if they are family members and A-list journalists. Customer service 3.0 if you will. People are empowered now, and they are intoxicated with that power–and you never know who you’re talking to. You needn’t let people walk all over you, but you need to provide A+ customer service.
2. Listen All the Time: Put your ear to the ground and listen to what people are saying. Seven days a week. Not doing this because you are “afraid of what you’ll find” could be the death knell of your business. What are people saying? Is it accurate? If someone flames your company, don’t default to: “How can we get rid of this post? Ask: “Are they right? What can we do to fix it–and build a better business?” Bad reviews provide good insights. Important note: I advise against relying too heavily on technologies for “sentiment analysis.” I speak from personal experience: At the time of this writing, even the best technologies miss critical posts, misjudge “sentiment” (e.g. human sarcasm)–and lack the human element necessary for effective brand management. Your company is too important to leave to green technologies. Put trained, human eyes on this stuff. After all, your reputation is a precious asset.
3. Do the Right Thing. When you engage in social media, be honest, care about your customers–and do the right thing. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it. Offer to fix it—and then, do it. Bring “old school” to “new media.”
3 WAYS TO HANDLE IT
1. Contact the Person Privately. Bring nothing but humility, accommodation and diplomacy to your dialog with the critic. Letting even the slightest bit of frustration or anger into the discussion will backfire (I promise). Do not focus on the review. Focus on making things right. Gone are the days when you can issue a press release to respond to crises—and be done with it. “Corporate statements” are now not only largely ineffective, they can be counterproductive. If I were advising Bank of America amidst their debit-card-disaster, I would have said: “Look, you were being greedy. Five dollars a month to use a debit card? Consumers are already spitting-angry with banks. So, do something unprecedented. Set a new standard: admit it. Apologize (and mean it). And, commit to treating customers like family. If you do that, you will win the hearts of millions. If you keep doing business-as-usual, you will continue to get pummeled–with increasingly devastating blows.” (Think they would have taken that advice? Not likely.) You can turn your most vitriolic critic into your most vocal evangelist if you have humility and listen.
2. Do Not Get Drawn Into a Fight. As Oliver Blanchard says in his must-read Social Media ROI (Que, 2011): “Never get defensive, never take attacks personally, and never allow yourself to be drawn into an argument. Present the facts calmly and professionally, monitor the impact of your activities on topics relating to your brand and overall sentiment, and either press on with your response or move on.”
3. Make a Public Statement. This is critical. It needs to be concise, civil, sophisticated and decisive. With your public statement, you’re not trying to win over the critic (although that would be nice). You are speaking to the thousands of people who are observing the conversation without contributing to it. You want to win over all of the people who are “on the fence” about your brand. Your public statement must come from a real person (e.g. Janice, Customer Service), not “ABC Corporation.” People don’t like corporate missives. Shakespeare aptly summed up effective reputation management: “Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes.”
Part of your process must be to ask current clients/customers to post reviews and ask all future customers to do the same. Sometimes, you need to call in the cavalry and get a flood of positives to dilute and marginalize the negatives. But: drip them in, lest Yelp and other review sites filter them.
Finally, in all public discourse, use the “human voice.” (To understand what that truly means, please read Cluetrain Manifesto).
All of the branding, website optimization and corporate communications pale in comparison to the hundreds of millions of people sharing their opinions in social media. An effective reputation management strategy is not something you can put off until tomorrow, because guess what?
An army of empowered consumers are defining your brand. Today.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit.
There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.
SOCIAL MEDIA HAS JUST EMERGED FROM THE DARK AGES. We’re now in the Age of Enlightenment, and while reason is beginning to prevail, the light bulb has yet to be invented. We’re still feeling our way around in ill-lit conditions, swilling Gilly Flower Cordials (17th century libation) and making out and passing out — and acting as if we know what in the heck is going on.
Truth be told: we don’t. Nobody knows what works definitively yet in social. If Malcolm Gladwell is right (and, I believe he is), there are no social media experts. That distinction requires 10,000 hours of dedicated work. Nobody has had sufficient time to log those hours (save perhaps Vaynerchuk). As hard as we work, and as good as we are, my agency has enjoyed soaring successes (picture a glimmering Clio) — and fantastic failures (picture a Borat bikini).
But, it’s all good. That which has not killed us has made us stronger. We have whittled down A social success formula to 12 steps. This is merely our best crack at it–and by no means are they commandments. As you’ll see, many of the steps are not directly related to social media. That’s because: a) there is more to life than money, and b) social media works best within a strategic, integrated marketing mix that is continually honed, refined, lathered, rinsed — and repeated.
Here are the 12 steps
1. Define What Success Means to You. Most people rush into the frenzied bacchanalia of social media with nary a notion as to what in the heck they want! “Look at all of these well-exfoliated, tech-savvy, Gilly Flower Cordial quaffing fashionistas on Twitter! I have to get on there and Tweet my ab routine!” I ask you: “Why? Why are you engaging in social media?” To you, success may not be measured in dollars. There is more to life than money. You might define success as the amount of good you do, measured in total number of positive @replies from people who you’ve helped or dollars raised for good causes. (Yes, those are invaluable “metrics.”) Now, if you are running a business, then revenue and related metrics will matter. In that case, you need to define success as narrowly as possible and be specific (e.g. “100 new, engaged Twitter followers a week,” “80%+ positive online sentiment,” “$5,000/month in new online sales,” etc.
2. Emotionalize Your Brand. We are in a word-of-mouth economy, and people only share “awesome.” By that I mean you need to supercharge and emotionalize your brand message. Immediately. You need to take a long, invigorating walk in the woods and marinate over why your business exists. Why should people care? Take a moment to watch this video (first three minutes, particularly) about the importance of “why.” Then, write down a few why-driven sentences about you/your business that will resonate with people. Remember, features and benefits win minds. Why wins hearts. And, when you win the hearts of these newly-empowered consumers, they will roll up like a juggernaut and power your business to great heights. For free.
3. Know Your Audience. Be as specific as possible relative to psychographics and demographics. Spend some time listening to what people are saying about you online. The simplest way to do this is to Google your company or use the native platforms or use more advanced tools such as Hootsuite or Radian6. You can no longer tell people what they want (Madison Avenue); you have to find out what they want. And, that begins with listening. I know it’s uncharted waters for most big brands, but they need to learn the art of listening–or they may be left behind with blinding speed.
4. Optimize Your Website. Your website/blog/online store/etc. is your primary destination for consumer call to action. It should be simply and elegantly designed around the one thing you want your visitors to do: one clear call to action. One. Otherwise, visitors will suffer paralysis by analysis, do nothing–and leave. Make sure you’ve installed Google Analytics on your site, and study visitor behavior. Then, start making improvements around what you’re seeing in the data.
5. Scale Your Social. Once you know what you want, establish the social platforms that make sense. If you are a B2B company, then Linkedin will make more sense than Pinterest. Once you’ve established your social outposts, be sure they have the same well-branded appearance as your website and other marketing materials. Then, create stellar, “share-worthy content,” start engaging with influential people in your space — and scale those social platforms! Having 100 engaged followers is great. Having 100,000 means you can really move the needle. From your mobile device. While you’re in Fiji. In minutes.
6. Embrace Email. Email still rules as the primary mode of communication online, and email marketing ranks high in terms of conversion. Constant Contact, MailChimp and VerticalResponse are three excellent services that can get you up and running in no time. Be sure to deliver great content and integrate your messaging across your social media platforms. Also, use email to draw more people into your social communities, e.g.: “Engage with us on Twitter for real-time customer service!” “Get exclusive deals on our Facebook page.”
7. Go Mainstream (Media). If you play your cards right, the mainstream media will cover your story. Create something buzz-worthy about your business. Do something creative and unique. Then reach out to local newspapers, television and radio and tell them why their viewers would love to learn about your business. (Not why you deserve to be on TV, but why their viewers would benefit from your information. Big difference.)
8. Know Your SEO. You want to optimize your website and blog content for your desired keywords, so that when people search for: “finest alpaca backpacks,” your amazing alpaca backpack site shows up. Spend some time learning more about Search Engine Optimization. Now, I don’t think you’re a dummy (heck, you are this far into this diatribe; you’re brilliant…and stubborn!), but a nice, easy-to-read resource for SEO is: Search Engine Optimization All-in One For Dummies (For Dummies, 2012).
9. Free to Be PPC. I quite enjoy intelligently-designed, brilliantly-deployed pay-per-click advertising. The impressions are free, and if you engage a well-thought-out long-tail strategy, you are driving interested people to your (optimized, see above!) website. Remember, with PPC, you don’t need to create the demand in people’s minds (as is the case with a print ad or TV commercial). People who go online and make specific, intentional searches are already there. They already want your alpaca backpacks. Craft compelling ad copy that is congruent with the user’s searches, and then make sure your landing pages are seamless with that ad copy — and you’re off to the races.
10. Swing for the Fences. To put your brand on the map, you can toil away day-in and day-out for years, but one knockout appearance on The Today Show can tip it in one fell swoop. Most people shy away from thinking big, because they think they’re not good enough (or ready) for mainstream coverage. Guess what? You are. Want proof? Look at some of the people who appear on talk shows. If they can do it, you can do it! Emotionalize your brand, craft a clever pitch, and use Twitter to engage mainstream media. A recent study found that journalists prefer pitches via Twitter over Facebook, email and the dreaded press release. If you believe in yourself and your product/service/alpaca thing, then your tipping point is out there. Go knock it over.
11. Learn. Refine. (Repeat.) The beauty of social media and digital marketing are the real-time results and insights they provide. The best results come from letting the data drive your strategy. For example, if a certain platform is generating results, channel time and resources to there and keep pushing. Always draw actionable insights out of your social data.
12. Enjoy the Process. This should be fun. Life should be fun. Enjoy the process of striving for success in social media. Build a better business, live a better life, create a better world! You have never had more power at your fingertips than you do right now. Use it well, use it wisely — and keep at it. Because these channels move so outrageously far, fast and wide, your “brand” can tip at any moment and when you least expect it
Just stick in there — and enjoy a Gilly Flower Cordial while you’re at it. You deserve it.
Eric Harr is the new Social Media Expert for CBS News and the Founder & President of Resonate Social, a boutique, integrated marketing agency in San Francisco. He is the author of “The REAL TRUTH About Social Media: 8 Timeless Truths Uncovered & 8 Monumental Myths Revealed” now available in bookstores nationwide and on the REAL TRUTH Website. [Use code “GIVEBACK” and receive 10% off. Proceeds benefit CARE, to defend dignity and fight poverty worldwide.] He is the creator of SocialSee, the first technology that shows True ROI from social media in a real-time dashboard. Engage with him on Twitter.
Social media helped win the White House in 2008. It will no doubt play a defining role in the 2012 election. Where do the President and Senator Romney stand in social media? Best-selling social media author and founder of Resonate Social, Eric Harr, scores the candidates—and gives them advice.
FOUR YEARS AGO, the Washington Post dubbed Barack Obama the “King of Social Media.”
It was a fitting sobriquet. After all, Obama used the untested new medium to flat-out out-fox and out-run the most well-oiled, well-entrenched political machine of our time in the Clintons.
But Obama’s secrets are no longer. The GOP is poised to pounce and will likely use everything they learned, with a potent mix of new tactics, to rocket Romney to victory in November.
There’s a lot on the line with social media. Experts believe the race will come down to a few swing states where undecideds can be won over in the high-touch trenches of social.
Before I score the candidates, we need some perspective:
“The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power.”
—Wael Ghonim, widely-credited as a catalyst of the 2011 Egypt Revolution
LIFE IS NOT a dress rehearsal.
Since we get just one, it ought to be our best.
To live your best life, you must know why you do what you do. That is the very combustible fuel that lights your fire and powers your passion.
I have dedicated virtually every waking moment of my life over the past five years to social media. I am irretrievably drawn to it. I seem to have a talent for it. But, until recently, I wasn’t crystal clear on why I did it. Now, I know:
Because social media empowers you.
And, when you’re empowered, humanity marches forward.
I love how social media gives us a voice—and a shot. I love how it elevates us to be true to the best we know.
I love how it fosters connections, forces transparency and foments revolutions. I love how, armed with the right message at the right time, ordinary people like
@veggefatale can do the extraordinary and bring badly-behaving corporations to their proverbial knees. I love how an uplifting video can beam across humanity and infuse people with the gift of hope. I love that nice guys, good companies and worthy organizations finish first. I love how this new generation is using social media to move mountains. I love how charitable organizations are using social media to save lives.
I love the positive impact it has on our world—and the promise it holds for our future.
It is thrilling when I see someone take to social media, find their voice, realize their power and unleash it on the world. Humans have waited millennia for this moment; and, here we are.
I believe the vast majority of people are good, honest and want to make things better for themselves—and their families. I’ve seen it first-hand as an ambassador for CARE, a global humanitarian organization.
Just look at what occurred in Egypt.
The Egyptian people had been oppressed for three decades, held hostage by a psychological barrier of fear. What Mubarak—and most of the world, for that matter—didn’t grasp was that the playing field had changed. Monumentally. The power balance had shifted. Dramatically.
Mubarak’s regime didn’t understand two key points about social media: 1) That connecting people breaks down the barrier of fear, and 2) That it could move messages and mobilize masses with blinding speed.
Cell phones and email might reach hundreds of people at a time. Twitter and Facebook reach hundreds of thousands. In hours. Those hundreds of thousands can reach millions. In days.
The Egyptian government made the grave miscalculation that they could quell this rebellion just as they had done before. But this time, nothing could contain the Egyptian people. They had the desire for change—and the tools to make it happen. The Egyptian regime was trying to hold back a tsunami with its bare hands.
As 60 Minutes later reported,
“Their revolution began not with terrorism and tanks, but with Twitter and texts … an aging autocrat who ruled as a modern pharaoh fell victim to those weapons of the young —out-organized and outmaneuvered by social media, by kids with keyboards.”
On February 11, 2011, Mubarak officially stepped down. Imagine that. The dictator who clung to power through scandalous elections, corruption charges—and six attempts on his life—could not withstand the social-driven groundswell that flat-out overwhelmed him. After being in power for almost three decades, he was out…In 18 days.
While social media did not create the conditions for a revolution, it accelerated it. The fuel was there. Social media merely ignited the fire and fanned the flames for the world to see.
Until now, dictators, corporations and governments have had no compelling reason to listen to the people. That is until enough people come together—in sufficient numbers and in public—to force the change.
That’s what social media does. It draws us together and empowers us. I can think of nothing more important and thrilling and wonderful than that.
Because when you are empowered, humanity marches forward.
Eric Harr is the founder & president of Resonate Social, which is developing a new series of “personal empowerment apps” starting with Flyright, a new mobile app that harnesses the real-time social web to give you, the airline passenger, a stronger voice—to help you resolve airline travel issues when you need it most: right there on the spot. Learn more at http://flyrightapp.com or follow on Twitter.
Social Empowerment Tips
1. Master the tools, but don’t rely on them. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, Pinterest, Hootsuite. These are the arrows in your quiver. Understand how they work and the nuances around each. Learn how to leverage from your mobile device. The more you know, the more empowered you are. Remember, though, social platforms are merely tools–and much can get lost in translation. Be especially kind, compassionate and gracious. You are dealing with real people on the other end of those posts.
2. Build your networks far and wide. Social media breaks down all barriers. Some of the most personally and professionally rewarding relationships I have forged are not in the realm of social media or technology. Do not limit yourself to people just like you, in your space.
3. Invest time every day. Like exercise, you get out what you put in. This is good old fashioned relationship building. That takes time. Bring old-school to new media.
4. Be your best self. Social media provides an opportunity for you to be true to the best you know. Put out stellar content. Be enchanting; people prefer to do business with people they like. Work towards a common cause, help others and change the world! Those are the most empowering acts of all!
The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
Two very different Toms. Which one are you with? Jefferson? Or, Cruise?
I suppose both have a point. While Jefferson may have been right on a spiritual level — heck, I love to bask in the warm, fuzzy, feel-good glow of social media as much as the next Twitterati — many businesses are now in the Cruise camp of: “Show me the money!”
There are, without question, myriad soft benefits of social media: elevated customer service, real-time market research, influencer engagement, crisis management, brand protection, brand equity and word-of-mouth marketing. But, many companies want to be able to see ROI (shocker, I know.) They want to know that social media is a sound investment of their time and money.
Here’s how to do it in five simple steps:
1. Determine Your Social Media Spend (SMS). This includes hard and soft costs, including your time. Yes, time! Despite what social media zealots say, social media is not free. Your time has value; in fact it is your most precious, non-renewable resource. If you spend $100 a month on various social media tools and technologies, and you invest five hours a month at an hourly rate of $100, then your social media spend is $2,100/month. Count it all.
2. Determine your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). This is a terribly important metric, yet most companies don’t know it. Know it. If you get clear on the true value of a customer, you can make better business decisions. More importantly, if you can engage customers and inspire them to share your brand with their trusting communities, it will boost their CLV dramatically. That’s where the power of social comes in–not so much for customer acquisition, but for customer retention–and evangelism (where the real value is). Marinate on this: If I buy your $200 shoes and go away forever. I’m worth $200 to you. If I buy your $200 shoes and you keep in touch with me, inspiring me to share my experience in social media, and 30 people buy your shoes as a result of my endorsement, my CLV just shot up to $6,100. Ask your current customers how much they roughly spend on your product each year, then, multiply by 20 to arrive at their CLV.
3. Determine New Customer Value Via Social Media (SMV). Track conversions using Google Analytics or any other website tracking software. Google Analytics allows you to slice by social. This takes time, but it’s necessary if you want to understand your ROI from social media. Track sales, conversions, etc. and place a value on those items. For some, it might be hard-dollar sales; for others (typically B2B): the value of a contact form submission.
4. Determine Impression Value (IV). There is value in impressions; it’s what traditional media sell. To determine IV, add up your impressions from Twitter and Facebook, cumulative YouTube views, website traffic and any other online source. Divide that total by 100 and then multiply by an industry-appropriate CPM (cost per thousand impressions).
5. Calculate Customer Service Value (CSV). Social media can reduce customer service costs, which is a tangible value. This is a subjective one, but you need to take a crack at valuing it. For example, if you feel like Twitter provides $1,000 of customer service value a month, write that in. It matters.
Now, let’s add up that Investment Return (IR), shall we? (Customer Value/20 (years) x Number of New Customers) + Impression Value (IV) + Customer Value Via Social (SMV) + Customer Service Value (CSV).
Social Media ROI = Investment Return (IR) – Social Media Spend (SMS) / Social Media Spend (SMS).
Now, you can have the best of both Toms: basking in the glow of the warm thought…that social media can “show you the money!”
Eric Harr is the new Social Media Expert for CBS News and the Founder & President of Resonate Social, an integrated marketing agency in San Francisco. He is the author of “The REAL TRUTH About Social Media: 8 Timeless Truths Uncovered & 8 Monumental Myths Revealed” now available in Barnes & Noble nationwide and on the REAL TRUTH Website. [Use code “GIVEBACK” and receive 10% off. Proceeds benefit CARE, to defend dignity and fight poverty worldwide.] Resonate Social is the creator of SocialSee, the first technology that shows True ROI from social media in a real-time dashboard- coming soon!
About Resonate Digital
Resonate Digital is a results-driven, integrated digital marketing agency. While social media is our core competency, we integrate it into a broader marketing strategy that includes effective storytelling, brand development, website optimization, SEO, PPC, email marketing, brand monitoring, influencer engagement and traditional media. Read More»