Social Media Muse

Infusing Social Media with Spiritual Chocolate

Archive for the ‘community’ Category

“Your ears will never get you in trouble.”

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  1. Recommended: no more than 10% marketing messages on any of your social channels, the rest should be useful, fun and engaging otherwise people will simply unfollow you or your client.
  2. Why writing your obituary is useful: The way to success is to begin at the end. Reverse engineer your success.
  3. Real, raw, and relevant is what your audience is looking for.
  4. “Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.” The Cluetrain Manifesto.
  5. Monitoring the conversations about your business, product, or service is just as beneficial as word of mouth advertising.
  6. “Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” -Frank Tyger
  7. In most large companies, IT, marketing and sales not only do not work together, they compete with each other. Until they start collaborating as a team, you will not succeed in social media. A company that has not learned to listen to its own employees, and encourage them to collaborate internally, is not likely to succeed in integrating social media tools into its marketing mix. The whole company needs to live and believe their story.
  8. Content is King. Content is the substance of any Internet Marketing campaign. It is the information or tool that attracts potential customers to your site or your business. Social media amplifies the impact of your content. People do not want facts they want context…a story. The Patagonia brand for example has a very distinct story and symbol, their connection to the environment is what automatically spreads.


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We Are The Web

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This video illustrates exactly why I love Internet Technology, Social Media, and The WEB!

Written by Monique DiCarlo

November 20, 2010 at 2:20 am

Should you make the jump into Social Media?

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Lately I have met some scepticism about Social Media. I am not surprised, that happens to most new things. I remember the same reluctance about websites. 15 years ago when I worked for an Internet Provider, almost every new client needed to be informed extensively before they could see the potential of an on-line presence.

What I tell the sceptic or the annoyed (saying it is a hype) is that it is a tool, nothing else. Actually it is a range of similar tools. Would you go to the DIY store and tell the guy in the tool department that you want all the tools they have? No, you buy the tool that you need to complete the project you have at hand.

Same with Social Media, use only the tool that you need to create your best Marketing strategy. If your audience is not a Twitter audience than don’t use it! You’re not paying for an ad in a fishing gear magazine if you are selling panties right?

I have to agree that the use of Social media in the b-t-c market (business to consumer) is working well, but the b-t-b (business to business) market is trickier and requires a much more in-depth knowledge of you market. I would advice the b-t-b marketer to keep a close eye on the competition and other b-t-b marketers.

Social Media is not a fad, it is a shift in the way we communicate and even more important: it takes place in real-time.

Nonprofit & Social Media: a Match Made in Cyber Space

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There is no perceived difference between the two terms nonprofit and not-for-profit (only the IRS makes a distinction). Note here that nonprofit does not necessarily mean “charitable.” In this posting I intend to talk about organizations established for purposes other than profit-making, this includes entities like local government.

The online technologies and practices used to share information, knowledge, opinions, ideas, experiences, perspectives, and insights with other people; Social Media is changing the way we learn, teach, and interact with other people worldwide. People everywhere are having conversations online. There is a new on-line wave of influencers out there, and it is powerful.

Many nonprofits are limited in resources — money and time as well as staff and technical expertise. The biggest challenge is to apply the technologies that are useful to a certain audience. Most businesses have focused exclusively on using Social Media as a marketing tool. Many employers see it as simply a workplace distraction. But Social Media has the potential to revolutionize service networks and workplace learning.

In order to engage with citizens today, it is important to communicate in new ways, keep the message clear, and make information easy to get. However, technology is only an enabler and not the solution. Integration of the various online tools for access to services and information is needed to make the most out of the web. Active promotion and an integrated approach to managing digital channels are key to effective communication and engagement.

The new socially informed generation calls for two-way dialogs as nonprofits and governments are shifting their view of citizens as consumers, and allowing citizens to become contributors in the development of their materials. Social Media provides the ultimate platform to reach out and strengthen and build communities. Social networks contribute to raising awareness and increasing engagement, by inspiring people to join others to create a community that embraces certain norms and values.

How to reduce communications costs while giving citizens the information they want, when they want it? A skillfully created Social Media strategy can drastically improve online presence, increase traffic and enhance search engine results, in a very cost-effective way. The correct and timely use of on-line technologies will enhance organizational efficiency and effectiveness. People like to have the option to subscribe to certain information. More subscribers amount to more information “pulled” by citizens; this can increase website usage by 20% to 50%! People have always learned best from one another—Social Media enables this to happen unrestricted by physical location and in all kinds of extraordinarily creative ways.

Update October 15: Found this article today http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/10/gov-20-goes-local.html

“The primary benefits of Gov 2.0 that IT professionals cite include improved e-services to the public, resident participation in government, and collaboration between agencies.”

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 30, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Focus of a Social Media Pioneer

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This morning while enjoying a dark roast I opened an e-mail from a large on-line job board that targets the $100k+ job market. It was the Monday Newsletter from the founder Marc Cenedella, sent to 4 million people, mostly job seekers just like me.

In this newsletter he is talking about the importance of having a great elevator speech, something we had just covered a week ago in a workshop called: “Strategic Bragging for Job Hunters”. He had some valuable tips and several questions that will help you to formulate what your passions are, your motivations, and how you look at the future within your work environment. He suggested to make it sound like a conversation and test it with friends over a beer.

As I am preparing myself to re-enter the workforce I do often encounter the simple questions: “what do you do?” and “what kind of job are you looking for?” The short questionnaire from Marc really helps you to focus on who you are, what you have done, and what you would like to do.

In many recent articles about hiring Social Media staff, companies are warned for so-called or self-proclaimed Social Media Specialists. In an interview with the famous Amber MacArthur (a.k.a. Amber Mac) she also cautions businesses to do some good research and urges them to make sure that the person they hire has a visible track record and a passion for the industry, especially for the firm they wish to work for.

We all have to gain experience, and hopefully we’ll find a place and environment that allows for developing the necessary skills while receiving some guidance. I the past year I had the opportunity to gain such experience (on a volunteer basis) with 2 small businesses. With very little budget and no official marketing plan we did gain a lot of positive publicity with a mostly viral approach. We generated traffic (digital and physical), got many new members and clients, and of course followers and friends.

I am not an expert (yet), but I do learn something new every single day, I follow “my mentors” and try to help others who need basic Social Media advice. I am lucky because I started my career in 1993 in Direct Marketing research for the company called: “Who Mails What?” and gained so much insight in Customer Experience Management. The founder Yolanda Eijgenstein had one very clear mantra: Hug your clients (when communicating with them)! This early form of Social Media provided me with a strong foundation in both Branding and Communication.

I agree strongly with Amber that it is very important to have a deep affinity with the industry you’re working in and to have a passion for your particular service or product, in order to be a succesful Social Media Specialist. I would like to add that basic Marketing, (Copy) Writing, Branding, PR, Research, and Communications experience should be part of your back ground.

My elevator speech is almost ready, in the mean time I’ll share some of my answers to Marc’s questions.

  • I enjoy communication with a distinct audience, improving connections and processes, and help people improving their life in general.
  • It is very rewarding to see the results of gained knowledge and inspired actions.
  • I learn something new every day and it is such manifold and variegated content.
  • The Social Media field is rather young and has so much potential. I want to be a Social Media pioneer, exploring new grounds and working on fine tuning our communication around this planet
  • I have a passion for communication, research, writing, and refining.

“Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Briann Solis Principal of FutureWorks

10 Social Media Muses

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Audience

10 Social Media Muses by Monique DiCarlo (and others)

  1. New Media is focused on being found by customers. Most companies focus on finding customers.
  2. Social Media cannot succeed without a genuine focus on your customers. Social media is about listening, engaging, and responding to your customers. If you are not truly focused on your customer, you will not succeed — period.
  3. Social media cannot be a one-off project. It is a conversation not a broadcast. A successful social media initiative is not a one-and-done deal. From a marketing perspective, you can certainly integrate a promotion to ignite participation, engage more customers, and so forth, but it does not end there. This tool is there for clients to hear their own voices, to be heard by others, and to hear what the crowd thinks.
  4. Social media cannot work without organization alignment. Even if your social media efforts are focused on marketing objectives, you are opening up your brand to the world. Anyone anywhere can say anything. The purpose and objective strategy and guidelines must be shared across disciplines to respond appropriately to the “what if?” scenario. In addition, regardless of the message platform, it is rare for some customer service issues or questions not to arise, so you need to know and have a process in place to get the information you need in a timely matter to respond appropriately. The same applies if your brand is using social media as a customer service platform or any other purpose; there needs to be an understood process for communication when “stuff” happens, as well as consistency in messaging. HR, legal, PR, marketing, and other areas in the organization must be aligned.
  5. Whatever it is that you communicate it needs to be an authentic story. When customers are making a decision that matters to them, the often rely on the truth as they receive it from the community, not the story the marketer manufactured. Control what you say and when you say it.
  6. Social media and blogs are essential inbound marketing tools. The most successful blog posts are the ones that provide some kind of hard-to-find data or breaking news. Convert your Press releases into blog posts and increase views and traffic. Businesses that blog have 192% more Twitter followers.
  7. Do not only include news about your organization but also “your industry news”. Your company is in a better position than anyone else to unearth breaking news stories about your industry. What may not seem like news to you may be news to your prospective customer.
  8. Measure your link popularity and find the roads that lead to Rome.
  9. “When I’m asked about the ROI of social media sometimes an appropriate response is… What’s the ROI of your phone?” Erik Qualman
  10. People are not buying what you have they are buying WHO you are!

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 15, 2010 at 1:21 am

On-line Marketing is not an option

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During the early days of the Internet I heard the same kind of negative noise about on-line presence as I do now about Social Media. In 1998 I worked for an Internet provider who created and hosted some of the first businesses in town and often companies were very reluctant with creating a website, they had been in business for years without it, so why would they need it now? Believe it or not but there are still companies without a website or one that has been under construction for a while (not to mention the badly designed sites.) Maybe for some very small niche markets this is possible, but knowing that a vast amount of  people around the world are living their life on-line…

I am usually not a “numbers” person, but while doing a little research about how much time people spend on the Internet and use Social Media I came upon some interesting data. Let’s start with the most current data from facebook:

  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States (!)

The Nielsen Company recently came out with this current Internet Time table.

New Media is focused on being found by customers. Most companies still focus on finding customers. Key in your current marketing actions is to shift to on-line marketing and the communities where “your people” spend most of their time.

Selling =OUT Communicating=IN

People know what they want, when they want it and how much they want to spend on it, so why are they selecting your product or service? When people make a decision that matters to them, they rely on the truth as they receive it from the community, not the story the marketer writes. Whatever it is that you communicate, BE AUTHENTIC and BE WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE LIKES TO BE.

“Marketing by interrupting people is not cost-effective anymore. You cannot afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to the marketers who set up a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.” —Seth Godin

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