Marketing in the Making

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Archive for the category “Social Media Examples”

Ma and Pa and the New Year

Happy New Year! In this coming year, I hope that more of these small companies hop on the bandwagon and realize the possibilities that social and new media have for them.

I understand and do like the uniqueness and charm of a small boutique company that seems like family, but in an economy like ours and in a growing world like ours, the success of a company like that is not likely.

Having a presence on social media allows your company to extend its reach and gain a voice on the new platform where your current and possible future customers are.

Of course, how involved any company chooses to get with social media depends 100% on the target customers. This partially comes from the general 80/20 rule. 80% of your products/services are bought by 20% of your audience. Take a look at this post from Entrepreneurs-Journey blog about the 80/20 rule. (Ok, that little bit about the 80/20 rule may have been a little bit of a tangent, but I wanted to make sure to tell you about it) What I am trying to say is that your customers are the ones who should be deciding which platform you should be on, not you. Your company is catering to them and not the other way around.

These smaller Ma and Pa stores are starting to put up signs in their windows about being on Facebook or Twitter which is a great start, but in all honesty, it is completely pointless if your audience doesn’t even use these platforms. This new year, I small businesses come up to speed in an intelligent and well researched manner.

Take a look at a few specialty social networks:

Dog Lovers: http://www.dogster.com/

Interior Design: http://mydesignstories.net/

Foodies (there are soo many of these): http://www.foodcandy.com/

Sailing Enthusiasts: http://www.sailingnetworks.com/default/welcome

These specialty networks, give specialty companies a more easy and direct way to communicate with their customers.

What are your thoughts about small businesses and their involvement in social media?

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Advertiser and Fan

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and ate enough turkey to last the year. I know I did.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between being a consumer and an advertiser. Yea, I know, pretty obvious at first glance, but let me tell you what I mean.

As a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn user, I personally use my profiles in different ways than a lot of companies. I think that this should change. A big plug for social media is that it reaches the consumers and your target on their level, so why not use these profiles the same way as their consumers. It should be easier to get their attention.

Companies need to learn that posting about themselves all the time isn’t going to keep their fans interested. It is important to interact with their fans, make them feel important by responding and asking them questions. Also, talk about things that interest them in the news and such. Things like this actually give the fans/consumers a reason to keep you on their newsfeed and interested. In the end, you want your fans to not only read what you are writing, but take it a step farther. Companies want their fans to tell their friends to follow you and then actually purchase your product/service.

Luckily most companies seem to be understanding this more and more lately. They are playing the game that is social media the same way their consumers are playing it and even adding a little extra splash to it. That is how it should be.

Take a look at the great job Jimmy John’s is doing with their social media. They do a great job interacting with their fans and keeping their content relevant. Check out their Facebook and Twitter pages to get an idea. I love Jimmy John’s and just seeing the great job they have been doing on social media made me even happier.

Have you noticed any other companies doing a great job with social media? Let me know!

A Tweet Here, A Tweet There

Recently, for one of my classes this semester, my professor created a Twitter account for the class to interact with. I think this is a great idea, for a few reasons. As Management students, I think it is important that everyone learns how to use Twitter and its possibilities. So many people are judging the platform without even understanding the platform. In addition, using this for classes allows students to easily ask questions and teachers to more easily send out information for the class and any other interesting items.

The only problem I do see with this at the moment is not only relevant for this class but companies using Twitter in general. Because everyone puts out so much information, the feed moves very quickly so a single tweet can be lost very easily. Even if the tweet is incredibly valuable, the only people who will see the tweet will be those looking at their feed at the time it was tweeted.

How can and is this problem resolved?

There is actually a lot of research about when is the best time of day to tweet. Take a look at The Social Media Guide and Predictive Marketing. If you read these, you will notice that it tends to be around 9:00/10:00AM and Noon. And this makes sense. At the beginning of your day, when you first get to work when you are getting comfortable you check to see whats new and then around lunch when you are taking a break and want to check out lunch specials.

Of course, this is assuming that your target audience is working a full time job. As students, for a class Twitter account, it is a little different. I would say that the best times would be in the morning, when we first wake up (around 9:00AM) and in the evening, around 7/8:00PM after dinner and before we start our homework.

At the same time, it is understandable that you will not always be on hand to tweet at these times and that is why tools such as Hootsuite have come in so handy. Hootsuite allows members to schedule Tweets and Facebook posts whenever you want. This way, you don’t need to actually be on to post. This is exactly how companies are able to post at all hours of the day. It makes it easier to actually reach your target market whenever they are on, rather then you having to be awake then to do it. Luckily, the basic service is free, so we can all use it.

 

The Business of People.

What is L.L. Bean known for? Yes, they do sell outdoorsy equipment and clothing but there is something even greater. Their customer service. From grade school up until high school everybody always had those L.L. Bean backpacks with their initials on them. Every year they got a new one, and in a different color too! (These backpacks certainly last longer than one year, but everyone seemed to be getting a new ones so often.)

If you buy a product from L.L. Bean and it rips or breaks somehow they replace it and don’t make a big deal about it. Because of this strategy and their great attitudes, Business Week has awarded L.L. Bean second place in their second annual list of Customer Service Champs Other well known companies with customer service rated in the top ten include Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and JetBlue Airways.

The key thing you always learn when working in…well every type of business is “the customer is always right”. The vast majority of companies may teach this rule but few actually follow it. With out customers or clients, you would not have a company. When a customer has a good experience at a store or with a certain company, he/she is more likely to pass on the recommendation. That good recommendation may only reach a few people but as we have all seen and heard, bad news, gossip and experiences travel much faster and to even more people.
Take the United Airlines example from the summer of 2009. The airline damaged musician Dave Carroll’s guitar during transport and refused to take responsibility. Carroll took to social media to get the word out and created a video on YouTube, that went viral entitled United Breaks Guitars The airline’s lack of response and poor customer service caused more damage and money to combat the issue than a simple smile and apology would have done.

Customer service can make or break a company. We are in the business of people and so, in the end, our job is to please them.

Google…Whats New?

First off, Happy Holidays!! The holiday season is my favorite!  Everyone is happy this time of year and the decorations are amazing!

Do you all remember when Google came out with Google Buzz in early February of 2010?  Or, how about Google Wave?  I do.  I remember everybody being really excited about both of these.  Google did an excellent job promoting them…but perhaps too good of a job.

For those of you who don’t know what Google Buzz is, it is a Google’s idea of Twitter.  The idea is that you can update your status and be checking your email in the same place for primarily your Gmail contacts to see.

Google Wave came out in around October of 2009 and had a similar idea to instant messaging.  You are able to communicate with your friends on instant time and actually see what they are typing as they type it.  You can also interact with other Wave users in a chat room setting the same way and discuss various topics.  There are a few other capabilities of Wave as well, but these are the main points as I understand them.

Google did a great job of hyping up the progress of these services and making them seem like they would be great.  when it came to the actual introduction, I was left disappointed.  Google over extended themselves.  These came out at a time when there was talk of them competing with Microsoft.

Don’t get me wrong, Google is a great company and I would absolutely love to work for them one day but, there are a few things I would have done differently.  Ease up the introduction of the products and introduce them on a realistic level.  Even more importantly, if you are going to hype something up so much, keep the hype going even after its introduction and keep developing the product at a seemingly similar rate.  After their introductions, I feel like I never heard anything about them…they just sizzled.

I would have just recommended that Google focus on one service at a time and perfect it rather than trying to over-extend themselves.  What are your thoughts?

Can Google truly compete with Microsoft?

Social Media, not Social Networking

First things first, the term “social networking” can NOT be used interchangeably with “social media” and “new media”.  Social networking relates to the use of social networks such as Facebook and Myspace.  Social media and new media relate to both social networking sites, as well as microblogging, blogs, video sharing, among others (but these are the main ones we usually hear about).  I heard somebody (who was presenting on the topic of social media) say this and I could not believe that they actually chose someone so unaware to present on the topic.

But, aside from that, I want to share with you some recent campaigns using social media that I have been impressed with.

1. Grasshopper

Grasshopper is the virtual phone system designed to help entrepreneurs stay connected and sound professional.”  During the Summer of 2009, they had the brilliant idea of sending chocolate grasshoppers to people around the country.  Not just random people, may I add, but important people with a voice.  The grasshoppers were sent to well known bloggers, celebrities and writers, all of which had a voice.  With the grasshoppers, came a link to a video which soon went viral, reaching thousand.  The video was what I thought an inspirational video for Entrepreneurs (see the video below).  Now, this is a strange thing to send but think about what it did.  It made people talk and share this strange idea with their friends and followers.  Everyone was interested.  I am not sure how much money they made from this but it definitely got people talking and made people aware of their brand which was brilliant.  See the Wall Street Journal for the full article.

2. Zappos

Zappos, the online shoe and now, pretty much everything else, retailer has created a brilliant execution of the use of Twitter.  Zappos has many of there employees twitter accounts connected in a way that you can see all of the employee tweets at once.  The tweets are also not just about twitter, but there personal lives as well.  People are welcome to ask any of them questions and they will actually respond.  It is great for customer service and transparent.  The response is quick, helpful, easy and nice.  It is great!  At the same time, it lets us as customers know how the culture is and gives the company more of a face than just a name.  It brings Zappos on a personal level.  Like Grasshopper, I do not know the ROI on this, but I do know that this is a successful use of social media.

3. Comcast

Like Zappos, Comcast also uses Twitter in an excellent way.  They have created the Twitter name @ComcastCares where anyone can ask questions about the Comcast problems and Comcast will respond.  The turn around is usually pretty quick and helpful.  If the person responding doesn’t know the exact answer, they usually point you in the the direction of where to find it.  Like Zappos, this shows great customer service and really shows that they “care”.  Next time your Comcast connection is having issues, go through Twitter, it may be faster than calling.

Have you seen any examples of great uses of social media or even just great examples of marketing?

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