Saturday, December 25, 2010

And who will tweet my tweets?

You have setup your Twitter corporate page, invited your friends, colleagues, clients and partners to join; You even sent out a newsletter asking people to join, you added the link on your email signature, your website, your blog and your Facebook page. It is all going well, yet you are unable to grow your twitter page even further. It appears that you are fun, you are posting interesting stuff and hash tagging carefully. It is all going well, but you want a further growth in your twitter followers.

An excellent approach is to get influential public figures to talk about you, or maybe re-tweet your tweets...yeah, like this was easy!

So the question lies: How to get them tweet about me, or re-tweet my tweets?
Here are some possible options:
1. Press release / News articles (joint, combined or referencing them)
2. Active Public Forums participations (Maybe their BLOGS)
3. Ask them! (or more likely post about them)
4. Pay them! (Humm....really?)
5. Beg them! (or get marked as Spam)

Influential figures do have a solid impact on their social environment, getting them to talk/tweet about you will surely boost your credibility and number of followers....As a simple example, imagine your current Boss at work tweeting that he "likes" a new website, intuitively, you will go and check it out....Question is: "How to get your Boss and a lot of others do that"...

Food for thoughts!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Will you soon pay for your social media accounts?

Social media is witnessing an impressive growth in terms of usage, visits and interactivity. Facebook now has half a billion registered users only 6 years after its launch (Source: Mashable), Twitter unique visitors in June 2010 surpassed visitors of the same month in 2009 by an impressive 109% (Source: Marketing Charts), Linkedin celebrated its forty million users in its 6 anniversary as well on May 2009 (Source: Linkedin) and so on, practically every type of social networking platform is living a growth, whether targeting the global populace or niche markets.

Commonly, corporates are also tapping into the social networking world, and creating profiles, pages, group...etc... and engaging their customers on a daily basis, getting feedback, promoting and awarding. Leading social networking sites offer customization of URLs, for example:; Twitter account most often represent brands rather than personal names, with this impressive growth and a "want" turning into a "need" would those usernames remain for free?

Facebook guarantees that it would not allow selling of page URLs (transfer prohibited), but can it also protect usernames creation? and if Yes, how long would the process take in order to prove, validate and give back a username and a page URL?
Something to think about, since ICANN also protects brands when it comes to domain names, but it is quite a long process (and sometimes costly), maybe time is something a corporate cannot afford, so it might choose to pay a couple of thousands of dollars to the "username" holder and skip the long validation process.

One has to think about the next steps, since social media has become an essential part of any corporate presence and a main traffic generator for any website, will you be able to secure your accounts on all social media platforms? or would you have to buy them from an "auctions" site?

Makes you wonder...

Friday, September 3, 2010

9 things to consider on your Facebook page

Facebook business pages are showing great success when it comes to brand awareness and engaging users. It has been proven that social media is the next best thing to have when you are tapping into the digital world, and since Facebook is one of the most growing social networking site (recently passed half a billion users), it is very important to consider the below point when managing your Facebook page:

1. Consistent: Decide on whether you want to engage users using "I", "WE" or "Brand-Name" and stick to it throughout the lifetime of your page. People need to feel that they are talking to a "person", so this "person" needs to have a tone, character, attitude and specific communication skills.

2. Consice: People will visit and ask you questions, answer concisely with detailed step by step procedures in order to help your users (YES! time consuming, but very beneficial on the long run) other words, avoid the common tagline: "Visit our website for more information"

3. Clutter: Be easy on adding new tabs, remember that it is a Facebook "PAGE", keep on updating your page and remove whatever has become obsolete, remember that the page is to create an engaging platform, while your website should hold the archives

4. Spam: Do not spam users with boring news and links, make sure that you are constantly engaging them, asking questions, gathering insights...etc... Frequent posts about "standard" news items might increase your "dislike" rate. Remember Facebook is not a business platform, everything there is suppose to be fun!

5. Compete: Your Facebook page should not compete with your website, on the contrary it should act as a supporting tool to drive more traffic to the website, put snapshots on the pages and make sure you redirect people to your website

6. Organize: Manage the topics you are discussing properly (whether on your wall or on your discussion tabs), make sure you give ample time to users to participate and share their thoughts before starting up another topic. Remove obsolete items or old items, the Facebook page is an engaging platform, not an archive.

7. Enjoy: Depending on the type of your business, you need to select your proper tone: Are you friendly?, strictly business? Preferably to aim for the friendly tone and engage in a 1-1 communication. Do not hesitate to include smillie faces whenever appropriate. In brief: create an enjoyable atmosphere

8. Escalate: You will receive complaints on your wall, maybe due to a mishap with one of your users, a complaints about the service or product you offer; in all cases, carefully review when to handle things openly on the Facebook wall, and know when to escalate and move to a private conversation. You might move the conversation to private messaging, emails or ask the user to re-submit his complaint on the website (You might as well do that for him and share with him the tracking number)

9. Time: Make sure you plan and time your activities on Facebook properly, do not create large gaps of time between events or conversation triggers, and vice versa, do not flood your fans with constant new posts. Plan properly and adjust your timings as per your audience and stick to it. Going silent for a long while will result in some "dislikes"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Who to expect on your Facebook Page!

I am sure you have a million and one reasons to get your business into social media, Facebook offers a very fertile platform for this. So once you have established your page on Facebook, who would you expect? How would you react to them? and what would you do?
No need to mention that leaving your page idle would quickly kill it and reflect very negatively on your brand.

Below are a couple of user types you might expect popping up as fans on your page:

"Spammers": Spammers are those who invade your page with relatively useless content to you. Typically they would show up on your Facebook page when you have a considerable number of fans, and post links to their website on discussions you have started. Very annoying behavior and usually might result in a few "dislikes".
  • Be on the alert: always be ready to delete inappropriate posts
  • Be strict: do not hesitate to ban the spammer from your page, you might loose one fan, but that might save you from loosing a whole bunch of others
  • Monitor all your tabs: Spammers crawl all of your Facebook tabs, photo gallery, and they might just post everywhere. Make sure that your most recent posts are "spam"-free
  • If you are unable to quickly react to random posts, make sure that you prevent users from starting their own comments (That can be done by adjusting the page settings), this way you will reduce the impact of your page acting as a "spam-promoter" on everybody's wall

"Smart Heads": Smart heads are usually on your page trying to prove they are funny, looking out for friends or a date companion. Most of their comments are rather irrelevant and sometimes they annoy your other fans. They should be treated in a very similar fashion to "spammers" but with slightly less strictness.
  • Be on the alert and intervene whenever a "smart head" is abusing your fans
  • Know when to ban, when to answer and when to delete
  • Monitor all conversations between your fans, and make sure that your Fan page does not become a ground for settling differences

"Idles": Idle fans are usually people who just "liked" your page, but were never interested in what you are posting. The new insights developed by Facebook should give you an overview about how many impressions, feedback and comments you are getting on your actions. These numbers are indicative, and should give you directions on the interests of your fans.
  • Ask yourself: Am I interesting enough or am I just dumping in news about my company on Facebook? Am I really adding value to my fans or just pasting in links to my promotions? Am I a friendly brand or I just refer people to my website whenever they have any question?

"Critics": critics are fans who did not fully endorse your brand, and might have some questions, doubts or trust issues with the services or products you provide. They usually react to your new posts, pictures with questions or inquiries that put your offerings to the test.

  • Be sure to answer queries posted by the critics and use them as a platform to promote the "hidden" services you provide. Never delete their posts as it would immediately back fire on you.
  • Keep in mind that the "critics are not always" right, make sure that whatever claims are put forth against your brand are supported by evidence, in other words, whenever you hear a complaint, ask for evidence and more information, and react accordingly.

"Loyals": Loyal fans are those who believe in your brand and are dedicated customers. They usually support your activities and are the first to "Like" them. You can rely on them to back your statements whenever critics or smart heads are out there speaking, but do not take them for granted and make sure you reward them every once in a while.
  • Reward loyals, The reward can be a simple "Thank you" message or email, a gift voucher, a loyalty card, a status upgrade on your website...etc...
  • Do not clearly overpower them over other users
  • Remember that loyals do not work with you, they are out there giving out their opinions and thoughts, endorse them but do not give them the free-will to represent your brand

Rarely you would come up with identity thieves that would endorse your identity and speak on your behalf,

"Exploiters": exploiters simply try to ruin your presence on Facebook, they would register themselves as users with usernames very close to your company, for example, if your company name is: MyBrand, they would use a username like: MyBrand1 or MeBrand...etc... and assign a profile pictures similar to the one you have on your page and promote wrong, negative and erroneous messages on your fan page.
  • Only one recommendation in this case: Ban, Block and Report!

To recap, tapping into social media, similar to real life, involves multiple types of personalities and characters; know how to react to each and make sure that your brand is properly represented. Contrary to traditional media, the audience is in control of the conversation, be part of it and establish the character of your company on the social media platforms.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Starting with your online presence!

Your company is established, its making money, you have a need to tap into new markets and expand: You decide to establish your online presence...Well let me break the news for you: you're late, you're wrong and your competition is well ahead of you now. You should have thought of that as soon as you started your company and, from now on, make sure not to treat your online presence as a secondary medium. Instead give it the right attention, and ingredients as it has the best Return On Investment and the wider reach if treated and managed properly.

Better late than never, here is what you should do:

1. Set your objectives and KPIs
Make sure that you understand what you want to achieve from the website, what you want to expose, who do you want to target and how you are going to maintain. If at this point in time, you still want to do your website because simply "everybody else is doing it"...then I would suggest you stop reading, close your browser, go take a nap and hope that when you wake up it will all be better!

~Sample objectives can be: Increase brand awareness, Create an interactive platform between clients and the company, Create targeted messages for existing clientèle, Reduce overhead costs of HR department...and much more~

2. Gather your ingredients
If you now have the will to develop your online presence for the right reasons, than its a good start, but not enough. You need more than that, namely:
  • Your content needs to be shaped and crafted for the web and not taken from your brochure or offline collaterals. Building your online presence mainly revolves around the unique content that you provide, its quality and the messages you transmit.
  • The interactivity of your presence (The site map, the navigational structure, the cross linkage, the dynamic components...etc...), as this what would make you stand between your competitors and mainly make the visitors come back and ask for more information...and you never know, maybe make up their mind and take their decision about hiring your services
  • The look and feel of your online presence is very important. Make sure that your brand guidelines are properly reflected and used, and please, please, not design your website for your manager, CEO or owner as they are not the main audience of your website (i.e.: Have their CV and pictures all over)
  • Think about how you are going to maintain your online presence, you need to clearly identify who will be doing so, what and how often. Keep in mind that the real work on the website actually comes after the launch.
~Looks and interaction will make people like your website for a while... Content and maintenance will sustain this~

3. Choose your cook!
You gathered your ingredients, now you need to choose your right partner. Yes think about having a partner for your online presence, somebody who is willing to go the extra mile with you, understand your business needs and put you ahead of your competition. Now, here goes a useful tip: Don't go with web developers go with New Media Agencies / Digital Agencies instead because:
  • You need to tell web developers what to do while digital agencies lead the way
  • Web developers build you a website, Digital agencies build you an online presence
  • Digital agencies need you to become a long lasting partner, while web developers want to get through with your project
  • Web developers are technology centric, while Digital agencies use technology as a mean to achieve marketing objectives
  • Digital agencies recommend while web developers adapt
  • Web developers deliver features while agencies provide you solutions
~The world wide web is no longer about HTML, a URL and some development language behind it, it is now a strategic approach tackling various aspect of your brand, services and communication strategies with a focus on ROI~

In a nutshell, the online presence should be your marketing department baby and your IT department should be available for support. It is a fact that all your company's departments can benefit from your online presence - Make sure you have the right ingredients and cooks to tap it successfully.