By Bernard and Company
I had a speaking engagement today where I spoke about Social Media to a Human Resource association. I was discussing how Twitter, blogging and YouTube work best when they go hand-in-hand with each other. This topic came up here at work recently and this is how I put it into perspective:
When you develop a great video presentation and bring it to a trade-show or conference, you don’t just set it up on a table and leave it playing in a loop all by itself. You don’t just start the presentation and leave it unattended do you? Instead, you are there ready to greet people who show any interest in the presentation you are running. You are there to answer questions, make conversation and interact with others. As we all know, this is called networking. Likewise social media, when used correctly establishes this same type of interaction. Videos on YouTube need to be associated with a website, or a blog where someone interested can go and interact and ask questions. Once a connection is made and a conversation is started, it is just like you are standing together at the trade-show, or in the conference room. Here, in the discussion that evolves, whether it be virtual or in person, you will decide whether continuing a business relationship or not is in your best interest. So in both scenarios (virtual or in person) the same objective is being met.
Likewise, it’s important that once you post something on YouTube you have methods in place to draw traffic to the video. This is where your website, Facebook, Twitter and blog will play their part in this dance of getting your online presence noticed. Social Media needs to work together and be in harmony with each other. Working together is the key to the success of your social media campaign as well as your overall marketing plan.
We have a client who posts videos on YouTube, at the end of their Print Ads in the trade magazines we print: “see our videos on YouTube”… how is that for the evolution of the ad/PR world? We now have our traditional print ads referring potential clients (and anyone else who is interested) to our client’s online presence. At least for right now, it seems you can’t effectively have one without the other.
By Bernard and Company
I have seen many businesses that looked at social media as a passing phase… at least they were crossing their fingers and hoping it was. Others felt it wasn’t relevant to their type of business. This way of thinking has led to them simply “dabbling” in social media. Ultimately, they end up neglecting it and concluding “it doesn’t work”. When a business chooses to simply dabble or chooses to outsource social media negative results are almost always a certainty.
It is very common for us to hear “My son (or daughter) set up our Facebook page (twitter account, blog etc) but nothing ever came of it.” You cannot have an “if you build it, they will come” mentality when it comes to social media.
Your online presence needs to be built, given life and then it needs to be nurtured so it stays alive and grows bigger and stronger.
Social media is not something you set up and then it runs itself. I have heard it say way too many times that social media is time consuming in the beginning, while it is being set up, then the time that needs to be dedicated to it will subside. This is absolutely not true. This attitude is the biggest reason why social media fails. On a positive note, it is also why more and more companies are uncrossing their fingers, accepting that this “new” concept is here to stay. It is now common for companies to hiring a social media person or establishing entire departments dedicated only to social media and online lead generation. Social media will always fail and be a drain on the company’s bottom line when they don’t have someone (or a few “someones”) dedicated to this as their job within the company. I find the results are also unfavorable when companies outsource their social media to a third party. Why is this? Because that third party doesn’t know your business, your clients and your industry as well as one of your own employees does. They are not there to learn and grow and see the evolution of growth in your company. A third party is also not as concerned about your company’s bottom line. Someone dedicated to this within your company will know how to “play the game” that works for the needs of your company.
Business are now seeing this is not a passing phase. They also realize that quality and attention needs to be paid in order for this type of marketing to pay off. Not only payoff, they are realizing an online presence is a necessity, no matter what type of business they are in. The trick is figuring out how to make it work for your business. This is not a “one size fits all” deal.
When a business jumps on the social media bandwagon they need to really wrap their minds around what that means and all that this new endeavor entails. It is not as quick and easy as jumping on
Twitter or posting a blog once in a while. It’s not about someone who already has a full time job at your company spending a few minutes each week, “checking things out
“. Here is the truth about social media: the beginning, the setting it up is actually the least time consuming and the easiest part. Why? because no one has found you yet and no one has started to communicate and interact with you yet. You are also not developing content, researching what’s being said and what are good, relevant things for you to be talking about. Getting content out into the world takes time. What are people interested in and talking about? How do you or your clients contribute to that conversation? This is not about selling products it is about participating in a conversation so you become the “go to” person for information and guidance in the world that your business is part of. I hear people say all the time, “what’s the big deal? I’ll just throw some things up on twitter once in a while and blog once in a while.”
Sure, that is great if you want to use social media as an outlet for your daily ponderings… but if you want to get paying clients out of it, it’s a whole different ball-game.
So, assuming you are going to get with the social media game here are somethings to consider. This is a full-time commitment, it is your choice to spread it out over a few people who each work on it a little each day or each week or assign one person this task as their full-time job. If you choose the route of using multiple people, be sure they are communicating with each other or have a schedule. The last thing you want is for everything to go unattended because everyone though someone else was doing it. Regardless of whether you have one person or a team here is a little help to guide you in choosing the individuals for the job:
- Make sure they have a good grasp on social media and how the internet works
- Make sure they know your products and services as well as your client’s products and services if you are mainly B2B.
- Make sure they know you products and your consumers needs and lifestyle (outside your product). For example if you are a store that sells Kayaks don’t just blog or tweet about your products, blog and tweet about what your customers are interested in. For example, blog and tweet about great Kayaking vacation spots. Expand your blogs and tweets outside your world, but within the world of your customers interests and your knowledge base.
- Be sure they know how to write!
- They also need to be good at dialog. Social Media is not about putting information out into the world, it is about establishing relationships and starting conversations. When you put something out there and someone comments on it, that is an opportunity for connection and to open a dialog.
- Be sure they are passionate about what they do.
In the PR/ad world, we need to maintain this knowledge for our business to grow, but we also need to be a source and knowledge base for our clients so they can to look to us for expertise and guidance. How do we do this? We need to know about, speak about and write about anything and everything that is relevant to our world as well as theirs. We also need to know where our clients need to have a presence in order for social media to work for them. They look to us for knowledge and guidance and as their ad/PR agency; we better know what we are talking about.
Right now, the topic that is being thrown around by our clients in the Industrial world is “pull all of our ads in the trade magazines and focus all on the internet”, or “forget the internet we’ve done just fine with the trade magazines”. We strongly recommend a balance of the two… but that’s a blog for another day.
By Bernard and Company
In this struggling economy, we have clients who’ve actually gone back to Marketing 101 and decided that tough times require more aggressive presence in the market.
Old customers and prospective new ones are being courted more often, both in print ads, direct mail (making a nice comeback as it’s now unique!) and online via blast email, regular newsletters and the inexpensive if rather impersonal vid conference.
The impact of such activity has had the collateral if unintended consequence of making our agency quite busy, this year. So thanks for that, clients!
Much more important is the fundamental tenet of marketing being applied here. They can’t buy from you if they don’t know you’re on the planet, to be blunt.
And, whether they’re currently buying or not, the ones who’ll stay in business are the targets of our messages for clients.
Having lived through four major recessions in business in my time, the theory has been proven true, time and again. Namely, companies who continue to maintain a presence in their market, by whatever means, come back faster and stronger than those who don’t. This is a fact and we have the evidence to prove it, for anyone interested.
By Bernard and Company
Several clients have appointed designated hitters for the internet blogs and especially the engineering chat areas of publication websites.
We applaud this action, especially in this economy.
One client said to me, during a meeting where I was encouraging this tactic, “Tim, how can I take a very busy engineer or sales guy away from customers and quoting to play on the internet?”
After I calmed down, I explained to him that:
- It’s not play, especially when problem solving is involved.
- It’s not play, when relationships are being formed with potential customers, even those, scratch that, especially those who don’t know your company.
- It’s not play, when a member of your team is quickly perceived as a go-to guy online by key players in your market and among your peers.
- Even if it IS play, it’s productive play. Didn’t your mother teach you the value of THAT??
Seriously, since very little is new under the sun, this is just the new version of that longtime and revered guy at every company, the one people flocked to see at trade shows.
Two quick examples:
We had a client (sadly passed away) who invented polymer quenchants for commercial heat treating. This ancient industry used water and oil, mostly, as it had for literally centuries. People would come to the trade shows and actually wait in line to see the guy. Then, with almost papal severity, he would lean into them, listen to their quenching problem, ponder it for a moment and then put his finger in their chest and say, “OK, here’s what you do…”
We have a current client who runs what is arguably the finest gear company on the planet. He’s also a world-class fly fisherman. He stands in the aisles and goes “casting for customers,” as he says. When he arrives at a show or conference, you’d think Ghandi had walked into the room…with Mother Teresa on his arm! Talk about drawing a crowd. His theory evokes the old John Kennedy line that a rising tide lifts all boats. He actually shows customers, prospects AND his competitors his operation and his p&l. His company currently exports high-precision gears worldwide, including to China!
The internet guru at your company can be a powerful force for growth and a true agent of change for your business and the industry as a whole. Don’t overlook the possibilities or think that it’s just playtime! When a “social” network has a tangible business upside, that’s a game we’d all like to join!