Just a Good Ol’ Fashioned Sensible Lesson in Social Media

BabyonPhone

Sometimes we just need to go back to the basics, where it all started. Getting all caught up in the hype of the “thing” can be overwhelming at times. Social media has become a monster and is gobbling up as much attention as it can. Maybe you feel as though it’s too much to deal with. Look no further. Let’s take it a step at a time; in fact, we even have a giant picture (infograph) at the end that will explain it all.

The top social media that will make your business more accessible, in touch with your market and marketable are (whether you do it or hire someone else to do it):

wordpressBlogs—tell your story and connect with your market at least once a week then connect that blog to your social media. Use blogging to make a personal touch with people and let them see the “everyday” in what you do.

FBFacebook—you should be on Facebook every day in some way, posting interesting articles related to your business, posting interesting pictures that connect with your market, and engaging while asking people to comment, like or share your posts.

TwitTwitter—Tweets are fleeting and quick so there should be more of them, at least three a day—make them varied between business, fun and promotional, always using hashtags to keep your posts trending.

LInLinkedIn—Keep it professional, only posting business related articles and blogs. When you are connected to groups that relate to your business, don’t forget to post to those groups and become more interactive with them.

G+Google+–This combines LinkedIn and Facebook where you can gather people together to hang out but with a purpose toward your business or industry. The key is get connected and get more people in your circles.

PinPinterest—Show off what you do visually—pictures will grab people before words ever do.

YTubeYouTube—Video is fast becoming a real powerhouse–it can be anything that represents your business or even interviews of significance to your industry. It’s ok to throw in some fun as well. This keeps it personable to your audience.

If you’re just starting out, take a few of these social connectors and start connecting or, in hiring someone else to do it, make sure you are well represented across the board. The infograph below will help you with a schedule of sorts to know how often to post as well as some other great information to keep your social media posting organized and effective.

Are you well-connected or are there some takeaways to make your social media stronger? You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Tumblr, and YouTube. www.kromamarketing.com

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The Chick Who Laid the Golden Egg—Amex and Twitter Make Beautiful Money Together

golden eggsThere was a boy named “Jack” . . . you know how the story goes—he sows the seeds, grows the bean stock, climbs it, grabs the gold-producing goose, and the rest is a movie coming near you. We could call Jack an opportunist i.e. somebody who takes advantage of something, an entrepreneur, a trailblazer if you will.

Well, there’s a “golden egg snatching” opportunist in real life—American Express. amextwitter2Although Amex has partnered with Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare already, starting just last Monday, this is the first time the company has used the partnership in social network purchasing, in particular Twitter using #hashtags. Jennifer Booten of Fox Business states, “It marks the first widespread monetization of the microblogging site since its inception.” This makes e-commerce as easy as 1-2-3. Literally, it only takes about that many steps to use Twitter to buy a wide range of products with Amex as the buying tool and even have it sent to your door.

amextwitter1“We wanted to bring [purchasing] to Twitter first,” according to Brad Minor of American Express. “This is the most dramatic manifestation of what our tech can do because it’s all happening in 140 characters or less and showcased in a hashtag. That said, it would be possible to transfer the underlying capability to other platforms.” You can check out American Express on YouTube to see how it all works at http://youtu.be/CUXQYrn8zds. It couldn’t be easier. Congratulations to American Express for jumping on the bandwagon and making it look easy.

So, what can we learn from this major move—a “Jack” = American Express, moving into “giant” territory = social media, and taking the goose that continues to produce those “golden eggs” = making money.  I think it’s simple:  use social media to your advantage in any way possible to increase revenue. Be creative, go forth and claim your “goose”.

What ways do you use social media to increase revenue for your company? We would love to hear from you! Kroma Marketing.

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In Denial

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” —C. Northcote Parkinson 

De · ni · al:  a river in Egypt; refusal to admit the truth or reality. (Merriam-Webster)

Probably one of the biggest examples of denial in recent history is the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, the denial of terrorism “poster child”. It’s denial at its worst, albeit. There isn’t any upside to denial at all other than blissful apathy until the realization of what the denial has wrought. It really is bad news all around.

In business, denial will most likely lead to financial failure. Yet businesses are still in denial regarding not only the need but the necessity of social media on a daily basis. Harvard Business Review Analytics Services report “The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action” [Report PDF; sponsored by SAS] discovered that most of the commitment to social is future-oriented. The report went on to say, “Although 79% of the 2,100 companies surveyed are either using or planning to use social media channels, a measly 12% of those firms feel that they are using them effectively.” Only 12%. Pitiful, when you think about how brands are being represented on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to name a few.

But is it just the non-use of social media that makes business efforts ineffective or the fact that there is still not an “all in” belief in the necessity of social? Rob Ployhart, a professor of business administration at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, believes there is a “skepticism” in social media because companies haven’t seen the data showing the return on investment from social media. Ployhart says the ROI data will most likely be available within the next three to five years, making social media more credible in the eyes of some businesses.

Until then, what does a company have to do to engage in the social impact of business? Believe. They have to put their faith in it and engage in it daily or they’ll be left standing on the sidelines in their cynicism.

The facts are all there. Businesses engaged in social media are investing in their own future. Ployhart says, “In today’s world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology. I’d be surprised if the first few companies that get in there don’t have a lasting competitive advantage.”

The experts are all saying the same thing:  businesses that are engaging in social media have the upper hand.

It’s almost 2013. What’s on the horizon, then, for engaging in social media in business?

According to Simon Mainwaring, New York Times bestseller We First and social branding consultant to Fortune 100 brands, “Every company or institution must now function as a social brand due to the mass adoption and penetration of social media in our lives as citizen and customers (and by social brand I mean an organization that uses and engages in a real time dialogue with its customers using mobile, social and gaming technologies to build its reputation, profits and social impact.)”

So, if you are in business and you are in denial of the social media bull breathing down your neck, don’t turn around. Just get on the social media train and ride it all the way into the station. That’s where you’ll find relevant business being done. Welcome to the new world.

Are you in denial or are you using social media in business? We would love to hear from you. Kroma Marketing.

Epitaph

George Lewis – When The Saints Go Marching In

Yesterday I went to a funeral. I know you must be thinking, “Why in the world do I want to read a blog about going to a funeral?” But it wasn’t just any funeral. It was a celebration of a man my family has known for many years, who has impacted his world, who has made an impression so great, people from all over the world wrote epitaphs of love, honor, and respect. If you had been sitting there and hadn’t known him, you would be able to walk out of that church with a great admiration for the man.

It got me thinking, what do I want people saying about me when I’m gone? And what about you–what do you want people to say about you when you are gone?

But why plan for the end of life when you could plan for now; so what do you want people saying about you tomorrow? And what about your business–what do you want people saying about your business tomorrow?

It doesn’t have to take a funeral to put things in perspective. Or does it?

I think by now you’ve read the statements regarding the importance of social media. If you aren’t using social media for business, you could be playing your own funeral dirge . . . soon.

Jeremy Blanton in The Social Revolution says,“The ROI of Social Media is your business will still exist in 5 years,”and he said that in June of 2011.  Eric Qualman said in May 2010, “Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.” He also said, “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” We are almost in 2013. Watch this:  http://youtu.be/QUCfFcchw1w

It’s not too late but you’ve got to jump on board now or you could be hearing this soon:

Magnificent Sevenths – Funeral Procession: In the Sweet Bye and Bye

Talk to us . . . does social media make you feel impending doom or celebration? We can help you celebrate and embrace the future instead of dread it. www.kromamarketing.com

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Who has the power? In a consumer driven society, it would be nice to think that the people who control business decision making—the CEO, the CFO, the COO, or even the CSO—would be the power dealers in business. Ah . . . you would be wrong. In fact, you couldn’t be more wrong. Now, more than ever before, business must bow down to the power-brokers:  the people. And social media is their weapon.

We’ve seen multiple examples of the social media impact on politics, especially lately, on this “eve” of one of the most important elections to date. We’ve seen the immediacy of social media impact on entire countries and their dictators (see the infographic below). An example of social media in the everyday workings of government was recently presented by Odysseus Bostick, educator, social media believer and speaker for TedX  conference in Santa Monica on “Collaborative Governing Through Social Media” when he talked about Cory Booker, Mayor of New York/New Jersey.

“He’s like a dynamo. He just never stops. He has over a million people following him on Twitter; a lot of them living in the city. They use it because he responds. And they’ll ask him [something] . . . because they know Mayor Booker will answer it. He actually answers them which builds a relationship between him and his constituents. And it’s every day and it’s real and it’s in real time and it’s instantaneous. And so that’s kind of a mutually beneficial relationship because he always knows what’s wrong, when it goes down, and who’s complaining. With other social media tools, he can actually aggregate all the tweets that come to him geographically and pin point series of problems.”

And so it is in business. It’s the people the business serves that have the power. If the business owners, C-levels, management, or front liners don’t have people, they don’t have a business. If they don’t have a buyer, they don’t have an income. If they don’t have anyone listening, they don’t have an audience. It’s really pretty simple, isn’t it? Yet, do we really get it? Those in business may keep taking the baton back, as if they had in the first place, because, frankly, BUSINESSES WANT THE POWER! Right?

Consider this . . . If the people have the power, what do businesses do differently that hasn’t been working for them up until this moment? That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Because, if a business can answer that, they might just do business right.

What do you think needs to be done differently in “business” (yes, I’ll let you act like it’s hypothetical)? We would love to hear from you! www.kromamarketing.com

Social Media’s Crib Sheet

“To business that we love we rise betime, And go to’t with delight.”
Antony and Cleopatra, IV.iv

Remember in school when you were told you had to read a Shakespearean work and you had that pit in your stomach because you knew when you actually sat down to try and read it you would have no idea what they were talking about. What was the first thing you did? You went for the crib sheet or “Shakespeare for Dummies,” the days before there were “SparkNotes” websites.

The social media layman probably feels the same way when it comes to navigating through the throngs of various types of networking sites and media share possibilities! IT’S TOO MUCH INFORMATION! Not only that, sometimes it’s in a @completely #different #language!

In talking to a client the other day about the state of their social media assets, I realized they really didn’t have a clue about what we were doing as their marketing firm. They sort of knew we were “posting” and “blogging”, linking and connecting but they really didn’t understand the “why” or the “how” of what we did and how that impacted their business (even with analytic reports every month). It was amazing to watch the client’s face when she began to get it. In fact, it really kind of scared her a little. We were bringing in business!

Those of us in the throes of this business every day lose touch with our clients’ level of understanding. So if you are a little “social media illiterate” here’s a “cheat sheet” breakdown of the top tier in social media. Or in the spirit of Shakespeare, “Hither thou to thine crib sheet (below) and make haste, pray thee, to possess thine social media wisdom!”

What’s got you scratching your head in the social media world? We would love to hear from you! www.kromamarketing.com

Emotional Investment . . . Emotional Capital

Upon sending our daughter off to her first school homecoming dance with a boy we hardly know, I realized the emotional investment it took to prepare her and us for this giant leap and to making sure she was safe and in good hands. Of course, my husband made sure to grip the boy’s hand, make eye contact with him, pull him in a little and say “Make sure my daughter gets home safe, son.” All the while, my husband was grinning a little evil grin to remind the babbling boy that he knew where to find him should anything happen to her.

Emotional investment . . . emotional capital. In the age of social media becoming one of the greatest influences on how we do business and how we market business, we need to pay attention to the things we do to invest emotionally in making our business a success so that the emotional capital that is gained is positive. Since social media has come into play, it’s more important than ever to realize the immediacy of what we do to invest in connecting with the customer.

First coined by Coca-Cola president Steven J. Heyer, “emotional capital” is the value of the feelings and perceptions held by the customer towards your business.  I can think of nothing that will influence that value more in today’s business than social media. Our investment in connecting with our audience through the social arms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or blogging through Reddit, Tumblr, Blogger, or sharing media through Instagram, Youtube, or Flickr will say everything about how our business values knowing our customers and what they want.

In “The Key to Social Media Success Within Organizations” Huy and Shipilov explain the study they did to see what resonated with organizations internally that builds emotional capital. They found that there are four components that make the difference to the internal customer:

  • Authenticity
  • Pride
  • Attachment
  • Fun

What if we marketed our business the same way to our external customer and used social media to do it? What would that look like?

1. We would create connection with the customer through our blogging or posts that reveal the authenticity of who we are as a business and what we really want them to know and to feel as a customer.

2. We would show our pride in the quality of what we produce as a business by displaying it through our social networks and how we interact with and treat the customer in going above and beyond their expectations.

3. We would connect with the customer on a more personal level to show that we as a business are committed to attachment with them for the longer term.

4. We would show the fun side of the company through Youtube or Facebook and how we as a company are just people too through celebrations and achievements we have made along the way.

Emotional capital can be a positive or negative value. If we are to make it positive, we need to invest in social media to make it happen. The customer is watching to see if you are committed to connecting with them. If you don’t show up on the social media scene, that will be their answer.

Let us help you make that connection. www.kromamarketing.com

The ROI Mammoth or “Aaaaagggggghhhhhhh, this ROI blog is going to kill me!”

As a blogger, I pride myself on good research, creative content and being relevant. For this week’s Kroma blog, I was asked by my boss to write on the ROI (Return On Investment) of digital design. Inside I thought, “Uh oh. That doesn’t sound like as much fun as what I’ve written on, oh . . ., up until NOW!” But, I thought, “Ok, maybe it will be a great time to brush up on this ROI thing and learn something that will help our clients understand it.” Hours of research later, late nights with coffee stains on my shirt, bleary eyed, frustrated, and nowhere close to a final blog copy here I am; empty.

What I have learned is that the ROI idea is huge, very ethereal to a lot of people and it’s very relative to the object of its assessment. Just what is the return value? In fact, there are bloggers out there who say that ROI is such a broad idea that we sometimes ask the wrong question:  What is the ROI of such and such? When the real question should be:  Did such and such turn out to be worth doing?

In Social Media and ROI: Some clarity. (Again.) Olivier Blanchard says, “ROI went from being a simple financial calculation of investment vs. gain from investment to becoming any number of made-up equations mixing unrelated metrics into a mess of nonsense . . . They measure nothing. Their aim is to confuse and extract legal tender from unsuspecting clients, nothing more. Don’t fall for it.” Wow, well that just instills confidence, doesn’t it?!

I think the main thing I learned on this ROI quest was that value is relative. What return we get, depends. (Don’t you hate it when you ask someone something and all they can say is “It depends.”) It depends on what you expected of the investment as to the value it gains. It depends on the formula you use to calculate the ROI. (Apparently there are various calculations. Very confusing!) There’s also the value that isn’t inherent to the outcome i.e. not monetary but still valuable. All in all, there really isn’t a clear cut way to determine the ROI of anything unless you determine what it is you are looking to calculate in the first place. So, it just depends.

If you aren’t much clearer on ROI, you’re in good company. Let’s commit to this:  know your product, see the value as more than a monetary input or outcome, and determine ahead ”What is value?”

Talk to us. Let us know your questions on ROI or marketing or social media. We can help you sort all this out for your company, here at Kroma Marketing.

Making a Statement

Making a statement can be a bold move. It can also be wimpy. It all depends on the way you present yourself, what you say, how you say it, how you’re dressed, and how you act. In fact, it’s impossible NOT to make a statement. It’s kind of like nonverbal—you cannot, not communicate. So if you’re going to make a statement, why not make it worthy.

In social media marketing, it’s the same way. You’re going to make a statement by what you present online in some way, whether you like it or not. Even your absence makes a statement! That may be hard to read. You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to do this social media thingy,” or that it’s just not in your wheel house or not on your horizon. All of us are trying to run a business; all the more reason to use social media in your marketing efforts. The future is no longer out there—it’s here and it’s time to use it to create your presence online by making a statement about who you are and what you can do to help people with your business.

Ric Dragon, author of Social Marketology, says “Social can be the lighter fluid on the marketing bonfire.”  So, if your statement is excellence and your brand is solid, social media will enhance and boost your presence online.

Make no mistake. The statement you make has to start with a presence that is positive because what you start with will be even more pronounced in social media. In fact, the attitude you present through your message and the tone it sets will be as if under a magnifying glass for all the world to see.

So, once you know your statement is quality, establish that statement online and show that you are a force to be reckoned with in your market. Brett Relander, founder of Tactical Marketing Labs, lays out three areas you need to focus on to create that online presence.

1. Personality: your social media accounts should each have a personality, reflecting your company’s online goals and the medium i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.

2. Borrow Creatively: (oh, and, ethically). Study and parrot what other businesses who are successful in social media are doing: headlines, profiles, techniques. What are they doing that sets them apart and gets them noticed?

3. Content Strategy: Regarding blogs and postings, have you given thought to the strategy behind what is presented and when? Creating a regular schedule of postings at least once a week will tell everyone you are alive and well and you’ve put thought into your content.

Remember: You’re going to make a statement by what you present online in some way, whether you like it or not. Even your absence makes a statement! What is your business doing in social media to make a statement?  www.kromamarketing.com

The 90%

How important is knowing a percentage? Very important. For instance, when you ask your teenager how much milk is left in the jug that they just guzzled, “some” doesn’t really tell you if you need to go out and buy another one. Or if you’re looking forward to that last piece of pie in the fridge after work that you hid behind the giant jar of pickles, knowing there is only 1/8 left is extremely important! What about that water usage this last summer?! The percentages there speak for themselves.

So when it comes to business, percentages speak loud and clear here as well, if we pay attention, that is. A survey was done of 600 small business across the US to find out how they view social networking. 90% said they are actively engaged. 90%! It’s obviously important and relevant to the world in which we do business AND it’s where business is being done. Of those businesses, 74% said that social networking was as valuable and probably more valuable than networking in person. Moreover, when 42% say that 25% of their NEW customers say they found their business through social media such as Facebook, social networking is not only necessary, it’s actually vital to the small business!

This infographic shows just how social networking stacks up in small business. Contact us HERE at Kroma and we can help you join “The 90%” and make social networking work for you and your business.Image