How Facebook widens the distance to LinkedIn

I recently chatted with one of the LinkedIn co-founders about the evolution of LinkedIn. He asked my why I seem to use more and more Facebook's platform even on the business side. Last week my friend Mike Dubrall shared with me that he has completely changed his usage pattern from 90% LinkedIn and 10% all others together, to less than 10% LinkedIn, more than 50% Facebook and then the rest.

In accordance to a "ZimmPoll" Facebook seems to be the dominate leader of the social networks when it comes to usage. Facebook Twitter and YouTube owning over 80% of the "Mind Share".

Image source AgWired

Microsoft, Google, Facebook have one thing in common:

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500 leads in 5 hours – how cool is that?

2010 was the year were businesses entered the social web. And of course not everything was a good experience. Many just pumped their "message" into what they call "the new channel" hoping that somebody will pick it up. Others were a bit more innovative than that. Our latest experiment with a virtual exhibition and conference generated great results.

Virtual Expo

The Social Media Academy was exhibiting at Vue2010 this week. We didn't have a lot of time to chat with business friends and others prior of the event about what we are going to do. We also had only three people on the booth as we thought maybe 50 people will actually swing by. But after 5 hours on duty we counted 553 leads, over 200 conversations and 70 who picked up virtual gifts which we gave out.

A few things we learned on the spot.

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20 Strategic Social Business Tools for 2011

2010 marked an important milestone in the young social media industry. Mainly because businesses began to leverage social media to be closer to their customers, have a better and almost real time understanding of their markets and reduce marketing expenditure while growing brand reputation and market share. 

Businesses who are not leveraging social business technology to monitor, research, connect and collaborate socially with their clients will have a competitive disadvantage over those companies who do.

 

* 60-80% of purchase decisions are based on recommendations
* Time in the social web exceeded time spend on TV
* 16 Million search results on "has anybody experience with…" indicates that product and brand exploration is no longer influenced by traditional advertising

Social business tools will become strategic in 2011.

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Why your webinar attendance sucks

There are approximately 10,000 webinars going on at any given point in time. Virtual online exhibitions are the next big thing after the physical trade shows – but how do you get your customers and partners to attend?

What was true for your email shots is now true for your webinars. The mass marketing approach is no longer working. Not because you are not a cool company or you have a none attractive product – the reason lays somewhere else. The noise level of 500 Million individuals has finally overshadowed even the largest marketing booster of global enterprises.

So if you are attending or organizing an online event – like we do at Vue2010 you may consider very different measures than just 5 years ago.

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Social Media and Advertising Agencies?

Advertising is when one throws something at a mass and hope they listen.
Social media is when many throw something at one and hope that the one is listening.

So it looks like social media and advertising are orthogonal to each other. But since "social" is the way to go, advertising agencies are seeking ways to add social media into their mix. Some try "tweeting for clients", "run social media advertising", "building fan pages"…. but with only little success. More frustrating: those services don't bring the six digit figures like the TV spots or print campaigns of the past.

Social Media Academy

Are there six or even seven figure social media campaigns?

Absolutely. But certainly not the way Joe Doe Creative Director thinks. Tweeting for clients is the least successful, mostly even counter productive way to bring a client into the social web. Thousands of Fan Pages are dormant URLs after the first enthusiasm is over and haven't done *anything* for the brand. Giving out promo codes in Twitter is not social media but a very traditional way to give out promo codes anywhere – this has nothing to do with social media.

So what can an advertising agency offer?

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Social media start for your boss

If you need to help somebody starting in the social media world you will notice three things:
1) The more convincing you do the higher the resistance
2) The fear of "not getting it" is typically stronger than curiosity
3) No matter how little your knowledge is – it is overwhelming to the other.

Some social media consultants fail to help their clients to get started because they are too overwhelming.

Some steps you can ask your boss to take:

1) Approachability
Make yourself approachable. Share your current presence like a LinkedIn profile or Facebook profile with business or personal friends and ask them to share their profiles with you.

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How a tourist center uses social media

Here is an example how a resort town is using social media to attract tourists *before* they make a decision where they want to spend their vacation next year.

Tourists are much better informed about the destinations they are targeting. Long before they make a decision, they read reviews from other tourists, explore the places on Google Maps, and often times know more about the place than all the travel expert sites together. The glossy brochures have less and less influence. The week of vacation is too precious to just trust advertising.

One resort town decided to make a difference. They wanted to get in touch with tourists long before a decision is made and have a chance to get in touch with the tourist long before arrival. Here is what they decided to do:

1) Social Media Monitoring
The tourist information center was equipped with social media monitoring tools to learn about people asking questions like "has anybody been in XYZ" or "We plan to go to NNN" where NNN is a similar place but not our resort town. We developed a comprehensive set of searches and an internal escalation plan so everybody knows what to do based on the results.

2) Social Relationship Building
They then add the people they find into Xeesm and do two things:

a) Getting in touch with tourist in the social web and develop a relationship.
The team is visiting the tourist a few times, to learn about their optimal place.
Xeesm is the social relationship manager keeping all the contacts and their social profiles in one place.
Also Xeesm helps to keep track of the visits, contact intensity and so forth.

b) Introduce tourists to former visitors
The team then introduces the tourist to former visitors of the town to increase the number of positive suggestions.
Especially if the search is on a competing town it is important to let the tourist know what others think of their place.
In this case Xeesm acts as a database for former tourists and their social sites. So that a virtual introduction does not need to reveal any email addresses but for instance a Facebook URL. That way a tourist can make their own intro, asking the person how they liked the respective place. Introductions are made only to people who are already publicly stating their support of the resort on their fan page.

The tourist center has a young team who reaches out to over hundred people a day and you can already imagine what impact that has. No tourist had ever experienced such a personal touch to a resort or place *before* they even made a decision. Obviously the team is *not selling* but just socializing. The team is not allowed to make any hotel suggestions, give out pricing, promote a place or any other promotional effort unless explicitly asked for. The overall task is to be that friendly guide before the tourist even arrived. Obviously the team was well trained and is equipped with URLs to "show people virtually around". With an outreach team of approximately 100 (most college kids) the tourist center is able to reach over 25,000 tourists a month. After some additional ramp up the goal is to be in touch with a quarter million tourists long before the summer season 2011 even begins.

An interesting aspect to mention is that the whole initiative is all about relationships, personal touch and individual connections. There is no traditional social media marketing like contests, pricing competition or any of the "old world" promotion involved. The cost to the tourist center is primarily hiring the team for an hour or so per day and is distributed to sponsors, mainly resorts and SPAs. But none of the sponsors get access to the people and the people are not getting any advertisement. The reward for the sponsors is to get a fully booked hotel in 2011.

Xee you next year in…. ah ah no selling :)

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

 

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Social Media Education – Is it necessary?

To many people, being social is a natural behavior and using social media just an extension. Yet others feel they need to know more than just polishing their network profiles and using the new media to blast out information. In recent month social media education even became a prerequisite to get engaged in consulting projects or being hired – simply because there are too many wonnabe “experts” and too less people with a sound understanding how to leverage social media in business.

In order to develop a successful social media strategy, try and error is not enough. Experimenting with the new media is nice but the risk to make mistakes and burn connections is high. Playing with one or the other idea is interesting but the contribution to the overall corporate strategy most likely insignificant.

How can social media education help company teams to improve their business ? Continue reading “Social Media Education – Is it necessary?”

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