Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media

Interview with Jason Baer of Convince and Convert I was asked to do a podcast interview at 2012 South by Southwest by the uber-talented and witty Jason Baer (@JayBaer). He needs no introduction – he’s the co-author of Revolution Now with Amber Naslund (@AmberNaslund), a book about the impact social media and the real-time Web has on every company, and a recipe for changing business from the inside out in response. I’d highly recommend you pick up a copy you haven’t done so already.

During my sit down interview with Jason, I also got a chance to meet another really cool guy – Eric Boggs (@EricBoggs), CEO of Argyle Social. The banter between the two before and during the podcast made it even that much more fun. Aside from spending time with these gentlemen, I got the chance to share my social media journey at JDA Software (@JDASoftware) in the Social Pros Podcast: Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media. As a digital strategist and practitioner, I know the pains that come with launching, and employing a social media program but more importantly getting executive buy-in.

The journey at JDA has been long…but the return on investment has been significant. In less than two years, we were able to develop a company-wide social media policy, education program, JDA Social Media Ambassador Program, Social Media Buddy Program, launch a corporate blog called Supply Chain Nation, establish JDA Blog Buddy Program, and integrate social media into the overall marketing mix on an ongoing basis.

The success story behind JDA is a case example of what a company can achieve with the right focus and approach, strategy and vision – and it all starts with changing the business from the inside out through executive sponsorship and ongoing education.  To gain a deeper insight into how we did it, take a listen to Social Pros Podcast: Series 7 where I share real world examples of how we do social media marketing well at JDA Software. Special thanks to Jason and Eric for the opportunity to share our story. Also, a special shout out to my team Stephen Phillips (@StevePhillipsPR), Ted Weismann (@TedWeismann), Linsey McNew (@LinseyMcNew) and Andi Narvaez (@AndiNarvaez).

I’d love to hear from you. What are some of the game-changing things you are doing with social media to move the needle within your company?

About Jason Baer

Jason heads up Convince & Convert and provides social media strategic planning and counsel to some of America’s largest companies. For more about the social media and content strategy services provided by Convince & Convert, see visit social media consulting.

Adapt or Vanish: 5 Ways to Integrate PR and Social Media

I recently gave a talk at a Businesswire seminar here in Phoenix on Adapt or Vanish: 5 Killer Tips to Integrate PR and Social Media. The introduction of social media has changed the playing field for PR professionals. PR is no longer relegated to drafting press releases and bylined articles. Today, PR pros support business goals, connect and support customers, amplify demand-generation efforts, and take social listening to a whole new level to move the company’s brand forward.  This presentation is a call to arms to all PR pros out there to move outside their comfort zone and adopt more advanced techniques to help them strategize and execute successful, integrated campaigns that reach far beyond just PR.  

This presentation outlines key strategies to help PR pros make an impact and work across functional marketing areas to raise the profile of their company, brand, message and campaigns.

  • How to use social media to build and connect influencers
  • How to utilize social in your PR efforts in real time
  • How to integrate social into your demand-gen program and outreach
  • How to integrate social into your events to amplify voice and reach
  • How to build listening mechanisms to support and energize your community

Stop Bad Interviews From Happening To Good People

D’oh! Ah, the famous saying by our beloved Homer Simpson. It’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I see a bad interview. Sarah Palin, Paris Hilton, and a slew of others have fallen victim to bad interviews, including business spokespeople. You could be the most charismatic person on this planet but one bad interview could become a train wreck for you and your company as well as your stocks.

Why do bad interviews happen to good people? The reason behind that – bad prep work by PR folks who are missing the mark when it comes to media training. The second part to this is the willingness of the spokesperson to take the time to brief, research, and prepare. Media training isn’t about just going over the dos and don’ts of media interviews but it’s about understanding your key messages, delivery, authenticity, and knowing your audience.

Also, with information traveling at the speed of light, it’s important that you’re doing your job to control the message from your end by keeping it short and simple with 3-4 key messages being delivered. Anything negative could go viral in matter of seconds. Then the control is no longer yours.  You’re doing damage control at that point. Why let it get to that point. Avoid the backlash.

The media landscape might have changed but  the fundamentals of understanding and communicating your message are the same.  It’s up to the PR professional to really lay the foundation and groundwork for the media spokesperson to be adequately briefed – this includes who you’re speaking to and what you’re going to talk about. This presentation lays out the steps and key essentials necessary to win in today’s digital world. Let me know what you think and if you agree. 

 

Why Content Alone Cannot Rule the Kingdom

In 2010, I wrote a post on why bad headlines kill good content and why you need great content to support the headline to captivate the audience. This time, I’m going to take it a step further and touch on why content is more than just your currency; it’s the keys to the kingdom.

With so much content out there, a battle is heating up right before our eyes – the battle for attention and readership. Companies are getting more creative with ways they lure readers to click. By doing so, companies are 1) losing trust 2) missing a chance to build that relationship 3) wasting valuable time and 4) creating bad word of mouth.

The old wisdom says that content is king and headlines rule in today’s information age. With so much information flying across the web and consumers’ limited time to read, you have limited space and time to capture and captivate your audience. Unfortunately, companies are missing the boat on many levels. Why?

Content is not king. Valuable and optimized content is. It’s also the new currency by which you build your brand equity and thought leadership. In a blog post titled “What’s a Content King without a Kingdom?” (by @Copyblogger), the writer says, “I think it’s smarter to say that content is indispensable. It’s what people go online to find, and it’s what Google loves. There are only a few online marketing models that don’t require valuable content, and those few are getting tougher by the day, and result in no long-term assets.”

Some marketers think that building great content is enough. Post it and they will magically come and download/read your stuff. Untrue. You need to use methods to spread the word and build awareness around the content using new and old ways.

Build the Kingdom First

Getting back to what @Copyblogger wrote, you have to have the kingdom first in order to anoint the (valuable) content as king. Building your kingdom takes time and the right amount of investment. But once you build it (Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Slideshare, YouTube and Twitter), it’ll be well worth it. However, companies should not mistake social media as the holy grail of new marketing. While it’s great to leverage these channels to gain additional awareness and create word of mouth buzz, this strategy will not sustain as a standalone. Mix in traditional marketing to ramp up your efforts. According to @Copyblogger, your content has a right to the throne thanks to its valuable information, clever hook and killer headline. But brave and loyal allies are needed to create an insurrection against Queen Inattention. These allies are not impersonal Facebook “friends,” they’re real friends and colleagues, and they believe in you and your content.

  • Create a Facebook Landing Page that links to your website or landing page (see sample).
  • Create an editorial series to help promote the content by extracting key information from the collateral, such as stats and quotes to provide a continuous stream of related information to drive awareness.
  • Upload the content on Slideshare and bring it into LinkedIn. Use key search terms to ensure the content is SEO-friendly.
  • Upload your videos on YouTube and pull in the YouTube video into your website. Also, promote it on the front page or a landing page with all of the related information around that content.

Leverage Traditional Marketing

 Marketers and companies invest a lot of time building their database and their customer base to help push information out. This is an investment that companies make over time. The challenge is not everyone in your database will be part of the social communities that you have so diligently built. Combining these two areas will ensure you’re sharing your valuable content across your “dream” target lists to ensure the continuous nurturing and education of your database.
Our job is to inform and educate – build content that will ultimately add insight into the trends and challenges faced by your customers and prospects. Using traditional marketing tactics to reach your target groups will help continually touch them on an ongoing basis. This can be done through:

  • E-mail campaigns – Bring the most compelling aspect of the content up front and sell readers on the value of the content and why it’s going to help improve business performance.
  • Monthly newsletters – This is probably one of the most important tools you can have. This is where you can consolidate all of the content you’re building for your prospects and customers and deliver it to them on a regular basis. One stop. Done. This can include thought leadership, product news, company updates, a personal note from the CEO, etc.
  • Targeted nurturing campaigns – You have a database of warm leads, but they haven’t moved to the sales cycle. This is a great opportunity for you to continually touch them with great educational content to keep them warm, and hopefully it’ll get them to act. But if you’re not top of mind, they will forget about you so why not find a way to take the content you have worked so hard on and nurture them and help them move along the sales process.
  • Customer/partner communication – Get your customers and partners excited through continuous education and by sharing critical information. Turn them into your evangelists and, in turn, encourage them to share with their communities.

Why Public Relations is Marketing’s Best Friend

PR is an invaluable tool. No longer is PR just about media coverage; it’s an extension of your marketing initiatives to drive leads and awareness at the same time. This is a great opportunity to show your thought leadership through press releases and help with sentiment and share of voice. Using a press release, you can highlight the key areas of the content and how the content will help companies address specific challenges. Another important purpose the press release serves – it’s a central resource center for everything related to the topic that you’re pitching.

Leave the readers with the option to download the collateral, view your video on YouTube, check out your Facebook Page for more info, follow you on Twitter to get information like this and future news.

Never miss an opportunity to promote in some shape or form. If there are channels and tactics out there that you can use to get as much mileage as possible, do it. Just because you have it doesn’t mean people will find it. Today, it’s about getting the right information to your customers and prospects.

Facebook: A Competitive Tool In Your Social Media Arsenal

 Facebook is being hailed as the competitive tool and companies, BtoB and BtoC, are chomping at the bits to add this powerful social networking tool to their social media arsenal. Facebook currently touts a staggering 500+ million users worldwide with active users logging on in any given day, connecting to average of 130 friends, according to Altimeter Group. Further, the Society of Digital Agencies reports that more than 45 percent of senior marketers worldwide named social networks and applications as their top priority for 2010.

However, according to the Altimeter Group, despite the urgency, most brands lack a strategy. To help brands embrace what’s being deemed as the most popular social networking marketing tool, the Altimeter Group launched a new research – The 8 Success Criteria for Facebook Page Marketing (see slides below).  

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