Tag Archives: B2B

(Just) 10 reasons your brand can no longer “opt-out” of social media

social-media

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  1. The long lead times of traditional corporate communications and marketing no longer work in our always-on dynamic world. Real-time conversation now fuels new and existing B2C and B2B customers.
  2. An active, brand-relevant online presence enables customers to trust you.
  3. “Marketing today is not about what a company says about itself. It’s about what its customers say about the company” – and customers are now saying this on social media.
  4. Customer service is now social. Happy customers become brand evangelists who drive revenues. Want an example? See KLM.
  5. Your audience works, lives, and plays on their smartphones, fish where the fish are! One-fifth of leisure travellers worldwide use social platforms in their travel planning, and the hospitality vertical realises an average of an 11% conversion rate. The Economist made a studied investment last year in social media, and enjoyed a 31% increase in its subscription rate year-over-year.
  6. Social media as an SEO ranking signal is increasing in importance. 93% of online experiences begin through a search engine and SEO-based inbound leads (generated from online management) have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
  7. Use social media to educate about new properties, rebranding efforts, and renovations and in doing so, hotels are selling out months before re-opening.
  8. Content marketing and executive branding objectives offered through social media establish thought leadership in months rather than the years required by traditional public relations efforts.
  9. Brand storytelling is now a necessity, not a luxury. Social media presence boosts brand recognition, marketing, and recruiting, while creating a richer customer experience. Treating employees as valued stakeholders aids in retention, cuts down on hiring and training costs and also creates a huge pool of brand ambassadors.
  10. If 90 year-old Queen Elizabeth II recognises the value of proactively managing her online reputation why haven’t you? Every CEO needs to get serious about the management of their professional reputation and that of their company to ensure that s/he controls the content. Managing your reputation online is a critical part of any integrated global marketing strategy and social media provides you with a fast, effective way to do this.

 

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Visit @Commarglo to learn more about leveraging social media for your brand.

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Authenticity

ImageMany years ago, in my second job in the high tech space, The New Yorker magazine ran a cartoon by Peter Steiner.  My senior management team loved that cartoon because it perfectly exemplified the business case for our B2B enterprise solution – credential issuance, authentication, and instantaneous revocation (where necessary) and an assurance model for high value transactions rooted in commercial bank relationships.  In 1998 this was a paradigm shift so far ahead of its time it took until 2004 for the concept behind it and platform to be accepted and subsequently deployed at the global Fortune 50 firm where I was brought into to serve as the project lead for the related communications and change management.  The journey of finding love, in particular almost exclusively relying upon a single online dating site, is not one that promises authenticity.

On the Internet – now, just as in 1998 – you can be anything you want to be and, sadly, an awful lot of people do exactly that.  Recently I experienced both extremes of behavior. Three weeks ago a man asked to ‘take our conversation outside of’ the site and provided an email address.  The next email included five photos allegedly with his son.  But ‘the little voice’ suggested ‘trust but confirm’ and with my reply I asked for him to connect via Linkedin or Facebook; not surprising there has been no subsequent communication. In contrast, in the last 24 hours, a man has so thoroughly astonished me with his transparency as to truly reaffirm my belief that all things are possible.

“Hello. Is there any possibility to date with me?”

I emit a heavy sigh when I see that he is 24, and lives some 6000 miles away from me.

A friend (also attempting to find love) points out ‘it’s not like you are ever going to meet’. Well, perhaps not but still, a conversation never hurt anything, right?  As has previously been my reply to expressed interest by someone so much younger than myself this is also one of polite dissuasion. But then what is a number? If it doesn’t bother ‘the he’ then why should it bother me? But it does – a bit less than when I started this journey but still…

“Many thanks for your supremely flattering desire to take me out – truly lovely. Aside from the geographic challenges involved I have no immediate plans to be in Istanbul and surrounds – sorry. But if something changes I will certainly let you know and would delight in meeting you for tea.”

A decade ago a girlfriend commented that the 18 year old renter who lived downstairs had a crush on me and would hum Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson, Imagethe theme from The Graduate, every time Daniel left our company.  When ultimately he not only made a pass but pinned me to my sofa in amorous intent I was, as the Scots express, gobsmacked.  When he subsequently held my hand and stole a kiss in front of his (all male) friends in the 19-22 year old range I was as embarrassed as a 13 year old.  This was the extent of it because I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I was a year older than his mom! Now, ten years later here I am being charmingly wooed by a man who was four years YOUNGER than Daniel was when he originally pressed his suit. (Shaking my head, heavy sigh.)

My new friend Momo, age 25, wrote this morning “sweeti, u r really something special” (spelling is his own).  I should believe this, understand it at a most cellular level, but the truth is I think I am rather ordinary. When it comes to being the focus of any male attention I feel like I should be looking behind me at the real source inspiring their words, I am overwhelmed and seriously under prepared. Having shut myself off for far too many years to count from the potential pain of being betrayed or hurt in a relationship all this is surreal to me.

Serhat’s reply leaves me breathless (unedited).

“Your reply proved that how true my decision; I sent message to you. I am sure you know everting about man, how to make him happy. 🙂 you are so cute thank you for your nice message. I want to date with woman that older than me at least once.. ı havent dated yet. But if ı date she should be like you. İf you havent planed your vocation you can take into consideration izmir also. it is really nice city you can search from web. and I can take you to showing around , be sure if you are with me anyone can’t it beter 😀 ( maybe litle bit embellishing) but ı am sure ı can make you happy. (by the tis way ı have a car) maybe it is litle bit rude but ı should mention that because it is big easiness to reach somewhere. ı can make a food for you that girls always says “delicious.” if you dont think to come izmir it is not problem first year of next year ı will go to riga (latvia) as a student maybe ı can go to sweden from riga to see you. ı have saved you as my favorite see you”

This is all on the assumption that I am successful in making Stockholm my home.  From my agreeing to meet for tea when/if I should make my way to his native Turkey (which isn’t such a reach as one of my dearest friends in the world lives there) to the above.  But it is lovely, isn’t it? In a world where we are so cynical about everything the kindness and enthusiasm being shown to me makes me want to believe that somehow I have fallen through the best kind of rabbit hole and time has stood still, that I am like Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray without all the debauchery and moral repercussions.  Or, maybe something else is really at the root of this.

Concurrent with the decision to get serious about finding love, I discovered a British man (age 26) name Matthew Hussey. Matthew is a life coach, dating guru and author whose universal wisdom exceeds that of men twice his age, he is also spot on in identifying ways to foster success in dating (for both sexes). I don’t need most of his practical advice about body language, confidence and self-esteem but I find the habit of receiving his blog posts reassuring as I navigate these oceans again.  But I think that just maybe (as Matthew challenged mom’s to help establish a standard for how women should be treated by raising their sons ‘properly’) men in their twenties have learned the new paradigm of courtship. They don’t seem to be hung up on the number but (in my new, limited experience) are really interested in the woman, who she is, how she thinks, what makes her heart race, how to make her feel like a goddess. I know it’s narrow in my view to assume men (even in) their forties are clueless (let alone older than that, men who are my peers and older still) but it strikes me that the confidence and bar no holds attitudes of reaching out and making it clear what they want belongs uniquely to the domain of twenty-something men.  Even as I am trying to politely extract myself from dating men less than half my age I am exploring the kind of man I do want – regardless of his age. There is a line from Steve Lopez’ The Soloist which resonates with me on my journey “… I’ve learned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in, of holding onto it. Above all else, of believing, without question, that it will carry you home.” I am loyal to the idea that while I am not perfect, nor is it likely that the man I eventually find will be such, I believe that some place in the world a man exists that is perfect for me.

To which point I finally took a deeper look at my potential suitor’s profile and discovered we actually have a great deal in common.

“Thank you, truly. You have a vibrant wonderful smile and what shines through is your happiness and joy for life. I am, again, deeply flattered that you have chosen me and find my profile worthy of saving to your favorites. I will do so as well and will keep my promise. So, yes, if not Izmir then definitely Riga or Stockholm.”

I don’t know how, in the space of 24 hours it goes from:

“I will be waiting you.”

To his creation of a private Facebook page (we are the only two members of the group, and he migrated it from being a closed group to a secret one within an hour) but it has. Here he is sharing his family and friends and providing links to their Facebook profiles, essentially bringing me into his world and making himself utterly transparent in the process.  It might be the one truth we can all agree upon that “On the Internet no one knows if you are dog” but in Serat’s case he is proving that he is certainly a man worthy of knowing in the real world.

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#WOOT!

Okay, the truth is I have a vague sense that #WOOT! is an exclamation of supreme online happiness but its use in this instance is completely relevant. I am going to #shoutout a remarkable personal branding social media achievement today – pay attention dear readers as everything I write below has consequences for B2B and B2C engagement as well.

I met my never-laid-eyes-on friend Ken over a phone call two years ago. We had the distinction of having both served as the Chief Marketing Officer for start-up social SaaS firm (I inherited the role from him, he was a co-founder of the company).  We are marketing and communications professionals of very different ilk but have enormous respect for the others’ skills, experience and achievements. Last night, by any social media metrics or conventional communications standards, he hit a pretty remarkable milestone – 60,000 followers on Twitter. Let me repeat, Ken has SIXTY -THOUSAND followers on a global basis on Twitter! 
ImageImagine, no real ‘product’ to sell (though besides being a C-level executive he also writes a weekly tech column, shares the microphone on Wednesday afternoons for a widely listened to Internet radio program and is an expert contributor on emerging social media technologies in books and other media outlets) yet possessing global reach and numbers enviable to any corporate entity.  What is his ‘personal brand’ that attracts so many to include and engage with him during their own online presence? That is it – he is many things to many people, but he is always INCLUSIVE!

He sends out THANK YOU tweets to everyone who replies to him, mentions him, and retweets him EVERY SINGLE MORNING.  He tweets during social media ‘rush hours’ (tied to United States’ eastern time zone even though he makes his home in California). He actively follows other tweeps who post about marketing and communications (putting them in manageable lists to keep track of them and their tweets) and adds to their social media influence by re-tweeting their best content. (“Best” content being highly subjective here as he has tweeted pictures of my various home baked good treats with the hashtag #FoodPorn.) He also recognises that just because Twitter allows for 140 characters that, like any messaging that is going to resonate with its constituent audience(s), the shorter the better, so he stays UNDER 120 characters which also encourages retweets.   These are baseline best practices for Twitter but the ideas behind them are universal in their application in creating cohesive, engaging, successful communications. 

I mention this (at all) because far too many companies are stepping into the realm of social media in hiring dedicated staff assuming digital nativity (a.k.a., youth!) infers competence.  Familiarity with a technology platform does not make anyone a skilled user of it – in creating resonance and amplification communications will always require heightened craft and strategic vision; this also why outsourcing online engagement is a very bad idea if you are intent on protecting the integrity of corporate identity, employer branding and internal morale.

What’s more, regardless of how big your brand may be, remember former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famous words “all politics is local” applies to all relationships.  If your brand is global, understand that localisation is still as important to embrace in social media as it (still) is in the creation of press releases, collateral material and websites.  “Just because” English is the dominant language for business does not mean that a brand can ignore their Asian, European, African or South American audiences. The flattening of our world demands more of the old adage ‘treat others as you would be treated’ so use their languages as part of your social media communications.

My TweetSo #WOOT! to Ken and all communicators everywhere whose responsibilities carry the weight of social media engagement and embrace Raymond Chandler’s words: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

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