Every so often I run across an article that has me nodding in complete agreement, and this one from Search Engine Land had me doing exactly that. The article – while using the work “tips” – actually outlines four reasons B2B companies need to be involved in social media.
- Influence your online reputation
- Better position your brand
- Engage prospects & customers
- Improve customer service
If you’re not doing these things for your company, others will do it for you. And those others will include customers (happy and not so happy), competitors (looking to gain an edge), and media.
Not only does social media give us the power to monitor and comment on what others are saying, it also provides the opportunity to drive what is being said. It’s an offer that’s hard to refuse and one that can be accepted in 4 simple steps.
Isn’t it time to take the first step?
By day I’m the director of marketing for OptiMine, a paid search bid management solution and I spent last week in Boston exhibiting at Shop.org, a trade show for online retailers. Most of our marketing efforts are executed across the Web and social media is becoming a major part of that. I say becoming because we are a young company, almost four years old, and, as the first marketing hire, I got started only three months ago.
Using a smartphone while on site is a must for anyone who is doing trade shows. There is no better way to capture the activity. For Shop.org I was fortunate to have gotten my hands on the LG Revolution with Verizon service. I say fortunate because it allowed me to accomplish everything I set out to do.
The Revolution is 4G and the speeds are amazing, but the call quality does leave a little something to be desired. While I didn’t experience any problems, I did use the phone to call several people and a few did comment it sounded like I was speaking in a cave.
If you’re looking to shoot video, or stills and upload to your favorite social networking site – for business or pleasure – the LG Revolution is a great option.
Like most of you, I’ve been following the Google+ talk through the thousands of blog posts that have popped up in the past several days. There is no shortage of Feature to feature comparisons with Facebook, nor is there a lack of opinion and analysis of what Google+ means for the future of Facebook. I did, however, come across a post that considers Google’s latest offering for what it means to the Google as a whole.
Alex Salkever’s column in StreetFight is written from the perspective of hyper-local, but his observations and analysis apply across the spectrum of local to global. Simply put, Salkever posits the notion that, with Google+, Google has added the third and final leg it needs to become a “one-stop-shop for multiple facets of local advertising, all sold through its automated self-service sales machine.” What’s more, the machine will be self-feeding. The other two legs are Google Offers and, of course Adwords.
Individually, each has varying degrees of market penetration, but taken in total the three have a very good chance of creating the Web-dominating force Google has long sought.
There are far too many variables in play to determine when, if ever, the consolidation Salkever envisions will come to pass. But based on the early reviews of Google+, I wouldn’t blame Mark Zuckerberg for feeling a bit nervous at the moment.
This space is normally reserved for my observations about social media as it pertains to marketing, especially in the B2B space. While this post is not a complete departure, it is somewhat outside the norm.
I was recently asked to play with and review the new Droid Charge by Samsung for Verizon Wireless. Fortunately for me the offer came just before I was to leave for Seattle on a business trip. As the reason for the trip was attend SMX Advanced it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the Charge a test drive. Specifically, I wanted to find out how well the phone performs in completing standard social media tasks: shooting and uploading images and video. But I’ll start with a few general observations.
First 4G plus the 1GHz processor kick tail: the upload and download speeds are fabulous. I could tell without looking at the top display when I was in a 3G area by the noticeable change in performance.
And speaking of the display…I don’t recall seeing one that is as large or vivid as the one on this phone. Measuring 4.3″ the trademarked Super AMOLED touch screen is the best I’ve ever had the privlidege of using and am looking forward to doing so again in the, hopefully, near future. When I was first handed the phone, I thought the size, 5.11″ by 2.66″ would make it difficult to carry and handle, but was happily surprised to find that not to be the case.
The Charge sits on the Android 2.2 platform and has more than 150,0o0 apps available for download. I didn’t look at all of them, but did enough searching through the app market to see that if you have something specific in mind, you’ll find an app to do the job.
Now, on to the job at hand: images and video.
As I said earlier, my primary goal was to learn how well the charge performs in uploading images and video to social media sites. I make my living using social media to promote OptiMine Software – Seattle was my first official assignment as the new Director of Marketing. To assist me, my first act was to download apps for the appropriate social sites; TweetDeck, Facebook and YouTube. As expected the downloads went smoothly and pinning the icons to the desktop was simple and intuitive.
The phone performed very well when shooting both still images and video. The 4″+ display made the job especially easy, particularly when panning in video mode. When it comes to sharing the Charge is pretty slick. The left hand button at the bottom of the phone acts as the menu for everything. simply push it and it returns the commands that are specific to the screen, app, website, etc. that is active in the display.
If you want to share your image on Facebook select share, then scroll to and select Facebook and, bingo, your image is attached to your wall. The same process holds for YouTube – shoot, select, share. In the case of YouTube, however, I had trouble uploading video to my channel. The app told me the upload was taking place, and I could see that it was across the top activity bar, but I have yet to find where they ended up.
Considering how well the phone performed otherwise, I’m convinced that the problem with the video upload is user error.
Bottom line, I really like this phone. I’m not ready for an upgrade for another 18 months, but when the time comes, the Charge will be high on my list.
Social media is a great way to engage with your market – we all know that – and an untold number of companies are now taking part. But I’ve been concerned that too many of the younger folk who are growing up in the world of social networking are going to fail miserably when forced to communicate face-to-face rather than Facebook-to-Facebook.
While I still believe there is reason to be concerned, I discovered – actually it was my 12 year old son – two local establishments that employ teens and young adults that are so customer-centric, I was pleasantly shocked by the way these young kids conduct themselves. What hit me hardest, though, is I never expected it because of my own perception of the culture they are immersed in. In this case, as in most, perception is not reality.
Before I elaborate, I need to provide a little background.
My 12 year old son discovered Aggressive Inline Skating (AIL) during summer vacation. If you don’t know what it is, take a few minutes to watch the video. He’s been (ice) skating and playing hockey for several years already, but when he found AIL he fell in love. He’s not quite to the level of the guys in this video, but he’s having a hell of a good time trying to get there.
After several months of skating at the local indoor skate park, 3rd Lair, in traditional inline skates, mom and I decided to find him a used pair built for the type of skating he’s doing. Knowing nothing about them, I did as much online research as possible and went forth to find a pair. He tried ‘em and liked ‘em – just like Mikey – then we decided to get an expert opinion. The guy’s at 3rd Lair were the first stop.
They not only took the time to answer all of our questions, they also answered several questions we didn’t think to ask. Just to be clear, there’s was no profit motive at work here as 3rd Lair deals in skateboards, not skates. After giving us as much advice as they could, their last bit was a recommendation that we visit a shop called Pinewski’s.
Pinewski’s deals in skis, skateboards, knee boards, and inline. We brought our used skates to the shop hoping to learn just how good a deal Dad got on them and to find out if they were any good. For the next 30 minutes, a young man named Steve gave us a tutorial on aggressive inline skating and, in the end, we found that Dad, I, did make a good purchase, but that the bearings were a bit worn. He did recommend a replacement bearing, but also said it would be better if the lad spent a few weeks on the skates before taking on the extra speed the bearings would bring him. Here the guy could have made a sale, but recommended something that would, at best, delay us from spending or, at worst, have us buy the bearings from a shop closer to home.
Both young men were doing exactly what we try to do with social media: share our expertise, without selling, knowing that we are building credibility in the market and putting our companies in a position win future sales. I don’t know if either was conscious of the tactics they were using, but I tend to doubt because other experiences tell me it is part of the culture to coach and mentor those who have an interest in skating.
Too often, what is now called social is anything but personal. It’s nice to know there are at least a couple of places where personal comes first.
It gives me confidence that we won’t completely loose the real in favor of the digital.
June 3, 2011 Posted by Mark Palony | Marketing, Social Media | Aggressive Inline Skating, Customer Relations, Facebook, Inline skates, Skating, Social network, Social network service, Sport | Leave a Comment
Black Hole: A region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape.
If you are using social tools to communicate with your audience without the benefit of a strategy, you are the proud owner of your very own black hole. Everything you produce – blog post, tweet, podcast, Facebook update, YouTube video – every last scrap of content is being hurled into a void so dark and vast it will only be consumed by those who happen to trip over it. I’ve seen it before. A lot. It’s usually the result of misguided notion that any content is better than no content. Unfortunately, that same idea ignores the fact that no content is preferable to bad content.
Even today, the same marketing professionals who diligently plan every aspect of every campaign, taking care to make sure every detail is accounted for, don’t think twice about what is being posted to the company blog. Whether it’s a website, brochure, commercial or blog post, what you produce represents the company that provides your paycheck and treating any content as second class is doing that company a disservice.
If you’re serious about making social media part of your communications activities, make it part of your strategy development, treat the content as you do other deliverables and give social media equal standing when discussing your activities. If you do you’ll find your content living in the bright light of the Internet being consumed by people who sought it out and have a genuine interest in what your company has to say.
Earlier this week I met with a representative of an ad agency in Minneapolis. His work is primarily in the world of consumer packaged goods. We were discussing the agency’s exploration of social media and whether it made business sense for them to go that direction. Why it would even be a question was a mystery until he commented that using SM tactics seemed a natural fit in the B2B space (where I’ve been for the better part of a decade), but not so in B2C.
In the past 12 months I’ve sat on panels dedicated to discussing the value of using social tactics in B2B and the starting point has always been that B2C is the natural.
Talk about your grass-is-always-greener moments.
Having had the opportunity to give it more thought, I can see where new-found friend is coming from. The products he markets are ones you come across everyday at your local supermarket. If he can prove that a facebook fan will drive sales of butter he has a shot at getting the customer to take a look at it.
This is not to say I don’t think SM and B2C don’t mix. On the contrary, I think it they can live together quite nicely. However, in B2B the sales cycles are much different.
Unlike consumer products, most B2B sales are more complex and carry more risk – professional and personal – for the buyer. For this, and other reasons it is critical that the buyer believes the supplier is credible and trustworthy. Social media tactics are exceptionally well suited to do just that. But social tactics alone will not accomplish the goal. In fact, they are but one piece of a much larger marketing communications puzzle that one must build.
Don’t make the mistake of throwing traditional media out the window in favor of social media. Those who have are finding they regret the move and are scrambling to reassemble a media mix that will achieve their goals.
The new media mix – traditional + social – is an area that deserves deeper exploration and I plan to do exactly that in the coming weeks.
My journey into the world of Digital Communications started in 2004 with the idea that I could use video testimonials to drive leads for the enterprise software company I was working for. It worked and, along with my good friends Albert Maruggi and Mike Keliher, I expanded into blogging, podcasting and Twitter. With each step we experienced more and more success. In early 2010 I moved from the client side to the agency side doing the same kind of work for a number of vertical industries.
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Search Wondering Out Loud
- @OptiMineInc is asking #DigitalMarketing to weigh in on the subject of tracking cookies. Voice your opinion here: tinyurl.com/d8j6av8 Tweeted 1 week ago
- RT @OptiMineInc: The Louis C.K. Guide to Online Marketing | Digiday digiday.com/brands/the-lou… via @digiday Tweeted 3 weeks ago
- Update: 4 emails from the same comapny in the same day. The fact that they are a direct competitor makes it even more intersting. Tweeted 3 weeks ago
- Three emails sales emails from the same company in the same day? Anyone else think that's a bit much? #Marketing Tweeted 3 weeks ago
- RT @adotas: @OptiMineInc CTO Rob Cooley is the latest influencer to weigh in on the @IAB ad revenue report adotas.com/?p=50064 Tweeted 1 month ago
- RT @MNRobW: More winners! @malvesschemetow just won $50 in #spintowin @OptiMineInc #eTail Tweeted 2 months ago
- RT @OptiMineInc: We're crumbling the digital advertising cookie in our latest blog post. Marketers should look to impressions: http://t. ... Tweeted 2 months ago
- RT @OptiMineInc: Cookies are nice, but the cookies-only strategy is on life support, VPI is the only approach. bit.ly/13nYTxs #S ... Tweeted 2 months ago
- RT @MNRobW: Come see @OptiMineInc booth 205 @etail_events. Do you know your VPI? #paidsearch #etail_events #palmsprings Tweeted 2 months ago
- Yahoo account hacked for second time in 2 months. May be time to say bye bye to the big Y. Tweeted 2 months ago
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