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.
Kristine Schachinger of SitesWithoutWalls makes a strong case built on many of the moves Twitter has made recently, not to mention a couple of individual’s moves away from Twitter – Biz Stone and Ev Williams. Buying TweetDeck, shutting down API access, clamping down on third party developers (without whom Twitter would be nothing) all point to Twitter’s inevitable decline into mediocrity according to Schachinger.
Will Twitter go away? Doubtful.It’s become too much a part of the social media fabric to every disappear completely, but there may come a day when it is replaced – however slowly – by “the next big thing”. We don’t know today what that will be, but there’s risk for Twitter is high. After all, management’s moves are creating an insular company that is turning away the very people who made it the cutting edge communications tool it is today. They need somewhere to turn and Stone and Williams just might have a home for them at The Obvious Corporation.
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.
Several months ago I wrote a post about what I considered to be a potential abuse of Twitter. It involved an influential basketball coach who used her Twitter account to complain about a nonspecific customer service problem she encountered at one of her favorite restaurants. A restaurant that she had praised via Twitter in the past. I took no side in this particular incident because the facts didn’t exist to do so, but it did cause me to wonder about how people using social media and whether they are taking their complaints public without giving the object of their scorn an opportunity to make good. My opinion is that the scorn-er deserves a chance before the scorn-ee takes to the Web.
I know there are people who use abusive tactics so they can pump up their numbers, but some boarder on negligent. One – which I will not name because I have no desire to add to their numbers – has a Twitter profile that reads:
Have a horrible experience with a company CSR? Get noticed and PUT ‘EM ON BLAST with the [deleted by me] tag and we’ll RT!
Personally, I find the proprietor of this account to be, well, a jerk.
Anyone can complain about anything and this, well, jerk, is willing to take the word of someone he/she’s never heard of and push it across the Twitter-sphere without verification. All ya gotta do is use the hash tag and he/she will retweet the message, no questions asked. Who cares about what actually happened or how it went down, if you know the hash tag you’ll get noticed.
The account is only two months old and has a whopping 48 followers, but there is a standard that he/she seems willing to ignore. Most will look at the tweets coming from this account and see them for what they are, but in this new environment all it takes is a few to take an isolated complaint and make it seem like a widespread problem. Those are the ones I worry about.
The world and the Web are filled with information that ranges from inaccurate to outright wrong. It’s up to each of us to be responsible, to verify before Tweeting and to push those who are irresponsible to the sidelines.
A friend of a friend asked me if I knew anything about a particular social media organization. Now, considering one cannot swing a dead marketer without hitting an association, or society, or foundation, or professional organization that brings social media practitioners together I didn’t consider it unusual that I would not have heard of the one in question.
So, with name in hand I set off for the Google to do a little research. What I found was a website, LinkedIn and Facebook pages, and YouTube video. Among other items – not generated by the organization – were blog posts (some +, some -), articles, and comments. All in all, I was able to find a fair amount of information, but not enough to help me draw any conclusions about the organization’s credibility, which is why I’m not revealing the name of the group). At one point, I thought I had struck on a blog post asserting the organization’s leader is an inept boob. Problem is, the writer offered no evidence to prove his contention.
In the world of Web 2.0, where anybody with a computer and internet access can publish/distribute whatever they wish, there is an additional burden on the consumer to do their due diligence. We’ve all heard stories of erroneous facts making their way onto Wikipedia pages, but that site is just a small part of the wwww and bad fact, half-truths, and outright lies are more likely to show up on personal blogs.
So let me distill what I learned. When doing internet research, it’s important to take everything you read, hear, or see with a really big grain of salt. After you’ve completed your research, and before you draw any conclusions, discuss it with someone you know and trust – and I’m not talking about someone you only know from Twitter. Finally, as with anything, unless you are certain of the sellers credibility and veracity, “Caveat Emptor” rules the day.
Ever shot yourself in the foot? I’m not talking about using a firearm to do the deed, I’m talking about using your mouth. If you’ve ever stood in front of an executive and spent precious time explaining why they needed be involved in social media you have.
Let’s face it, there are still too many in the marketing field who belive social media will replace movable type as the most significant invention of all time and that we who use its power to benefit our businesses are turning digital water into digital wine. To those who fit this description I have simple message: Get over yourself.
What we’re doing with these blogs and podcasts and videos and social media press releases is taking advantage of a lot of work that was done by those who created the miracle that is the Internet. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. But when you stand up in front of Mr. and Ms. CwhateverO and begin to pontificate on the beauty of Web 2.0 and the wonders that flow from it, you deserve to be met with glassy stares because they didn’t invite you in to talk about blogging and podcasting and Twitter and the next shiny object. No, they invited you to tell them how you are going to differentiate their company from its competitors. They want strategy not tactics. And social media is not, repeat not a strategy.
All the elements that make up social media are simply ways of distributing your message – whatever that happens to be. Granted they are very powerful means of distribution, but let’s not lose site of what they are at the core. When we do is when we are in danger of taking to the top of the mount and preaching the glories of social media.
Keep it simple, talk strategy. Remember, it’s not about you it’s about them.
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
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