Archive for June, 2008
A lot of folks have been asking for B2B case studies showing social media at work, especially for smaller companies. I recently found a vendor via a complete social media experience—no direct marketing from this company at all―and I wanted to share it with you.
This will be a blind case study in the beginning, but all will be revealed at the end…for a reason.
About four weeks ago I was tweaking my LinkedIn account to find [tip: cool tool] and join some additional groups and do some more networking. And that’s when it happened. A particular group kept popping up on the LinkedIn profiles of marketers that I was checking out. Being the curious person that I am, I went to investigate.
And here’s what unfolded:
- I did a LinkedIn group search and found the group
- I then did a search for the group on Google
- The group search led me to find the company’s website
- While on the company’s site, I used a free website tool and downloaded a white paper
- The phone rang within 20 minutes of downloading the paper (I hated this part! But was glad, in retrospect, that I gave them my name and not Mickey Mouse.)
- I had a good 45 minute conversation about…social media. Yep, that’s right! There was a little bit of discussion about their website, the tool, their offerings, etc. but most was about social media, implementing it, how it’s changing marketing. (I loved this part! Even though I knew they are a marketing a social media application)
- I had never heard of this company so I went to the MarketingProfs Know-how Exchange forum to further investigate and to see if anyone else had. I had a hunch, however, that the answers I received were from the company’s marketers (give them a read, you be the judge), but none-the-less I was still curious.
- I then hopped over to Twitter to see if anyone over there had heard of the company, but it was radio silence. But, coincidently, there just happened to be a bunch of timely tweets appearing about this company and its new free tool that they released. And how the company “listened” (via Twitter) to a tweet and actually implemented the suggestions made on the tweeter’s blog. Now that got my attention!
- I then signed up for the company’s webinar. I wish I remember where I saw the promo for the webinar, but I can positively say, I don’t think it was an invitation from the company.
- Finally, after feeling that I did enough investigation, got a sense of what they could achieve for me [because it obviously works for them, in my experience] I signed on with this company for their services.
Cool right? A customer in only 10 social media steps. But here’s a caveat to consider…what if I wasn’t a curious person? The whole social media experience would have ended with me adding the LinkedIn group and that would have been it (at least for now). But being a marketer interested in social media and this company’s services, I wanted to follow the bread crumb trail and see where it would lead me.
So my questions are: How would you help your target audience along to participate in social media with you? How do you peak their curiosity if they are not naturally curious? Does it take a case study like this to convince marketers, and their company, that social media does work ‘in real life?’
And finally, because I really want to see if they are on their social media game and if they are listening, here’s the company name Hubspot. I’ll know for sure if they leave a comment.
Disclaimer: This is in no way a promotion for this company. If they don’t deliver, they and you will be the first to hear it from me…and that’s the beauty of social media.
Photo Credit: StockXpert
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Recently Mack Collier introduced me to the Flip during a recent Plurkshop. My first reaction was, this is a toy for kids and people who like to make crazy YouTube videos, but then I looked into it and then…the wheels started turning.
Here’s my short list:
- Product and new feature videoments (video announcements)
- Training videos for partners and employees
- Video quotes for press releases
- White paper overviews (for those who don’t like to read)
- Capturing trade show demos (for later use)
- Analyst Relations (a video could be worth a thousand words and a lot of time)
Mark Goren also had some great other Flip uses for B2B, here’s a few:
- Give ‘em away as promotional items
- Create word-of-mouth ambassadors
- Video testimonials
I don’t know about you, but I am going to start flipping out soon! If you are already flipping, how do you use your Flip?
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[Note: If you are already engaged in social media, consider passing this post along to a marketer who isn’t. Thanks!]
Recently, I have been having off-line conversations with marketing and PR folks about social media, books and blogs I’ve been reading, things I’ve been learning about tools and applications, etc. And the response I get is always the same. “It’s cool, but I don’t have time for that stuff” (corporate folks) or “Our digital/design department handles that stuff” (agency folks).
Based on who I am talking with and in what context, I try to fairly assess their reaction as one of three things:
- I have so much work to do that I can barely keep my head above water on a day-to-day basis. I can’t possibly add one more thing or I will drown;
- I know about social media, we aren’t doing it, and I don’t have time for things like Twitter, blogging, etc.; or
- I just can’t be bothered.
After attending a recent PRSA/National Capital Chapter meeting, where he spoke on Blogger Relations, Geoff Livingston posted about this same topic.
I get it, I really do. We are all busy, we all work too many hours, we have too many projects on our plates, it’s not our job, and we finished college and learning years ago.
That said I lost hours and hours of sleep, put off cleaning my house, and spent hours reading just trying to wrap my head around social media from a marketing perspective [and I’m not done yet!]. Trust me; I don’t think I am better than those who don’t have time for “this stuff” and I am far from being an expert. But what I am…is afraid of becoming extinct.
Why? Think about this…
“The Internet is about individuals—with unique and diverse hopes, needs, desires, and cultural backgrounds―more so than it is about mass marketing or markets. The Internet is not one big market of 100 million people—it’s 100 million markets, each made up of one individual.”
[Don Schultz, Communicating Globally: An Integrate Marketing Approach, 2000]
Eight years later, the difference is, those 100 million people have a voice that’s being used and heard.
As a marketer:
- I want to join in on those conversations—especially if they are about the industry I work in;
- I’d like to listen to what my prospects, customers, and competition are saying;
- I don’t want my competition engaging in conversations I’m not;
- I’d like to tap into these conversations as a source of primary research; and
- I want to be well-prepared.
So marketers, do yourself a favor…don’t become extinct.
Stick a toe in the social media pool and get a feel for it—you might be surprised by what you learn and the new acquaintances you make―in no time at all.
[Image: Kid Stuff and Beyond]
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As I am making my way through the web that is social media I have been quickly adding my name to Twitter, Plurk, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc., After doing so for the past few weeks, I thought I should Google myself to see if I was appearing in a search [okay, okay, I admit it. I also wanted to see how I appeared on Goggle. I like Seth’s advice, what can I say?!].
On a recent Google search, I was skimming through the links and what do I see? A Beth Harte…and, as you can see, she ain’t me! She’s Beth Harte, Extreme Wrestling US Champion. Is this for real?!
Now there are two people competing for the same exact brand name. But it’s different because this is my name! It’s on my driver’s license, my tax return, my diplomas, and my blog! I am sure the other Beth Harte feels the same way…I mean being confused with a marketer might ruin her image. That is if she is even real [disclaimer: I am not, nor was I ever, an expert on the topic of pro wrestling].
How then does one brand oneself when they no longer have a unique identifier?
Here’s are some quick tips:
- Change your unique identifier, even if slightly, it’ll help your search engine marketing (SEM).
This is why David Meerman Scott goes by, well, exactly that. How do I know that? Because I watched his YouTube video and he told me. And that’s why I am now listed under the brand ‘The Harte of Marketing.’
- Ultimately, in the social media groundswell, customers determine your brand—not you or your company.
Before putting your name out there ask the following: Are you ready to turn over your brand? In the world people will respond to—and about―you quickly! Are you willing to invest the time into managing your brand? Are you open to feedback, even if very critical? Are you willing to say you’re sorry if when you find you’ve been rash or wrong in a response or a post? Are you willing to be permanent [i.e. you are forever on Google. I am finding things that I did in 2004 on Google!]?
- Brand monitoring and reputation management is key―learn it. live it.
Even industry expert Seth Godin has been a target of brand name exploitation.
- Where can you go to manage your brand?
Companies like Motive Quest, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, and Cymphony can help your company monitor their brand. But if you are a do-it-yourselfer or don’t have a budget, try one of these: Summize, Google Alerts/Blog Search, Technorati, and Blogpulse.
What tips can you offer on how you proactively manage your brand? What lessons have you learned?