Posts Tagged ‘Conversation’
Today, I am proud to join my Age of Conversation 3: It’s Time To Get Busy! co-authors in asking for your support to give the gift of conversation. And by doing so you’ll also be giving the gift of clean water to hundreds of thousands of people who need it so desperately.
Each time you buy a copy of AOC 3, 100% of the cost of the book will be donated to our selected charity, charity: water.
charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects!
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By now it’s not news that there have been a lot of citizens sharing their thoughts and concerns about the national healthcare plan being discussed in local town halls (if you haven’t seen the videos, check some of them out on YouTube).
My friend Ken Yeung had an excellent post, What Happens When You Think your Customers Will Kowtow to You? (had to use the post name because I love the word kowtow), last week about how the AARP representative totally dismissed any comments or discussion that their members wanted to share in light of the position that AARP was taking in regards to national healthcare and sharing with them.
In short, the AARP representative told the members “we want to hear from you” and when they started speaking she said: ”Excuse me, but I really appreciate it if everyone could keep their comments quiet until there is time for the public…” By the end of the video, she was so mad that she couldn’t deliver her message that she walked out on the members. [Check out the video on Ken's post, it's quite interesting to watch.]
I don’t find any of the passion or discussions (some may call them disruptions) out of the ordinary at all. Why should I, right? We tell organizations everyday that they need to listen to their constituents and that they can’t push their messages, and that they are no longer in control of certain situations or their community.
But what did surprise me were the social media folks on Twitter talking about how these town hall discussions were out of line. Really?
I’m sure that Dell, Motrin, Dominos, Tropicana, Walmart, United and MANY more organizations felt that the discussions that their customers were having about them were totally disrupting to their business day. Right?
And yet, social media proponents analyzed their every action (or inaction) to death, shared their opinions on Twitter, their blogs and in conversation. These same companies are often used as examples of “what not to do (or to do right…after the fact). We tell companies to get with the program because this is the way it is today because ALL customers have a voice.
If you are going to be advising clients, organizations or management on social media, please be very careful to not pick and choose when you think customer conversations are acceptable or not…especially if they are based on your own political affiliation.
I understand that some people are very passionate about their politics, but I ask you to remember one thing: the government gets their money from taxpayers. That means, just like organizations, they need to be prepared for conversations, disruptions, and negativity because ALL customers have a voice. Right?
(It doesn’t matter if it’s on- or offline because eventually it could end up online anyway.)
If you embrace social media…don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth. You are either for open conversation and dialog in any form that it happens in or you aren’t. Which is it?
[Image: Flickr, Boxelf]
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It seems these days marketers are walking around scratching their heads wondering why no one ever responses to their e-mail marketing… And why, oh why, are click-through rates are so low… Really, it’s amazing this hasn’t been figured it out yet. Let me shine some light on it…
You. Are. SPAMMING. People.
And yes, while CAN-SPAM (below) doesn’t require opt-ins (isn’t that nice of the lawmakers?!), here’s the thing—regardless of what you think as a marketer—when your e-mail shows up and the person on the receiving end knows that they never gave you their e-mail address or they aren’t interested in what you have to say…they consider it spam. Even if they are your network friend, prospect, vendor, etc. It’s just rude to pop up in someone’s inbox unannounced.
CAN-SPAM Requirements for Commercial E-Mailers:
- NO false or misleading header information
- NO deceptive subject lines
- There MUST be an opt-out method provided
- It MUST be identified as an advertisement & provide a valid physical postal address
Yes, yes, I can hear it now… “I am not spamming people! My e-mail marketing isn’t about Viagra!” Hmmm, let me help you see it from the receiver’s perspective.
You’re Most Likely a Spammer if you…
- Add someone to the e-mail list just because they download something from your website
- Add someone to the e-mail list just they stopped by a virtual tradeshow or event
- Add someone to the e-mail list because sales (or anyone else) tells you to
- Add someone to the e-mail list just because they “friend” you on a social network
- Keep e-mailing someone even when they ask to be removed from your e-mail list
- Send bulk e-mail from your desktop instead of using a professional e-mail marketing application, tool, or program (that just clogs the spam filter)
- Regurgitate copy from your collateral, website or white papers
- Add someone just because you assume you have something of interest to say
- E-mail people who aren’t in your target audience
If you still say that you are within CAN-SPAM regulations to do all of the above things, you’d probably be correct…but guess what, to people who don’t expect these types of e-mails you are indeed spamming them. Why? Because you are cluttering up their e-mail and now they need to talk time out of their busy day to “unsubscribe” and hope you listen. And above all else you are annoying…like ants at a picnic.
Sin #1: Failing to test the design of the e-mail in multiple e-mail clients
Sin #2: Failing to spam-check the e-mail copy before sending
Sin #3: Putting hurdles in the way of unsubscribing
Sin #4: Neglecting to maintain the list’s invalid addresses
Sin #5: Becoming complacent
Sin #6: Sending content that isn’t relevant to what the user signed up for
Sin #7: Most importantly, e-mailing a user without their permission
[The exception: The one-off e-mail asking someone to join your list.]
Social Media & E-Mail Marketing: Turning the boat around
We live in a world where people are tired of companies shoving promotional messages down their throats. We talk about this constantly in the social media sphere. The need for conversation is becoming more and more important in business.
E-mail marketing is possible to do it correctly (Amazon.com, how I love thee!). Companies just need to consider it from the perspective of the receiver. How about marketers do these simple things first on their websites, blogs, etc. first:
- Develop great content
- Provide information that helps people (and expect nothing in return)
Then, and only then…
- Give people the option to come to you (and sign up for your e-mails)
And how about…
- Giving people the ability to select information based on their preferences (ingenious, right?!)
I think we have reached the point where e-mail marketing is ruined. And if marketers want to continue doing it, they need to earn the right to find a home in someone’s inbox. There is no other way to get it right.
This is nothing new, I get that. And it seems absolutely crazy to me to even have a discussion about bad e-mail marketing after all these years. But I still receive at least 10 e-mails a day that I haven’t asked for from people I do and don’t know. Whether it’s from a social network (Ning users, you are the great offenders!!) or from a networked offline professional or from someone who found my e-mail address…and I am tired of it.
Your thoughts? Am I off base here? Is e-mail marketing completely ruined or can it be turned around? Does social media play a part in fixing e-mail marketing? What suggestions would you provide to marketers considering e-mail marketing?
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I have been thinking about this for a while because I keep bumping into the same situations (well, people) over and over… This won’t be a lengthy post because I am more interested in seeing if you are having the same experiences as me. If so, I am really interested in your thoughts.
What are the four faces of social media? Well, as I have encountered them…I have settled on:
The Social Media Purist: The person who truly embraces social media as the conversation that the tools allow people to engage in from day-to-day. The tools might change, but the ultimate goal is to listen, learn, share, and converse with customers and prospects. For the purists, it’s about the conversation and the strength of the relationships that lead to strong business relationships. And the relationships affect all departments within a company because everyone employee is responsible for a great interaction.
The Marketer/PR Professionals or Ad/PR/Interactive Agencies: For the most part, a lot of these folks (for now, I hope…fingers crossed) see social media tools as just that…tools. They are tools that are used to push one-way messaging. It’s not about the conversation, it’s about the medium and more places and people to share the message when traditional marketing like advertising, PR, direct mail, events, etc. aren’t working or delivering. It’s what most are comfortable with, and I get that. While this mindset might work in the short-term…it won’t work long-term.
The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Gang: Social media is about the tools that help generate the links. It’s about getting clients on Digg or StumbleUpon. It’s about stuffing keywords into every nook and cranny. It’s rarely about the conversation. Because SEOs are typically paid on results, they aren’t paid for helping clients engage in conversation. Or, it’s because they are making money for themselves by selling off highly ranked sites or by monetizing social sites…it’s purely business, not conversation. And yes, there are some SEO’s that get the mix of social media and SEO…I’m thinking about Lee Odden or Li Evans or Wil Reynolds.
The End User (that would be the customer): In the end, they are the people who are stuck combing through all the blog posts, tweets, and Internet links to find information that’s truly relevant to them and right at their fingertips when & where they need it. They want information or feedback that can help them to make a sound purchasing decision or the information that can help them do their job quicker, easier and better. They are the ones looking for conversation, but are the influencers that are most often forgotten by the marketing/PR/agency/SEO folks.
What’s going to happen here? And by here, I mean the world of marketing. I don’t know about you…but I don’t think social media isn’t going away any time soon. You all know me, I am obviously a purist. I enjoy conversation and I think it has many indirect and direct benefits to business and revenue.
So, should we find a way to get everyone to work together? Or will the social media purists eventually be pushed out by the marketers who continue to try to control the market and the SEO folks who are just looking to fill Google full of irrelevant links? Or, does it not even matter? What do you think?
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Recently, the New York Times ran an article called Brave New World of Digital Intimacy that dives into how relationships have changed now that interaction with others-and our lives- are shared on-line via applications like Facebook and Twitter.
According to the article, ‘social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does – body language, sighs, stray comments – out of the corner of your eye.’
A lot of updates are limited to 140 characters and applications like ping.fm make it easy to broadcast daily minutiae across multiple applications at the same time. There seems to be an assumption that broadcasting equates to participation in social media and its applications. It certainly makes it easier, right? Instant communicate to all networks with one push of the enter key.
But is communication with the network the same as conversing with the network? Connie Reece recently asked the question “are you conversationally tone-deaf?” and explained that one-way conversation (i.e. broadcasting) does not equate to a social media best practice.
Social media leaders, who understand the importance of conversation, leave different update statuses on different applications like Twitter, Plurk and Facebook. Why? Because they use the applications for the different purposes they serve. Perhaps Twitter for business, Plurk for friends and Facebook for the combination of the two. Time consuming? Yes. But importantly, they realize that their communities are different on each networking application and conversations on each will be different.
The article goes on to say that, “…this is the paradox of ambient awareness. Each little update-each individual bit of social information-is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting.”
But, that’s not entirely accurate. The portrait being seen is the one painted by the broadcaster. They control what is known about them. Without any meaningful conversation, whether on-line or in person, it is truly impossible to know that person. Basing relationships on what broadcasted messages they leave behind can lead to potential parasocial behavior. Conversation is an art. It takes practice and is time consuming. Having ambient awareness isn’t enough to develop a meaningful relationship. And as more people start using social media tools to broadcast and not converse, social media will become no more than traditional marketing utilizing on-line tools.
Ultimately as marketers it’s important to understand that broadcasting via social media tools will not help to engage customers, partners or employees anymore than newsletters and e-mail marketing do (i.e. one-way conversation). Ambient awareness does not truly provide the body language, sighs, stray comments that are only apparent during a real conversation. The only way to get to understand your customers, partners or employees and their wants, needs and goals/objectives is to have a traditional conversation. No tool or amount of broadcasting can replace that.
What’s your take on ambient awareness?
[NYT article hat tip: Alan Wolk]