Posts tagged: social-media

Posting on Postling

A discussion on LinkedIn clued me in to Postling, a free online service that helps people like me manage multiple social profile accounts. I registered my free account at Postling a few weeks ago and have used it on and off to tweet, blog, and engage on multiple sites. Here’s the nitty gritty of it.

Interface

Maybe it means that I’m getting old (or, shall we say, more sophisticated… wiser…), but I love the large print and text entry boxes in their site design. It’s inviting, clean, and highly user-friendly.

Ease of Use

Postling makes it easy-schmeasy to switch between different account for blogging, tweeting, and more. What Postling supports: WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, SquareSpace, Tumblr, Drupal, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr.

What they don’t support: Everything else. Of concern to me is Posterous, LinkedIn, link sharing sites like Digg and Delicious, and other photosharing sites like TwitPic and what-not.

If your primary accounts are in the the list of what Postling supports, you’ll likely be pleased with the functionality and ease of it all. Postling allows you to create separate brands and manage your accounts under those brands – perfect for someone like me who manages social media for several different companies. But it would be just as great for a stay at home mom who wants to manage her personal blog separately from her Etsy business, for example.

Click to publish and scheduled posting are great. And, might I add, you can schedule Twitter posts too. I can’t get over that! I just love to know that I can schedule an important tweet to publish while I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair or doing something else that keeps me offline. Love it.

The interface for blogging is similar to the major blog services – text editing and WYSIWYG. If HTML is your thing, you can hit the little “source” button to edit that way.

Did you know that it also has its own blog capability? Yep. It gives you your own Postling page with a blog and a sidebar that includes links to your other accounts.

Cons

So, it’s pretty. It’s clean. It’s easy to manage multiple accounts and brands. In fact, it’s so easy my mom could do it. (Not that she’s tried, but I’m pretty sure she could if she was into that kind of thing…)

But…

I can’t listen. I have to go to a blog reader or Twitter client to listen. So I go back and forth between Postling and Google Reader and TweetDeck. And let’s face it. It’s easier to participate and engage from TweetDeck directly – I mean I can retweet or reply to someone just by hovering over their picture. In Postling I’d have to type in their name. I know – I’m lazy. But convenience is big when you’re managing multiple accounts on multiple platforms.

Since social media is all about being, well, social, I need to be able to listen. After all, a one-sided conversation isn’t a conversation – it’s a monologue.

If there was a way to incorporate a feed reader, I’d have to call it perfect. And spend my days hovering – 24-7.

So I suppose my family should be happy that isn’t possible. Time will tell if I’ll continue to use it. I still spend time on my WordPress dashboards playing with plugins and widgets. So it doesn’t make sense to head over to Postling when I’m already in a dashboard I can post from. And it doesn’t make sense to leave TweetDeck.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s easy on the eyes. And easy to use. If you’re looking for a way to post to multiple sites simultaneously, or schedule your Tweets – Postling is perfect. Unfortunately it isn’t quite perfect for me. I spend more time listening than talking, which makes listening (or reading) paramount. So there it is. Postling is a great place to wax lyrical and switch voices as much as you’d like. But you’ll have to get your feedback and response (and your fodder) someplace else.

Nice start, Postling. You do what you do very well. Now if I could just get you expand your functionality a bit.

Update: From @Postling: Thanks, it’s coming soon! In the mean time, we do offer tracking of Twitter mentions and FB Wall Posts under the “tracking” tab.

I’ve enabled tracking in my Postling account, which apparently is free only for a limited time. It will eventually be a premium service (there has to be a revenue stream to make the investors happy, right?) Only problem I see is that tweet above from Postling appeared in my TweetDeck immediately. 10 minutes later it still hadn’t shown up on my Postling tracking page. Er, fellas?

How to Hire a Social Media Rock Star – Part 1

So, your organization is ready to hire someone to manage social media. But how do you make sure your choice to fill the vacancy is the right one? The first thing to do – even before you start looking – is to define your strategy.

What will you do with your social media accounts and how do they fit into your overall business strategy?

Advertise/Market: Gain a following, advertise products and services, advertise company, increase market share.

This involves generating content with a high interest level and engagement. Harnessing word of mouth is your best bet, which means you’ll need an intensive engagement strategy to build a groundswell. Ford’s CMO, James Farley, says “You can’t just say it. You have to get the people to say it to each other.” That’s what social media is all about.

Customer Service touchpoint: Gauge the barometer of what people are saying about you, monitor and respond to your customers and users.

Search tools can help you monitor what people are saying about your company and products. Responding immediately gives your customers the instant gratification we all love. Besides, studies show that a complaint handled well is likely to bring repeat business. Use social media to connect with users, especially after a bad experience or to help them troubleshoot, and you’re likely to see some major returns.

Operational functionality: Using social media can help people connect across your business – employees, customers – vertically and horizontally.

Staff training combined with an innovative integration of technology can streamline business processes. Resolving issues before they become problems, facilitating communication, and collecting data are all ways to use social media to improve operational functionality.

Once you have your goals in mind, you’ll want to build your strategy around 3 basic factors:

  1. Be authentic to build trust.
  2. Be social to build relationships.
  3. Be useful to build value.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.

Credit: Ross Dawson Blog

Stages of engagement

Have you ever wondered how companies make it from that first, often awkward, posting on Twitter to active, operational and customer service oriented social media networking? Digital Marketing strategist Brian Solis describes the process in an article for Mashable, and it really isn’t horribly complicated.

He describes it in a 10-step process that makes a lot of sense. The most important step, we think, and one that’s often forgotten, is listening. It can be easy to engage in a noise-creating medium, delivering white noise or random chatter. But listening actively, analyzing findings, and responding to trends is what will make or break a strategy.

Thanks, Brian, for the formula. It’s a handy tool, and enlightening for businesses.

5 best ways to reach people online

According to the US Census Bureau, 3 out of 5 American households have a computer at home with internet access. A full 77% of Americans know how to use the internet and 73% use it at least daily. So the question remains, what are the best ways to reach them when they’re online? Let’s look at usage first.

58% of internet users are reading or sending email
50% are using search
38% are getting news
38% are online just to pass the time or for fun
27% are using social networking sites

It would seem from the numbers that the best way to reach people is via email, right? Well, how many of your unsolicited emails do you read? Especially if they come from a stranger? If you’re like me, very few. Let’s look at a different set of data. This is online influence on consumers for 2009 holiday purchases in the first week of December, put together by comScore:

28% were influenced by social media
21% were influenced by discounts or click-throughs on Facebook or Twitter
13% were influenced by consumer-generated reviews
12% were influenced by expert reviews

Now, if you’re trying to sell something to the 73% of Americans who are using the internet daily, what are your best bets?

  1. Consumer generated reviews. Sites like amazon.com and epinion.com allow users to rate and comment on their experience with your product. Bloggers (non-sponsored and unpaid) have a great deal of clout as well. These methods work great because the 50% of Americans using the internet for searching will likely stumble onto reviews in the course of their search. Additionally, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can link to reviews of your product creating more clout.
  2. Expert generated reviews. Let’s face it. Some people prefer to follow what the experts do. And if someone like cnet says your product is better than competitors’ you’re likely to generate good sales. Again, that review will appear in search engines and can be linked to on social media sites, garnering even more popularity.
  3. Discount it! You don’t want to give away the farm, but we’re seeing more and more people clicking on bargain offers while trying to save some cash. When those discounts are given on social media sites returns will be amplified, reaching the 28% who are influenced by social media as well as the 21% who click through links on Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Place ads on Facebook and popular games. When people are logged in to a popular game like Mafia Wars you have a captive audience. When they’re scanning Facebook for friends’ status updates, videos, and pictures, you have the same phenomenon. Facebook also generates highly targeted ads for a very low cost. Companies are noticing that returns on Facebook ads are much better than returns on other online ads, and often much better than returns on traditional media ads.
  5. Make a video. Videos are targeted well by search engines and they play a large role in social media engagement. Upload a video to YouTube, Vimeo, or Google Video and start sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. Make it catchy, unexpected, and end it with a transaction-minded call to action. Videos can be viral, when they’re done well. Why not give it shot now?

Business Week's tips on social media

Last February Business Week debunked a list of 6 social media myths, and despite of the amount of time that’s passed since then, those same myths are still widely held. I would say that the landscape has changed a bit since then, making their responses to the myths a little dated.

For one, they suggest that a good social media campaign will cost you $50,000-$100,000. But the field has been flooded with companies doing social media strategy at various levels. And as any Econ 101 student knows, when supply increases, prices decrease. I suppose corporate giants like Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-a have use for multi-faceted campaigns that require resources like that, but for your general small to medium enterprise, a good social media marketing company (like Engage Them) can get you sorted for a fraction of that cost.

There are also a ton more ways to measure your social media impact than there were 10 months ago, and presumably will be a ton more by this February. Below is a chart that measures influence and audience on Twitter – Klout makes it relevant and user-friendly.

Klout Twitter

Is social media a fad?

If you think this is a fleeting fad, check out the stats in this video and be impressed.

Tell me a story

Hat tip to Seth Godin who posted a great article this morning on challenge of marketing. We – as marketers or business owners or political proponents – expect people to think like us.¬† We think we can just tell them what we think or maybe why we think it, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

The challenge lies in helping them see your idea through their lens, not yours. If you study the way religions and political movements spread, you can see that this is exactly how it works. Marketers of successful ideas rarely market the facts. Instead, they market stories that match the worldview of the people being marketed to.

This is why telling stories is more effective than standing on a soap box or spouting facts about your product or service. People relate to experiences. You’re more likely reach an audience talking about the blueberries your kid smooshed on his shirt (that you got out with your special stain remover) than you are by reporting the enzyme properties of that stain remover.

megaphone-kid-marketingThat’s what makes social media so intuitive. It gives you the platform to tell your story, and interact with other people who are telling their stories about your product or service. There’s nothing more brilliant than that.

Twitter vs. YouTube

Yesterday’s article at Fast Company comparing 2009 trends between Twitter and YouTube went so far as to call YouTube frivolous. I’d have to accede¬† the vast majority of the content on YouTube is, in fact, pretty frivolous, but there are other gems of a more serious nature – lectures, seminar videos, and the not-so-occasional soap-box crusader.

Twitter, as Fast Company calls it, does ‘life-casting,’ which apparently is less frivolous. The most engaging topic on Twitter in 2009 was the Iranian elections and backlash from them. Not altogether surprisingly, Iran is missing from the top searches at YouTube. It would seem that even though there are plenty of users on the frivolous side of Twitter, there are also a lot of people using microblogging to accomplish some wicked serious stuff.

Twitter-YouTube

Harnessing the power of Social Media

As blogging gradually eases its way to becoming an somewhat acceptable mode of journalism, PR agencies are taking note (finally, I might add). A great article over at AdWeek details how some of the greats of the advertising world are harnessing the power of social media. It seems that word of mouth is merging into word of QWERTY, albeit not so spontaneously.

I love the idea of going beyond banner ads into more ‘authentic’ media, but there’s a part of me that finds sponsored posts somewhat despicable. Granted, I’m one of those old-school bloggers, tied to the archaic ideas of authenticity and validity. Maybe if I were doing this for personal gain or a get rich quick scheme I’d be more receptive to someone paying me money to say they made the best widget in Widget-world. Maybe I missed the bandwagon. Am I the only one who reads a blog post giving a stellar review of an appliance, or a book, or the newfangled shiny cog in the machine and instantly recognizes it as fluff?

Sure! I love the idea of marketing peeps and advertisers jumping on the social media bandwagon. But I also think a level of authenticity is called for and sponsoring posts is the digital equivalent to infomercials or those annoying “paid advertising sections” of the magazine that look just like regular pages, only they’re poorly laid out and filled with… fluff (and small print whispering that it’s inauthentic).

Call it old school. Call it naive. But a good friend of mine once said “The truth is your best tool.” (Thanks, Jerry, from the The Change.) Jerry was right. I want agencies to clue in and ride the social media wave. But I want them to do it for real – not with astroturf but with the truth – the kind you can stand on when the rains come.

Twitter

It seems that Fortune 100 companies are largely missing the boat with Twitter. While several use Twitter to keep their ears open, reading tweets (as what we in the blogosphere call “trolling”), all too many aren’t using Twitter at all.

Image Credit: Holy Kaw!

Check out the rest of the report, detailing how “twueless” companies can get a clue.

Tweets by EngageThem