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sexta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2011

Six Steps To Build A Social Media Strategy

Six Steps To Build A Social Media Strategy

20 December 2011
Robert Heard
2011 has been something of a momentous year for social media. The rate in which new subscribers to sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and YouTube continues to grow exponentially.  Even some of the more traditional industries such as Accountancy are switching on to the benefits of Linkedin according to a recent survey by Kelso Consulting (  

But and it is a rather big but, I wonder how many of these newbies have thought about developing a social media strategy?  What is a social media strategy I hear you say?  In a nutshell, a social media strategy is a structured means of setting goals aligned to your target audience and describes what actions and tools you will use to reach out and engage said audience and what your expected performance measures will be.   Having a social media strategy is essential if you want your time and efforts invested in social media marketing to be as successful as possible.  From my own experiences it is very easy to waste your precious time on what should have been a few minutes online only for hours to pass by and you have posted a few random updates or tweets, done a lot browsing and ultimately not achieved a great deal.  Sound familiar? 

Here are some quick steps that will have you on the path to social media marketing success

1. Be Clear About Your Objectives

Evaluate what you want from your social media participation.  Social media can and should be used for more than just marketing promotional purposes.  The emergence of "Social Business" is testimony to this and should encourage you to think of social media objectives in the wider sense such as relationship building, customer service, collaboration and market research, customer feedback and within your own organisations, engagement with employees.  The benefits from creating a social business are plentiful, greater transparency, more team orientation, a more outward facing business, a more engaged business and in most cases opportunities to reduce costs right across the business.

2. Know Your Audience

Seems obvious, but it's quite a challenge to identify your ideal target market. Sorry saying anyone and everyone is not allowed as this means your marketing is untargeted and most likely not going to be that effective.  

Start by reviewing your existing customers and try to spot the trends.  These could be related to industry type, size of business, turnover, role of purchasers/users etc.  Work out what interests they have, their age group and possibly location. All these factors should help to create an impression of your ideal client.  Building a persona of the type of client you want to engage with makes it easier to identify them online and to know which social media platforms they are using.  Quick tip, if time and resources are limited I recommend that you select only one or two social media sites to use rather than trying to spread yourself too thin across multiple platforms.

3. Share The Social Media Love

Your social media strategy needs to be applied to both existing clients and to prospects.  Connect with your clients via social media sites and start talking to them directly.  You know how powerful word of mouth marketing can be, so once you have found and engaged your clients on social media they will soon begin to share your content, re-tweet your postings and recommend you to others in their network.

Do the same with prospects and you will find any offline obstacles are not there online and you can quickly start to form a relationship that can be taken offline with a face to face meeting.  

4. Join the Conversation and Build Relationships

Keep your eyes and ears open.  Spot opportunities where you can join a conversation and begin posting comments on blogs and forums, answering questions on LinkedIn, joining groups related to your industry and joining Twitter chats.  Also begin developing relationships with influencers in your industry by following them online.

Now you have found your target audience online, use your social media time wisely.  The rule of thumb is that 80% of your offerings online should be sharing information and content that is of value and interest, the remainder can be focussed on promoting your business.  

Online people are sharing all sorts of information about their business issues, comments about competitors or they might be talking about your business.  Join the conversation where you can and respond to these situations appropriately so that you are seen to be engaging and genuinely interested.  (Tip: Social reputation management and social CRM are further areas of your social media strategy that will need development)

Don't hide behind your social media profile, you should aim to move your new online relationships offline into face to face meetings as soon as possible.  In this day of social networking we must not forget the power of real world relationships and personal interaction.

5. Test and Measure Your Results

You have set objectives and you know your ideal client, so you should be able to measure the success of your social media activity.

Get in the habit of regularly reviewing your results.  Set up a simple data collection and analysis process so you can determine what is working well and what part of your social media activity needs tweaking.  

Four common social media objectives and measures are:

Improve brand awareness across social channels: number of followers on Twitter, fans on Facebook, comments and times your brand is mentioned in blogs and forums etc

Build relationships with prospects for future lead generation:  Keep track of companies/people you have connected with.  Log whether meetings arranged offline or whether contact added to mailing list etc

Increase traffic to your website: Keep track of visitors to your website who come from your social media sites.  If you’re promoting an event using social media, consider using a unique code to track the campaign.

Increase positive sentiment and opinion about your brand: The goal is to convert the number of positive mentions while taking note of and responding to negative mentions.  Track whether the ratio of positive to negative comments improved?  

Don't expect miracles overnight, it takes time to build your connections and social credibility.  Keep measuring your results and you will be able to make the right judgement calls and learn what works and what doesn't. For instance you might need to assess whether one of your social media sites is working better than another - you can easily change tactics.

6. Integration

A final word of caution and advice.  Don't treat social media as a separate and distinct pursuit from your other marketing activity.  Look to integrate everything under an overarching marketing strategy that ties together social media along with your more traditional offline marketing and of course your digital (web and email) marketing activities.   The golden rule is consistency.  Your business and brand can not appear to be something very different on a social media site than how it appears elsewhere.  Align your goals and values and ensure that your plans are capitalising on all your marketing assets eg. does your website promote your Twitter handle, are you asking your audience to "join and like" your facebook page in your advertising etc.

Social media strategies will vary for each business and each industry.   None of us have unlimited resources to spend on meaningless endeavours and whims, so don't let your social media actions fail for lack of goals and direction.  My advice is to view social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs etc as tools and tactics that tie into your social media strategy.  In other words they enable you to deliver your social media strategy.  A careful thought out plan will succeed, without one you might become overwhelmed and disillusioned very quickly by your lack of social media progress.  Please use this article as a first steps guide to your social media success.

How to be great marketer in 2012 - top 10 tips

How to be great marketer in 2012 - top 10 tips

Joel Harrison
Right then: 2012. The holidays are over – it’s time to get down to business.

We’ve got to accept that economic indicators don’t look great, and it’s unlikely to be a boom year for many companies. But that doesn’t mean as marketers we have any excuses to rest on their laurels – far from it in fact; unless they are prepared to roll up our sleeves, take some tough decisions and generally get involved, marketers may find themselves in a spot of bother, as companies constantly re-evaluate their spend and personnel. In other words, to put it more succinctly, in the words of the old cliché: when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

So what does make a great marketer – particularly in the current, difficult environment? This was the question that IBM asked me recently, in a formal presentation to some of its European marketing team. My response, delivered in the form of standard slide presentation, was something like this:

In the good old days, marketers were the unsung heroes of B2B companies. They sat in the background with a low profile, keeping their heads down and getting on with pumping out campaigns, organising trade show stands, managing databases etc. Few, if any, were stars – that was left to the sales team, or the MD.

But the credit crunch plus the digital revolution created a ‘perfect storm’. The consequences for B2B marketers were more pressure, less time, less budget, more fickle clients, greater scrutiny and interference from the board, and more stressed and agitated sales and finance people.

To cope with this new environment, B2B marketers have to change. In today’s world, they must be ‘always-on’, visible, accountable, measurable, approachable: leading and innovating rather then reacting and following. And they must be willing and able to embrace new opportunities, of which there are many – including new technology, new ways of working and changes to think and act strategically. So specifically what skills and attributes does a B2B marketer need to survive and thrive in 2012? Here are my top ten. In order to succeed, B2B marketers must be:

1. A polymath – in other words, good at many things. A jack of all trades (and probably a master of a couple of those). That includes so-called ‘traditional’ and digital marketing disciplines.
2. Pragmatic – willing and able to change, responding to changing needs and demands.
3. Engaging – they must be excellent communicators, with anyone and everyone, across the organisation. That includes everyone from the boardroom to the call centre.
4. Technologically adept – analytics, automation and social media monitoring must be your new best friends.
5. Passionate – really believe in what they are doing and why, and in their brand and the organisation that they work for. Lip service won’t do.
6. Convincing – able to sell ideas and concepts, and rally others to their cause.
7. Robust – they must be able to justify and prove their decisions and actions.
8. Collaborative – able to work with other key stakeholders in the organisation, such as sales, IT and finance, where necessary.
9. Dogged and determined – able to keep going in the face of adversity.
10. Inquisitive – interested in new tools, techniques, insights and ideas. Marketing will continue to change, and practitioners must change with it.

In 2012, more than ever before, marketers must stand up to be counted. I truly believe that marketing is the organisation that has the best opportunity to deliver real and lasting change for the organisation. It’s up to individual practitioners to embrace this opportunity. For those that are up to the challenge: it will probably a tough but – for most – an ultimately rewarding year. Those that aren’t should probably leave now.

PS: if you liked this, you might also enjoy the presentation, which you can see on slideshare version here - it was labelled '2011' because it was presented in November, and it has been tweaked slightly, but the fundamentals still apply.


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How will Digital Change Small Business in 2012?


Over the course of 2011, we wit­nessed social media and location-based ser­vices real­ly take off for small busi­ness­es — the mom and pop shops of the world con­tin­ued to get more dig­i­tal and more mobile.
As this year wraps up, we look back at the tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments that small busi­ness­es have ben­e­fit­ed from and pre­dict how those tech­nolo­gies will affect entre­pre­neurs in 2012.

We spoke with a num­ber of small busi­ness­es to get their thoughts on how the mar­ket will con­tin­ue to adapt to chang­ing tech­nolo­gies as we move into the new year.

Based on those dis­cus­sions, here are our seven small busi­ness pre­dic­tions for 2012. Read on and let us know what you’d add to the list in the com­ments below.

1. Busi­ness­es Mine Big Data
Many of the small busi­ness own­ers we spoke with pin­point­ed 2012 as the year of big data. “Com­pa­nies are real­iz­ing that they have a lot of infor­ma­tion on their hands and will need tools to mine it, make sense of it and mon­e­tize it,” says We Are Cloud CEO Rachel Dela­cour.

“What will real­ly mat­ter for SMBs in 2012 is the fact they can, for the first time, mine their own busi­ness like the big guys, and do so quick­ly and cheaply,” Dela­cour syas. “SMBs can use pow­er­ful, high-end tools deliv­ered via their desk­top brows­er or onto their tablet for just a few dol­lars per month to see what’s hap­pen­ing with their HR, their sales, their social media engage­ment. Those SaaS tools give a one-man shop or a 50-per­son out­fit almost instant­ly the same fire­pow­er as a whole depart­ment with its own IT staff inside a multinational.”

Jeff Judge, CEO of Sig­nal, agrees. “Accord­ing to IBM, 2.5 quin­til­lion bytes of data are cre­at­ed daily, and 90% of the data in the world today was cre­at­ed with­in the past two years. 2012 is the year when small busi­ness­es start to bring togeth­er data from their web­site, cus­tomer pur­chase behav­ior, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and social media activ­i­ty around their brand to dras­ti­cal­ly impact the qual­i­ty of their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing efforts.”

2. Web­sites Opti­mize for Tablet Com­merce
For­rester Research pre­dicts mobile com­merce will grow at a com­pound annu­al growth rate of 39% through 2016, and Infi­nite Research fore­casts that tablet adop­tion will grow at a com­pound annu­al growth rate of 56% per year through 2015.

Alex Schmelkin, co-founder and pres­i­dent of Alexan­der Inter­ac­tive, believes that 2012 will bring an explo­sion of tablet com­merce. “Wide­spread adop­tion of Apple’s iPad has made it imper­a­tive for retail­ers to opti­mize their web­sites for tablet usage,” he says. “While com­pa­nies will con­tin­ue to devel­op native apps for the device, web brows­ing is the num­ber one activ­i­ty, and most t–com­merce will con­tin­ue to occur in the brows­er. Small busi­ness­es should review their sites to opti­mize for touch and fix any usabil­i­ty issues.”

Lisa A. Shorr, vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing at PC Trou­bleshoot­ers, would go as far as to say that 2012 is the year that tablets take a stand in the small busi­ness arena. She explains, “Since its launch in 2010, the tablet has been used not only as a brows­ing mech­a­nism, but a true mobile busi­ness tool as well…Our clients are demand­ing more mobil­i­ty and inte­gra­tion of mobile devices for doc­u­ment shar­ing, email­ing, social media and more.”

3. Brands Become Pub­lish­ers
“Con­tent is King.” That’s an Inter­net mantra we’ve all heard way too many times, but there’s truth to it — and next year, small busi­ness­es will start to see the light.

“2012 will mark a surge in busi­ness­es not only being the pub­lish­ers of their own con­tent, but [being] dis­sem­i­na­tors as well,” says Affect Strate­gies‘ pres­i­dent and founder San­dra Fathi. “Whether it’s a com­pa­ny blog or a cor­po­rate e-newslet­ter, small busi­ness­es will focus on cre­at­ing the con­tent and devel­op­ing their own pub­lish­ing vehi­cles to get their mes­sages to mar­ket. They will bypass tra­di­tion­al media out­lets and go direct­ly to their tar­get audi­ences by cre­at­ing brand­ed niche media properties.”

4. Loy­al­ty Pro­grams Go Dig­i­tal
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Small busi­ness­es have been accom­mo­dat­ing that love for decades — each year, loy­al­ty pro­grams just keep get­ting bet­ter and eas­i­er to use.

In 2011, Foursquare and other location-based ser­vices were huge inflencers in tak­ing loy­al­ty pro­grams dig­i­tal. Small busi­ness cer­tain­ly played their part in the game, mak­ing check-ins all the more fun for con­sumers.

Next year, though, we’ll see greater adop­tion of dig­i­tal loy­al­ty pro­grams. “Punch­cards are a thing of the past,” says Doug Hard­man, CEO of Spark­Base. “Busi­ness­es will start trans­fer­ring their loy­al­ty reward pro­grams into the dig­i­tal space. This is a twofold trend to keep up with big­ger busi­ness­es such as Star­bucks and Sub­way, who have dig­i­tal reward pro­grams, and also to com­pete with daily deal sites. Small busi­ness­es want to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves and offer spe­cial deals with­out hav­ing to work with Groupon or Liv­ing­So­cial. Mobile dig­i­tal loy­al­ty pro­grams allow them to do this.”

“The shift to mobile shop­ping is accel­er­at­ing as near­ly half of all shop­pers use their mobile phone to scout deals and com­pare prices,” says Hard­man. “Mobile coupon redemp­tion is fore­cast­ed to exceed $43 bil­lion glob­al­ly by 2016, and mer­chants need a way to con­nect with shop­pers [on their mobile devices].”

CEO Jeff Judge of Sig­nal agrees. He says, “The next wave of loy­al­ty pro­grams for small busi­ness­es will lever­age cus­tomer data­bas­es of pur­chase his­to­ry, mar­ket­ing cam­paign response rates and social media activ­i­ty like check-ins and brand men­tions to cus­tomize rewards to an indi­vid­ual. One only needs to look at com­pa­nies like Bel­lyflop, Stampt and Spo­tOn — and Google’s acqui­si­tion of Punchd — to see this emerg­ing already.”

5. Web­sites Inte­grate Social Login
Ian Aronovich, CEO of, believes that more small busi­ness­es will inte­grate social login on their web­sites in 2011. “Social login is where you can use your Face­book, Yahoo and Google IDs [among oth­ers] to login to var­i­ous websites,” he says. “It’s quick and easy to use. Social login is great because peo­ple don’t need to cre­ate dozens of new user­names and pass­words every time they find a site that they want to use.”

Because Face­book is the most pop­u­lar social net­work and Inter­net users’ top choice for social login, small busi­ness­es may want to focus ini­tial efforts on the plat­form. “A study by Social Labs shows that 50% of ecom­merce vis­i­tors are logged in to Face­book simultaneously,” says mar­ket­ing man­ag­er Alan­na Fran­cis of Blue Foun­tain Media. “This means that with Face­book Open Graph inte­gra­tion, small busi­ness­es can show cus­tomers rec­om­men­da­tions and Likes from their social cir­cles. Since many retail­ers have shown that social rein­force­ment increas­es sales, small busi­ness­es will want to con­sid­er this strat­e­gy in 2012.”

6. Busi­ness­es Pull Back on Daily Deal Spend
Daily deal sites like Groupon and Liv­ing­So­cial brought lots of excite­ment in 2011. While we saw a lot of small busi­ness­es suc­cess sto­ries in the group buy­ing space, we also heard of a num­ber of dis­as­ters, includ­ing the story of a baker who almost went out of busi­ness after run­ning a Groupon deal. For small busi­ness­es run­ning on low mar­gins, daily deals aren’t worth it.

“The daily deals tal­lies on cus­tomer reten­tion and prof­itabil­i­ty con­tin­ue to be ugly for merchants,” says Tarek Pertew, co-founder of Par­rut. A recent Rice Uni­ver­si­ty study sug­gests that near­ly half of all mer­chants are mak­ing money on deals. And with Groupon’s own data sug­gest­ing that only 22% of cus­tomers are com­ing back, we [at Par­rut] assume that a sig­nif­i­cant pull­back is due. That said, the daily deal busi­ness is evolv­ing, and it’ll cer­tain­ly be a major out­let for lead gen spend going for­ward. At the same time, we think small busi­ness­es used daily deals as a ‘gate­way’ to social mar­ket­ing, but will now focus on their own con­tent and other tech­nolo­gies which give them more con­trol over sus­tain­able growth and profit.”

7. Sched­ul­ing Con­tin­ues to Go Cloud
Jerry Net­tuno, founder and CEO of Schedulic­i­ty, may be a lit­tle biased, but we like where his head’s at. “The appoint­ment book is dead,” he says. “The busi­ness sec­tor as a whole has seen a shift to automa­tion. The suc­cess of sites like Schedulic­i­ty, OpenTable and Zoc­Doc only rein­force the idea that the tra­di­tion­al pen and paper appoint­ment book may see its demise in 2012. The num­ber of online appoint­ments is grow­ing expo­nen­tial­ly, as Schedulic­i­ty alone has seen near­ly 7 mil­lion appoint­ments booked online since mid-2009. Over the next two to five years, the phys­i­cal appoint­ment book will be gone alto­geth­er and replaced with online counterparts.”

In 2010, Seattle-based Emer­son Salon, sourced 75% of its busi­ness from Twit­ter, Face­book and its blog, great­ly due to its online book­ing options and social media savvy. Other small busi­ness­es should take note and move towards dig­i­tal sched­ul­ing in 2012.