First off, I had a blast at Social Media Day that was thrown by Pinnacle of Indiana. Michelle Hillaert rocks and you should follow her. So does LaSalle Grill for letting us take over the Club LaSalle. Very classy place. BTW, if you go in and you give them the code word, “Irish”. They will give you half price appetizers for the entire month of July. Pretty sweet.
And if you head over to Pinnacle of Indiana or call them at 74.235.8100 and say “Irish” they will give you an hour’s worth of IT consulting or social media consulting. That’s pretty sweet as well.
I would also like to thank everyone on the panel:
- Steve Smith (rock star) @orderedlist Don’t BS Steve on SM, he’s built his business on his reputation and it’s the same rep online.
- Kem Meyer @kemmeyer – Kem’s less clutter is great. “All things are social.” Because we are social people. Love that!
- Elizabeth Cecconi @ViewFromSBN – I’ll be checking in on Foursquare and Gowalla at the South Bend airport just so Elizabeth will reach out to me. Make sure you do as well.
- Tim O’Connor @oaknd1– Can’t say enough good things about Oak. Super talented designer that I happen to be lucky enough to be friends with and get to work with here at AgencyND. BTW, he wishes he could have said more at the panel. Oak always wishes he could have said more.
- Edward Koczan –@edwardlife I love knowing cops and Ed is certainly a good one to know. He’s helped me out more than he knows. And I don’t think he understands how much more he’s going to know that I know he’s behind the blog and twitter profiles of the South Bend Police.
- Dave Woodson @davewoodson – Dave is a money maker. He lives and breathes this stuff. You should follow him because he’s a networker. He can connect you with thousands.
I learned from them than I did at many panels I’ve attended on social media. They were an eclectic bunch but all smart and very social people.
As I mentioned in my talk, it’s hard to get up and talk in front of a bunch of social media people. They know what they are doing so what can they learn from me. Probably not much but I tried to hit on a topic that I run into all the time, selling social media as a legitimate form of marketing. It’s worth my time and their ROI on me to do it.
So how do you sell social media?
First, don’t try and force or say something silly like everyone else is doing it. That may work but if things don’t start jumping right away or you don’t have 586,958 friends in the first week, they may change their tune.
Start with getting a good benchmark of where your marketing stands right now and how all of your other tactics are doing. If everything is being measured, then you can have a good comparison to match your social media efforts to.
If you’ve never had to measure ROI, it’s pretty easy formula. Here’s a great powerpoint on measuring ROI on social media by Oliver Blanchard.
Just take what you’ve earned from a tactic minus what the tactic cost to produce. Then divide that by the tactic’s cost and you’ll get a fraction – that’s your ROI.
For example, if you spent $2.50 and it deliver you $5 then you get an ROI of 1. If you spent $1.25 and it got you $5, then you get an ROI of 3.
Then I benchmark my website (where I’ll be directing my social media at) so I know how it’s performing before I think about starting social media.
I usually measure a website’s performance by three things:
- Analytics (we normally use Google)
- Inbound Links
- SERP (Search Engine Results Position)
Next, get a strategy plan written out – doesn’t have to be long – but it needs to be written out. If other tactics don’t have a plan, write them out as well and measure how they are doing. You would not believe how different bosses are when you have a plan actually written out so they can see and feel it. Possibly read it as well.
Here’s some things that social media help with:
- Customer Service – this one is probably the best. When customers are able to reach you through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, email, etc…) and you respond quickly – which you should do because customer service is the last place you want to put someone on hold – your social media will have a high ROI.
- Promotion / Coupons – Don’t just say “like” me on Facebook. Give me a reason. Spell it out. The biggest reason people use Facebook/Twitter is to connect with friends and family. You are neither so why should I friend you? Now if you offer me something that I want/desire, then I might do it.
- Client Leads / Search – people talk a lot. Publicly. They ask a lot of questions. If you are scanning the public tweets and posts, you may be able to offer a solution. But don’t get discouraged if they don’t take you up right away. It’s about trust. Earn their trust first by helping them. Then they may become a customer.
- Getting Good Help – Love this one. I really research all my big hires. I want to know who you are online. I can tell more about you by visiting your profiles then your resume. Your digital footprint is important to me because if I hire you, then your digital profile becomes part of my company’s profile. Also with getting good help is how fast the response can be. I can do a job board or use my trusted network. My network responses quickly with qualified applicants. My job board needs tons of filters to weed out the bad from the good.
- Keeping Good Help / Making Leaders – Social media can build people into trusted leaders. When I trust got to ND, no one but my staff and management knew who I was. There’s 4500 other people on campus. I would like to influence the campus communicators – a group that didn’t know me from Adam. So I started a Linkedin Campus Communicators Group and started feeding it daily with info. I talked about it in meetings and slowly communicators began joining. It’s now over 120 strong and people are talking. I still feed it daily. I encourage my staff to talk on it, to share their knowledge. How long do you think it would have taken me to meet all those people had I not done anything. Individual meetings. Ugh. Maybe several years. Use social media to outreach internally. It works. Also most of my people blog and they do a good job. They are sharpening their skills with writing and I encourage it. It’s worth the time.
- Crowdsourcing Ideas – Love this one as well. The other day I was struggling with a concept and I decided to share it with my network. I got lots of feedback – great insights that I used in my presentation. It’s also good for search – I get better results using my network and searching through delicious when I’m in need of something specific instead of going directly to Google.
- Inbound Links – If anything, social media can build inbound links. Over time, if you are doing it right, you can drop links back to your website and get more traffic and better SERP. Brochures can’t do that for you. Neither can TV, radio or magazines.
- All employees are marketers/customer service – and with social media, you don’t have to do this all yourself. If you encourage your employees to become ambassoders of the company, then they in turn will help others when you are not available. No matter what you hear I firmly believe that most people want to help people. They want to be useful. Give them an outlet like social media and they can be. Don’t leave it just up to marketing and customer service – tear down all the silos and give everyone and understanding of who to reach out to internally if there is an issue they can help with.
After you convince your boss that social media is a good thing, don’t just create a profile and start talking. Do the smart thing. Start listening first. You don’t even need a profile to do that (well, except for facebook).
Listen and take note of the conversations that are occurring. Jumping in without any knowledge is the quickest way to get yourself booted.
Get a small plan together and then build out your profiles. BTW, one of the best parts of panelist was when Elizabeth from the South Bend Airport asked if people would rather talk to her or the company’s twitter profile (which is her). Everyone wanted to talk to her. The personal contact is better than a brand or a logo.
Then when you start interacting, remember to do good and don’t expect anything back. If you are always expecting to be served, you will not be. But if you serve others, offer assistance when you came and start building that kind of a reputation for yourself and for your company, it will work out.
What do you guys think?