Sunday, July 10, 2011

Utilizing Twitter Effectively

Twitter is a broadcast medium with no barrier to entry - anyone who is tuning into Twitter can pick up anyone else's signal.  The beauty of Twitter is that unlike other broadcast vehicles, like radio, video or podcasts, it is simultaneously a two way and multiple parallel threaded discussion - you can view who is tuning in, what they are saying, identify and reach out to others who have similar interests and engage them in an actual conversation in real time or "constant now". 

And herein lies the context for thinking about marketing today - it is an ongoing conversation across all platforms - it doesn't matter which your customers, potential customers and their audiences prefer - you must develop a trusted, dynamic presence that provides value to your desired community. 

We can now identify who is already talking about what we have to offer, respectfully engage them in conversation at their convenience, and develop relationship that results in mutual benefit.

I work with businesses to produce weekly twitter talks that showcase thought leaders, build their online audience and influence, and promote their business interests.  I provide consulting to develop strategy, traverse the learning curve, and provide ongoing management of effective social media implementation.

This site showcases The Global Product Management Talk on twitter

I'm happy to schedule a skype conversation to explore how effective use of social media and twitter talks can forward your business goals.  Initial questions I have for you include:
1. What is your goal?
2. Describe your target audience.
3. How do you measure success?

My skype: cindyfsolomon 
and twitter:  @cindyfsolomon

Social Media – How is Your Performance?

reposted from Social Steve's Blog

Social Media – How is Your Performance?

Why are you doing social media? For a good part of four years, I have been evangelizing social media – trumpeting the importance and value. Now I am asking, why are you doing it?
No, this is not a turnabout in stance. I really want you to know why? What are you looking to accomplish? You need to be able to articulate what success looks like in order to achieve it.
Every company and brand that gets involved with social media must know what they are looking to (measurably) gain and not be lured by the hype. I have defined and offered two models that help organizations define THEIR own objectives.
Social Media Marketing Funnel
The first one is the social media marketing funnel. I originally mentioned this model in an article “Social Media Conversion and the Social Media Marketing Funnel” and then later added measurement parameters to this model in “Measuring the Stages of the Cyclic Social Media Marketing Funnel.”
It starts with a traditional sales funnel …
You identify a target market and perform endeavors that first increase their awareness for your brand, then their interest, and a subset of those interested purchase your offering.
The Social Media Marketing Funnel expands the traditional model …
It adds two additional states, loyalty and advocacy, plus it segments target groups for each funnel state and identifies their “psycho-demographic” (their state of mind) for each of the funnel states. This approach is dramatically different than marketing to “standard demographics” like age, sex, geography, etc. Thus your marketing efforts vary for the different psycho-demographics. Check out the two reference articles if you what to dive into the social media marketing funnel more.
The A-Path
The other model I introduced was the A-Path. This approach was first introduced over two years ago in the post “Using the Social Media ‘A-path’ to Capture Ultimate Customers” and I later provided an example of an A-Path game plan implementation in “How You Can Execute Social Media Successfully.”
The A-Path takes the perspective that brands must focus on relationship building, and similar to personal relationships, they take on different stages over time. Think about your relationship with a significant-other and how it has involved. From a brand-target-market relationship point of view, this means taking sequential steps: Attention > Attraction > Affinity > Audience > Advocate. Once again, from a marketing angle, you implement different strategies for each of these states of a relationship. Check out the referenced articles for more information.
Models Lead to Objectives
The reason why I bring up these models again, is that I want you to have a bases of why you are doing social media. What are you looking to accomplish? This must be a conscious decision – don’t just do it. Write it down; be prepared to tweak as you travel and learn; but always have a vision of what success looks like.
Social Media Performance
If one of the models I defined resonates with you, you should measure your performance at each stage. For example, are you increasing your awareness, consideration, sales, loyalty, and/or advocacy? (Yes, everyone wants to ultimately increase sales, but it is really activities in the four other stages of the funnel that leads to increasing sales . If your social media objective and actions are simply to sell – you will fail.) You might elect to focus on one stage of the funnel … that’s okay. But know what you are setting out to do. Same is true if you use the A-Path. If your performance is good, you should be increasing the number of people that give you attention, attraction, build affinity for you, become your audience and/or advocate. Each of these areas in both models have distinct parameters to measure and some of these parameters to quantify are mentioned in the referenced articles.
Measure objectives weekly, monthly. Look at variations. Determine rational attributes to performance. Modify initiatives to optimize. This is what social media performance is about. I always recommend looking at performance on a 12-month, month to month sliding scale. Look at the normalized curve of these statistics. Do you see sustainable measurable growth? 10% month to month on the normalized curve? What is your social media performance.
Much of what I described here has been my approach for the last four years. There needs to be a methodology that sets objectives and measures results in relationship to established overarching business objectives. I have done this with a number of big name and small name brands. I’ve shared my approach and experiences with many of you via this blog and twitter (and will continue to do so).
For me, it is time for my next chapter, to, as I always say, “Make It Happen” with greater impact. This week I accepted an offer from a “performance marketing agency” to head up their social practice. Performance Marketing recognizes that the world and customer behavior are constantly evolving. Practices need to change while capturing and integrating traditional winning models. This is why I got involved in social media in the first place.
In the coming weeks, I will fill you in on more details about my new gig, but for now, start to think more seriously about why you are doing social media and what you look to accomplish. And if you truly focus and execute in this manner, I guarantee you your social media performance will be successful, impactful, and recognized.
Make It Happen!
Social Steve
Steve Goldner (aka Social Steve)  believes that the four vital parts of marketing (strategy, planning, execution, and measurement) must be integrated into all digital and new media endeavors.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Questions: how does your market engage to buy products and services?

Lesson learned:
as a product marketing person, I am constantly explaining tactics & educating about tools of the trade (strategic perspectives).  The more the tech landscape shifts, the more the basic tenets of market listening, engaging customers, creating community and fulfilling needs, remain vital to developing useful products that generate revenue.

There is a learning curve to every new tool...

Many years ago, I held the position of Online Marketing Manager at FileMaker, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple. I thought by now, since there has been much progress in understanding and harnessing the marketing potential of the world wide web (i.e., marketing is more content-driven, measurable and modifiable than ever) that understanding whats involved in effective online marketing would be more wide spread, and yet business leaders still remain clueless about the basics.

Product Marketing Questions regarding Online Marketing Tactics:

  • Web Search:  How does the mechanism of web search affect how interested buyers find your products and services?
  • Social Media: How are the growing conversations including expanded visual content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp and other social websites driving the discussion about your products and your business?
  • Websites: What story are you telling your customers in the content and design of your website?  Is your content useful, clear, complete and include a call to action?
  • Blogs: How are blogs and review sites changing the way industry experts communicate and deliver news and information to your market?
  • Email marketing: How can you offer timely and relevant email content to prospects and customers that establishes and extends the accessibility of your product and services, engages customers in an ongoing relationship and enables them to purchase, promote and publicize your brand?
  • Mobile: How are mobile devices (i.e. smartphones, netbooks, ipads) changing how people get information and interact with your company?  Is location a factor in your business?
  • Content: What useful content and information do you offer to attract and engage customers 24/7?
  • Community & Crowdsourcing: How are your customers, prospects and competitors providing content about your industry, product, and services?  How can you engage a community around your business and extend your brand awareness?
  • Customer Service: What avenues do you provide to assist customers, answer questions, provide service and solve problems 24/7?
  • Touchpoints: What encouragement, acknowledgment and training do you provide so that everyone who engages with your product - from development to packaging to customers - is an enthusiastic sales person for your brand, your mission, and quality/experience of your products and services?
This is a work in progress to break through the stealth nature of juggling client business challenges before they are fully worked out...please contribute your feedback!

Have you met the "marketing virgin"?
Warning: This is their first attempt at working strategically. These types of stakeholders are not hard to spot. They will shift their focus and their goals back and forth. They are the type that will ask you to throw as many balls in the air at a time and then see how many you can catch.

Need help with developing your marketing strategy and implementation? 
twitter: @cindyfsolomon
email: cfsolomon at g mail dot com