Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Fond Farewell

Ironically, I'm writing this blog post to inform you that in the foreseeable future you should not expect any further blog posts here. If you are looking for social media resources, I highly recommend you subscribe to Jive Talks  and Thoroughly Modern Marketing. Both of which I regularly contribute content to.

That being said, I'd like to explain this decision. Time has really flown by since the start of 2012. I looked at my blog about a week ago and realized how few posts I've made this year, which brought me to the conclusion that it is time face the music and admit that I don't have the time to keep this blog going.

Thus far, 2012 has turned out to be the busiest and best year of my life. Back in March, I joined the Board of Directors for the Portland Female Executives (PDXfX) as the Communications Director.  In May, I became the Associate Social Media Editor for Thoroughly Modern Marketing. I also had the opportunity to speak at InnoTech Oregon. In June, I did my first keynote at the June PDXfX event. In July, I left my job at Integra Telecom to be the Enterprise Community Manager at Jive Software, which has been nothing short of an amazing experience. Throughout, I've been teaching courses in social media marketing for Spokane Falls Community College.

Outside of work, I've been doing a lot of traveling, camping, hiking, and socializing. I've also managed to collect a fair amount of photos. I thought I'd share a few of the photos of things I was doing this past summer instead of writing my blog ;)


I moved out of my apartment into a lovely Villa with my boyfriend, David.


Camped at Kalaloch with my favorite men, David and Jesse. Climbed trees and overcame my fear of heights.

Visited my hometown Spokane to attend a wedding, see my parents, and teach my friend Meicha to skip rocks at Bowl and Pitcher.


Watched my first Timbers game. Said goodbye to a great coworker and friend as we both changed jobs.

Camped at Hoh River with the newly weds, Chae and Tony. Camped at Cougar Rock (Mt. Rainier) for David's birthday. Visited the Chinese Gardens in Portland with my amazing mother.


A time of festivals and tours in Portland. Fremont Festival, Bite of Oregon, and Brewvana.

Hiked at Ellowa falls with our wonderful neighbors, Daena and Oliver.

Traveled to Palo Alto, CA for work. Got to see the beautiful office there and watch my manager deliver a fantastic keynote.

All in all, it has been an exciting summer. I look forward to many more adventures. Unfortunately, that means a trade off with my blogging here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

3 Key Components of Corporate Social Media Policies

With the recent spike in lawsuits regarding employees and social media, it is critical that your company has a clear and effective social media policy for employees. At the bare minimum, your corporate policy needs to include the following three components to help guide employees and prevent a potential media frenzy over an employee social media posting:

For social media accounts where you opt to identify yourself as a [company name] employee and plan to use it in a professional capacity, you should always go by your real name to make it easy for professional connections to locate and connect with you online and offline. It is also advisable to include a professional headshot photo to help establish a potential connection with people and confirm that they have found the correct person.

If you choose to publish social media content from a publicly viewable account in your personal capacity, you are likely to be seen as a representative of [company name]. In particular, if you publish social media content regarding anything industry or company related, you must include a content disclaimer to avoid having your opinions seen as a company stance. It is not unusual for journalists to quote a tweet or post by an employee when writing an article. Hence, including a disclaimer is essential to help avoid inaccurate or unwanted coverage. In the event that you will be regularly posting about topics that are industry or company related, you will want to include the disclaimer in your profile description, so that you do not need to add a separate disclaimer to each post you make.

Sample Disclaimers:
  • Opinions are my own and do not represent [company name].
  • Thoughts and opinions do not represent [company name]'s positions or opinions.
Be aware that disclaiming your opinions does not relinquish your responsibility to be socially professional.

Handling Mistakes
If you make a posting mistake, admit to the mistake and take full responsibility for the error. Be upfront, and be quick with your correction. When possible, remove posts or updates immediately and post the correction. If you are posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post; just make it clear that you have done so and why.

Does your company have a clear social media policy?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Targeting With Personas Part II - Example

Example: Software Company

Imagine a marketing manager for a software company that sells single-sign on software (password management software) in a B2C market.The marketing manager has developed four personas:
  • CEO, Executives, Managers (CEO)
  • New Internet User (New)
  • College Student (Student)
  • Professional in the Tech Industry (Yuppie)
Next, the marketing manager must gather the relevant demographic information, assess the needs of each group, and consider which situational triggers may cause them to buy the product. After some research, the following information is discovered about the target market:

Four hypothetical personas.
CEO, Executives, Managers (CEO)
  • Age: 45
  • Internet Experience: High
  • Spending Habits: Strategic
  • Trigger: Provide reasons to “upgrade”
New Internet User (New)
  • Age: 16
  • Internet Experience: Low
  • Spending Habits: Shiny Object (things of interest at the time – parental support)
  • Trigger: Educate to illustrate the need
College Student (Student)
  • Age: 20
  • Internet Experience: High
  • Spending Habits: Shiny Object (things of interest at the time)
  • Trigger: Discount
Professional in the Tech Industry (Yuppie)
  • Age: 30
  • Internet Experience: High
  • Spending Habits: Strategic
  • Trigger: Awareness

Based on these categorizations, it is possible to construct secondary target market personas. The Yuppies are the optimal target market. BUT if they’re already being bombarded by messages from the competition, it would be prudent to retarget the company’s messaging at secondary audiences. In this case, the company could gain market share with the students and CEOs through developing persona-specific messages.
For example, to target the CEOs, the message should be crafted to engender a need, which could be done through highlighting key product differentiators from the competition. Since students are missing the means (finances) to purchase the software, this hypothetical software company could offer coupons toward the students to lower the cost. A “buy-one-get-one-free” coupon would be one possible strategy, as would a discount for becoming a fan of the company’s Facebook page.

Let’s assume that after a few weeks the strategy to attract the student market is unsuccessful. This MAY mean that it is necessary to segment that secondary target audience even further. The following is an example of how this process could be accomplished:
Specifying the student persona even further.


The marketing manager can drill down even further within the optimal or secondary target audience but the key is to stop specifying when the cost of finding information is greater than the benefit to be gained by marketing uniquely to that subset. This will have to be weighed on a case-by-case basis depending on the available budget for market research and the profit from the offering.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Targeting With Personas Part I

Marketers routinely define intended audiences and craft messages tailored for those specific target markets. Social media has introduced a whole new set of powerful tools. It is now possible to easily locate where your target market hangs out on the social web and understand what they do there. As consequence, the most promising audiences (those with the need, interest, and means to purchase your product or service) are being saturated with messages. Your competitors ARE marketing to them, regardless of your industry.

The Challenge
Traditionally, marketers have focused almost exclusively on these prime target markets and for good reason—they are the folks most likely to buy your product or service. Breaking through the “clutter” to reach these optimal audiences presents are a real challenge for start-ups, small companies, and enterprises alike. There are always competitors with larger social media teams, better strategies, and more resources to spend on prime target audiences.

Naturally, primary target markets should remain a priority. But, when the risk of having your message lost in the crowd is significant, it is wise to also consider an alternative destination. The path less travelled. Like the wayfarer that encounters heavy traffic and chooses a desirable secondary endpoint instead, a marketer faced with overwhelming competition for a primary target market may find it efficacious to select a secondary target market. Although secondary target audiences are not optimal, they can still be quite lucrative. Less competition means more market share opportunities.

However, reaching any audience on the social web requires a high degree of precision. With traditional advertising, it was possible to take a broad approach. It was acceptable to share product information with everyone. In online communities, this practice is known as spamming. If you send the same message out through all of your social media properties, without consideration of the audience that participate on each platform, you will be deemed a spammer. Messages sent through social media have to be finely honed. These messages also need to be sent through the appropriate social platform or they risk being ignored completely. Worse yet, you risk having future messages being automatically ignored. Why risk your reputation? Avoid being seen as inconsiderate by tailoring your messaging.

The Solution

How can marketers reach secondary target markets and avoid being ignored? The answer is three-fold: (1) define the consumer landscape (target audience) in terms of personas, (2) determine the platforms where your intended audience participate, and (3) create tailored messages. To accomplish these tasks, it is necessary to define a few key terms:

  1. Persona – According to Ian Lurie, in his book Conversation Marketing: Internet Marketing Strategies, a typical persona definition includes:
  • Demographics of the Persona: Average age, level of Internet expertise, and spending habits.
  • Constraints: A persona’s technological limitations (type of Internet connection), a language barrier, or even vision impairment.
  • Needs and Wants: What are the challenges facing this persona? What solutions do you offer that will turn this persona into a real-life customer?
  1. Optimal Target Audience – Personas with a need, the means, and interest make up the optimal target audience.
  2. Secondary Optimal Target Audience – Personas missing one of the three attributes (need, means, interest) are the secondary optimal target audience. As an example, a persona that is a member of the secondary optimal target audience might have the need and interest in your offering but lacks the means to purchase it.
Fortunately, many marketers may prematurely write off secondary target audiences, which provide a golden opportunity for the smart marketer to tap these overlooked customers.

In the next post (July 5), I will cover an example of how to use this venn diagram.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach, 1st Edition (textbook)

After a lot of hard work, the first college textbook on social media marketing is now available. An overview:

Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach promises to be the seminal textbook in the field with its distinctive conceptual foundation and practical approach to developing successful social media marketing plans. A proven eight-step social media planning model provides students with a cumulative learning experience, showing them how to construct social media strategies that achieve desired marketing goals. These marketing goals shape the development of tailored social media strategies. Special attention is given to the most effective techniques for identifying targeted marketing on the social web, with emphasis on the creation of personas that represent the critical online market segments for a company. Students discover how to put these well-defined personas to work in selecting the optimal social media platforms for reaching an organization's marketing goals. Students are taught rules of engagement and social media ethics for behaving properly as marketers on the social web. With these guidelines in mind, the most productive marketing tactics for each type of major social media platform are examined in depth. These platform-specific tactics, along with all the proceeding material in the book, are brought together in the final chapter to create a comprehensive social media marketing plan, with detailed explanations and illustrations from a real world plan. Extensive consideration is given to monitoring, evaluating, and tuning the implementation of social media marketing initiatives. In addition, students are introduced to the most useful quantitative and qualitative social media measurements, along with various ways to estimate an organization's return on investment in social media marketing activities.

Want to know more? Pick up your copy here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Meme Trend Illustrates Workforce Specialization

I don't usually follow internet meme trends. Recently, there is one meme trend that caught my eye. This trend caught my eye not just because it was funny but because I think it has a really accurate underlying message. The meme trend that caught my eye, as you may have guessed from the image, is the "What my friends think I do" meme. In addition to be humorous and fairly accurate, it conveys a trend of specialization in the workforce and the importance of it. Today, you could make this meme about just about every job because we are specializing to a point that most people don't know what we do (in some cases, even our bosses).

To illustrate what I mean, I've posted this meme (which I've adapted slightly from it's original form, Social Media Manager).

Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Social Media Productivity Tips

When is the last time you asked someone how things are going and didn’t get this response: “I’m so busy!” In fact, that is the only answer I think I’ve heard over the last two years.

Everyone is busy, including you. Instead of using “I’m busy” as an excuse (though true it may be) to let your social media profiles go untouched; try out a few of these tips to help make yourself more productive:

  1. Make a Recurring Calendar Reminder – Set aside (and limit yourself) to 30 minutes every day to update your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. with just a quick post. Maybe that post is a link to an interesting article or a note about a restaurant you’re headed to. Regardless of what it is, make sure you’re posting regularly. Otherwise, what is the point of having an account? 
  2. Quality Over Quantity – Set up Google Alerts for a topic that you care about. Post links to those articles for your friends and colleagues to read. This is a great way to ensure your content is valuable. 
  3. Skim Quickly – Avoid rabbit holes when reading your timeline or newsfeed. Skim for the most interesting information and “Ctrl + Click” the links you’d like to go back to when you’re bored during your lunch hour. Oh, and remember to “Like” (on Facebook), “+1” (on Google+), or retweet (on Twitter) your favorite posts. ;) 
  4. Install Apps on Your Phone – I’m going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that you, like the majority of the United States, have a smart phone. Install the app for each of the social media sites you have profiles on. This makes maintaining and updating your profiles a breeze. 
  5. Respond When You See It – If someone comments on your page or tweets at you, respond when you see it. This ensures you’ll remember to respond and let’s face it, everyone loves a quick response.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Goals, Not Resolutions

2011 for me personally has been a year of immense growth and change. I moved across the country, met a lot of new people, changed jobs, and completed two textbooks.

I’m looking forward to what 2012 will bring and instead of making resolutions that I will inevitably fail to stick to, I’ve decided to set goals. I don’t plan to reinvent myself overnight, nor do I want to. I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about what these goals should be and I hope you will find something you can borrow for the New Year both online and offline.

1. Once a week, do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
  • Online: Join a new group on LinkedIn and post a question you’ve been dying to get the answer to. Connect with someone in your field that you’ve never met and start a dialogue.
  • Offline: Go to a social event alone. Yes, I said alone. Force yourself to interact with people you’ve never met before. It will be worth it.
    • I’m cheating. I’ve already started working on getting out of my comfort zone in 2011. I spent nearly 14 weeks living out a suite case as a vagabond of sorts traveling around the west coast. This was something that sincerely threw me for a loop as I’m the type of person that values my personal space (having a place of my own, etc.). It was frightening and liberating all at once and I recommend it.
2. Moderation.
  • Online: Be wary of jumping into every social media platform available for your business and personally. This is a quick way to spread yourself too thin and maintain only a moderate presence (at best), thus, losing out on a lot of value of these platforms.
    • Again, cheating. I’ve recently deleted a number of accounts I had on some social media platforms that I simply didn’t have the time to engage on.
  • Offline: Ask yourself, do you really need that last slice of pie? Instead of the old “I’m going to eat healthy this year! I’m going to work out every day!” do something realistic, make a point of sneaking in a little exercise and eating a little less every day.
    • I recently tried to run three miles every other day. I was exhausted all the time as a result because I pushed too hard too fast. Instead, I walk to and from work every day and try to take a walk during lunch. I’ve been in much better health and I don’t feel exhausted 24/7.
Simple, right? Two realistic goals for 2012. What are your goals for the new year?

Monday, October 10, 2011

How will I find the best Social Media Marketer available?

It has been a long while since I’ve posted a blog. A lot has happened over the course of June, July, August, and September.
Lime Kiln Point, San Juan Island
  1. We (three coauthors and I) finished the first college textbook on social media marketing. It will be available March 2012. Keep an eye out for Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach.
  2. Since the beginning of July I’ve been working (remotely) as the Director of Communications for Own Point of Sale.
  3. Travel. In June, I drove up and down the east coast in my visit to Cape Cod and flew to Ann Arbor, MI to meet with Own Point of Sale. Then, during July I flew from Washington DC to Spokane, WA to visit family. In August/September, I spent a couple of weeks in Los Angeles, CA, flew to Portland, OR, drove from Portland through Seattle, WA to visit the San Juan Islands, and flew to Ann Arbor, MI for work. I then flew to Washington DC (my former home) packed my things and made a cross country road trip to move back to the best coast (I mean, west coast). ;)
To say the least, it has been an adventurous couple of months but I have not forgotten about social media by any means. During this time I also attended a few small business professional meetings and had a chance to answer some questions about social media and how to hire someone to handle social media for your business.

One question and answer I felt was worth sharing:

How will I find the best Social Media Marketer available?

First, avoid “Experts” – more specifically, don’t go for the self-proclaimed expert. Look to recommendations from previous clients and employers to tell you if they have expertise in the field. It seems today that everyone with a Facebook profile or Twitter page is calling him/herself a social media expert, guru, diva, etc. The truth is, the field is so rapidly evolving that no one can legitimately claim to be a social media expert (platform specific sure, but the field is far too broad).

Instead, it is best to look for someone with prior hands on experience actually doing social media marketing for a company or client. Odds are, you’d be better off with someone who has maintained social media pages as an intern than any of the “experts” out there. I have heard from too many people how they hired an expert and came out with very little executable knowledge of how to improve their company’s social media presence.

Second, post the job listing to a social media platform like LinkedIn Jobs. Finding and applying for the job through a social media platform shows that he/she does have (at least) a base understanding of social media.

Third, conduct an online background check. Look at all the pages he/she provides you with links to and even ones that he/she doesn’t. Read the content posted through his or her blog, Twitter, and corporate pages that he/she has managed. So, what are you looking for? You’re looking to see two things: (1) is he/she using proper grammar (avoid people who use slang, that is not how you want your business portrayed) and (2) can he/she phrase things succinctly (with social media platforms like Twitter, there is a character limit and your employee has to be able to convey your message with the fewest words possible).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sharing Your Location Online - Secure?

There has been a spur of applications and social sites like Foursquare that allow and even encourage you to share your location. It seems as though many people believe, “This is totally secure, I just want to tell my friends where I am!” 

If this is your rationale, think again. Yiannis Kakavas, a graduate student at Germany’s Technischen University developed an application called “Creepy.” This application aggregates geolocation information from your tweets, Facebook check-ins, and other geolocation information that you share to create a map of where you are. Disturbing isn’t it? This application was created as a cautionary tale to posting your location online. In addition to this application, a whole website has been created to remind people of the danger of sharing your location online. This website is It simply aggregates publicly shared check-ins from various sites and applications. It’s becoming far too easy to determine where people are thanks to these check-in functions.

Someone I've never met who added me on Foursquare.
As a personal experiment, I decided to set up a Foursquare account and mention just one location I had been to (after the fact, so it didn’t register as a check-in) and see how many people would add me. Note: Adding me give me access to all of your check-ins. After just a few months, I have 29 people (two I’ve actually met) who were willing to share all of their check-ins with me. What is the benefit of sharing your location with someone you’ve never met? The answer to this question still eludes me.

I can see from a socializing standpoint how this might seem like a great service. What a convenient way to find out where your friends (the ones you know in person) are and meet up! But there can be a downside as proven by the application Creepy and The phrase “buyer beware” comes to mind here. It is really up to us as users to be weary of what we share online and who we share it with. If you’re still dead set on sharing your location, be sure to set your check-ins to private and don’t add people to your Foursquare profile (etc.) that you’ve never met.

I'll be taking a vacation soon and believe me, you won't know where or when I'm gone until I return. No check-ins for this gal. ;)

For more information on this topic, check out these articles:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

LinkedIn: Get on board or lose out!

Here is a fantastic Info Graphic that really shows the importance of getting on LinkedIn:


(Courtesy of

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why you should have been promoting this Valentine's Day

Ah yes, Valentine’s Day, a.k.a. the pseudo holiday.

It has been a while since my last post, but I thought it would be appropriate timing to discuss social media holiday promotions. Why are they so darn effective? No, this is not going to be a rant about how much I hate corporate America for over-hyping such holidays. In fact, I love corporate America.
If you are a business and NOT running a contest, discount, or giving away freebees through social media today, you are missing out. 

A few reasons your business should be doing something to celebrate the holidays:

1. Facebook, Twitter, etc. have the highest amount of traffic on holidays
-          Why is this? Working people are at home. Most companies give their workers the day off when there is holiday (not Valentine’s Day specifically). Those workers find themselves with extra time on their hands and typically spend it on the social networking sites that they are discouraged from going to during the work day.
2. People are in a good mood (the holiday spirit)
-          As a social media marketer, it is our job to cease the opportunity by giving sales, freebies, etc. to build on this ‘holiday spirit.’
3. People are looking for gift ideas
-          Provide the means to satisfy this need! Create a contest, giveaway, etc.
Starting to see a trend? No, it is not take advantage of your customers or prospective customers!

Bottom Line: Use this time of year to your advantage to build customer loyalty through catering to their mood and situation. Who knows, maybe you will help make one of your customer’s holiday just a little bit brighter.

Here are some examples of holiday promotions that I'm working on:
 What promotions are you running this Valentine's Day?

Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Resolution You Can Stick To!

Forget these resolutions. Make one you can stick to!!
With 2011 right around the corner, it is the perfect time to make a new year’s resolution for your social media efforts!

Let’s say you’ve got a few accounts started and have been maintaining it for a few months. You might be asking yourself, now what? Just keep tweeting? Just keep posting information? Wrong. It is easy to just keep passively maintaining accounts on various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). After you get a few accounts up and running there are three words that should immediately come to mind.

Monitor. Measure. Tune.

Don’t have a new year’s resolution yet? Here is one that you can actually stick to! Make a resolution this year to monitor, measure, and tune your social media strategy frequently.

At a minimum, every few months you should assess your progress in social media (e.g., look at growth in followers, comments, responses, etc.). Then, tune your marketing plan based on the feedback to optimize goal achievement. Reevaluate and adjust your social media marketing plan to account for the ever changing nature of consumer tastes and the social web. For example, if the number of followers on your Twitter account is declining, you can adjust your content to more closely match your target market’s interests. If the number of responses to your tweets is declining, you can adjust your strategy by asking a question at the end of each tweet that inspires people to respond. In short, planning and executing a social media marketing campaign is a never ending cycle. You should constantly monitor and tune your strategies to maximize the impact of your campaign.

Here you will find more information on the topic: 
(Notice: the last step for the social media strategies is monitor, measure, and tune) 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 Prediction: Facebook will not be the only game in town!

PREDICTION: Facebook will not be the only game in town come 2011; be ready to take advantage of marketing opportunities on new social networks!

FYI: I realize this is longer than my usual post, but bear with me. Facebook's recent domination means I have a lot of ground to make up.

The infamous leak of 100 million Facebook user pages in July of 2010 caused a scare among users and created what may turn out to be a golden opportunity for potential competitors. A security researcher, Ron Bowes, created a script that downloaded the information that users chose to make publicly available from the Facebook User Directory. Hence, this alleged leak was actually nothing more than the collection and publication of user information already made public by 100 million Facebook users.

Facebook also suffers a host of other privacy concerns including: (1) Facebook’s complex security settings leaving users unaware of their personal data being public, (2) hackers have repeatedly defeated Facebook security to harvest user information, (3) a growing number of Facebook applications provide easy access to member data, and (4) Facebook’s own connect buttons make user information readily available to other sites. The net result is that user privacy on Facebook is virtually nonexistent. With security being brought to the forefront of users’ minds, it is an ideal time for a security-conscious social network. One prime candidate, although still in Alpha, is Diaspora. This new social networking site touts the not so subtle security slogan, “Share what you want, with whom you want.” They stress user ownership of all content shared with friends. Other social networks are in the works for release in early 2011 as well, like Google Me.

If history proves anything, Facebook’s ‘monopoly’ is temporary. Looking at the last decade alone, there were two cases in which the public feared a company was ‘taking over’ the internet. In early 2000, people panicked that AOL was taking over. Ultimately, AOL faltered, chief among the reasons was a single-minded focus on mining the then lucrative Internet dial-up access business. MySpace is another example: officially launched in 2004 and by 2005, MySpace was the king of the Internet, with a base of nearly 80 million users. News Corp. purchased MySpace in 2005 and immediately tried to monetize it by inserting advertising into nearly every aspect of the user experience. MySpace peaked in 2007, with 150 million users, but due to the barrage of ads, it plummeted to 109 million users by mid-2010. The moral of story is that Internet titans come and go.

BOTTOM LINE: Why should this matter to businesses? The answer is simple. 

Keeping an eye on these emerging social networks enables a company to be in on the ground floor, seizing market share, and reaping profits from a growing customer base. Given the large user base Facebook has acquired, businesses should continue to market there, but remain vigilant for other valuable social network marketing opportunities. The importance of diversification in marketing efforts also holds true for social media marketing. Focusing marketing efforts entirely on Facebook could prove to be a dangerous strategy in 2011.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Twitter Tragedy - Must walk before you run.

The idea that all you need to do is create a Twitter account for a business and tweet occasionally, is a dangerous one. While measuring an ROI on social media marketing can be difficult, that doesn’t mean you can or should forget about setting goals. As an example, the apartment complex I currently reside in launched a social media campaign back in August, “We’ve gone social!” and they promoted their accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) with fliers and t-shirts, which was not a bad start. But as the last few months passed by it became evident that they did not create any goals for their Twitter page.

So how do you avoid tweeting 174 times and get not a single follower? You establish definitive and measurable goals. Social media marketing goals include: improving brand awareness, search engine rankings, relevant site traffic, and conversions performance (e.g., sales for a product or service), as well as reputation management and engaging with consumers.

The challenge for some of these goals, such as engaging with consumers, is to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART). The following are examples of SMART goals for four popular types of social media: image and video sharing sites, social networking sites, blogs, and microblogs (Twitter).

Image and Video Sharing Sites:
  • 30% growth in the number of images or videos viewed within four months
  • 10% increase in the number of subscribers to your channel or stream within four months
  • 20% increase in average rankings of images or videos by viewers within four months
Social Networking Sites:
  • 20% growth in the number of friends within five months
  • 30% growth in the number of comments within five months
  • 40% growth in the number of posts and comments in discussion groups within five months
  • 20% improvement in the ratio of posts to comments (i.e., visitor's comments/posts=conversions) within six months
  • 40% growth in total number of views within six months
  • 10% growth of RSS subscribers within six months
Microblogs (Twitter):
  • 20% growth in number of followers within 30 days
  • 30% growth in the number of retweets (message amplification) within 30 days
  • 10% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) of the links posted in tweets within 30 days (Hint: Observing which types of links garner the highest CTRs can help you tune your tweets to provide what your consumers with links they are interested in and, hence, further improve your CTR.)
  • 5% increase in Web site conversions (e.g., sales) from tweet links within 30 days
Avoid wasted effort by establishing definitive and measurable goals.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't Get Stuck in a Social Media Rut!

If you're looking at using social media for promotion, odds are that you have already defined your target market. Taking on or ramping up your presence on social media means that you need to keep a close eye on each platform (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) that you’re using. Each social media platform has distinctive features and means of communication. 

It is easy to get lost in the “tactics” aspect of each platform and forget to adjust your strategy. The tactics only mindset of “I’m using Twitter so I must tweet once a day” is a dangerous one. Simply posting a tweet once a day without having a strategy or structure of evaluation will get you nowhere fast. So, how do you avoid getting stuck in this mindset of what tactics will I use? The answer lies in what I like to call the 8 C’s of the Social Media Marketing Mix.

By keep in mind the 8 C's of the Social Media Marketing Mix for each social media platform, you will avoid getting in a rut with your social media marketing efforts:
  • Categorize social media platforms by target market relevancy (i.e., the ones where your target audience resides)
  • Comprehend the "rules of the road" on the platform by listening and learning how to behave, successfully spark conversation, and engage and energize the participants
  • Converse by acknowledging and responding to other users of the platform, always remembering to be a contributor, not a promoter
  • Collaborate with platform members as a means of establishing a mutually beneficial relationships with the platform participants
  • Contribute content to build your reputation and become a valued member, helping to build the community
  • Connect with the influencers, so you can enlist them to help shape opinions about your product or service
  • Community creation enables you to build discussion forums where consumers can suggest product ideas and receive customer support.
  • Conversion of strategy execution into desired outcomes (e.g., increased brand awareness, website traffic, sales, etc.)
In the event you have not established a target market, here are some resources that will provide more information on how define your target market:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Biggest Social Media Marketing Blunders in 2010

Many consider 2010 to be the year of "social media." It is also the year that many large corporations had major social media blunders. Some were the result of over reaction to social media attacks by organizations like Greenpeace (see the NestlĂ© case study below). In addition, Greenpeace effectively used Dove's own social media marketing campaign against them to pressure the parent company Unilever to reduce the use of palm oil from Indonesia, which destroys the rain forest (details below). Other corporations needed no help in shooting themselves in the foot. Perhaps the biggest social media disaster (not to mention ecological disaster) in 2010 was BP (British Petroleum) botched social media and search engine marketing campaigns in reaction to their massive oil spill in the Gulf. Imagine asking for help using social media platforms like YouTube, then turning off the comment feature! Naturally, the social Web did not take these types of patent attempts at manipulation laying down (for more, read "The Counter BP Social Media Campaign"). 

Of course, P&G’s PR response to the backlash against the introduction of a new Pamper diaper that may cause rashes is the quintessential example of breaking the Prime Directive of social media marketing: be honest and transparent. In an attempt to quash the panic about the new diaper, P&G "recruited" four influential "mommy bloggers" with a trip to Cincinnati to meet with company experts for a briefing, and then these new advocates for the product started blogging positive reviews, without being completely transparent about their compensation. Indeed, these bloggers may be violating Federal Trade Commission (FTC) laws regarding endorsements and testimonials. Worse yet, it appears that some of the posts may have been written for them to nothing more than well crafted propaganda. 

Even Southwest Airlines, known for its social media savvy, got taste of what happens when you of lapse in customer service in throwing celebrity Kevin Smith off a plane for being too fat to fly in one seat. Smith's Tweets about the incident were not only widely read and hilarious, but a PR nightmare for the airlines (see last link for the scoop).

To learn more about some of the bigger social media marketing blunders of 2010, check out these resources:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Writing the First Textbook on Social Media Marketing!

I’m thrilled to announce that I recently signed the contracts to write what should be the first textbook on Social Media Marketing.  I will be coauthoring the book with Nick Bormann, Krista Neher, and Donald Barker. Each of us has expertise in our field, which I believe will mesh to create a textbook that will be suitable for undergraduate and graduate programs alike. Together we bring a wealth of knowledge of social media, textbook writing, and economics to the table.

A little background on what drove my father (Donald Barker) and I to pitch the idea of a Social Media Marketing textbook to Cengage Learning:

(1)   I’m currently teaching a course in Social Media Marketing through Spokane Falls Community College and have to use a trade book to teach the course. While the book I found is adequate, I really wanted to find a book that covered all the platforms and provided strategy.
(2)   There are a multitude of trade books about Social Media Marketing on the market but nothing quite right for a classroom.
(3)   With many community colleges and graduate programs starting to offer courses (and some certificates) in Social Media Marketing, it seems like a perfect opportunity to fill the need for a textbook on the subject. 

Our textbook will have an emphasis on strategy. In addition, the book will provide a variety of case studies and cover all the major social media platforms. With hard work and a little luck, we hope to have this book published in one year’s time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Listening - the Start of Social Media Reputation Management

In August of 2009, a customer service catastrophe befell Maytag, when the popular author, blogger, and mom, Heather Armstrong (known as "Dooce"), vented her understandable frustration with poor customer service by tweeting to her million plus followers the nightmare she experienced in attempting to get a brand new $1,300 washing machine fixed. With her new baby laundry piling up, Dooce chronicled her repeated attempts to get Whirpool (Maytag's parent company) to fix the faulty washer. After a final clash on the phone with snide customer service representative, she advised her immense Twitter following to NEVER BUY A MAYTAG! (You can read a summary of the tale by Dooce at Containing a capital letter or two).

This story became so emblematic of the power of social media that in the recently released, "Empowered," the authors (one of which coauthored the bestseller, "Groundswell") opened the book
with the tale. Although Maytag monitored Twitter for negative comments about its brand, the company failed to engage with the customer and solve the problem in timely public manner. The moral of this story is that listening to the social Web is not enough, a company must respond quickly and transparently, when its reputation and brand are under attack. 

Indeed, "Empowered" followed the Maytag reputation disaster with how Best Buy avoided the same type of problem with its Twelpforce. In this second tale, a buyer of new iPhone encountered terrible customer service at a Best Buy, when his iPhone broke. The dissatisfied customer tweeted about the problem and was almost immediately contacted by the Twelpforce, a rapid Twitter response team pioneered by John Bernier. The problem was fully resolved, quickly and publicly, turning a potential Maytag-situation into a big PR win for Best Buy. Again, the message is clear, listening to the social Web is a good start, however, rapid and transparent action is a must to ensure that a company's reputation not only remains intact, but improves.

To discover how to accomplish this task on Twitter, check out the resources below:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Careers Opportunities in Social Media Marketing!

How hot is social media marketing (SMM)? According to the CMO Survey, sponsored by the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and American Marketing Association, social media spending is expected to grow by a whopping 300 percent in the next 5 years!

What does the rapid growth in social media spending mean for jobs in the field? The Social Media Influence report, The State of Social Media Jobs 2010, found that, “The number of social media job postings has increased by more than 600 percent to over 21,000 in the past five years.” Moreover, the demand for social media marketers is expected to continue and expand rapidly, as more corporations embrace social media as viable marketing strategy. Admittedly, in relative terms, the number of SMM jobs is still small compared to traditional PR, marketing, and advertising positions. Despite the diminutive size, social media jobs are where the rapid growth is occurring, while the conventional positions are shrinking or stagnant.

To learn more about the career opportunities in social media marketing, check out the following resources: