The Web has turned advertising from a traditional corporate inside-out model to a new social outside-in model. Are you still operating on a set of old principles that seem to be vanishing before your eyes along with the expected results?
As video continues to gain greater prominence, we are starting to build dedicated YouTube channels for clients as part of an overall social footprint campaign. Today YouTube announced the publication of YouTube Creator Playbook, a 70-page ebook that will be regularly updated…
The era of interactive choice and the emergence of vast social networks marks the end of Tell-and-Sell advertising, replaced by authentic Word-of-Mouth sharing, comments, reviews and ratings.
Andy Sernovitz teaches word-of-mouth marketing to the biggest brands and to thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses. He is a popular keynote speaker and CEO of GasPedal and Socialmedia.org. He is also the President Emeritus of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and teaches word of mouth marketing at Northwestern University. An 18-year veteran of the interactive marketing business, Andy has spent years helping companies learn how to do fantastic marketing. He taught entrepreneurship at The Wharton School, ran a business incubator, and started half a dozen companies.
I get his regular tips via e-mail and today’s #242 covers, “How to get employees involved in word of mouth.” It deserves to be shared in full:
The people on your payroll can be a powerful word of mouth force if you equip them with the training, the tools, and the motivation to do it right. How to get started:
1. Give them guidelines
2. Give them tools
3. Give them status
1. Give them guidelines
Create simple rules and guidelines for your employees on how to engage with fans and customers. It’s not about creating restrictions, it’s about straightforward education on how they can participate in conversations about you honestly and ethically — and most employees are happy to be shown the boundaries. And when you do, start by teaching these 10 magic words: “I work for _____ and this is my personal opinion.”
2. Give them tools
To help your talkers tell friends about you, you need to put tools in their hands — and your employees are no different. Try giving them coupons, friends and family discount codes, leaked information, beta tests, or product samples. And when you find something that really gets your employees sharing, there’s a good chance it’ll work for your external fans too.
3. Give them status
Want your internal experts to get more involved in online forums or industry groups? Declare them your company’s subject matter experts on the topics they know best and help them get involved in blogging, online communities, events, or local groups. Or on a larger scale, try creating an ambassador program that gives employees the product expertise (and the VIP status) to go out and engage customers on behalf of your brand.
Free Social Commentary Triage Poster
The #1 step requires establishing a set of company-wide standards, providing employees with a set of guidelines on how to interact as a spokesperson for the organization on social media. We have created the DesignWise-Social-Commentary-Triage Poster that outlines a step-by-step set of guidelines to help staff evaluate and respond to “the good, the bad and the ugly” in social media posts and comments. Now, it’s up to you to create #2, the tools and #3, the rewards.
Seth Godin: Sliced bread and other marketing delights…
“The otaku, the passionate obsessive, the information age’s embodiment of the connoisseur, more concerned with the accumulation of data than of objects, seems a natural crossover figure in today’s interface of British and Japanese cultures. I see it in the eyes of the Portobello dealers, and in the eyes of the Japanese collectors: a perfectly calm train-spotter frenzy, murderous and sublime. Understanding otaku -hood, I think, is one of the keys to understanding the culture of the web. There is something profoundly post-national about it, extra-geographic. We are all curators, in the post-modern world, whether we want to be or not.” — William Gibson, Modern boys and mobile girls, The Observer, Sunday 1 April 2001
“A feed is a function of special software that allows feedreaders to access a site, automatically looking for new content and then posting the information about new content and updates to another site.” – The WordPress Codex
“The Web has moved from viewing to doing.” – Google
The DesignWise marketing theory has been in synch with this observation for more than a few years. My own role has shifted from being a design “guru” to being a collaborative coach, seeking to empower and release the creativity at rest in each of my clients. Content is still king… Websites gain tremendously from generating fresh content. But now, all of our latest designs are about delivering the tools that enable our clients to create their own content, building a broad social footprint.
“Smart” design is no longer about erecting information silos that people must come to visit. Now, it’s vital to get your content out over the wall so it can spread virally and be seen, “liked” and shared in other social places: ported over to your Facebook Business Page, sent to LinkedIn, fed to widgets, automatically pulled into other Web pages or embedded into an infinite number of personally customized newsreaders. But, none of this is possible without a content management system (CMS) that generates a Really Simple Syndication feed, aka RSS. If a Website fails to generate an RSS feed, it’s like a radio station without a broadcast antenna. You might as well be talking to the Great Wall… instead of tossing a note to someone on the other side.
In the early days of XML, you could manually generate and upload an RSS feed each time you updated a Website with new pages of content. It would take 10-15 minutes every time, but why spend that time when it can be done automatically by applying the right tools? WordPress, Joomla and other CMS tools update and broadcast their RSS feeds automatically. This is just one of the many reasons I have been using WordPress as a development platform, linking the RSS site feed to Facebook pages, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Search engines respond better to the new tags, and story content and they now get “pinged” whenever there is new content. This is because the new version generates multiple RSS feeds. The feed is also connected to the Parkside Inn’s Facebook Fan Page. The new site includes WordPress plugins for social sharing, spam filtering and another which automatically re-formats the entire Website in a mobile-friendly format when called up by any handheld device. The WordPress CMS also encourages site visitor engagement with built-in comment and response capability. And… the client can login anytime with a username and password to add and update the Website content at will.
“Comparing Websites is a good way to learn about Website quality analysis – which is the final arbiter.”
If people are willing to pay for single articles, buy a recurring subscription or become a member with or without restricting access to your content, you need a little magic to manage payment and renewals.
With a WordPress CMS-driven Website it is only a matter of finding the right plugin – and there are a lot to choose from – to start up a paid content or membership site. I started searching and came across a great post by Kevin Eklund. He revues more than a dozen of the best premium or free WordPress membership plugins available and includes them in a sort-by-features table that makes it really easy to narrow down the field by selected criteria.
After a good deal of study and evaluation, I am now bench-testing what I feel to be the best one, Magic Members Pluginat a client site under development. The plugin developer’s Website has a great collection of instructional videos. The company also offers another plugin that will manage an affiliate sales campaign, one that provides a key missing-ingredient in the WP E-commerce Shopping cart.
I will continue to expand this post as I gain more hands-on experience, but I think this is a feature-rich application, backed by an impressive array of support resources.
After you claim your listing in Google Places for Business, there’s plenty of work remaining.
This set of slides will get you started with a dozen of the most important free local listing services and a way to manage your online business reputation – plus there’s 40 more down below if you decide to go after them all. These slides were presented live at Social Media Breakfast Door County in March 2011 by Stephen Kastner for DesignWise Studios.
Google’s link shortener, Goo.gl and Bit.ly have both added the capability of creating and tracking QR Codes from within their platforms.
The movie above is quite informative, but one QR Coder (listed below) says, “Despite being one of the best looking (and one of the more popular) QR scanners out there, the AT&T code scanner passes everything you scan through their Website where they are undoubtedly collecting data on what is being scanned. We therefore place it in the Evil category – avoid this one unless you want old AT&T to see what you are scanning.” Furthermore their new service is limited to one-year, after which you will probably be expected to subscribe to retain access to your “free” account.
By 2012 more than half of people accessing the Internet will be doing so via smart phones or handheld devices. If their phones can take a picture, they can most likely scan QR Codes. Recognized as perhaps the most important recent development to revitalize print advertising, QR Codes have been around since 1997. With the rapid growth of smart phone technology, they are now becoming mainstream.
QR stands for quick response. Scan one and you immediately are taken directly to a Website or provided with a text that can contain telephone numbers and other cvontact information. And now they can do even more like… qrstuff.com and the following:
BeQRious – A robust QR Code campaign and tracking platform with email notification
Delivr – generates a QR Code for each mobile-friendly URL
Good Survey – Use QR Codes for market research in documents and decode existing QR Codes
Itsmyurls – All your social media links in one QR code
Jumpscan – provides a contact page with all your social data in one spot
Now, you have no excuse! It’s time you started adding video blogging to your agenda. With the Kodak Zi8 falling to less than a hundred dollars (black model only) at Amazon, you really should begin making moving pictures. The Zi8 records high definition video (1080p at 30 fps with 16:9 aspect ratio). If you have already started creating video content, you can put this discrete, inexpensive mini-camera on a tripod to get that 2nd POV for professional productions.
Not sure why, but soon after Flip announced the discontinuation of their popular pocket cam, Amazon’s prices on the Kodak Zi8 started rising… to well above the former list price. This is disappointing, but if you shop hard you can still find them at a discount. Or, you can buy refurbished for less than a hundred dollars.
The Kodak Zi8 has…
a swing out USB arm, that’s flexible
a removable lithium-ion battery that can be charged in or out of the camera
expandable SD/SDHC card slot for up to 32 GB, so you can swap and keep shooting
a large 2.5″ color LCD screen
built in electronic image stabilization
5MP still photo capture
improved low-light performance
smart face tracking technology
The biggest flaw with most pocket cams up until the release of the Zi8 was poor sound quality. Users had been pleading for someone to add an external mic jack. Thanks to Kodak for listening!
It’s fast, easy, and looks great when printed. Add the button now – your users and the green Earth will benefit.
Click the button to automatically create printer friendly and PDF versions of your pages without the hassle of CSS or Print.CSS. No coding, hacking or programming required. Simply install the plugin, activate, and choose settings for full customization.
Cool Features Include:
Get a Printer Friendly and PDF button for your users.
Fully Customizable! Choose your favorite print and PDF button, use a text link, or use your own graphic.
Get precision placement with easy to change margins, alignment, and pages for your Print and PDF button.
On-Page-Lightbox. Have you noticed that most printer friendly buttons open new windows, or tabs? Not with Print Friendly & PDF button. It opens in a Lightbox so you your users stay on the page, and your wp website.
Professional looking print and PDF buttons and user experience.
More repeats and new users. Your brand/URL are printed on the page or saved in the PDF so users remember your site, or new users can find you.
Cool Print Features for Users:
Optimizes pages for printing and PDF so you save money and the environment.
You can Print or get a PDF
Edit the page before printing or getting a PDF
There is also a browser version… thanks to the folks at www.PrintFriendly.com for creating these green tech tool!
My other favorite (free) printing app is from GreenPrint World, a free version of GreenPrint software for home users. It incorporates an easy to use PDF writer that provides an alternative to printing. After you download and install the application it creates a new, green printer that you can select whenever you want to save a document as a pdf.
“All media will be personalized in three to five years,” says Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “People don’t want something targeted to the whole world – they want something that reflects what they want to see and know.”
Sandberg’s comments, delivered at a conference in September, 2009, may have underestimated the speed at which it the personalization is taking place. Some fear that news aggregators will begin to take over the delivery of personalized content, based on user demographics extracted from your online grid profile. Media personalization is already well underway, but it’s not being crafted by an external source. Leave that effort to the adservers.
The personalization that Sheryl Sandberg describes is being shaped by the the users themselves. As they decide to “Like” a Facebook page, that content stream becomes an element in their newsfeed. Savvy business Website publishers are becoming content creators, learning to broadcast their news feed output to a Facebook page and to every other popular social media site, creating their own content-rich inbound “advertising” grid.
Now, It becomes much more important to “be about something” in order to be “marketing with meaning” as Bob Gilbreath describes. The old days of tell-and-sell, top-down advertising is being replaced by a people-centric model and it’s happening much faster than predicted.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, “Knowing is Better” on UStream live 09/22/09.
“As news quickly travels, your friends are often the best filters you have for surfacing meaningful news,” says Lucich. “They are how I heard about Michael Jackson’s death, President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and even ‘Balloon Boy’.”
Creating dedicated “lists” will allow the user to segregate and then display select newsfeed updates from friends and/or from the Official Facebook pages they “Like.” Facebook also provides publishers with Facebook Connect allowing offsite users to login at another Website and interact. After seeing referrals from Facebook grow 680 per cent in 2010, The Independent began redesigning different ways to personalize, aggregate and segment their news feeds into Facebook with a variety of new ‘like’ features on independent.co.uk.
So starting with a few key areas of the site, we’ve been developing the tools to let people get their news from The Independent through social networks in tighter categories, designed to better reflect the parts of our editorial output you particularly enjoy. To that end, you can now ‘like’ all of our commentators on Facebook, and if you do then when they publish a story it’ll appear in your news feed. So if you want to know what key writers such as Robert Fisk and Johann Hari are covering each week, just follow those links and click ‘like’. Commentator’s like buttons are, for now, confined to their author pages, which you can get to by clicking the names in the dropdown navigation visible when you hover over commentators on the Opinion section.
While none of my clients’ Websites nor any of my own publications can compare themselves to a major London news publisher, we can still take advantage of the opportunities presented by Facebook in terms of networking to create a grassroots distribution network. Facebook Apps like NetworkedBlogs permit content to be spread in a viral manner from one to many. With the consolidation of media that has taken place over the last decade, I often compare this community-based effort to Gulliver vs the Lilliputians.
The January monthly SMBDC meeting is sponsored by Brew Coffeehouse, providing participants with delicious coffee and snacks on Wednesday, January 19 from 9 – 10:30 am.
At the close of 2010 when Time Magazine named Mark Zuckerberg their person of the year, they not only paid homage to the creator of Facebook. They also recognized the dynamic change that he has brought about in the way that more than 500 million people live and share their lives in the digital age. Soon after, the Washington Post announced that Facebook had ascended into the number one position as the world’s most visited Website. What was once a Google-centric Web has become a people-centric Web.
But, something even greater has taken place. We no longer think of Facebook as a Website. It has become a place… a virtual place that you go to when you want to hang out and check in with your friends. The next monthly meeting of the Social Media Breakfast Door County (SMBDC) group will explore what this shift means to the Peninsula’s business owners, independent artists and non-profit organizations who are seeking the greatest return on their marketing investment.
“How Facebook Pages are the new Yellow Pages – and the listings are free,” will be January’s topic of discussion led by new media marketing consultant Stephen Kastner, founder of the SMBDC meetings. “The past decade was all about building a World Wide Web of information delivered in Websites,” says Kastner. “The next decade is already more about the World Wide Web of people.”
Kastner publishes a free book, “6 Steps to Becoming a Social Business” in which he quotes Professor Sut Jhally, founder of the Media Education Foundation: “Advertisers have to go to where the audience is… if they want to sell products. They have no option but to go where the audience has gone. If the audience has gone online, gone to iPods, gone to Facebook – wherever the audience has gone – that is where advertisers must go.”
The book is a never-ending project, written about a subject that is continuously changing. Printing it would be a waste of time Kastner says. In three months it has already had more than 15 revisions, the most-recent of which moves Facebook into the “First Step” position in order of importance. You can download a free copy of the latest version at his DesignWise.net Website.
On the third Wednesday of each month, Kastner brings real people together at various Door County locations to have a breakfast dialogue about social media. The English Inn in Fish Creek, Glas Coffeehouse in Sturgeon Bay and the Harbor Fish Market in Baileys harbor have each hosted SMBDC meetings which began in October, 2010.
The January breakfast will be sponsored and hosted by Brew Coffee House in Ellison Bay. Rumor has it that Jennifer Lee, Door County artist, barista and Brew manager will be baking some specialty treats, providing complimentary coffee and snacks for participants. The SMBDC meetings are free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested out of consideration for the host venue.
You can email email@example.com or call 920.256.9449 with questions or to make a casual reservation for the Wednesday, January 19 SMBDC meeting at Brew Coffee House in Ellison Bay from 9 – 10:30 am. More information is available online at SMBDC.com.