Social Media for the Good

You’ve seen the snarky signs in coffee shops, “We don’t have wi-fi. Pretend its 1995, put down your phones to talk to each other.” Insinuating that we are all too connected to social media time time suckers like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever your vice might be. This is a good week for social media. It has served for the good.

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According to The Washington Post “When social media was in its infancy, Americans watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, marooning residents on rooftops, where they helplessly waved white sheets and held up signs for passing helicopters, often to no avail. Twelve years, several smartphone releases and billions of tweets later — as a powerful storm hovered over America’s fourth-largest metropolis — social media allowed many Houstonians to take their fate into their own hands. Using social media, flood victims who still had power were able to communicate with public officials directly or to bypass them entirely and coordinate their own rescues with private citizens.”

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Countless rescues have been made because someone saw a plea on social media. As WaPo reported, “John Nova Lomax — a Houston resident and senior editor at Texas Monthly who has written extensively about the city’s flood problems — said he noticed a Facebook post Sunday asking for someone to rescue a woman trapped on her roof with two dogs. The victim’s address was less than a half a mile away, he said, leading him to embark on a hapless rescue effort that ended when he reached an impassable bridge several blocks from his house in northwest Houston. Despite his failed attempt, he said, social media spawned numerous successful rescue efforts over the weekend, often through Facebook groups that formed to share information and facilitate rescues.”

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When used for the good, social media is a beautiful thing. A Guardian Angel. When used to empower hate and racism, its The Devil. This week, let’s hope the angels keep winning.

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Brilliant Content Marketing Idea of the Week

Online Content Producers

Unless you were hibernating earlier this week, you know a major eclipse rolled over the United States. The hype was loud and big, and vendors found many people on treasure hunts to find the correct type of glasses for viewing the celestial event.

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Pizza Hut, however, had one of the most clever content marketing campaigns that stood out. A short video showed customers how to make box viewer from a pizza box – presumably a Pizza Hut box that held the pizza you ordered for your solar eclipse viewing party. It was a quick and catchy way to promote the brand on day day when marketing noise level was running high.

Social Media is Not a Career

 

We have a couple of 20-something year-olds under our roof at the moment, which is why I took note recently of an article titled “20 Things 20 Year-Olds Don’t Get.” It’s written by Jason Nazar, founder of Docstoc for Forbes. He laments that he is long past his moment of being featured as a bright “20 Under 20” on a magazine cover, which makes him a credible advisor to the millennial generation.

 

In my opinion, he is spot on with one point – “Social Media is Not a Career”. The only exception I take to his advice is that it applies to everyone in marketing and communications today, not just the over-publicized Millennials. There is a plethora of self-proclaimed middle-aged social media gurus who would do well to listen to what Nazar has to say.

 

“Those job titles won’t exist in five years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both. Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue. It’s not an end in itself. I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title,” advises Nazar.

 

You can read more of Nazar’s wisdom here.

 

 

Am I Perfectly Clear?

Making a bad choice between the content a company WANTS to put on its website and what it SHOULD put on its site can often mean lost sales. Web content professionals know the best results happen when a site provides the customer with clear, honest information that includes comparative analysis, pricing, and product demos.

Sometimes that means the sales department has to step aside and let the content producers tell the story. Hype has to be kept at bay. Lauren Carlson, CRM Market Analyst at MarketingAutomationSoftware.com recently wrote an article, “What Software Buyers Want From a Vendor’s Website”, that highlights the most important content a product-based website should include:

Lauren hits on many key points Online Content Producers agrees with:

  • Be Clear: Give a good overview of the product, give the reader as much information as possible to make a good buying decision. Use comparison charts that clearly point out features and benefits. It’s fine to provide brochures and other collateral material, but make them downloads. Don’t let them clutter the site message.
  • Put the Price Upfront: Don’t bury pricing. Hiding the price suggests that its too high or that its a bad value. Don’t be cagey or dodge what is one of the most important facts of your buyer’s information gathering process.  You may think forcing prospects to contact you for pricing gives you have a chance to  sell them. In fact, the opposite is true. Customers are more likely to move on to another site where they can find the information they want.
  • Demos Draw People In: Easy-access demos are a key to retaining visitors to your site. Be sure they work on all platforms and browsers – including the iPad and other mobile devices. One of my favorite demo sites is cloversites.com. Visitors can quickly and easily test its website building tools. No sign up required, just click and start trying it out. I’ll bet their conversion rate is higher than similar sites that try to capture all my info before they’ll let me in to play. Clover knows their product is so good that I am very likely to buy once I see what it can do for me.
  • Provide Reviews: Let people see what customers say about the product. Online reviews make a large impact on buying decisions. If you are afraid of customer reviews, you likely have a problem that even the best site content can’t help.
  • Be Honest and Fair – Always: I added this one, but I am sure Lauren agrees with me. Don’t get carried away over-pitching or embellishing your products or disparaging a competitor. Not only is it wrong, and not nice, but with the transparency of the internet you will live to regret it.

The best test for any online content still is – “Is it clear?”

The Online Trust-o-Meter

You are a seasoned professional and you’ve worked hard to establish yourself as a credible, reliable expert in your field. Does your online presence reflect your position as a trusted advisor to clients and customers? When someone types your name into a search engine, where do you  place on the Trust-o-Meter? Do you come across as someone who knows what they are doing online? Do a quick rundown of these basics that affect your trust rating:

  • How do you show up in a simple search? Are there at least five accurate citations for you on the first page? Or, are you lumped in with eight other people with your same name? (There are seven other people named Steve Bruce on LinkedIn?)
  • Is your LinkedIn profile up to date and complete? Is your photo professional? Have you claimed your personal url? Is your bio optimized for SEO? Is everything customized? Does your profile still link to “My website” or “Company website” rather than to your url? Have you added industry specific applications to your LinkedIn profile? Are you utilizing applications that create regular touch points with your contacts such as Reading List?
  • Do you have a personal website? If so, when was the last time it was updated? Is the copyright notice in the current year? Is it mobile friendly?
  • Are you sharing your expertise and authority in a blog? Are you maintaining it regularly, or is it an abandoned shell of good intentions?
  • Have you claimed yourself and your business in directories, especially those specific to your marketplace?
  • Is your content accurate and grammatically correct? Typos and bad grammar are trust killers. This week’s Online Content Producers favorite from a large real estate company’s Facebook page: “Are you planning on attending any Open Houses this weekend? If so, where are they at?” Really, teen speak with a preposition on the end of the sentence? Sigh.
  • If you have a business Facebook page, YouTube channel, and/or Twitter account, are they skinned with graphics that support your personal brand? Is everything tagged and optimized for search? Is the content being updated regularly? Old content screams that you really don’t care enough to stay current, another trust buster.

These are just some of the basics that affect online credibility. We specialize in doing a deeper dive to assure that you and your brand are building trusting relationships online. It’s what we do and we love it.  We are here to help if you feel that your Trust-o-Meter reading is a little low.