A Net Gen Perspective on Social Media Marketing

537047_toplaps_A cat and a tiger are pretty similar, one’s just the next model up. Following the same train of thought, I would say social media marketing and traditional marketing have a lot more in common than people sometimes think.

A quick look on Twitter shows companies trying to market themselves using techniques that wouldn’t work in any form of traditional marketing. It seems as if companies are seeing the internet as an entirely new thing when it comes to marketing. Surely it just another medium?

What Are We Trying to Achieve?

I would say that marketing is about getting your message to your intended audience in the most effective way possible. I wonder if the companies on Twitter who use their feeds exclusively to list their special offers are getting their message out in the most effective way. Do you broadcast like that? If so, what have you found to be the benefits?

From a business perspective, I think that social media is offering new opportunities. The level of engagement that social media allows with your prospects is exciting. Businesses have the chance to interact with their customers on an unprecedented scale.

Yet from what I’m finding as I explore Twitter further is that it seems that companies are cautious to engage. If they don’t engage, they’re not at as much risk of things going wrong. But isn’t risk an integral part of marketing and/or business?

If You Know It Works…

As Mark said in an earlier post, the internet is about Old Rules, New Tools. The format may be different, but from what I can see, there is no radical retraining needed. I wouldn’t put an advert for compost in Hayfever Weekly, and similarly I wouldn’t put content for Twitter on Facebook, and vice-versa.

Because I’m a graduate in my first marketing job, perhaps I’m seeing things differently. But what I am seeing is something that is relatively new and exciting, filled with possibilities, not something scary that should be done only if absolutely necessary.

What are your thoughts? Do you dread social media, or are you excited by the possibilities?

And the Winners Are…

imageWhen we launched our Beta program back in April, we promised there would be prizes for those that provided the best feedback (or indeed managed to break our infant version of CubeSocial!).

Well, we haven’t forgotten about that, and so (in no particular order) the winners are:

  • Jon Bloor for taking the time to write a review of CubeSocial within minutes of the Beta sign coming down
  • Jason Comer for being the first really get stuck into the Beta, and call personally with comments and feedback
  • Barbara Payne for providing good feedback in person and online
  • Jon Harman for being the one person that managed to break CubeSocial, giving good feedback via Skype, and understanding what we’re about
  • Craig Killick for writing a blog straight after coming into the office for a-not-very-slick demo, and generally being a great supporter

Each winner will receive 1,500 social media profile credits (worth £50) that can be used to discover the social media profiles of your contacts in CubeSocial.

To all our early testers a sincere thank you for helping make CubeSocial the product it is today.

And if you haven’t had the chance to experience CubeSocial yet, just head over to the sign-up page, register for a free account, then sit back and enjoy!

3 Ways to Get Your Message Across On Twitter

Unlike the phrases ‘hazardous materials’ or ‘free money’, people often ignore the first word in the phrase ‘social media’…

I’m still new to this Twitter ‘thang’, but already I’m surprised at the basic mistakes some companies are making. People new to social media tend to resort to what they know. And often, what they know is how to advertise their company as they would in a magazine or television ad. On Twitter though, this just doesn’t work.

The Internet is Big, So We Need a Megaphone

There are different types of Tweets. One of those is the Broadcast Tweet. Broadcast Tweets are impersonal and are seen by all your followers. For companies they usually go something like:

‘Here’s our amazing product. You can buy it here. It costs just £X.’

What these companies are missing is that Twitter is about conversations. Tweeting only Broadcast Tweets is equivalent to standing in a crowded restaurant shouting whether or not you like your meal at the top of your voice.

What to Do Instead

Here are some quick tips when tweeting to encourage interaction and look less spammy:

  1. Create a need to respond
    What are people going to reply to ‘Buy our product’? Either ‘OK’ or ‘No thanks’. Most likely it’ll be ‘No thanks’. Instead try asking open questions the way good salespeople do – ones that will allow you to talk about the benefits of your product in a way that is relevant to your prospect.
  2. If no one is talking with you, start a conversation
    Look at your prospect’s Twitter timeline. What are they talking about? If it’s their cats, ask how they are; if it’s a business trip, recommend your favourite restaurant. Tweet things of interest to the people you want to engage.
  3. Read your own Twitter page
    What would you think if you were a prospect reading your tweets?

Don’t Do All the Talking

Twitter is a different kind of promotion. It’s not about shouting how great you are; it’s about building relationships, earning trust and then winning business.

Ask Yourself…

Think about every tweet you send and ask yourself: ‘If I read that tweet as a stranger, how would I respond to it?’ Would you retweet it because it was funny, discuss its relevance, or start a debate?

If you’re struggling to think of a response, well, you should be able to see the problem…

Hashtag Snags… and three tips for better #tagging

A great big hashBy Rewan Tremethick

Linda tasked me recently with identifying interesting people and conversations from Marketing Week Live 2011 (#mwl2011). Whilst there was lots of activity on the hashtag, I didn’t find anyone or anything that I thought worth bringing to her attention. I’m sure there were lots of interesting companies there, but they were so caught up in getting people to visit their stand, they forgot to mention why.

Are You Selling Fruit And Veg?

Much of the hashtag activity resembled market stall vendors. We’ve all walked down the street hearing, ‘Bha-nah-ahs! Five for a paaaaaand!’ A lot of companies on #mwl2011 were doing exactly the same kind of thing, shouting ‘We’re on stand x111, come and say hi. There’ll be cake!’ yet they’re not on the street, nor selling fruit.

What Kind Of Cake?

So we know where company Z is, and we know there is cake. Whilst we’re wondering what sort of cake, we’re missing a more important question – what does the company do?

Whilst enticing people with cake might sound like a good idea, #mwl2011 is a tradeshow full of professionals, looking to network and build relationships. Cake, loved as it is, isn’t their top priority. What your business could do for them is, but that wasn’t mentioned in the Tweet.

So…You Do What?

Of course I could check out their website to find out what they do. But hundreds of companies Tweeted that they deserved a visit. Who has the time to go on hundreds of websites, only to find out that the companies are completely irrelevant to them?

When writing Press Releases, you have to remember to include the Who, What, When, Where and Why’s?

Most of the hashtagged tweets ran like this:

‘Come and see us at #mwl2011. We’ll be on stand X100. Have a chat and free donuts!’

How many of those W’s were answered? Why should we come and talk to you?

Three Tips For Better Hashtagging

  • Put company information in your bio, so tweeps can quickly see whether or not you are right for them.
  • Give people a business incentive to come and talk to you. ‘Stand x100 for chats on how social media can help your business.’
  • Cake is not a USP. But don’t stop giving it away, though.

Considering it was a marketing tradeshow, a lot of companies missed a great opportunity to market themselves on the hashtag. Cake, on the other hand, got a lot of exposure.

Linda Talks Twitter Basics On Marlow FM

CubeSocial CEO Linda Cheung in the Marlow FM StudioBy Rewan Tremethick

On Monday this week, Linda talked Twitter basics with Christina Bachini on Marlow FM’s Biz Buzz hour. Answering Christina’s questions and those of the listeners, Linda covered the issues of getting started on Twitter, the integrity of the social platform, and how to go about joining conversations, gaining followers and building relationships.

For those of you pressed for time, some highlights…

  • Social media is just another way to communicate. It’s simply another way to talk, as with phones, email or face-to-face conversation.
  • When starting on Twitter, follow some people you already know and have a relationship with – your LinkedIn contacts for example. See how and what they Tweet about until you feel comfortable that you understand the medium.
  • During Linda’s initial ‘Lurk and Learn’ Jonathan Ross’ tweets highlighted the business value of Twitter, by demonstrating how Twitter could be used for customer engagement, research and care.

For more tips and greater depth, listen to the edited interview:

Linda Interview Marlow FM 04.07.11 by CubeSocial

How to make sure you don’t fall foul of Twitter hackers

This morning, the @foxnewspolitics Twitter feed was hacked and populated with tweets reporting the death of President Obama. A group called Scriptkiddies claimed responsibility.

Fox News - Obama Dead Twitter Hack

You can follow a few simple steps to reduce the risk of your Twitter account being hacked.

  • Social Engineering is perhaps the most common way hackers get into these accounts. Reduce your risk by limiting the number of people that know the password. Use an enterprise grade Twitter client, rather than one of the many consumer client apps available, then require all Twitter activity uses that application only. That way no-one but your security admins need know your Twitter account password.
  • Take normal password precautions: Use strong passwords, and change the password regularly.
  • Enable HTTPS on your Twitter account. Right now (amazingly) the default is HTTP – that means anyone using Twitter.com over a WiFi connection could potentially have their Twitter account compromised by the person sitting next to them in the coffee shop using a simple free tool such as FireSheep.
  • To enable HTTPS on your Twitter account navigate to your Twitter.com profile settings and check the box:
    Enable HTTPS on Twitter