What Do You Know? Share it!

Something has been on my mind lately.  Well a lot of things have been on my mind but I’ll write about one of those things today.  It’s the idea of sharing, particularly with the social web.

Many of the people I interact with in this space all agree on what we, as users who are passionate about the web, need to be focusing on:  educating,  teaching, sharing information.  For many companies, they are still trying to figure out how Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like can help business and engage consumers.

I was having a conversation with Shannon Paul last night at a TweetUp for Jeff Pulver‘s 140 Conference in Detroit.  She was telling me about an idea that she had to bring downtown companies together and really begin educating everyone about how the internet and the social web can help businesses.  This is a blossoming idea…hopefully more to share on that later.

On another occasion, Jason Falls was presenting to some folks at GM and he gave us his strategy for Twitter, “Share good (stuff).”

I’m amazed at the quality of people that I’ve been able to meet because of Twitter.  Each and every one wants to make a difference and educate others.  For those of us that make a living in this space, I encourage all of you to continue with that mindset and share the good stuff.  We all know that the internet isn’t a fad.  It’s going to continue to evolve the way we communicate with each other.  We have an opportunity to continue educate people and companies and build community.

In this spirit, I wanted to remind of you what’s happening in Detroit on October 20.  The 140 Conference will be happening at The Fillmore Theatre.  This conference has the opportunity to make a lasting impact on this community.  What is the story you want to tell?  Do you know someone who has a great story?  This conference has been about how the web has promoted change for good and made a difference.  If you already have experiences on how the social web has helped you or if you’re just remotely curious, register today!  A lot can be learned at this one day event.

What do you know?  How are you going to share it?  Have a great weekend everyone!

UPDATE: I just saw that my friend Dave Murray just posted this on his blog…dare I say great minds think alike?


Old Spice: Instant Case Study on Social Web Success

Absolutely hilarious.  That was my first thought as I started seeing the Old Spice guy make it’s way through my twitter stream yesterday.  Old Spice has taken it to the next level by having Isaiah Mustafa, also known as Old Spice Guy, respond by video to comments on its YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.  What started out with a commercial has quickly turned into an instant case study on how to integrate the social web into a traditional campaign.

I’m always looking for ways to get the ideas and concepts behind the social web accepted.  Case studies certainly help.  The thing I find most interesting, however, is that these concepts really aren’t new.  If you are trying to “sell” a brand to a consumer, the best way to do it is by building relationships with the people you want to buy your products.  This typically means thinking about your consumer first and what their needs are.

If you think about traditional marketing methods, it generally begins with launch planning, big media spending to air a 30 second commercial, billboards, magazine ads, etc.  How can “we” (insert brand here) get our message out to the most people in the quickest way possible?  Oh by the way, we have our website, facebook page and twitter account that we can also use to blast our messages to everyone.

I do believe these still have merit but what I do think is that brands (my company included) need to go back to thinking about what our customers want and not what we want.  I was fortunate enough to sit in a presentation from Jason Falls (Social Media Explorer) today.  One of his final points was for marketers (today’s talk was geared towards GM and its divisions) to think beyond the web.  To me, this meant thinking about coming up with marketing and promotions that integrate all aspects of consumer touch points which includes the social web.

  1. What can we do to help people connect?
  2. What can we do to enhance their online or offline experience?
  3. What can we do to facilitate and encourage sharing?
  4. What can we do to drive them to the showroom?

These were great questions that I hope encourages all of us to go back to the basics of what (I believe) marketing is all about…the consumer.

Technology has given consumers the means to ignore traditional marketing methods today.  Think about the DVR and how many commercials you watch.  What are you Mr. Marketer going to do to not be ignored and get to know the people you want to buy your products?

For another great case study, check out Dave Murray‘s post “Case Study: ‘Salty’ Is My New Hero“.

Can I Kiss My Housekeeper?

Last night was the May meeting of the Social Media Club of Detroit.  This was my first meeting that I was able to attend and I’m so glad that I did!  The team brought in Gary Wohlfeill (@moosejawmadness), Creative Director at Moosejaw, a local outdoor clothing company that started in 1992 in Keego Harbor, MI and now with 7 stores total (including Chicago).

My first thought…wow, they get it.

I’d like to give you my takeaways from the meeting last night.  If you want the full recap, click here and read the notes Nikki Stephan (@estrellabella10) took and posted to SMCD Facebook page.  (Thanks Nikki!)

One of the first things Gary went over was the 3 key things Moosejaw focuses on to determine if what they are doing is good enough:

  1. Be notable – the stories that customers tell all their friends about
  2. Engage customers – it’s second nature to the company, they have been talking back to customers for years
  3. Orchestrate the brand voice

Moosejaw wants to talk to their customers.  Every marketing effort is focused on ensuring conversations begin with them.  It could be a funny text message…”I think my housekeeper wants to kiss me, can I do that?  Text me back and I’ll add 114 Moosejaw points to your account for help”…41% of recipients responded.  It could be a poll or survey.  Anything that will start a conversation.

More than anything, I walked away believing that brands need to have a personality.  Moosejaw likes to have fun with their customers.  They are generally willing to try anything to spark a conversation.  The web today allows for conversations to happen, even with a brand logo.  The trick is having that brand humanize itself.  People relate and converse with other people.  If you can get your brand to take on a personality, that allows relationships to be built.

It also helps that they have a loyalty program that rewards customers and gives them every opportunity to earn more points so they can redeem them for merchandise.

And one other thing…Gary responds to every e-mail he receives from a customer.  His thought is that if the customer took the time to write to him, he owes it to that customer to give a reply.  Yes, it’s time consuming but it shows that Moosejaw cares about the customers.

This is beyond Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.  This is their strategy.  Every decision involves the customer in some way.

So my thoughts automatically shifted to Buick and GMC.  Can we as a company take what Moosejaw has ingrained in their business culture and apply it to our business?  Do consumers see the personality of our 2 brands and can they relate to them?  Do we need to re-think our marketing and advertising strategy and adjust it so that customer experience and conversation is first and foremost at the front of everything we do?

I think yes.  Customers now have more control than they ever have.  The social web and word of mouth can be more impactful (both positively and negatively) to purchasing decisions and brand health.  So why not take care of the people that buy our products and give them a reason to talk positively about you?

It’s all about relationships…

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking a lot about social media.  What is it?  It’s all about relationships.  By definition, social means “tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others.”  Cooperative and interdependent relationships.  It’s pretty simple when you think about it.

So why should businesses engage in social media?  They should because tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. provide an avenue to get real time feedback from the people that ultimately use your product.  The landscape for marketing is rapidly changing and these social media tools allow companies to change along with it.

Social Media allows consumers to interact with your Brand.  Companies should not be afraid to leverage the technology.  If you analyze the “why to use” too much instead of the “how to use”, you get left behind.  This changes every day and if you’re just getting started, you don’t have time to analyze it.  Develop your objectives and learn as you go.  Look at the Six Social Media Trends for 2010.  If you’re just getting started, you’ll have a lot more to learn because it just keeps growing and more technologies are developed.

As I was contemplating my thoughts on this, I read a blog post from Gini Dietrich titled Social Media Philosophy.  She defines it perfectly.  I couldn’t have written it better myself and got a laugh when I saw this come up because I had every intention of writing something similar!  She asks readers to do 2 things: listen to what people are saying and think about social media as a 24/7 network.

Social Media is two way communication.  Give consumers an opportunity to engage.  Show them a human side to the company and perceptions will change.

James 1:19 “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”