17

I’m doing a social media strategy presentation at the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association in San Diego today. Today’s talk is a major revamp of  my social media strategy presentation, incorporating learnings from all the social media work we’ve done the past year. With much more social media content to share, I’ve prepared 12 social media topics for the audience to choose from in customizing the presentation to the issues most relevant for them. They get value from picking what’s covered, and it keeps me on my toes since no two presentations are the same!

We’ll also be highlighting social media strategy best practices from among attendees to make the talk more industry-specific and recognize smart work in the transportation and logistics industry. While looking for best practices, I found a number of social media mistakes as well. Instead of calling them out in the presentation, however, today’s post highlights seven of the (unattributed) mistakes any business-to-business (or even business-to-consumer) company shouldn’t be making:

1. Making your product/service the hero in every blog post.

In transportation industry blogs, the companies doing the blogging have their services providing heroic solutions in WAY too many posts. Using the problem-solution-result format to occasionally highlight your brand’s products and services is okay. If every blog post involves your brand coming to the rescue, however, it’s repetitive and will disaffect readers. The alternative is delivering content on what customers are:

  • Seeking information about
  • Focused on in their professional (and personal) lives
  • Challenged to accomplish in their businesses

With this approach, incorporating the Think-Know-Do perspective we’ve recommended will help you to create much greater content value for readers.

2. Only following and fanning business-to-business customers.

For business-to-business brands (and business-to-consumer ones too), deciding who to follow and fan can be challenging. While there are a variety of strategies which may be right, at least one strategy is clearly wrong: only following your customers. When you only follow customers in a business-to-business market, your customer list becomes visible to anyone checking your profile.

3. Creating an industry platform with lots of fanfare and very little planning.

One company introduced an issue-oriented portal to tackle a big, meaty industry issue. The introduction included lots of fanfare and promises of frequent updates, community, and vibrant conversations. On launch day, the company debuted several “executive” blog posts to frame its thought leadership position and then . . . wait for it . . . nothing. What does it make your brand look like when months pass and nothing’s happening on the site? If makes it look as if your brand doesn’t keep promises. When executives become hell-bent to launch this type of site, invest some of the development money into creating a legitimately implementable content plan to keep it updated and build a robust dialogue. Not sure how? Call us!

4. Featuring sharing buttons but nothing worth sharing.

Definitely make social media content spreadable by installing plug-ins to allow readers to share your content within their own social networks. Putting sharing buttons on a web page is only one part of the sharing equation. The content has to be valuable and worth taking time to let others know about it. Going through several TMSA attendees’ social media sites, sharing shows up on many pages no one would ever share no matter how easy it is to do.

5. You create all the Twitter and Facebook content you share.

Social networking is about conversation and sharing relevant content from multiple pertinent sources. The Twitter and Facebook presences for many TMSA attendees do nothing but push their own content, making it seem like just a bunch of mini press releases. You can check how you’re doing on this by looking at your last 20 tweets or Facebook status updates. In how many are you “talking” vs. answering questions, engaging in conversations with other users or sharing content from others? Target less than 20% of the content being your material and 80% from some form of interaction.

6. Ignoring social media when your company is being challenged.

When a brand is under attack, it’s discouraging, but pulling back and not communicating in every social channel where your brand is getting bad talked isn’t the way to go. With the ability for anyone to essentially broadcast very creative content about your brand, you can’t afford silence. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be the most compelling communicator of your story. If you’re getting pounded in blog posts, comment and move the conversation to positive topics. If a YouTube video search shows nothing but mocking videos and doomsayers about your brand, get busy and share lots of brief, rich stories about what your company and its employees are doing to provide value.

7. Having multiple accounts and one avatar.

It can be smart to have multiple identities for your brand set up in relevant channels with content targeted to interest areas your customers have. Every presence shouldn’t have exactly the same corporate logo though. Not providing visual differentiation undermines the value of the diverse, focused content you’re sharing. When designing multiple avatars, make sure they carry a comparable feel so people know they’re all from your brand, but reflect the distinct content and perspective each is presenting.

Well?

If you’re a TMSA attendee, were any of these written about your social media presence? If you didn’t attend TMSA, do any of the problems sound familiar anyway? - Mike Brown


The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you define a strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your market opportunities.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3

I witnessed my first in-person flash mob last night as Eric “Mean” Melin (@SceneStealrEric on Twitter) led this creative group of Richie Sambora and Eddie Van Halen wannabes in what is rumored to be the world’s largest air guitar flash mob – right here on the streets of Kansas City.

The air guitar flash mob was in support of the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships Regional Competition coming to Kansas City on May 19, 2011. In a Kansas City First Friday filled with lots of strolling and looking at works of art, Eric’s air guitar flash mob was definitely a creative highlight! – Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

The TED conference (themed “The Rediscovery of Wonder”) is taking place this week in California. Thanks to Kansas City digital marketing agency VML and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, hundreds of people in Kansas City will be watching today’s TED sessions through a live video simulcast. And in the spirit of my post about live event tweeters and bloggers warranting “press passes”, the VML team is providing me access to outlets and Wi-Fi in order to actively document today’s TED simulcast.

While a strictly video TED event will obviously be a different experience than last summer’s in-person TEDxKC event (which spawned nearly a week’s worth of blog posts), I fully expect a creative burst from the four TED sessions simulcast today here in Kansas City! Here’s the day’s TED agenda, with session times (Central Standard Time):

Session 4: Deep Mystery – 10:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. CST

Session 5: Worlds Imagined – 1–2:45 p.m. CST

Session 6: Knowledge Revolution – 4:15-6 p.m. CST

Session 7: Radical Collaboration – 7–8:45 p.m. CST

The setup available onsite will determine what the specific Brainzooming content creation plan will be. I’ll likely be live tweeting either on my regular @Brainzooming Twitter account and/or my live Twitter account at @BZLiveTweets. If you’re interested in following the activity during the day, look for the overall #TED hashtag on Twitter as well.

If you’re at The Nelson for today’s sessions, tweet or DM me! – Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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11

How many pages is your resume? Probably no more than three pages if you’re mid-career with years of experience. So much experience, in fact, all the business social networking platforms available to add depth, breadth, and diversity to your business network didn’t exist when your career started. Heck, online business social networking options probably weren’t available even half-way into your career. While that’s reality, being left out of the advantages business social networking 2.0 can provide when your age is closer to 25 times 2.0 doesn’t have to be.

With opportunities social networks provide in putting your name in front of new people, increasing visibility to your skills, and connecting to others who can help advance your career goals, social media channels shouldn’t be ignored by anyone who suspects they’re not in the last job they expect to have!

This is top of mind because I’m talking on behalf of SMCKC with a group of mid-career professionals this morning on “11 Steps and 11 Weeks to Create a Mid-Career Business Social Network.” This video is a post-presentation review of the flip charts I used for the session (another in those social media-oriented presentations where I couldn’t use a computer).

I’d love to say my business social networking immersion started several years ago with a coordinated plan, but it didn’t. It began with a need to build an identity outside the major corporation where I’d spent all but the first years of my career. That critical career need, a proclivity for creating work-related content over the years, a perfectly-timed presentation from a corporate blogger, and instigation from my career coach, Kathryn Lorenzen, were the vital ingredients in launching a business social networking presence well into my career. The effort included:

The result of this effort has been my two-page resume has effectively grown to tens of thousands of pages, with elements of it seen by more than a hundred thousand people in the past year. It’s comprised of expertise-related content and references widely available on many websites. This impact has come from slow progress over a number of years; progress which, quite frankly, is so slow it regularly stretches my patience level. But that’s what diving in and learning as you go feels like. Plus there’s been so much more learning and progress than if I were still crafting an elegant plan which never got implemented.

If you’re really serious about building greater diversity and depth in your network and letting a bigger audience in the business world know about what you know, I’m hard pressed to come up with a higher yielding approach than adding a social media presence to your career plans!Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3

The Super Bowl has long been the sporting event of the year.  Over time, it has also become the biggest advertising event of the year.  Numerous major brands launch campaigns during Super Bowl, catapulting the price of a 30-second spot to around $3 million.

Social media, however, is starting to challenge the nature of Super Bowl advertising.  According to a recent survey from Lightspeed Research, a unit of WPP’s Kantar, 18% of people will look up ads online with smartphones on Super Bowl Sunday.  So, the internet has definitely became an integral part of Super Bowl advertising, and smart brands are learning how to leverage social media to make their ad campaigns work that much harder.

The shout out for the “smartest” brand in this area must go to Old Spice.  It’s an old brand that has been revitalized and reborn from the Super Bowl campaign Old Spice ran last year.  In an effort to improve sales, Old Spice launched The Old Spice Guy campaign that targeted men and “their ladies.”  (After all, the ladies are the ones shopping the aisle.)  The campaign launched with traditional tactics such as television commercials and print ads, plus online display banner ads.  On top of it all, there were Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube components. These tactics were designed to work together and reinforce each other.  This is what nirvana looks like for an integrated marketing campaign with both traditional and new media:  The Old Spice Guy from TV replies to tweets via YouTube videos!

The results say it all:

  • The campaign achieved 1.4 billion impressions.
  • Video views were 40 million per week.
  • Sales increased double digits.
  • Market share grew, challenging for segment leadership.

I haven’t even got to the smartest part of this whole campaign – this Super Bowl campaign DIDN’T INCLUDE a $3 million Super Bowl ad! The television commercial was released around the Super Bowl.  Then, the marketers bought key search terms.  So, when the 18% of people looked up “Super Bowl ads” online, they found have the Old Spice Guy!

It was genius!

And it called for a second act from the Old Spice Guy.

This year, all the forums for the Old Spice Guy to engage with fans have already been set up from the prior year.  Old Spice Guy is already posting on Facebook.  Tweets are flying.  Teasers are on YouTube.  It’s reported that a fan will have his/her own ad, and it will debut on Super Bowl Sunday.  The new Old Spice Guy TV commercial will start running on February 7, the day after Super Bowl Sunday, though I have no doubt that if you search for “Super Bowl Ads”, you will find the Old Spice Guy. – Jeannie Chan

This guest post was written by #BZBowl participant, Jeannie Chan. Jeannie is a passionate brand manager, who’s fueled by intellectual curiosity and caffeine.  While Jeannie has been a marketer for nearly a decade, each day still brings her new challenges.  She keeps tracks of it all on her blog CuriousMarketeer.com.

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10

Southwest Airlines Communication Specialist Laurel Moffat spoke on the airline’s successful social media strategy at a January 25 Kansas City American Marketing Association lunch event. While the presentation was overly heavy on how many fans and followers Southwest Airlines has, underneath, there were many beneficial insights and lessons only a brand experienced in social media can provide. The great thing was Laurel’s social media lessons apply to smaller organizations as well:

Big or Small, “Listen and Personalize” Is Fundamental

Laurel’s recommendation was “listen first,” which is a fundamental lesson for any organization. Listening provides an understanding of content that’s meaningful and appropriate for your audiences. Once you get active, it’s important to personalize audience experiences. Some ways Southwest does this:

  • Team members handling Facebook duties sign their names to their responses.
  • Southwest tries to share “real” content on topics customers are thinking about relative to flying.
  • It encourages localization, with 20 local station Facebook pages covering specific Southwest airport operations groups.

Social Media Takes People, but Not as Many as You Think

Southwest Airlines is HUGE online:

  • 12 million monthly visits to its website
  • 1 million Twitter followers
  • 1.3 million Facebook likers
  • 29,000 reviewers on its Travel Guide

So how many people does it take to handle that volume of activity?

Try 5.

Yup, 5 people are in the Southwest Airlines emerging media group. The Southwest Airlines presence is monitored 24/7, including hourly check-ins during normal sleeping hours, with 2 people typically trading off responsibilities on major outposts.

So yes, it takes people to keep a social media effort going. If 5 people can monitor and manage it for a multi-billion corporation though, your much smaller organization doesn’t need an army to accomplish its objectives.

There Are Huge Opportunities in a Collaborative Social Media Strategy

With all the content Southwest Airlines creates to keep its presence fresh, a collaborative approach is vital.  Some collaborative examples that serve as lessons for everyone else:

  • There’s internal collaboration: marketing creates the feel for its social media channels, and the communications team (through its emerging media group) drives content. The legal and investor relations departments are also closely involved.
  • All emerging media team employees complete customer service training to ensure they are well-prepared to address customer questions and issues directly and expeditiously.
  • Southwest Airlines works with outside partners as well, including Kansas City-based VML and Buddy Media.
  • Southwest reaches out specifically to influencers: travel bloggers, brand fanatics, avid travelers, and importantly, employees all contribute content.
  • To increase broader employee involvement, Southwest organized an internal social media conference (BlogCon) in January 2011 to bring employee contributors into Dallas for overviews and training on social media and content creation (plus receiving Southwest Airlines-logoed Flip cameras). This is in addition to sponsoring a social media club within the company.

Oh, and About that Kevin Smith Deal

Without a doubt, the customer service and social media teams have to be linked. It can be very formal, but at a minimum, the communication channels and protocols need to be set. If nothing else, the Kevin Smith meltdown emphasized that important lesson. Laurel talked about the February 2010 situation in her presentation.

During Q&A, I asked about the degree of direct interaction between people monitoring social media channels and gate agents. In the Kevin Smith case, it seemed Smith was allowed to cool his heels for some time while tweeting with increasing fervor (and furor). Laurel said gate agents do get social media training and are taught that any customer incident can blow up dramatically through social media channels.

Even Veteran Players Don’t Know What Will Get Attention

Undisputed facts:

  • Southwest Airlines has been in social media since 2006 when it launched its blog.
  • It stepped up into Twitter and Facebook in 2007.
  • Southwest Airlines has an award-winning, significant presence.

All true, but you want to know my favorite comment of the day from Laurel?

Southwest Airlines is surprised by what videos on its YouTube site get the most views. One example? Its engine cleaning video is right near the top. For anyone continually baffled by what social media content gets viewed and shared, it’s comforting to know even the big guys can be left guessing!

Social Media Doesn’t Fix Bad Brands, but It Sure Benefits Already Great Ones

More undisputed facts:

  • Southwest Airlines is a strong brand.
  • It got into social media before it had everything figured out (it didn’t have a formal policy until the past year).
  • It’s had a few stumbles along the way, but it sees clear positives and high regard for its effort.

If not for Southwest being a strong brand already, getting into social media and having some stumbles could have been disastrous.

Lesson for everybody else: Fix your brand first, and then worry about fixing any inadequacies in your social media strategy.

Wrap-Up

If you were in Kansas City and didn’t make it out to this event, you should be kicking yourself. Thanks to Laurel and the Kansas City American Marketing Association for making this informative presentation happen!  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6

Social media productivity is an important topic based on the reaction to a recent Brainzooming article on a strategy for efficiently integrating social media listening, participation, and content creation activities. The article prompted sharing these 13 additional social media productivity-enhancing tips for a strategy to integrate “in real life” and online activities to develop new content sources and ideas.

Your Daily Activities

1. As you anticipate blog topics, develop a related question to ask people you interact with, expanding your point of view and gathering material for the post. Even better, use video to capture answers to your question for a video post.

2. Capture intriguing video or photo opportunities that present themselves in the course of your daily activities.

3. After reading a new book or magazine (or even an older one) in your audience’s area of interest, write a brief review with your point of view on the concepts.

4. Review each day’s activities before bed and create a list of 3 to 5 potential blog topics. Capture intriguing ideas, lessons, and information that could benefit your audience. Write down ideas in a notebook or online so you can review them when seeking content ideas in the future.

Friends and Family

5. Host a tweetup and invite your local blog or Twitter followers to get together and network with each other. One advantage is it will spur ideas for new content and help identify potential guest bloggers.

6. Strengthen your blog content creation efforts by using a person you know (who is within your target audience) as the basis for a target persona to orient your social media content. One current persona for Brainzooming is based off a former co-worker who I still meet with regularly. Because he’s also active with Twitter and blogging, I can keep track even more frequently of his hot button issues and identify content relevant to his interests.

Attending Presentations

7. Customize your nametag at event to include your Twitter name as a conversation starter. Alternatively, if you don’t look like your Twitter avatar (i.e., you use a cartoon instead of your picture), create your own social media-oriented name tag to make your Twitter identity more recognizable.

8. Live tweet event content that’s relevant for your audience. You can also incorporate the tweets post-event, expanding on ideas to create blog content.

Making a Presentation

9. When refreshing or creating a presentation, consider already published blog posts as a ready source of new presentation content.

10. Setup a mini tripod and Flip camera before a presentation you do and record your presentation. You can look for and use 60 to 90 second presentation snippets as video blog posts.

11. Capture questions you receive during presentations as triggers for blog posts to recap or expand on your answers.

12. Actively solicit questions when you present or interact with audiences, using the questions as potential social media content. I hand out my own evaluation form at presentations to ask attendees for questions which remain unanswered for them.

13. Incorporate content you’ve created for presentations as starter ideas for social media content (a 16 ways to build an audience via social media post I did originated as two slides in a “how to tweet” presentation).

Like so many things with creating consistent, on-target social media content, it’s all about taking the best advantage of day-to-day content-related opportunities. You simply have to follow through with diligence and an innovative eye as you learn and develop additional ways to more efficiently create content. – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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