What Executives Should Know About Social Media

New research conducted by Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and The Conference Board details the results of a survey of more than 180 senior executives and corporate directors of North American public and private companies. The findings reveal a disconnect between companies’ understanding of social media and the actions they are taking to apply it to their business. The report demonstrates significant room for growth in the area of practicing social media.

“Companies appreciate the potential that social media can have to transform all aspects of their business: branding, reputation, communication, outreach, and identifying strategic risks,” says Professor David F. Larcker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and lead author of the study. “They also realize the serious threats that it can pose. They’re just not doing very much about it.”

The study provides several important steps that executives can follow to implement a winning social media strategy:

  • Assess their current capabilities with social media
  • Determine how social media fits with their strategy and business model
  • Map their companies’ key performance indicators and risk factors to information available through social media
  • Implement a “listening” system to capture social media data and transform it into metrics
  • Develop formal policies and guidelines for employees, executives, and directors
  • Consider the legal and behavioral ramifications that could be involved if the company’s board receives summary data about social media

An appreciation for social media is one thing; putting best practices in place and making full use of social is another.

 

How to Thrive in a Saturated Social Media Marketing Environment

The Association of National Advertisers recently released data shows that the percentage of marketers who are using social media edged up just 1% over the last year, from 89% in 2011 to 90% this year.

Slow growth but significant nonetheless as this data confirms that more and more people are grasping the concept of social media and running full speed ahead. But therein lies the problem. Success in social media and digital marketing is not based on speed but rather quality engagement.

Brands must realize that this isn’t a race.

We’ve witnessed several accounts on sites like Twitter where brands seem to have given up on the opportunity of social. The new media arena might offer cost effective opportunities but the trade offs come in the amount of time and effort required. You have to be present to have a presence.

How do brands succeed when everyone is using or at least giving social media a shot?

Here are three tips for standing out from the crowd:

Have Fun

It’s okay to be polished and sophisticated but let go! People are online because of the fact to connect with interesting people and engaging content not the boardroom.

Experiment

Sometimes it’s great to be first. The brands who are playing around with the new kids on the block like Pinterest are finding great returns in the form of awareness and publicity. Take those who are moving their websites to Pinterest for example.

Know Thyself

Look in the mirror. It’s the best thing a brand can do and opens the window of opportunity for some deep self analysis in the form of questions about purpose, passion, and focus. Consumers have a knack for pointing out a brand’s flaws which means marketers better be ready to respond. Oh…and when you do respond please be swift.

As more and more brands jump on the social bandwagon, we’ll find countless examples of how not to engage in social media marketing. However, there will be champions of engagement and it’s up to us to thrive.

By the way…we can help your brand move the needle of appreciation into new arenas of visibility and consumer engagement. Just drop us a line.

 

Winning the Race of Engagement Requires Fresh Agency Perspective

Avila_beach_digital_marketing_agency_photo

It’s Saturday and only fitting that we post an image of one of the Central Coast of California’s most beautiful gems, Avila Beach. Nothing spells inspiration like the sheer natural elegance of the California coastline. 

Good ideas are the result of fresh thinking.

The photo above is much more than a digital expression of our travels but rather a reminder of the need for a fresh and balanced perspective. 

Connecting with today’s audiences in the age of digital requires a grounded approach based on aesthetics, design, communication, strategic dexterity, and uncontainable conditioning. Winning the race of engagement requires endurance. 

Throughout the counties of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo reside a wealth of natural beauty to remind us of the need for fresh perspective. 

We are blessed to call the Central Coast home and thanks to our surroundings we feel refreshed and ready to deliver deep brand experiences.

We are Hub 81, the Central Coast’s freshest integrated marketing and communications agency.

Say hello.

The Potential for Brands on Pinterest

Pinterest_logo

There’s no denying it. People love sharing. Social networking has become the ultimate contagion. One site that is making a splash in a world full of Facebook likes and Twitter retweets is Pinterest. The site recently made it to No. 10 in social sites as monitored by Experian Hitwise. It’s growth is impressive but just what is Pinterest and should your brand be interested?

Pinterest is a ‘Virtual Pinboard.”

“Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” What about brands?

The potential for interest on Pinterest is unique.

We’ve come up with a few ways to use Pinterest to engage your audience and connect with your crowd.

Ideation

Pinterest makes it easy to share possibilities which is an important part of generating new ideas and inspiring action.

Research

Investigating the interests of your audience leads to insights and greater attempts to capture attention. Figure out what people are ‘pinning’ and move on it.

Measurement

Some brands own quite a bit of real estate on Pinterest. If people are pinning your logo, products, or services that’s a good thing. This allows for your brand to gauge its place in popularity and measure impressions.

The potential for success on Pinterest is an opportunity for brands to take full advantage of.

So…what are you waiting for?

Start pinning!

 

How to Lose a Fan in 10 Days

Numerous articles abound focusing on specific strategies for driving engagement and increasing revenue. Oftentimes, these helpful forms of content focus on the steps necessary to accomplish a unique set of objectives. Allow us to take the alternative route and offer a collection of equally important “what not to do’s” and marcom “no no’s”:

 

Day 1

Forgetting to say hello.

Clients are special. Treat them as such as soon as they walk through the door or visit your digital storefront. It’s the little things that count.

 

Day 2

Spending too much time in the mirror.

We understand and appreciate the fact that your widgets are game changing but let’s not forget about being selfish. A quick way to lose fans, followers, and patrons of all types is to simply offer a nice little taste of neglect.

 

Day 3

Failing to offer a smile.

We have moved long past the days of creating brands. In today’s crowded marketplace, the real secret lies in an organization’s ability to move people. Smiling and being friendly can help open the doors to making an emotional connection.

 

Day 4

Unleashing the weapons of mass boredom.

Clients want to be enchanted and go home feeling like they’ve just been hand picked for the ultimate V.I.P. experience. Companies that reach this level have an outstanding opportunity to create raving fans.

 

Day 5

Offering a little T.M.I.

Information overload can bring a rollercoaster of a ride to a screaching hault. Simplicity in design and communication help to create a winning user experience.

 

Day 6

Throwing around a bunch of gang signs.

Otherwise known as jargon and techy mumbo jumbo…spreading overly used technical terms and industry lingo can seem a bit much to visitors who are pressed for time and bombarded with the same old marketing messages.

 

Day 7

Moving too fast.

Let your Twitter followers and Facebook fans come to you for additional goods and services.

 

Day 8

Moving too slow.

Interest does not equal loyalty. Keep your audience engaged.

 

Day 9

Being dishonest.

Promise big. Deliver big. That is all.

 

Day 10

Losing site of what matters.

It’s all about value. What are you offering clients that the shop next door isn’t already broadcasting?

 

A few good tips and no no’s for those looking to make a splash in marketing of any kind.

Exploring the Dynamic of Social Proof

In today’s attention economy, whether online or offline individuals and brands alike are required to strategically manage the variables that influence their ability to create awareness and foster audience engagement. The speed at which we consume media places an increased importance on the role of strategy, vision, and careful planning. Winning the hearts and minds of consumers is difficult but these three variables help to significantly ease the workload especially when dealing with the ever popular topic of social media.

Rather than dive deep into the vast maze we call social media, let’s focus on one important dynamic.

Social Proof

“Also known as informational social influence, social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.” (According to Wikipedia)

 Simply put, social proof is credibility measured in the forms of Likes, Retweets, Fans, Followers, Subscribers, Comments, +1’s, and Clicks.

How we develop and manage our brand across all forms of media plays an important role in increasing our share of social proof.

Taking a cause to new heights or winning new fans becomes much easier when we recognize the value of social proof in today’s new media landscape.

Changing the Game with Real Content

We live in an information society. News, tips, blogs, tweets, and similar content all compete for audience attention. Consumers are on information overload happily overlooking anything that seems ‘business as usual’. The ability to capture audience attention is an important skill requiring creativity and vision.

Content is indeed king but in order for it to rule the awareness economy it must be novile and useful.

Here are some questions to ask yourselves as you embark on that elusive path of engagement.

  • What incentives are you offering your audience for listening to your brand?
  • Do you make it easy for others to share your story?
  • Are you simply too focused on efficiencies to let your creativity run free?

Don’t just stand…stand out!

How to Take Your Brand from Commerce to Conversation

Somewhere there’s a party going on and your brand is the topic of conversation. What would you do if you knew that there were thousands of individuals talking about you and your company right now? Would you run to join the party or would you send someone in your honor? The truth of the matter is that this type of activity takes place online with or without your approval and participation.

Online conversations are prevalent as are the countless opportunities to participate.

An important objective for marketers is built on exploring how their brand relates to these ongoing conversations.

The following areas can serve as the perfect ticket or area upon which to target your engagement efforts:

Industry

What are people saying about the *_____* industry?

Is your organization making any effort to increase positive sentiment towards this industry?

Product Category

Right now an individual is broadcasting to the world about how their situation can be improved by *_____*.

How does your widget make it easier for consumers to carry out their day-to-day activities?

Location

Geographic location can serve as the common bond between you and your target audience. 

quick search will identify what people are saying about your current location.

Competition

Find out what people are saying about your competitors. Capitalize on those windows of opportunity for your brand to outshine the competition. 

The opportunities to participate in productive conversation are numerous. A strategic approach to engagement and online participation can take your brand from the normal arena of commerce to the dynamic playing field of conversation.

 

 

S.M.A.R.T. Social Media

Achieving success in social media and beyond begins with having good goals and a clear direction. A journey into the arena of conversation, attention generation, and conversion is made more memorable by having a specific destination. Captains of social media and pilots of perception management must first ask themselves some important questions:

Where will we be taking our audience?

What is it we would like to achieve?

How will we reach our destination?

Asking questions prior to launching a social media campaign or entering the online arena increases the likelihood for true resonance + reach. 

Questions begin the exploration process and enhance an organization’s strategic potential but the added element of making S.M.A.R.T. goals can take it to another level of impact.

So…just what are S.M.A.R.T. goals?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Is your organization participating in social media without any clear direction?

Don’t leave home (or the office we should say…) without making some S.M.A.R.T. goals.