Tag Archives: communications

Culture, Content, and Social: Five Trends to Watch This Summer

lookout for trends

Photo Credit: KaSandra and Grace. On the Lookout for Trends

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for what’s happening in marketing. I had the opportunity to attend last month’s Sirius Decision Summit. What’s Sirius about?  Sirius Decisions describes the summit as “a place where attendees can see and hear how organizations can blend the very best of art and science, and leave with ideas for how to get started on – or advance – your own initiatives.” It is a great conference for any marketer or communicator looking for frameworks and research on what happening in the market today. If you didn’t have the opportunity to go, here five trends to watch for this summer. 

Social media beyond the basics

There was a lot of discussing of using social listening to enhance competitive intelligence and beef up prospect profiles. During the breakout sessions, it was useful to see what companies can do with some third party help to bolster current prospect info. One organization appended their prospects and customers’ profiles with social data through a third party vendor to fill in missing information and provide better insights. Social media has become more than a place to post your favorite cat video, it has become a place to take data and build better, more informed customer profiles. Results of adding social data to customer profiles? A better understanding of their customers and prospects, this organization improved its open rates to 28 percent and click-through to 9 percent. How good is 9 percent? Pretty awesome given most industries see on average less than five percent.

Content still plaques teams both on creation and effectiveness.

Julie Ogilvie, ‎research director for strategic communications management service at Sirius Decisions, made a simple, but poignant point about social media “All social media problems are content problem.” I think anyone who manages social media teams can emphatically agree. Lots of nodding from the audience on this point alone. Whether you are looking to increase engagement among key audiences or leverage influencers, you need content. That’s easy, right? Not so much. Ultimately, you can’t create content absent of your audience’s needs and motivation an expect good outcomes. Simple, but B2B companies are forgetting the human in social media and not focusing on what people want to engage with.

The concept of building connections across teams

One of the best quotes I heard was the African proverb, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” How many of you know your team is doing good work, but you’re looking to make more impact within your team or get more budget? Many of the sessions discussed the power of cross-functional sharing and brainstorming with teams to maximize not only knowledge, but also sharing of information. So simple, yet many of us get caught in our own silos and workload. We fail to think about the power of sharing information to better leverage the knowledge of other teams to deliver better campaigns. One session shared how equipping community managers with more information on the onset of a campaign, such as the targeted campaign’s keywords, who are the “right” influencers in the market, and the right content from other marketing teams armed them for social media success. Genius, right? So simple, yet many of us are so caught up with real-time delivery that we forget to take a beat and think about what we are trying to accomplish.

The importance of culture in change management

Often overlooked, but crucially important. It’s not a conference without great quotes, and Sirius Decision is no different: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” You cannot ignore your culture and its importance to your success. While there was not a whole lot of discussion on the how, I can tell you communications and cross-functional involvement vastly improve your chances of getting your corporate culture to accept your next marketing or communication initiative.

The value of pilot testing

Every campaign at the conference mentioned the value in starting small and narrowing your focus. Rome was not build in a day. By focusing on a pilot and ignoring how you have traditionally done, you can break away from the norms. Do things differently. Not to say all pilots are successful, failure is okay and an opportunity to learn.

It’s only a day into the conference, but I am encouraged and energized in learning the new and innovative approach out there today. Also, there is still time to follow the conference hashtag, #SDSummit for more great information on Twitter.

Is It Time for You To Go Native?

Metscher's Musing Native Advertising

Visual Source: Pardot

Earlier this year, I wrote an article for my friends at Brand Quarterly titled, “To Native or Not to Native, That is the Question.” The impetus for the article is based on my research over the last year on how native content (or branded content, whichever term you like to use) has exploded into media and marketing trades. There has been a lot of conversation around how ethical native is or is not. My goal of my article was not to answer whether native is the right choice for your company, but rather present that facts and let you, the audience, decide.

Stats Highlights:

  • According to a 2014 eMarketer report, spending on native ads on social sites alone is expected to increase from $3.1 billion to $5 billion by 2017.  As a percentage of total social ad spending, it projected that native would rise from 38.8 percent in 2014 to 42.4 percent in 2017.
  • HubShout, a online marketing firm, conducted a surveylast year that found 72.8 percent of internet users who have read sponsored content believe it has equal or greater value as non-sponsored content on the same website. (For those interested in the full report on native advertising full impact from HubShout, you can download now. Note: This is gated information so you will need to share your dets.)

Here is the link to Brand Quarterly titled, “To Native or Not to Native, That is the Question.” 

Happy Reading!

Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review.  She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

Fun Fact Fridays: 23 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Social

Fun Fact Fridays: 23 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Social

Last week, I attended the Vocus Demand Success conference. Fantastic event. My favorite part of any conference is the opportunity to meet new people and share ideas on how to do things. Lots of things like digital journalism, e-mail marketing, content creation, and social media.

Lots of folks were talking about social media, starting a company blog, and other fun marketing best practices. But, I could tell there was some skepticism in the crowd when hearing the presenters speak. Not always, but there were a few folks who would share, “well you had resources” or “In my organization,…”

But I think all of this stems from one issue.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher 23 tips to mange the fear of social media

artwork by flip-wood.deviantart.com

Questions, concerns, and fear all stem from the same source: control or the lack of it.  The reason why most organizations resist using social media or embarking on a blog is

1) What will we do (Lack of a Plan)?

2) What will we share (Content)?

3) Who will manage the message? Who will run the editorial calendar? Who will edit my copy (Control)?

4) If we put our ideas down on paper will it stink (Lack of Ideas.  At least a clear direction of what you should write about)?

5) What if people don’t like my content (Understanding your Audience)?

So how do you overcome fear if people will resist the change your want to create? Here a few of my favorite tools to deal with the fear monster:

  1. Learn to paint the picture of what your ideal social looks like. Love this Tedex from Nancy Duarante on how to tell a great story.
  2. Outline your goals and objectives (P.O.S.T).
  3. Before you begin, assess where you been and where you want to go, a.k.a audit.
  4. Plan some more. Most projects don’t see the light of day because you didn’t do your homework. You already know you won’t get all your resources for this project so plan for it.
  5. Change is Hard, but it will get better.
  6. Welcome Haters. They motivate you to do better.
  7. Accept Failure. Failure can teach you a lot of what not to do the next time.
  8. Priorities. Help those around you and yourself. Pick three area/projects and as you progress you can add more.
  9. Focus on your wins. Small wins lead to big wins later.
  10. Do Internal PR campaign on your wins. Sharing where you have been and where you are going helps others get it.
  11. Keep Your Head up! Easier said than done, but social communications is hard work! Really you are in the business of change management.
  12. Ted Rubin shares how to get over the “what if”
  13. Find a support group of other like-minded folks. LinkedIn has tons!
  14. Network with people who are doing social communications successfully.
  15.  Mark Ivey wrote a great article highlighting the importance of communicating in social media
  16. Get an executive champion.
  17. Constantly evaluate where you are in relation to your goals.
  18.  Put your big girl pants on. This isn’t for the weak of heart.
  19.  In order for this to work, you need vision. Goes back to point one.
  20. Coffee or caffeine. You will be busy managing this change management project.
  21. Social Communications isn’t one and done. Social takes time.
  22. Create advocates
  23. Be disruptive
  24.  Bonus

My Thought for Today: Meetings

After a several meetings today, I came across this image of Seth Godin that made me smile.

Communication

So, here’s the thing: If you are hosting a meeting think about what outcome you want to have occur. Think about the experience and what folks will walk away with. If you are just regurgitating what you sent in an email then stop what your doing. As a communicator, I painstaking think about how I communicate and what results should come of my meetings. Wish other folks would do the same.

Maya A

 

The “Me” Show In Social Media Never Works Out

I was reminded how “me” doesn’t work in social media again after reading an article about what really contributes to increases in Twitter followers. Folks who increase their followership generally do three things:

  • Have a positive tone. Being nice helps on social media.
  • Sharing content that is relevant, informative, and interesting. It’s not about you.
  • Engaged and Interactive with other followers. Sharing is caring.

If you think about this in your face-to-face life, none of the above is surprising. If you always talk about yourself, what you are doing, how amazing you are, no one will stick around long. Think about networking events, Chatty Kathy is going on and on about her amazing abilities and all I keep thinking is, “ Where’s the escape route?”

Don’t be a ‘meinformer.’ 

Looking for the right mix of content in your social media?

Looking for the right mix of content in your social media?

I mentioned in a past Twitter post, The Holy Grail: Getting More Twitter Followers, that the key is knowing why you’re on Twitter and making sure you know what you want to share, hello P.O.S.T.

Don’t forget the social media is about social connections, not about broadcasting your news. There is a right and wrong way to share your news.

At the end of the day, there is no difference between social norms in person or online. It pays to be a good listener, be kind, and be informative.

The Clean-Up Artist: Life as a Corporate Communicator

I was talking with my team the other day and made a unique observation about my past communication roles: I am a corporate janitor. No seriously, read on.

At first, they laugh. I mean who thinks of their role as a janitor? But think about this: In communications, you are either polishing a corporate message or cleaning up a mess.

Janitor2

Here are my general observations how life as a communicator parallel a janitor’s role:

1)   We are behind the scenes. We are supporting teams or executives. Communicators are behind the scenes preparing talking points, writing responses, or preparing executives for interviews. Many folks think they can do this because “ who doesn’t know how to talk and write?” Anyone who has worked in corporate communications knows while you write and talk a lot, you actually have to be extremely collaborative with a variety of folks, politically savvy, and be able to multitasks. It is more than just writing and talking, it’s about doing all these things behind the scenes without notice.

2)   We normally have a bag of tricks for any situation we come across. Communicators, at least organized ones, have templates, corporate themes/ trends written out, and other communication aides at their fingertips. Need a template to address a trend? I got it. I have files and notes on all types of topics just in case I need them.

3)   We are the MacGyver of corporate America. We generally have to operate on very little notice and with few resources. Paperclip anyone? How many times have you been pulled into a conversation without context? Or perhaps on the 11th hour of a project? I have an award on my desk that says, “Things You Should Have Told ME Yesterday!” While the award was a funny ha ha, there is a lot of truth behind it. Generally speaking, communicators have to act with little information or details that folks sometime don’t think is important, but in reality are.

4)   Sometimes we deal with the stinky stuff that no one else wanted to deal with. Normally, I see this with projects that get kicked down the road. Pass the buck, whatever idiom you like to use. Many times communicators have to deal with the things that other folks don’t want to address and it falls to you to address. And more often than not quickly.

I am sure there are more observations, can you think of any? My point is communications folks do a lot that I don’t think always gets attributed to them. Like most support folks, their skills are seen as “expected” or “ordinary.” Like janitors, it takes a special person to do all of the above with a smile on their face. If you are in the role of communications, you are in it for the fun and the challenge. I just don’t think everyone thinks about how much work is involved.

Is Social Media Difficult?

First looking at this title you may think “Obviously not because a trillion folks are using social media.”

But I think if you think about this question more, you cannot focus on the actual acts of “tweeting” or “posting on Facebook,” but rather how do you continue to build and maintain a successful social media program? How is success tracked or even measured?

The answer to whether social media is hard is yes. Why? Because most marketing folks tend to focus on the tactics rather than the planning before jumping in.  To be honest, it is the more fun and exciting piece. The tactics show activity, but maybe not the right activity. Not focusing on the details impacts the tactics and more importantly the success. Focusing on the more “fun activities” also gets you in hot water with executives who want to measure or rather know what their return on investment is on those efforts.

So how do you get your social media efforts to be successful? You PLAN for it!

Planning Takes the Difficulty out of the Equation

I think the most important aspect is the planning. Think P.O.S.T.

Planning is key, but often not the focus of conversations. Often times the conversation ends up with the fun aspects of social media: interacting with your audience and sharing information. In your planning you need to identify a few things:

1) Why are you using social media? Answering because our competitions is using social media is not, repeat, not a viable reason.

2) Who will be involved? This goes beyond marketing. Who in your organization has great stuff to share. Everyone is an expert.

3) Define the contributors from the reviewers. HUGE. lot’s of people like to critic, but few like to do the work.

4) Will you engage your employee to share company news or commercial insight?

5) If employees will be involved, do you plan to give guidance?

Devil is in the Details

Lots of articles on setting goals and objectives, but you need someone to drive this. You have to get folks onboard or at least adhere to one set of guidelines of what the organization plans to do. Otherwise, you will be running in different directions and never accomplish anything other than transactional success of “ I gained XX followers or likes.” So what’s the big deal?

Your Executive Team Cares About the Bottom-Line

Those are meaningless to your executive team. Those folks do not care about transactional data, but do care whether you are mitigating customer service issues or increase engagement. The difficulty is not in implementing social media, but rather planning for success.