Get Social

Archive for the ‘social’ Category

I’ve been pretty impressed, as I started the week with 135 LinkedIn connections and sit before you on a Friday evening with 220. I finally held my breath as I read through the list of 700+ people from my Outlook contacts and GMail address book. After removing awkward first dates, a workplace stalker, and difficult former clients, I sent invites to the remaining contacts. Each time an email comes through confirming how I’m now networked to someone I vaguely remember interacting with in some way (or not), I’m impressed with the near blind willingness to accept.

The process of “friending” on Facebook is super personal, and there’s that awkward moment early in a workplace relationship when you need to evaluate if you should befriend someone. On Twitter, I’m moderately selective, and don’t automatically follow back new followers. On Yelp, I accept nearly all requests, but occasionally turn down users clearly building huge friend lists who otherwise have no content to add to the site.

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate these people accepting my invites as I beef up my social networking profile and brand myself more professionally online. And some of them have really cool jobs; I’m now connected to a woman who I approached in a sales role and runs Miami Culinary Tours and producers at National Geographic who must reside in my work email list. I’m just kind of digging how all I did was ask, and since LinkedIn is legit (the IPO this week probably didn’t hurt), I’ve added nearly 100 people to my growing professional network.

Speaking of asking, The Atlantic put out this infographic last Friday, citing how nearly 100% more “asks” come from twitter (“follow me,” “RT to win,” etc) than Facebook. Makes sense to me, since I’ve been championing the uses of Twitter for small, hyperlocal business marketing, but have to really think up  innovative ways to draw followers to my clients’ Facebook pages.

Every day, social media legitimizes itself more as a force to be reckoned with and a necessary business tool and investment. So, whether we’re growing the reach of a client brand or we wanna improve our own social network “klout,” it can never hurt to ask.

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Twitter v. Facebook, Round 1.

Today, I stumbled upon this article, one of may highlighting the Facebook “like” as a show of support for a business. Countless others speak to the number of users on Facebook versus Twitter. (Here’s one diminishing the reach of the latter.)

It’s been my gut feeling that Twitter’s the easier “quick fix” marketing solution; I help clients expand their reaches by following relevant tweeters en masse, and most follow back because it’s a low-impact way to stay in touch with a brand. I use Twitter’s mico-blog style to share links and images, set a call to action for contests, etc, and have no trouble building a solid following. But Facebook is a little more tricky. For me, anyway, liking something on Facebook is 1)both more of a commitment and 2)often triggered by a friend or a sense of personal connection. I’ll explain:

I follow a network of people I actually know on Facebook– friends, coworkers, old contacts from school, etc. To “like” a brand, I need to really like it, or feel some kind of connection. I’ll typically like a coworker’s band, a family member’s business in an irrelevant part of the country for me, or a cause page a friend is passionate about. So, how do the brands I don’t love from experience or feel a call to action to like hook me? Here’s how they do it, and you can too.

Successful cross-platform marketers are sharing unique content on Facebook. Today’s post was triggered when one of my favorite brands to follow online, Seven for all Mankind Jeans (Twitter) shared that they’d posted new product shots to Facebook. Naturally, I took the plunge, made the commitment and checked it out. Sharing photo galleries, hosting a giveaway, making an anticipated announcement…mention it to your twitter fan base and actually post the content on Facebook. No brainer, right? Maybe not.  It’s a real, deliberate effort for me to remember to share certain things only on Facebook and to ask my Twitter followers to venture on over. Time will tell if their “likes” stick.

These beauties are mine, and I can thank the power of brand influence, technology on the go, and my complete inability to pass by the Kate Spade store on Newbury Street and not go in. I first saw this pair of must-have patent leather, pointy-toed, Mary Jane-inspired, rubber-soled flats on their Instagram feed.

If you’re not familiar with the program, Instagram is a mobile app for the iPhone that allows you to snap an image, apply one of a handful (maybe 15 filters), and share with a tagged location and comment via Facebook, Twitter, or email. The photo is also saved on your phone. Users who opt to follow you (Twitter style, no accepting necessary) see your photos in a news feed stream and can like and comment on them. The service has come under some scrutiny for its liberal terms of service (read: others can use your images royalty free and without notice to you), but I still snap shots of Woofie on the go without fear of the loss of my intellectual property. When I see brands such as Kate Spade, the Boston Celtics, and  Starbucks hopping on the bandwagon, though, I’m not too worried– and I love seeing brands share their products and industry events with followers through images.

So, back to the shoes. Scrolling through my feed and wiping the drool away from my lips as I passed Chobani and Chow, I meet the Elena flat. You can’t even find it on their website yet, but I was prompted to search because, voila!, here was a product I could really use, and I wanted to find the absurd price. I liked them enough to comment on the Instagram shot. (PS, comments, likes, and new followers are pushed to your phone, but I don’t think anybody’s got a solution that syncs these updates with other network activity a la Echofon.) Uh oh. Once you engage in conversation with a brand over an item, you’re done. You will end up with it– just ask everyone I discuss the merits of a burger and frappe with over on the UBurger twitter feed.

By a destined twist of fate, I walked down Newbury Street today and passed the store. I wondered if they had The Shoes. We crossed the street and went in. They had The Shoes. The Shoes cost a cool $198, a bit more than I’d want to spend for footwear that I intend to wear into the fall, but a bit less than I’ve spent at the same store for some slingbacks I couldn’t live without. The sales girl sealed the deal, recounting to me that she has a pair and loves them, that the rubber sole is durable, that they are a solid city shoe. I made the purchase and happily left the store.

This transaction started long before I set foot in the store, or approached an employee for my size to try on. One night, waiting for someone or something, I casually scrolled by this product. It was something I’d been seeking and wanted and was too damn lazy to commit to shopping for. Buying this product would solve a problem (namely, that I buy cheap black flats every 5 months or so when my old pair wears through), and this brand carries influence and is reputable in my eyes for being quality. The trendiness of their product as well as their marketing team, who is heavily active on Twitter and  Instagram, wins me over as well.

Of course, the attention at the store was appreciated, but I was sold from the second I saw that photo in my Instagram feed.

“Please do not take offense, but you haven’t branded yourself.”

This is an actual quotation from a perspective client email. A start up man himself, I should have known something like this was coming after an 8 pm conference call that same evening in which he asked , “So, do you have an LLC or what?”(The answer is yes, by the way, we’ve formed Local Social as an LLC.)  But enough overt ranting. What I wanted to address here is 1)what components of our business are branded and 2) explain why I’m not overly concerned with overtly branding our type of venture yet .

I can’t help but think of the etymology of the verb “to brand,” and documentary footage of livestock being stamped with an insignia or marker number comes to mind. Obviously, branding in a business marketing sense is more fluid; companies can reinvent their images as core products change, market demands fluctuate, or new management comes on  board. Still, I’m being very deliberate– and  likely all too meta– about how to brand Local Social. First, we started with some key words and phrases that came to mind:

* boutique, smart, content, writers, marketing, social, social media, restaurants, promotions, daily deals, media, PR, consultant, young, hip, in-the-know, savvy, media, bold, experimental, grounded, technical, sales, growth*

I could name more, but I’ll stop there. There are core competencies and value adds we bring to the table. We’re smart and versatile across a variety of tools, networks, and industries.

I’ve given myself an informative email signature that shares Local Social’s relevant presence on the web(see this post for the visual). I’ve given myself the title of “Socialite,” a fancy way of saying “brand manager.” I’ve written a kit that bundles our services with pricing that has a clear, branded tone, incorporating the keywords listed above.

I stressed to this person and others that we haven’t “gone 100% public” with our branding. You can follow us on Twitter, but I don’t seek out new handles to follow and don’t target potential clients through that channel at this time. We’re merely a presence that shares useful articles I find around the web and posts links to this blog. When I gain a new follower from these efforts, I follow back. It’s all very organic. This blog, I  hope, brands us. And yes, I’ve changed the template three times. And we do not yet have a logo. And we don’t have a website, but we have the domain, so we have professional email accounts. And, if anyone’s skeptical about us after viewing some client work and our kit and isn’t convinced,  share my resume as more collateral to speak to my experience.

And not only am I justifying here that I have begun to brand Local Social, but that it’s not all 100% necessary at the very beginning. We’re thankful to the awesome clients we have who believe in us, and to anyone reading my ramblings as we develop our idea into that scary five-letter word.

This seems so basic, but if you’re trying to spread the word about yourself or your brand, do you have an interactive, visually pleasing signature?

I’m a fan of the (free) WiseStamp myself. It’s a browser-based plugin (meaning you need to install it on all machines you use; it’s not traveling with your Gmail account) that allows you to customize the font and color of your signature and add links to relevant social networks. Share your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Yelp, WordPress, Youtube…even Etsy, Ebay, and Amazon profiles. You can use those cute little icons, or text, or both. Who doesn’t need fun colors added to his/her signature?