Nurturing vs. Building Community In Social

Community is the holy grail of Social media. Without community, there is no social. Mind you, if your focus is not right then you may just miss the bull’s eye by a thin line or shall I say a thin curve (Ah! I have been working out so I can mention ‘thin’ and ‘curves’ now)

Well if you’re thinking building a community is nothing but just a number game then yes, you are not wrong. Please note, I am saying “your aren’t wrong”. Members can be bought. Yes, they can be bought. Paid media, contests, promotions, etc. There are many ways. Principally, you can only buy the “Building” for your community. And, these numbers may or may not be necessary. Sometimes enormous followers can get you credibility. Sometimes it creates a base for future nurturing however I personally believe that there’s always a start and start is always with ‘1’ or shall we say ‘0’. I would say start with a clear purpose and members or followers for your community will come automatically. Do not worry much about the number game when you make a start. So now if you’re thinking that building a community is about quality numbers, you’re right. Please note, now I am saying “You’re right”.

Well you will find all social media practitioners saying this a lot, do something with your community because until you will do something worthwhile with your “big strength” they are nothing but just the false weights and you’re just spending a lot of energy to just ‘look’ good. The key is to ‘feel’ good and not just ‘look’ good. (Ah! It’s evident that girl is struggling to give in to some vino and Macaroons. Of course, it is. What on the earth ‘feel’ ‘look’ good jazz has to do with the Community Building!)

Believe you me, with this social media week coming up, I get to meet many CMOs / Digital Officers / Social Media Practitioners (more than I anticipated) who said to me: “I just want to have more followers for my company than my golf buddy’s company.” (Sadly, they weren’t joking).

Well let’s cut the humour now and submit some sense. (Did I just sense a grin here? Well! In my defence, my cocktail buddies laugh on my most one liners and a bit later, on all ) Yes, back to the topic now. I submit an idea: Nurture a community; don’t just build it. Nurturing a community means you encourage interactions, create engagements. Create an environment of communication (Let me say it for the last time, there is only one way to have communication i.e. ‘two-way’ communication). You need to get people talking. Maybe not talking with your brand, but sometimes simply talking with each other. Remember Entertain, Express, Express, Enable!

Nurturing a community means you are providing utility, usefulness and support for your community. When you articulate, it may sound little but in the practical world there’s a big difference between A presence and to HAVE a presence.

Look at it this way, if you can raise the community is an indicator on whether you should even be spending time in a social community or not. Can you get members talking? Can you get members engaging? Can you get members to act?

If not, you may like to consider other advertising options. Email marketing and other traditional methods that may have given you ROIs in the past.

Ask! Listen! Understand! Engage!

Before you give up on your ‘Building’, try this:

  • ASK! Ask your community a question where the answer sincerely impacts your business decisions.
  • Listen! Open ears will help you identify an opportunity where you can help your community and win their loyalty and trust. Go an extra mile wins hearts in social world too.
  • Understand! Understand the contribution and efforts made by members. Give them the limelight and show gratitude for their contributions.
  • Engage! Get people talking and create engagements. Host meet-ups, Q&A. Trivia Questions on a launch. Ways are many.

The essence of social community is same as the ‘house’ and ‘home’ theory. Everyone prefers a place to connect and not just the lumps of concrete hence nurture your ‘Building’ to a ‘Community’.

If you have done something similar in your business, please share your story. If you want to try this and still not sure how to go about it, feel free to leave your question.

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Give your B2B Sales a Boost with LinkedIn groups

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If you’re not a believer yet that Linked is a key networking tool, this shouldn’t be your first read. You will benefit better if you read this one first: LinkedIn is 10 today!

I guess now you are ready for this one.

LinkedIn is an essential networking platform for all businesses, just a little bit more for B2B. Marketing plan for any business isn’t complete without the salt of maintaining the LinkedIn presence. The Groups feature of LinkedIn has proven ROI for B2B sales. Taking advantage of this feature provides the potential to get your brand in front of a lot more people than relying only on your company page. If you haven’t already gotten involved in Groups, here are a few LinkedIn tips to get you started and give you a boost in sales.

Direct participation is the right participation

Active participation in your group means that you will attract more prospects. Future customers feel much more confident about brands that are obviously invested in their clients’ experiences and opinions. Express your interest from the get-go by setting up automated messages to send to LinkedIn users who join your group, giving them a warm welcome and inviting them to contact you freely with any questions or comments. Think of your members as prospective clients or customers. When they have questions, answer them promptly to exemplify the type of timely, quality service you provide for your clients.

Create engagaments, Communication should always be two-ways
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Encourage group members to get involved too. Keeping members tactfully engaged is the key. You will want to provide topics of discussion from time to time, but it’s also important to let group members lead a good number of discussions. This shows potential members that you are interested in what they have to say. Instead of seeing a veer of topics provided by you with a list of responses from members, they will see a group full of members engaging in interesting discussion with useful information. Make sure you participate in member-led discussions as well. Again, you want your members to know that you value them and their viewpoints. You can only demonstrate it by showing interest in the discussions led by them.

Be the leader in all ways

While member participation is key crucial to the success of your group, you must ensure that activity within the group is appropriate, informative, and doesn’t annoy current or prospective members. For instance, say there is a member who is constantly posting messages for self-promotion. This kind of spamming can get very old, very fast. When group discussions are littered with promotional jargon, people get bored and sometimes annoyed, which means they might possibly leave the group. If there are members who are acting inappropriately or posting the same things over and over again just to get their names out there, turn to them privately and let them know that their behavior isn’t conducive to the group’s purpose. Always take the responsibilities of the group leader just like you would do in real-life. Keep an eye on the activities in your group and moderate them judiciously.

Keep Content Relevant

People join groups for a reason. They are interested in a certain topic and either want to be involved in discussion on said topic or just get as much information and advice as they can from the sidelines. Therefore, only relevant content should be posted to your group. The best thing about groups is that you’ve got a ready-made audience there for the taking—possible future clients or customers who are interested in your topic and have joined your group voluntarily. These folks are there to read information that pertains to the category under which your group falls. You should act like a content police, don’t post (or allow others to post) anything that might digress from relevant subject matter.

Search for Leads

In addition to managing your group, you should also be looking for prospective members that could turn into clients. LinkedIn now has an Advanced People Search, which is extremely useful in farming for a specific group of people. For example, you can search for people who have a specific job title, such as CFO, or perhaps those who run companies with specific number of employees. LinkedIn helps you find the precise audience you have always desired but never knew how to contact. Inviting these people to join your groups will give them a preview of what they can expect from you and your company.

Advertise

LinkedIn now has an advertising feature. It is a paid feature, but the cost is comparable to Facebook’s ad feature, and the possibility of reaching your target audience is greater. The Groups feature allows your ad to be placed front and center on the pages of a group. For example, you can specify that you want an ad to be visible to members of corporate real estate groups or inbound marketing groups. These ads are customizable and are written by your company, but they do have to meet certain criteria to be established by LinkedIn.

Participate in Other Groups

In order to integrate your group with your profile and get more exposure, join other people’s groups whose topics fall under the same umbrella as yours. In addition, you might find that you can generate leads within other groups that have nothing to do with your actual business. Joining a group with members who have the same interests as you—sports/food/wine, for example—might give rise to business relationships. Cultivating friendships with like-minded individuals can lead to talk about business, which gives you an opening to see if you can be beneficial to one another in Business-2-Business (B2B) sales.

LinkedIn’s Groups feature has grown by leaps and bounds since it was first introduced, especially where group management is concerned. Many tools have been implemented to help you lead and monitor your group efficiently. Starting a group is easy, but you must be committed to managing it as well. Participation and steadiness are keys if you want your LinkedIn Group to help boost B2B sales.

Social Media : Isn’t it just a waste of time and money?

Last week I attended an astute networking event for social media professionals. I returned home with smile and simper both as a result of assorted reactions (Ah! I am sorry to disappoint you; I am not talking about mixed vinos).

It was great to observe the rising interest in social media by all. There were some humour doses too. I did keep a straight face but inside me there was a big chuckle when one of the “Social Media Professional” repeated my question “Do we have a social media strategy. “Of course we do! To get as many Facebook likes as humanly possible!”

Social media has been the next big thing for several years. And now many brands are increasingly tossing lots and lots of money at it because it’s become quite popular.

Social media has been the next big thing for several years. And now many brands are increasingly tossing lots and lots of money at it because it’s become quite popular.

Social media has been the next big thing for several years. And now many brands are increasingly tossing lots and lots of money at it because it’s become quite popular.

In many ways, social media has become the latest status symbol for brands. Seemingly obsessed with their mission to achieve social media success, brands continually try to outdo their competitors and maintain their social media “star” position.

Ignorance Drives Panic and Desperation

This mentality forces brands to throw everything at social media while completely bypassing strategy.

Why is this happening? It might simply be ignorance. Many brands do not really understand social media. And because they are so busy trying to achieve social media fame, they really don’t have time to step back and learn about its true power.

Their lack of understanding often produces an underlying fear that leads to desperation. All they know is that the competition is doing it, so they damn well better do it too. More often than not, their pursuit is fueled by some executive rant: “ABC Company has 10, 000 Twitter followers and we only have 3000! This is unacceptable!!!” This mentality forces brands to throw everything at social media while completely sidestepping the strategy.

It also creates unnecessary and unhealthy pressures. In their quest to achieve social media fame, brands tend to latch-on to certain success metrics, such as Facebook likes or Twitter followers. Some even use these metrics to assess the individual performance of brand managers, and require them to achieve some arbitrary number.

Understandably, those interested in job security often interpret the KPI as “You need to acquire 100,000 Facebook likes this year, or you’re fired!” How exactly is a brand manager supposed to get 100,000 likes? Are there really that many people excited about the kitchen liquids or toiletries? May be no but management decides to ignore such common facts.

Consequently, brands have to reach as broadly as possible in order to hit those numbers. Instead of defining a strategy to reach their target demographic, most resort to running Facebook Ads or giveaways. In other words, they basically ‘cheese the mouse’.

Point Missed!

Brands are missing the main point, they do not realise that this approach isn’t going to build a very loyal following. In fact, when your social media audience is full of people who don’t actually care about your brand, they’ll easily get annoyed when you post an update, and quickly repel.

Seemingly, brands are spending a tremendous amount of time and money to build a massive audience, but avoid communicating with it for fear of losing it.

Aiming for ROI on Social Media is the key

If you want your social media efforts to pay off, you need to realise that it is an Important marketing channel, not an Impotent one.

If you are feeling above approach at home with, you need to take a step back and ask yourself WHY you want these likes or followers in the first place. Besides gaining more than your competitors, what’s your objective? If you don’t know, that’s a sign for you to step back and THINK! You should have a clear answer, just as you would for any other media channel.

For example, you wouldn’t advertise during the Wimbledon season just because the number of viewers is huge. You’d be looking to get a return on your big investment. To do so, you’d still need to have a message and a clear objective. That’s where real strategy comes into play, and where many social media experts are making the most common mistake.

If you want your social media efforts to pay off, you need to realise that it is a marketing channel, not just a shiny new toy. Given that, it should be held to the same standards as other media channels. That means it’s time to have an actual marketing strategy for your social media channel, and think about how it fits into your buying pipeline.

How to Build Your Social Media Strategy?

An effective strategy is defined by clear objectives and quantifiable goals. Below are key objectives you can use to help support your social media strategy:

To create brand awareness

If you want to create awareness, social media can definitely help. However, it can be tricky in this realm as it usually means to meddlesome and putting yourself where you aren’t wanted. Typically, it is achieved with the various promoted options available on social media platforms, such as Sponsored Stories or Promoted Facebook updates and Promoted Tweets.

Other non-paid tactics for generating awareness via social media include commanding trending topics. Or joining a relevant group, like LinkedIn groups or Google communities, and becoming a valuable member.

While the effectiveness of these tactics varies, you can improve their chance of success by putting some strategic thought into them. Who are you targeting with your social advertising? If you’re running a social media based contest, is it going to draw the right zooming glasses for your brand? Does your tweet on a trending topic add to the conversation?

To create brand trust

Social media has some serious power in the deliberation step of the conversion funnel because it can help you build social trust in a variety of ways.

While people don’t usually decide which brand to purchase based on who has the most Facebook likes or Twitter followers, your Twitter / Facebook presence could help them make a decision. For example, it influences me when I make hotel reservations. I know that hotels with an active customer service presence on Twitter will be much easier to deal with should anything go wrong.

Brand trust is also achieved via online reviews as many people ask their family and friends for suggestions before making a purchase decision. We even aspect strangers’ opinions! Such reviews can be extremely helpful to people in the research phase. Given that, attempt to use social media to help get reviews and word-of-mouth, and position your brand in the best possible manner.

You can also build social trust by using your social media profiles to showcase product features that put you ahead of your competitors. For example, Samsung Mobile uses their Facebook photos to highlight many of its phones’ features. While these mostly go to current fans of Samsung, it still provides powerful visuals for someone researching the brand. And social activity on these photos could expand their reach far beyond Samsung’s audience.

Samsung]

Pulling in the social trust factor is important. Be sure to put a Like Button on your homepage (or every page) that displays a user’s friends who already like the brand. Use social media plug-ins to enhance the consideration power of your website and product pages.

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To create Conversions

If you also believe that Social Media can’t covert, I am here to convert you. You can use social media to convert. Here’s a simple example of exactly how:

I saw this tweet from @StarbucksUK: “Your receipt, our treat.  Save your morning receipt and get an afternoon drink for £2

Starbucks

So, I literally scanned my bag for the morning receipt and left the office and walked over a block to grab one. (It was hot out, and the drink was cheap!) Clearly, Starbuck’s social media effort drove that conversion.

Sure, it can be difficult to tie the social media effort to the conversion, but it’s not impossible. One way to do so is to plan to use special codes or printable (or smartphone) coupons in your social media promotions. Even a simple “mention Facebook and get X% off” initiative can be tracked at the register.

You can also drive conversions through social media by monitoring the conversations online. For instance, people love to complain about all kinds of personal problems on Twitter, and it could stimulus ideas for new marketing research and efforts.

As you listen to the conversation, keep in mind that your product solves a problem. For example, let’s say you sell candles. You can do a Twitter search for “need attractive candles” in London. Now you just tweet your store’s address at these people, and maybe offer them a small discount or share some pictures of your special candles. They need attractive candles. You sell attractive candles. No need to go door-to-door. Instead, just monitor Twitter to boost conversion.

And speaking of Twitter, these new Lead Generation Cards could be a revolution for social media conversions.

To convert Trust into Loyalty

To truly nurture loyalty with social media, go for creating eloquent engagement points and provide ongoing service to users.

This goal is best and favourite of all social media experts because it’s a wholesome for pretty much everything they do. It can also help them mask the fact they have no real strategy.

From their perspective, every retweet, like, mention, follow – or whatever — counts as loyalty! It doesn’t matter the context. It doesn’t matter what comes of it, or what the message was. Their claim is that this was a brand engagement, and therefore, the customer has loyalty to the brand now!

But do they really? If you tweet an ice cream flavour and I retweet it that just means I’m loyal to the ice cream or that flavour. Your brand may not even be on my mind at all.

To truly foster loyalty with social media, strive to create meaningful engagement points and provide ongoing service to users. For instance, a smart phone company could let people sign-up for important application or phone updates reminder tweets, or a food company could send out free samples of new products to its Facebook fans.

To create your customers as your brand ambassadors

Considered the whole platter of social media, advocacy can really help you multiply the return on your investments. It takes all of the above to a new audience and leads to word-of-mouth, online and offline.

Considering that, you should make achieving advocacy a core component in your social media strategy. Keep asking yourself: How can I boost advocacy? How can I make it easy for users to be my brand ambassadors? How can I provide a service that is so good that people will want to talk about it? This mindset will help guide you.

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You can use some of these to achieve advocacy with social media?

  • Give them what they want: Creating valuable and easily sharable content can boost advocacy. This can be achieved in various ways, such as simply posting product feature photos on your Facebook page or a user’s guide video on YouTube.
  • Keep it relevant: Your engagement points should be relevant and add value.
  • Demonstrate that you care: Having a reactive customer service presence in social media can add a human element to your brand, build trust, and improve the customer satisfaction.
  • Be princely: Rewarding people with some social media acknowledgement can make them feel valued, and in turn, increase advocacy. Give users positive feedback when they actually do what you want them to, and you’ll condition them to do it more often. For instance, I love doing the community work – from a variety of NGOs — but I tend to tweet about Sparks Charity more often because they’ll respond.

Social Meeting Mantra: Keep it easy but with a serious mind!

You need to decide and act accordingly. What’s more important to you? Using social media to accumulate more likes than your competitors? Or actually making social media pay off? It’s time to stop wasting money on meaningless likes, and start getting serious with social media. That means having an actual marketing strategy. Only then will you be able to effectively use social media to achieve business objectives. Otherwise, it’s quite simple to prove it a big money and time waster.

Hashtags: Why and How businesses should use them?

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Hashtags have become a noticeable part of the online world and as of late, more and more social media sites have allowed for the categorizing program known as Hashtags. Hashtags are used to allow users to tag posts, pictures, or even video with a hash symbol (#) followed by a word or phrase, such as #SocialMedia #IT #Cloud #video #infographic etc. Doing this allows the program to categorize anything posted with that Hashtag; this makes it simpler to search for related posts. The implications of this program have not yet been fully realized by the business community. The ability to tag and search using Hashtags can be utilized in all the arenas of the business community.

Why should today’s business community use Hashtags?

A survey from San francisco based ad platform RadiumOne, which polled 500 participants, found:

  • 58 percent of respondents utilize hashtags on a regular basis, and 71 percent of regular hashtag users do so from their mobile devices
  • 43 percent of respondents think hashtags are useful and 34% use them to search/follow categories and brands of personal interest
  • 51 percent of respondents would share hashtags more often if they knew advertisers awarded discounts for sharing product based hashtags
  • 41 percent of respondents use hashtags to communicate personal ideas and feelings

How should today’s business community use the hashtag?

#Promotion
A survey done by Radium one found that 51% of those who responded to the survey said that they would be more willing to share company hashtags if they were awarded discounts or chances at prizes if they were to do so. This is especially powerful for small businesses since launching a campaign needs only good ideas. It is indeed simple effective promotion for small businesses. Not only can you give discounts, and therefore bring in more customers, but this allows you to track promotions activity online.

#Targeting #Customers
Hashtags make it simpler to reach relevant customers. Marketing tools allow brands to advertise based on hashtags. For instance, Twitter lets advertisers target ads by category or interest. Internet surfers who use hashtags are likely to engaging in the social conversation and share their experiences with a brand.

#Conversation
Sometimes it is important to see what the marketplace is saying about a product or brand. According to the RadiumOne survey, 43 percent of respondents think hashtags are useful and 34% use them to search brands of interest.
Hashtags open up the social media world to better converse about your company. A website or a URL post only brings you to the company’s website while a Hashtag allows people to use it in everyday conversations they have on social media. This also allows you to track the conversation and get a better idea of what is being said and how you can utilize that information.

#Combined #Campaigns
Tools like Tagboard now allow you to track a hashtag across all the major social networks. Promote products and engage with customers across all platforms without having to create special campaigns for each. Since the hashtag can be the brand or the product.

#Innovations
Like every new thing, there is immense innovation opportunities are inherited in Hashtags. While hashtags and their use in business have begun to be utilized there are still endless possibilities to what can be done with them. The success of this new bliss is possible because of its simplicity and possible creative ways to use them. They are as easy to produce as campaigns are to incorporate them. For instance American Express recently launched Amex Sync, which lets cardholders make purchases by using hashtags.

From Business Leader to Thought Leader

ImageWhen you think of a thought leader as someone recognised as an authority on explicit topics, it is easy to comprehend why so many business people want to be one. Being positioned as the expert in your industry can have great values as well as responsibilities for your career and on your business’s bottom line.

Can everyone be a thought leader?
Although most business leaders could become thought leaders, however in order to be a successful one some hard work is needed. For some the required characteristics may come naturally, and for some conscious practice is needed. Here are three characteristics a potential thought leader should have:

1. Be an expert
Being an expert in your industry or profession is an essential factor to being recognised as a thought leader. You must have great knowledge and understanding of your topics of expertise. Most business leaders will be able to answer this requirement.

2. Be open to sharing your expertise
In addition to having the knowledge and understanding, a thought leader must be prepared to share this expertise openly and have original ideas, distinct points of view and new insights.

3. Be willing to stand out
Thought leaders must also be open to being seen and heard publicly in the media, social media and at events. An approachable personality will definitely benefit you.

If you feel you have the qualities and experience needed to position yourself as a thought leader, then consider the following PR strategies to help you reach the recognition you deserve.

Become the expert the media wants to hear from
The media is always on the lookout for a great story supported by expert thoughts and intelligence. You may want to spend quality time with your communication and PR team and come up with a list of topics for which you should be positioned as an expert available for comments. They may point you to the right people / interactions.  

Treat media interviews as a priority by making yourself available. Also, undertake media training so you can deliver powerful interviews that will make the journalist’s job easier and create the impression you need in order to receive future calls for commentary.

Your communication team should also use all opportunities to offer topical, objective, easy to understand and helpful articles with your byline. These articles can relate to an important issue in your industry, your unique journey as a company director, your thoughts as a leader, or helpful tips and advice related to your expertise.

Write a business blog
Business blogs are a great way to share your expert knowledge and position yourself as a thought leader in your field. The key is to pick a topic and stick to it. As with media opportunities, your PR team should help you write regular blog posts that will spark discussion and share your experiences, ideas and relevant information.

You can also be positioned as a guest blogger on other relevant websites to increase your exposure and build traffic to your own business blog.

Network on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the professional social media platform that allows leading companies to connect with experts, clients and industry colleagues around the world. LinkedIn can also help you increase your visibility and position yourself.

One way of doing so is by ensuring that regular updates related to your field of expertise are made on your profile. You should also find groups in your industry and your clients’ industries, and join relevant and engaging discussions.

Engage on Twitter
Twitter can be a great avenue to demonstrate your expertise and gain a following of people interested in hearing what you have to say. To build your followers naturally, share links to helpful or insightful articles related to your expertise (this includes your own articles and blogs, but also those from other sources), cross-promote your LinkedIn discussions, follow people in your industry and target markets and interact with them.

Most importantly, before you start engaging on social media, consult your PR team to find out more about your organisation’s communication and/or social media guidelines.

Speak at events
Public speaking is an excellent way to position yourself as an authority on a particular topic or industry, while gaining endorsement from the event’s organisers.

Your presentation should be informative and interesting, and be adapted to suit your audience. For example, avoid using technical language when your audience has no knowledge of your topic. As for media training, if you’re not a confident public speaker, get some coaching beforehand to ensure you make the most of each opportunity.

The key to becoming a thought leader is to be open to positioning your expertise in the limelight in every possible way.

The Collaborative Marketing Future – How co-creation and activism will make companies win!

baker_logo-2Just ten years ago, Facebook did not exist. Communication was primarily one-to-one, and marketers focused almost exclusively on mass communication to a mass audience. The last decade saw swift change and technological growth that marketers are just beginning to put into the right angel; not only change in communications, but in empowerment, permitting consumers to influence and take co-ownership of brands.

The conjoint theme across all of this change is an evolution towards alliances, relationships, partnership and Collaboration. The future of marketing is a future where brands must market “with” consumers, not “at” them, thinking advantageously about inviting consumers into the marketing process. The days of tossing products and services on customers are way behind us. Today’s customer is educated, conversant and equipped hence demands an alliance and not dismisses the isolation.

A Collaborative Marketing Future is not in “work in progress” mode. It’s a reality already set in motion, one that is consistent with consumers’ innate tendencies to share and contribute. It’s a future where the companies that are closest to the buyers, use and advocate for their products win.

What is Collaborative Marketing?

Web definition A broad term used to describe a wide variety of partnerships — retailer and product manufacturer, product manufacturer and product.

One of the first definitions of “collaborative marketing” was developed by top management consultant and author of The Power of Pull, John Hagel.

In 2006, he described the major shifts in business moving:

FROM CONVENTIONAL MARKETING BUILT UPON THREE “I’S” TO “COLLABORATION MARKETING” DEFINED IN TERMS OF THREE “A’S”

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The evolution of marketing towards collaboration

The first ever recorded advertisement was placed in a Boston newspaper in 1704. For the earlier 300 years, the formula was bumpily the same – mass marketing messages to mass audiences. This was the main means through which consumers discovered new products and services. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Internet, and more recently transmuted social technologies, began to change the primary fundamentals of how companies market their products.

In 2006, Facebook opened its doors beyond teen agers and college goings, and the next year Twitter’s growth exploded. The arrival of social technologies brought about a new era of real-time communication where anyone could share anything with the rest of the world.  This began what we have termed the first stage of social marketing, Social Listening. Marketers were able to listen in consumers’ conversations about their products for the first time with great ease. This definitely opened up the market for social listening tools market.

In 2008, Facebook launched the brand page and pressed a tournament for marketers to gain more and more fans. In turn, the second phase of social marketing was launched: Social Management. Many Platforms emerged to help brands acquire and manage these fans, perform and utilise social listening and data.

Marketers built large social databases, and the challenge became how to best leverage social communities to drive real, bottom-line value. These platforms help companies to convert the gold mine of data into valuable information.

Now, we are entering the third phase, Collaborative Marketing. The need of the hour for the companies is to market with, not at, their most loyal customers. By providing these consumers with a special seat at the table with their favourite brands, consumers will generate an endless supply of penetration, ideas, acumen and content on the brands’ behalf. Perhaps even more importantly, these customers will serve as an essential broadcasting channel for delivering a brand’s message to relevant audiences. Customers are the new brand ambassadors now, rather the most and only accepted ones.

LinkedIn is 10 today!

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It looks like yesterday when I was in complete annoyance about updating each minute detail of  my academics, career and professional journey on LinkedIn. To be honest, it all started in a moment of desperation while finding a new job assignment. I was not leaving any stone unturned and untouched so stumbled upon LinkedIn as well.

Today my morning tablet surfing and coffee made me gather that my emotional shift journey for LinkedIn. Feelings graduated from annoyance to love with an ease. A decade ago, really!

Do I really need to mention that its biggest and busiest business networking site on the internet.  LinkedIn has 200 million members worldwide and the network is growing by two members per second or 10-15 million members per quarter.

I have a ‘love and hate’ kind of relationship with numbers. (I like them when they make achievement look like one. I just start hating when they make a problem look bigger than its solution.) Today I am happy to share numbers for sure.

At present, over 2.8 million businesses have a LinkedIn Company Page. The popularity and global approach is evident from the fact that the website is available in 19 languages: Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Čeština, Dansk, Deutsch, English, Español, Français, 한국어, Italiano, Dutch, 日本语, Norsk, Polski, Português, Română, Русский, Svenska, Türkçe.

LinkedIn and its users did evolve gradually and both helped each other in tremendous ways. It has been a journey for both.

As a LinkedIn admirer, I want to raise a toast for LinkedIn and its users in my way. How about a quick 10 Things To Do LinkedIn List?

  1. Allocate and adhere to your LinkedIn time for each workday
  2. Stay up-to-date about your industry
  3. Stay in the know of your department and business development of your own and competitor’s business development
  4. Keep your LinkedIn inbox clean (not by deleting, by appropriate responses)
  5. Respond to professional requests in hours or days but never in weeks – Delayed response is as rude as no response
  6. Stay conversant with the groups you join
  7. Recognise people for their good work – Recommendations is a key – give and get recommendations, and now with the new feature of Skills endorsements, it’s another quick way to endorse your co-workers and old colleagues
  8. Stay conversant with your own company page, do value add whenever possible
  9. Be status active – Scan the status updates of your connections and nurture relationships
  10. Check your profile often – Would you follow you?

The list can go longer, leaving some room for my readers to add.

I am sure like me, for all you LinkedIn graduated from an annoyance as the moment you updated your details, to an essential business tool. I look at it as an authenticate business card today.

So on this note and toast wishing happy birthday to LinkedIn.

Stay connected!
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/diptibsocialmediastrategist