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The Power Of Being Passive In Social Media

imagesTo me, marketing through social media falls into two camps: Active and Passive.

Active is when a company disseminates information through channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs.

Passive is about spending time listening to what consumers are saying about your company, your products, your competitors and your industry via social media.

In their efforts toward active social media marketing, companies post press releases on Facebook, put commercials on YouTube and talk about how great their service is on their company blog.

The greatest challenge, however, is making sure you have a large enough audience to warrant implementing a social media marketing plan. Spending hours on your company’s Facebook page to market to 75 “fans” is not a good use of your time.

Creating a strong passive social media strategy, on the other hand, can provide you endless insight into your audience and help you develop a more strategic active strategy.

Tools like Tweefind, Technorati, BlogSearch, plus searching YouTube and Facebook, can help you find out what is being said about your company in social media.

Passive strategy is also monitoring your competition. Techrigy and Vitrue can provide you a picture of what your competition is doing in social media.

This type of social media monitoring will bring you closer to the consumer.  You see trends being created, identify problem areas and monitor consumer reaction to product changes.

This information allows you to improve your products and will drive your active strategy when, for example, you respond to consumers to help educate them on why you may do certain things.

Passive social media marketing in action:

A client of mine manufactured clay poker chips, so we monitored blogs, forums, etc. and found out people liked the chips, but didn’t like the powdery residue on the chips.  The powder was there to protect the chips during shipping and went away after playing with the chips a few times.  Upon our recommendation, they began including a note in the poker chip case explaining the residue and those comments went away.

If your company wants to develop a social media strategy, start with a passive strategy first.  Figure out what is being said and who’s saying it.  Once you have that knowledge your active strategy will be more compelling and successful.

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The next hot thing in marketing

listeningIn the latest issue of Fortune magazine, prominent people talked about the best advice they ever received. Lauren Zalaznick, President, Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, NBC Universal, stated the best advice she ever received was to listen.

Great advice – probably the best for anyone in marketing. And with today’s social media tools, it is now easier than ever.

Twitter:  Peter Shankman (twitter.com/skydiver) tweeted about the great service, but poor wi-fi, at a hotel he was staying at.  Someone at that hotel was monitoring Twitter and immediately had the problem resolved.

Facebook: Totino’s Pizza has 47 fan groups on Facebook where people talk about their favorite pizza, best toppings to add to a pizza and products they don’t like.  Think about how much the Totino’s product team could learn about their evangelists without paying a dime for formal research.

Rating Sites like Yelp, Kudzu, City Search: Ratings sites allow people to post what they like and don’t like about your company.  If you aren’t getting five-star ratings, do you know why?  Looking at your customer reviews will let you know what you are doing well and where you need improvement.

Blogs & YouTube: People are passionate.  And now they have the tools to express their passion through words and video.  What are bloggers writing about your company?  Have people posted videos about your service?  Remember the YouTube video where a Comcast service tech fell asleep on the couch while waiting on the phone for Comcast technical support?

Every day I am asked how to use social media for marketing.  My response? Listen to your audience.

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Are People Talking About Your Company?

Everyone is familiar with the power of word of mouth.  In fact there is an organization dedicated to it – WOMMA.  There are companies like BzzAgent harnessing and trying to spur word of mouth for their clients.  And with blogging, people can voice their opinions faster and more loudly than ever.

 

While the opinions you find in blogs are an opinion of one, monitoring blogs regularly might help you identify trends that you can take advantage of when positive or market against when negative. 

 

Think about Mentos and Diet Coke, who would have thought a soda volcano would have boosted the sales, awareness and interest in a candy.  Had you been tracking the web, you might have.

Even if you can afford research, keeping an eye on blogs will keep you closer to your audience.

 

Here are some blog search engines that you might find helpful:

 

www.blogsearchengine.com

http://www.blogsearch.google.com

www.technorati.com

www.blogpulse.com

http://www.icerocket.com


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