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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Twitter for job listing? It appears so.

newspapers

While it seems impossible to give a job description in 144 characters, there are plenty of companies who are giving enough information for job seekers to click.

Employers in almost every  field are using Twitter to list jobs. One can look for a job locally, twitter.com/#!/jobsraleigh, by field, twitter.com/#!/getsalmanagjobs  or by company, twitter.com/#!/electra.

In fact, in an  interview  Zappos  Recruiting Manager, Christa Foley, said not only does Zappos list jobs on Twitter, they do a search looking for people tweeting about their interest in working for Zappos.

She said primarily using Twitter seems to lead to higher quality applicants, who have done their homework, knows what job they want and are actively pursuing it.

Twitter Basics:

  • You don’t have to have an account to read what others are tweeting. Go to twitter.com and put anything in the search field, say, Holy Cow Branding, our tweets will come up
  • You do need an account if you want to tweet or follow others
  • ‘Follow’ means you want to see all the tweets from a person or organization
  • Accounts are free and it takes just a minute to sign up
  • Twitter is just another way to get your brand to the world, it doesn’t stand alone but it can nicely compliment the rest of your marketing efforts, or job recruiting.

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Marketing Based Lead Generation is selling through the back door.

Very simply, this is a way to get your name to the public without making even one cold call.  

Generate free exposure by writing what you know. Authoring articles in your knowledge wheel house is a great way to get your name out as an expert in your field. You can write for trade magazines, which is good for B2B sales, but to reach the general public,  a publication with broader appeal or a blog is the way to go.

Don’t be intimidated by the task of writing, you’re putting yourself out as an expert on your subject, not on writing.

If writing isn’t your thing how about talking? Interviews, YouTube Videos  and Podcasts are all ways you can talk your way into lead generation. Again, it’s flexing your expertise muscle in public.

In writing and talking, less is always more. Edit yourself. I try to use as few words as possible.

Has enough been said about social media?  It seems the social media emphasis is overdone but people really are reading , responding and ‘liking’ information put out on social media. You can’t drum up a following overnight;  it does require a strategy, but the effort really is worth it. Who knew 144 characters could be so powerful?  There are entire ad campaigns built around the constraints of twitter.

All this lead generation is completely free. Your own YouTube account, Facebook Fan Page or Blog are  all free and require little expertise to set up. They do need to be maintained, though. If your message is compelling, people will come back often to hear what else you have to say, so keep talking. The next thing you know, you’ll have a captive audience, and the phone will start to ring.

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Twitter bird yellingAccording to Urban Dictionary, being “tweetable” means that something is worthy of being written about on Twitter. It may be good or bad – it applies to anything worth a tweet.

What’s even better than being tweetable? Why being retweetable, of course! Being retweetable means that someone else felt your information was valuable enough to pass it along to their followers, too.

On Twitter, you only have 140 characters to get your message out there, and make it noticed. It is important you’re thinking like your followers (who should include your clients and prospects) and using catchy verbiage through a somewhat conversational tone to strike their interest. Start your tweets with a clever pun, quote, or phrase that will make a person look twice at your tweet. Then, continue your update with what you’re promoting toward the end. The better the quality of the information you provide, the more likely your followers will retweet it.

Quick Tips for being Retweetable

  • People love infographics
  • Don’t just talk about yourself (booorrrring)
  • Share things you think are interesting (chances are, others will find it interesting, too)
  • Retweet quality tweets from others, they’ll pay more attention to what you say, too

Now that you’re fully armed, we hope you’ll be tweeting like pros!

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I’m still not sure how I feel about location-based social networking and if it is something I can use for business. Aliza Sherman wrote an article for Web Worker Daily called “How to Used Location-based Social Networking for Business,” that has some good insight.

I’ve got and account on FourSquare, but to be honest with you, I don’t even really know how to check in. There is also a more local social networking tool called TriOut that is really popular. Now, FaceBook has added a check-in feature called “Places.” It’s not as robust as other independent social networking sites, but it does let people tell their friends where they are.

So now the question is, which tool is the best one for me to use? Who should I connect with on there? Does it positively impact my brand? Again, I am not sure how to maximize this for myself, but I can tell you it is an amazing way for businesses to connect with customers and to keep people coming back, especially retail and restaunrants. The Pit in Raleigh is a living testimony to that.

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For years, advertisers have operated under the fundamental assumption that consumers are stupid. It sounds bad, I know, but consider the practice of traditional advertising: you flash evocative images in front of viewers in an attempt to subliminally influence their purchasing habits by informing them that they are currently inadequate, and the only means of overcoming their inadequacy is to obtain a very specific product or service – the product or service you happen to be selling. It’s not exactly giving them the benefit of the doubt, is it?

Ah, the sixties

Self-made sixties ad executive Don Draper, protagonist of the popular show Mad Men, and all around not very moral guy, once explained the practice of advertising to a client like this: “It’s based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.” This definition, though uttered by a fictional quasi-caricature of callous corporate decision-makers, speaks volumes about the way advertisers have traditionally seen consumers; namely, that they just aren’t smart enough to overcome their basest emotions – their fears and desires – and realize that they’re being totally sold; that consumers are somehow incapable of transcending the commercial experience and recognizing that, above it all, there’s a puppet master somewhere, pulling the strings, trying to influence them for less than altruistic reasons. In the sixties, consumers were considered tabula rasa; lesser entities ad men could uninhibitedly impose their will upon through the power of visual and verbal suggestion. But this is 2010. Why does any of that matter? Advertisers don’t think like that anymore, right? Wrong.

Watch TV without a DVR for an hour or so (a daunting task, I know) and you’re sure to see any number of those tired, unentertaining, run-of-the-mill, market-to-the-gut, disingenuous, old-style ads paraded innocently on screen as if you didn’t know that what you were seeing was a paid promotional piece – as if you aren’t able to discern that the people behind the curtain are trying to make you give them your money, and not just offering you unbiased reassurance or friendly advice on how to better yourself. I don’t know about you, but I find it downright insulting. I also find it exasperating – that experience of being forced into viewing a commercial as something genuine. The only time I want to engage in willing suspension of disbelief nowadays is during things I enjoy – things that actually offer some reward for my strenuous self-delusion… like sci-fi TV shows.

Turmoil

Now, before you write me off as a total cynic, let me say that I realize there are many companies out there that believe wholeheartedly in the product and/or service they’re advertising, and even some that advertise truthfully. Unfortunately, that no longer matters like it used to. Why? Because most Americans are no longer willing to believe that this is the case with any company. All it takes is a few corporate bad apples to ruin the whole bunch, and America has seen more than a few in the last several decades. Whether it’s companies that advertise environmental friendliness and then dump millions of gallons of oil into the sea (I won’t mention any names), or companies that brag about outstanding customer service to cable customers and then force them to spend seven hours on the phone, never fix their ESPNHD channel, and still bill them twice the amount they owe (again, no names, though that last one may or may not have happened to me last month… just sayin’), American consumers have all had their share of bad experiences, and have every right to their trust issues. With this in mind, doesn’t it seem like kind of a bad idea to continue advertising as though consumers are still as easily influenced as they were when skinny ties and lunchtime martinis were the norm? I’ll answer that for you: yes. Yes it does seem like a bad idea, because it is.

But don’t worry, not all contemporary ads are informed by the colossal misconception that every American consumer is a complete ninny. Somewhere along the line, (some) ad firms realized that maybe a few people were smart enough to see behind the facade a bit, and decided that instead of trying to advertise on the paper-thin pretense that the companies they represent actually have the best interest of consumers in mind, they’d just try to entertain. This enlightening idea gave birth to what we all know now as the popular “funny advertisement.” And some funny ads, regardless of their effectiveness, actually make ten-minute commercial breaks a bit more bearable. But, apparently, effectiveness is kind of important to most companies, and, seriously, no matter how many times I laugh at a Geico commercial (or used to – they’ve been pretty blah lately), I still can’t make myself believe they’re as legit as say, State Farm.

So where does that leave us? I’ll tell you where: in a giant whirlpooling mire of outdated, ineffective, confused, and overused advertising clichés, where the only prevailing philosophy is “bludgeon them over the head with your name enough times and they’ll eventually become so delirious that they break down and buy things from you.”

And then there’s Old Spice™.

To be fair, there are several other companies that advertise well, but Old Spice is a shining paragon of what I’m going to call the New Advertising, because I’m tired of thinking up clever names for things. Seriously, I do it every day. It gets old. Anyway, watch this commercial and tell me it isn’t awesome. I dare you.

This ad, featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa and his chiseled abs, is absolutely great. It’s funny, but it isn’t its absurdist comedy in and of itself that makes it so effective. It’s effective because at its root, beyond all the ridiculousness and faux-machismo, it’s a ruthless parody of old-school advertisements for similar products – advertisements like this:

Or like this:

Yikes. These are funny, but mostly because they’re so corny. Believe it or not, some still adhere to the basic concepts behind this style of advertising.

Consider that Old Spice used to advertise in a similar fashion, and, as a result, was regarded as deodorant for your grandpa. It might be hard to imagine now, but seven years ago, I wouldn’t have used Old Spice if you paid me. It was just… too old. Now, by spoofing exactly what they themselves used to be and how they used to market, the company has totally repositioned their brand, moving it right to the head of the 20-30 year-old male market, without, I’d be willing to bet, alienating older consumers, who, let’s face it, are too set in their ways deodorant-wise to make a switch now.

But there’s another, far more important reason that spoofs in the style of the Old Spice Isaiah Mustafa commercials are better than current run-of-the-mill funny ads. See, ads that successfully parody old advertising clichés actually acknowledge that viewers aren’t blind to the fact that they’re being marketed to. By pointing out how ridiculous and transparent old advertising practices were, ad firms are essentially deferring to the intellect of viewing consumers. In so many words, what Old Spice is saying here is this: “We know you’re savvy, and we know there’s relatively no difference between our product and someone else’s. We also know that you, in all likelihood, are aware of that fact. That’s why we don’t bother to try and beat you over the head with questionable data that you probably won’t believe about why our product is supposedly superior to someone else’s. We treat you like an equal with our ads, and we interact with you under the assumption that you are just as wise to advertising tricks as we are. So if you support our company, you show the world that you are a savvy consumer and an intelligent member of society that scoffs at outdated advertisements and can’t be hoodwinked by their ilk.”

Parodic ads boost consumers one step up on the evolutionary chain of advertising by crediting them with the awareness level of the advertisers themselves, and consumers, if not always consciously, appreciate that, as well as the collateral entertainment. Everyone likes to be in on a joke.

Which is why Old Spice didn’t stop at static TV ads. After the initial success of the commercials, in which a half-naked Mustafa progresses through a rapidly changing series of constructed film sets (another nod toward the artifice of TV advertising) depicting impossibly manly scenarios, Old Spice decided to get interactive. A team of marketers and videographers crammed into a studio for a solid day and filmed Mustafa in real-time, garbed in his signature bath-towel, responding to comments from high profile twitter users, like Ashton Kutcher and Perez Hilton, in typical ridiculous macho man fashion. The videos were immediately posted to Old Spice’s Youtube channel, which allows for user comments and interactions, where they quickly received hundreds of thousands of hits. It was beautiful.

On every level, Old Spice included their viewers in the advertising experience. They invited consumers to laugh with them at the silliness of old-school advertising. They encouraged their feedback. They even let them shape the course of ads by responding directly to their tweets. And by doing so, they completely sold them.

Yep, when I said ads that successfully spoof old-school advertising move consumers up a notch, I was telling the truth. I just neglected to mention that they also move advertisers further up – right to where they’re always striving to be: one step ahead. That’s why I think The New Advertising is an appropriate – albeit kind of uninspired – name for what Old Spice and similar companies are doing now. It’s the next step on the evolutionary chain, progressing the whole paradigm, putting advertisers back where they need to be in order to effectively drive sales. It’s like the 60’s all over again… except less hallucinogens and free love. Though I hear skinny ties are making a comeback.

The Man

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One of our recent blog entries gave tips on how to market your business when the economy is slow. One of the items on the list said to maximize your use of social media. So what does that mean exactly?

Last week I took our own advice and attended a social media seminar hosted by the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association (TIMA). The guest speaker was Peter Shankman, founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc. Shankman is known worldwide for his fun and different ways of using social media and marketing. I really appreciated the fact that right off the bat he said that he was not going to tell us how to be a social media expert. Instead, he was straight forward, humorous and used real life examples to enlighten us on the current social media setting. To practice what Shankman preaches, I wanted to pass along some key points that I took out of the seminar for others to share.

  • If you post a video on YouTube, have you created a viral campaign for your client? NO. Simply posting something doesn’t make it viral. That is why it is important to use strategy to come up with a creative message, the right people to target your message to and the right places to put your message so those people see it and pass it along. It also doesn’t hurt if you make it interesting or bizarre. An example of this would be the Diet Coke and Mentos eruption. The experiment was done on a news show in 2005, by Steve Spangler, and then took off on the Internet. Only when people are talking about your message and passing it along to others can your message become viral. This also reminds me of a video that was emailed to me a long time ago by a friend. It was a guy dancing to different songs throughout the years. It was titled, The Evolution of Dance. This video ended up getting a lot of attention because so many of us talked about it and passed it along.
  • If you are on many of the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, and have many friends on those sites, it means you are using social media sites effectively, right? WRONG. I love this point because Shankman really got the audience involved on this one. At one point while he was speaking he asked the audience, “How many of you have over 1000 friends on Facebook?” I saw about 5-10 hands go up. One of which was from a young woman sitting near me. She was smiling and confident about those 1000 friends. Then Shankman asked, “Ok those of you who raised your hands, out of the 1000 people, how many of them have written on your wall to wish you a Happy Birthday?” The girl next to me started counting out loud and thinking real hard about it. I heard the number 12 come out of her mouth. Then Shankman said, “I bet those of you who raised their hands are suddenly realizing that it was only about 1-5% of those 1000 people.” What is important is not how many networks you are on or how many friends you have, but are you using the sites effectively. So whether you are on the sites or not, you must interact with people. Congratulate them, say hi or offer to take someone out to lunch because it’s all about the interaction.
  • Lastly, we all need to utilize the Raving Fans. Raving Fans is a book by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles, about how a company should convert satisfied customers into raving fans that promote their business. Any company that has a customer who is pleased with their product needs to capitalize on that. That customer has other friends who may need the product and if they are raving about you they may tell those friends. So have places for customers to voice their opinions about your product. Whether it is on a social network or your website, let them give their review. When a person speaks highly of your product, give him or her something back. Give coupons, gift certificates, free t-shirts or branded items with a personalized note. This will have your fans thinking your company or product is even more wonderful and will help them promote you further.

Jim Tobin, of Ignite Social Media, calls social networking a Virtual Cocktail Party. You need to mingle and connect with those people you don’t know and start a relationship. For those people who you have existing relationships with, you need to see how they are doing, meet with them and maintain that connection. Social media is not a competition to see who has the most friends… it’s a means for building and maintaining relationships. If you are in it for the long haul then social media is for you. If you are a commitment phobe then maybe you should rethink your use of social media.

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I have done it. I’m almost a full-blown geek. I can now be found on linkedin, plaxo, facebook and twitter.

Twitter is my latest foray into the world of social media. I haven’t fully gotten the grasp on it, but what I’ve seen so far is pretty cool.

It amazes me that people have gone from feeling disconnected because of technology to being connected in such a way that your friends, family & followers can keep up with what you have going on as quickly as you can throw a post up on the web. How awesome is that?

Have you taken the time to get connected? Do you find it effects your perception of the internet?

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