Monday, 4 April 2011

Social Media Ostriches

We spend alot of our time talking to people for the first time about Social Media. Their attitudes towards SM Marketing vary - from those who cant wait to apply best practice and maximise the benefits, to those (and there are many) who know they must embrace it but resemble rabbits caught in the headlights, overwhelmed by the scary notion of "user-generated content".

This week however we came across a new breed - the Social Media Ostrich. Head in the sand, looking up only to declare that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are "not for them". The future for this breed is bleak. Because what they don't realise is that opting out isnt an option. Their target audience will dictate how quickly Social Media's market influence grows and in a year's time (possibly less), they'll simply be dead in the water, beaten to the punch by their Social Media savvy competitors.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Beware the Social Media Spivs

If some Spiv came up to you in the street, or the pub, and promised you  they could find you loads of friends that very same day (for a small fee of course) what would you think?

What sort of friends would they be? How could they possibly value a relationship with you when they know nothing about you? How could they conceivably add value to your life when they can be bought so easily?

And so it is with Social Media. "Followers" on Twitter, or "Friends" and "Fans" on Facebook dont have to be members of your extended family, or even people you're ever likely to want to spend "real" time with. But they should add value to your  Social Networking experience in some way, and they should expect they same from you.

As in life, your "Friends" in Social Media say something about who you are. So if your Follower List is rammed with thousands of patently promotional or prostituted Social Media profiles, don't be surprised if someone you would really like to have in your Social Media Network judges you by the company you keep.

And before a horde of Search Engine-obsessed code monkeys beat a path to my door, yes I know there are notable gains to be had via Social Media participation when it comes to Search Performance. The point is if you're active and add value in Social media you'll be popular, gain followers, follow back, build relationships,create links back to your website AND improve your search engine rankings.....

In other words, be active, sociable, add value, treat people with respect and you'll reap the benefits of Social Media - commercially and personally. As in life, the lure of instant gratification may be strong but the rewards are invariably short lived.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Third "Preston Tweetup"

Good turnout again at the Continental in Preston for the third #prestontweetup.
Whilst the topic was a little ambiguous (good effort though BlogPreston guys!), the event organised by BlogPreston and sponsored by Stage9 was well attended, and to me, further proved the city's ever growing appetite in supporting the truly "social" part of Social Media.

Looking back, it seems only yesterday we were planning the "first Preston Tweet-up" - which was actually now over two years ago.   Who would have thought that when we participated back then, as early adopters of the social phenomena, we would now be sitting around using our mobile devices instead of laptops!

It was great to see so many of the faces from the first event and to connect with new people on the evening.

In a world where far to many people who are just "on" social media "thinks" they're a guru, it was encouraging to see that (most) people in the room understood the REAL principals of Social Media; participation and engagement!

Looking forward to the next event guys :)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

All fired up...

Yesterday I spent 6 hours with four firefighters, delivering a marketing awareness workshop. They are on secondment to Washington Hall International Fire Training Centre from their stations, and find themselves having to "sell" and market" its training services to the Commercial sector.

I was struck by how engaged they were with the content of the day, from heavyweight strategic concepts like McKinsey Matrix and Buyer Paradigms through to practical exercises like designing the customer experience. Clearly they are passionate about the Washington Hall brand and are eager to learn new techniques to ensure its continued success. This passion more than compensated for their lack of a marketing background.

It would seem that if you are genuinely "on a mission" you will embrace new concepts readily, and step out of your comfort zone. I take my hat of to you guys - your desire to learn and succeed was an inspiration.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

No substitute for "the extra mile"

Last Tuesday lunchtime a brand new client informed us that their exhibition stand, which should have arrived from China, had been "lost at sea". Furthermore the exhibition opened the following Sunday (that's three working days later). Was there anything we could do?

We sprang into action - pulling favours, designing through the night, meeting vans from Peterborough full of stand plinths and graphics in the early hours of Sunday morning in dark laybys on the A59...

Anyway, the exhibition opened on the Sunday morning, and the stand was not just "there", but looked great. The client had a great show and they're back in today to brief us on a major brand awareness campaign culminating in exhibitions in Hanover and Las Vegas in January.

There really is no substitute for service excellence when it comes to account development.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Mending the roof....

We signed up a new client on a long term contract this week. A substantial engineering company, they have a full order book for at least 6 months and are running 24 hour double shifts. They couldn't cope with more business if it came along tomorrow, and they're aware of that.

So why have they contracted us? Because, as the old saying goes, "the best time to mend the roof is when the sun is shining". They have commissioned Stage9 to develop a marketing strategy and plan to secure their future, and a PR plan to get them on the radar of A list prospects, acknowledging that it can take years before large players in their target markets are ready to buy (but when they do they buy big). They want us to handle internal communications to engender loyalty and enthusiasm in their workforce.They want us to freshen up their brand presentation to help them compete when the time comes.

UK manufacturing take note - this is how you succeed in the long term.

Refreshing,don't you think?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Want more business? Stay in bed...

We talk alot to clients about Social media these days, because we see it as an integral part of reputation management and profile development - two of the central objectives of PR. However at its simplest its also just a great way of networking, which is why it amazes me when owners of small businesses tell me they "dont have time for all that Twitter and Facebook stuff". Small businesses are constantly looking for ways to generate "Return on Involvement" - in other words where effort can substitute for budget in delivering high quality business referrals and opportunities. That's why thousands get up at 5am or worse once, twice or even three times a week to attend networking breakfasts and referral club meetings. Yet they havent got time for SOCIAL Networking?

Try this.... Next week delegate the referral breakfast, grab the laptop and spend a couple of hours looking at what your competitors, clients and prospects are doing on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It will open up a world of new, free networking opportunities, whilst reducing your caffeine and calorie intake considerably.