Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Link-ing In With a Little Help From My Friends

It's time for me to come clean. As much as I love social media, I do not spend the time on LinkedIn that I should. So I took a stroll through some of my favorite places on the net to find some usable advice that would be easy for me to make LinkedIn more manageable.

Some 'best practices" from the people I respect.

Everyone and his brother will tell you to be sure that your profile is at 100%. Not a problem, I always take those little percentage bars as a challenge and that has been done since day one.

First stop, Gini Dietrich over at The Fight Against Destructive Spin . She recommends "Spend 10 minutes going through your LinkedIn groups and answering questions where you have expertise and can position yourself as a thought leader."....OK I think I can do that over my after-work cup of coffee.

My Franchising Friend Paul Segreto recommends "making sure to use each networks "notifications" features effectively". I am pretty sure that when I set up my profile that I probably did not how to do this. Classic social media newbie that I was, I just didn't know how this could be effective and helpful. You can keep up with Paul on his blog Franchise Essentials .

The LinkedIn Man himself, Jason Alba, Author of "I'm on LinkedIn. Now What?" recommends on his blog, to use the questions and answers features to build your network and to be involved in intelligent conversation.

Decided: I can follow Paul and Adam's advice is Gini's recommended 5 minutes a day. If I become a LinkedIn addict....I am sure I can find plenty to do on

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Are You Engaging?

We are all familiar with the old adage "it isn't what you know it is who know". Well, there are many on Twitter that apparently have not heard this saying.

A constant barrage of articles you have read does not encourage me to engage with you. I can set up my own RSS feed or set up a reading list like the USMC Commandant has done. (for a list of what the well read Marine is reading click here ).

Twitter is about engaging, telling us who you are. Telling us why we care what you are reading. Any idiot can post links to sales articles, why should I believe you? Tell me who you are and what you are doing. I cannot respect your opinion if I have no idea if you are authentic. Do you have integrity and the respect of your peers? Are you honest?

I can only tell if I get to know you. So please go ahead and tweet me links to articles of interest, but mix in some info about yourself and those that you know, love and respect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Know Thy Customer

This post was originally published in the September 09 issue of the P29 Consulting e-Journal.

The effective use of social media is to understand your customer before implementing a social media plan. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, having a fundamental understanding of the buying process of your customer is as imperative for social media as it is for any other form of sales, marketing or PR.

Best Buy and Ford Motor Company are two large corporations that have implemented social media programs that work to reach their customers.

Best Buy gives us a great visual of their “TwelpForce” in a television ad that shows one person getting advice from a stadium of Best Buy employees. Best Buy stock has shown gradual growth over the last six months and in July implemented “TwelpForce” .

What is Twelpforce?

According to the company website posted on 08-21-2009 04:08 PM

“Twelpforce is a new service from Best Buy for people to ask tech questions to Best Buy employees via micro blogging site Twitter.

The promise we’re making starting in July is that you’ll know all that we know as fast as we know it. That’s an enormous promise. That means that you will be able to ask us about the decisions you're trying to make, the products you're using, and look for the customer support that only we can give. And with Twitter, we can do that fast, with lots of opinions so you can make a decision after weighing all the input. It also lets others learn from it as they see our conversations unfold”

Best Buy employees sign up to be part of the TwelpForce visiting this website .The process, as well as Tips & Expectations are posted for employee reference.

Best Buy encouraged its employees who are already using Twitter and familiar with the practice to participate; the corporate office monitors the activity through the hash tag #Twelpforce. (A hash tag is the practice of using a # in front of a word to make it more searchable on the web.)

Best Buy understands that its customers normally go to their stores and ask the staff to help them make decisions about purchases. The customers believe that the staff is knowledgeable and can assist them in making an informed decision about a variety of products.

Ford Motor Company has approached their social media plan by recognizing that most customers are researching vehicle options prior to an automotive purchase, have strong brand loyalty and that our cars become part of our lives.

Facebook and Twitter profiles have been set up in the name of separate divisions and Models.

On Twitter: @FordDriveGreen addresses environmental issues and plans that are so important to car buyers recently. @FordCustService is monitored Mon-Fri 8 am - 5 pm EST by Shawn and Mike. They tweet about car maintenance and specials being run. Followers will begin to know Shawn and Mike as well as their local mechanic, thus making a huge corporate machine seem close and in touch with their needs.

@FordMustang and @FordTrucks have Twitter identities as well as Facebook pages. Information about changes to upcoming models is released. Pictures and video of the exceptional performance of their products are posted as well as pictures comments of their raving fans. Ford has been able to bring the local car show to the internet.

The best businesses are built on fulfilling customer needs. What do your customers need? If they need a lot of input and guidance, do as Best Buy has done and find a way to get them the assistance of more than one customer service representative. If your customer needs to be approached on many different levels, consider a segmented approach such as Ford.

The beauty of social media is that it is as flexible as you need it to be and can be customized to showcase your brand or product to your customers in a way that is best for them.