Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Social Media Dinner Party: 8 Tips to Being the Best Guest

Imagine you’re at the biggest dinner party in the universe. You can talk to the person on your left or the person on your right. Which do you choose?
  • The person on your left tells you fascinating stories about her life with gumption and passion. She then asks you questions about your life, visibly enjoying your stories as much as she enjoys telling her own. 
  • The person on your right also tells you fascinating stories about her life with gumption and passion. Her life stories are the most fascinating thing in the world…to her. She asks you a question occasionally but is so busy forming an answer to her own question before you’ve finished answering that you can tell she isn’t listening. She often interrupts or changes the topic because she’s moved on…in her head. 
Choose which brand you want to be. The one who tells stories and encourages customer stories or the one who tells story after story after story...never interested in what anyone else can contribute. The answer is obvious, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of only talking about yourself in social media, in a billboard-type of way. Translate your IRL relationships with colleagues, friends and even family into how you want to be perceived in social media as a brand. What works in IRL relationships? Give and take. Social media at its most basic is a platform of give and take. Use this to your advantage: know who you are, what story you want to tell at the never-ending dinner party that is social media and engage your customers at every level on an ongoing basis. Listen and you shall be heard.

  1. Be the brand that tells the most fascinating stories
  2. Be the brand that solicits interesting stories from the masses
  3. Be the brand that your consumers (existing AND potential!) want to listen to but also the brand that wants to know about its consumers
  4. Be engaging and engaged
  5. Understand what your consumers want and focus your content on that
  6. Make sure your consumers know they’re being heard 
  7. Show passion, show compassion 
  8. Educate and learn 

Monday, September 23, 2013

In Other News... I'm a Finalist!

I submitted an idea to one of the coolest campaigns I've seen all year: Marriott's Travel Brilliantly contest. From a social media manager's point of view, I love this campaign because it takes listening to consumers to a whole new level. They want feedback on how to improve the guest experience and they will work with the winner on their idea. Very cool. Crowd-sourcing heaven. User generated content (UGC) heaven. As a consumer, the prizes are cool, the fact that they're listening to me makes me want to enter and they used correct grammar: Travel BrilliantLY. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, it's NOT called Travel Brilliant. Honestly, I entered the contest because it was grammatically correct. Nerd alert for sure...

Anyway, I am one of five winners of round 2. The contest has ended and now the Marriott team is working on picking the grand prize winner. I want this. It's an international trip to work on your idea with Marriott. Yep. I want it badly. BadLY. In the meantime, take a look at my prize! Talk about a geek's dream...Jawbone Up, Pocket Cell Duo battery pack, Yurbuds sport earbuds, Trakdot luggage tracker, Rigaudi fold and play speakers, Epic mobile projection keyboard and Royre passport cover!

Cross your fingers & toes for me!

WordPress Easy Install...Not Exactly Easy.

Ok! I decided last night that I was going to teach myself how to install WordPress and build a new blog on it. I bought hosting through Blue Host last night, verified my account via phone this morning and I still have a wacky domain that it's trying to install to. See screenshot:

I have not one clue what I'm doing, I don't understand 78.43% of the words in forums for help, so I emailed Blue Host for help - I am paying them after all. When I get this "easy 1-click install" (LIES!) of WordPress figured out, I'll post my process.

May the force be with me.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Defining Social Media

Social media is not a scary beast that you should run away from. Ok, maybe it can be, but look at it this way:  What if companies ignored television advertising when it first became an option? I'm sure a lot of marketers shied away from the medium, but after some time, it became the most effective way to market products and services - and it still is.

Social media is a marketing tool in your toolbox. It lives alongside print advertising, email marketing, online advertising, mobile, blogger outreach, press releases, print materials, in-store pieces, coupons, website, SEO and any other marketing tool you have. Social media can help kickstart a new business to create brand awareness, but you cannot ignore traditional marketing or additional marketing tactics along the way.

In order for your social media marketing to be successful, you must 1) believe in your product 2) believe in customer service 3) believe that it's ok to let go of the reigns a bit and have a conversation with your customers. Without these, your social media will fail and you'll lose faith in this viable marketing channel.

If you're open to the idea that your customers have a voice, an important one, then try social media marketing. Just remember, when you start it, you have to commit to it. Social media marketing is not for quick-starts; it's a nonstop journey to successfully market your product or service to the correct people in the correct way. It's a way to glean consumer insights just by listening to what they say about you, your product or service, your competition, your industry or what other things they like (grumpy cat!) Social media is a way to connect with consumers in a new and interesting way, to tell them the story of your brand in a meaningful way so that when they see your brand on the shelf, in the lot, online - in a sea of similar products or services - they choose you.

WordPress 101

I started this blog on the platform formerly known as Blogspot way back in 2007. In my quest to become more technical, I'm going to move this blog to WordPress and try to create a new blog/website that's all about my newest venture: food & drink photography (sometimes with recipes co-authored by my mom!) I'll try to chronicle my steps along the way.

I'm scared. For some reason, I cannot wrap my head around WordPress. Silly, I know. I'm geeky enough, I should be able to figure it out. Not sure what the obstacle is, but hopefully I can overcome it and create a really cool site.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

So You Play on Facebook for a Living?

Yes, yes I do.

Ok, back up...back way up. I swear, I still exist. I haven't posted in so long 1) because there isn't a whole lot going on in my life and 2) because now that I write for a living, I don't have a ton of time or creativity left for personal projects.

That all said, there's still nothing exciting happening in life but I wanted a place to put down my thoughts on my career.

Social Media in the Wine Industry
Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? It beats marketing toilet paper, that's for sure. Well, I would guess so, maybe that has good perks. I digress.

In September of 2010, I started my official social media career, but my love affair with the internet goes way back. Granted, I was the kid in high school who, after seeing the internet for the first time, said "Ppppffffssstt, who would ever use that." I said that. Out loud. To my friends. Don't tell anyone.

I was an avid MySpace user in 2005/2006/2007, then abandoned it when it got lame (aka my company blocked it from work computers.) I resisted Facebook, thinking it was stupid - you couldn't even customize colors! - but finally joined in 2008. Wait, so I "resisted" Facebook for about 14 months? Wow, such resolve!

In December of 2009, I brought an in-depth proposal to the president of the company about how the company needed a social media manager and that I was the chick for the job. It took a while, but it happened, about 10 months later.

Most of the brands already had a social media presence but as anyone who works in this industry knows, they're slow to adopt technology. (Did I just make the understatement of the year or what?) It was a journey, one that I am very proud of. I was able to grow multiple brands to very high numbers and very high engagement rates as a one man show. Anyway, that's all for LinkedIn. This is a blog. Here is where I share my philosophies...and do I have some of those...

Megan's Social Media Circle of Happiness ©
A marketer's ultimate goal is to get the consumer, then keep the consumer. Keeping consumers in the brand’s happy circle is first and foremost the social media goal. If a Facebook ad gets them, engaging content on Facebook keeps them, maybe the next time they see us, they'll engage on Twitter and a read a blog post. Each time they engage with us, their connection to us is stronger. Ideally, this is an emotional connection, which is much easier to achieve in social media versus traditional marketing. Keeping them in the Circle of Happiness© increases loyalty and next time they are at the beast that we call a wine set, they'll pick up your wine instead of another white-label-serif-font-tiny-illustration wine brand.

If they continue to find value in the content that’s provided, they will bounce between the brand’s Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest boards, Instagram photos, website, microsite, mobile app, email newsletters, wine club communication, and YouTube videos, staying in the brand’s happy circle, the brand’s corner of the internet. The brand voice, visuals, messaging and positioning need to be consistent, serving up a cohesive experience for the consumer at every touch point. The longer they stay in the circle, or return to it, the more valuable they are to the brand and the stronger the relationship will be.

Next time on Social Media in the Wine Industry (SMITWI): How is Social Media like a Dinner Party?

Cheers! {clink clink}