On 1982, Coca Cola Company had released its “new” product: A Diet Coke. It contains zero sugar and calorie. This product is addressed for people who like soft drinks, but want to keep their shape. Thus, Coca Cola Company created “special” vending machines for Diet Coke called “Slender Vender”. The vending machines are slim enough (claimed as the thinnest vending machine in the world), which perfectly match with the message “be slim and enjoy your drink”. This is a good example of a simple, but extraordinary idea.
The founder of Likeable, Dave Kerpen, responds to thousands of Tweets, emails, and messages every day by himself.
A social media genius? Or just a crazy guy?
Mr. Kerpen always stated that social media are not freebies. They will not bring you immediate results, cannot make up for a bad product or service.
If you are OK with all of these conditions, you’re ready to learn how Mr. Kerpen get his social media strategy right:
1. Listen Before Talk
A couple of years ago, when Kerpen went to Vegas, the check-in line at the Aria hotel where he was staying “took forever,” he said.
So Kerpen did what he does best–took to Twitter, and quickly posted: Waiting on line for 45 minutes at the Aria. Not worth it.
Did he hear anything from the Aria? No. But he did hear from the Rio, a hotel down the street. Within two minutes, the Rio Tweeted back to Kerpen: Sorry you’re having a bad experience, Dave. Hope the rest of your time in Vegas goes well.
Kerpen didn’t switch hotels on that trip, but where do you think he stayed the next time he went to Vegas? The Rio. And he “liked” the Rio on Facebook. And sometime later, a friend going to Vegas saw that Kerpen had “liked” the Rio, so asked if Kerpen would recommend the hotel. His response? “I don’t think it’s the fanciest, but I know that they listen,” Kerpen recalls telling that Facebook friend.
Kerpen pointed out that all the Rio did was pay attention to Twitter, and respond with empathy.
Kerpen recommends you do the same thing, regardless of the business you’re in. “If you’re an accountant, go to Twitter and search ‘need an accountant’,” he said. “Your customers are asking for you.”
Kerpen said most of the big brands do not answer customers or prospects on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. As a result, “you have a huge competitive advantage if you respond to your customers, and theirs as well,” he said, in this case, the Rio hotel in Vegas.
If a customer complains, don’t delete. Instead, you have an opportunity to respond publicly that you’re working to solve the problem, and will send a private message to the individual so it can be fixed.
“We all know that companies are going to make mistakes,” said Kerpen. “The problem isn’t when companies make mistakes, it’s when companies don’t say, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Instead, if you delete a complaint, you’re sending a message that the person who wrote it doesn’t matter, and you’re, in essence, “inviting him to go tell someone else, to start a petition,” warned Kerpen. “Only delete obscene or bigoted posts,” he added.
3. Tell, Don’t Sell
Social media is most powerful when you use it to tell personal stories, not to sell your products, Kerpen said.
Kerpen likes to tell the story of how, when he and his then fiancé couldn’t afford a lavish wedding, they raised $100,000 from sponsors and got married at Brooklyn Cyclones park. That personal story, he says, helped propel Likeable into a $7 million business.
If yours is a business-to-business company, tell a story on social media using webinars, e-books, and white papers.
“The only thing better than telling your story on social media is to inspire your customers to tell your story,” said Kerpen.
4. Just Be You
Oprah Winfrey once said: “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
As Kerpen puts it: “When I am authentic, when I am vulnerable, when I am me, customers want to do business with me.”
5. Better Advertising Strategy
Social media is not just touchy-feely, said Kerpen. It can drive leads, and sales.
On Facebook, rather than just get your ad in front of huge a swath of people, you can target the right people–based on job title, interest, age, location. “Every single piece of data that Facebook’s got on people you can target based on that,” Kerpen said. “What’s cooler than reaching a billion people on Facebook? Reaching the right 1,000, the right 100, the right 10, or the right one.”
Another perk of advertising on Facebook? Word-of-mouth endorsements. You can target ads against just the friends of people who have “liked” your brand on Facebook, and when those people see your ad, they will see listed the names of their friends who like your brand, too.
6. Give Freebies Away
If you take 10 percent off, you’re marketing, 50 percent off, you’re giving away value, 100 percent off, you have loyal customers for life, Kerpen quipped.
Give away good content, webinars, articles, and white papers. “I’ve had two people come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for all that valuable information you gave away, I’m starting my own social media agency,’ but I also got dozens and dozens of inbound leads because of all the value we put out there,” said Kerpen.
Recently, a new client told Kerpen she had $250,000 to spend on social media marketing she’d move to Likeable because of all the free, yet useful information the company has made available.
7. Be Grateful
In your social media posts, regularly thank your customers, and partners.
According to the non-profit organization DonorsChoose.org, 38 percent of people who received a thank you note were more likely to donate again.
Kerpen writes three thank you notes every day.
“It puts me in a great mood every single time,” he said.
On March, we posted something interesting about a billboard that produces fresh water in Peru. We think that is very creative and unusual. Today, we found another “unusual” promotional billboard. As an insect sprayer producer, Orphea4D tried something a little different to get noticed. Their team created a billboard advertisement that traps and kills insects. The campaign billboard was setup just like any other billboard, but this one had transparent glue in the shape of what would typically be the spray from the can, thus catching any insect that touched the billboard.
At sensitive times, you need to consider your contents. If companies are ignorant with their surroundings by keep posting harsh promotion and insensitive contents, it is not impossible that they will lose a lot of customers and prospects. Here are five suggestions for managing branded content during sensitive times.
1. Conduct a Meeting Between Partners and Staffs
Most organizations now have staffs such as community/social media managers and agency partners who are running their social and owned properties (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress etc.). When a sensitive story breaks, they must themselves act like a news organization and huddle together the teams responsible for putting out content. Call an “all hands” meeting to discuss the impact of story and devise a real time strategy for immediate steps moving forward.
2. Arrange an Appropriate Response
Once a sensitive situation is in play, your organization is now faced with a question: do you stay silent or speak out? It’s always best to “do the right thing” however, if they acknowledge what’s going on (in this case with Sandy Hook) they had to be prepared to steward any conversation good or bad that came along with it. When determining if it makes sense to make a statement during a sensitive situation, it’s best to do the right thing but be prepared for what may follow. If you’re not prepared, then your organization has a bigger issue.
3. If You Have Any Auto-Posting Features, Disable Them Temporarily
Auto posts (scheduling content and posting later) are now a reality for how brands communicate at scale, and the technique isn’t going away any time soon. However during a sensitive situation there is no way to better damage your brand’s equity and reputation than allowing auto posts to continue as if nothing is happening. There’s a simple solution: ask your content team to temporarily disable them until further notice. It’s absolutely fine to take a break and back to point no. 2, it’s the right thing to do.
4. Review Content Calendar
Many brands and businesses now run content calendars to help them plan in advance for posts, marketing, communications etc. If your organization does this—check your content calendar to see if there are any scheduled communications that could come off as tone deaf or inappropriate due to the situation at hand. Reschedule evergreen content for another time and remove “at risk” content. In short, proactively manage your calendar or it will manage you.
5. Watch For Any Sensitive Contents / Postings
No matter how vigilant you try to be, there will always be situations where a communication is already out in public for whatever reason, maybe the publisher wasn’t aware of the news. This is where the public can be your best ally, by alerting you to the issue and as long as you are listening, you’ll have the opportunity to correct the mistake. Do it transparently and over-communicate . If you end up deleting an offending piece of content which was not intended to offend—be sure to explain the steps you are taking.
On January, we posted a unique Twitter advertising by Snickers. On that promotion, Snickers assigned five celebrities to tweet four tweets that simply don’t match with their personality. For instance, Rio Ferdinand tweeted about knitting. Funny, isn’t it? On the fifth tweet, a photo of them having a Snicker explaining that they are “not themselves” when hungry. This campaign went virally and gained worldwide attention.
Today, we found the “similar” products with different “weird” promotional strategy. It’s Kit Kat’s Free No Wifi Zone. The point of this campaign is by putting a wifi jammer with five meters range on a public place, so people can have “actual” interaction and enjoy their time without worrying about the disruption of their mobile gadgets. Very “anti mainstream” campaign indeed!
- Refer to your blogging strategy regularly.
- Remember to use SEO friendly keywords as you develop your blog post.
- Place important keywords at the beginning of your blog title.
- Make your blog easy to understand by including bullet points.
- Remember your inbound linking strategy: bookmark your blog posts on various social bookmarking websites.
- Include a call-to-action at the end of your blog post.
- Use keyword-friendly blog URLs. You may need to activate this feature in the SEO section of your WordPress blog.
- Place a link to your blog on other pages on your website.
- Add social sharing buttons to the end of your blog posts.
- Develop a blog commenting policy and make sure your community follows the rules.
- Respond to blog comments as quick as you can. Make it within 24 hours.
- Assign someone to monitor your blog for spam and abusive comments.
- Refer to your Facebook marketing strategy often.
- Create a Facebook content schedule. This schedule includes the content you plan to post and the day/time you plan to post it.
- Before posting any content, ask yourself: ‘Will my community find this interesting or informative?’
- Determine the social media personalities most prevalent in your Facebook community, then develop content with them in mind.
- Create a branded cover image for your brand’s Facebook page and change it often to flourish your page.
- Consider including a link to your website on your cover image, in addition to a way to contact the page’s social media manager.
- Check your Facebook Insights report weekly. If you have a more robust social media tracking tool, refer to that tool regularly.
- Create a Facebook List that includes a link to your most influential community members.
- Consider subscribing to Facebook lists related to your industry.
- Use photos and videos as often possible in your posts. Community members respond best to this type of content.
- Utilize the Offers feature to promote special discounts your brand is offering to community members.
- Utilize the Promoted Post feature to highlight content you don’t want your community to miss. Choose the $50 option, then come back after you’ve spent about $10 and suspend your promoted post. This tactic is enough to jumpstart the engagement on your promoted post.
- Once the engagement has started, your post’s virality will grow on its own without the need to continue promoting your post.
- Complete your About Page. Include links to your website and other places your brand can be found on the web.
- Utilize SEO friendly keywords on your About Page.
- Connect your team members by using Google+ Hangouts for video conferencing.
- Host a Google+ Hangout event related to your industry.
- Capitalize on the Google Authorship. This allows Google to authenticate your content. Google will eventually see you as a valuable source of information.
- Create Google Events. The beauty of Google Events is that you can invite both Google+ users and non-Google+ users to your event.
- Use a professional photo as your LinkedIn profile picture.
- Include industry keywords in your profile summary and in your job descriptions.
- If you have articles/blog posts published on a respected industry website, add those publications to your profile (remember to use industry-related keywords in the article description if the keywords are not already included in the article title).
- Move your Publications section closer to the top of the page.
- Claim your unique LinkedIn URL. Use your name (or an industry keyword) in that URL.
- Include industry-related keywords in your LinkedIn profile summary.
- Add a list of skills to your profile summary – keep SEO in mind and use as many industry-related keywords as possible.
- Develop your company page on LinkedIn, then encourage your connections and employees to follow your page.
- Find and follow industry experts and thought leaders, then engage with them often.
- Import your contacts to Twitter regularly, especially if you collect email addresses for a newsletter.
- Search for industry experts by using sites like Wefollow.com and Twellow.com.
- Find people who are talking about brand and follow them.
- Reply to Twitter users who tweet about your brand.
- Search for industry-related keywords and hashtags, then follow Twitter users who are using them often.
- Create lists of your followers. These lists allow you to segment your Twitter followers into various topics.
- Always use a URL shortener when you post links, especially one that allows you to track the engagement with that link. Bit.ly is a great example of this.
- Never send automatic direct responses to your followers.
- Remember the 4-1-1 rule. For every self-promotion tweet, you should re-tweet one related & informative tweet that is not your own. You should also share four content items written by others.
- Try to keep your Tweets at no more than 100 characters. This allows your followers to easily re-tweet you without the need to edit your tweet.
- Regularly engage influential Twitter users by mentioning them in your tweet. To do this, simply @mention them in your tweet.
- Participate in industry-related Twitter chats, public conversations based around a specific topic.
If you haven’t used Airbnb, you should. Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a community marketplace for travel rentals that are used by millions of people in 192 countries around the world. It lets you rent all kinds of lodging: in houses, condos and cabins (even castles, tree houses, and igloos) right from the owner. On a given day, up to 60,000 people are deciding on their travel accommodations through Airbnb.
Airbnb is using social media to connect with customers. By taking an individual approach and engaging with clients on Twitter and Facebook, Airbnb was able to build a loyal community. Their customer service team, sales team and operations team are all completely socially integrated. To keep track of it all, they use a social media tool that we had known, HootSuite.
Airbnb is really an amazing example of how social media can streamline operations and give a huge competitive edge. This video offers a few insights:
Social media is the fastest way to spread your messages toward your audiences or prospects. However, this advantage sometime becomes a “double edged blade”, especially when they are used in the wrong ways (think when somebody hacks your official account and posting bad things about your company). When working with social media, you will need several “outs” when the situation is getting worse. Take a look at this infographic:
Being good is definitely good for business. Take a look at Google, for instance. They have an unofficial slogan called “Don’t be evil”. By giving a lot of benefits to others, Google becomes bigger. People will like you more if you think more about your surroundings rather than becomes such a self-centered businessman.
In Lima, Peru, UTEC teamed up with DraftFCB and created the world’s first water-producing billboard for a city that sits in the middle of a desert. This place receives almost no rainfall per year, an area where fresh, clean water is not guaranteed for everyone. The billboard itself is made to attract new students for the 2013 school year. It works by extracting water from the air that passes through the billboard, condensing it, cooling it and then storing it so that people can come to the billboard to collect safe drinking water.