Posts Tagged ‘internet marketing’

There’s a common misconception that social media is a cheap or free way to get your message out there. Many of us thought that at first. After all, there aren’t many barriers to its use, most platforms and apps at least have a free version available. When you come from a land where the monetary bottom line counts the most, sure, the use of online social tools might look like your free ticket to even more eyeballs. Except… they’re not.

When I lived in corporate Calgary land as the Electronic Communications Advisor at ATCO, we ran a contest for the 2010 Olympics. It was also our first opportunity to play around with social media. We had a Facebook page, I got the Twitter account up and running and we signed up for some listening tools with Radian6. We didn’t have much lead up time to building our audience before we launched the contest. And guess what? The social media bits were a flop. Sure, it felt warm and fuzzy to be able to post about all of the kids we were sending to Vancouver for a day, but what did it really do in terms of contest submissions and at connecting with a larger audience? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

In a larger context, it was a huge success. It was the first toe dip in the online social water for a major Calgary company. And overall, the response from those we did connect with was positive. Having Radian6 in place during the campaign helped me garner a lot of the data I needed to show our management team the types of conversations that were happening online directly related to our brand. Not our competitors, not some other company, but US. Yes, in this context, big success. But… do you know the hours and the fight I put in over the years to get that in place? And during the campaign, all of the time setting up the profiles and condensing the information into something they’d understand? I’d look at tag clouds, rivers of information, growing keywords and I could see the trends and get a decent picture of what was going on. But then again, I lived it, ate it and breathed it. If it’s going to be of any use at all, you have to.

Social media is NOT cheap. And it’s not low-budget either. It works in two scenarios. You either need the dollars to buy someone’s time to invest in listening or you need your own time to invest. And depending on who you are or what your organization is, it might not be the right fit for you. Do the evaluation. Make the smart choice on whether your time is better spent navigating this world and ensuring all of your current processes are running as efficiently as possible, or if it’s time to amplify your message. You might have bigger fish to fry first.

Remember. You first. Your health and well-being. Then that of your company/nonprofit/organization, this includes the employees, volunteers, customers and so on. If you’re all good in the offline world, move forward into the online world. But never, ever, ever to the detriment of your day-to-day operations. The internet amplifies. And if you’ve got problems, it makes them worse (Note: There are scenarios where we’re forced into online conversations in a time of crisis, but that’s the exception to this post). Or if things are coming along swimmingly, more will come your way. That’s just how it works. And you’ll still need a plan and a team and resources in place. Real resources. Time and money to ensure things continue to go well and you’ve got the support you require to handle the growth.

So, not free. Not low-budget. And definitely not to be taken with a grain of salt.

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I’ve been around the interwebs a long time. And I’ve seen my fair share of behaviour. I’ve been caught up in the rantings of internet trolls, excited by extreme uses of social sites, overwhelmed by trying to keep up with as much as I can… and I’ve come out the other end with sanity restored. If you’re still trying to get there, here are some tips that might help:

1. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. This is the most important for maintaining sanity. Internet trolls just seem to like to provoke people. How do you recognize them? Easy. They complain. You try and make them happy. They complain more. The cycle continues and you end up nowhere. Break the cycle. Respond once in the same forum they have. Move on.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Make a social media editorial schedule (a tip I picked up from Matt Clark, @itstrue). Follow it as consistently as you can. If it takes you more than an hour to fill it out, you’re taking too much time. Schedule less tweets until you become more proficient. Speaking of scheduling, auto-schedule your tweets and updates (I use Hootsuite)! Just fill the in-between with real conversation.

3. Use the social media rule of thirds. Post one-third content from other people, one-third that’s on topic for you and one-third that’s personal.

4. Lists are your friends. Make topical lists on Twitter wherever you can. Check in on the important ones once a week and comment to people you’d like to connect more with. Don’t worry about everyone else.

5. Be selective about your interactions. Don’t worry about being everyone’s best friend. They don’t want or need you to be. Keep your focus on what you think is relevant and chances are you’ll attract similar minded people.. thus making you relevant either way. Nay-sayers? See point number 1.

6. Quality over quantity, my friend. Always. Don’t have time to spend a quality 10 minutes getting the most out of your time online? Don’t. I’m an advocate about doing as much as you can yourself, but if you must, hire somebody else to get you started. Social media and online marketing are supportive mediums. They’re also amplifiers. Positive word of mouth gets around online. So does the negative. Make sure you’ve got a solid foundation and processes to work from. Then dive in to telling everyone about it.

7. Take a day off, or a week. The interwebs will still be there when you get back. I promise. And it really won’t take you as long as you think to get back in the swing of things. Double promise.

8. Stay realistic about your expectations, whether of online results or of people. Be clear. Be direct. Be confident enough to ask for what you want. If we don’t see your one update about something, it’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we’re busy people too.

9. Set loose goals. Yep, loose. And change them often to suit your needs. The goal is progress, not perfection. Can’t keep up with 10 updates a day? Bring it down to 5. Not sure what your goals should be? Don’t let that stop you, if you’ve got the time, experiment. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but if people stop talking about social media catastrophes like BP (not to make light of the actual environmental catastrophe preceding it), surely they won’t remember yours.

10. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Right, I said that one already, but it’s the most important point! For real, that’ll save you hours.

You’re welcome!

Bonus: When writing blog posts, never publish your first draft without rereading several hours later, or even better, the next day. (Caveat: Unless you’re at least halfway through a bottle of wine).

Albertan companies find new and creative ways to incorporate digital media. Whether creating efficiencies by streamlining communication and operations, connecting markets, or cooking up campaigns to communicate with consumers, we’re doing it. And many of us are doing it well.

If you, or one of your friends, colleagues, family members, or random project you heard about last week have made an impact on your industry because of your use of technology, you’ll want to check out the Digital Alberta Awards.

Categories:

  • Best in Social Media
  • Mobile Innovation
  • Best Digital Design
  • Best in Cross-Platform Content
  • Best In Financial Services
  • Best Social Impact
  • B2C Innovation
  • B2B Innovation
  • Best Digital Startup
  • Best in E-learning
  • Best in Gaming
  • Government 2.0
  • Best Use of Film, Animation or
    Special FX
  • Best Combined Hardware &
    Software Experience
  • Best Digital Advertising/Marketing
    or Design Agency
  • Student Digital Award

Deadline for submission: May 6th

Questions? Contact joanne@digitalalberta.com