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Marketing Today Can Make Your Head Spin

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I’m developing a marketing plan to help AmericanVETradio find new listeners and, perhaps, gain some new partnerships and advertisers. As part of my background research, I went to a website called Slideshare to see what presentations people have developed that might give me some ideas. I found a title that intrigued me, “101 ideas for Internet Marketing.” That sounded like it might have a lot of good advice so I clicked on the link.  As it turned out, the presentation was actually called “Internet Marketing How to do it effectively [sic].” It was literally just a list of 101  tips. There wasn’t much of a logical flow to the information nor was it conveniently grouped in categories. I wondered how someone starting a business would react to a plain PowerPoint presentation such as this.

So how would I update this presentation into something that would give a novice an overview of marketing? Luckily, at the same time I was doing the marketing research, I was also looking at an interesting new tool to put a spark back into presentations called Prezi. Wait, before you click the red X to close this page down, hear me out. It’s a pretty cool method of turning boring slides into a presentation with movement. After several hours of playing around with Prezi, I put together a very high overview of some categories that a person might want to consider before jumping into social media and interactive marketing for a new business. Here is my first draft. I would like to know what you think of my first draft, Social Media and Interactive Marketing.

Smart Decisions to Grow a Social Business

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Our third required reading for “Using Social and Digital Media” was “Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization” by Michael Brito. I think it is a very informative book that companies should pay attention to as they move forward in their business practices. As I began to read it, I didn’t see much in the early chapters that would help AmericanVETradio. They’re more focused on steps established businesses should follow as they move forward with social media internally and as they allow their employees to engage with customers externally through social media platforms.

I could relate to the early chapters, though, because I saw social media initiatives grow organically through the government consulting firm (I’ll refer to it as ABC) I worked at for several years. Not surprisingly, the progression was much like the book outlines with an exception. We weren’t doing only to sell a product or service. We started hearing that several of our government clients wanted to delve into areas like Twitter and the blogosphere because they had heard how their peers were “using them so effectively.” Unfortunately, some were clueless as to what they actually were supposed to do with social media and were looking for advice and thought leadership. There were several forward thinking ABC employees (many of them in their 20s or early 30s) who were using their personal Twitter accounts and blogs quite effectively, but we needed more organizational experience and expertise.

ABC had internal blog and file sharing platforms, but some of the employees were wary of using them because it was an intranet-based system. Other employees not located within the main geographic footprint of the company had trouble connecting remotely so the intranet didn’t work well for them. One of our employees started a Yammer account to facilitate discussion and file sharing outside of the intranet but within a controlled population. “Smart Business, Social Business” (SBSB) describes Yammer as a microblog that allows employees to share files, send direct messages, and can grow as a company expands. For our company, it worked quite well. There were several “super users” who facilitated discussions and started thought-provoking topics. We could post a question and often get help more quickly than trying to find the same information through official channels or through our intranet portal.

Screenshot from ABC’s Yammer site.

We found a couple of key drawbacks as our organization’s population on Yammer grew. You have to establish rules about what posters can and should talk about. Brito discusses this in his chapter on Governance. Yammer is not inside a company’s intranet. It is subject to hacking that the company can’t control and the possibility of monitoring by unwanted outsiders. For example, there is also no way to have employee accounts auto-delete when they leave your company because there is no official link between the two networks. You have to have a good gardener who is diligent in managing users and deleting accounts when they move on. You don’t want a disgruntled former employee continuing to have access and possibly learning company secrets. You also can’t be sure that someone sneaks in, so you have to be careful about discussion client work. In ABC’s case, we were told not to discuss client projects by name or to give specifics that would make projects easily identifiable. It was these kinds of experiences and insights that helped us speak intelligently about micro blogging sites when clients asked.

The back sections of “Smart Business, Social Business” are more relevant to AmericanVETradio in its current state than the front chapters. The station is new so it doesn’t have any employee base yet. What it needs to develop first is an audience. Right now, much of awareness for AmericanVETradio is through word-of-mouth campaigns by friends and former colleagues and coworkers. Chapter 10, “The Rise of Customer Advocacy” will help as we develop a social media campaign. It describes two key audiences that companies must ensure are well informed, Influences and Advocates. Influencers are the most far-reaching experts that a product can have. Their reach is generally far and wide. An Advocate, on the other hand, has a smaller sphere of influence, but can be more effective if a company has a good advocacy awareness and empowerment campaign strategy. While we need both to help spread the word, Advocates are at the center of a purchase because they often share their likes and dislikes more readily across the web and through their natural conversations. As you see from this graphic from SBSB, these people go through the steps to become purchasers, and like a product so much that they  spread the word to others. This is what we want.

The “Advocate” Purchase Funnel,” page 181.

As we move forward, we will definitely have to ensure we grow our Advocate community by finding those people who are already Advocates and ensuring they help us find others. If we can build a database of listeners, say through a sign-up system, we can then send them out a survey to see what they like and dislike about the station. That will help us refine our programming to what people want rather than what we think they want.

“Smart Business, Social Business” has some great tips for organizations that want to move forward with social marketing.  If you are thinking of setting up social media for your organization, this book should be on your bookshelf as well!

Remember, AmericanVETradio is the internet radio station Veterans can tune into for news and information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Please let listen in and then let us know what you think.