June 03, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Online Reputation Management

By Li Evans

This week's online marketing tips video is all about online reputation management in social media and search marketing.  It's a little different look beyond just monitoring with Google alerts and buzz monitoring tools (the first tip).  Buy building relationships and loosing your grip, these tips can also help you with your reputation online.

Reputation Management Online Tips Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Online Reputation Management" »

May 12, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Community Building

By Li Evans

Finally I'm back with our Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing!

Today I decided to focus on Community Building in Social Media.  It's under 3 minutes, quick and to the point about 3 tips for helping to build the community around your blog, forum, or even networking group like those on Facebook or LinkedIn.  Enjoy!

Full Community Building Tips Video transcript after the jump ....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Community Building" »

May 11, 2009

How to Get Over the Ouch Syndrome in Blogging

By Li Evans

Detractors Let's face it, no one likes to hear "bad" things about themselves.  It's never more true when you have a corporate PR or Marketing department who's only job is to "spin".  But negative thoughts, comments and situations are a given whenever a company enters into the public spectrum.  There is always a detractor somewhere.  This is why companies who are entering into the social media space really need to be prepared to accept the love as well as the "non-love" with their brand, products or services.

So with a little inspiration from the group on Sunday night's #blogchat group and from Debra Mastaler (who I've personally called the Link Goddess) I present some ways for companies to get over the "ouch" of starting a blog.

  1. Grow a Thick Skin
    Everyone has a detractor.  That old saying that you need a "thick skin" or just let it roll off like "duck off a waters back" is very true when it comes to blogging.  Blogging naturally attracts emotions of all kinds.  People love you, people hate you, you as the company or blog owner need to have a thick skin to be able to accept both the negative and positive comments the posts on your blog will attract.  The biggest thing is don't freak out!  The next biggest thing is don't go into the standard "defense" mode.  Think things through before you actually respond to a negative comment.
  2. Don't Engage (or Feed) the Trolls
    Don't feed the trolls anymore goats than you need too. It's a bit tough to pick out the constant complainer & avid troll, from that customer who loves you but just has this one complaint or two.  Understanding the difference is key.  It means the difference from having a constant enemy to having the most evangelical fan out their for your brand, product or service.
  3. Allow Comments on Your Blog
    Don't be a one way communication device.  The days of just jamming a marketing message down your audience's throat is gone.  Even though it is technically your soapbox, blogging requires at least two way communication.  Even more it requires community participation to become authentic and authoritative, that's why comments are vitally important to a successful blog.
  4. Post a Comment & Trackback Policy Prominently on Your Blog
    To make things clear, and fair, companies should post (very visibly) policies about what types of comments and trackbacks they will recieve and publicly post.  This protects both the audience and the comment poster (not to mention the blog itself).  Having a policy that points out you will not accept comments that are vulgar, defamatory on a personal nature or racist in any way avoids companies from having to post such negative garbage and having to defend themselves against it.  Post a link to your comments & trackback policies prominently on your blog to avoid this type of nonsense.
  5. Don't Moderate for Negative Comments
    As much as anyone hates negative comments about themselves, you have to let them through, you can't moderate them out, not if you want to be taken seriously.  Even if the person thinks you are the worst brand to walk the planet earth, you have to have that think skin (referr to bulletin item #1) and just let that negative roll right off your back.  Look deeper into the comment and try to understand why the commenter is upset.  A lot of times negative commenters are really people who like you but are just really upset because you disappointed them in some way, shape or form.  By taking the time to figure that out and addressing it, you have the opportunity to turn that negativer commenter into your biggest evangelist!
  6. Admit When You Are Wrong
    If you were wrong, or your company did wrong, don't avoid it - just admit it and get it over with.  By admitting that you did wrong on your blog - whether its through blog comments or through a blog post itself, just admit you were wrong.  By admitting you were wrong, you'll gain a lot more respect from your audience, as well as loyalty.  We're all human, we all make mistakes, but when you can admit to those mistakes in a public forum, something that sticks around for a while, it creates a whole new dimension to your "trust factor" as will s strengthening your relationship with your audience.

I'm sure there's other tips out there for dealing with the "ouch" syndrome, do you have something that worked for you?  Would love to hear about it!

Follow Li Evans on Twitter

April 22, 2009

A Pizza Hut PR Stunt Or a Social Media Blunder Waiting to Happen?

By Li Evans

Yummy-pizza To kick off the work week Twitter was all abuzz with news that Pizza Hut wanted to hire a summer intern to man their Twitter account. The story even made the New York Times. I really don't know what made me roll my eyes more, that the NY Times gave this obvious PR Stunt credibility or that the Vice President for marketing communications at Pizza Hut (Bob Kraut), actually stated "The successful applicant will speak fluent OMG and LOL and correctly use the terms DM (direct message), RT (retweet) and # (hashtag)." to make himself sound cool and hip.

For the record, if you tweeted DM it wouldn't work on Twitter, it's "D" for direct message, let alone they left out knowing how to reply to twitterers with the "@" symbol.

Tom Martin, who writes at Positive Disruption asked if this "Twiternship" was Ethical, its a very interesting look at the situation and a very thought provoking piece if you into marketing, PR and social media.  It kept me coming back to even more questions, beyond asking if this was just a PR Stunt to draw people away from the Domino's video fiasco.

You Seriously Want an Intern Handling Your International Brand on an International Stage?

Pizza Hut is not just a national brand, but an international one.  Twitter isn't just a U.S. based tool, its a world wide tool.  Now, stop and think.  Would any company be crazy enough to let an intern who doesn't know the inner workings of their global brand (carefully crafted messaging they've spent millions on) plan, prepare, run and speak at an international press event that launches your brand on an international stage?

Continue reading "A Pizza Hut PR Stunt Or a Social Media Blunder Waiting to Happen?" »

March 20, 2009

When It Comes to Twitter & Celebrities Its Not About Conversation

By Li Evans

Hollywood-stars-and-wannabes I'm going to indulge in a little guilty pleasure this Friday. I decided to start poking around a few Celebrity Twitter Accounts to see how some of these "stars" are using Twitter.  There's a wide variety of ways it's being used, but for the most part when it comes to Celebrity Twitter accounts, its definitely not about conversations with their communities or fan bases.

Perhaps its just the way celebrities are, that whole "look at me" factor that 95% of them are in the entertainment industry for.  It goes with the territory I suppose, we the adoring fan base waiting on bended ear to hear something great fall from their lips, or in this case, tweet from their fingertips.  Its all apart of the voyeurism of celebrities, if we didn't like to watch these celebrity train wrecks there wouldn't be a TMZ, Perez Hilton of US Magazine.

For the most part a lot of the Celebrity Twitter Accounts I'm going to list are basically just Public Relations or "Handler" controlled accounts (especially in the Music Industry) that are used a just another vehicle to get the word out about new albums, tour dates, ringtones, guest star appearances or pushes to vote for songs.  For other celebrities its about pushing their shows, videos, and guest appearances.  There's a definite difference in how engage some of these celebrities are.

There's also a difference when it comes to how "popular" the celebrity is, and their use of Twitter.  But in rare cases, like that of Jane Fonda, they understand Twitter and actually use some of the technology that's sprung up around it.  Jane uses hash tags to relate her tweets to things going on in the twitterverse, and although she really doesn't hold conversations, you don't get that "fake" PR Handler feel from her account like you would from say country music star's Faith Hill's twitter account.

Continue reading "When It Comes to Twitter & Celebrities Its Not About Conversation" »

March 02, 2009

Skittles & Social Media - Obviously a Company that Doesn't Get It

By Li Evans

Via Mashable this morning, I found out that Skittles changed its homepage.  Now, normally this wouldn't be news, no more than launching a new site.  But here's the kicker, they changed their homepage to a Twitter stream about Skittles.

Now, at first glance this may seem really neat, but let's dig underneath the surface here a bit.

  • Does Skittles control the @Skittles account?  Nope!

  • Does Skittles actively participate in discussions on Twitter?  Nope!

  • Does Mars, Inc., its parent company participate on Twitter?  Nope!

Now on the surface, this may seem really cool and hip, using this new trendy service Twitter, in an unusual way.  Heck it's having word of mouth effects - people are talking about this.  Unfortunately in due time this could turn around and create a big PR problem for Skittles & Mars, Inc..


They are just pulling up a stream on Twitter that references people using the word "Skittles" in their tweets.  This leaves the company's home page ripe for Twitter spamming, and worse, for people to make a mockery of the Skittles brand.  In due time this could create a nightmare for Mars, Inc, if people continue to take advantage that their tweets are now on display for a national audience.

For example, take a look at what I caught on this screen capture below (my apologies if this offends anyone, please be forewarned there are offensive words in this screen capture, that is not my intent and that tweet does not reflect my own feelings), or this tweet that appeared as well (again, can be offensive to some).


Skittles doesn't even offer anything into the conversation.  Twitter users know that twitter is about discussions.  They don't even have a Twitter account to hold a conversation - at this juncture in time.  If they did, I'm hard press to find it - and they aren't advertising it.

I'm sure usability folks could have a field day with this latest revamp of the Skittles site too, to replace it with a twitter stream and have a javascript piece follow you down the page for navigation, just begs for a usability expert to rip it to shreds.  Add in the box that demands you agree to their terms, and another annoying box about typing in some URL before you can even navigate off the twitter stream into Skittles other pages, wow, just a nightmare.

This isn't social media folks, seriously, for it to be social media, Skittles has to be engaging in the conversation, and they aren't. If they were truly into social media, they'd have a Twitter account, engage in the conversation, much like @Maggiano's is or @WholeFoods or @Zappos.    What skittles has done has gotten other people to talk about Skittles, at this point in time early in the convo they haven't spoken, so it's all one sided.  Social Media requires a conversation (them talking with people), this, is just basically an electronic billboard on the web that says "look who using the word Skittles!" 

Its a unique billboard I give them that, but that's about it.

One last point, Mars, Inc. should think about, too. Twitter, on a good day, can't handle the traffic it has reliably (it's getting better), so Skittles will be at the mercy of Twitter for its exposure.  I don't know if I'd want to bank my brand's exposure on it like this.

January 14, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Forum & Message Board Marketing Strategies

By Li Evans

Are Forums & Message Boards dead?  Hardly!  In fact according to Charlene Li's Groundswell, it's the 2nd most popular thing people are doing in social media (next to watching videos). 

Companies and their marketers need to be weary though entering into these unique areas of communication with their potential audiences, there are rules to be obeyed and honesty of who you are to be pronounced.  These three tips should help you start to build a solid strategy for working in forums and message boards.

Full transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Forum & Message Board Marketing Strategies" »

January 05, 2009

What Jury Commissioners & Judges Could Learn by Taking a SouthWest Flight

By Li Evans

Jury-duty-box Yes, I know a rather bizarre blog post title, but bare with me and it will all make sense in just a short time.  This post, btw, is all owed to my ever creative buddy Donna Fontenot.  Always in the most bizarre situations Donna manages to challenge me to find a story out of my most bizarre situations.

So today, I had Jury Duty.

I was a grump, total absolute grump (ask my friend with the beautful hair).  I didn't sleep well, because I kept having dreams I missed Jury Duty and the Sheriffs were after me to come and serve.  So with lack of sleep, and a total lack of desire to do my civic duty, I headed down to the opposite end of my county.  I even managed to avoid some rather annoying traffic, so at least I didn't have road rage to add to my list.

After getting through security and checking my coat to some lady who was way to cheery for that early in the morning, I sat with about 50 other people in what I can only compare to a holding cell, with amenities and lots of "Don't Do This" signs.  We sat there for about 20 minutes till they "marshaled" us into the Jury Marshaling room.  There we got scanned in like produce, and told to go sit and wait some more.  Soon enough the Jury Comissioner came to the front of the room, gave a speech about this and that (very boring), showed us a video (very boring), then had a judge preach to us, finally wrapping up with more do's and don'ts.  It reminded me of the normal airline safety speech.

I've never heard the "speech" from the Jury Commissioner before.  I've never saw the video they showed before.  I never heard the speech from the judge that came to spoke to us before.  I'll never remember any of them either.  It all translated to me as "Blah Blah Blah".

After Donna challenged me, I got to thinking, wouldn't it be interesting to put the Judge and the Jury Comissioner on a Southwest flight and ask them to learn from it?  How can they get their potential jurors to not only really pay attention to the job at hand, but to CARE about what they are about to be entrusted to do?

How could they make the experience more beneficial not just for the jurors, but for all parties involved (I'm talking about lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, etc.).  How can they make the experience seem like less of an inconvenience and a lot more tolerable?  Of course Government workers aren't marketers, and of course I know enough to be realistic that thinking like this from Government entities like this would not happen in my lifetime (but I could wish right? Obama did use Social Media, so there is SOME hope).

I also understand budgets are limited, and rules and regulations must be followed, but with what I expereinced this Jury Selection / Jury Duty process is more of a disservice to all parties involved and an actual civic duty. 

So I turn this around to marketing.  How do you get a totally disinterested audience, a grumpy audience, an annoyed audience to pay attention, listen, and most of all care?

Judge I wrote about Getting Your Audience to Listen  by relating my with my flight on SouthWest story to you all.  You start by doing the unordinary.  That gets their attention, and it gets them to listen.  So instead of the Judge droning on about this being a privelege so you can have your driver's license and so you can vote, perhaps he should have likened the situation we were presently in to Law & Order .... and then stopped and said "that's really not how it works".  It would have gotten a lot more people to relate and understand, rather than a judge preaching/droning on.

How do you get them to react?  On my Southwest flight people actually applauded the the man who gave the safety speech.  Talk about an unusual reaction.  So how do you get your uninvolved, grumpy, uninterested audience to react.  Again, it goes back to doing the unordinary and unexpected.  In this case, the judge could have been more interactive, we expected him to "speak AT us", not hold a conversation with us.  Had he held a coversation, it would have been totally unexpected and more engaging and not been interrepted as "Blah Blah Blah" by 75% of the audience.

In this case it all starts with the Judge and the Jury Comissioner.  If they have a passion for the judicial process, they should express that!  The judge, by all accounts has a passion for the law, he wouldn't have ran for Judge if he didn't love it.  Instead of preaching, he should be demonstrating his passion.  Instead of thinking he has to be locked into this stoic and reserved personna, wouldn't it be of more value to say "this is why I love the law, this is why each and every day I'm amazed by what you as jurors can do to help ensure our judicial process keeps in check"?

If you love what you do, don't be afraid to share it, express it and turn that mundane "civic duty" your audience is being tortured with, into something extraordinary.

Think about it, are you expressing the passion for what you love to do (your business), with your audience?  Maybe that's why they aren't listening!

December 16, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Turning Your Friends Into Fans

By Li Evans

Due to SES Chicago and traveling last week, there wasn't a Tuesday's Tips video last week.  This week though we've got a new Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video and it's all about turning those friends you've accumulated into Fans or evangelists.  From giving up some control to asking your friends to help, there's three tips in this video that can help you reach out, interact and turn those acquaintances into your biggest customer advocates.

Full Turning Your Friends Into Fans Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Turning Your Friends Into Fans" »

December 03, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Engaging Your Audience

By Li Evans

I know it'd Wednesday, but still working on fixing the kinks with my software.  Let me tell you, Adobe CS4 Premiere Pro is a memory hog!  More so than CS3 - big difference.  I wrestled with things till very late last night and decided to finish it up today. 

This week we've got 3 tips on how to Engage Your Audience.  Whether its your blog, your community or even MySpace or Facebook, these 3 tips if put into a social media strategy can help you interact, and engage the members of your audience and maybe even turn them into evangelists!

Full "Engaging Your Audience" Video Transcript After The Jump...

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Engaging Your Audience" »

Get SMG Today - Free!

Get SMG by RSS What Is RSS?
Get Search Marketing Gurus Today via RSS! Add to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to netvibes
Get SMG in Your Bloglines
Get SMG in Your NewsGator Online

Get SMG by E-Mail
Subscribe to SMG via Email
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

SMG Conversations

If You Like SMG Favorite Us on Technorati!
Add to Technorati Favorites
If You Like What SMG Has To Say, Joins Us At These Places!
Subscribe on YouTube to SMG's Videos
follow Li on Twitter
Follow Li on FriendFeed

Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008 SearchMarketingGurus.com