In just over a month, Charlotte, NC will be hosting a much needed search marketing conference called Search Exchange. It’s focus will be on Marketing on the Internet (SEO.SEM.PPC) and Social Media combined. Typically we attend search expos around the country such as SMX, and PubCon, but North Carolina always seems to get the short end, so instead of flying around the country, this is in our backyard…we are thrilled!
We are also proud to announce that our very own, Ty Downing, CEO of Perspective Internet Marketing will be a speaker on day 2 of the event reviewing some powerful case studies on the effects of an effective social media strategy from redbox, and SUBWAY sponsored Slim Down Challenge.
It’s not every day you get Chris Brogan from New Marketing Labs as a keynote speaker this close either. There are several more ‘Rock Stars’ of Internet Marketing and Social Media going to converge May 17th-19th 2010, so you best get your tickets now, tickets are selling fast! Here is ticket info.
We hope to see you there!
It’s amazing how the landscape of the internet is evolving, especially with regards social media. The way we do business these days has changed, and unless you change your old ways of doing business, you will become extinct.. (Video Below, you must watch!)
Never since the 1800’s has this country seen such a "Social economy" shift, so it’s vital to get involved in social media, that is where people are, your community, your customers are hanging out.
Social media engagement is all about trust, if they know you, trust you, they will buy from you period. Remember "Advocacy" is your $$ ROI. If they like you as person, "they" will tell people about you and your services, thus you should not come across as ’selling’, but be a ‘contributor’.
One last tip…Don’t just ‘Fire’ and throw yourself into social media and barrage people with your services, links, etc..Remember this point: "You never get a second chance at a first impression"
I invite you to watch this video (Afterward, leave a comment if you agree or disagree with the video), as it beautifully explains the change in business practices. It’s about the relationship between an advertiser and a consumer. They’ve agreed to meet in a restaurant. The man’s feeling perfectly happy, until the woman makes a painful announcement: she wants a divorce…..watch what happens.
1) CHECK WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE
Before you jump to any social networks, communities or other tools, find out
WHERE your customers are. And the best way is to search them in the Internet,
check LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo Groups and find them one way or the other. And if you still have a good relationship with them, ASK.
2) SUBSCRIBE TO THE SOCIAL WEB
Once you know, subscribe to the sites and explore. Invest in your profile, put up a photo, let people know what you like and what not, show your inner self in a professional way. You can’t expect anybody to connect with a stranger. Once your profile is in good shape connect with your trusted friends, colleagues, partners, vendors, resellers and then of course customers you know. At that stage it’s just a connection.
3) UNDERSTAND YOUR NETWORK
Learn all about the people in your network learn what they do, what their interest is, what their skills are what their goal in life is – everything. You will build up a new asset of unparalleled value compared to what you have today – your rolodex or link list in LinkedIn or whatever. You will learn the people and their behavior their interests and their pain without asking a single question. At this point you haven’t contributed – you are just an observer.
What used to be the accepted status quo “Sales Process” (identifying targets in the market, separating leads from a mass of inquiries, and distilling them through some exploration of cold calls and negotiation) has changed forever.
Social media has become the most important marketing initiative today because it has actually changed (or adapted) the “Sales Process” into the “Buying Process”. With peers talking with peers sharing advice and comments about all of their purchases and experiences, this has created a buzz amongst prosumer’s, a confidence or empowerment, that is unstoppable.
To continue to be relevant in the marketplace and avoid extinction, the “New” Sales Funnel has had to yield to the Prosumer’s being in control, captaining the ship, if you will. This means the salesperson’s role is now one of guiding or being a well-educated navigator in the purchasing process. As Larry McClymonds said: “The new form of relationships selling isn’t about selling anymore, it’s about helping the customers buy.”
With this new openness provided by the “navigator”, the prosumer will now reciprocate that openness (at least over time), which will result in the old “Sales Process” of the tedious, opinionated, strong arm process of selling to consumers will eventually evaporate.
I have been getting a lot of DM’s about the earlier Consumer or Prosumer post. The consensus was, ok but “what do I do now if I see that I am old school’? and “How do I change it”? First, I commend you for your honesty (more business leaders needs more humility when it comes to examining their business model and accepting that changing to a social media system is going to be disruptive to the current one in place, but it is critical) and second, you ask very good questions.
As those of us who run businesses, we find ourselves in the most anxiety filled time in modern history; along with that, there are a couple of obstacles we have to acknowledge first before proceeding. Today’s climate is hard on us as business leaders, with uncertainty at every turn, the complexity of adjusting to new demands, increasingly shorter product lifecycles, competition, etc., there are the facts., which can lead some to succumb to the “eat or be eaten” mentality. Ahh – what to do??? Please step away from the ledge… slowly…. thank you. Here are just a few helpful suggestions, to see things from the Prosumer’s perspective that may help us tweak our operation and get us on the right path without having to do a lot of heavy lifting:
Well, which is it? How do you view customers and your relationship with them amidst this great shift in consumer behavior?
“What is the difference between Consumer and Prosumer?”, you may ask. Is this just semantics; more Internet ‘mumbo-jumbo’ or propaganda to keep us as business owners in the dark as to where our marketing dollars are disappearing to? You ask very good questions!
By definition, Consumer is: “One that consumes, one that acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership” or put another way, “A heterotrophic organism that ingests other organisms or organic matter in a food chain.” It’s all about the sale, who cares about the person. Ever been on the other end of that? Wow, what a selfish, demeaning view of our valued customers, definitely web 1.0!
Now a Prosumer is: “One who is converse to the consumer, denoting an active role as the individual gets more involved in the process.” That’s right, we are interested in others 1st, sharing, giving, earning their trust. Hmm… you mean customers have feelings? Opinions? They are not just mindless “organisms” who just “consumes” matter? (Yuck – who would want one of THOSE in your store.) You better, if you want to have a store in the near future.
I have been chewing on this for some time and is partially the reason why I have chosen to attend SOMA, because I want to really understand this, and I have also grown cold to much of the empty advice out there, along with all the spam I get promising me that I can “Use Twitter to make Millions Today!” or “From Facebook to Your Checkbook in 30 minutes!”, (Yuck, I am making myself sick.)
So, I was happy to see this important subject on our agenda in class last week, and we began dissecting this idea, and will further this week.
The session started off with a truism; “What you can measure you can manage, and what you can manage get’s done.” Obviously, we know that. To be effective as a social media consultant, more is needed than just getting 1,000’s of people on your wall, page views, video downloads, popularity rankings, or the number of DM’s you get each day. It’s about measuring personal interactions, what method of user-generated content is working and which isn’t, then adjusting. Online consumer response and market interaction is much more dynamic than the old school ways of SEO, they just don’t work. (BTW: clarification – SEO and social media – not the same thing)
Finally approaching release, I was able to get a beta of the new version of Twhirl and compare it with another tool I like TweetDeck. (You can get on the beta of 0.8.8. here). Already today, in about 12 hours 2000 (yes, 2000!) from more than 30 countries have downloaded the preview version of our new Twhirl.
For a comparison of Twhirl and TweetDeck, this article is pretty balanced in it’s side by side analysis, even though in the end (prior to the enhancements in 0.8.8., Twhirl still was the leader).
Obviously today, was a busy day for my friend and founder of Twhirl, Loic Le Meur and the whole team @seesmic.com and yet he was able to send me this video message of how it went today before he boarded a plane to Europe. You are the man, Loic!
In my SOMA class today this subject came up and I think after considering the topic thoroughly it’s an important one to talk about. Considering that Money Talks and many budgets (or “Google dollars”) have been frozen due to the economy and fragile financial outlook with the Dow up and down like a yo-yo, as IM professionals, it merits some discussion so I am posting it here for your consideration.
First, we know that specifically targeted, well thought out PPC campaigns often can jumpstart a new site or service. Second, we also agree that we have all used PPC and have had mixed results (this is important since often we are spending some else’s money). So, although PPC is important in the traditional SEO/SEM realm, (and despite Google’s ongoing and changing statements in support of them) CTR reports are revealing that for the dollars spent, this is not very efficient way to allocate marketing budget dollars. Also, it’s important to know that this should not surprise us since suspicions of this are nothing new. In fact, many who specialize in PPC campaigns have been noticing this for some time, like Don Lim who wrote a spot on article on this back in November 2007 entitled Google AdSense losing its effectiveness?!
I’m happy to announce that Tim, our social media leader here at Perspective, will be attending SOMA Leadership Class this semester beginning January 23, 2009! He will be getting certified as an expert in the social media field and look forward to his input into exactly how to help business leaders understand the impact (and importance) of social media, how to develop and implement a real social media solution, building and launching an online community, and much, much more. Check out the very comprehensive curriculum here.
Congratulations Tim! We look forward to your blogging about what your learning and helping us all become even better equipped in this exploding segment. Tim has been dedicated to this area and is developing into one of the most sought after Social Media Experts in the nation. Here at Perspective, we to are expanding our services and focus onto social media consulting to meet the need of business who want to be more successful in this new era.