Why We're On Facebook

My company have been lucky enough to run a Facebook campaign for Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet this academic year. As I’ve written before it’s really been a key part of helping them achieve their goals.

It’s also been a great lesson for me.

Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet Södermalm | FacebookThe brief was to build a community through social media (Yes, we ran a blog, a Twitter account AND a Formspring.me account too) and get students from the company’s junior high schools to opt to study at their senior high school.

Schools in Sweden are funded by the income generated by each student. Effectively, the local authorities give schools a certain amount of money per student to cover their running costs. It is not possible to charge fees in Sweden.

The blog helped improve the school increase web traffic, generate more traffic from Google search and performed very well for the keywords we targeted. But it was Facebook that did the most to build community.

Facebook Rules!

Talking to the management team at Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet they were surprised Facebook was such a success. Especially as the school didn’t even allow access to the site on campus, initially continuing to block sites that they perceived as time-wasters at the start of term. [Read more...]

3 Tips for Online Content Marketing Success

ontent marketing success

So which way are you headed?

The success of your online content marketing always rests on whether you’re getting the right message in the right format to the right audience and in the right way.

It sounds simple in theory but you’d be amazed at how many (small!) businesses can’t work this out.

Identify your audience?

Are you selling services, consulting, products, you name it? Before you know who to target, you need to clarify what you’re actually selling in the first place. Other wise how will you know what online content to create in the first place?

Identify your audience?

The next step to achieving success with your content marketing is to figure out where you’re prospective clients actually are! Small businesses in Stockholm? B2B marketers in Chicago? French-speaking CEOs? It doesn’t matter what you’re selling if you’re not actually talking to the right people in the first place.

Find out where they are online, create a content marketing strategy document that includes details of where prospects hang out online and let your people know about this. You and your people need to understand exactly who you’re company is targeting.
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Your Community Matters

If you’re looking for success in social media your company doesn’t need an audience. It needs a community.


Audiences listen. Sit passively. Sometimes get really excited. They shout a lot and have fun. And they’ll even sing along.

You can get an audience by shouting at people – but only for a split second or two. Perhaps that’s why there are so many one hit wonders in the music industry.

Audiences tire of things very quickly and are often ready to move on to something new. They have an insatiable thirst for something new, hotter, sexier, better looking.
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Formspring.me and Business Users (Podcast 2)

The Online Communications Podcast

Episode 2# of the Online Communications Podcast looks at Formspring.me, which I’ve discussed on this blog in the last month.

Content:

  • What is Formspring.me?
  • How can a business use it?
  • Senior High School case study

Get The Online Communications Podcast

The Online Communications Podcast (TOCP) Episode 2# was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden on May 24, 2010.

You can contribute comments here or at TOCP’s home. If you’d like to record a comment, please email me a sound file at jontusmedia at gmail dot com

Web Visibility, Social Media and Online Communications Training

It’s been a very intense week (six months?) for me and I’m just coming down off the back of my third communications training session since Friday. The focus of all my talks has been communicating online and working with content. Or to put it another way, I’ve talked til I’m hoarse about social media, content and engineering presence and web visibility.

It’s been tough, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed discussing things with some very talented scientists, administrators, and students.

No, I haven’t heard of social media

Of the 75 people or so I talked to, just a very small handful are active on Twitter (hello Sibel !). The vast majority had Facebook accounts. No one admitted to being on MySpace, and absolutely no one had heard of Formspring.me. About half were under 30 and the rest were somewhere between 30 and 50.

For all our talk in the marcom sector of social media marketing, content marketing, web visibility and the “new rules” of PR, it’s very clear that these issues are new to so many people – even those that are interested in increasing their web visibility.

Yes, they might understand how it works when you show them slides of how social media and content marketing being used in the B2B and B2C sectors, and follow what you’re saying. It is, however, a different step entirely to expect them to easily pick up what’s happening and implement the strategies and techniques that those of us that work with content marketing often take for granted.

Content Marketing and Web visibility for Beginners

The most frequent question that comes up when you talk about content marketing to an audience of “normal” people – i.e. non-content marketers! – is: “How will I find time to produce all this content? I have a life!”
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How to Hire Great Staff to Work with Social Media

A company I know is looking to hire a permanent member of staff who’ll work with social media. Trouble is, they know very little about social media themselves.

They’ve heard plenty about the benefits of social media. I know they’ve even seen a campaign generate some great results, but that was after they outsourced (to me! Yes, I know. Shameless self-promotion!).

On the back of the success they’ve had, they’ve decided to hire someone full-time to join their staff. Trouble is, they don’t really know where to start having previously let me run with the ball.

Before You Advertise the Position

The first rule of thumb is to identify your objectives. Or rather, the end objective. Where do you want this social media / marcom hire to fit into your team and what you do want them to achieve and contribute to your business?

If you don’t understand what successful social media marketing and communications are to begin with, you run the risk of hiring the wrong person. Or even getting the wrong fit for your company. Someone who thought they would be working with marketing but basically ends up a general dog’s body for anything vaguely associated with communications isn’t likely to be a happy bunny.

So before you even go out with your job ad, you need to have some understanding of what you’re looking to recruit and achieve in the first place. Otherwise, both you and the new employee could find yourselves very frustrated down the line.

So perhaps it’s time to take that extra month to research and understand social media before you rush into a knee-jerk appointment. There are plenty of resources out on the Net. Or you could also consult with an existing consultant to discuss your needs.

What to Ask?

Let’s say you’ve got a better understanding of social media now and you’ve put your advert out to recruit a member of staff who’ve you’ve decided to call your “Community Manager”.

Their key responsibilities will include:

  • Setting up and running the company blog
  • Running the new Facebook Page you started a month ago but really hasn’t taken off
  • Developing a presence on Twitter to connect with customers
  • Media monitoring and crisis management

and producing content for the company in-house Newsletter, Intranet and external communications like press releases, marketing copy, etc.
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Is Formspring.me on Your Radar?

Check out my podcast on Formspring.me and Business Users

Are you on Formspring.me yet? Have you even heard of it?

I admit that I hadn’t until I listened to this week’s brilliant Twist Image podcast with Mitch Joel and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Within a day of installing it on a client’s site however I realised how massive this particular social media service could be. The “Ask us anything” invitation is a brilliant call-to-action, designed to engage.

Getting Users to Interact

I installed the Formspring’s widget on a client’s website to see what response we’d get. They’re a school who moved to social media marketing this academic marketing after they approached me to help them recruit new students.

Facebook, blogging and Twitter have really helped in building a community. But just one day of Formspring.me resulted in 15 questions that told me a lot about the concerns of 16-year old prospective senior high school students.

Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet formspring.me

Are you using Formspring.me?


Unlike a forum, this is easy to use and you can connect it to your Twitter or Facebook account to pipe out the questions to other channels. Students (customers?) can ask whatever they want.

Sure, I can see that some people will abuse the service and perhaps ask inappropriate questions and be vulgar and obnoxious because they can hide under the veil of anonymity. But this is also an incredibly useful way to get instant feedback on what your community is thinking.
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What if your CEO just doesn't get social media?

A senior manager at a major Swedish company goes for his annual meeting with the CEO and C suite to discuss how things are going with the company.

The senior manager –let’s call him Pete– talks excitedly about how the social media marketing initiative his division has running for the last 8 months has been a massive success; how it’s improved customer relations and staff relationships. Pete is positive about what the Net and online communication can do and wants the go-ahead to invest in similar initiatives.

The CEO listens interestedly then says, “I’m not on Facebook. In fact, we had to discipline a staff member in another office for using Facebook inappropriately. That was a big problem. I don’t really like Facebook and all that social stuff. It’s not really what our company is about. In fact, we’re going to limit access to sites like Facebook on the company intranet from next month.”

The conversation continues and Pete is given an annual raise because, well, “We’re really pleased with the work you’re doing”. The CEO has heard that Pete is doing a great job from his line manager.

Afterwards Peter feels a bit despondent. The CEO of the company that he’s working for doesn’t get social media. In fact, he’s actively against it. Pete’s worried both he and his office will fall behind the digital and social online revolution if they don’t continue to participate.

Although Pete’s team have improved sales, customer service and group cohesion in his division having introduced social media, the CEO was not convinced.

Sure, he’s pleased that profits are up and savings on traditional advertising have gone down. But the CEO isn’t prepared to bring in a social media specialist. He’s not prepared to fund training in social media. And he’s definitely not interested in exploring what social media can do for the rest of the organisation.

“You won’t catch me on YouTube,” he jokes, and the rest of the C suite chuckle in unison. “We’re too busy concentrating on our plans for expansion,” he tells Pete. “We’re opening up new offices around the country and all our spare budget is going into that. We haven’t got time to play with the internet.”

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Your CEO Should Participate in Social Media

It doesn’t take long to discover that not that many CEOs actively participate in social media. Just last summer, for example, ÃœBERCEO noted that only two of the Fortune 2009 list of the top 100 CEOs had Twitter accounts!

If your B2B is using social media channels like YouTube, Twitter, Flickr or a business blog, here are some reasons your CEO should be regularly involved:

Participation, Active Involvement

CEOs should not be isolated from customers and potential customers. In fact, your company can seem more in touch with its audience if the CEO actively participates.

Of course, CEOs are, by nature, busy people; however, they should be part of your content marketing strategy. If B2B CEOs are regularly:

  • tweeting
  • writing a CEO blog,
  • appearing regularly on YouTube or
  • a podcasting

your marcom strategy can bring your CEO closer to your audience.

It’s not necessarily about involving them on EVERY channel, but your CEO should be involved somewhere that is clearly marked. For example, one of my clients, Stockholm University, draws attention to the vice chancellor’s blog as part of their social media strategy.

If you regularly receive a lot of discussion about your services on Twitter, get your managing director micro-blogging. From a customers point of view, there’s one thing to make contact with customer services and another to actually connect with the CEO of a company who takes your issues or comments seriously.

Beyond B2B Crisis Management

It’s typical to see the CEO wheeled out onto YouTube or the company blog if a crisis hits. There they are apologizing, assuring customers the matter is being dealt with blah blah blah.
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Case Study: Social Media Crisis Management

If you’re not convinced about Twitter yet or social media sites, you should listen to Shel Holtz’s interview with Christian Gunning, director of Corporate Communications for Boingo, a WiFi service provider in the US.

It’s a brilliant real-life example of why brands need to monitor Twitter – including on the weekend.

What’s it About?

Gunning talks to Shel about how on April 10 Boingo sent a test email out repeatedly to many customers.

crisis management social media

Thankfully Boingo’s social media manager checked into Twitter over the weekend and saw customers tweeting about the email.

The company were able to respond immediately and reached out to customers on a variety of channels including twitter, Facebook and their corporate blog.
[Read more...]