Posts Tagged 'monetize'

The Right Question To Ask

Couple quick thoughts. I saw the blog post title “What are people thinking about buying?” over at www.socialcrm.net.  The post itself is a simple word cloud of current Twitter activity.  But the question made me think.

This question sounds like the typical response to the social media craze.  Companies look on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for buzz about their product or industry.  Marketers look at this massive amount of collaboration and networking as the ultimate eavesdropping tool.

The lazy marketer thinks, when I hear a buzzword related to my product I need to quickly insert my advertisement in front of the interested party.  Sounds like a virtual street market.  This is the most rudimentary and immature style of selling.  Shove a product in someone’s face until they buy.  Then quickly scramble for the next sale.  I think this is why most companies are finding it difficult to monetize social media.

A better questions to ask is, “What are people complaining about?”  Wherever there is pain there is profit!  People that have problems are loud and open about those problems.  And problems are the key to successful sales.  Great example from a British bra company. Every product and service (should) solves a problem.  And smart marketers know that the best way to sell is to identify the problem and position their product as the perfect solution.

Rather than just looking at certain “buying” buzzwords, look at the “complaint box” buzzwords.  A lot of times people complain without realizing there is a solution to a problem.  Especially if they’ve lived with the problem for any length of time.  People are more likely to engage with you in social media if you are talking about their pain versus just pitching your product.  Remember, they are in social mode not buying mode.

Finally, in economic tough times, people buy less for the sake of buying (as during boom times) but still buy a LOT to solve problems.  In fact, the more severe the problems (economic strife) the more people will seek out solutions.  Bigger pain, bigger gain (for you).

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Be careful, they’re talking about you

I just got done reviewing this article. It’s a review written of the Forrester social media research project.  Here are a few thoughts…

The main premise of the report is the “Five Eras” of social media evolution. Jessica Tsai writes a nice summary of the five eras and even includes a helpful chart.  The three things that stick out to me are:

1) People will increasingly converse about the decisions they make.  A sort of crowd-shopping behavior. They won’t necessarily ask all their friends if they should make a certain decision, but they will observe, take cues, and get implicit feedback based upon the community around.  In other words, they are talking about you (the company/brand)–constantly.  This bears well if you are on top of your product development and public relations.  Companies will grow up and flame out faster than ever in the future because of these pervasive multifaceted networks.

Takeaway: Make sure you are listening intently to the voice of your crowd.  Respond immediately to problems.  Make better products, create better experiences, and build a base of enthusiastic and noisy advocates.  Don’t be afraid to make a mess.  People will forgive you if you are open and honest.

2) Many businesses are struggling to adapt to the new marketing channels.  This article talks about the lack of monetization of social media.  Probably because they are doing it wrong.  Companies are simply moving their existing marketing messages into a Facebook page.  Not going to work.  The major difference is that people engaged in social media activity are being…social not shopping.  Duh.  Leave it to big corporate to miss this one.

Companies that ARE finding it useful are typically small and adaptable businesses.  They understand that people buy from people not companies.  They are putting a personal face to their brand that consumers flock to.  Sorry Corporate America, no amount of money will make old school methods work with social media.

Oprah just garnered over 800,000 followers on Twitter in less than a month–she’s catching up with me.  Can’t find a way to monetize social media?  Hey Oprah, Tweet your followers about your new book club title before the TV audience .  Or, do your famous giveaway only to your followers–first 500 get it free.  How many of those 800,000 other people will buy when they don’t get the freebie?  Oprah has already made an intimate connection.  She’s a trusted adviser to millions.  Follow her lead.

Takeaway: Put a personal voice to your social media presence. Talk about your product…rarely.  Instead talk about people.  Talk about their problems.  Talk about their dreams, goals, and aspirations.  Engage with people how THEY want to engage instead of trying to push your agenda.

3) Content needs to be fed to the consumer, rather than them seeking it out.  I love this stuff.  We are being conditioned more and more to have the world delivered to us.  I used to have to call my sister to find out how her latest play production went.  Now, I get instant notifications delivered to my Inbox in Facebook.  Heck, I don’t even need to talk to her anymore and I still know everything that’s going on with her.  The point?  Stuff comes to me.  I’m too busy to seek it out.  But I still want it.  I want it fast and easy to consume so I can get on with my life.

Takeaway: Think about the content you deliver online.  Web pages, white papers, reports, research, product specs, etc.  You’ve probably got a lot.  How do you position this information in front of your prospect in digestible chunks so they can consume it when and how they want?  How can you make available your content within the social media networks rather than just on your boring static website? Go where the people are instead of making them come to you.  Integrate with social networks.

Overall, the trend is towards closer consumer connections and more distant consumer to brand connection–unless the brand is deeply embedded in the consumer culture.  I will listen to my 427 “friends” before I’ll give a rip about a fancy billboard or Super Bowl commercial.

Worry about technology.  But worry more about the intimate personal connection with consumers.  In the end, companies that want to survive must become, essentially, a consumer themselves.