From My Point of View

My view on marketing, business, advertising and other related things.

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Dealing with Negative Comments from Employees

Deborah Sweeney had a great post today on Social Media Today. She visited the issue of employees posting negative comments about your business online. She has excellent advice on this topic and you should check it out. Read her article, ‘Dealing with Negative Comments Online from Your Employees’ HERE

I would like to add something to her great advice. You should use this situation (if it arises in your business) as a learning experience. The employee was upset for some reason. You need to investigate the situation and see if there is a bigger problem within your organization. Is the complaint a complaint of anyone else? Are other employees upset? What could have prevented this person from being so upset? In going out and finding the answers to these types of questions, you can turn a negative situation around and learn from it. 

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Yay Morale!

It is no secret - it is not easy out there. Whether you are talking about the economy, trying to get a job, trying to raise your child, trying to lose weight - it’s not easy out there. 

For the purpose of this post, let’s focus on company morale. Even if your company only consists of two people, it is not always easy to stay positive. We all know the importance of keeping morale up even if the outlook is grim. So what to do? 

I personally don’t have a great answer to this. Every person is different and every person reacts differently to situations. The one thing I cannot stand is pretending like nothing is wrong. It doesn’t help to walk around and ignore reality. It also doesn’t help to recruit “cheerleaders” within the company to try and tell everyone how great everything is. This will always come off fake and everyone will see right through it. 

It is also not helpful to freak out about it. This is a fairly obvious statement, but trust me I have seen it. By over-reacting to situations, it shows instability and inability to overcome obstacles. No one will hop on board to save your sinking ship if you cannot control your emotions and reactions. 

"So what, Aaron? I can’t be happy. I can’t be sad. What am I supposed to do?" Well, thank you for asking! Like I mentioned before, I really don’t have the cure-all answer. But I have an answer. One word sums it up: Honesty. Be honest. If times suck, be honest. If times rock, be honest. Your employees deserve this courtesy and have earned the right to the truth. You will gain a lot more respect and people will want to help if you are just upfront with them. 

It’s so easy right! Why doesn’t everyone just follow my amazing advice? Well I really don’t know. But I do know being honest and telling the truth - especially if it isn’t particularly good news - isn’t easy. But it is the absolute right thing to do. 

What do you think? What do you do?

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How Much Social Media is Too Much?

eMarketer poses an interesting question in there recent post titled, “Is Social Media Marketing at a Saturation Point?" eMarketer estimates by the end of 2013, 91% of US companies will be using social media for marketing purposes. Facebook obviously dominates as far as which service most companies use and Twitter is a distant second. 

So will social media marketing hit its saturation point? That is an interesting question. 91% of companies is a lot of companies. The unfortunate thing is that, I am assuming, most of those companies have no idea how to use social media to benefit their business. They think, “Well Bob has a Facebook page for his business. I should have one for mine.” If companies can’t monetize their social media efforts, I do believe it will reach a saturation point. But I also think that savvy companies will still thrive and succeed with social media. 

Companies need to stand out on social sites. And in getting closer to the saturation point (whatever that point is), they will need to stand out even more. Like websites, having a Facebook page and/or Twitter account is the first step. But how are you using them to benefit your business? How are you using them to stand out from the other 91% of companies? 

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Google’s New Mobile Ad Policy

Mobile Marketing posted today in response to Google changing its mobile ad policies. The post is titled, “Google’s New Ad Policy - The Industry Responds." I don’t deal much with mobile, but anything marketing and anything Google interests me. I was expecting a post filled with negativity about Google’s new policies. But I was pleasantly surprised. 

I was not familiar with the new policies until I read the post. In short, the policies state that developers will be “responsible for how ads behave in their app” and there is a “list of restrictions to what in-app ads are not allowed to do.” Now I am thinking, “Alright, let’s hear it ‘industry.’”

Essentially it eliminates misleading in-app ads, and the ‘industry’ loves it! This protection absolutely benefits users - such as myself (I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my Nexus 7 TODAY!). 

This “don’t be shady” mantra applies for all types of marketing. Be honest, be true. If you act shadily one time, it could kill you. No amount of apologies or giveaways will make people forget you violated their trust. Honesty is the best policy - even if it isn’t the easiest policy.  

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QR Codes - Over Hyped?

Social Media Today just put out an article called QR codes - don’t believe the hype. In this article, the author does his best to discount and slam the use of QR codes. While he has one or two good points, I tend to disagree that QR codes are useless.

QR codes are no necessary or helpful for every business or every product advertised. QR codes on billboards or in TV commercials don’t make much sense to me. But codes in magazines and other print make sense. People need to have time to scan the code, and trying to scan a code while driving 70 mph down the freeway doesn’t work too well. 

The codes need to link to something relevant. Don’t just link it to your website or an article - no one will care. It should link to a short video or coupon or something your consumers can engage with in a short period of time. It could be good for customer service. Link the code to a customer service form that can be sent straight from their device. 

The author says that no one understands them. I tend to agree with that statement, but most people recognize them. All it takes is a one time app download and that person is ready to scan away. QR codes should target younger, tech savvy consumers. My 83 year old grandmother will never scan a QR code, so Depends shouldn’t use QR codes in their marketing efforts. 

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Stop Looking at Raw Numbers on Facebook

In my on-going hatred for using Likes and Comments as a measurement for success on Facebook, I came across this great post from Brian Solis. His post, A Facebook Like Does Not Equal an Opt-in, is so spot on I want to hug him. 

Brian says, “Likes do not represent the actual size of a community, yet many organizations confuse the overall number with actual audience size.” He is saying you may have 10,000 Fans, but that doesn’t mean you have 10,000 people actively engaged with you and your product or even 10,000 people that even give a crap about you. “Likes represent potential reach. But businesses cannot take or assume satisfaction in these numbers as they’re reflective of the people reached and not the people who could be reached.” 

He goes on saying, “Contests, campaigns, gimmicks, while effective in intermittent bursts, are not sustainable nor are they indicative of organic engagement. They generate numbers but not true engagement.” Businesses spend a ton of money on sweepstakes and contests and they say, “We got 300 Likes from this contest!” But really that means nothing. You got 300 people to signup to win the iPad you were giving away, and when they realize your page is boring or something they don’t care about, they will leave. 

The problem is businesses base successful (or unsuccessful) outcomes solely on Likes, comments, Retweets and reach. Brian sees these numbers as “raw numbers.” He says, “We must first understand where we are and where we need to be. Developing strategies where cause and effect are the catalysts for performance…”

I think part of the reason businesses put so much emphasis on Likes, comments and Retweets is because it is easy. They are easy to track and easy to identify. It is much harder to identify brand resonance, brand advocacy or brand awareness, but these are the KPIs businesses NEED to identify and use as measurements. Likes and comments won’t cut it. They are just smoke and mirrors because they can hide a poor brand or product when in reality they are suffering or just terrible. 

The following are Brian’s KPIs to use to demonstrate progress toward business objectives and priorities:

  • Brand Lift/Awareness
  • Brand Resonance
  • Advocacy
  • Sales/Referrals
  • Endorsements
  • Sentiment/Perception Shift
  • Thought Leadership
  • Demand
  • Trends
  • Audience/Community
  • Behavior
  • Influence

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Engagement is a RESULT!

Jason Falls from Social Media Explorer sat down with eMarketer recently and I love a few of his points about social media. Read the article HERE.

Falls was asked “How do companies measure social media engagement, and how does that affect their social marketing strategy?” Falls responds with the quote of the article: “They think it’s [engagement] something they have to force, but engagement is not a goal, it’s a result.” 

A-freaking-men! Engagement is great and wonderful and everything, but it can’t be forced. I hear, “we need to get better engagement for X” and “the engagement for Y is down this week.” Then I am expected to get people “Like” and comment to get “engagement” up. Sure I can throw something up and people will “Like” it and comment on it, but is that what we really want? Do we want fans commenting on something that has nothing to do with the brand just so we can say engagement is up? 

The scene in Tommy Boy when Chris Farley and David Spade are trying to sell brake pads to the guy that wants a guarantee on the box. He wants the guarantee on the box because it makes you feel all “warm and fuzzy”.  

When we throw up posts just to try and get engagement, we can get engagement and that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. But really all we are putting up is a “guaranteed” piece of shit that - if we really think about it - does nothing to help the brand. 

Think about it, and read this article. It is very good. 

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Talk to me man!

I bet you have never heard that communication is important, right? Obviously, communication is very important in personal and professional relationships. But I would like to focus on communication between a manager and a subordinate. 

Managers do not need to tell their managees everything, but they do need to be as open and honest as possible. When a manager says their “door is always open” or “call me anytime,” the door better be open - without exception and they better answer the phone when it rings. 

Mangers have many focuses, but their main focus should be to be there for their employees at all times. Managers need to listen to their employees and help them in any way possible. Managers should always be approachable and should never make a subordinate feel bad for coming to them. 

Employees make managers’ jobs easier. What would you do if all your employees quit? Who would do their work? The answer is YOU would. Good employees make life better. Good employees need want to work for you to be good employees. You need to effectively communicate to your employees to keep them wanting to work for you.

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Post Stuff About Your Brand!

This is somewhat another “Duh!” post. Mashable’s article, “Facebook’s Advice to Marketers: Post Stuff About Your Brand" goes into Facebook’s study about what kinds of comments gain better engagement for brands. Facebook says, "When you talk about things related to your brand, you’ll get more engagement." At first thought, that seemed very obvious. But after thinking over it a minute, I think that is good advice.

I post to brands’ Facebook and Twitter pages, and it is hard to post about the brand all the time. It takes a lot of creativity. I think there still should be the “Do you have a case of the Mondays?” posts, but if you are focused on Likes and Comments, you need to post about your brand.  

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Online Consumption Keeps Growing! (Duh)

eMarketer reports on research done in November 2011 about how many hours people consume online content. See the article HERE

The article starts off with a sentence that shouldn’t surprise anyone in the online industry, but it should make them happy to see: “Consumers have demonstrated a voracious appetite for online content that shows no signs of abating.” This kind of makes me want to say, “Well, duh!” but it is great to see data on the topic. The study shows that almost 87% of people spend 11 or more hours consuming online content with 15.1% consuming over 40 hours per week!

I haven’t added my consumption up recently, but, with work included, I would be in that 40+ group. That just boggles my mind. This also proves that there are HUGE opportunities out there in the online space. 

How many hours do you spend consuming online content? Which group are you in?