Engaging in Two-Way Discussions

Social Media has allowed companies to interact with customers in real two-way discussions as opposed to the traditional “we speak, you listen” communication of the past. The key to opening up to customers successfully for businesses is to ensure they stop communicating with a corporate voice and start using a ‘human voice’.

Customers will start to feel they are being listened to and given open and honest responses to their questions and comments when they feel that they are talking to the everyday people of the organisation.

A lot of companies rely solely on (and often only really trust) their marketing departments to liaise on the social media platforms with customers, putting staff and even CEO’s out of reach and communication with the customer. This inherent approach can result in social media becoming a one-way broadcasting tool which is counterproductive to the interactive process that has garnered social media popularity.

This can also be true of internal comms in organisations, where despite utilisation of various communication channels including video, newsletters, emails and magazines, employees still prefer to hear the message from their immediate managers – i.e. the everyday people they know and trust. Using the correct communication channels will encourage engagement with staff and customers which will benefit the company through the insights they will obtain from open and frank feedback and discussions.

Organisations should consider the market they are liaising with and balance their responses using the right people and the right tools to ensure they benefit from constructive and honest opinions and reactions to their business.


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Outside the Square Social Media

Technology advances have enabled exciting developments that gives businesses the opportunity to not only find out more about their customers, but also grow their business and tailor it to suit each person.

There has been much debate around the Bricks and Mortar strategy for retail versus moving to an online environment, where customers are tending to spend more time shopping for the best deals instead of heading into a physical shop. From a business perspective, operating costs are comparatively high for example, for a store location on the golden mile of the CBD than if they were represented online.

But store retailers can now arm themselves with technology that will enhance the physical shopping experience while still offering competitive prices. Furthermore it enables information gathering that will help them to refine their product offerings much like online retailers use.

Imagine walking into your favourite shop and pulling out your smart phone to “check-in” with the store, simply by entering a few specific personal details, you will be sent targeted digital deals available for immediate redemption while instore. Now imagine that store ‘remembers’ you based on a trigger in your phone so every time you come back to the shop, new deals are available as soon as you walk into the shop.

Technology like this is revolutionising the way we shop – similar to online shopping, customer preferences will be recorded for future transactions, personnalised promotional deals will enhance the shopping experience and retailers can begin to compete with their online counterparts with one unique advantage – the tangible, instore experience.

I think this is a smart way to take advantage to interacting with customers, without ‘forcing’ your way into their realm which seems to be how some businesses approach social media.

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Definite Product Launch Possibilities…

branding shoes

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05/04/2013 · 8:37 pm

Using Social Media for a Product Launch – Cisco Case Study

One of the earlier examples of Social Media taking product launches to a new level is that of Cisco launching a new Router in 2008.

While they had always had a social media presence, the decision to launch the product to market using ONLY social media was a bold move to prove the weight of benefits the use of these platforms was having on the company.

Cisco expanded beyond the existing presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and included the use of SecondLife virtual world, a 3D game, video conferencing, blogs, online forums and a social media widget that enabled bloggers to use videos, collateral and images embedded in news releases easily to spread the word.cisco-launch-quantumflow

The campaign successfully attracted 9,000 attendees from 128 different countries to the virtual launch events. Not only did they reach 90 times more people than they had with launches in the past, but Cisco saved six figures off its product launch costs.

Deeming this launch as one of top five launches in company history, the success of this launch led to a shift in the company’s marketing strategy with a focus on social media and having an interactive presence in the market with clients, including live Telepresence sessions between executives and customers, giving them face to face time – the real power of social media.

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Liking LinkedIn

I marvel at the success in the very focused offering LinkedIn provides in the social network sphere.LinkedIn_Focus

With more than 200 million users as at the start of 2013, with a focus on professional networking, the platform offers business people the opportunity to update contacts on their experience and skills prowess which can help to entice head hunters. Additionally users can easily follow companies of interest and get notification about job offers and other potential business opportunities that they can use to their advantage.

And it’s not only the individuals who are benefiting. With HP recently breaking 1 million followers on its LinkedIn page, the opportunities for businesses to connect with this hugely relevant mass market are countless.

Expert blogs and aggregated business news content keeps users interested, and not only that, the 6.6 degrees of separation (or less in the case of little ol’ New Zealand) becomes very apparent as you grow your network and realise that you are frequently doing business with mutual acquaintances, which can often lead to even more ideas and opportunities for those with the know how to maximise their business relationships.

LinkedIn is no longer just the “Mum’s and Dad’s network”, with a growing community of young professionals and college graduates, users can utilise this targeted platform to grow their professional sphere, tap into job opportunities and maximise professional networks without menial information such as “Bought a pepsi at the shop today!” consuming precious time and space in the fast paced business world.

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A Serious Case of Social Media Frenzy

I used to work for a radio company running promotions (or generally just running around like a headless chicken), interacting with listeners, giving away awesome prizes (raiding the prize cupboard for chocolate), and something that I could not fathom was how the on-air announcers could possibly have time to update everything online everyday.

Take The Edge radio station for instance. On their website they have updates and links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts, they Stream Live their on air shows, have voting polls and generally an absolutely overwhelming swarm of ‘information’ to share with their audience.

Having worked for them, I know I fall within their target demographic (sure it’s the higher end of, but I’m still hip for it), but I can’t help but wonder, if the core business objective is to provide on air entertainment, after including an update on Facebook, AND recording on air announcements as Podcasts to be replayed by all those who missed it, does it really need to be tweeted as well? Social_Media_Takeover

Perhaps this is my cynical, minimalist, point of view. If you have something to say, say it once and say it right. But then again, even I have listened to ‘that phone call’ that went viral after Kate Middleton was admitted to hospital. Thought it is questionable if this is the sort of networking that builds listenership, because I don’t remember the name of the radio station that made the call, and I believe that the bad publicity really was just bad publicity in the end for them.

Perhaps it is time to consider a spring clean of all social media platforms in use to achieve a concise and targeted marketing strategy. Identify who and what tthe marketing is trying to achieve. I suppose after all, it is the life of a radio announcer to spend their work time online browsing the web for the most exciting things online, not many job positions can boast that!

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The Addiction of Twitter


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02/04/2013 · 6:15 pm