Sherrick Murdoff on Influence Marketing

We control 50% of the relationship. We influence 100% of it.

Video: Social Media ROI & Case Studies

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If the blogs and articles of successful social media case studies were not enough, this video should be enough to get you going. Social Media is real. Promote this video within your company as a visual means to highlight the case studies. But remember, its not just lead generation or better customer service. It includes those and so much more. Erik Qualman says it best (author of Socialnomics):

“Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway?  Social media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics.” -Erik Qualman

A couple of snippets:

  • 300,000 businesses have a presence on Facebook
  • Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) grew his family wine business from $4M to $50M using social media
  • Old way was “pay to play”, the new way is play to play

If the cost is pretty inexpensive to get started: What is the cost of doing nothing?

Enjoy the video:

Brought to you by the guys who did the original Welcome to the Social Media Revolution.

Video: Explaining Social Media Monitoring via the UPS Whiteboard

I came across this cool video from Mashable that uses the UPS Whiteboard commercial format to explain a simple example of monitoring your industry or market using social media. With all the concentrated effort going into social media (see examples) and many people just getting started, its important to learn about how to monitor the activity in your market.

I find the UPS Whiteboard style pretty straightforward and Adam Ostrow does a great job with the basics. I would have to say there are many more comprehensive services you can subscribe to monitor everything – from blogs to Twitter to multimedia. Some of these technologies include Biz360, ScoutLabs and Filtrbox. Check them out as you can get started very easily – often with a free trial and a good cost structure.

Enjoy the video and let me know if you have additional ones to share.

The Social Ambassador: Social Media Manager / Community Manager Job Description

CommunityI have been asked many times for a job description to hire the right person as their social media manager or community manager. The roles are about the same, but I would say Social Media Manager is more outward bound in its focus, but still involves the community. Community Manager is more inward bound, starting with the community, perhaps more of a service / support focus and then reaching outbound. The skills and responsibilities are pretty similar. And remember, think of this position as your company ambassador, your social host, concierge – basically the first impression your audience will experience with your brand. And you never get a second chance…blah, blah, blah. This person needs to be engaging – its not about being able to tweet, its about engaging in conversations – from twitter chats to blog comments, from Flickr photos to LinkedIn groups. Think about how this person will best represent your company. Its a very important hire.

The job description is from my past experiences in observing what is important, but I started with my friend Tom Humbarger’s blog as the foundation to build upon. I really welcome your feedback:

Social Media Manager / Community Manager Job Description

At the highest level, the candidate must demonstrate “social media DNA” and have extensive social media experience.  This means that the person is actively participating in a wide variety of social media activities such as Twitter, blogging, community development and management, social bookmarking, commenting, etc. and is well-connected with the broader social media world.  The second important part is that the candidate must be able to serve as the social host for your company – the first impression that most people will encounter (personality will be important).

Responsibilities – the key responsibilities for this position include:

  • Live in the social media world for your company as the ambassador / social host
    • Respond to & engage all inquiries for your company on social sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, blogs)
    • Seek out & join conversations about your market on social sites
    • Delegate to experts in the company on topics fit for their input
  • Experiment with new and alternative ways to leverage social media activities (“marketing R&D”)
  • Monitor trends in your market and appropriately apply that knowledge to increasing the use of social media at your company
  • Strategize with and educate the management team and others across the company on incorporating relevant social media techniques into the corporate culture and into all of the company’s products and services
  • Measure the impact of social media on the overall marketing efforts

Experience – the ideal candidate will have experience in the following areas:

  • Social media tools and techniques
  • Marketing (traditional, new media, guerilla and ‘word of mouth’)
  • Communities
  • Product marketing
  • Press and analyst relations
  • Business development
  • Technology
  • Operations
  • Sales
  • Financial and quantitative analysis
  • Project management

Attributes – the key attributes for this position include:

  • Social, online and offline
  • Engaging in communication
  • Creativity
  • Willingness to experiment
  • Ability to deal with uncertainty
  • Ability to contribute individually, and lead, manage or participate in cross-functional teams
  • Doggedness and determination
  • Ability to synthesize large amounts of data into actionable information
  • Excellent writing skills and a willingness to use them
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Persuasiveness
  • Ability to create great working relationships with all levels within the company and across multiple disciplines
  • Sense of humor [very important in the social media world - don't take yourself too seriously!]

Where should you post? In the social media world, of course! LinkedIn, Facebook and especially twitter are great places.

And by the way - I have client who are hiring social media manager / community manager positions! Please contact me if you know someone.

Social Media is the New Word of Mouth Marketing

WOMMA“Word of Mouth is the original Social Media.

I like this quote from John Moore, an evangelist for Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMMA). I attended his presentation yesterday on the topic, along with Rob Fuggetta, Founder & CEO of Zuberance.

John’s presentation was very clear and echoed a lot of themes about how much more effective Word of Mouth Marketing is in today’s social media climate. John mentioned that WOMMA is 5x to 10x more effective than traditional marketing. Word of Mouth has been difficult to measure in the past, but with social media and social media monitoring tools, it is much easier to measure. Leveraging social media for better WOMMA is where the 5x to 10x comes from, I believe. I have found this to be quite true in my own experience.

“Social media helps small companies look bigger and big companies get smaller”bigorsmall

Another John Moore line. There are many examples of social media campaigns, and most that do not cost much compared to traditional marketing campaigns. The social media campaigns generate the word of mouth. The social media monitoring tools (Biz360, Scout Labs, Techrigy - and even Zuberance has features here, too) provide the means to effectively measure the results of your WOMMA or social media campaigns.

For small companies, you can join conversations about your market, demonstrate thought leadership, generate buzz, create a community, and ultimately create evangelists. I’ve done this for small companies, even from the earliest of stages. At the end of the day, the product still needs to work and solve a problem, but if you do, you will get evangelists, or advocates, or as I like to call them, “key champions”. John further mentioned that “buzz does not create evangelists, but evangelists create buzz.” You might need a little buzz to help find the evangelists, but treat them right and they definitely create the right kind of buzz for you.

Rob from Zuberance continued the presentation with an emphasis on advocates for your brand, how to identify them, mobilize them and track their performance. Rob believed in using surveys and social media listening. I use social media monitoring tools to not just find evangelists for your own product, but to find where your audience gather online. For most companies, finding where (what social network site, blogs, even conferences) your audience resides and discusses your market can help you join the conversation and add value they may not be aware of. And never forget your partners and channels – they are often a great starting point to identify key champions. They believe in your product, quick to mobilize and have the incentive to evangelize your solution.

Mobilizing your advocates can be as simple as making it easy for them to share your content. Turn them into publishers and once again social media tools can help with this. A simple example is the “share” buttons you find at the end of blog posts – providing the user with one-click methods to share your content in the social web. Or, even easier now is “RT” – retweet your tweet on Twitter. However, you can engage many tactics to turn your key champions into publishers and evangelists through comments, badges, emails, product reviews and my favorite, the YouTube video contest – where you ask your audience to create YouTube videos to win a prize. Amazing what you will find!

Social Media = Word of Mouth = Influence Marketing

I call all this influence marketing (also referred to as Influencer Marketing). The general belief that we control 50% of the relationship, but we influence 100% of it. I find that influence marketing and word of mouth can greatly enhanced with partners and channels. Partners can be some of your strongest advocates and help you to influence your customers and your market. I challenge you to find influence in your market where you can improve your customer acquisition, satisfaction and growth through social media, word of mouth or whatever you want to call it!

Lean Startup and Lean Marketing: The New Movement

SVASEI attended the (sold out) SVASE MAIN Event last night in San Francisco that had a panel discussion on the Lean Startups – Do They Really Work? By definition a lean startup would mean “lean marketing” and that is where I have personally leveraged social media to execute lean marketing.

As a veteran of many successful (and unsuccessful) startups I find the term “Lean Startup” to be repetitive. It’s interesting that – even years after the tech bubble – we need to call them “lean” startups. Aren’t startups always lean? Isn’t that always the case, that startups should be capital efficient, they should be scrappy, they should stretch every dollar and more with less?

The simple answer is “no.” Companies today, especially B2B or enterprise software companies are still running expensive budgets and taking on large amounts of capital before they have a proven sales model and demand in the market.

However, there are a “new breed” of startups that have subscribed to the Lean Startup concept (coined by Eric Reis) whereby they start very small (often “two guys and a dog”, as Rob Hayes of First Round Capital likes to say) and they prove their model first, often before any funding, but if they do get funding its $500,000 or even $50,000 – not the $5M to $10M that software companies received in the past. Why is this possible? It costs much less to start a company today because:

  • You don’t need servers, it is very cost effective in the Cloud
  • You don’t need infrastructure, you can use inexpensive (often free) services in the Cloud to run your business
  • You can engage your customers directly through inexpensive social media
  • You can iterate on products with agile development and engage customers through a new process called Customer Development (a concept from Steve Blank).

The lean startup concept also recognizes a new reality, in my opinion, that not all startups have to be a “home run” or a failure. Do the math on how traditional venture works and you can see why many, if not most, need to swing for the fences. However, the lean startup can exit for $20M and make good returns for all parties involved. As Rob Hayes said last night, a $20M exit for a traditional venture backed company is a colossal failure, but for an entrepreneur who owns all or most of the equity, that is material. And any early stage VC (meaning a true early stage firm like First Round) who invested $50K or even $500K, they are still getting a solid return on their investment.

Lean marketing, especially through leveraging social media, can help lean startups accomplish their goals of engaging with customers, getting market feedback, and establishing thought leadership for your founders in the community. Never before has it been possible to reach so many people, so quickly, so efficiently. It still comes down to a product that solves a real problem – I can’t make people like your product – but I can make sure they are aware of it and, if liked, it gets attention and drives demand through social media.

Why is it lean? Because the software and services available today to blog, network, bookmark, socialize, monitor and measure our service online is much less expensive and much more efficient. There are many examples of companies, from lean startups to large corporations leveraging social media. And you should notice the costs in these examples are relatively small.

My last company, Silver Tail Systems, we had minimal budget to our awareness and used social media extensively (blog, twitter, social bookmarking, video, SEO, communities, webinars) to drive awareness and ultimately drive leads.

The Lean Startup and Lean Marketing concepts are new trends that are proving their value today. I believe in the concept and practice them with my clients. Im interested to get your feedback and examples where lean marketing has worked for you.

I attended the (sold out) SVASE MAIN Event last night in San Francisco that had a panel discussion on the Lean Startups – Do They Really Work? By definition a lean startup would mean “lean marketing” and that is where I have personally leveraged social media to execute lean marketing.

As a veteran of many successful (and unsuccessful) startups I find the term “Lean Startup” to be repetitive. It’s interesting that – even years after the tech bubble – we need to call them “lean” startups. Aren’t startups always lean? Isn’t that always the case, that startups should be capital efficient, they should be scrappy, they should stretch every dollar and more with less?

The simple answer is “no.” Companies today, especially B2B or enterprise software companies are still running expensive budgets and taking on large amounts of capital before they have a proven sales model and demand in the market.

However, there are a “new breed” of startups that have subscribed to the Lean Startup concept whereby they start very small (two guys and a dog, as Rob Hayes of First Round Capital likes to say) and they prove their model first, often before any funding, but if they do get funding its $500,000 or even $50,000 – not the $5M to $10M that software companies received in the past. Why is this possible? It costs much less to start a company today because:

You don’t need servers, you can run very cost effective in the Cloud

You don’t need infrastructure, you can inexpensive (often free) services in the cloud to run your business

You can engage your customers directly through inexpensive social media

You can iterate on products with agile development and engage customers through a new process called Customer Development (a concept from Steve Blanc).

The lean startup concept also recognizes a new reality, in my opinion, that not all startups have to be a “home run” or a failure. Do the math on how traditional venture works and you can see why many, if not most, need to swing for the fences. However, the lean startup can exit for $20M and make good returns for all parties involved. As Rob Hayes said last night, a $20M exit for a traditional venture backed company is a colossal failure, but for an entrepreneur who owns all or most of the equity, that is material. And any early stage VC (a true early stage like First Round) who invested $50K or even $500K, they are still getting a solid return on their investment.

Lean marketing, through leveraging social media, can help lean startups accomplish their goals of engaging with customers, getting market feedback, and establishing thought leadership for your founders in the community. Never before has it been possible to reach so many people, so quickly, so efficiently. It still comes down to a product that solves a real problem – I can’t make people like your product – but I can make sure they are aware of it and that, if liked, it gets attention and drives demand through social media.

Why is it lean? Because the software and services available today to blog, network, bookmark, socialize, monitor and measure our service online is much less expensive and much more efficient. There are many examples of companies, from lean startups to large corporations leveraging social media. And you should notice the costs in these examples are relatively small.

My last company, Silver Tail Systems, we had minimal budget to our awareness and used social media extensively (blog, twitter, social bookmarking, video, SEO, communities, webinars) to drive awareness and ultimately drive leads

The Lean Startup and Lean Marketing concepts are new trends that are proving their value today. I believe in the concept and practice them every day. Im interested to get your feedback and examples where

Slideshare – it’s social and now it’s driving demand for you

A big push with social media today is about transparency – get your content out there! Share with the community, let the community decide if it’s any good. There are many cool tools to help and Slideshare is a great example of how to accomplish this. Take those different PowerPoint decks we all have at companies and post them to the web! Yes, let them be free. You are always dying to show your presentations to as many people as possible, why not put it out there to show everyone. And you just might get to people you would not have before.

Slideshare is about sharing content, and that is all good, and frankly that’s the easy part. But how much better is this than just posting it on my website? Slideshare also serves as a social discovery platform for users to find relevant content and connect with other members who share similar interests. It links you to similar content, and others to your content. In addition, they recently announced Slideshare for Business with LeadShare and AdShare.

LeadShare is a self-service tool you can use to capture leads from documents and presentations. LeadShare’s process takes a new twist by asking businesses to share content and then letting users choose if and when to get in touch. SlideShare’s CEO Rashmi Sinha says that the quality of leads is actually better because users who input their info are genuinely interested in the service or product. Using LeadShare, you setup a simple campaign in minutes and control exactly how they capture leads and the depth of information they want to capture (typical lead info). Leads cost between $1 to $22 for the business depending on the how in-depth the questions are – just email addresses ($1), ask for the kitchen sink and it costs more money. You can capture leads on SlideShare.net, on your own site and anywhere the content gets embedded. Leads are captured in a dashboard that SlideShare creates for each LeadShare campaign.

AdShare lets you promote your content on SlideShare’s platform. SlideShare will place a “sponsored content” box next to presentations and documents that are contextually relevant. The platform costs $0.25 per click. If content is clicked more often, it gets promoted more and vice versa. Similar to LeadShare, AdShare is a self-service product that you can manage on your own. And of course, the two services are complementary to each other—you can use AdShare to get more views and potentially capture more leads.

SlideShare has been dubbed, the “YouTube for presentations” and works great. The Slideshare for Business aspects will integrate further into your company fabric – I recommend taking a look at it to see it fits your needs.

Welcome to the Social Media Revolution

I have tweeted about this YouTube video before, but I wanted to continue to share it. It is pretty compelling and frankly will be out of date in a matter of months. Its titled the Social Media Revolution and gives some great stats about the adoption of all types of social media, globally. I highly recommend using this when presenting your social media strategy internally to your company or to sell it upstream to your management team. It was produced by Erik Qualman, the author of Socialnomics. And use it now before the stats are meaningless!

It’s Real – Social Media Examples and Case Studies

successIt’s real, it’s happening and here is proof. There are some shining examples of success using social media being highlighted out there in the blogosphere. I want to capture them in a central place as I learn about them – both the actual sites and the case studies (where published) – and share them with my clients and audience as we all try to spread knowledge. Its important to use success stories when convincing your management, CEO, board, etc. about the potential for social media within your media. I will keep this updated as more come to light.

I have a page on my site dedicated to these examples:

http://www.smurdoff.com/social-media-examples/

Some highlights and favorites:

Mashable’s 35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media – Good examples of success stories

My Starbucks Idea – a community around new ideas for Starbucks, built on Force.com, too of all things!

Dell Outlet on Twitter – Twitter site where the sell products – generating $3M annually. Good to see someone making real money on Twitter!

Kodak – A Thousand Words – Well, you get the pun.

Select Minds – selected social media case studies

Social Media in Plain English – Cool Video

This is a great YouTube video that explains social media in a short and easy to understand story from the cool people at CommonCraft. Social media brings you choices, by the people, for the people…

Accountability in Social Media Depends on Your Maturity

Charts going upThe growth of social media is explosive – everywhere you turn there are new stats on the rise of Twitter, Facebook or the newest innovations to drive better social media behavior. Even with the growth, its still widely experimental. Most companies are trying new ideas, new sites, new communities with success stories appearing all the time from Ford, Dell or the infamous Blendtec. The great part of social media is that you can experiment without a significant investment – its not building a $5M advertising campaign and watching it fail. You start and stop projects, campaigns and interactions relatively quickly, based on immediate feedback from the best people you could ever dream of… your customers!

However, as any new trend comes of age, people begin to want ROI and accountability for any such investment. In fact, a lot of people get too hung up on the details of the ROI they miss the big picture – keep in mind, most people are not measuring the ROI on social media and that is okay!

Most of the success stories you read about were not carefully planned, financially engineered and flawlessly executed social media campaigns that got it right because they planned it that way. We are in the experimentation phase, so experiment. Have an eye towards where you would like to see the impact, but don’t let accountability delay progress.

This does not mean go wildly into wild west west and waste hours per day tweeting worthless chatter…there is plenty of that. I believe the accountability of your social media efforts depends on the maturity of your social media experience. If you were an early adopter of social media and have it working like a well-oiled machine (congrats) you should have a good understanding of the return through each of your social media programs measured against the investment of time and money. Most of you are not even close to this nirvana and keep in mind, the landscape of social media changes frequently, so you always will need to experiment.

toe-in-the-waterIf you are starting out and just dipping your toe in the water, then measuring ROI on your limited effort will be fruitless and much too limited in scope. I recommend dipping a few more toes – maybe the foot and leg even – to see what works and what does not. At that point, its not about the statistician’s role to calculate your return, but to take a higher view of trends and the impact of what works and what doesn’t. Most of all, its about getting started – once you have started, it will become more clear about what you want to measure and where. Of course, you should always have an eye towards accountability and have an idea of the results you would like to see, but keep it simple to start, measure what you can, but put action before measurement in the beginning.

I welcome your thoughts on accountability.

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