Page 1


TABLE OF CONTENTS

In the Beginning .

.

.

.

.

Page 3

What is Social Media Anyway? A definition…

.

.

.

Page 6

The Revolution.

.

.

.

Page 8

The Major “Mind Shift” With Social Media… .

.

.

.

Page 10

Making Money or Just a Big “Time Suck”… .

.

.

.

Page 13

Traditional Media – May It Rest In Peace… .

.

.

.

Page 16

“Push” vs. “Pull” Marketing – The New Way…

.

.

.

Page 21

Customers Are Now In Control…Are You Listening? .

.

.

Page 23

The Tools of Social Media for Business

.

.

.

.

Page 26

MySpace

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 26

Facebook

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 30

LinkedIn

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 35

Blogs

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 39

Rich Media

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 42

Yodio

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 43

YouTube

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 44

Twitter

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 47

What Should I Do Next…Planning For Social Media .

.

.

Page 54

Your Next “Wom10” Book to Read… .

.

.

.

.

Page 60

THANK YOU

.

.

.

.

Page 62

.

www.WOM10.com

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Page 2


IN THE BEGINNING… Welcome to “WOM10 Media” – where we focus on giving you short, direct, impactful material that you can read during the “first leg” of a business flight. It all depends on how fast you read but you get the picture – here’s something that has high impact and good information that you can get through in a couple hours. The world has changed… We had just driven over an hour to get to our next speech. The audience was strolling in and of course looking for the food table – food always ranks ahead of the speaker. As the people started interacting and networking, you could hear the start of some of the conversations. Some wondered what they were doing by getting up at this early hour (we did a lot of speeches at 7:30am) to hear about some internet stuff used by their kids and their kids’ friends. Others were talking about their businesses and how much they were struggling in this tight economy and not sure what to do about it other than try to survive and ride it out. Still others talked about this exotic thing they had come to hear about, social media, and how they didn’t get it or understand it, but it is the latest buzz so they felt the need for a safe introduction. One thing about CEOs and businesses owners – they are not early adopters by nature, but they don’t want to be left in the dark about something that might come up at the next cocktail party. Then came Anthony. Anthony gave all the signs of not being happy about being there – for whatever reason. He was fidgety, almost hoping the speakers (us) wouldn’t show up so he could head back to work. He was very direct, outspoken, yet very friendly sort of guy. The kind of guy who if he liked and respected you, you could be great friends. As we started to mill around the room and introduce ourselves, we joined into several of the conversations and listened to what they had to say. Like most speakers, we tried to mix without giving our speech in advance or the “nutshell” that everyone wants in these type of casual conversations. Then we came across Anthony and the conversation started. While he was very pleasant and conversational, you could see he had something on his mind. As we learned where he was from and what his role was, (the CEO of the Washington Restaurant Association), he told us something that we knew was true of many people in our audiences but rarely spoken. He said, “I’m here under protest. The only reason I am even here is because my marketing director told me I had to come.” Well at least we knew where we stood with Anthony. We appreciated his candor and his directness about his interest (minimal) and motivation (forced by someone else to attend). This was great. So now we get to try

www.WOM10.com

Page 3


and evangelize social media in a room where at least one person (and probably more) didn’t want to be there. Welcome to our world as evangelists and speakers about embracing “faster, cheaper, deeper” communications for the world of business. We’re advocates in a very “white hot” area called Social Media. And we’re seasoned executives looking at Social Media through our business lens. Exposing businesses to the opportunities offered by Social Media is the journey that we have been on for a few years now – educating and acting like Paul Revere, letting everyone know it is coming by land and by sea and by the airwaves. It has not been an easy journey but one that has certainly taught us more than we ever could have gained from reading or listening to other social media prognosticators or educators. We were in the corporate lion’s den – in the heart of American business leaders talking about something that was usually totally foreign and that they didn’t want to hear about. We can’t think of many other situations in our business careers where the learning seems to flow through a fire hose and the experience is priceless. Having the opportunity to speak to and listen to the comments, questions, experiences, and stories from over 1,000 CEOs, Business Owners, Top Executives, Middle Management and others has given us a very rich and rewarding knowledge base as well as information-laden, hands-on, experiences. We wanted to share some of these insights with you – so here is the beginning of that sharing experience – our first book on the subject. To make sure we all start off on the same page, let’s look at our definition of what the “Smiley Faces” mean as you read the book. The good news is that we think intuitively you already know but let’s eliminate all doubt.

The “HAPPY” face is the one you, as the business leader want to find and use. This signifies that we feel it is a very strong “tool” or concept that can be used very effectively for businesses. It has the attributes that appeal to customers and decision makers and can be used to help the organization build significant “Word-of-Mouth”.

This is considered the “NEUTRAL” or “IT DEPENDS” smiley face. It signifies that these “tools” are somewhere in the middle. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish or what you want from social media, they can be good tools to use or they can be a waste of time. All depends on the business, its objectives, and customers. Kind of middle ground.

www.WOM10.com

Page 4


This is the “SAD” face or the one that signifies this is not a “tool” or “concept” we would recommend for most businesses to use. It doesn’t have the features most businesses could take advantage of to develop more business. It doesn’t mean it is a “bad” tool, just one we don’t see meeting the needs of most businesses to build their brand, attract customers, and generate sales.

You will notice something a little different throughout this book – graphics and presentation slides. After giving over 75 speeches in 2009 alone, you can imagine we have a few presentations. Since we spoke to groups from 15 and 300, the material was very customized and tailored for the different audiences. We thought that it would be easier to make some of our points using these graphics, screen shots, and actual slides from our material. So throughout the book you will see a variety of images that hopefully make our points and give those of you who are very visual something that is easy to communicate our points. Just thought this might help you understand the variety of images you are about to see throughout this book. Enjoy!

www.WOM10.com

Page 5


WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ANYWAY? A DEFINITION… Only a year ago we were being asked, “What is this thing called social media and why should I be concerned about it for my business or organization?” Then as the end of 2009 approached, we were getting questions like, “what is this weird sounding thing called “twitter” and why would I want to be on facebook or LinkedIn?” Today, our audiences are no longer asking what it is. Now they are seeing “social media” everywhere and they don’t want to just find out what it is, they want to find out what it does and if it can help them in their business. Social Media is moving so fast that even those involved, including us, are seeing new applications and creative uses every day. New uses, new applications, and new tools – it is a “new way” of doing business. And we aren’t going back to the “OLD WAY” of doing things when this economic slowdown “blows over”. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get everyone on the same page by answering the basic, “So what is this thing called “Social Media” anyway?” This is a good place to start as we discuss how it can help you and your business. There are many definitions out there. Our definition is pretty simple – people like simple. Social Media is “an umbrella term that describes a collection of “social tools” used to create a “social dialog” to build new and deeper relationships – creating more “Word-of-Mouth” about you and your organization.” At the core of Social Media is the conversation. Social media is really designed to allow people to “talk with you” and “interact with you” so they can connect with you (follow you) in the way that they choose. Without creating a dialog or conversation, it is still “one-way communication” and not “social.” Too many times we see people getting started with some of the social media tools and putting out some good content, only to stop short of the “brass ring” of social media – the conversation – getting others to interact with you and engage. So what do you need to know to take advantage of this change? First of all, it would probably be helpful to spend a minute and talk about what “it is” to establish a proper baseline. Some questions we think you, as a business leader, should be asking right now! 

What is this thing called Social Media anyway?

What is it I need to know so we don’t get taken advantage of when trying to figure this stuff out?

www.WOM10.com

Page 6


Things are good now, why should I even care?

What can it help me change or improve?

How is this going to impact our business? (Just note that it WILL impact your business whether you actively engage or not)

How can I use it to make increase sales and more money?

How can I use it to help differentiate us from our competitors?

How can I avoid the “time suck” that happens when people use social media without a plan?

How can I take advantage of the lower cost, higher impact of social media, especially in economically challenging times?

How can it help get the word out to more potential customers?

These are just a few of the many questions we hear and will answer for you in this book – others will be answered as we release some of our planned books specifically focusing on certain aspects of social media for businesses. This is such an exciting and fast moving new area, we want to provide you with as much “up-to-date” information on the ways we are seeing people use social media to change their businesses. This is one of the primary reasons we are writing this book so you can get it quick, fresh, and timely.

www.WOM10.com

Page 7


THE REVOLUTION… The “REVOLUTION” is here – just accept it. The Revolution is here, and the result is that you will find yourself in a much better place to understand and take advantage of the power Social Media if you just accept that it is real and here to stay. Fighting this change isn’t going to do anything but put you behind your competition and very likely at odds with your employees – Social Media is NOT A FAD. It will CHANGE EVERY ORGANIZATION in some way, whether they choose to actively engage in it or not. In these pages, we’ll share some examples of the impact it is having and you can make your own decisions. The point is this – your customers will use it, your competitors will use it, your partners will use it and your prospects will use it. One way or another, it will “touch” your organization to some degree, if it hasn’t already. It’s a bit hard to spot, because it usually comes from the bottom up. So it may very likely already be playing a role in your business. We know this book will be DISRUPTIVE to your thinking. From our 1,000+ conversations with CEOs, we can assure you the information in this book will be more firmly grounded than much of what you may be hearing. We aren’t passive, go with the flow, type of guys. We are business guys that want to help you get results from all this as you go forward. We aren’t focused on the “hype” or the “techno-babble” or even the “technology” surrounding social media. In fact, most people hear us say all the time, “it isn’t about the tools and technology, it is the strategy and messaging that wins the game.” Nope, we are focused on “how do you use this stuff to make money.” Period. Our goal is a quick read with some iconic smiley faces (since they are so universally understood) that will help you see these social media tools from our point of view – and from a business point of view. Our goal is to help every business appreciate how these tools might be “faster, cheaper, deeper” alternatives to higher-priced, lower-producing traditional media that you’ve gotten familiar with…..but you are no longer getting the results that you once did. Speaking of traditional media, forget about the “next month” or the “next quarter” timeline for marketing. These new media tools are fast. We mean real fast. Some of them are literally real-time fast. You can use them to market same day or even same hour. This is a revolution for marketing timelines. It leaves committee decision-making in the dust. This “speed-to-market” factor rewards the smaller, more agile, ownermanaged businesses where market-oriented management can be opportunistic with these fast and cheap communications. This is one of the major mind shifts you will find us talking about throughout the book. Being able to be more flexible and nimble with a clear message theme now gives you the ADVANTAGE over the larger players whose size was once an advantage with their

www.WOM10.com

Page 8


big advertising budgets – that is all in the past. As a small-medium sized business, you can have the same voice, the same presence, and same impact on your market faster than the clumsy, less-nimble larger organizations – the power has shifted. The size of your marketing budget is no longer the deciding factor. We hope you enjoy the book. Feel free to pass it along to others who you feel might benefit from it (which should be about everyone you know since it impacts everyone). All we ask is that your “pass along recipients” let us know they have the book and share with us their e-mail address so we can let them know when we update this book and when our next book(s) is coming out – which will be soon!! We’re asking you to help others stay informed…pay-it-forward, they will thank you. WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK – can’t say it any simpler. Please leave a comment on our blog postings, send us an e-mail or give us a call if you have any ideas, suggestions or just want to tell us what great guys we are – all are appreciated.

If you have any further questions or would like to comment on what we have written, please visit our blog at www.WOM10.com and leave a comment on one of our postings that talk about the book, such as “Our new book is almost here”. You can also e-mail us if you would prefer and we will respond directly to you (our e-mails are: Blaine@WOM10.com and Clay@WOM10.com) All of our contact information is located at the back of the book). We’re anxious to hear what you think and appreciate any insights and comments you want to share. Now let’s get started…

www.WOM10.com

Page 9


THE MAJOR “MIND SHIFT” WITH SOCIAL MEDIA… There is a MAJOR “mind shift” that accompanies the emergence of social media. If there is ONE KEY thing we have seen happening with everyone (business leaders, marketing, PR and ad agencies, and even the so-called social media experts) it’s that they don’t understand what is behind this major shift in approaching the market. This “mind shift” is SO CRITICAL to using the new media effectively and yet it is very difficult for people to get their heads around. No fault of their own, just very difficult to do, thus most struggle with grasping this concept. This “mind shift” is not just different terminology – it is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAY to think about marketing and communications going forward. We will talk more about the details of this a bit later, but suffice it to say, the world no longer wants “broadcast messaging” – they want to “choose” what it is they want to hear and receive. While we will discuss this later, just realize this move away from “broadcasting” is a significant mental shift for people – especially those in marketing that have spent their entire life “pushing” messages. To help make this “mind shift” easy to follow, it is important to talk about what is comfortable to you before introducing the “new language” or “Social Media Speak” as we call it. Once we have shared the core concepts behind this, it will help you grasp and manage the power of social media. We aren’t saying the sky is falling, but it kind of is in many respects – especially around marketing and your customers. If you are still living in a world where you believe “Traditional Marketing/Media” rules, we have some serious wake-up calls for you. This is where we start in this book – discussing why Traditional Marketing/Media is dying rapidly and some of the causes. In many of our speeches, we ask the all-important question, “How many in the room are seeing growing results when using traditional media such as newspapers, TV, radio, supplements, newsletters, direct mail and of course, yellow page ads?” We can report that very few, if any, hands ever go up. This says it all – the costs are going up but the results aren’t. Put more succinctly, most businesses are experiencing declining results from increased expenditures on traditional media. Combine this with a troubled economy (nice way of saying we are in deep do-do) and you have bottom lines experiencing compounded suffering from the demise of traditional media. Think about it. What is a company to do today when they need more customers because the ones they have are spending 20 – 50% less than they did 2 years ago and the way you attracted them isn’t working any longer – oh, yes, and it is costing you more than has in the past. This is the real world business leaders are living in today.

www.WOM10.com

Page 10


We have seen it coming for a few years but ever since we got blasted with an economic crisis, it has made starkly obvious the changes in the traditional game. Another key aspect of this “mind shift” is that the BASICS of MARKETING and CUSTOMER PURCHASE MOTIVATIONS haven’t changed! I know this might sound shocking with all the new hype and language surrounding with social media, but we’re here to tell you that the basics are still here. The truth be told, the fundamentals are still in place and will remain in place. What HAS CHANGED, is both the “power” and the way you “interact” with your prospects and customers. Customers are now clearly in control and have all the power – this is significant and if you don’t believe it, just treat them poorly and see how fast they defect. They are now squarely in control. Why is it that with social media your customers are now in control? Why is it that their voice now has so much more power than ever before? Customers RULE – that is the new future. We can talk with a bit of authority on customers since I, Blaine, coauthored a book with my brother, Gary, a few years ago titled, “Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences,” which talked about how to create the foundation for building consistent and lasting customer loyalty. We will share some insights into what has changed, or not changed, with the advent of social media. For example, in many of our speeches, we always ask a fundamental marketing/customer question. It goes something like this, “What is the number one way, if you had your choice, you would prefer to get new customers and build more loyalty with your existing customers?” And the answer is… (drum roll please)…WORDof-MOUTH. Without question, this is still the heart and soul of customer acquisition and retention – bar none, no exceptions. It is not only the most powerful; it is also the most economical (lowest cost of sale).

www.WOM10.com

Page 11


Social Media is a marketing blessing as it literally offers a way to put “WORD-of-MOUTH ON STEROIDS.” Every audience agrees that word-of-mouth is their most valued form of marketing. After we hear this answer, we then ask another key question, “If you could increase your Word-of-Mouth by, say 3X – 5X (3 to 5 times), while reducing your cost to create it by at least half, would you be interested?” Of course the unanimous response is YES; actually it is usually “HELL YES” from most CEOs. Now we’re getting somewhere – this is what Social Media delivers, on steroids. We’ll help you see how this is the case throughout this book. While this isn’t a new “mind shift” (since it has been around since the beginning of time), putting it on steroids and creating exponential increases in word-of-mouth using social media is a major “mind shift.”

www.WOM10.com

Page 12


MAKING MONEY OR JUST A BIG “TIME SUCK”… One area we know is critical to business leaders everywhere (because we hear it all the time) is “How does my business make money using social media or is it just another big “time suck” for my people?” This book specifically addresses what are the right “social media tools” for businesses and how they can help your organization make money or get more customers. This is a very key question and one that most social media gurus “dodge” all the time when they talk about how “cool” a particular social media tool is. We won’t subject you to this “wonder” talk, because the underlying theme of this entire book is to help you see which tools are “best suited” for business and which aren’t. Why waste time with tools that might be “fun” and “entertaining” or even “cool” when they don’t do much for your business? We are just plain business guys and that’s what we know best. So if, after speaking in front of over 1,000 CEOs and business leaders, we don’t feel it has the power to dramatically change your business, we won’t recommend it. This is all about business. As you saw from our front cover, we have definite opinions about which ones work “best for business” and which ones don’t. While not all businesses fit this profile, we know the majority will. One thing you will see and hear from us constantly – we don’t care about the tools, we just care about how they HELP you make more money, increase your awareness or build better customer/employee loyalty – that’s it. If they don’t do one or all of these, they won’t pass our test and won’t be on our “favorites” list for businesses. Since there are literally hundreds of great, cool, and fun tools out there, it is important to start with the solid tools and use them to gain an understanding of social media. Then, and only then, should you “graduate” to some of the very specialized or niche tools. We focus on what is working TODAY and what we see for TOMORROW in this sea of tools. One thing we can literally guarantee you is that if you follow our recommendation for these tools and use them in the right way to help you execute your strategy, you will end up with more time than if you never read our book. We can confidently say this because we have firsthand experience with all these tools and can share our experiences of what we have seen work most effectively. Using tools for any other reason than to help your business grow (being cool, getting entertaining, having fun, etc.) is called the “SOCIAL MEDIA TIME SUCK” to us. We choose not to participate in this way of using social media. Instead, we want tools that give us the MAXIMUM benefit for the LOWEST COST – period. So we will give you our insights, what we have seen and heard, and some examples along the way. Finally, we will end with some recommendations and tee up our next book for you. Now, you wouldn’t expect anything less from good marketers would you? Remember, our goal is to get you something short and with high impact. Our goal is to give you a

www.WOM10.com

Page 13


start to what you, as the leader of an organization, should be thinking about in regards to Social Media and its impact on your organization. Will we give you all the answers – of course not. Not only are they evolving more every day, but this is why we get hired – to help organizations move from the 20,000 foot view to the granular, ground level development of their social media strategy to build massive word-of-mouth.

www.WOM10.com

Page 14


TRADITIONAL MEDIA – MAY IT REST IN PEACE…

Traditional media is dead – well, not quite yet, but much of it is living on life support for the most part these days. It isn’t that traditional media is a bad thing; it just isn’t as effective as it was several years ago. Unfortunately, the ROI for users of traditional media has been in a freefall whereas the low-cost and no-cost social media has been forcing itself on the marketing radars. We see two major events that caused the acceleration of this trend. First, we had this “R” word hit us right between the eyes – the recession. This caused everyone to tighten their belts and seek lower cost alternatives to marketing. Marketing is one of the areas many companies see as important until you don’t have as much money as you did yesterday. Then it gets added to the “chopping block” as a way to reduce costs. So while companies are tightening their belts in the area of marketing costs, the use of these traditional marketing tools drops significantly. The charts we show in our speeches are staggering – the chart “bleeds red” in how bad the losses are for virtually all forms of traditional media. An excellent chart was put out by Marketer.com that showed the year over year US Advertising Spending for Q1 2009. All forms were losing money – some as high as 37.7% over the previous year – unbelievable. No wonder those in traditional media are struggling.

www.WOM10.com

Page 15


The second major event was the presidential election. You couldn’t have asked for a better standard bearer for social media. Both Obama and McCain were in a tight race but Obama seized the day and dominated with his social media strategy (thanks in part to facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes). This really put social media on the map, including twitter, which was virtually unknown before the election. The Obama camp orchestrated a masterful campaign around these tools and the concept of creating interaction with niche groups so they would support and donate money. It worked well and he eclipsed the McCain camp in execution of these tools. As we say repeatedly in this book, it wasn’t the tools, it was the way the tools were used to create a “personalized” approach to niche groups that really carried the day. So the combination of the recession and the massive exposure and use of social media by the Presidential candidates really accelerated the awareness, knowledge, and curiosity around social media. Seeing how effectively it was used helped give it the shot in the arm for awareness that it needed to become the new “hope” for those looking to continue marketing at a lower cost. Once people saw the tools were essentially “free” and they could create some awareness, money started leaving the traditional sources of marketing and advertising. Remember we are always asking CEOs, Business Owners and other Business Executives the telling question, “How many of you are getting a better return today for the money you are spending on traditional media than you did 2 years ago?” Our experience is that – over 90% of the audiences tell us they aren’t even getting close. This really tells the story of what is happening to traditional media. Word-of-Mouth has always been the most effective form of marketing for businesses – and always will be. In this day of declining performance by many forms of traditional media, every business is looking for alternate was to marketing their services and products. Why? Because what they are using today (traditional media) isn’t working. It is losing its effectiveness while its cost is going up. The cost goes up because there are fewer and fewer people using it. So the traditional media companies have to charge more to their remaining customers to try and cover the overhead of the “machine” they have build to deliver this type of media. In a boom economy, this might have continued on for a few more years. But in a tough economy where results drive the decisions, this traditional media model is rapidly dying. The Tsunami has hit the shores and everyone is scattering. How we miss those days when you could say “We need to grow sales, so let’s spend more on advertising.” Today, we are spending more and getting less return. Our old standbys of TV, radio, Yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, and even direct mail all seem to be underperforming these days.

www.WOM10.com

Page 16


You might ask the question “Why?” It is a good question. And the answer is very unsettling. These forms of advertising have worked so well for the past four decades that much of the consuming public has developed immunity to these commercial messages. In fact, many people have developed an antipathy to most forms of advertising. A recent study showed that a mere 14% of the public said that they “trust” advertising messages. On the other hand, 78% of the American public is inclined to “trust” other’s recommendations about products and services. So the most consistent and long standing form of marketing is still the cornerstone of all marketing – getting more of the right people talking about you more. Word-of-Mouth is thriving in this new economy. Fortunately there is a new way to market that puts our trusty old friend “word-of-mouth” on steroids. This new way to market includes many of the new tools found under the umbrella of “social media”. Although social media is new to most of us, it is the epitome of word-of-mouth. Social media is truly “social”, because most connections are between people with like interests or common experiences or shared sets of friends. It is a hot bed for word-ofmouth. Since people are more inclined to accept information and recommendations from people that they identify with, word-of-mouth is by far the most desirable way for people to communicate about you and your organization.

www.WOM10.com

Page 17


This is a big change for marketing folks – whether they are 32 or 52 years old. For more than forty years the science of marketing has been “pushing” a message out to the masses – broadcast messaging. It was all about buying access to the right group (hopefully) that we could bombard with our message – and our message would be “packaged” toward that audience. Universities taught the science and theory, businesses embraced the metrics of this approach for budgeting, and advertising agencies enjoyed high fees as the ringmasters for these “push campaigns”. Both advertising agencies and business management perfected the “baby bird” form of marketing – “they sit there with wide open mouths waiting for us to bring it to deliver”. Those days are almost gone. This form of “broadcasting” and “pushing” messages at the customer are no longer being accepted by the customer. The world has changed before our very eyes. The CUSTOMER is in CONTROL today and social media is showing us just how much control they really have. No one seems to be sitting around waiting for us to try to grab their attention with a canned message. And today’s consumers have so many options for their information and entertainment that they no longer have to endure commercials to get to the “beef”. Say good bye to those days of pushing out advertising to captive audiences.

Today, the new audience chooses what information they want. In fact the choices are so many and so available that the audience literally “pulls” the information that they want. They select their information sources. They sample them and if they deliver value, then they may choose to follow them on a repeated basis. In other words,

www.WOM10.com

Page 18


today’s consumers need to be won over by providing valuable information more than sales talk. (They’ve already discounted the value of sales talk in today’s environment.) Another form of traditional marketing that many don’t think about is their website. Yes, your own website is considered part of the traditional media. The traditional website evolved in the early days as most companies took variations of their marketing collateral and moved it online. Many took this so literally in the early days that they took whatever was in their brochures and copied it into pages on their website. Today websites have become reference sources and sales catalogs for businesses. And the information-loaded websites have a very big industry that costs companies thousands of dollars a year to build, maintain, and change. Our view – websites will continue to be information depositories, but their days as primary marketing vehicles are rapidly coming to a close. The front pages of your website (the marketing pages) are now being by-passed as people use search functions like Google. The search results take them to an information page deep in your website. If the information hooks them in a few seconds, they may stick around to buy. If the information doesn’t hook them, they likely have thousand more search results to turn to. Google brings people into your web house by the back door, and they leave the same way. Your front door of your website is being passed up by most traffic today. Fortunately there are other ways to accomplish many of the same marketing functions you once expected from the front pages of your website. For very little money, many companies now can create great looking pages populated by very current content using blog structures such as WordPress. Your audience will never know the difference, but this new approach is very friendly to your marketing budget. If you are not using these tools to market your company, you should explore them. Trust us, you will quickly detect the difference because it will cost you significantly less while offering far more flexibility for adding fresh and relevant content in real time (instead of the days, weeks, or whenever your webmaster gets around to it). Let’s clarify something just to make sure we are all on the same page. There are two types of content – “fact focused” and “message focused” content. The “fact focused” content is the traditional web pages of facts and figures and technical/sales information usually found scattered all over the web, including your own website. The “message focused” content is what social media is all about. No longer is it the cool graphics and other creative designs, it is about the content, the stories people tell is what the audience cares about. Style and graphics no longer rule the internet – it is the stories and helpful messages that audiences are looking to find. However, when you don’t know what else to do, you are likely to burn more time and money on your website because it is what you know and what is comfortable. Most CEOs that we come in contact with are not aware that there are faster, cheaper, and

www.WOM10.com

Page 19


deeper ways to communicate and interact with their audiences. It is because of this that CEOs and companies are still being sold a “bill of goods” and are still spending thousands (tens of thousands) of misapplied dollars on their website. Making sure your home page looks great, even though Google prides itself on skipping your home page and taking your viewers directly to the exact page they requested, is simply not worth the investment any longer. Unfortunately, most search engines pursuing the content that the user wants tend to bypass these illustrious (and expensive) home pages because the search results are rarely pointing to the home page. The audience has spoken and they are saying, “Show me the content I care about and tell me what others are saying about it – that has the highest value to me.” Here is a good way to relate to this in your own world. How many times do you go to Google and simply type in one word, usually the company’s name. Today, most type in a string of words in hopes of getting to exactly the page they are looking for rather than finding it themselves. They want Google to do the work for them rather than landing on a home page and having to figure out how to navigate a website. Google has trained us well.

www.WOM10.com

Page 20


“PUSH” vs. “PULL” MARKETING – THE NEW WAY… Marketing has shifted away from PUSHING it out to the audiences. The new marketplace skews toward those creating engaging, informative information that the consumer will catch on their radar screen and they will PULL it into their path for information-to-bereviewed on the internet. This could easily be termed “Anti-Detroit Marketing” and it would communicate the message even clearer. From the beginning when Henry Ford offered us any color car we wanted as long as it was black, Detroit auto makers (actually, almost all automakers) have shoved their “nochoice” marketing and cars at the public. Why do we have so many types of cars today? Because they started to listen to their customers, who told them this isn’t what they wanted, and decided to build it – a new market niche was created. It was simply created because the existing one either didn’t listen to the customer or they listened but said there really wasn’t a market. Now we have a boat load of car manufactures because of this type of thinking. The marketing method used: PUSH our ads at everyone as often as we can possibly afford so we can hopefully change their mind from what they really want to what we have to offer. This no longer works today and our prediction will be to watch how this changes something even as traditional as a car manufacturer. Anyone notice how all of a sudden all these cool electronics started showing up in the cars over the last year since they weren’t selling any cars? The customer has spoken and they aren’t happy. This shift from PUSH to PULL marketing is based squarely on the internet. And it favors social media because of its focus on creating interesting information that can be easily shared with “like-minded people”. This is why word-of-mouth is becoming so paramount for marketing today. If you choose to read something and find it valuable, you are more likely to want to “talk about it” and “share it” with your own audience – giving it your “endorsement” along the way. This carries far more weight than any traditional advertisement could begin to command. The other, often overlooked, aspect of PULL marketing is that everyone wants to “be the expert” or “be in the spotlight” if even for a moment. People love to have others ask them for their opinion. And who doesn’t want to give it – very few. We love our few minutes of fame where we are suddenly important and we can offer our opinions for others to see and hear. This ability to share thoughts, perspectives, opinions, and viewpoints is at the heart of social media and word-of-mouth marketing. The new tools have allowed all of us the opportunity to participate – as freely and openly as possible. This is completely changing the advertising and marketing world we grew up in. Today, and for as long as we can remember, marketing has been based around a “PUSH” approach – shoving information at your prospects and customers in hope that if

www.WOM10.com

Page 21


they see enough of it they will think about you when they make a purchase. That is basically the core of what marketing has been for as long as we can remember. Taking information and “pushing” it at your audience – your way, your message and on your terms. Essentionally casting a big net and hoping to find people interested in your products or services. It has given organizations a big megaphone and allowed them to “broadcast” their message to as many as they could afford. If you wanted to reach millions, you spent millions on TV ads (like the Superbowl or American Idol or some other hot show) or some other broadcast marketing tools. You probably used tools like newspapers, direct mail, e-mail marketing, TV, radio, magazines, and a host of others to get this message out in mass. These were the “tools” of “push marketing” that exist for us today and have been the mainstay of marketing for organizations. We are rapidly coming to the end of that era. The era of “broadcast” and “push” marketing and communications is being replaced by what is now called “social media”. There are a new set of tools to accomplish something entirely different. This is the “mind shift” we were referring to earlier. The new way to reach your audience is to make yourself interesting enough, compelling enough, relevant enough and passionate enough where people will choose to “follow” you because they want to hear more about what you are saying. Think of the latest party you went to and picture someone you were drawn to because of their conversation. Most likely it was because they were sharing information and “stories” with the group that drew you into the conversation and you left saying, “I want to hear more about what she has to say – that was interesting.” This is “Pull Marketing” – creating an environment and dialog that is captivating enough so that others want to learn more and hear more about what you have to say. You have moved from a point of “broadcasting” to a point of being “compelling and interesting” and others want to hear about it. Being able to create an environment where your audience can’t wait to hear more is the core of the power of what social media marketing and communications is all about. Hopefully we have given you at least enough background information on the huge MIND SHIFT that it takes to really understand the power these social media tools have to offer. For the remainder of the book we want to give you some insights and perspectives of some of the most well-known social media tools and how you can leverage them so you can create your own “word-of-mouth on steroids.” All these tools capitalize on the trend toward PULL communications and away form PUSH advertising. We’re talking about a new world of marketing that offers less one-way shouting and more two-way conversations.

www.WOM10.com

Page 22


CUSTOMERS ARE NOW IN CONTROL…ARE YOU LISTENING? If you didn’t believe this was true before, it is going to hit you up side your head really fast and really hard. This is the NEW REALITY of the TIVO world we live in today. No longer is this the “you can have it in any color you want as long as it is black” world – this is “what color or shade of a color would you like, when do you want it delivered and at what cost would you like to have it” world of today. Social Media has ABSOLUTELY CHANGED the way we interact with our customer – and we won’t be going back to the old way anytime soon – probably not in our lifetime. How did this happen? Was it all of a sudden? What changed that I might have missed along the way? All good questions and just a few of the many we get asked by CEOs all the time. The key to the answer lies in the old story of “boiling the frog.” Remember, if you want to boil the frog, turn the heat up a little at a time instead of all at once, and this way the frog doesn’t jump out of the water. This is what our customers have been doing to businesses for the past several years. The customer has been warning businesses but until we were hit hard with a recession, few were paying attention. Today the customer is in control. We live in the “it’s all about me” world today. Gen X and Gen Y are very good examples of this happening all around us. Everyone wants it in a way that benefits them and they don’t care about any of the other customers. We have truly evolved to an “individualized” economy and those that can satisfy these needs win. But wait, all is not lost. One of the biggest complaints business leaders tell us is that they really don’t know what their customers want. They do traditional surveys and focus groups (we have done many of these in the past ourselves) to try and capture the interests and needs of their customers. The problem is the timing. The information gathered, analyzed, and presented is well out of date by the time any decision making executive gets to see it. So they make decisions on either “old customer information” or they make “predictions” and try to anticipate where the customer is going to be in the future based on old data. Tough game to win in the lightening fast market we live in today. The beauty of free enterprise is the ability to react to market conditions quickly and take advantage of them before your competition. This is how business makes it work. Today, with the advent of social media, companies have the ability to hear REAL TIME conversations going on with their customers and prospective customers. That’s right, “real time” information. A question to ask yourself as

www.WOM10.com

Page 23


the leader in your organization is, “Can we react to real time information and actually do something about it in an appropriate time frame?” From the majority of CEOs we have talked with, they can’t. Their systems are not set up for real time information, they are set up for gathering information, analyzing the information, creating a report on the information, sharing this with middle management first, revising the presentation and then presenting it to top decision making management in hopes they will give them some direction. Does this sound “real time” to you? It doesn’t to your customer either – so they defect and try to find someone that can react faster to their needs. Social Media allows us to “hear” the conversation and “see” what others are doing about it or what your customer is doing about it. This is invaluable if you are a business leader. You now have the ability to capture this “real time” information and feedback from the one group that writes you checks – your customers. And here’s the big kicker. Because this is “social” media, they are telling all their friends and colleagues and “followers” about their experience – in real time. The reason @ComcastCares (twitter address) was established was because there were so many complaints about Comcast circulating on Twitter. If Comcast was going to solve the problems and improve their image, Comcast needed a vehicle to capture these problems when they were still on the individual level (small) and deal with them in “real time”. Delay has a price, because we all know a problem gets bigger over time. Comcast’s intent was to capture the issues in real time and respond to them in real time and hopefully solve and diffuse the issue before it became a real problem. And a huge by-product was helping them improve the “word-of-mouth” that was being spread on the airwaves. Today Comcast has done a great job with this approach, and it is one of the successful examples of a company reacting to a negative situation and turning it positive through its use of social media to help them solve it. Kudos to Comcast in this area. Jet Blue is another great example. They started out using twitter to monitor mentions of Jet Blue. In time it became a key part of their customer service program, and then found it to be a very effective way to communicate real time to their audience when they are standing in line, sitting on a plane, looking for answers or just seeing if there are some interesting specials – all in “real time”. There are more and more examples like this showing up every day. Whether it be @KogiBBQ or @NakedPizza, the stories are about dialing into the specific needs of their customers in real time and servicing those better (and in a more interesting way) than their competitors. The world has indeed gotten smaller as it is getting bigger. A Great book to read more about this is “Small is the New Big,” by Seth Godin. Once you absorb

www.WOM10.com

Page 24


the declaration that the target audience is now in control, there are all kinds of adjustments that management will be making to adapt. This book is a brief introduction to some of the iconic tools of social media in very brief and relevant form. We’ll address each one and leave you with a little more comfort about where the major tools fit in your business so you can take advantage of the “faster, cheaper, deeper” marketing programs based these social media tools. We are two seasoned CEO-type of guys. We’re not talking about the techie aspects of these tools. And as an audience member for our presentation to the Executive Board of the Washington Restaurant Association said, “I saw the agenda item for social media, and I expected some tattooed, pony tailed 20 something who spoke a language I didn’t understand talking about ways they and their friends had successfully ramped up their party life using social media.” This CEO went out of her way to thank us for being experienced business guys who talked common sense about social media and ways it can work for small to mediumsized businesses. Yes, she commented that we spoke business fluently (as you would expect from having spoken to over a 1000 CEOs). We’ve discovered that most CEOs want to hear practical information on these social media tools and ways they can be used to successfully market businesses and their services/products. Next, it’s on to the tools…

www.WOM10.com

Page 25


THE TOOLS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS

2004

Let’s go back to the ancient times for social media – 2004. This is when one of the first social media networking tools was born - MySpace.

MySpace was a disruptive concept in 2004 and at the time it was viewed as the most social tool of all – especially for entrepreneurs and bands. It got its start in California’s Bay Area where it was heavily used (and still is) by bands as a way to get their music in the hands of their audience – fast and in a form they could relate to easily. It was designed to be much more of a platform for “freedom of artistic expression” rather than marketing a business. In 2004, it was a true pioneer in every sense of the word. MySpace began as a way for non-techies to have an internet experience similar to pages created by techie programmers. But the unique structure allowed the non-techies to create their own pages with relatively little technical knowledge. As we mentioned the initial users were bands in the San Francisco Bay Area. These “pages” were used to essentially allow them to have a sort of “website” quickly and easily so they could focus on what was important to them- their music and their fans. The bands could create pages for their fans that supported their music and allow them to play and then download songs. So MySpace became a place for fans to find their favorite bands, connect with other fans of the bands, and sample their music. In time the bands were also able to post photos, videos, and journal reports of their tours. These on-line fan club pages soon became ways to introduce newly recorded songs as well as a place for the bands to informally promote their own tours and fan gear. The orientation to music and artistic expression soon moved up to music sharing with like minded visitors. People began to create their personal pages even when they were not in the music business. In 2006, My Space became the most popular social networking site in the United States. In a short five years the 2009 MySpace had grown to its peak worldwide membership of more than 125,000,000 members.

www.WOM10.com

Page 26


In the latter half of 2009, MySpace began to experience a small decline in their user numbers and they are currently estimated to have slightly less than 120 million members. You can easily get more information on MySpace at the Wikipedia site, here is the link to the page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myspace

Free

MySpace launched 2004

OptOpt-in Personal

Anonymity Focus on Artistic Expression

85% of users are voting age

Music & Rich Media

60,000 videos Community 8 million uploaded daily Friends of friends images daily Customer Focused Social Media for Executives Proprietary and Confidential - property of Customer Experiences, Inc. (CEI) - All rights reserved. No reprints or use of this information or this document without written permission

www.WOM10.com

Page 27


MySpace was bought in July 2005 for US$580 million by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation which was deemed at the time to be a very large sum of money for a social network property. MySpace is supported through advertising; therefore there is no cost for users to create and maintain their pages on myspace.com. As with almost all social media tools, they are FREE to their users. These artistically-oriented users of MySpace quickly made it one of the top sites and truly nurtured the concept of user generated content. Many of the pages created on MySpace.com post content created by the owners of the pages. The concept of user generated content has grown far past MySpace in today’s world. But in its early days, MySpace was one of those sites that invited and highlighted user generated content – especially music, digital photos, and video.

We do not currently view nor do we recommend MySpace as a form of social media marketing for most companies – unless they are consumer products and/or heavily related to music and artistic expression. It’s a platform of enthusiastic and youthful users and its focus isn’t one we see as a good fit for business – at least not today. There are some great aspects of MySpace though that could make it an interesting tool to watch in the future, depending on which direction the owners decide to take it. To give you a brief thumbnail description of how we would view MySpace, we describe it as similar to entering a bar scene in a new city where you know no one. The immediate activity is to exchange comments on very superficial topics that will help you identify the people that you would like to know…..or that you would like to know more about. MySpace is very similar to this experience – you don’t really know anyone when you first start out.

www.WOM10.com

Page 28


You start by looking for others who share some of your interests or tastes, and once you find them you exchange more information that will help you connect and become associated through your common interest. You don’t have to have known them previously, because you have a shared pre-existing interest. This common thread allows you to feel comfortable being more social and getting better acquainted. MySpace does not require its members to release their “true” identity. This “anononymity” has created great opportunities as well as concerns (and bad press) around it as a tool. We all have heard at least one report of someone stalking or chasing young kids through their use of MySpace. With any tool, put in the hands of some deviant, it can be misused and used inappropriately. We see this as one of the potential challenges and yet future opportunities for MySpace. Since this is such a social environment, it is challenging for businesses to display information and personality that will attract these unknown people who share an interest. MySpace can serve some elements for marketing, but we do not consider it a primary channel for most businesses to market themselves. And, if a business were to use MySpace as part of its marketing effort, then we would recommend that you commit yourself to become heavy users of rich media – which we discuss later in this book. MySpace demands the use of rich media to meet the expectations of visitors to MySpace.

www.WOM10.com

Page 29


Facebook is another social media phenomena that got its start in February 2004 in the Harvard dorm rooms of its founders. Unlike MySpace, it was originally created for use by college students and for the first several years only college students could join and use facebook. Despite being limited to active college students (with .edu e-mail addresses), the site had reached 1 million members before the end of 2004. Where MySpace allowed for extensive artistic expression, facebook was more focused on user profiles with some elements of privacy. Rather than being open to all, facebook allowed people to create personal profiles that were available for viewing by people who they accepted as friends. Thus, facebook created its image and built its user base much more around friends and fun. When using facebook, people can connect and communicate (in real time) with friends and family. One of the primary components and advantages to facebook is its ability to share photos. In fact, today facebook is the largest site for storing photos on the web. Not only is it the largest site for photo storage and display, but it is the cheapest – meaning that it is free. Like MySpace and many of the other tools, facebook is free to anyone and you don’t need an e-mail address that ends in .edu (educational e-mail extension). Facebook is on a rapid rise, passing up MySpace in active members, and is continuing to grow. Today it is the largest social network on the internet. Our thumbnail description of facebook is displayed below. Where we described MySpace as a bar full of unknown people, we would describe facebook as receiving an invitation to a patio barbecue. A gathering where you, as do the other people attending, know the person who invited you. In this setting, you immediately have the common acquaintance for connection in your conversation. Everyone is a friend of a friend, which invites a sense of trust and sharing. Your conversations are built on these social relationships and business is an incidental conversation. You can picture yourself at the patio barbecue, where you and everyone else attending knows at least one person and that person introduces you to other people. This is the same way it happens online with facebook. Only on the web, you don’t necessarily need the introduction – you can simply see who their friends are and decide to introduce yourself if you are interested in meeting them. Since everyone at the barbecue is there to have a good time, making introductions and connections is not

www.WOM10.com

Page 30


terribly difficult. In fact, people are generally so friendly that they will introduce you to their friends, who introduce you to their friends, and so on. You get the point – this is how the viral nature of facebook works to connect people together as friends. This was one of the reasons the popular term, “friend collecting” came into existence – the ability to add hundreds and even thousands of friends by connecting to the social networks of people you never really knew. But in the end, you had a lot of “friends” even though you really don’t know most of these people. I guess this is a “loose interpretation” of the word friend. Suffice it to say, facebook is all about “friends and family and fun.” It was designed to be social and designed for “real time” interaction and updates on what is going on “right now” in your life. Who cares about what happened a month ago, we want to know where the party is TONIGHT. Facebook is that real time tool that helps connect our friends in real time and know what is going on in their lives right now. Very powerful social tool.

However, facebook does not make business use very inviting. If you try to create a business page on facebook, they will remove it without notice when it comes to their attention. When we say a “business page” we are not referring her to their “fan page”

www.WOM10.com

Page 31


program. We are simply saying that if you try to create a business page as your primary page on facebook, it is not acceptable and will get removed, eventually. Facebook is all about friends meeting friends, but they are quite cool to any efforts to easily use similar tools for connecting facebook members to businesses. That is, they are very cool to any business efforts to use the free tools to promote themselves. We can speak from experience. One of the advantages and disadvantages of being a very early adopter and “pioneer” in the area of social media is you get the opportunity to find out what works and what doesn’t. Take it from us, trying to include your business page as a facebook account doesn’t work, and we are testimony to the fact that facebook is serious about keeping your business off the primary facebook pages. They are, however, quite receptive to businesses paying money to purchase advertising on facebook. But our observation is that very few businesses have found advertising themselves on facebook to be very productive. It appears that most people are on facebook to keep up-to-date on their friends and their activities through status postings, and they are not hanging in facebook in the shopping mode or seeking information on new products and services.

www.WOM10.com

Page 32


In mid-2006, facebook membership was no longer limited to college students. It was opened up to any member of the public over the age of 13. The result has been an unbelievable adoption and acceptance of facebook by the general public. So much so, that by September of 2009, facebook had more than 300 million active members worldwide. An active member is considered to be someone who has visited their account in the last 30 days. The total number of people who have opened a facebook account is now close to 400 million. In addition, any site made up mostly of friend and family relationships seems to automatically invite photos and other media that often display the social side of one’s personality. One thing to keep in mind, it might not further one’s career if these pictures were mixed with business. Sharing your past weekend pictures from a wild party with your customers and business associates has usually not skyrocketed careers. Thus, we recommend that most businesses only use facebook if they can find a unique way to promote their own business. Avoid the mixing of fun, friends, and partying with business and your professional persona. Warning #1! Overtly promotional business use is unlikely to be accepted by most facebook users. Warning #2! Fun and Business typically don’t mix – party down photos colliding with your business persona may jeopardize your sought after promotion and upward career path. You can read more about facebook at this Wikepedia address: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

Please note the above description of facebook users. You can see why so many businesses would like to access and grab the attention of facebook members. Unfortunately most businesses run the risk of appearing as the unwelcome white-shoed

www.WOM10.com

Page 33


life insurance salesman who comes to a party and never quits selling. A business on facebook employing their old school PUSH messaging would risk trashing their brand – faster, cheaper, and deeper than they ever dreamed possible. So why did we give facebook a “neutral” happy face instead of a frown? Fan Pages. Within the past year, facebook realized that people wanted “business access” to their 300 million members. Since they don’t allow you to open up a business facebook page, they created something called a “Fan Page”. This is simply a separate page where you can promote your business or organization and keep it separate from your individual facebook page. Check out the Fan Page for El Gaucho Restaurant in Bellevue, WA. This was a great use of a fan page because it created interest, interaction and a “pull” for people to go see it. They didn’t spend lots of time with meaningless dialog about how great they were as a restaurant (which they are), they simply showed it in pictures. They used pictures of people attending some of our “Taste and Tweet” events and having fun – enjoying themselves. These are pictures that someone would want to share and spread via word-of-mouth to their friends, colleagues and family – all future networking opportunities for El Gaucho. As the pictures on their fan page were shared and sent around, the subtle message, “this is a fun place to be and the food is great as well.” No one needed to “say” anything, it was told in the pictures. This is how a fan page can be successfully used to generate interest and awareness and yes, revenues. This way, if one of your friends is interested in your business ventures as well, they can “become a fan” of the business. People can also become fans of others and not become a friend on their facebook page. This allows people to keep their friends and family connections separate from their business connections, their fans. Because you can now use facebook as a potential business tool to connect to your audience, it gets a neutral. There is also another reason we gave it a neutral. You may remember we talked about facebook as being the largest picture repository in the world. Because of its ease of use for uploading and sharing photos, we feel this at least gets a Neutral face. As we’ll talk a bit later, rich media, pictures included, are worth a thousand words. Using pictures of events and other business activities is a powerful way to “tell your story” and to help attract people to connect to you. This is a great business weapon.

www.WOM10.com

Page 34


The third social network that we want to mention is not necessarily a social network. Linked In is a business network with social characteristics. It was founded in 2003, and it has had a surge of growth in the past year to achieve more than 50 million members worldwide. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for business contacts. And it is a very effective way to keep a current resume available to the public. Unlike the two previous social networks, LinkedIn is profitable. Advertising on Linked In is a secondary source of revenue. The primary source of revenue is based on fees from the recruiting and staffing community. Access to their data reports and the various information that users post to Linked In is very valuable in the recruiting and employment process. HR and Search people love LinkedIn because of the way they can collect, sort and access the information.

According to our thumbnail description, if MySpace is a bar full of unknown people and facebook is a patio BBQ of friends of a friend, then LinkedIn is most akin to a Trade Show. LinkedIn is strictly business – there are no photo libraries, party scheduling, wall postings, vacation reviews, etc. The purpose for LinkedIn’s existence is totally business. Like a trade show, your activities are related to business. You are looking for contacts that are in positions that can buy your product/service, recommend your

www.WOM10.com

Page 35


product/service, or suggest a connection to do either. Your goals are similar to collecting business cards – look for the company names, look for credible titles, get as many as you can, and then determine if they can play any role in your personal business success.

There is not much social to the networking that occurs through LinkedIn. This is not about connecting to a network of friends - it is totally focused on connecting business contacts. LinkedIn is very much like the old-school contact management systems know as a Rolodex of business cards, only LinkedIn powers it up. With LinkedIn, your contact management system is rocket-fueled with business related information, timelines, and connections. For example, you don’t know either of us but you can get acquainted with us in literally seconds by visiting our Linked In pages. 

Blaine:

www.linkedin.com/in/blainemillet

Clay:

www.linkedin.com/in/yodioman

Here’s a quick little exercise everyone reading this book should do within the next few days. Create a list of all your employees and find their LinkedIn page if they have one. Read it and see how they describe their current job – the one they have working for your company. Then highlight their name if when you read it you believe they are “looking” for a job and don’t highlight it if you think they are actually “selling” your company in their description of what they do. This is a very telling exercise for most executives.

www.WOM10.com

Page 36


As you can expect, a good portion of your employees will be writing their LinkedIn profiles to “look” for a new position. And generally the ones you think aren’t looking are exactly the ones that are looking. This is an effective and fast way to see what your people are saying professionally about themselves and your company. Another exercise you should do is to develop a suggested description of your company that everyone can incorporate into their LinkedIn account. With LinkedIn, standardization is not only acceptable, it is recommended. Picture your customers reading the LinkedIn page about your employees. What feeling are they left with – one of more education about your company or one where they feel this employee is frustrated and looking to leave? Yes, it was a rhetorical question. This is an area where standardization is a good thing. You should be in control of what is being said about your company on LinkedIn by your employees – that is not too much to ask of them and it doesn’t violate their freedom of expression for the rest of LinkedIn. It is just another “sales and marketing channel” that you can use to get your consistent message to your customers. It is also simple and yet powerful. And it is very important brand management. In our opinion, every company should be using LinkedIn in its employment process. It is a great source for resume validation. It is also a good source for locating people with unique skills or past projects. If you are looking for a particular skill set, you can search on it and find candidates locally or in a specific geography. For management it is a very fast way to check the self-published information about a potential employee against the folder assembled by HR. It is also quite good for helping with old fashioned recommendations and introductions. Since it is designed to be a business networking tool, it is quite easy to offer and give recommendations. The unwritten rule is to give a recommendation of someone that gives one to you, if appropriate – generally happens about half the time. The big power of LinkedIn is introductions. It is a much faster and easier way to ask your connection to introduce you to someone in their list of contacts. There is a process to go through that sends out all the e-mails and facilitates the process. Just think how much time this can save you from the old-fashioned way – sending an e-mail, scheduling a call or a meeting, asking the person, waiting for them to contact the person you want to meet and then talking to or meeting that person. This could take weeks if not months. LinkedIn allows this to happen in as little time as a few hours to just a few days. Like we said in the beginning, it is “faster, cheaper, and deeper” than anything you are using today. And like the other social media tools, it is free to participate. This is an incredibly powerful tool for business and professional networking.

www.WOM10.com

Page 37


LinkedIn is a valuable business tool, but we do not consider it a strong social media tool for marketing a business – which is why it only gets a “neutral” face instead of a smiley face. If we were evaluating social and business networking tools, it would definitely get the happy face sign. But since we are talking about tools for business and specifically around helping to market and build word-of-mouth, it just doesn’t cut it as a powerful tool. There are certainly ways you can use LinkedIn in your business to “assist” some of your other efforts, but as a tool designed to have high impact on your business, it isn’t quite there with its purpose and features. We recommend that if you are in business, you should establish a LinkedIn profile, just so you can learn what is going on in the business networking world if nothing else. Again, it is a free tool and it is very valuable to help you “listen” to what is going on in the social media space.

www.WOM10.com

Page 38


Blogs

Finally, our first true “Happy Face” for the business use of a social media tool – the blog. The primary format for “connective communications” for MySpace, facebook, and LinkedIn is 140 character status messaging. A primary benefit to these types of tools is helping you “get someone’s attention.” They are all very good tools to create attention grabbing forms of Social Media. But once you get their attention, where do you take them for the meaty next step, the real conversation? The blog. A blog is agile and web-site like. Yet when compared to a website, a blog is very efficient with your marketing money because it is faster, cheaper, deeper communications for literally no cost (unless you talk to someone who needs to make money off you like a designer, programmer, developer, IT manager, a webmaster, advertising agency, PR agency, or other similar old school service.) It is “comfort food” in the social media world. It has some of the look and feel of a website (in fact you can make it look exactly like a website if you wanted) yet it has conversational capabilities that websites can only dream about. What’s a blog look like? Here’s an example of one of our blogs www.WOM10.com

www.WOM10.com

Page 39


The power of blogging is that it is very easy to use. Any one with e-mail, a digital camera, and a cell phone can be an effective blogger. No tech genius is required to blog. And the best thing for us old school people is that blogs give you more words to communicate the message – because blogs allow you to speak in paragraphs. And blogs are very easy to incorporate rich media to make your messages more interesting and engaging. But wait, there is another huge, often overlooked aspect of a blog. While putting content out there that is more relevant, more engaging and fresher than a website could ever hope to offer, there is one aspect that is paramount to a blog and to your social media strategy. COMMENTING! Blogs allow your audience and readers to actually “talk back” and “interact” and “give feedback” to you based on what you write. This is a game changer in the world of messaging and communications. Remember our discussion about “PUSH” vs. “PULL” marketing we had earlier? This is where the gold is hidden. This is where you get a chance to hear, in real time, what is on the minds of your customers, employees, partners, or just about anyone else you want to hear and learn from. How cool is that? We asked many of the CEOs and business owners how they collect feedback today from their different audiences. Not surprisingly, many still don’t. But for those that do, traditional surveys, phone calls, focus groups, etc. are the only way they get feedback. None of these are “real time” and none of these have the ability to create multiple conversations across product/service lines to share thoughts and feelings. Social media offers you the ability to accomplish this through a very simple, and standard, feature of a blog – comments. Instead of spending money on research that takes time, blogs allow you to pose ideas, talk about new products, offer your thoughts…..and receive feedback in real time when it is most relevant and helpful. It is immediate, relevant, and helpful information for business management to make more educated and timely decisions. What do they say about leaders and decision making? The best managers and leaders are able to make timely decisions given the minimal amount of information they have at hand at the time of the decision. Making a decision with perfect information isn’t a decision at all – anyone can make that decision. So now, management can make far more educated and timely decisions because they have so much more timely and relevant information. The best leaders will flock to social media because they can see how it provides them with much more information in a shorter amout of time that helps them make a more accurate decision. Now what leader isn’t interested in making this type of decision?

www.WOM10.com

Page 40


There is also another very important feature of blogs – paragraphs. Blogs are the only real social media tool that allows the audience to write the way we were all trained – in paragraphs. Now we would caution you that a post with more than 2 – 4 paragraphs isn’t what most audiences want, so the rule is to keep it short. But being able to write in paragraphs is what offers the first step in building relationships with your audiences. They can really get to know you when they read your posts. A hint – one idea per posting is a good rule to follow with a blog. So blogs offer some of the key ingredients of social media plus the ability to speak in paragraphs. When you combine this with the blog support for using hypelinks in the body of those paragraphs, you have a very powerful form of near real-time marketing communications. More on the art and science of blogging in one of our future e-books. The key to blogging is to make your points briefly and engagingly with rich media to reinforce the message. It sets the foundation for the next series of tools available to you in social media – Rich Media.

www.WOM10.com

Page 41


RICH MEDIA If there was a word (actually two words) we would use to describe one of the biggest advances in this social media revolution, they would be “RICH MEDIA”. No longer is black and white text enough to either describe what we are trying to communicate or to stimulate and engage our audience. The world wants pictures – and moving ones are even better. Think about it. Mankind has always used pictures to help describe what it was they wanted to say and what they were feeling. From the early days of cave men drawing pictures on the walls to describe what was going on to the phenomena of Life Magazine and their world renowned picture series. We have always wanted pictures to help us describe and communicate. The internet and now social media tools allow us to do it easily and frequently. Our message here is simple. Don’t bore your audience – entertain, engage and inform through the use of pictures, voice, and video. It is by no accident that YouTube is now the second largest search engine and has millions of views every day of their videos. We want it to help us tell our story and to connect in ways very different from just text.

When we talked about the amazing success and acceptability of facebook earlier, we mentioned how powerful it is as a repository for pictures. Why is that? When people describe social events they do it with pictures, not just their 140 characters they get to give an update. Instead, they load up sizable picture albums to help tell the story.

www.WOM10.com

Page 42


Unlike their limited number of characters, they aren’t limited by the amount of photos they can share that truly “describe” the event. It has also been known for a very long time that the “hierarchy” to gain someone’s attention starts with a photo of a person. This is the image that draws our eye to the topic immediately. If you use pictures at all in describing what you do, try using the face or picture of someone using your product and it will get a lot more attention that just the picture of the product. People love to see other people. So in the world of social media, Rod Stewart was right, “Every picture tells a story.” Think “picture” first and then the “story” that follows the picture. Look around you, there are tons of pictures that you could take that tell your story or what you are trying to communicate. Take the photo – tell the story.

Voice is the most powerful communication form to share emotion, passion, intensity, attitude, etc. Voice and photo takes advantage of the ubiquity of photos thanks to digital technology. The tool you should incorporate beyond just the pictures is “talking pictures” – no, not movies, just talking pictures. This gives you much better production value – being able to select one from many options to get the closest feeling, image, and attitude. Yodio is a simple yet powerful tool that allows you to put “voice” behind your pictures. Take the picture and have someone record something about that picture or about what you want to communicate. Associate the picture with someone’s voice and the audience becomes far more engaged. And it is far easier, faster and cheaper than video. It is a great step towards capturing your audience’s attention even deeper and even longer than you can with simple text and pictures. Arm yourself and your key personnel with a $50 digital recorder and a $150 digital camera (or a fully featured cell phone will do the job) and you are on your way to capturing your audience in a way you could never do with plain text or even pictures. This is far easier than you think and your audience will appreciate the difference and your desire to help them “experience” what it is you are tryihg to communicate. This is not difficult yet it is very powerful. And thanks to CNN field reporting on satellite phones, the general public has accepted a “less perfect” standard for voice commentary. The production of the recording (not quality, that should remain high) should be authentic, real time, and honest. This is

www.WOM10.com

Page 43


what the audience wants to hear and experience. The more “staged” the conversation, the less believable it becomes. “Reality Messaging” as we call it, is the new way of sharing your message in its “natural form” and what better way to do this than through a “live recording” of someone describing something about you or your company or your people. As you can see and probably already guessed, our ranking of Yodio to easily, affordably combine voice with pictures for your business gets a “happy face”. Just think how powerful your message can be when it is shared through the voice of your customers or partners or employees rather than you simply “broadcasting” it through either text or a canned advertisement on the radio. Your audience doesn’t want to listen to that any longer; they want the voice of someone “believable” and “authentic” in their message. The less staged and the less associated it is directly to someone in your company, the better the message is received. We highly recommend using a social media tool that helps you capture voice with pictures and use it to help “tell your story” through the voices of your customers and others that are “advocates” for who you are and what you do. Also, more dialogs about the experience, the people and the events is far more desirable than descriptions of your products and services. That’s what your website is for, the library of congress for your business filled with facts and figures and other data that the customer can “check out” whenever they feel they need them. This is about the people and the experience. Yodio uses a player (similar to YouTube’s) that can be easily embedded on a blog page. In fact, many of our clients use the feature to upload a photo and record a comment with their cell phone to remotely post to their blog. This is a real-time way to post your experiences on your blog from a trade show or business event.

YouTube first appeared on the web in early 2005, and it quickly gained popularity on MySpace due to MySpace users' ability to embed YouTube videos directly into their MySpace profiles. This ability to embed YouTube videos into their MySpace pages created an overnight awareness of bands through their user generated productions using their own video cameras. Thus, MySpace became one of the primary drivers for public exposure and embracement by a wide ranging group of people. Soon there were many pages on MySpace featuring their own self-published “user generated content” productions that gave them instant public distribution as they

www.WOM10.com

Page 44


posted them to their MySpace pages. Likewise, bands began to video their appearances in clubs and bars so they could create their own “concert videos”. The new phenomenon had started and it was only a matter of time before others saw the power of this and translated it to their own voyeurism and found a way to put themselves out in the airwaves.

We were speaking at the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle one morning. It was to a group of about 45 CEOs and we had the privilege of having the President of SurLaTable in our audience, Jack Schwefel. He shared an interesting story with the audience that bears repeating. He said, “We normally would produce our videos on how to cook certain things or use certain gadgets and they typically ran about 15 minutes long. Doesn’t sound very long at all, right? But what we decided to do with the explosion of YouTube was to test videos of less than two minutes. The result was amazing – the views went up dramatically and people really watched the entire segment.” Jack’s comments were a great example of not just the power of video but the right length as well. What we have found is that if something is longer than about 3 – 4 minutes, the audience, like with your newsletter, will opt to “read it later” and put it in a mailbox or folder to do that. We all know what happens to that “later” box and folder. It gets so big because we have used it as a dumping ground that we simply delete it and start over – only to end up doing the same thing the next time. This is the “newsletter graveyard”

www.WOM10.com

Page 45


and it is also where long videos end up. Keep it short and impactful and your audience will watch it and forward it to their network as well. YouTube is all about sight, sound, and action. They are “self-produced” and then distributed through YouTube to whoever wants to watch them. You can simply create your “own channel” that makes them easy to organize and distribute – and it’s free. Then you can also embed the video directly into your blog or simply link to it on your blog or facebook page or on LinkedIn, if you choose, or even twitter. The means it is easier than ever to create and distribute rich and compelling video in “real time” and share it with your audience – before your competition. Think about it. You are attending an industry event, tradeshow, or some other respected conference in your industry. You see a great speaker and they are talking about something that you know your customers would want to know about – right now. Traditionally, you would finish the conference, come home, write up your notes, give them to the person that does your newsletter, have them edit them down and then it gets produced in the newsletter at the end of the month. Sound familiar? Try something new on for size. Instead of following the process above, imagine you are at the conference and after the speaker is finished, you go up to her and ask for 30 seconds of her time. Then you pull out your handy Flip video recorder (size of your cell phone) and ask her if she would answer one question for you. As you ask the question, you are recording the question and her answer, LIVE, right at the event. Once you are done, you simply plug the camera into your laptop, it uploads to YouTube and you write a short blog post about it and embed the video. Now your audience is seeing what you are seeing in near real time – almost as it happens. Your competitors are still waiting to talk about the speaker in their monthly newsletter. Given the choice, which description do you think your customers will come to respect and where do you think they will go FIRST. Over time, what message do you think this sends to your customers? Is it one of nimbleness, speed, sharing real time information as it happens so your customers can make better decisions? Or is it one of slow, stodgy, and archaic traditional dissemination of information that isn’t all that relevant when they get it? You get to choose today because of the power of rich media and YouTube. From our “smiley face” meter, now you can see why we give it thumbs up and a happy face. This is one powerful tool to have in your arsenal, when used correctly. While it may not be the tool you use right out of the gate as you begin to experience and engage in social media, it is certainly one that you will want to use and incorporate at some point. Think of the possibilities…

www.WOM10.com

Page 46


Speaking of “real time” communications, our next discussion is about the most talked about (and biggest phenomenon to hit us) over the past year, twitter. Twitter has literally taken the world by storm and made an impressive name for itself. Whether it is because of its funny name and a little blue bird or because it is one of the newest forms of social media doesn’t really matter. The fact is that it is here and it has changed everything. A year ago we would spend at least 15 minutes just telling an audience what twitter was all about and how it worked. Today, audiences have heard a lot about twitter and we simply talk about the multitude of ways that twitter can be used by a business. This is how fast the world of social media is moving. Now, instead of a definition, we get to share examples like @NakedPizza and @KogiBBQ and their great successes using a simple, yes free, tool called twitter. People call it “micro-blogging” and “real-time communications” and a host of other names. Suffice it to say, it is simply bite sized pieces of information, a mini-conversation, updates, and other activities being broadcast in a “one-to-many” format. Like text messaging, it uses 140 characters for each message. But there are three very distinct advantages over simple text messaging.

www.WOM10.com

Page 47


First, you can choose to send your 140 character message to one person, a group, or everyone that “follows” you on twitter – which could be all your customers, partners, and many others. This is unbelievably powerful when you think about it. Sending one message can simultaneously reach your entire audience of people who are interested in following you and hearing what you have to say. That is power in your hands.

Second, we call this “texting for adults” since we aren’t all born with fast thumbs to work the keyboard on the phone. Twitter also allows us to use a keyboard – whew! Now instead of having to rely on the speed of your thumbs, you can simply type your message from any computer anywhere in the world that is connected to the internet. Now you start to get the power of twitter.

www.WOM10.com

Page 48


Third, unlike text messaging which is plain old text, with Twitter you can embed “links” right into your message, so the recipient can click on the link and connect to other content on the web. This means when they get your twitter “text message” it has a live hot link that can take them directly to the content you wanted them to see – in real time. This takes text messaging to a whole new level. And you can even shorten long URL’s to something that will actually fit into 140 characters by using services such as Bit.ly.com or TinyUrl.com.

Just so we are all on the same page, let’s talk a bit about what we call “followers” before we continue our story. Followers are simply a group of people who have “opted in” to “listen” to what you have to say over twitter. They are people who find you interesting enough to want to hear what you have to say because they feel it will be entertaining, informative, helpful, updates or anything else related to their interests. If they “follow” you, they will receive every message you send out through twitter. While you still have the power to direct your messages to just a single person or a few people, the power of twitter is its broadcast capabilities in real time. Let us repeat this point: Twitter enables you to broadcast a single message simultaneously to hundreds or thousands of followers. Curious to see what a live twitter page looks like? Check ours out. www.twitter.com/blainemillet www.twitter.com/WOM10 www.twitter.com/YodioMan

www.WOM10.com

in Twitter speak, it is @BlaineMillet in Twitter speak, it is @WOM10 in Twitter speak, it is @YodioMan

Page 49


Want to see one of the ways that we used Twitter for promotional purposes? See what we invented for a restaurant client to promote restaurants through real-time tastings called “Taste and Tweets”. This real-time communications is more than announcements. By combining the tasting with messaging, it becomes an instant sharing of the experience. It moves you from reporting after the fact to sharing the experience as it occurs. Yes, this does require a mind shift to absorb the potential for real-time messaging. Immediacy is a highly charged sense that can be directed to your benefit. We discovered this during our pioneering Taste and Tweet. We totally underestimated the value of real-time communications. Of course we’ve had additional tasting events since that first event last summer. www.twitter.com/TasteandTweet

or in Twitter we would be @TasteandTweet

Now let’s go back to the example we used in the YouTube section above – when you went to a conference – remember that example? This was the conference you were attending and looking for ways to share it, real time. Now, when you go to that conference you take it one step further. You “tweet” (this is the name for an individual message) out that you just interviewed the speaker and insert a tiny link into your tweet. The link will take your audience directly to the live interview. While at the conference, you can send out a single tweet which immediately goes to all 500 of your “followers” . Now they have the opportunity to immediately click on the link inside the “tweet” which takes them to your blog and the video you just shot. It doesn’t get more real time than this! For our Taste and Tweet events, we screened the tasters to get people with the most impressive FOLLOWER count on Twitter. They also proved to be masters of real time communications. While tasting the menu items, they barely needed to set down their forks as they took photos with their iPhones, posted them to the internet, and then sent out Tweets to alert their FOLLOWERS where they could link to view the photos. And then for the real time frosting on the cake (so to speak), some used the iPhones to interview the person next to them, and then posted in seconds the video clip of their interview. The potential for real-time information sharing is quite staggering when you begin to examine the ease to execute and the power of the communications. So for business, we think “real time messaging” alias “twitter”, is a killer app for social media. It absolutely gets a “happy face” and a positive endorsement from the “social media business guys” as a tool you want in your arsenal. It has tremendous application for both today and the future. Even if all your customers and prospects aren’t using twitter (yet) the few that are will spread the word and you will be viewed as someone who isn’t just “hip” with new technology. No, you will be viewed as the one that is going above and beyond your competition to bring them the “right” information when it can be of “most value” to them. That’s where we believe businesses can take a leadership position and eclipse their competition.

www.WOM10.com

Page 50


But wait, not all conversation out there is generated by you. And much to the chagrin of many who attend our speeches, it is true that the conversation is not always positive – unless you are doing everything right (which very few companies ever do). Now what do you do about it? Take a look at the Clearwire screen shot below that displays circled comments that are not complimentary. Not to pick on Clearwire, there are thousands of companies in similar situations. Something less than positive being said about them on twitter. Remember the @ComcastCares example we used earlier? This is why @ComcastCares was established, to handle complaints and issues in real time rather than let them get bigger and more serious before they were detected.

There isn’t a presentation we give where some CEO fails to ask the question, “Why would I want to go onto twitter when people can say negative and bad things about our company?” We love this question. We generally give them a pretty simple answer, “So you think that without twitter, no one is saying anything bad about your company today?” This sobering truth quickly quiets the crowd. But seriously, think about it. We all know that there are negative comments going on about us out there. Twitter just allows us to listen to and follow these comments in real time. Then, if there is something we can resolve, we can do it quickly, and in front of the rest of the audience, so they know we are responsive.

www.WOM10.com

Page 51


We don’t know about you, but to us, this is a much more positive and less expensive way to handle customer service issues than what most companies have in place today. Twitter is a powerful social media tool for business, when understood and used correctly. Hopefully you can see from our brief introduction that Twitter offers a higher form of messaging than the trite tweeter’s message “I am having a bran muffin for breakfast”. Another great example is Jet Blue (@JetBlue). Jet blue does an awesome job of using the mini-conversation and “attention getting” capabilities of twitter to build followers. They started out using the Twitter search function to monitor for customer service issues. And Twitter proved so successful for effective messaging to customers that it has gone beyond problem solving to offering promotions, flight information, and other content. While this is still a small piece of their overall marketing efforts, they have evolved to an agile team offering real time information, entertainment, and schedule updating as part of what they offer their followers. Why? Because their audience asked for it and helped direct them to provide this type of information – further illustrating the power of real time content. Their use of twitter to “listen” to their audience has created a following of well over 1 million people. Now they have the opportunity to use it for customer service issues, flight information, specials and other areas that their customer base tells them are valuable. Listening is a key benefit of twitter – being able to “listen” to the conversation going on in real time with people talking about you. No longer do you have to wait for the survey to hear what is being said – you get it right now, wherever you may be.

www.SOMEexec.com Harnessing the Business Potential of PersonaPersona-based Communications™ Communications™

www.WOM10.com

Page 52


We give Twitter the “Happy Face” designation because it can be one of the best “attention” getting tools in your social media arsenal. Combined with other tools, it can be a key part to your businesses social media strategy. It is a great way to get the attention of your audience of followers. While it can be used as a standalone social media tool for some businesses, like @NakedPizza and @KogiBBQ, it has offers real power for building a significant follower base rapidly and consistently and feeding them into other social media tools that build a stronger and more trusted relationship.

www.WOM10.com

Page 53


WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT…PLANNING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA It is well known that not all customers are the same, they act differently, and they prefer to be treated as individuals. If you agree with this, then we also agree that they don’t want to interact with us in exactly the same way either. Rather than you and I determining the best way to talk to our customers, as we have in the past, we now get to serve up multiple forms of communications. This lets our audience select the channel and method of communications they most prefer. Below is a screen shot of a site operated by the Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio. This may be a good illustration of the direction for the future. In this page, the Children’s Hospital is offering “choices” for the audience. Any user can choose their preferred way to connect. This may be the future before our eyes -- allowing the user to choose which method they prefer and feel most comfortable with to communicate with us. Catch that? Not just receive information from us, but to communicate with us. This suggests the dialogs or conversations that are the underpinnings of social media.

Another example of how the presentation of information has changed is our business cards. Yes, we still hand out business cards because most executives wouldn’t know

www.WOM10.com

Page 54


what to do if didn’t offer them a card. However, our card is not your normal card. We focus on helping people “connect” with us and make it easy to “follow” us and what we are doing. Our card is very “customer centric” since it is about making it easy for our clients to reach us, follow us or connect to what we are doing fast and easy. You can see what we mean below – these are the backs of our business cards.

Most of the “choices” offered by the Akron Children’s Hospital are social media based communications that invite engagement and interaction. The future is likely to be making ourselves available for conversations with those who wish to connect with us……in the form that they are most comfortable communicating. Now that we have had a chance to share a little more about social media, the tools, the power of “PUSH” vs. “PULL” marketing and why this is a tsunami waiting to hit your business, we would like to leave you with a few other suggestions you can take with you as you move forward in exploring how your business can successfully engage with social media. As a business leader, think of yourself and your company in one of three positions. You have been told the tsunami is on its way to wash over your island. One group says they never believe the weather forecasts and so they decide to ignore the warnings and just stay on the beach having a good time. Translation – these companies are lost and will get wiped out or significantly damaged by ignoring the signs that social media is heading their way. The second group heeds the tsunami warning but isn’t yet prepared to just pack up and head out of town based on the forecasts. They believe the reports so they are going to start packing and if they hear there has been a change in the weather or they hear that others are starting to leave. Then they would finish packing and depart. Translation – this group will generally survive but will lose a significant amount of competitive advantage because they didn’t react very quickly. Now we turn to the third group. They believed the reports right from the beginning and have heard about how damaging a tsunami can be so they are scurrying around, packing up their key essentials and racing out of town to higher ground before it hits. Translation – yes, you got it, these are the early adopters of social media and the ones that will be leading well out in front of their competitors in their marketing and relationship building efforts. They are the winners of the future. We like to use the

www.WOM10.com

Page 55


term “High Ground” thinkers to describe this group. survivors.

They are the leaders….and

So you get to decide which scenario describes you best in how you want to accept social media as a new way of marketing and communicating. Ourselves, we are on top of the mountain watching the devastation happening below us and wondering why everyone didn’t hear and react to the warning. As we mentioned in the beginning, after speaking to over 1,000 CEOs and other leaders during the past 18 months, we are on our own personal mission to evangelize and try to help as we watch from on top of the mountain. We hope you are listening… If you are ready to get started, we offer the same recommendations for you that we suggest to every client: 1. Get a strategy. Start with developing a plan for why you want to engage in social media. Just because it is “cool” isn’t a strategy. Know what you want to accomplish, what your niche market(s) look like, who are your customers and prospects and develop a solid strategy. As we tell our clients, if you could create “Word-of-Mouth on Steroids”, who would you want talking about you and to whom? We would also recommend getting some help with this. This is a primary part of what we do for clients and the reason we give you this advice. You don’t know what you don’t know and in this new and rapidly evolving space, get help if you need it. And please, don’t throw it over the wall to someone in your organization that just knows the tools (like facebook or twitter) – get some real people to help that understand both business and social media. You will save countless hours and dollars if you do it right from the beginning. If you want the least cost approach, participate in one of our strategy webinars. But a set of plans are essential when building a house, and they are just as essential before launching a far-reaching marketing effort with social media. 2. Listen, Listen and Listen some more. If you start with nothing else, create accounts in the top social media tools (they are all free so just open an account – you can close it later if you want) so you can listen to what is being said and what is going on. You will learn a lot about how others are using (and misusing) these tools by listening. You might also learn something about your own company, like what is being said about you out there. 3. Don’t form a committee to study this and develop recommendations. Committees have two purposes in our mind. First, they have built in delays just by the nature of being in a committee. Social media is “real time” and it happens “fast” so if you want to waste time studying it, others will pass you by – quickly. And besides, because this moves so fast, if you do make some minor mistakes, it is easy to make changes in your course and keep moving forward. Speed is your

www.WOM10.com

Page 56


friend in social media, not spending a bunch of time talking about it – this is “do it” marketing. Second, committees tend to focus on ways to make everyone happy with the result – by nature. What happens is in the end, you get a “milk toast” muted message that has little to no impact. Social media is disruptive, passionate, in-your-face, honest and transparent communication. Do any of these words describe a committee to you? We didn’t think so. 4. Pick a champion to lead your social media efforts. The best person is someone who knows your business and understands what we are talking about with “Pull” vs. “Push” marketing. We’ll give you a hint – this is generally not your younger employee that happens to use facebook. This is someone who understands your business, your strategy, your brand and can put business first, backed up with the tools of social media. Anything else has been shown to fall short in the long run for getting solid business results. Find that person (inside or outside your company) and let them “blend” the business with social media – you will see much stronger results in both the short and long term. 5. Get engaged. We have been evangelizing social media to top executives for quite a while now. Why? We feel if the top guy, the big cheese doesn’t get their hands dirty and understand how it works, they won’t be able to use this powerful new media to grow their company. We don’t care what size company you are running, there are ways to get engaged. Whether you are running a multi-billion dollar company like Marriott (Bill Marriott is an avid blogger) or a small company like the now-famous, one location @NakedPizza, you need to get engaged and experience the power of this revolution yourself. You might even enjoy it. Don’t sit on the sidelines – get in the pool. We never saw anyone learn to swim reading books and observing from the edge of the pool – get wet! 6. Start today! Don’t sit back, study it, and wait to figure it out – you won’t. This is fast and nimble. This means you have the opportunity to change what you don’t like quickly and go a different direction. Start, learn, adjust, learn and adjust some more and you’ll figure it out. We have given you a few “entry points” for getting started – just start something. Even if it is listening, or playing with a blog or tweeting, just start with something. You can work on your strategy in parallel to what you are testing. The great part is you can learn before you decide to go live and there aren’t many areas you get this kind of opportunity. 7. Don’t turn to marketing and IT to help you through this process. Yes, you heard us right. One of the biggest shocks we have had over the past year is how few marketing people actually understand social media. From our experience, roughly 80% of the marketing people we have run across don’t understand it – mainly because they have made their living in a “push” world and this is a “pull” world. If you don’t believe us, just look at what most marketing types are putting into social media. They generally use the tools of social media to simply

www.WOM10.com

Page 57


“broadcast” more messages. This isn’t about broadcast any longer – it is about being interesting and compelling and passionate – not the normal ingredients for traditional marketing types. IT is also a group that generally doesn’t get it. They have lived their life in the world of “gatekeeper” control and this is exactly the opposite – control is in the hands of the customer now. This frustrates most IT folks – it just goes against their grain so be careful with this group. Webmasters definitely fit into the same bucket as IT – they like structure and organization, not what social media represents. Social media is feelings, experiences, passion, opinions, pro-actions, reactions. Which of these fit with your stereotype of the IT person? 8. Follow people you respect. Find people like you out there (other CEOs) that are using the tools effectively and follow what they talk about and what they do. Comment on their blogs, follow them on twitter, ask them to connect on LinkedIn, etc. See what others are doing so you can mimic or modify – either works. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, heard that somewhere. 9. Stay focused on the message, not the tools. Yes, these are “cool tools” for sure and you can have a blast playing with them. But at the end of the day, customers don’t buy cool, they buy consistent, transparent, passionate insights and messages from you. Cool wears off quickly, these other traits last a lifetime. Remember, the tools are just that, tools. They will improve, change, morph, and essentially undergo lots of modifications over the next few years. Don’t get wedded to a tool, get wedded to your message and find the right tool at the moment to deliver this message to your audience. The power is in the message, not the tools. 10. Find a credible guide. If you don’t have the right person on board to help you (and 90% of you won’t) then find a guide that understands business first and the message you need to communicate to your audience. They can help you navigate these new waters so you don’t fall prey to the sharks. There is a lot of “noise” out there right now with social media consultants coming out of the woodwork. Any unemployed marketing and IT person seems to suddenly become a social media expert. Be leery about this and find a guide who understands business first, social media second and didn’t come from marketing or IT. Sounds harsh but it will save you thousands of dollars and lots of time. We’ll be happy to talk to you more about this if you need assistance. Whether we are the right firm or not, we can steer you in the right direction to help you navigate these waters and be as successful as you can as fast as you can. 11. Social Media should not be viewed as a “new addition” to your marketing budget. Instead, the lion’s share of the cost should be absorbed by “replacing” old, tired, non-effective traditional media. We saw this after numerous conversations with

www.WOM10.com

Page 58


CEOs when they said, “We just can’t add more to our marketing budget given the state of the economy right now.” We finally got it – this should be viewed as taking money from non-producing marketing programs (such as yellow pages, direct mail, e-mail newsletter production, printed materials, etc.) and investing in those that offer much greater potential to be found by your prospective audience. Move the money – you don’t need more, at least not to get started and be effective. 12. We have seen a lot of fast “flame outs” in social media. By flame out we mean people running to get started and then after 30 – 60 days they get tired or lose interest or think it takes too much time and abort. Social media is an area that requires consistency and persistence and the rewards go to those that can stay the course. In fact, we actually modified our consulting offerings because we saw too many businesses couldn’t sustain the effort. We now tell clients if you can’t commit to a six-month program, don’t hire us because you will just be wasting your money if you can’t commit to this amount of time. While we can help build a great strategy and execution plan, if you can’t stay the course through successfully launching it and then doing what it takes to build your followers and word-ofmouth, why start. Go into this with the mindset of six months and being consistent and you will kill the competition – they will flame out.

www.WOM10.com

Page 59


YOUR NEXT “WOM10” BOOK TO READ… This book was designed as an introduction to a more comprehensive book that we will be publishing in the first half of 2010. If you would like more information on this new book, keep following us and keep in touch with its development. As we discussed in our introduction, there will be several other “e-books” coming your way that will be on topics executives, like you, want to be aware of. They will be extremely relevant and give you the ability to manage your organization and brand using social media as a key strategy in your marketing efforts. If you would like to be made aware of these as they come out, please let us know, either through following us or subscribing to one of our sites. We will also be asking for input along the way to make sure the topics are as relevant and timely as possible – just the way social media works. We’ve found social media to be a very fast moving area of communications. We are publishing e-books to spread the word and arm business executives with actionable information. But we’ve also found that many business executives would like to participate in small conversation groups that can address business-specific elements of social media. To address this, we offer small scale, interactive webinars where the group can ask questions and share evolving business experiences. You can get more information on participating in these CEO webinars by going to our blog. Since we are among a select few practical business executives who can speak to the functional uses of social media for business marketing, we get asked to speak to a lot of different groups. These speeches include Key Note, Conferences, Private company/organizations, Seminars/Workshops, and Webinars. We have also had the privilege of speaking to all kinds and sizes of groups from Women’s Business Organizations to local Rotary’s to the Chamber of Commerce and to associations. If you feel this would be helpful to your group or company, please let us know and we can talk with you further about how to make this happen. In the meantime, you can find some additional information by going to Speaking Engagements, Key Notes and Seminars. To follow us, connect with us, or to contact us, here are some ways you can do it: 

BLOGS o www.WOM10.com o www.BlaineandClay.com

Visit our blogs and subscribe. This way you will be alerted with each posting, so you don’t need to remember to check in to view. It’s that pull process, you elect to be notified about information that you want to see.

www.WOM10.com

Page 60


E-MAIL o blaine@WOM10.com o clay@WOM10.com

Yes, we still use e-mail to receive and respond, but it is so one-to-one. We much prefer to receive an e-mail query that we can address on our blog or elsewhere for the benefit of many. 

TWITTER o @BlaineMillet o @ClayLoges o @WOM10 o @YodioMan

Yes, we do read and respond on Twitter. In fact we take advantage of the Twitter feature that allows selected tweets to be forwarded to our phones. So FOLLOW us on Twitter and forge through your experience curve safely with us. 

LINKEDIN o www.linkedin.com/in/blainemillet o www.linkedin.com/in/yodioman

As the younger generation says, “We’ve got street cred as business execs.” And Linked In is an easy way to assure you of our backgrounds and breadth of experience.

www.WOM10.com

Page 61


THANK YOU We want to thank you for taking time from your busy day to share it with us by reading our book – we hope it has been helpful. We would love to hear what you thought and any suggestions you might have for our future books. We have tried to be as direct and transparent in our own way to share with you what we have heard over the past few years from CEOs and top executives just like you. WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK – can’t say it any simpler. Please leave a comment on our blog postings, send us an e-mail or give us a call if you have any ideas, suggestions or just want to tell us what great guys we are – all are appreciated. We feel this is the best way to not only challenge ourselves in improving how we provide services to our clients but to ensure we are in the front of the market and on the bleeding edge of the social media/marketing curve. As you can tell by now, we are business guys that see the power of social media to be positively changing business. This is such a revolution we felt we couldn’t be quiet about it – you needed to know. Hopefully you gained some solid insights, answers and even some actionable ideas you can use tomorrow. We appreciate you giving us your time and attention and we look forward to sharing our next book with you as well. Thank you…

www.WOM10.com

Page 62

Business Tools  

Business Tools explores the phenomenon of social media, what works and what doesn't and why. Seasoned business executives and social media...