It’s not about collecting, it’s about connecting!

As a social media practitioner, I find inspiration in the social world, not just in marketing and advertising. I wish I had come up with this phrase but I owe it to an episode of Arthur, the PBS series for kids.

Arthur’s friend, Muffy, an avid collector, sets to buy out as many dolls as she can in a place mirroring American girl; on the other hand, her friend only wants to buy an accessory for her one and only doll that she nurtures. I had watched the World Girl’s episode several times before with my daughter, but that sentence never stood out until that day where I heard Sue Ellen say to Muffy : It’s not about collecting, it’s about connecting.

I had an *Aha* moment. This short sentence has a very significant meaning in my social media practice. It is that sentence, sounding like a mantra, that should be the core mission of companies; instead, most set out to collect as many fans and followers as they can in a very short time. Therefore, Collecting is done with little to no regards to the value they bring to their following. Of course, collecting a fan base is not the only objective of social media initiatives. Many other marketing initiatives, such as email marketing campaigns, greatly focus on this notion that a success is measured by the number of people one can collect.

Brands, companies, marketing departments, digital agencies and entrepreneurs are all guilty of promising their clients the holy grail of social media: voraciously amassing as many unsuspecting people on their social pages as possible; some brands manage to commit friends/fans/followers into liking them, thereby, building a base of relatively qualified prospects. Some companies even go as far as buying friends for their Facebook account or followers for their Twitter account. I would not see anything wrong with it if it wasn’t for a smalldetail: Once people like you, then what?

Social media has smashed the door open for people to take back some control; now, consumers don’t only want to like your brand, they want to emotionally connect with your brand personality and identity, pretty much like with friends. Yes, people want to have a relationship with your brand. This cultural change within the business and social worlds reflects a shifting balance of powers; the nature and level of the interaction between a brand and a person has totally changed.

Having a huge fan base on your facebook page or twitter account doesn’t reflect the relationship with your audience. Whichever way your fans and followers are acquired – whether you buy their affection by giving them free stuff, tease them with a contest or just because you are such a strong brand that it is alright to like you – the staying power of friend/fans/follower is reflected by how well and how deep you connect with them. And this requires the RIGHT strategy for your audience. Duplicating what another company does and succeeds in, doesn’t cut it. Each audience requires a custom message and interaction from a brand.

Brands are still measuring the traditional way, they are still equating success with impressions and eye-balls; Decision-makers are not fully comprehending that social media is not about campaigning only. Social media is about long-term relationships. Unfortunately, most brands and businesses are still in the race to collect and convert and totally overlook the connect part. The three Cs of social media business Collect, Connect, Convert are each equally important, as part of the brand management.

Brands who consciously make the decision to dip more than one toe into the social media arena, have to make that same conscious decision to start connecting with their people in a way that is true to the brand and to the customer, to allow the relationships to develop and grow; this includes assigning an appropriate budget and empowering the resources.

Collectively, brands have to start treating people as informed, connected, and savvy consumers who clearly demand more than just a business transaction.

What do you think?

Karima-Catherine Goundiam

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Using LinkedIn Groups for Better Relationships and More Business

Like the Philosopher’s Stone, “Groups” alchemically transform LinkedIn from a “rolodex on steroids” into a true social media network. A place where you can expand your network by creating true relationships with your connections. And the magical element? Sharing valuable information and helping people.

Not so magical, and yet many people are still using the “Discussion” and “Announcement” section of their groups, and groups they belong to, in order to sell their crap. (That’s what your website is for – so I hope you have good conversion ratings)

Let’s back up. I’m going to pretend you know how build relationships (hey – you are on Twitter, so my guess is you do.) Where exactly are you going to share this wealth of valuable information you already have access to? You can do this by joining groups and by creating your own groups. (That’s the next post) Let’s take a look at a few best practices.. … Read more

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McDonald’s Foursquare Day Campaign Increased Checkins by 33%

Golden Arches

Click image to see full post on Mashable

You probably already saw this via Mashable (which gets a tad more traffic than my blog) but in case not, I wanted to share the case study of how we were able to use Foursquare to increase foot traffic while showing real ROI.

A huge thanks to Miss Destructo www.missdestructo.com and Dr. Nate www.brighteyesnews.com/ who made Foursquare Day possible.

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“Social Broadcasting” misses the point.

Although blogger Zennie Abraham shares some interesting ideas in his post “Social Networking is Really Social Broadcasting”, I just don’t buy it.

I do get his point that social networking has a big “broadcasting” component to it, and I understand his reasoning of trying to place it in that basket so advertisers can see it as the same as other media buys, but in my opinion, that’s just trying to fit a square peg in a round hole simply to make it sell better. It will sell when, and the key word is when, the marketing community wraps it arms around its true value… and not before.

I don’t think “broadcasting” is the right word because it only addresses the most basic aspects of connections and is primarily a numbers game of how many people you can push your message out to.

Social networking, on the other hand, fully uses the powerful sharing aspect of social media (and the social graph) to rely on and build relationships between people. These relationships then provide you the ability to spread a message through your network and into the network of others due to the true value of the message — value that continues to increase simply by the fact that you have approved and recommended it by passing it along.

Take, for example, Twitter. Most in the marketing community misunderstand Twitter …when used wisely, it is not a broadcast tool or a standalone tool for marketing, it’s an enhancement to your marketing strategy and an extremely valuable networking, experimenting and seeding tool. While it allows you to provide a broadcast-like tweet to all your followers, most will never see a single tweet and the real value is that it also allows you to interact directly with one person in plain sight of thousands of people and allows them to pass along to others in their network. Think about how much we learn about someone by watching their interactions with others, and you can understand how this feature of Twitter quickly creates (or destroys!) trust throughout your social network.

Social networking is also different from broadcasting in that it isn’t just a one-time send-out of information. Powerful social networking includes a back and forth exchange between you and your audience (network members), and their audience, giving you more than one chance to make an impression, clarify your message, and most importantly, build trust. Let’s not forget that it’s trust that builds customer loyalty!

Ted Rubin

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Online Demand Generation with @JeffTheSensei

For our eighth MarketerMonday Chat #MMchat our SPECIAL guest was Jeff Wilson aka @JeffTheSensei who is the Founder of Sensei Integrated and blogger extraordinaire at The Mountain Top and our topic for the evening was Online Demand Generation!

This is only the eighth #MMchat we’ve held and see #MMchat for more details on MarketerMonday Chat our previous SPECIAL guests, transcripts and our upcoming schedule.

Thanks again to Jeff as well as all of you AWESOME #MMchat tweeps who joined us and participated in this interesting and very interactive chat!

Also our first #MMchat takeaway gift was provided by Jeff in the form of this excellent presentation on Improving Website Conversion

Check out the full transcript of last night’s chat at http://bit.ly/JeffTheSensei and please join us next week as @LinkedInExpert Viveka von Rosen will be joining us September 27th at 8:00 pm EST to discuss Making the Most of LinkedIn Groups!

Cheers

Jeff Ashcroft

@TheSocialCMO

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What do you mean by “Activate”? The house that Twitter built

This post is a preview of a section of The Social CMO Book which I’ve been asked to write (just a section, not a book), about activation and what that means. Coincidentally, the story of #saveteecycle seems to me to play right into this topic. Consider it a work in progress.

What do you mean by “Activate”?

To activate something means to set it in motion, to make it active or more active. In chemistry, it means to accelerate a reaction in something, as by heat. That is exactly what we’re talking about here. Once you have established a social network and begun to engage, you need to determine ways to set it in motion, light it on fire, add catalysts. In other words, get it actively working towards your goal.

To illustrate the concept of activation, I’d like to share a story.

This is The House that Twitter Built

On July 22, 2010, torrential rains hit Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the USA, flooding neighborhoods and destroying homes. One family that lost its home was that of Tim and Jess Cigelske and their baby, Clara. For more backstory, here’s Tim’s original post with the story of their loss, The (Not So) Great Milwaukee Flood of 2010. … Read more

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Fashion with Compassion Ready to Roll in Toronto

Canada’s Next Top Model, Meaghan Waller, will headline a unique show of Fashion with Compassion at the White Cashmere Collection 2010 at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Wednesday, September 22 in Toronto.

An awareness-raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the international award-winning show, now entering its seventh successful year, features Cashmere BT (bathroom tissue) Couture created by 15 established and emerging Canadian designers. The exclusive Media and VIP Fashion Show will be hosted by Canada AM anchor and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation spokesperson, Bev Thomson and will reveal breathtaking designs inspired by the courage and strength of women affected by breast cancer, all crafted in 100% pure, soft and luxurious Cashmere Bathroom Tissue, Canada’s best-selling brand.
Conceived and produced by Strategic Objectives, the high-fashion collection features limited-edition Pink Cashmere. Specifically-designed to raise funds for the Foundation, twenty-five cents from the sale of every package of Pink Cashmere goes directly to the Foundation. A unique, socially-engaging fund-raising initiative will be revealed on the Cashmere Facebook Fanpage, at the event.

Canada’s Annual Celebration of Fashion with Compassion

One of Canada’s most-anticipated annual fashion events, the White Cashmere Collection 2010 is curated by Serge Kerbel, Fashion Director of LUSH Magazine, and features an astounding array of BT Couture ranging from eveningwear to swimwear.

Event attendees will be the first to see this year’s White Cashmere Collection photography by international fashion photographer Christopher Wadsworth. The photos, starring Canada’s Next Top Model, Meghan Waller, will be posted on Cashmere.ca and on Facebook.com/whitecashmerecollection to celebrate October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, following the show on Wednesday, September 22. Check out the White Cashmere Collection 2009 video on You Tube.

Deborah Weinstein

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Social CRM: Thinking Outside the “Call Center” Box

If one studies history of automobiles, the first cars powered by internal combustion engines running on fuel gas appeared as early as 1806. But early autos were little more than horse drawn carriage fitted with an engine. It was not until 1889 that Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach designed a vehicle from scratch to be an automobile, rather than a horse-drawn carriage fitted with an engine (for more on history of the automobile, see this link).

Something similar is happening with respect to Social Networking technology today when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Instead of modifying and re-engineering their CRM business processes to take advantage of unique characteristics of Social Networks, companies are fitting “Social” engine to their existing CRM carriage and are expecting great results from it. … Read more

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The Spirituality of Social Media

Sure the social web is filled with rants and quacks, but I’ve also been thinking about how the science and technology of this channel lifts people up, and perhaps even makes us better in a deeper, spiritual way. Here are a couple of personal observations. I would love to hear what you think!

Spiritual touchpoints

I was feeling kind of bitchy this week and wrote a bitchy blog post to go right along with my mood. It was supposed to run today. Then I read Danny Brown’s post on leadership which reminded me that sometimes we need to think bigger about ourselves and the world. I decided the universe didn’t need another bitchy blog post and that I could do better. So I trashed it.

I experience these tiny tugs of hope, optimism and encouragement every day. Little social strings between me and others, pushing, pulling, inspiring me to do better, to think bigger about my social media community and the world. I am evolving in positive ways because of it.

Have you surrounded yourself with these spiritual touchpoints too?

The communion of community

Recently a woman in my city lost her 18-year-old son in a tragic and violent drug-related death. Her pain was exacerbated by questions about how police handled the case, which played out in a public forum.

I really don’t know this woman, but I have children too and the agony that came out on her blog posts touched me and probably thousands of others like me. We were a community of strangers united in grief. We connected through Twitter, through comments, through prayer for her family.

I’ve seen this same kind of communion of strangers after the Haiti earthquake and the Nashville flood. People used technology for a higher purpose, to commune with the needy, displaced and heart-broken. This gives me so much hope.

Igniting Passion

I’ve just read the “Brains on Fire” book (recommended – no affiliation other than profound admiration!). The agency by the same name preaches that the social web is an opportunity to create not just “conversation,” but movements. Watch this short video they created for Love 146. I dare you not be outraged, shocked and moved.

Love 146 works toward the abolition of child sex trafficking and exploitation. Brains on Fire created a movement by igniting passion through stories, images, even music and art. This is work that is measurably changing the lives of forgotten children. This is the social web — and the human spirit — at its best.

Love one another

There are people I have met on the social web who love and care about me.

That is probably the sappiest thing I have ever written but it is undeniable and true so why not say it? The Internet now allows you to find your folks wherever they may be, to establish your personal movement.

Does this sound weird to you? I think it can happen for anybody if you give it a chance. The social web is spreading love from country to country and server to server, to laptops, smart phones, iPads and people. It’s amazing to think about.

More love in more places around the world has gotta be a good thing, right?

A global heartbeat

I am in daily contact with people who inspire me from Sweden, Malaysia, Jordan, France, Australia, Russia and many other nations. Perhaps you are too.

Pause for a moment and realize that you and I are experiencing a milestone in human history. A profound and spiritual milestone, I think. For the first time we have access to free, real-time, global communications. The ability to make these connections were not available to us just a few years ago.

And this is just the beginning. Sure, Facebook is the home to Farmville and about every other inane concept known to man. But don’t dwell there. This platform alone is providing an opportunity to unite hundreds of millions of people. Hundreds … of millions … of people. Doesn’t that take your breath away?

Twitter enabled a revolutionary movement in Iran. It failed … this time. The power of technology to connect, nurture, and teach will eventually out-run the technology that is trying to control and contain it. We WILL be connected and then there will be one global heartbeat pulsing through the social web.

Look through the silliness, cut through the drivel, ignore the hate. There is a core light of hope streaming above it all with the potential to unite us, heal us, and inspire us no matter who or where we are.

Mark Schaefer

Mark is Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions and CMO of Freesource Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @markwschaefer and on his blog {grow} at www.businessesGROW.com

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Going Beyond Social Media Reach

We’re a little too focused on collecting humans like marbles.

Our fans. Followers. Subscribers. Impressions.

Once upon a time, numbers like gross circulation mattered a bit more, because the available channels and paths for information were somewhat limited. So by putting yourself visibly in one of them, chances were pretty good that you’d actually be seen, and command a fair bit of someone’s attention, at least for a few moments.

Now? Not nearly. Clicking “follow” or “like” is a fleeting, non-commital moment. And just as easily, that attention is off and elsewhere. (How many pages have you liked – whether sincere or just out of support for a friend – and never revisited?). It’s the equivalent of someone picking up the flyer and tossing it in the next trash can. Veneered attention is so easy to give out, because it doesn’t take our time, our effort, or even our brainpower. We simply need to click. And move on.

Is that really the only way you want to define success? … Read more

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