Is Community Management Dead?

Has the relevance of the community manager already come and gone? Just four years ago, it would be difficult to name a company that employed someone to grow and nurture their communities. Today, it would be equally as difficult to name a company that doesn’t.

As you read this, hundreds of community managers are taking to their TweetDecks and HootSuites to manage social media outreach and engagement. So, is community management really dead? Perhaps not altogether, but the narrow definition of it, which has been used in the past four years, most definitely is.

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Quick Tips on How to Get Your Startup Noticed

I had the chance to sit down with Adarsh Pallian, the CEO and Co-Founder of Geotoko, a Vancouver-based startup that measures location based deals, to ask him how startups should begin marketing their new products.  Pallin did not hold back, and left me with some fantastic tips to kick start the marketing engine.

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How Social Media is Changing Public Relations

In 2010, facing the biggest public relations crisis in recent history, oil company BP turned to the one medium that could instantly address public concern: social media. Nearly six months after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill occurred, BP has nearly 48,000 Facebook fans, over 19,000 Twitter followers and more than three million YouTube channel views.

Social media updates describe cleanup efforts, research projects targeting impacts of the oil spill and calls for volunteers.

While the success of BP’s social media efforts is debatable, few people can argue the need to monitor and address online comments and feedback. As BP has shown, the biggest change may be the new challenges in reputation management. With these challenges also come new opportunities – opportunities to mitigate bad press, connect with customers and reach potential influencers in the media.

New Threats, New Opportunities

Reputation management isn’t just necessary for big corporations. Small businesses also benefit from monitoring social media chatter, whether or not they have social media profiles. Simple searches on Facebook and Twitter reveal valuable information about customer satisfaction, competitor weaknesses and new market opportunities.

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Need New Product Success? Get Hipsters and a Revolving Door

OK, so you’ve got this product that you need to market, so that it’s ‘cool’, so that it takes off like all those other hip items that you just had to have, the iPad, iPod, tablet, etc..  I mean look at the iPod, it’s just a music player, yet for a time everybody had to have one, it became de rigueur to the max. And then you look at that Steve Jobs fellow and you think, yeah he’s got it. Went up against the might of Microsoft with a closed operating system, with a box that continues to be twice as expensive as anything else and yet he’s making a killing.

So you’re looking at your marketing guys and you’re thinking, maybe I should dress them up in some naff looking skivvy or polo neck jumper (in black, of course) like Jobs. But you know that won’t work. So, you realize you need to hire someone a little different, someone with an edge, someone like…an authentic hipster  – to infuse a counter culture in your marketing department.

Here’s the first lesson of being hip, or a hipster if you must: it means going against the current trend, it means being self-consciously anti- whatever it is that’s happening.

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Location-Based Ads Boost Customer Loyalty

Very often when you make a purchase in a store, the cashier asks the same question: “Do you have your card?”

The cashier’s not asking for your Visa or Mastercard. She’s talking about those ubiquitous reward cards that track how many times you might order a bagel, a latte, an ink cartridge refill, or whatever you happen to be purchasing at the time.

Buy 10 and get one free. Purchase six and get the next at half price. Promotions differ, but the concept remains the same: the store wants to inspire customer loyalty, and it’ll reward you for it.

Some people benefit from loyalty rewards and save money. Others find the cards annoying. Imagine if you could replace the process with something that suits your lifestyle better. Instead of having your card punched at the sandwich shop or scanned at the pharmacy, how would you feel if you received a mobile-based coupon on your smartphone?

Location-Based Ads: A Business Boom in the Making

Businesses are increasingly working to improve marketing ROI. A recent study by the Mobile Marketing Association shows that almost one in four adults use mobile location-based services. Nearly half of those shoppers who saw ads from location-based services took some sort of action.

Few metrics exist on location-based advertising and customer loyalty, but so far, results have been promising. Foursquare, one of the most popular mobile location tracking applications, gives its users the chance to become a location’s “mayor” by checking in frequently. Many restaurants, coffee shops and other locations give their “mayors” discounts and freebies as a reward for customer loyalty. Most recently GAP offered a 25% discount if you checked in on Foursquare. The idea was to encourage store exposure, as friends of those ‘checking in’ would see the deal and would, hopefully, also act on it.

The Proof is in the Numbers

Another great example, Starbucks, offered its “mayors” $1 off any size of Frappuccino. Since beginning the promotion, the coffee haven has experienced a 50% increase in check-ins. AJ Bombers, a burger spot in Milwaukee, reported a 30% increase in sales after offering free burgers to the “mayor” (plus free cookies to anyone who checked in.)

Not wanting to limit promotions to a select few, Foursquare lets businesses provide frequency-based specials to users who check in often. Pepsi has built upon this feature by using Foursquare to give points for each mobile coupon used. Loyal soda lovers can redeem the coupons for music downloads and other Pepsi Loot.

The promotion is designed to increase brand loyalty and also to generate valuable data about repeat customers – where they purchase Pepsi, how often they purchase and what they do before and after they make the purchase. In time, this data may help Pepsi and other businesses make location-based ads even more effective. (It’s all in the data)
Have you ever used location-based advertising to promote your business? If so, how did the marketing effort turn out? If not, do you find that location-based advertising increases your loyalty to other local businesses?

Renee Warren

Does Your Personality Type Affect Your Social Media Success?

We’ve all heard of people described as Type A or Type B personalities. Type A’s are said to be impatient, controlling, ambitious and aggressive. They take their work seriously and stop at almost nothing to get it done. Type B personalities are the opposite: relaxed, easy-going and laid back. (Type As might call them lazy or unmotivated.)

You’ve probably considered your personality type at some point. But have you considered how your personality type affects your social media success?

Type A on Social Media

Type A’s are intense and hard-working people, so they likely approach social media accounts the same way. They may log in at the same time each day to post something thought-out and edited to perfection. They may take a systematic approach to growing connections and networking, adding 15 new Facebook friends every week or responding to 10 Twitter messages each day.

Type A personalities thrive on social media because they take their success seriously. In a world where many social media accounts go abandoned for weeks or even months at a time, Type A’s have no problem putting in the effort to update accounts regularly.
They may be turned off by social media’s casual atmosphere, where not everyone takes time to spell-check their status updates or respond to messages. If Type A’s vocalize complaints, they risk becoming unpopular.

Type B on Social Media

The laid-back nature of Type B’s is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to social media. Type B personalities usually fit right into social media’s casual, conversational atmosphere – if casual conversation is going on. They may also have a hard time getting their message heard.
“It appears that the more aggressive and outspoken you get, the more attention you get,” Frank Reed writes on his blog Frank Thinking About Internet Marketing . “I call this the Rush Limbaugh factor. In today’s world of ‘everyone is right. The bigger the bluster, the bigger the splash.”

Of course, Type B’s may be so laid-back that they don’t care about being heard through the din. Depending on the agenda, that may be fine. But Type B’s should approach social media with some agenda in mind; otherwise, social media may be a waste of time.

The Bigger Picture

Of course, any type of categorization is based on stereotypes. Your own personality – and your social media experience – is probably far more complex than the two described here. Use these insights as a springboard to better understanding your own social media behavior, including what you’re doing well and where you may need to improve.

How has your personality type affected your experience with social media? Or has it?

Renee Warren

The Face behind your brand


When I say Elmo, you think… Sesame Street.
When I say Miss Piggy, you think … The Muppets.
When I say Steve Jobs, you think …Apple.

…I was in Starbucks this morning getting my coffee and I received an email from a friend who was announcing his resignation from his current job. There was a level of secrecy as he hadn’t made the announcement public. It made me wonder why I was one of the few selected to receive this special announcement. I checked to see who else was cc’d and was rather honoured and surprised at who else was also getting it. Then I realized that these were high-caliber, young, professionals who owned or represented a brand. He was reaching out to us for a very specific reason. It got me thinking…although some of these individuals don’t own the company they are working for, they are the face of the brand. They are the front line go to person. I wondered if these companies made the right choice in choosing such people. Although they are outgoing, intelligent, personable people, I wouldn’t say that some were the right people for the job. Perhaps I am wrong.

If you are a small business owner hiring for a brand rep., PR, community manager, community type position, make sure you select wisely as these people or this individual will be your mascot, the person and face that people will think of when communicating with or about your business. Make sure their personalities match that of your organization and that they will consistently and professionally represent your brand to its fullest potential.