Can Social Media Marketing Work For Your Business (Or Is It Yet Another Service Marketers Want to Promote)?
This guest post was submitted to The Anywhere Office by Gean Biffulco of Idea180.com
Can Social Media Marketing Work For Your Business (Or Is It Yet Another Service Marketers Want to Promote)?
The short answer to both questions is, ‘YES.’ Social Media Marketing (SMM) can generate brand awareness (locally, nationally or globally), it can influence purchases (give your brand “social endorsements”) and can even generate a return on investment if set up and measured properly. The problem many businesses run into is they set the wrong expectations about SMM right from the start and then consider they have wasted marketing dollars paying for “fans”, “subscribers” or an “amazing Facebook app/game” that didn’t seem to do anything for sales. This is not only the marketer’s fault for setting the wrong expectations, but also the businesses’ for lacking the proper knowledge.
We have seen the expressions of many business owners who just don’t get what social media is (they call it the Twitter, the Facebook, the YouTube, and others like it), and the truth is that some authors or pseudo-experts can make any internet marketing subject too complex. This is why idea180 has prepared this article, intended for small or medium business owners who want to understand social media in laymen’s terms, and to help determine just how much social media their business needs.
Why Are You Considering Social Media?
If your interest in social media is to have the same high number of Facebook fans as your friend’s page, you can buy a few thousand fans from India or some other countries for a couple of hundred dollars and be done with it. This is not really cheating, it’s just plain stupid. A couple of hundred dollars used in Facebook ads can give your business a few thousand impressions from the right pair of eyes. You can choose if you want your promotional ad to be seen by males or females, specific age ranges, run it in specific towns, cater to people with specific interests, and based your campaign on any other demographic data Facebook collects. You can also decide if you want to create fans for your page or drive traffic to a landing page on your site. If you compare creating “fake fans” made in Pakistan to “targeting the right people”, the choice is obvious – social media is quality over quantity. The right people are more likely to buy than some “fake fan” that could care less about you or your products.
The example above shows how setting the right expectations in SMM matter a lot, thousands of fans means nothing – SMM it’s all about interaction. Some small businesses have only a few clients, not thousands, who generate 100% of their revenue; the relationship with these clients is based in quality interactions.
You may have heard in the news this past week about Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer and her no work-at-home policy. She helped usher Yahoo back into the stone age when they made it clear that any Yahoo employee that currently works from home has until June to report to an office to work or look for work elsewhere.
According to an internal memo Yahoo believes:
“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”
While I agree it’s helpful to work side-by-side with coworkers, this decision reaks of the knee-jerk, backward, “can’t do” thinking I see so many companies suffer from. They’re struggling with virtual teamwork and remote collaboration so they think they should just scrap the whole thing.
As a consultant helping companies make the shift to The Anywhere Office®, I can tell you first hand that virtual teams can be MORE effective and productive than co-located teams when instituted properly, and that “speed and quality” can be unsurpassed. But it doesn’t happen by accident; it requires a strategy and training.
When I consult with companies I walk them through a process to take a step back and define team and communication guideline. We also take a look at what kind of tools they have in place already, to determine if they are the right tools, and if they are being thoughtfully applied. Even these simple exercises have helped teams transform into lean, mean collaborating machines.
The punchline of the Yahoo situation is that Ms. Mayer talks about wanting the company to be the “best place to work,” but in the same breathe she announces they are taking away the ability to have a flexible work agreement. Workplace flexibility is highly valued by today’s smart young professionals; closing the door on it at Yahoo will ensure the best and brightest will look for work elsewhere. And don’t even get me started on the litany of other benefits virtual work provides: increased productivity, cost savings, environmental benefits, disaster preparedness….
I should be thanking Yahoo’s new CEO
In an interesting article I read in Fast Company they explained why Marissa Mayer and Yahoo actually did us a big favor:
“Over the years, I’ve seen many leaders and organizations follow the same path even though employees value the ability to work remotely, and there’s a solid argument that telework actually benefits the business.The difference is that those leaders don’t have a high profile and aren’t under the same public scrutiny as Mayer; therefore, their decisions go unnoticed and unchallenged. Rather than singling out and criticizing Mayer, we should thank her for raising the veil. Yahoo’s decision gives us the opportunity to expose and challenge the misguided, faulty reasoning many leaders follow when they decide to revoke their support for flexible work.”
That’s a very valid point and I’m delighted that the decision has generated so much discussion about telework, remote collaboration, and virtual leadership. The thing that really strikes me is Mayer’s claim they need to have everyone in the same physical location to communicate and collaborate effectively – this coming from a technology leader that produces a number of tools (such as mail, calendar,Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Groups, etc.) that are designed to help people work together regardless of time or distance! Read more
If you are interested in some heady conversation about the intersection of mobile technology, social networks, and marketing – give a minute to this Lin Humphrey article where he offers his informed opinion about Amber Case’s discussion (and Tedtalk) “We Are All Cyborgs Now”. I think I lean toward agreeing with Humphrey on the point that mobile technology and social networks actually enhance human relationships which might not otherwise exist or be developed. Then again, I also want an army of robots… I think we’ll have a whole lot more insight to gain from Lin as he pursues his PHD and ruminates on these topics.
…we must remember that this technology facilitates rich connections to a network we might not be able otherwise to maintain. Much work remains on the research I discuss here; through future waves of the online study, a rich, academically sound understanding of how social media and mobile technology consumers use the technology, how they interact with their network, and how they make purchase decisions based on social media input will be developed. At the end of this project, I will defend my dissertation to earn my Ph.D. in marketing. But beyond that, the goal is to provide a rich contribution on how social media and mobile technology usage by “Connected Consumers” is associated with psychological and technology factors.
It’s not just because we’re from Edison, NJ that makes us interested in this book by Sarah Miller Caldicott, Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Team Collaboration Success from Thomas Edison’s Lab.
Thomas Edison created multi-billion dollar industries that still exist today. What many people don’t realize is that his innovations were generated through focused approaches to teamwork and collaboration. Authored by the great grandniece of Thomas Edison, Midnight Lunch provides an intriguing look at how to use Edison’s collaboration methods to strengthen live and virtual teams today. Edison’s four phases of collaboration success offer a simple yet powerful way to see how different combinations of live and digital resources can multiply results and deliver outstanding ROI now.
This sounds like an interesting and unique framework for talking about collaboration and communication on virtual teams.
Read a comprehensive review of Midnight Lunch here:
Thomas Edisons Keys To Managing Team Collaboration | Fast Company. by Kaihan Krippendorff
[Photo courtesy of JFImages.net]
This guest post was submitted to The Anywhere Office by Kaito Mori of TrendMicro.com
For many of us trapped behind the walls of a cubicle for 40 hours a week, having a mobile office just seems like a faraway fantasy, like retiring on a desert island, or decent gas prices. For those of us who do have the luxury to be able to work from home or anywhere else, we know that it’s not all roses relaxation. There are risks inherent to having a mobile office that can be devastating and can result in a loss of time and income or both. The danger paramount to one’s mobile office is the threat of a malicious virus. A successful virus in your system can spell doom to your entire mobile office setup; even your whole company due to identity theft, damage to equipment, or a compromised bank account. Luckily, all of these doomsday scenarios can be prevented through free or inexpensive programs that you can install on all of your mobile devices.
A tenet of modern business psychology is to give your customer a price on your products that they think is more than a good deal. If the customer thinks that they are getting such a good deal by purchasing your product that they are GLAD to do it, then you are doing a good job as a business. Antivirus software is a prime example of this pricing model. Most antivirus software out there is available for free or close to it, which means that protecting your mobile office easy and economically feasible. You just have to pick the right software. We’ll go over some of the best options available on the market today.
For those of you who include a smartphone or two as part of your “mobile office,” there are some great security and antivirus programs that you can use to keep your devices secure.
This guest post was submitted to The Anywhere Office by Kevin Gillam of Ruby Receptionists
Whether you wear all the hats in your virtual office or you have staff working from remote locations,there’s often one thing missing – a receptionist. A phone answering service for your virtual office is a simple solution that can provide you with the same invaluable benefits enjoyed by businesses withon-site receptionists.
From forwarding calls to your business number to making calls on your behalf, a virtual receptionist service is the glue that helps hold your operations together, no matter where you or your employees are. Just like on-site receptionists, virtual receptionists provide a variety of services, including: Phone answering with a custom greeting and letting you know who’s on the line before transferring, just like a receptionist in a physical office. Taking messages by hand or forwarding calls to voicemail – both of which can be emailed to you. Connecting calls to any phone number of your choice. Making phone calls on your behalf. Relaying messages and information to callers.
The big companies all have someone to answer the phone on behalf of the head honchos and other employees. There is no reason you can’t have someone providing you with the same professional first impression just because you have a virtual office. When you have an attentive virtual receptionist handling your calls, you provide your callers with a top-notch experience.
In this informative article technology expert Midori Connolly shares her top picks for tools to improve virtual team productivity. Connolly specializes in providing end-to-end hybrid meeting design, strategic planning, and technological execution. Here she shares some key collaboration and scheduling tools useful for working with distributed teams.