Archive for the 'facebook' Category

Death of the Handshake?

handshakeWant to know my mom’s advice on avoiding H1N1 and other sicknesses? Refuse to shake someone’s hand (or at the very least, disinfect right after). Try as I might, I simply can’t get her to understand why this might not be appropriate and may even be offensive in a business setting where we are expected to shake hands with clients, candidates and associates on a daily basis.

But it got me thinking…what if the impending H1N1 pandemic really is the death of the handshake as we know it. How will people greet each other when introduced – A wave? A wink? A thumbs up? A fist pump?  Maybe it will be common to hear people say, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, but I’m now abstaining from shaking hands.”

Or perhaps nothing will need to be said at all. Maybe items like these from  IAFTAHA (the International Association for the Acceptance of Handshake Alternatives – whose mission is to “promote the acceptance of salutations sans shake”) will do  the talking for us.

All jokes aside, the inquisitive market researcher in me really wants to test it out first-hand (pun intended) and see how people react if I break the shake, but the professional in me never will. So, I turned to the most authoritative sources out there in my quest to seek an answer – twitter and facebook. I created a poll and asked my friends and followers to answer. Check out the results – they might surprise you (you can vote HERE):

flupoll

I’d personally be happy if someone said, “I’m battling a cold, so I won’t shake your hand.” And if I was the sick one, I’d provide the same courtesy.

Whether the handshake really will decline thanks to fears of catching H1N1 and the seasonal flu remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’ll keep my Purell handy.

Posted by Melissa Coyle

Do you agree with the poll results? Leave a comment and let me know!

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It’s a ‘Mad’ World

On Sunday night, one of my favorite TV shows of all time premiered its third season. For those of you who haven’t already caught ‘Mad Men’ fever, the show is set on Madison Avenue in the early 60s at the fictional Sterling Cooper ad agency, and provides a glimpse of the “good ‘ol days” way before email, social media and political correctness. It also showcases the industry when it was largely male-dominated, clients and bosses were happy according to how many martinis were consumed at lunch, and budgets were seemingly sky-high – a stark contrast to today’s world.  Competitiveness is revered and the few women who get ahead struggle with being taken serious compared to their male counterparts.

Every time I watch, there is a part of me that wishes it was still as simple as it was back then – sexism aside, of course. I mean, how great would it be to get a client to agree on a campaign strategy over a three-martini lunch instead of battling over creative briefs and budget constraints? And to breeze into a meeting 5 minutes late, paint a picture of how the ad might look and leave in an air of confidence, a la Don Draper.

But of course, we’re very far away from that world now. TV ad sales are declining and the focus is on user generated content and getting more bang for the buck via social media platforms. Twitter is a recognized verb and noun, and the facebook phenomenon is still rampant (just think how happy would Don Draper and his cronies would be if they could have selected their secretaries using facebook!).

Although set in the 60s, the show has crossed generations to leverage these new marketing techniques to its advantage. You can take a personality quiz online to find out which Mad Men character you’re most like, or MadMenYourself and create your own Mad Men avatar. You can follow Mad Men on facebook and get constant updates on the show and its story lines.

My 'MadMenMyself' Avatar

 All of the Mad Men characters even have twitter accounts, and tweet completely in character – something I still haven’t totally wrapped my head around…I mean, they are supposed to be in the 60s! @PeggyOlson recently tweeted: “I swear @JoanHolloway gave me the worst secretary in the office. I’d rather work w/ @SecretaryPool than listen to @Lola_Secty gossip all day.” And @Roger_Sterling: “I don’t care if Stoli is made by commies. Life is too short for bad vodka, although it’d be even shorter without it at all.”

If you work in the industry, then you especially appreciate Mad Men’s portrayal of client service and agency-life, even if it’s a far stretch from what it’s like today. And even if you don’t work in the industry, the quippy one liners and fashion are enough to make anyone a fan. Till next week… in the words of Don Draper, “What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons.”

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

Too Much “Me” in Social MEdia?

I tuned in to today’s HubSpot webcast on How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation. I fancy myself a bit of a HubSpot groupie – they do some really cool things (HubSpot TV, cartoons, etc) and manage to keep it “real” and have fun while doing them.

Well, let’s just say that webcasts clearly aren’t their strong-suit. Aside from major audio, video and slide issues, I was hoping for a good example of how a real company has managed the “social media led-gen funnel” from start to finish. Instead, I got 45 minutes of HubSpot commercials and maybe 15 minutes of valuable takeaways. I do want to give the presenter props – you could tell he was nervous and it can’t be easy reading your “critweets” while trying to present.

At any rate, once I got passed tech issues and zoned out the self-promotion, there were a couple good points on why social media can be an integral part of driving traffic to your site. Some points to ponder:

  • In the “old days”, traffic was generated purely by search. Now, social media should be on the same par of search in terms of driving traffic to your site. But the same challenges exist. Sure, social media might drive traffic, but how to you make sure it’s the right kind of traffic?
  • His advice on how to start? Listen (twitter/blog searches), follow the conversation, participate in the conversation, build a network, distribute your content and then hope it gets shared.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Blog, do podcasts, try video, publish photos – you can share all these things on social networks like facebook and twitter to help drive traffic back to your site (and increase search rankings).
  • How do you convert a website visitor to a lead? With a good call to action and an effective landing page. He nailed it when he said, “Don’t write about your products; address the customers’ needs.”
  • When it comes to measuring, don’t just track site traffic/referrals. Track the whole funnel PLUS conversion rates to know if the campaigns are truly successful.

Other pearls of wisdom (from HubSpot and twitterers):

  • “Social Media – just like going 2 a cocktail party – meet people, balance info you share & want to learn from people, and build trust!”
  • “Write about the needs of the target market not your product. If @zappos tweeted about shoes would we follow? Probably not.”
  • “It’s not possible to succeed in social media without a continuous stream of relevant content.”

HubSpot made some interesting points about using social media as a traffic-generator and how to convert that traffic into leads. And I agree that most companies engaged in social media are putting too much “me” into it. Meaning, just because you have hundreds of followers, not a single one of them is going to care or listen to you unless what you’re saying is relevant to them and not overtly salesy.

Though not without issues, I think today’s webcast was actually a good example of the point HubSpot was trying to make. Certainly people tune into a webcast hoping to learn something (and not be “pitched” a product). That said, the whole idea is to get people talking and paying attention to your brand. The twittersphere may have been complaining and bashing the webcast throughout the entire session (#hubspot), but show me another webcast that’s generated 2500+ live views and so much conversation on twitter (it made it to #5 trending topic)! I bet today’s webcast increased HubSpot’s site traffic at least two-fold, and no doubt some of those will convert to leads, and ultimately sales. Which – after all – is the whole point, isn’t it folks?

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

60 seconds or less…

Breaking down hot topics in technology, media and marketing for your reading pleasure… in 60 seconds or less.

  • File under, “Really?!”  A charity auction for an internship at the Huffington Post has collected bids as high as $13,000. What’s worse…college grads so desperate for a job that they’ll pay five figures for one, or media companies trying to make their margins by selling internships?
  • Entrepreneurs, fear not! After meeting with more than a dozen Boston-area VCs, Tech Journal South reports that venture funds have available cash to invest, are actively looking for new deals and don’t expect the rest of the year to be as bad as the first quarter.  
  • The Wall Street Journal issues “Social Media Rules of Conduct” for its staffers. Among the rules? Editor approval is required before “friending” sources in Facebook or twitter.  Check out the entire list here.
  • What did you do by the time you were 25? Did you start a company that has generated 200 million users? Were you named one of the The World’s Most Influential People by Time Magazine? Were you ranked one of the richest people in America by Forbes, with a net worth of $1.5 billion? Had you made $240 million off of Microsoft? Well Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who turned 25 yesterday, has checked all those times of his list. I know, it hurts.

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

Listening in on Social Media

This weekend Neville Hobson (@jangles) posted a great interview with Scott Monty (@scottmonty), Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager at Ford. Among other things at Ford, Scott champions creative uses of social media. Most recently this last week he used twitter as a crisis management tool, to help keep folks up to date as he dealt with a misunderstanding that was being propagated across the internet. Now much of his success in this effort was due to the network Scott has built on twitter, it’s almost 6000 strong. Notice I say network, not following. Scott, in my opinion, is using twitter the “smart” way. He’s building relationships. He’s interacting on a daily basis with colleagues, with clients, with media. He, like me, manages multiple corporate twitter accounts as well, which are used for other purposes such as customer support, or b2b marketing. In this capacity though, he is also building relationships.

As the resident social media guru at BluePoint, clients often ask me for advice on social media strategy. The question I am asked most frequently is, “How do we chose between all the social media tools and groups out there? Why would we chose to be on twitter, versus facebook or linked in? We can’t do it all!”. My response is:

You know your audience. Where do you think they hang out?

Marketing and PR may have changed a lot in the last 10 years, but one thing remains the same. You need to reach your audience. In the age of social media, I would argue that this is becoming easier, not harder. Instead of just sending out direct mail or e-mail and waiting for a response, you can get online and find your customers. You can listen in on their conversations, or grievances. You can speak to them directly.

So as 2009 rolls around, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the multitude of options out there. You know your audience. Take a look at the communities that you think might appeal most to them. Then join a select few, and LISTEN. (I have my friend Kyle Flaherty to thank for this piece of invaluable advice) Don’t worry about broadcasting a message or making yourself known right out of the gate. You will learn a lot if you just listen. You may learn that your customers don’t hang out on twitter. You might be surprised to see them already talking to each other on a Facebook group. You may even have the enjoyable experience that I had over the weekend of meeting a new colleague, while listening in on twitter!

— Posted by Liz Moise

Growing-Up with Facebook

The first time I heard of Facebook I was still a Sophomore in college running back in forth between classes, swimming practice and participating in … ahem … other activities. Facebook opened a whole new world to me as well as other students to re-connect with old friends from high school, middle school, elementary school and in some cases even pre-school. I, like many of my fellow students could spend hours upon hours viewing profiles all day with the comfort of knowing that this was a protected website away from the “real world.” At the time, Facebook was “Collegebook” and that was how we liked it. During the early days on Facebook no one was worried if a picture was up-loaded that a potential employer would find it and base their opinion on that single image. Never once did we think our parents (or grandparents) would become interested in joining and keeping tabs on us. Not once did we think our small guilty pleasure would become accessible to the whole entire world. My how times have changed…

When Facebook first started I could spend up to three-four hours looking at pictures and learning new thing about friends I had known for years. Now the time I spend on the website has significantly dropped. The only time I really go on Facebook is when I get a new notification in my email box. I sign-in see what is new and lose interest fairly quickly and sign-out.

To pin-point the exact reason why I have lost interest in Facebook is hard to say because I think it was because of many factors. The first sign of the Facebook change happened when high school students were allowed access, then anyone with a valid email could join. Another major change in Facebook was the addition of all the widgets. In the past when I signed-in I did not have to worry about being attacked by a vampire or ninja, I did not have to dig through multiple applications to find the information I was looking for. Facebook has become a zoo of bumperstickers, fish tanks and advertisements.

But then I think maybe Facebook is going through the same technology adoption life-cycle like any other popular product. Could it be that for once I am an early adopter and now that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon I am getting off at the next stop?

Paging the next Michael Zuckerberg please….


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