trinetizen

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Name: Julian Matthews
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hi. I'm a former journalist and Malaysian correspondent to CNet, ZDnet, Newsbytes (Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive wire agency), Nikkei Electronics Asia and AsiaBizTech.com. I also previously contributed to The Star, The Edge, The New Straits Times, The New Zealand Herald and various magazines. Currently, I train and advise managers and executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach customers. My company, Trinetizen Media, runs media training workshops on social media, media relations, investor relations, corporate blogging, podcasting, multimedia marketing, online advertising, multimedia journalism and crisis communications. You can connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter.

Monday, June 01, 2009

R.O.I of social media


Some interesting thoughts from a social media panel at New England Xpo for Business at Boston by Beth Perdue, the editor of the New England Business Bulletin:
1. TRANSPARENCY: The marketing mentality is shifting to one that emphasizes authenticity and transparency, creates two-way conversations, and looks to build assets in relationships including those with influential bloggers and Twitter followers.

"I used to talk about manipulation," said Bob Cargill, creative director for Nowspeed Marketing. "Now I preach the truth and nothing but the truth. That's a big shift."

2. CONTENT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER: Part of that shift is because, with a Web-based presence, content becomes more important than ever. Hubspot vice president of inbound marketing Mike Volpe, said companies should be thinking more like publishers than salesmen.

Each part of a business' Internet presence becomes one piece of its content, he said, rattling off a list that includes blogs, video and sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

"Promoting this content in social media helps attract more people to it, which in turn makes it more likely you will get links. Links are what power SEO, so more links will attract more people to your content, which can contribute more followers and friends in social media," he said in a blog posting that followed the panel discussion.

3. CUSTOMERS ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR BRAND: One idea raised by the panel that companies may need to adjust to is that with social media, a company's well-crafted message gets picked up by customers who reshape and comment on it. In other words, companies no longer control their own message.

"Your consumer is taking that message ... they are co-creating with that message and the content that you developed," said Marc Fireman, vice president for Fleishman-Hillard's Digital Group.

Where marketing used to be done by getting your message out to millions of people and expecting a small percentage to connect back, today the message gets sent and resent, bouncing around to friends, bloggers, and others, potentially growing from an initial 500 top influencers to 5,000 then to 5 million, Fireman said.

"You need people to be the voice of your brand," he said.

4. R.O.I. IS LONGTERM: When considering what content to provide, Fireman said it should provide relevance and benefit to consumers. Content, he said, can't just be about getting your message out.

"You have to think outside the 'I have to make a sale today,' (box)," he said.

The hard truth, the group said, is that creating content is an investment in time and the ROI you receive may be long term.

But it exists, panelists said. In fact, Volpe said that for Internet marketing software start-up Hubspot, "social media is one of our top five sources of leads."

Volpe stressed that building followers today is comparable to how companies have traditionally invested in physical assets - like building a new manufacturing plant.

"These are assets — these aren't things that go away," he said.

5. DIVE IN NOW: For those still on the fence, Fireman suggests just starting.

John Kranz, author of "Writing Copy for Dummies," agreed. Just watch and read, he suggested.

"Don't feel like you have to immediately say something," he said.

Volpe suggested your company may already be the subject of online conversation and you're better off knowing that — whether the news is good or bad.

To find out, he said, go to Twitter Search and type in your company name.

"You might as well be there to hear and respond," he said, adding, "You cannot hide."

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