Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

April 18, 2010

Social Media - the basics, getting started

Companies including start-ups have shown that one can approach social media marketing in a diligent manner.

Be it for identifying the best skill set or reaping real benefits, such companies have set several benchmarks. The way such companies approach and handle social media marketing initiatives have ensured that social media has now taken its rightful place in the suite of marketing initiatives. Such campaigns can be evaluated using some traditional ROI metrics, plus there have been some new takes on what ROI means in the context of the social web.

Aligning a company’s social networking strategy with that of a company’s brand and then integrating social elements into the fabric of everything you do online:

I think, first and foremost, you have to understand your business goals and the metrics you are trying to influence, be it traffic, members, revenue. Next figure out which social networks your market uses the most and how best to promote your brand. A big challenge is justifying resources towards a social marketing strategy so you can manage, monitor, measure and integrate what you do. It’s better to concentrate on a couple of initiatives and not spread yourself too thin. This will also make it easier to take an integrated approach and allow you to effectively cross promote your initiatives.

How should you approach social media marketing as an ongoing initiative:

Once you’ve launched your initiative, you do have to invest time into monitoring how it’s going so you can feed the fire. Listen and respond to tweets or blog posts. If something isn’t working, be honest, change it fast and let people know, whether it’s a small bug, or an oversight (e.g. Google Buzz) with regards to their privacy settings. The community will let you know and it’s important to acknowledge and communicate fixes or progress to resolution. Listening to feedback is a valuable way to inform the product. Also, measure what you can on the likes of bit.ly or Google Analytics, and apply tracking codes to events, such as Facebook Connect, so you can make changes and track improvement.

What makes people contribute to a social site/ why do people get excited about using social media:

Why do people talk to each other? This is just another way of exchanging information and having a conversation. Whether it’s your friends on Facebook or a group of people who share a common interest, social networks facilitate the conversation. It’s immediate so you can give and receive feedback. A response can also spark ideas, suggestions or debate from other participants. This also makes it fun and engaging to those who are participating and those observing from the sidelines. There’s also fulfilling the basic desire of human nature of recognition, attention and reward. That holds true both personally and professionally.

Countering low social media perception:

Again, people talk and listen to their friends. Social networks just happen to make those conversations more public. As a company or a brand you have to tune in where you can, participate where it’s appropriate and respond. Again, use tools like Google Alerts to monitor blogs and Twitter to monitor what's being said. Let people know as you roll out new enhancements or features that help solve issues that have been raised. View social media as another vehicle for customer service.

What are the best ways to measure the ROI of advertising campaigns in a social media environment:

In making their investment, I think most marketers are more concerned with building a presence on social networking sites rather than paying for advertising. That being said, ad spending on Facebook is soaring and expected to grow 34 percent in the United States in 2010 (eMarketer). The best opportunity exists in tying paid media to earned media. This is unlikely to come from classic banner ads but more through engagements ads, which are more viral and encourage people to interact with the brand. The most popular metric to measure ROI from advertising is still traffic, although engagement and softer metrics like number of followers and fans are important to track.

Traditional online campaigns that are either CPM or CPC based, though familiar, not necessarily being the optimal marketing tactics to use in the social media world:

Yes. Most marketers are looking to invest in building a social presence and capitalise on earned media—what consumers are saying and sharing about your company and brand. This way you have trusted, influential third parties talking about your brand and getting your message out for you rather than relying on paid placement alone. For that to happen you need to at least provide tools and buttons to allow information to be shared, offer something people feel compelled to share such as good content, trips, deals and contests, and invest effort in reaching out to influential bloggers for reviews.

How should companies differentiate between revenue and tracking:

Again it comes down to what your objectives are, which are not going to be the same for everyone. There are at least three categories of social media metrics: exposure (your reach), engagement (interactions) and outcomes (revenue, cost per lead, profit). Although hard metrics are desirable, it’s important to track soft metrics too, such as followers and friends because this contributes to building trust and goodwill towards your brand.

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April 07, 2010

Have you determined who 'brand you' is?

I was at a workshop last week, at which I gave an impromptu “from the heart” mini-talk on personal branding in the era of social media.

People often question if they “need” a personal brand. Here’s the news – you already HAVE a personal brand. The only questions are, what is it? Are you projecting it effectively? And with the rise of social media, you also now have to think about your personal brand online. Is it congruent with brand YOU!

When people see you, think of you, and relate to you, words and images and feelings come to mind. That is your personal brand. If people who know you think “friendly,” “helpful,” “kind,” when they see you and talk about you, you are well on your way to possessing a positive personal brand. Of course, you can easily see the flip side of this as well…

So, you have a brand. Do you know what it is? What distinguishes you from the teeming hordes of humanity? What are you known for? Here, you need some self-examination, maybe some personality profiling (I found the Gallup books on Strengths to be particularly helpful), and some honest friends to help you distill it down.

What you’ll find is a constellation of qualities, and perhaps 1-5 characteristics that really stand out. Those are what you build your brand on. And, once you really have a grasp on it, you can communicate to people much more effectively what you’re all about. Where you fit in. Even what your future business endeavors should look like. You project your brand NOW – but you can project it more effectively when you actually know what it IS, and feel comfortable in your own skin.

What is my personal brand? I listen, analyze, distill, and rapidly find the core, then communicate it fairly effectively. This becomes my brand voice.

Let’s make one distinction. There is your personal brand essence, which is that grouping of personality traits, character traits, strengths, and capabilities that make you you. Then there is your personal brand role, which is how you function in the world and marketplace. Your role may change, but your essence remains the same, and hopefully, your functional and professional role is increasingly aligned with who you (essentially) are.

I’ve had live and on-line conversations with several people in the last few months who are wrestling with how to define themselves, and project their personal brand. As it turns out, my core competencies of analyzing, distilling, and expressing makes that a very enjoyable and meaningful exercise.

You don’t have to be a personal branding guru, or a consultant, a blogger, or an entrepreneur, to have and project a brand. You simply have to have a pulse. And a willingness to discover what really makes you tick. You DO have a brand, and you DO have something to offer. What endeavor could more rewarding and noble than identifying that brand and running with it?

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April 06, 2010

Are you following your 'passionpulse'?

Evere wondered why really successful people are passionate about what they do and why it is so important to them. They seem to do everything so effortlessly. How is that?

It's realy simple. If you are not passionate about an activity, it means that activity isn’t providing you with growth, satisfaction, joy and expansion. Passion and success are inseparable to me. Passion is born of success – and the progress that comes with success.

People are drawn to that activity because when they tasted that activity, they immediately experienced growth and progress in that direction. Typically it’s where their talent lies. It’s a natural channel of creativity for them.

Pursuit of passion is so basic to life, so intimate to life, that if you’re not pursuing your passions, you’re not going to be happy for very long. You’re not going to be able to sustain that direction for very long. Yet one does have control to some extent, over what constitutes one’s passion.

Lack of passion costs you dearly, and sometimes you don’t know the cost because it is a compound bill. When it comes due it is very painful. Passions need to be balanced and passions need to be universal in your life.

What you put your attention on grows stronger in your life. You can culture an interest for something. You can develop a talent in an area, which then allows you to succeed in that area and thus enjoy progress, success and evolution through that channel. That area will become more and more of a passion for you when your activity in that area rewards you with joy, progress, expansion and evolution.

People have freedom and it’s probably the greatest human freedom – over what they give their attention to. And that area will become more central, more important in their life. I would recommend that everyone exercise that freedom – to put their attention on projects that are truly worthy, with the potential to bring maximum happiness and evolution to their life and society as a whole.

The more global and far reaching the project, the more happiness and evolution that project could potentially bring. We have control over what might become a passion for us, and that’s an important freedom we exercise. But there are obvious constraints on what could ever become our passion, based upon our core predispositions and genetic makeup.

So we have some control, but there are constraints based upon our own individual natures. For example not everyone is going to be a great, teacher, doctor or lawyer. We each have certain predispositions towards this notion we call our passionpulse. What lights our inner fire, what excites us and brings joy and satisfaction to our lives.

By aligning our passions and desires with the natural evolutionary flow of universal intelligence, virtually any impulse of thought can meet with tremendous success. Aligning individual intelligence with nature’s intelligence is what is called enlightenment.

Developing the brain and rising to high states of consciousness is absolutely key to achieving individual fulfilment and is the key to contributing maximum to the evolution of society toward an enlightened society.

We are all united at our core, and that truth, the unity of life, is the most precious and crucially important understanding to emerge in this scientific age. This is the same reality that has been celebrated since time immemorial in all the great spiritual traditions of the world. But now the same truth is open to objective verification through the empirical approach of modern physics, and open to personal verification through the experiential approach of consciousness and specifically for me in pursuing my passions.

When I do, my own personal fulfilment and happiness seems to be contagious. My excitement for projects takes on a life of their own and, enrolling people into a higher vision happens with ease. Try it, you will be amazed and humbled with the difference following your heart and passions makes to your life and indeed to others.

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