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The Open Brand: How Twitter is Pushing Radical Transparency in Brand Management

linkshare

linkshareJoin us January 28, 2010 at LinkShare Symposium West being held at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Changing consumer behavior, social networking, mobile e-commerce, and other trends are making the job of every marketing manager more exciting yet more challenging than ever. How can you keep up with these trends? Year after year, LinkShare Symposium has been at the forefront of e-commerce trends by presenting you with insights and practical guidance that can be used today in your marketing plans.

Earthsite’s founder Joey Shepp will be leading the Keynote Session: The Open Brand: How Twitter is Pushing Radical Transparency in Brand Management.

Social Networking including Twitter is pushing radical transparency in brand management for all types of companies. In this dynamic session you will hear about recent corporate case studies in Twitter use, learn about key strategies and best practices in using Social Media and how the Affiliate Marketing channel can play a key role in open brand strategies. Presented recently at the Twitter 140 conference, Joey Shepp’s presentation on Open Brands received the most votes for “Favorite Presentation”. Mr. Shepp is also the founder of several successful web companies including Earthsite.net, a strategic marketing and technology firm, and GreenMaven.com, the world’s most comprehensive green search engine. TIME.COM recognized Green Maven in the top ten best new website of 2006. Google has also recognized GreenMaven.com as an exemplary custom search engine, featuring the site in its “Google’s Picks” section.

Bravo Pepsi, Bravo

wow-pop-hope

Have you visited Pepsi’s new micro-site for their Pepsi Refresh Project? Back in late December, Pepsi announced they would not be advertising during the Super Bowl this year. Instead, they would take the $20 million, normally spent on advertising during the Super Bowl, and invest it towards social media in the form of their Refresh Project campaign.

The Refresh Project is a community investment campaign for people and organizations to submit ideas on how they would make a positive impact in their community. Each month up to 1,000 ideas are submitted into six categories (health, arts & culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education). Up to 32 Pepsi Refresh Grants are awarded based on a public voting system, and grants can vary in size from $5k, $25k, $50k, and $250k.

Sound familiar?

You may remember Change.org hosting a similar campaign in 2008, during the presidential race. Now Change.org has evolved into a fantastic model for social voting and collaboration (see also: digg).

Bravo Pepsi, Bravo

The potential outcome for this campaign is enormous! On the surface, they are supporting on-the-ground social entrepreneurs, leading amazing projects around a variety of different issues, with unmeasurable ripple effects. Below the surface, they are leading the way large brands interact with civilization, beyond their products or services and are becoming something more.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t recognize that Pepsi, a soda, is less then stellar for human health and contributes to vast amounts of pollution and waste throughout its life cycle. Pepsi, a subsidiary of Pepsico, at least recognizes this and makes it pretty clear what they are doing to mitigate the damage they are causing and address top line issues (learn more on PepsiCo).

 

And we’re back… to the future

fireworks

Photo by Bob Jagendorf
CC on Flickr

We’ve had a great break and we’re back at it now in the Earthsite office. 2010 is full of unknowns and excitement as people are laying out their predictions for the new year and the new decade. Earlier today I received a great post, via my Google Alerts, that does a great job of reminding us just how far technology and the social web has come in ten years (from a blog called Life Lessons). I’m looking forward to the evolution of the social web for this next decade, as it promises to be just as amazing as the past.

One thing is for sure- the only thing certain is change. Happy New Year!

Why tags and descriptions matter

tags-title

 

Photo by kittyireland Flickr, CC

Descriptions, tags and titles can all help your content be seen

Have you added content to the web lately? If you have, have you been tagging your photos, videos and blog posts? What about writing a brief description? If you’re not, and are promoting your content, you may be missing out. Tags and desciptions not only make your stuff easier for people to search for, it also help keep the web nice and organized. (p.s.-you can usually go back and add title tags, and descriptions)

When tagging your stuff, make sure you are using keywords appropriately, adding short descriptions, and relevant titles. Think of it like this, “what do you want this image, video, or blog post to be associated with?” Most tagging systems break each keyword into separate terms, but if your item should be relevant to a more specific term you can use paranthesis to combine terms, and word combinations matter! Use as many relevant, specific keywords as possible, but avoid overinflating your tags.

For an example of tags in work: I’m searching Flickr’s Creative Commons images for Bengal Tigers. I’d like a great shot of a tiger swimming underwater. I may type in “bengal tiger water” and yield these results. Hum… not really what I’m looking for, but if I search “bengal tiger” then I yeild these results and ahh much better!

Counter-intuitive isn’t it? Shouldn’t I have hit what I was looking for initially when I was specific the first time around? In this example, my results were front and center when I was less specific, but what if I had to search 50 pages to find the right image. Hello time sink!

Now pretent that underwater bengal tiger is your blog post, video, or image. Wouldn’t you want someone to find it when they searched the first time? Tags, title, and description can get them there faster.

Bust out of your social media plateau

plateau

 

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt Flickr, CC

What should you do when growth slows?

You’ve setup a Facebook page and update it frequently. You’re an avid Twitterer, sending tweets everyday. You even have a Linkedin Company Profile. In each case, you reached some modest success and are gaining a few new eyes everyday. Still, you may be asking yourself, “Is it, worth it?” So what can you do to take your social media strategy to the next level?

In fitness, this is known as reaching a plateau. Here is what Alive.com has to say about reaching a fitness plateau:

“I don’t get it. I was doing so well, and all of a sudden, I stopped improving.” This is a familiar refrain from exercisers who believe their program has failed them. In reality, they have maximized what their workout was designed to achieve.

We’re not taking about fitness, but the principle is the similar; you need to change it up. If you feel yourself in a similar situation, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your strategy and tactics. Here are some things you can do, or consider, to take it up a notch.

Recognize and inventory what’s working and what’s not

If you’ve been growing your social media presence for a while, you no-doubt have tried a thing or two to grow your followers, fans, and pageviews, and in most cases hoping they all somehow lead to more sales. Reflect back and look at the numbers. What was viral? When do you experience more comments? When was there a jump a in sales or website traffic? What context allowed for that event to happen? When was growth stagnant? What did your current followers/fans like?

Use what you’ve learned to inspire employee collaboration, innovation, and customer service

Most often the social web is referred to and used for marketing, but really it’s about relationships, and that spans from business to friends and to co-workers. Enterprise 2.0 is a term, like web 2.0, that describes the phenomenon of companies utilizing the methods of social sharing within an organization. There are a variety of ways to get started. For example, Google docs are a great way to share private ideas and feedback within an organization (just think of a better password then password).

See it through your customers/audience’s eyes

Use this stuck time to clean house. I used to work for Trader Joe’s, the grocery store chain noted for their yummy food and awesome customer service, and I remember learning early on that viewing the floor from the customers eyes was a key to success. I encourage you to put on your customers eyes. Shoot, in the Goethe sense put on some sunglasses, crawl under your desk, or go outside before checking out the site to get yourself in the customer mindset. Take notes on what doesn’t work, what you don’t like about the ‘experience.’ React appropriately.

Try something different- Take a chance, be different, and aim for viral appeal

If you’ve growing a following/fan base, it may be time to “activate them.” Contests are a great way to do that. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you haven’t tried video, try video. If you’ve never been a guest blogger or podcaster, then look for opportunities to share your expertise (and spread the word).

Learning Centers- Learn more about using Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook

learning-center

Photo by Honou
Flickr, CC

Where to go when you need more info?

Did you know that most web platforms have learning centers that teach you how to use their product/ or service? The longer the venture has been around the more likely you are to see some great tutorials, tips and techniques on how to use them. Even if you have a good grip on the platforms you can still learn something from these guides, or even better, share them with your less savvy coworkers to get them on board with your social media strategy. Here is a preview of what some of the big three in the social media have to offer.

Linkedin Learning Center

http://learn.linkedin.com/

Linkedin has some great features and is probably the most under utilized social network when compared to Twitter and Facebook. Linkedin’s Learning Center provides guides for a variety of different types of users, such as: consultants, job seekers, entrepreneurs, attorneys, journalists, and more. If you’re not especially Internet savvy, then you might want to start with the Training page where you can browse presentations based on different training “modules,” or you can sign up for one of their free weekly webinars.

Twitter 101

http://twitter.com/Twitter101

Twitter launched their learning center a few months back, and while it is focused on supporting business, it provides an excellent resource for anyone new to the Twitterverse. The guide starts by getting you off the ground with lingo and techniques, then supports you with best practices and case studies.You can also download the slides or browse books on the topic. We have a link to the slideshow in our blog here.

Facebook Help

http://www.facebook.com/help

Facebook has a bit of a different approach to a learning center. If you know what you’d like help with, then Facebook makes it very easy to select the area you need help with, but if you are just getting started or want some more in depth training, then you might come up a bit short in tutorials. That’s okay there are plenty of blogs, video series, and webinars that cover more indepth training.

How to stay up to date with Cop15

cop
Follow the Copenhagen Climate Conference with Social Media

Cop15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference is underway, and for the next two and a half weeks (Dec. 7th- Dec. 18th) people all over the world will be watching and participating in the monumental conference, in person and virtually. Over the last year, we’ve seen the social web really thrive for events and conferences, making it easier to attend from a far. You too can get connected and participate, so here are some of the ways you can receive news, get in the live action, and learn more about the conference.


COP15 on Twitter
Follow the conference on Twitter and get real time update from folks at the conference and abroad.

  • Follow @Cop15 for news updates
  • Follow the #cop15 conversation at OpenBrands.org (an Earthsite Lab project) and receive a meta stream of information on the event.

COP15 on Facebook
Become a Fan on Facebook.

  • Receive updates in your Facebook News Feed facebook.com/cop15
  • Share and participate with the conversation on the wall.

COP15 on YouTube
View videos, comment and upload your own questions to participate.

  • Participate in a CNN/YouTube debate live from your living room.
  • Submit a question and/ or vote on someone elses.
  • Go “Behind the Scene”

COP15 on Google Earth

  • Download the file and take the interactive tour with Al Gore.

 

COP15 on Flickr
An “unofficial” channel, hosted by the Guardian.co.uk, with already 27 members in the group we should be seeing some great photos of the conference.

  • Check out the photos, and if you’re at the conference, join the group and share your photos.

 

Check out the official website at: http://en.cop15.dk/

Goodbye Papyrus, Hello Airstream: Free Fonts to spice it up a little

papyrus

No, I’m not talking about the plant used for paper by the ancient Egyptians. I’m talking about the font that all too many small shop owners use when the are designing their marketing copy on a budget. Nothing wrong with that by the way, you should be looking to spice up you advertising efforts. However, I’ve seen way too many people using the pre-loaded font called Papyrus.

So here is a great website to find an alternative, browse some of the 1001 Free Fonts that are available for public use, most have licensing options that are affordable. If you’re on a budget and designing marketing materials yourself or with a friend, then this one’s for you. They are easy to install and worth the time to pick out a few new ones.

bonus-heart

 

Bonus: Open Graphic Design

Get found! A look at increasing your brand’s searchability on the web

antenna

 

Photo by °Florian (Flickr CC)

How do people find out about you or your brand on the Internet? Do they Google it? Bing you? When it comes to getting your brand seen online it is important to understand how people can find you, so that you can make sure that you are optimizing the strength of your presence online. Most people will find you by:

Searching through a search engine:

1. Names- Someone knows your brand and uses a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing to find you by name.
2. Keywords- Someone is looking for your products or services, but may have never heard of you by name.

      Through a Referral:

      1. Direct Links (control)- They’re visiting one of your web properties and their clicking on a link to another one of your web properites. Includes:
        • Email marketing/address linking
        • IM/chat,
        • social links
      2. Random (no-control)- Your brand, product or service emerges from being shared, publicizied or mention. Includes:
        • Blogs,
        • retweets,
        • walll posts and comments
        • podcasts

      You can see that there are three areas you have control over: Names, Keywords, Direct links (Okay sure, you can control the “random” section also, but I’m not going into detail on that in this post. I’ll save those for another day). To get more visits to your website or other web property, you need to take a look at how they are searching for you, and note that not every search engine is the same. Google, for example, uses a calculation which measures over 200 factors! For comparison, Twitter’s Find People search engine only searches a Twitter accounts “name” field.

      Note: Facebook’s Page Search only searches the title field.

      Since not every search engine is the same, prioritize which search engines you want to optimize your results in; research and test what fields they search, then analyze how you have filled out those fields. You’d be amazed to find out how many people fail to include the vital stuff that will increase your searchability.

      For referrals, make sure your site is easy to share and that you are promoting your social links in relevant places. You can do thinks like claim a nice and tidy url like a Facebook vanity url (Short urls make it very easy to recreate by memory or by a copy and paste). Interlinking your social networks make it easier for your audience to navigate between web properties which is especially important for the people that might not be on Twitter, but are always on Facebook.

      So now you know a little SEO, search engine optimization. I encourage you to continue to explore how people are finding you and be proactive in making it easier for them to do so.

      What would a college course in social media look like? (Caution! Homework)

      Humm.. what would I teach if I taught a social media course?? (Dream sequence– engage!)
      ………. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

      I. Overview – A historical look at communication

      This is nothing new, just louder and longer communication. This is the Sociology part of the class.
      Homework: Watch the TED Talk, Jeff Bezos on the next web innovation

       

      II. People -Different people have different tendencies on the web

      Not everyone reads blogs and tweets. This is the Psychology part of the class.
      Homework: Review the Social Technographics Profile Tool

      III. Mediums – A look at the hardware and software making social 2.0 possible

      Transportation has trains, planes and automobiles, Communication has Smart phones and netbooks. This is the operations part of the class
      Homework: Review The Conversation Prism, by Brian Solis

      IV. Concepts – Essential language to navigating the social web

      Digging, tagging, tweeting, commenting, and other nomenclatures. This is the Linguistics/ Foreign Language part of the class.
      Homework: Watch Social Media in Plain English, by Leelefever

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