Monday, February 13, 2012

Stay Current with Digital Media

Twitter broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death 27 minutes before the news broke the story. Twitter is definitely on its way to becoming the number one source for news. If there are entrepreneurs and small business owners that still don’t see the value of Twitter, well then shame on them. Companies such as Bank of America, Verizon Wireless and Southwest Airlines can attest to Twitter’s effectiveness. Twitter set an all new record during Super Bowl 2012 with 12,233 tweets per second while Madonna’s Super Bowl half time show came in 2nd with 10,245 tweets per second. News of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Japan’s Tsunami reached millions in just a matter of seconds thanks to Twitter users worldwide. In his blog, Jeff Bullas shares that Twitter is fast approaching 500 million users.

Twitter should definitely be included in any social media strategy. The reach potential is endless and it affords business owners with the opportunity to directly connect with clients. Twitter is less about self-promotion but more about relationship building and engaging with others. The relationships that you build on Twitter can potentially be worth more than investment dollars spent on print, television and radio advertising campaign.

Brands are actually directing their clients to their social networks. Imagine the impact you can have by connecting with clients in real time, decreasing the need for surveys and questionnaire's with the hope that customers will fill them out. Here are some tips that might help generate buzz around your brand:

• Identify your audience
• Listen to your audience
• Know the wants of your audience
• Engage your audience
• Build relationships
• Share information
• Be consistent with your message
• Tweet often
• Host a twitter party/chat around a product launch or event
• Acknowledge your followers often
• Launch a contest
• Tweet fresh content
• Link to your website

Don't Forget Video
At today’s Social Media Week launch, Ogilvy Digital Strategist, Kelly Ferraro shared that online video consumption grew 40% in 2011 v. 2010. With statistics such as these, companies should plan on incorporating video in their branding and marketing strategies.

Your customers are social. 800 million of them are on Facebook, 490 million are on YouTube and in a matter of days, 500 million will be on Twitter. Meet your customers where they are and watch your business grow.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Biggest Super Bowl Party thanks to Social TV

Social media has forever changed the way we watch television.  Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook allow you to connect with others in real time without leaving your home.  Even if you're watching TV alone, it is likely that someone is not only watching the same television program, but they're also tweeting about it.  If you want to know how to connect with a fellow viewer, simply login into your Twitter account enter the #hashtag of the program you're watching and check out the stream of tweets relating to that program or topic. Then, it's up to you to engage in conversation. I've watched some of my favorite TV programs as I simultaneously engaged others on Twitter.

It is rare that I watch television without periodically checking my twitter feed. I'm always curious as to what others are saying about a particular program. I've always been a chief multi-tasker, so joining a social conversation on Twitter while I watch TV is enriching and personalizes the experience.  It allows me to meet new people, engage others in conversation and follow tweeps with similar interests. 

The most exciting social television event I've participated in thus far was Super Bowl 2012. It is reported that 111.3 million Americans tuned in to watch this year's Super Bowl, making it the most watched TV Broadcast ever. I must admit, I've never really been a sports fan. I used to attend Super Bowl parties for the food and fellowship. I love meeting new people and Super Bowl parties always gave me a chance to reconnect with friends and meet new ones. This year, I didn't have a Super Bowl party to attend but didn't want feel left out. So I hesitantly hyped myself up about the Super Bowl and waited patiently for kick-off.

This years Super Bowl experience was awesome! Twitter allowed me to participate in the largest, most exciting Super Bowl party ever. I talked with people I haven't spoken with in a while, met new people, gained followers, followed others and tweeted with people I may never speak with again. Twitter set an all new record during Super Bowl 2012 with 12,233 tweets per second while Madonna's half time show came in 2nd with 10,245 tweets per second. This Super Bowl party was the place to be and all were invited to attend.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Personal Touch

A very dear relative of mine recently taught me a valuable lesson and I doubt she realizes how much her conversation impacted me. I absolutely love Social Media, I love staying connected with people via text, email Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. I often assume that people, like me, have hectic schedules and don't make much time for personal interaction. In my attempt to let friends and family know I'm thinking about them, I send text messages or post on their FB wall. However, after an interesting talk with my relative, I vow to make more of an effort to personally interact with loved ones.

Here’s the real-life scenario... I attended the birthday celebration of a relative and this usually bright, bubbly, vibrant and beautiful young lady was clearly bothered. Over salad and appetizers, she shared her concern with the 15+ friends and family members that while she was glad to see everyone come together to celebrate her birthday; which was a few days prior, she was disappointed that she only received three calls for her birthday. I was initially appalled at her gripe especially since I was one of the people that hadn’t called for her birthday. She agonized over the fact that while she loved all of the FB birthday wishes, texts and emails, she longed for the sound of her phone to ring so she could hear friends and loved ones on the other end wishing her Happy Birthday.

As my relative shared more of her hurt, I actually saw the disappointment and sadness on her face and heard the pain in her voice. She was truly grieved by the lack of personal communication she received on her special day. The more she talked, the guiltier I felt at my own lack of sensitivity. My relative has close to 2000 Facebook "friends," yet on the actual day of her birthday, she spent most of the day alone. The final jolt for me was when she looked at me and said "cuz, I wasn't expecting a call from you because you always text." While I take great pride in the fact that I use the latest technology to stay connected with friends, I realize now more than ever that technology cannot replace the personal interaction and hearing the beautiful sound of voice.

Many have become so unapologetically hooked on technology as a means to stay connected that we've overlooked personal socially based interactions.I also dare to suggest that social media has made us a more narcissistic society. We're so busy sharing ourselves with the world via the Internet that we've forgotten the importance of sharing our time with people who might need it most. In the race to get the most Twitter followers and Facebook friends or join the right Google+ hangout, we're missing out on the beauty of intimate interaction with those closest to us. So while we're trying to find 140 characters that might get us a RT, or post the status that might earn it some "likes" ask yourself "who is in need of hearing my voice," "whose day can I brighten by taking the time to pay them a visit?" Before writing Happy Birthday on your friend's birthday wall, take a few minutes to call them on the phone. If you can’t steal away from your computer, take advantage of tools such as Google Voice and call friends without taking your eyes off your computer screen.

Here are some tips to help you maximize the use of technology while maintaining your personal connection with friends and family:

* Send greeting cards (not e-card’s) to friends 1x month.
* Use calendar apps to block out a few hours a month to schedule "personal chats" with friends.
* Schedule brunch dates with close friends.
* Connect at Starbucks or Barnes & Nobles to have coffee and dessert.
* Use apps to remind you of birthdays and special events - pick up the phone to share well wishes and greetings.
* Live in different cities? Use Skype or FaceTime to visually connect with friends

I'm sure you can think of other ways to stay personally connected with friends. Just think of how you stayed connected prior to social networks. I know it's difficult to imagine how we survived without social media. Every time I think about life without Twitter I break out in a sweat. But the truth is we managed. Log out of your social networks (temporarily), close your laptops and pick up the phone and dial the number of a friend. Schedule time to meet with friends just as you would schedule a business meeting. While we’re embellishing in technology, someone very dear to you might be in the need of a personal touch, a smile or the sound of your voice. That simple gesture can leave a lasting impact and brighten someone’s day.