7 Rules To success on Social Media – According To Coke

Coke’s SVP (left) with Fortune Editor at large Patricia Sellers

Coke’s SVP (left) with Fortune Editor at large Patricia Sellers

In social media, Coke is it. Coca-Cola is the biggest consumer brand on Facebook. Recently, at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit Wendy Clark, SVP of Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities at Coca-Cola was interviewed. She shared her seven rules for building a mega-brand in social media:

 1. Be share-worthy in everything you do.

In a market that is now completely socially connected, we increasingly are thinking about our audience in two ways: our Initial Audience–those we can reach directly (52 MM Facebook fans, 600K Twitter followers, 18MM My Coke rewards members, etc)–and our Ultimate Audience, which is those people whom our Initial Audience can reach for us. For Coca-Cola, our Facebook fans are just over one fan or friend away from the entire Facebook community of 1 billion+. So if we do our job well of developing useful, compelling, interesting and share-worthy content, our fans become our sales force for us.

 2. Listen. Then respond authentically and humanly.

The days of hiding behind two-sentence corporate statements have to end. This is easier said than done. We’re still unlearning this. Consumers and all constituents expect more. Coca-Cola isn’t a faceless corporation to them; it’s a brand they love and enjoy throughout their day. So when they interact with us, they expect that same experience: a human interaction. There are more than 15,000 Tweets everyday on brand Coca-Cola; any that are a question, we answer. We have to. Consumers’ expectations are that we’re listening and responding.

3. Think big. Start small. Scale fast.

If you have an ambition that you want to double the size of your business in, say, 10 years, you had better have a big innovation pipeline to help get you there. When we’re at our best, we think massively, but we beta and test that thinking in small bets to learn. To meet our innovation (and growth) ambitions, we are trying to get much better at discussing failures or learnings. For a big company like ours, it’s critical. Because we’re built for scale and if we don’t get better at testing, learning and then scaling, we have the potential of scaling the wrong thing perfectly.

4. Social is not a silver bullet. But social can make everything else better.

So much is made of social media and marketing that we can tend to overrate what it can do. We do not see social marketing as a standalone. Rather, our mantra for our media and connections planning is “social at the heart.” So we think in terms of ideas and campaigns that are social (share-worthy) at their core and then we think about how we can amplify the ideas and campaigns.

 5. Content is the new currency. Create accordingly.

With 72 hours of content uploaded every minute on YouTube, the world is not suffering from lack of content. With this in mind, content creation has to be useful, interesting, important, share-worthy. We learned this in seeing the difference in interaction level between status updates and Tweets that we wrote vs. those that our agencies wrote. We also learned that replication isn’t always a good thing in social marketing. When we had a hit viral video in Coca-Cola Happiness machine, our first instinct was to replicate the film. We did that and had a fraction of the views.

6. We might be shepherds, stewards and guardians of our brands, but we no longer control them.

At best, we get to participate and co-create with our fans. I’d estimate that 10-20% of the content and conversation on our brands comes from us. The other 80%+ comes from others. So we need to get invited in to these communities and co-create with our fans.

 7. Think of your constituents as storytellers.

Taking the principle of Initial and Ultimate audiences, we’re increasingly thinking about all of our constituents as storytellers, not just receivers of our content. This includes our consumers, employees, NGO partners, media, etc.. So our principle becomes that we create content and tell stories that we want to be retold.





7 Social Media Techniques To Improve Your Events

Live tweeting at the Audience Conference 2010

Events are extremely useful to marketers because they allow face-to-face, direct contact with their potential and current customers. Furthermore, events are useful for developing stronger connections with target markets, getting immediate feedback on products and services as well as addressing customer concerns.

Social media and social networking can be used to help promote events in advance, as well as motivate attendees to engage more deeply with the event during and after it takes place. Here are some helpful techniques you can use to connect your events with your online activities.

Connecting Before an Event

1. Facebook Events

Making your target attendees aware of your event is clearly important and Facebook events application is a great tool for achieving this. Creating Facebook events makes it easy for your connections to know when the event will be, where the event will take place and what kind of activities they should expect.  Make sure you have as much information as necessary to clearly indicate the value of attending. If you don’t give your prospects and customers a good reason to be there and get in on the action, they probably won’t.

As your invitees accept your invitation to attend, it is automatically posted to their walls allowing their network to become aware of your event. This gives added exposure to your event and can help your event go viral. You have the option to display the number of persons who accept your invitation on the events page which can encourage others to accept your invitation. Another great feature is the comment section where you or anyone can post great things about the upcoming event. Long Island Entrepreneurs uses this to increase attendance to their monthly business networking event.

 2. Twitter Updates

Twitter is an amazing way for you to let your followers know about upcoming events taking place offline and to give them little reminders leading up to the event without being too intrusive. Use Twitter to share links to your sign-up page if attendees need to register for your event. Twitter can also serve as a great platform for people to quickly ask questions about the event and give people a reason to attend. It’s a great way to build momentum and anticipation for the event as the time comes closer. For example, today I am tweeting every 2 hrs about a free business networking event that I am hosting at Retro Lounge & Grill in Freeport. Included in my tweets is an offer of a free drink to anyone who re-tweets it 4 times.

 Connecting During an Event

3. Live Tweeting

Your prospects or customers who may not be able to attend your event does not have to miss out since live tweets can be used. Live tweeting during events allows companies to engage their audience and make them feel like they are a part of the live event. In addition, it offers an added level of engagement for those who are in attendance. Even if they are at the event, taking part in an online discussion where possible will allow you to interact with your target audience on multiple levels. It also shows them you care that they took the time to attend your even. Create a unique hashtag for each event you host and publicize it to both attendees and people following online so everyone can easily follow and take part in the action.

4. Live-Streaming

While of course it would be great if all your followers and customers were able to attend the event you have put so much time and effort into planning and hosting, as we know, that’s not always the reality. Just because your customers or prospects can’t make the trip across the country, doesn’t mean they should miss out on the experience. Consider live-streaming the various speaker presentations throughout your event. This is also a great tactic when you are expecting a lot of people or if there are a limited number of tickets available. It encourages people to still participate and can help to reach a larger audience of people who were unable to attend but may still be interested in the content.

Connecting After the Event

5. Photo Streams

Whether it’s through Facebook, or Flickr posting pictures from your event to photo sharing sites allows your attendees to relive the event and enables those who missed your event to get an inside look at all the amazing stuff that happened during the event. The goal is to make people feel like they missed out on an amazing event that, maybe next time around, they will attend. Encourage attendees to upload their own photos, too. Photos give people a chance to share their personal experiences with the event, creating an amazing connection between attendees, your event, and your brand. See photos taken at events I host as well attend at SM Business Solution Facebook page.

6. Blog Retrospectives

Writing blog post about your event not only gives you a chance to thank all of the people who took the time to attend your event, but it also gives you a chance to highlight what you accomplished by hosting the event. How successful was it? How many attendees did you attract? Describing what you learned by meeting prospects and customers face-to-face will convey how much these interactions actually mean to your company and how important they are you. Here is a post, “The Social media social“, by Robert Saunders that he posted to this site after we co-hosted a business networking and social media seminar. You will see from the comments that were made that we were able to successfully engage our audience even after the event.

7. Recorded Video Content

Use video recording to extend interest after the event

Create videos from the live stream for people to view or download from sites like YouTube. This enables you to reach those weren’t able to attend the live event or watch the live-stream. Hopefully, if you’ve generated enough buzz about the event and kept that buzz going afterward through creating a successful event and generating positive testimonials from attendees, people who felt like they missed out on an awesome event will want to access the content they missed.

Do share with us how you are able to use your online activities to generate interest and increase attendance to your events.


The “Social Media Social”

Robert Saunders, Skylark NetWorks

Robert Saunders, Skylark NetWorks

This past August 16, I ‘participated’ in a social media seminar: Supersize Your Business with Social Media Tools. I emphasize ‘participated’ because that is the essence of social media: Being a part of it. By social media I refer to, as if you didn’t already know, Facebook, MySpace, Google+, Twitter, Wikipedia (yes, Wikipedia, click the Discussion tab on any wiki topic, and you’ll see).  The list of sites goes on and on.

My goal, since I was invited to be a co-presenter by Sandra McCarty, was to see to it that every aspect of the ‘seminar’ was social. I wanted to establish a rapport with Sandra, with our raconteur, David Gussin of 516Ads.com, and most importantly, I wanted the audience to be involved, to participate.

And that made all the difference.

The seminar, which was supposed to be about 20-30 minutes in length, ran a full 90 minutes.

A pessimist might say, “Oh, no! Too long!” But that was not the case. The audience was very involved from the 2nd or 3rd slide onward. Questions were asked by anyone, and they were answered by anyone. Information passed to and from each and every point in Retro Lounge& Grill’s dining and reception room.

The tipping point was Twitter. Everyone had something to ask, or an answer to pass on. That moment would have made a fantastic tweet-up. Personally and professionally I find Twitter to be very compelling, just when I think I have a handle on Twitter, it morphs, it shifts, it grows, it evolves. No other social media outlet matched it. Every site had a wonderful share of questions, and new insights were gained by all. Myself included.

It was an amazing experience, and everyone was aware of it. And everyone present is looking forward to a follow-up presentation.

 Thank Yous. I would like to thank Sandra McCarty for the opportunity to c0-present. Thanks to David Gussin of 516ads.com & 631Ads.com, he is the “The Natural” of Social Media. (That’s a Robert Redford baseball movie reference, get it at RedBox or on Netflix please). To Retro Lounge & Grill for hosting. A round of applause to Yvonne Bisk of Long Island Entrepreneurs, David Gussin, Sherri Gillespie of MRG Marketing, Hannah Park-Lusterman, Eileen Lichtenstein  of  Balance and Power, Gail Adams of 7th in Heaven Singles Events and Dr. Bruce Kesten of Kesten Family Chiropractic for helping  to promote. And a tremendous thank you to the audience for truly bringing life to the show. Bravo!


5 Tips To Succeed In Social Media Marketing

Here are 5 tips to help you start getting better results from social media with very little investment and with strong systems in place to measure your success.

Measure Your Success On Social Media

#1: Identify Your Target Market and Listen to Them

The first step to measuring success in social media marketing is proper scope. There are new social networks popping up each week. It’s a waste of resources to join every new social network only to find you have no time to manage them. Find out where your most active customers & influencers spend time online – then listen and take notes.

Here’s some tools you can use to tune into the conversation: Technorati, Google Blog Search, Bloglines and  Twitter Search. More advanced social media monitoring tools include Radian6 and Techrigy.

#2: Get Involved in Conversations

The second step towards success is consistently utilizing social media to engage prospective customers. When you start listening to conversations, you might hear some things about your company that aren’t very complimentary. That’s ok. Your job now is to engage these customers and find a way to help. Be willing to acknowledge mistakes when they happen. Customers are surprisingly forgiving if a company engages in an honest and egoless manner.

If you’re one of the lucky companies who only have enthusiastic and happy customers, recognize their desire to interact with you and be generous with your time. Be open to engaging with them on their turf. They’ll reward your brand with greater enthusiasm – which is a message that spreads through social networks like wildfire, and solidifies your brand.

Happy, satisfied Retro Lounge & Grill customers

For instance, on Twitter both Starbucks and Whole Foods share customer comments, local specials, and ask customers what their favorite items are. On Facebook, Retro Lounge & Grill share their upcoming events, specials and ask their fans what is their favorite thing to do at Retro? It’s casual and open, yet share important information and get feed back. This activity go a far way to enhancing the attractiveness of these brands. Check out some of the brands on Twitter, and implement some of their conversation techniques.

#3: Give! Give! Give!

How involved is your team in communicating with prospective customers, influencers and current customers on social networking sites? How often are you publishing great content that helps your prospects do their jobs? How often do you blog, Tweet, post photos on Flickr, comment on other blogs, Podcast, upload videos, etc? The more content that you produce and publish on social media sites, the more traffic you can attract back to your website. If your site is designed well to convert visitors into leads, these activities will help you increase sales.

#4: Master the Tools of the Trade

Social media strategy should tie to business and communication strategy, rather than being based on the available tools. But it is not possible to develop a social media strategy without at least having an understanding of the various tools that are available, their functionality and purposes, and the kinds of audiences and conversations for which they might be best suited.

Master The Appropriate Social Media Tools

It’s critical to tie your business strategy to your social media strategy. However, without a knowledge of what social media and social networking sites enable you to do, it’s hard to know how to do that. It’s important to establish a blog as your home base. Then, learn the capabilities of each site to help you interact. For example, Twitter provides an almost unfettered ability to connect with your prospective clients. But, it only allows you to type 140 characters at a time. So, maybe a video posted to YouTube would be a better way to publish a “how-to”. Linkedin & Facebook let you see who your contacts know. But, Facebook makes it much easier to connect with them. LinkedIn Answers is a much better place to answer business focused questions than any other social network.

It’s important to learn how to use these sites in order to get business value out of your social media activity. Talk to an expert to determine where to spend your time to get the best return.

#5: Use Website Analytics Software to Measure Leads and Sales.

Many experts agree that social media will affect the next generation of search engine optimization techniques as search engines start to use the signals we collectively leave as we network and share media online. Presently, social media activity affects the success of  inbound marketing techniques like:

  • Search engine ranking
  • Social book marking activity
  • Social networking connections
  • Video/podcast views/listens
  • Inbound links
  • RSS subscriptions
  • Comments on your blog
  • Mentions of your brand
  • Number of times people search for your brand
  • Visitors (first-time and repeat) to your website or blog

The end goal is lead generation and sales. Use tracking codes, a solid analytics package like FREE Google Analytics and closed loop marketing in order to track the visits, leads and sales that occur as a result of your social media activities.

How do you define success on Social Media?  Are you succeeding, are you happy with your progress? Do share via our comment section.


12 Ways To Improve The Use Of Social Media For Your Business

Social media can be an effective communication tool, that makes you accessible to those interested in your product/services and makes you visible to those that don’t know your product/services. It can be used to create a personality behind your brand and relationships that you otherwise may never gain. This will lead to not only repeat-buyers, but customer loyalty. The fact is social media is so diversified that it can be used in whatever way best suits the interest and the needs of your business. Here are 12 ways that social media can be used to improve your business.

Making it easy to share content online

1. Add social bookmark links to your most important web pages and blog posts to improve sharing. The Facebook ‘like button’ is especially effective because each time someone clicks on it, their Facebook status is updated to show that they like that blog post or web page.

2. Use Twitter to show your company’s personality by sharing insights, company news, new product launches and special offers.

3.  Start a blog and post articles that will demonstrate that you are an expert in your field. The comments and feedback from your readers will tell you if you are achieving that objective.

4. Try out a short series of audio podcasts or video podcasts as content marketing and see track response from your target market.

5. Start a group or join one on Facebook or LinkedIn. This members of the group should be your clients or prospective clients.

6. Search Summize.com for as much data as you can find in Twitter on your product/service, your competitors and your space.

7. Practice delivering quality and valuable content on your blogs, such that customers feel educated / equipped / informed.

8. Turn your blog into a mobile blog site with Mofuse which offers 14 days free service.

9. Learn what other free tools might work for community building, like MyBlogLog.

10. Ensure you offer the basics on your site, like an email alternative to an RSS subscription. In fact, the more ways you can spread and distribute your content, the better.

Social Media Icons

11. Investigate whether your product sells better by recommendation versus education, and use widgets to help recommend, or videos and podcasts for education.

12. Track your inbound links and when they come from blogs. Be sure to comment on a few of the bloggers’ posts and build a relationship with these persons. The fact that they linked to your blog, indicates their interest in what you do and reaching out to them can only improve the relationship.

Do share with us some of the ways you have been able to use Social Media to improve your business or some things that did not work for you.