7 Steps to Successful Content Marketing [Infographic]

Content marketing is a way of communicating with your customers and prospects without pitching your products or services. 

7 steps to content marketing successAlso known as inbound marketing, content marketing is non-interruptive. Instead of overtly trying to sell something to your audience, you consistently create and deliver valuable information that educates them. Ultimately they reward you by purchasing your products, recommending them to friends via social media channels and word-of-mouth, and acting as brand ambassadors.

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100+ Social Media Monitoring Tools

From fans to followers, brands are actively working to engage their current and future customers via social media — and online reputation management is quickly becoming a vital part of doing business. Social media monitoring helps brands discover, in real time, who is saying what online and where the conversations are happening so they can respond in a timely fashion. Businesses also need to measure, analyze, and report on their social media efforts.

There are countless ways to track and manage your brand’s engagement and reputation on the social Web. Some simple methods consist of leveraging Google Alerts and Twitter Search. But there has been an explosion of more elaborate tools, including Radian6‘s solutions, which offer you a complete listening and engagement platform, and Scout Labs‘ tool that tracks social media and finds signals in the noise.

Here’s a list of social media monitoring tools that might be helpful in your quest to get your arms around social media engagement, measurement, and metrics. The descriptions come from the vendors themselves, but all of these solutions have merit when it comes to monitoring and maintaining your brand’s reputation. If you have experience using any of these, or if I’ve omitted a tool that you find particularly useful, please comment and share!

Services marked with a $ are not free, but many of them offer free demos.

Addictomatic Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the Web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s the perfect tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and feed your addiction for what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on.
Alterian Alterian’s social media engagement solutions make it easy to listen to the conversations taking place about your company and brand on the Internet. $
Analytic.ly Analyticly is a data mining, DIY analytics, and brand engagement service provider for enterprise brand managers, advertising agencies, social media strategists, and hedge fund managers. $
ASOMO ASOMO helps interpret and understand spontaneous opinion. Discover which topics and sub-topics are being discussed, the volume of comments, themes, and the relationships between them. $
Attentio Right now, millions of people all around the world are discussing a multitude of topics, including brands and products that matter in their lives. By continuously monitoring what is written in blogs, discussion forums and other social media, Attentio provides organizations with the ability to listen, analyze and react to what is happening in the “webosphere”. $
Awareness Networks The Awareness Social Marketing Hub provides marketers with the information they need to measure success and direct future marketing investment. Track the effectiveness and reach of published content across social media channels with one simple view of activity across your social marketing campaigns and drill down to see the details of how a particular piece of content is being consumed, shared, commented on, and favorited. $
Backtype Backtype is an analytics platform that helps companies understand their social impact and make sense of social media so they can make better marketing decisions.
Bantam Live Bantam Live is an online service for business teams to collaborate in a workspace and build relationships across the Web. With integrated applications for microblogging, CRM, and project management, Bantam Live is centered around a real-time stream, where people, applications, and data come together. $
Beevolve Track consumer-generated media, understand sentiment, identify emerging trends and use the resulting insights to improve products, marketing, sales and service. $
Blog Grader Blog Grader measure the marketing mojo of your blog and makes suggestions to help you improve it.
Blogpulse BlogPulse is an automated trend discovery system for blogs. It applies machine-learning and natural-language processing techniques to discover trends in the highly dynamic world of blogs.
BoardReader BoardReader was developed to address the shortcomings of current search engine technology to accurately find and display information contained on the Web’s forums and message boards. It uses proprietary software that allows users to search multiple message boards simultaneously, allowing users to share information in a truly global sense.
BoardTracker BoardTracker is an innovative forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system designed to provide relevant information quickly and efficiently while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted.
Brandchats Brandchats picks up the chat about your brand. You tell it what to look for and it will find it, whether it’s in Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or any other source. Slicing and dicing your data, Brandchats will instantaneously visualize the results. Powerful unique analysis and graphics capabilities support you to make sense of the “chattering”. Is it good news or bad news? Does it come from blogs or Facebook? Is it increasing or rather decreasing? $
BrandsEye BrandsEye protects your brand from attacks, allows you to tap into key insights which are integral to making the right decisions and harnessing positive word-of-mouth. $
Buzz Manager Buzz Manager constantly searches the Internet for information about your organization or specific individual subjects. It measures and analyzes the “Buzz,” and then accurately presents the results in time saving, easy-to-use reports. $
Buzzcapture Buzzcapture monitors places where opinions are exchanged to provide insight into how often companies and their brands, products, and competitors are discussed, what the sentiments are, and where discussions are taking place. $
BuzzGain BuzzGain is an online service for discovering and engaging with the people who will help your business thrive in today’s social economy — where attention is a precious commodity. $
Buzzient Buzzient provides a next-generation solution for social media analytics and integration of this valuable content with enterprise applications. $
BuzzPerception BuzzPerception provides comprehensive blog monitoring and analysis to help clients better understand and manage their brand perception online. $
BuzzStream How do you build credibility online? You do it by cultivating quality relationships with influencers across the Web. Until now that process was time-consuming and resource-intensive. BuzzStream simplifies this process, allowing you to efficiently cultivate and manage these relationships. $
Chartbeat Chartbeat is a revolutionary real-time analytics service that enables people to understand emergent behaviour in real-time and exploit or mitigate it. $
Cogito Monitor What is being said online about my company? Why do people like my competitor’s product better? How is our new marketing campaign going? My reputation has been damaged: why? These are a few of the questions that Cogito Monitor can answer. $
Collecta Collecta is a real-time search engine bringing content to you as it’s posted.
Collective Intellect Collective Intellect’s Social CRM Insight platform automates your ability to identify emerging consumer considerations and preferences, and to track your ability to change them. $
ContextVoice Tracking millions of daily micro-conversations from the real-time social Web, ContextVoice helps you get business intelligence and real-time insights and analytics about consumers. $
Conversation eCairn Conversation is a SaaS application that provides a cost-effective solution for marketing professionals who want to leverage communities and influencers. $
CoTweet CoTweet is a comprehensive Web-based social media engagement, management, and reporting solution that helps companies of all sizes engage, track, and analyze conversations about their brands across the most popular and influential social communities today: Twitter and Facebook. $
Crimson Hexagon By leveraging the Crimson Hexagon ForSight platform, customers can easily uncover consumer opinions and insights about their company, products, industry, competitors and more. They can then use that information to make meaningful business decisions. $
Dialogix Dialogix is a social media monitoring tool that shows you exactly what is being said about your brand, industry, and competitors on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, news Web sites, forums, MySpace, and more. $
Direct Message Lab Direct Message Lab provides one central platform for companies to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social presence everywhere across social media, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, plus other popular user channels including mobile applications, widgets, desktop applications, and video sharing sites. $
dna MediaVantage dna13’s MediaVantage solution provides real-time access to TV, print, online and social media content, providing communicators the insight they need to plan marketing strategies, securely align corporate teams, synchronize the delivery of corporate messages, and engage with key stakeholders. $
eWatch eWatch is the fast, easy, and cost-effective way to track what the media, investors, consumers, and the competition are saying about your organization. It scans hundreds of thousands of traditional print and Web-based articles and postings each day and delivers its findings back to you in an easy to read report. $
Facebook Grader Facebook Grader is a free tool that measures the power of a Facebook business page.
FollowThing FollowThing is a powerful, Web-based professional networking and media monitoring tool that informs inbound and outbound marketing decisions.
Gnip Gnip is a social media API aggregation tool that streams social data from Twitter, Facebook, and dozens more sources — all in one API. $
Google Blog Search Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. It enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice.
GraphEdge GraphEdge measures changes in your network. Your first report is sent in 2-3 days. $
HowSociable HowSociable provides a simple way for you to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social Web.
IceRocket IceRocket is a real-time blog search engine.
iMooty IMooty is a next generation media monitoring tool that helps companies, PR professionals, and marketers gain real-time insights on the latest news and trends that matter to them and who the important opinion makers are.
ImpactWatch ImpactWatch is an easy-to-use online dashboard that gives you the power to monitor and measure all of your media coverage in real time. $
JitterJam JitterJam helps your consumer-facing brand or business capture relevant conversations on the real-time Web and turn them into lasting and trusted customer relationships. $
Klout Klout tracks the impact of your opinions, links and recommendations across your social graph. It collects data about the content you create, how people interact with that content, and the size and composition of your network. It analyzes the data to find indicators of influence and provides you with tools to interact with and interpret the data. $
Looxii Looxii is a social media analytics platform. It enables you to search for keywords on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Flickr, and more. It stores the search results and you receive easy to interpret, top-level insights into what’s being said about your keywords throughout social media. $
Maestro The Cymfony Maestro platform gives you real-time access to a comprehensive, custom-built archive of traditional and social media, filtered and classified to be relevant to your company, brand and business goals. $
MambaIQ MambaIQ tells you where people are talking about you, compared to your competitors, and segmented by all the relevant concepts (themes, type of media, sentiment, characteristics, reputation of the sites, and even universes (groups of sites) defined by you. $
Market Sentinel Market Sentinel has the technology to monitor, analyse and measure online commentary to inform your marketing strategy and help you make better business decisions. It trawls the Internet to find discussions on blogs, forums, in chat rooms, and on mainstream media which mention your brand, and then accurately calculates the sentiment, which provides you with a profile of your brand as it is perceived online. $
Marketo B2B Social Marketing By integrating with social media solutions, Marketo can help companies extend their marketing initiatives to include B2B social media and incorporate the conversations that happen on social sites. As a result, customer conversations that influence word-of-mouth opinion are responded to in real-time and relationships are developed across a variety of channels. $
Meltwater Buzz Meltwater Buzz is an innovative social media monitoring tool that enables comprehensive tracking and analysis of user-generated content on the Web. It enables users to monitor more than 200 million blogs, micro-blogs, social networks, forums, video and photo Web sites, product reviews, and other social media sites to gain a better understanding about end-user sentiment on hot topics, new products, companies, and the competition. $
Monitor Monitor is a  social media monitoring platform with support for 150 million blogs and thousands of news sources including Twitter, Youtube, Digg, Flickr, and Technorati. It is the only media tracking tool for monitoring brands and topics, that connects social media activities with financial metrics. $
Monitter Monitter is a Twitter monitor — it lets you “monitter” the Twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are saying.
Newsdesk Newsdesk is an easy-to-use business intelligence SaaS application for intuitive mining, finding, and sharing of real-time relevant information from a vast collection of world-wide daily news, social media, and industry publications. $
PositivePress Now, more than ever, it’s essential to track what people are saying about your brand online. PositivePress makes it easy for you to track and measure online coverage. It creates a complete historical archive so you can make better decisions over the long run. $
PostRank PostRank is the largest aggregator of social engagement data in the industry. Its platform tracks where and how users engage, and what they pay attention to — in real time. PostRank social engagement data measures actual user activity, the most accurate indicator of the relevance and influence of a site, story, or author. PostRank offers both free and $ plans.
Radian6 The Radian6 dashboard is a complete social media monitoring, engagement, and workflow management platform created to help you aggregate and analyze the comments people are making about your brand and products on the Web. View trends and dig deeper into specific posts to get a pulse on how your company is faring online. $
Raven Raven is an online software system that helps customers quickly research, manage, monitor, and report on SEO, email, social media and other Internet marketing campaigns. $
RepuTrace RepuTrace enables you to keep up on developments that affect your company and your industry.  It monitors, analyzes, and measures intelligence from Web sites, blogs, chat rooms, social networks, and other media sources. $
RESONATE RESONATE’s social media monitoring technology helps your business keep up with social media conversations. It analyzes content from over 200 million online sources in real time, enabling you to better understand and respond to customers, threats, and opportunities as they happen. $
Revinate The first enterprise-grade social media solution for hotels, Revinate brings order to the chaos of guest reviews, online reputation, and social media marketing. Hotels can now harness online reviews and social media as the ultimate measures of guest satisfaction and drivers of demand. $
RightNow Social Experience RightNow Social Experience allows you to monitor conversations on Twitter, YouTube, RSS feeds, your Facebook fan page, and other social channels, and then helps you respond quickly and appropriately. $
Samepoint Samepoint is a conversation search engine that lets you see what people are talking about.
SAS Social Media Analytics SAS Social Media Analytics integrates, analyzes, and enables organizations to act on intelligence gleaned from online conversations occurring across professional and consumer-generated media sites. It enables organizations to attribute online conversations to specific parts of their business, allowing an accelerated response to shifts in the marketplace. $
Scanbuzz Scanbuzz™ is the leading service for life science companies to track mentions of their brands across social media. With increasing numbers of physicians and patients sharing their experiences online, Scanbuzz™ allows you to discover, listen, manage feedback and develop relations with social network users. $
ScoutLabs Scout Labs provides cutting-edge technology and a collaborative platform for listening to customers and engaging with them across the Internet. The Web-based application tracks social media and finds signals in the noise to help your team build better products and stronger customer relationships. $
Silverbakk Briefing Room Silverbakk Briefing Room monitors and analyzes social media
based on relevance, activity, and engagement. $
SM2 Alterian SM2 is a business intelligence product that provides visibility into social media and lets you tap into a new kind of data resource; your customers’ direct thoughts and opinions. It allows you to easily capture and analyze data from social media channels to monitor your brands, identify key communities and influencers, address customer service issues, and generate new sales leads. $
Social Mention Social Mention is like Google Alerts but for social media. Sign up to receive free daily e-mail alerts of your brand, company, CEO, marketing campaign, or on a developing news story, a competitor, or the latest on any topic you choose.
Social Radar Social Radar allows you to track, measure, analyze, and understand chatter from all over the Web in an easy-to-use Web-based control panel. $
SocialToo SocialToo helps automate the management of your Twitter and Facebook accounts and unclutters your stream and social graph so you can focus on building relationships. $
Socialscape There have never been so many ways for so many people to say so much about your company, your products, and your competition. Socialscape tracks and analyzes all of that talk and turns it into actionable information that can improve your brand, your business, and your customer relationships. $
SocialSense SocialSense leverages social media conversation to fuel insights that drive smart marketing decisions. $
SocialTALK SocialTALK helps you better manage and measure your social media presence and impact. It is an is an innovative tool that allows brands to more effectively create, publish, and measure their content strategy and posting schedule. $
Spredfast Spredfast is an enterprise-class solution that empowers your company or organization to communicate across all of your social media channels, measure the effectiveness of each conversation, and prove the value of social media. $
StartPR StartPR helps you find, manage, and respond to mentions of your company, your brand, your products, your service, and your people online. $
StatsMix StatsMix allows companies to easily build and share custom dashboards for displaying and analyzing all the metrics they generate. It provides an overview of all your metrics and what drives them.
StepRep Reputation Intelligence StepRep Reputation Intelligence pokes an ear into every corner of the Web to find out what your customers are saying about your brand right now. These results are analyzed to reveal trends and stats that you can use to improve your marketing and customer service. $
SWIX Social Marketer SWIX offers social media analytics applications that monitor all of your social media properties (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, +20 others). Each day, SWIX gathers visitor and usage data for your sites, graphs it all over time and puts everything in one convenient place for you. $
Tealium Social Media Tealium Social Media lets social media marketers and PR professionals measure the true ROI of their activities. You can measure the impact of your social media and online PR using tangible numbers that make sense to your organization. $
The Search Monitor The Search Monitor closely watches your paid and organic search keywords and trademarks on search engines, Web sites, news sites, and blogs. It logs competitor activity, affiliate activity, trademark use, and who’s talking about you. $
ThoughtBuzz ThoughtBuzz is a real-time platform for tracking, managing, and engaging in conversations online, helping companies make informed decisions to protect their brand. $
Topsy Topsy is a new kind of search engine that sees the Internet as a stream of conversations. Topsy results are the things people link to when they’re talking about your search terms. Topsy ranks results based on how well they match your search terms, and the influence of the people talking about them.
TraceBuzz TraceBuzz shows you what people say on the Web right now about your name, brand, product, company or competitor. $
Trackur Trackur is an online reputation and social media monitoring tool designed to assist you in tracking what is said about you on the Internet. It scans hundreds of millions of Web pages — including news, blogs, video, images, and forums — and lets you know if it discovers anything that matches the keywords that interest you. $
Trendrr Trendrr is a business intelligence Web service for digital and social media. It allows you to listen, measure, and respond to the conversation about a product, service, or brand in real time. $
TRIBE Monitor TRIBE MONITOR is a social statistics aggregator that helps you find out where your fans are and where conversations about your brand are taking place by tracking your online presence once every hour.
Twazzup Twazzup operates a leading real-time news platform that enables users to filter the news out of live Internet content.
TweetBeep TweetBeep helps you keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates. You can also track who’s tweeting your Web site or blog, even if they use a shortened URL (like bit.ly or tinyurl.com). It offers both free and $ plans.
TweetFeel Tweetfeel monitors positive and negative feelings in Twitter conversations about many things, including popular brands, and displays the results in a clear and simple way.
Twendz The twendz Twitter-mining Web application from Waggener Edstrom uses the power of Twitter Search, highlighting conversation themes and sentiment of the tweets that talk about topics you are interested in. As the conversation changes, so does the twendz application by evaluating up to 70 tweets at a time. When new tweets are posted, they are dynamically updated, minute by minute.
Twitalyzer Twitalyzer is the social media industry’s most popular, most widely used analytics application. It offers both free and $ options.
twitt(url)y twitt(url)y tracks and ranks the URLs people are talking about on Twitter.
Twitter Grader Twitter Grader is a free tool that allows you to check the power of your twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded.
Twitter Search There is an undeniable need to search, filter, and otherwise interact with the volumes of news and information being transmitted to Twitter every second. Twitter Search helps you filter all the real-time information coursing through the service.
uberVU uberVU is the complete social media platform that helps your team collaborate on listening, reporting and engaging in social media. Perfect for agencies or teams inside businesses that want to deliver social media excellence. $
Viralheat Viralheat is a social measurement platform designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. Built from the ground up to be timely and efficient, Viralheat allows users to easily comprehend social media. $
Vitrue Social Media Index The Vitrue Social Media Index is an easy-to-use tool designed to provide you a snapshot in time to help you measure your brand’s online conversations.
Vocus Vocus social media software enables you to listen to customers and prospects, find influencers, and monitor conversations, mentions and trends. $
WaveMetrix WaveMetrix tracks online buzz for major global brands around the world, using a unique methodology based on human analysts reading each post. $
WebDig WebDig is a next-generation business intelligence and analysis engine that finds, aggregates, and interprets digital word-of-mouth (WOM) content. Every study is reviewed, analyzed, and reported on by assigned industry expert analysts. $
Webtrends Webtrends Social Measurement offers a self-service platform for identifying and participating in conversations related to your products and brands wherever and whenever they occur on the social Web. $
White Noise White Noise is a DIY tool that lets you monitor the Web and understand what is going on without the need for hiring outside companies to do the work for you. $
Woopra Woopra is a desktop Web analytics tool designed as a client + server application. It creates a one-stop service for monitoring all your blogs and Web sites. $
Workstreamer Workstreamer is a business listening platform that delivers a competitive advantage to professionals by providing real-time social updates on competitors, customers, prospects, partners and more.
Xinu Returns Find out how well your site is doing in popular search engines, social bookmarking and other site statistics. Check PageRank, backlinks, indexed pages, rankings, and more.
YackTrack As a content producer, you can search YackTrack for comments on your content from various sources or other blogs that talk about your content. Another site feature, Chatter, gives you a keyword search for the social media sites — this allows you to see “chatter” on various sites that talk about a specific keyword.
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Social Media Ethics: Resources to Help You Stay Out of Trouble

Here’s a BlogWell presentation by GasPedal CEO Andy Sernovitz that recaps the latest FTC regulations on disclosure and social media. He teaches Word of Mouth Marketing at Northwestern, taught Entrepreneurship at the Wharton School of Business, ran a business incubator, and has started half a dozen companies. GasPedal is his consulting company, where he advises great brands like TiVo, Dell, Ralph Lauren, Sprint, and Kimberly-Clark on best practices.

Sernovitz covers the 10 magic words of proper online disclosure, his specific steps for keeping your brand safe under the latest FTC regulations, and his personal tips for staying ethical and legal. He always puts ethics and dis­clo­sure front and cen­ter when he speaks on this topic: “The num­ber one issue around ethics comes down to dis­clo­sure — being hon­est about your true iden­tity.” Dis­clo­sure is essen­tial and easy but requires edu­ca­tion: “You don’t tack on a dis­clo­sure state­ment later, you start with that. You start with ethics and that’s how you lead.” It’s not only the right thing to do, but “it’s essen­tial as a way to stay out of trou­ble. Almost every social media scan­dal involv­ing brands boils down to a lack of dis­clo­sure. The blo­gos­phere expects to know your motivations.”

Takeaways

  • This isn’t a debate among experts, it’s the law. The rules are clear, and the FTC will be cracking down. If you recruit people to blog about you, you’re responsible for the content.
  • Everything begins with ethics. Ethics is the foundation of a social media program. It’s not what you add later; it’s what everything else is built on.
  • Your biggest risk is a failure to properly train your team. Most companies don’t set out to launch a stealth marketing campaign. The scandals happen again and again from well-meaning employees who just don’t know it’s wrong.
  • The “10 magic words” for employ­ees ven­tur­ing onto the social Web: “I work for X, and this is my per­sonal opin­ion.” That dis­claimer goes a long way in help­ing to sep­a­rate offi­cial com­pany pol­icy from an employee’s per­sonal views.
  • Grab a copy of the Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit below. You could use it as the basis for a full-blown pol­icy that comes out of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, make it part of your company’s employee hand­book, or use it as a set of infor­mal guide­lines for your depart­ment or team.

Watch the presentation and follow along with the slides below:

Dis­clo­sure Best Prac­tices Toolkit

The Social Media Busi­ness Coun­cil, of which Ser­novitz is CEO,  has cre­ated a Dis­clo­sure Best Prac­tices Toolkit — a handy and essen­tial resource for any com­pany involved in social media. This is not an impe­ri­ous one-size-fits-all list of must-dos — “we’re not a stan­dards body or trade asso­ci­a­tion,” as Ser­novitz says. Instead, it’s an open source toolkit to help you build your social media policy. “Adapt it to your com­pany, teach your team, improve, and share,” he adds.

Down­load the 10-page tookit as a single document (Word docx) or view each section individually online:

What steps has your company or organization taken to embrace disclosure?


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Crisis Management: Listen Up, Toyota and Tiger Woods!

The recent string of high-profile public relations disasters is impressive. Consider these, to name a few:

  • The Tiger Woods sex scandal
  • The Toyota safety debacle
  • Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines
  • NBC’s talk show wars

All of these situations have one thing in common: the brands — be they companies or, in the case of Tiger Woods, a hybrid (personal brand + corporate entity) — failed to get in front of their PR train wrecks and effectively manage the resulting fallout. A late response can get a brand back on track, but damage control becomes an uphill battle.

These entities and their advisers would do well to watch this video from Tom Peters. Peters, co-author of the classic In Search of Excellence and a string of other excellent books, argues that the reaction to the problem often becomes more of a problem than the foul up would have been if dealt with honestly.

Tom’s mantra: Come clean and come clean fast!

The problem is never the problem. The response to the problem invariably becomes the problem. Make those responses positive, quick, and overwhelming.

Toyota… Southwest… Tiger… NBC… Are you listening?


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Social Media Case Study: Turner Broadcasting System

Here’s a presentation given by Turner Broadcasting System’s Digital Marketing Director, Seth Miller, at BlogWell Atlanta. In “A Thriving Media Company in the Social Media Era”, Miller describes how Turner, a traditional media company for the most part, is leveraging social media channels to engage with their audience. You can watch him as he speaks and follow along with the slides below.

Turner began syndicating “Sex and the City” in 2004 and initiated a rebranding effort in concert with the new programming direction. They became more active in blogging, but but they weren’t listening to their fans. They learned that it’s vital to listen first, and then act socially. The Internet, after all, was built on community.

Miller maintains that it’s not important to be loud, but to be targeted in your approach. The company’s stance is that the killer application for social media is people, and they now fully embrace the social Web. They’ve had great success reaching out to existing communities and using social tools to collaborate with their followers. They also support fans who creatively spin their content via YouTube and other outlets.


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Social Media from a Multi-Brand Perspective: Newell Rubbermaid

Here’s a presentation from Bert DuMars, Newell Rubbermaid’s Vice President of E-Business and Interactive Marketing. Delivered at BlogWell, Atlanta, “Social Media from a Multi-Brand Perspective” covers how the company is using different social media approaches across its many brands.

The case study includes advice about how to approach multi-brand social media as an ecosystem, how to test small ideas and then scale them up, and how to engage your fans in social dialog. Both the video and deck are available below.

Takeaways:

  • Focus on your customer target
  • Set clear goals and objectives
  • Measure before, during, and after you engage
  • Immerse yourself to better understand the ecosystem, culture, and potential uses
  • Integrate with overall marketing plan, but understand social media is a long-term commitment
  • Based on above, select tools and services that reach and engage your customer target
  • Social Media is about people engaging with people — not robots. Show you care.

(Via GasPedal’s Word of Mouth Marketing Blog)


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Pepsi Sidelines Super Bowl Ads, Opts for Social Media Push

Are you like me? Do you enjoy NFL football? If so, we’ll both be watching the Super Bowl on February 7th.

The Super Bowl is consistently one of the most-watched television programs each year. Even in the face of a recession and eroding network television viewership, advertisers are willing to pay big bucks for a commercial on Super Bowl Sunday. But PepsiCo sent tremors through the TV industry last month when it announced that, for the first time in 23 years, it will not have any ads in the Super Bowl broadcast. Instead, the company will be spending $20 million on a social media campaign called The Pepsi Refresh Project.

Pepsi is historically a prodigious broadcast advertiser. Although brand spending has declined in recent years, the company has continued to devote tens of millions of dollars to TV. And since the Super Bowl has routinely garnered the largest audience of any TV show, Pepsi embraced it with gusto. The 2009 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals attracted a record 98.7 million viewers (42% of U.S. TV homes), many of whom watched the commercials as closely as the football game.

The Internet is changing the advertising market

Pepsi’s decision to abandon the Super Bowl, once regarded as a can’t-miss showcase for major brands, underscores how the Internet is transforming marketing by providing companies with cheaper ways to communicate their messages to consumers. As television viewership in general has diminished in recent years, Internet usage (especially social media engagement) has increased. In the highly sought after 18-34 demographic, 85% use some sort of social media (social networking, blogging, or texting). eMarketer forecasts that 2009 social ad spending will exceed $1.2 billion when all expenditures are tallied, and that it will become an even higher priority in 2010. Marketers have embraced social media because they can target consumers who have an affinity for their brand and engage them in meaningful ways. They can also monitor word-of-mouth brand-centric conversations, facilitating easier reputation management.

Pepsi’s decision to pull its advertising from the telecast and concentrate on social media strategy is seismic given the company’s long-time synergy with the Super Bowl. Pepsi has consistently bet the farm on the broadcast, spending $142 million on ads during the last decade. Its commercials are frequently the most memorable — in this spot from 2008, Justin Timberlake is drawn toward a woman and somehow pulled through space, leading to close and sometimes painful encounters with immovable objects:

(If you can’t see the video, you can watch it here.)

The Pepsi Refresh Project

Launching on January 13th, the Pepsi Refresh Project microsite will solicit suggestions from visitors about projects to refresh their communities and make the world a better place. Site visitors can begin voting on February 1st, and the projects that receive the most votes will be funded by Pepsi. The company expects to spend in excess of $20 million to fund thousands of projects. Pepsi hopes to start a movement in which other businesses and organizations will begin funding community projects in the same fashion. It is also looking to forge deeper connections with its audience via their participation.

The company has also created a Facebook Page to support their efforts:

pepsi-facebook

The page sports a link for visitors to find out more about the campaign, which takes them to the Pepsi microsite. If visitors go to to the site and watch the featured video, they’ve already had three interactions with the brand. If they decide to check out the blog, that makes four interactions. If they click on the Twitter logo and tweet about the campaign to their followers, visitors become brand advocates. You get the idea — Pepsi has quadrupled its visitors’ engagement and created brand champions at virtually no cost to them.

A risky proposition

This strategy is a gamble for Pepsi. Abandoning the Super Bowl telecast leaves it wide open for Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple, and other competitors. Carbonated soft drinks are struggling, and Pepsi is no exception given its declining revenues in recent years. But if its new social-media strategy gains traction, Pepsi will build brand awareness and increase sales while spending less than it has in the past. It will also have an advantage over its competitors in a new advertising realm. On the other hand, the company could spend $20 million on charitable causes (which is great in and of itself) without generating the buzz and the rewards they had hoped for.

So on Super Bowl Sunday this year, while you and I are watching the sports and advertising spectacle, Pepsi will be marshaling an army of texters, bloggers, and tweeters in an attempt to rewrite the rules of marketing.

What do you think of Pepsi’s decision to abandon its Super Bowl advertising for a social media campaign? Will this strategy enhance its brand awareness among consumers? Please leave a comment!


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26 Free Tools for Monitoring Your Brand’s Reputation

Are you listening? Do you know what people are saying about your brand?

If you have customers, odds are they’re talking about you to their coworkers, to their friends, and to anyone else within earshot — including those on social networks. Isn’t it in your company’s best interests to be engaged and  take part in the conversation so you know what’s being said and can respond appropriately?

As brands get going with social media, they find that understanding who is talking about them online, what they are saying, to whom, and where is a great advantage. After auditing your current brand footprint, you’ll be armed with the data you need to start weighing what’s important to your audience about your brand and where you should have a presence.

Build a list of keywords and terms about your brand, customers, company, and market, then use some of these free tools to get a clearer view of what people are saying — with this knowledge in hand, you can begin to really develop a social-media strategy:

  1. Addict-o-matic: Allows you to create a custom-made page to display search results.
  2. Bloglines: A Web-based personal news aggregator that can be used in place of a desktop client.
  3. Blogpulse: A service of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, it analyzes and reports on daily trends in the blogosphere.
  4. BoardTracker: A useful tool for scanning and tracking forums conversations.
  5. FriendFeed Search: Scans all FriendFeed activity.
  6. Google Alerts: Target keywords that are important to your brand and receive streaming or batched reports­.
  7. HowSociable?: A simple way fto begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social Web.
  8. Icerocket: Searches a variety of online services, including Twitter, blogs, videos, and MySpace.
  9. Jodange: Tracking your brand or a product is one thing, but turning that tracking into a measure of consumer sentiment about your brand or product is something else entirely. Jodange’s TOM (Top of Mind) tracks consumer sentiment about your brand or product across the Web.
  10. Keotag: Keyword searches across the Internet landscape.
  11. Facebook Lexicon: What are people talking about on Facebook? Lexicon searches Facebook walls for keywords and provides a snapshot of the chatter volume around those terms. [3/27/13: This service has been discontinued.]
  12. Monitter: Everyone is talking about Twitter, but what are people talking about on Twitter? Beyond the integrated search of Twitter apps like Seesmic and TweetDeck, Monitter provides real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere.
  13. MonitorThis: Subscribes you to up to 20 different RSS feeds through one stream.
  14. Samepoint: A conversation search engine that lets you see what people are talking about.
  15. Seesmic: Monitors multiple Twitter accounts and enables keyword searches and tracking.
  16. Surchur: An interactive dashboard covering search engines and most social media sites.
  17. Technorati: Search engine and monitoring tool for user-generated media and blogs. Billing itself as “the leading blog search engine,” Technorati has been helping bloggers and those with their fingers on the blog pulse stay informed for years.
  18. Tinker: Real-time conversations from social media sources like Twitter and Facebook.
  19. Trendrr: Want to know how your brand or product is trending compared with others? Trendrr uses comparison graphing to show relationships and discover trends in real time. Use the free account, or move up to the Enterprise level for more functionality.
  20. Tweetburner: In the world of Twitter, URL shortening is the key to effectively connecting with the public. Tweetburner also lets you track the clicks on those magically shortened links, giving you some hard numbers.
  21. TweetDeck: Not only a great way to manage your Twitter account, but the keyword search means you can see what people are saying about you.
  22. Twendz: Public relations firm Waggener Edstrom’s Twitter-mining tool that monitors and highlights user sentiment in real time.
  23. Twitter Search: Twitter’s very own search tool is a great resource. Can be subscribed to as an RSS feed.
  24. UberVU: Track and engage with user sentiment across FriendFeed, Digg, Picasa, Twitter, and Flickr.
  25. wikiAlarm: Alerts you to when a Wikipedia entry has been changed.
  26. Yahoo! Sideline: A TweetDeck-esque tool from Yahoo. Monitor, search, and engage with the Twittersphere.

Listening and making sense of how your brand lives on the Web is only part of the calculus — the next step is how you leverage that information to engage with your audience.

Are you listening and monitoring your brand online? Have you tried any of these tools?

Enhance Your Brand: Create a Facebook Page

A large and growing number of some of the most valuable demographic groups are devoting more of their attention to Facebook versus other media channels. With 300 million active users and counting (plus 500,000 new users every day), Facebook is no longer just a virtual community for college students to share photos and news with their friends. Adults and professionals from around the globe have embraced the platform, including 90 million in the U.S.

This has businesses large and small asking themselves: Will Facebook really help my business? Does my company need a Facebook Page?

Why is Facebook Important to Marketers?

Facebook offers a unique marketing opportunity for businesses. More and more people are migrating to social networks, and that’s where they’re choosing to research companies, products, and services. Marketing on Facebook has a viral effect, as it does on most social media sites.

Microsoft’s recent partnership with Facebook to integrate Facebook updates with Bing paves the way for more real-time search results. Google likely will do the same with Facebook in the near future. So having an understanding of Facebook can open up new ways for marketers to reach out to their audiences and brand themselves.

Consider some of the benefits of using Facebook as a business branding tool:

  • Customer acquisition: As people become fans of a company’s Facebook page or post comments on it, they get a notice posted on the wall of their own page — where their networks see it. This increases visibility, and the viral aspect often leads to new fans. Facebook pages can also be linked to other social networking sites, increasing a brand’s reach.
  • Customer interaction: Facebook provides a forum for dialogue between a brand and its customers. This enables companies to build better relationships and to demonstrate to their customers that they care about what they think.
  • Reputation management: Direct contact with customers via comments and feedback helps companies gain a deeper understanding of  how their brand is perceived online and offers an avenue for brand enhancement and, if need be, damage control.
  • Traffic generation: As traffic increases on a company’s Facebook fan page, traffic to the its Web site increases, too. Facebook Pages also appear in search results.
  • Targeted advertising: Facebook ads enable businesses to advertise an event, a Web site, a product – any content, really. Companies can target the reach of their ads by gender, age, interests, and location. With custom filters, Facebook automatically updates the count of people who fit the criteria and gauges the size of the target market on Facebook.
  • Increased exposure: An important reason to invest time in creating an engaging page is that all the activity of your fans (from becoming a fan to posting a comment) is shared with a greater network.
  • Branding: In addition to a company’s Web site, a good Facebook Page can create brand awareness for new audiences and reinforce it for current customers by sharing valuable information with its fans and emphasizing the company’s position in its industry. Developing and nurturing an active community enhances a brand.
  • It’s free: What’s not to like about using a new, viral channel for customer interaction without paying a cent?

Here are some brands that have embraced the Facebook Pages platform and successfully leveraged it to engage their audiences and create a real community for their fans:

Coca-Cola (4 million  fans)

Starbucks (5 million fans)

Pizza Hut (1 million fans)

Sears (148,000 fans)

Best Buy (1 million fans)

Walmart (55,000 fans)

Nutella (3.3 million fans)

Pringles (2.8 million fans)

9 Things to Think About As You Create a Facebook Presence For Your Business:

  1. Start with a strategy: Just like any kind of marketing, having a solid strategy in hand from the beginning is key. What is your message? Who are you targeting? What’s in it for them? How will you reach them?
  2. Be creative: You need to have a strong creative execution. What is exciting or interesting to your customers/friends/fans? How does your page content add value? Creative execution includes sharing photos and videos, running contests and promotions, having lively conversations with members, and doing things that are just plain interesting that will keep your fans coming back.
  3. Engage with your fans: Many businesses create a fan page, invite people to join, and then seemingly forget that the page exists. Active fan engagement is the key to an effective Facebook presence. Have a content plan in hand that’s engaging and germane to your target audience. What will you post? When will you post it? How will you inspire your fans to participate? Don’t just create a page – create an engagement plan.
  4. Communicate consistently and frequently: The most successful and fruitful social media campaigns promote a strong message that is repeated often and is consistent in voice and tone. This increases brand awareness and sales potential by keeping your brand messaging top of mind with your target audience.
  5. Own your fan page: Some company fan pages are created and managed by an actual fan instead of the company. Fans expect company pages to be run by the company itself, and they want the company to play an active role. Issues around having a fan own a company’s page might not immediately present themselves, but not having control of a brand’s messaging might cause problems down the road – even if the owner is the company’s biggest fan.
  6. Monitor discussions: It looks pretty bad when a business is inactive and doesn’t respond to its fans. It’s important to monitor your fan page for activity and respond to relevant questions and comments. It’s a good idea to have someone who is dedicated to this effort and empowered to engage on behalf of the company.
  7. Pay attention to analytics: Facebook fan pages offer analytics and insights, so you can learn how engaging your page is. These great tools will help you understand what is and isn’t effective, aiding you in your efforts to constantly improve and refine your page.
  8. Don’t focus on the number of followers/friends/fans: Many businesses focus on the number of fans they have. This measure lacks relevance, since it’s not difficult to get followers or fans. These numbers shouldn’t be used as a key metric – what matters is how you engage your followers. A balanced approach measures what’s really important based on your strategy.
  9. Be transparent and honest: The importance of establishing integrity, honesty, and transparency up front cannot be overstated. Once credibility is lost, it’s very difficult to get it back.

The Takeaway

Facebook has quickly morphed from a fad into a highly effective business tool. If you have the time to devote to building and using social media for marketing, Facebook may have potential for your company. It can be a powerful avenue for establishing and enhancing a strong online brand identity.

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6 Ways Social Media Can Enhance Your Business

Social media is the new face of the Web. Just as the Internet revolutionized information sharing during the 1990s, social media is radically altering how people communicate and share information today. If you want to succeed on the Web, a solid social network presence is required. Search engines like Bing and Google have recognized the power of social media, opting to include updates from Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites in their search results. Optimizing your business for social media is quickly becoming a must to gain top SEO ranking.

Here are some of the ways the power of social media can help your business:

  • Understand your audiences: Social media facilitates direct one-on-one interaction with your target audiences. This can help you better understand their needs, enabling you to develop more effective, targeted marketing strategies.
  • Enhance brand awareness: Social media can help you communicate your brand identity and create awareness among your audience. The more that people have a credible image of your brand, the more likely it is that they will keep your business top of mind when they evaluate products and make purchase decisions.
  • Promote your products and services via word of mouth: Social media is the new word-of-mouth marketing channel. Because of the personal nature of the communications between individuals, it’s generally true that product information communicated in this way has an added layer of credibility. If one happy customer makes a favorable comment about your company or its products and services, many other people will notice and are likely to share the information with others.
  • Keep your audiences up to date about your company: People probably don’t visit your Web site every day, but they definitely engage via their social networks on daily basis. To keep your audience updated about the latest events and happenings in your company, it’s important to make the information available on social networks in addition to updating the news/current events section of your Web site.
  • Manage your reputation: You can track social media channels to see what’s being said about your company and its products and nip potential problems in the bud. (See #2 in 5 Steps to Developing a Meaningful Social Media Strategy.) The nature of the back and forth dialogue on social networks enables you to engage and turn around negative reviews and comments — this communicates that you listen to your customers and value their input, and acts to enhance your reputatuion.
  • Share your content virally: When you share something on social networks, it’s not just your immediate connections who read it. If they like it, they will spread it to their networks as well, which increases your reach to a much larger audience. From sharing a link on Twitter, posting a a story of Facebook, or bookmarking on Digg, Delicious, or Reddit, social media has the power to spread your content on massive scale.

How are you using social media to enhance your business and drive its growth?

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