Social Media Update

The world of social media is vast and ever-changing. How can you keep up? Our Marketing Department weighs in on social media news.

Social Trends

What’s New?

Katie: Google+ introduced their Business Pages mid-November which is the latest way to connect with customers and clients. Google+ features “Circles” which allow you to segment groups of people. For instance, a business would most likely have a circle for active customers, inactive customers, clients, partners, colleagues, etc. These circles allow you to share and market to specific target audiences depending on what circle you categorized them in. “+1″ Holdcom’s Google+ Page! http://plus.google.com/u/0/s/holdcom

Juli: I agree with Katie, Google+ Business pages are huge. I read that 60% of major brands signed up for a page within the first 2 days of their availability. For Google+, which many thought was playing second fiddle to Facebook, Brand Pages are a major game-changer. Google+ is very rapidly growing and evolving. Join now and you can call yourself an early adopter!

What’s Out?

Katie: There has been some major scrutiny surrounding Blackberry functionality in recent months. Although Blackberry was one of the first smartphones, Research In Motion (RIM), maker of Blackberry, has failed to keep up with the constantly changing market. When the iPhone first came out, people were attracted to this revolutionary pocket-sized touchscreen computer/phone, and popularity continues to rise, especially with the new release of the iPhone4S. The iPhone is certainly a game changer. RIM has struggled to keep pace with Apple’s smartphones and tablets, but hasn’t been able to make a triumphant comeback…yet. Blackberry still has 65 million subscribers and RIM plans to revamp its new generation of smartphones using a new operating system. The company has also introduced a tablet that now retails for under $200. Has Blackberry totally fallen out of favor, or is RIM poised to rise to the top once again? We’ll see what happens!

Juli: Facebook? I’m not too sure about this and it seems that not too many others are, either. A recent Mashable Poll found that 45.5% of users thought the site was just “Lukewarm,” compared to 30.34% who say the site is still “Hot” and 24.16% who say the site is “Not.” For now, people are holding onto their Facebook accounts. It’s certainly the biggest player with the most connections in the social media world, so it makes sense that people aren’t going to run away. Facebook has recently settled with the FTC over privacy concerns, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes.” Since privacy was one of the main issues bothering Facebook users, maybe this settlement will keep the site at Number 1. Regardless of what is to become the next big thing, Facebook is still a major player, and you should have a business page, even if you don’t want a personal account.

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The Internet Has Crossed The Line

The internet has crossed the line. No longer can a user innocently “browse” or “surf” on gentle information waves; they are sucked into a hurricane of blogs, tweets, and streaming video; the “websurfer”, whenever logged on, becomes an unwilling participant in a web of economic stratagems. Google Chrome logs the time, date, and position of every mouse click or content search; ads target preferences listed on Facebook; and almost every business, large and small, must have their own website. In fact, government agencies such as the IRS or the copyright office prefer the use of the “easier, more manageable” online forms, and God forbid if you don’t have a Blackberry or iPhone (my condolences to the Palm).

The difference between the internet at the cusp of the millennium and the present is that businesses have caught up to the demands of its users. They have designed a “social media” strategy that can supply a service while generating profits, even in the face of torrents. And it harkens back to the basics of economic evolution.

Instead of trading three chickens for a goat, one can exchange a red pen for a house on Ebay or Craig’s List. Let’s say you pay in cash. But how do we make sure this trade is secure? Forget banks; Paypal is the way to go. How do we get more customers? Through freemium services: 97% of users can enjoy basic services for free, while the other 3% pay the premium fees and enjoy the luxury of being on the “inside”; maintaining, funding, and policing these sites out of a strange dedication bordering on obsession [Twitter, Wikipedia, Flickr].

But what happens when businesses give into the pressure? They begin to outsource. But this is not the “oh-that-is-so-2008″ outsourcing crisis: this is a proactive solution to the overflow of information, one that is wiser and less invasive than information hoarding.

For example, Mixxchannels (www.mixx.com) is a unique online service dedicated to online businesses [not the average user] that “give publishers an easy way to cut through the swirl of social media and create an engaging experience with their brand and design.” This website takes the physical language of “brand” and “design” and recontextualizes their function within the context of online advertising. This service, which of course, supplies “personalized quotes”, has a catchy slogan: “Gather the chatter”. It will use search engine technology, much like a census, to find all the social media websites, chat rooms, and message boards that talk about your brand or topic and organize them neatly onto one page.

Another example of outsourcing information is Rdio, which is in its infant status of being pre-launch. This service will supply “unlimited” access to music from your computer and mobile phone, even when you’re offline. The information is separated from its source, your home computer, which is further distanced from its original creator. In effect, the consumer is paying for information freedom.

Which brings us back to economics. Convince a consumer that your product is not only better than the rest, but also necessary, and you have a sale. But convince your consumer that your product is more than necessary – customizable, shareable, and personalized [Pandora allows users to create their own radio stations and stream it live to their friends] - and hopefully the consumer will become part of that 3% who are personally invested in the welfare of the company.

We are approaching the era of Open Source, where users actively engage with companies to “perfect” the product [website] through manipulating the computer code and submitting their ideas. Outsource your information to those who know best: the customers!

Dos & Don’ts for Message On-Hold Programs

The summer is a great time to get to things you’ve been putting off throughout the pencil on white paper with eraserbusy year. And revising your Message-On-Hold script is just what I had in mind for you. Senior Script Consultant Rob Lefever put together a great list of Message-On-hold Dos and Don’ts. Here are a few for you to keep in mind while you review and revise your current script.

DO:

…Promote your online presence.In addition to driving traffic to your organization’s website by talking about its beneficial features, also be sure to mention your social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

…Avoid rhetoric such as “Did you know?” questions. Unlike radio or television commercials, Message-On-Hold has the built-in benefit of a pre-captivated audience. So instead of asking questions to get a caller’s attention, just get right to the point and share important information with them.

…Avoid excessive technical terminology, especially if it risks being confusing to your callers. If it is essential to include technical or relatively unfamiliar jargon in your script, be sure to read it out loud, or have someone read it to you. This will give you the best idea of how your information is being presented to your callers.

…Include details about what makes your organization unique.Message-On-Hold is of course an excellent medium to market your products/services/etc, but it’s also a great way to tell your callers what sets you apart from the competition.

DON’T:

…Focus too much on what’s first and last in your script.  Most Message-On-Hold programs play in a continuous loop so that frequent callers, as well as those being placed on hold multiple times during one phone call, aren’t forced to hear the same section of the script repeatedly. Since callers can randomly be placed anywhere in the on-hold message, it’s not essential your most important information appear at the beginning of the script.

…Bombard your callers with too much information. When it comes to Message-On-Hold, less is more. Convoluted, overly detailed verbiage can quickly turn what should be an informative message into a boring message that people stop listening to.

…Assume your callers know everything about your business. Message-On-Hold is a great tool to cross-promote your secondary products and services, which your callers might not be aware of.

…Automatically think your printed marketing materials should be recorded verbatim as your Message-On-Hold. The verbiage on your website, brochures, etc. were written for the eye to read. Such writing may not always translate well into the spoken medium of on-hold messaging. Remember to read your script aloud to yourself so you can determine if that is really what you want your callers to hear.

These are just of the few great tips available for your reference. If you would like to receive the entire Dos and Don’ts reference guide, email newsletter@holdcom.com.And be sure to ask your Script Consultant or Client Relations Representative to send you a copy of your current script, so you can begin putting these tips to work for you.

Fireworks Safety

This summer, we urge you to keep your family safe from fireworks-related injuries by maintaining some basic rules when dealing with fireworks. Fireworks are not toys, therefore they should NEVER be given to young children. Close, adult supervision of all fireworks activities is mandatory. Be sure to buy your fireworks from reliable sellers. Only use them outdoors and always have water handy in case of an emergency. To determine what fireworks can be legally discharged in your area, be sure to check with your local police department.