October 03, 2011

4 Ways to Confront Social Media Zombies How many zombies are among your Facebook fans or Twitter followers? New research conducted by DDB indicates that fans and followers “unlike” brands who are too blabby or too irrelevant. Yet the numbers of disaffected fans who take the time to unlike your brands are in the minority. For every “unliker,” there are five former fans who have bailed out but not bothered to click the unlike button. If social media users act like e-mail users (and there’s a 90+ percent overlap) you can assume that 12-15 percent of your base is the unidentified dead. Add to that the fact that an overwhelming majority of fans and followers visit your page once, sign-up and never return and you have to seriously recalibrate your expectations about engagement, as measured by content likes, comments, re-postings or opt-ins to games and promotions. Too many posts, too often clogging up newsfeeds with too much information that is irrelevant or uninteresting drive fans and followers away. Here’s a 4-step formula to prevent creating more social media zombies: Develop a Cadence. Social media is not carpet-bombing. Less is more in crafting a message cadence. It’s a conversation. Stifle the impulse either to use it as a cheap advertising channel and/or to dominate the conversation. For most brands, a post every other day is sufficient. Build your posting strategy around the things your fans care about rather than a product introduction or promotion cycle. Consider the retail calendar and factor in customers expectations and ad clutter at predictable times. Service Desire. Followers align with brands they care about and want deals from. Give them what they want. Don’t give in to corporate desires to turn a 2-way channel into a one-way megaphone. Fans want early inside information, a way to express their allegiance to a brand and the best deal you can offer. Build your content strategy around these clearly articulated customer wants. Start Segmenting. Use emerging social CRM tools to identify individuals and segments and begin crafting one-to-many rather than one-size-fits-all messages. Look at geographies, demographics and activity levels as the first cut. Experiment with direct messaging. Call out active users and measure the response. Prompt Interactions. The best way to separate the living from the dead is to stimulate interaction, conversation or action. An open-ended question, polls, wry observations, simple language, photographs and comments about common experiences (e.g. Emmys, Superbowl, etc.) generally provoke the most likes, comments and reposts. Measure what percentage of your fan base interacts with your postings. Remember that only 30 percent of your total fan base will be active in any given 30-day period. Test the timing, language and content to measure the pulse of your fans. Try to continuously increase the number, percentage and quality of interactions.
3Ws for New Managers Most first time managers are charged with getting specific tasks accomplished. As a result they need to focus their energies on how to convert their actions and attitudes from individual player to effective coach and supervisor. The secret for success is to focus on the critical 3Ws. What. You have to explain every task succinctly and clearly. Then get your people to play it back to you to insure they understand exactly what has to be done. If it’s a group task you have to lay out who does what and how the pieces and parts come together. Carefully discuss the sequence of actions and point out the dependencies and contingencies. Be sure your team understands each person’s role and how the pieces come together to form a cohesive whole. Draw the project out step by step. Don’t assume everyone gets it; because someone won’t. Try to leave hardly any room for interpretation since there’s always someone willing to shirk or skimp. Keep everyone informed of timelines and progress to date. When. You will never succeed as a manager if you can’t meet deadlines and budgets. Finding ways to get more done in less time is a big part of your job. This means understanding your team’s abilities and handing off assignments to individuals best suited to handle them. It also means you must know your people well enough to know which kind of motivation works for each person. Some people strive with a deadline. Others freak out. You must know who reacts each way and parse out the work to suit them. You also need to know and to explain why the timing is what it is. If it’s a rush, your people have the right to know why. If it’s complicated, your people need to know all the nuances. If there are serious consequences for good or bad, your team has to know what they are. If the reason is bogus, it’s your job to push back. You must manage your resources, keep them informed, find ways to motivate them and keep them as happy as you can. Why. A vital component of team happiness is knowledge and context. Nobody wants to feel out of the loop or like a robot. It’s your job as supervisor to cue the team about what they are doing, where it fits into the bigger picture, why it matters and how it contributes to the overall company mission. Most people come to work and what to feel like what they do maters. Nobody wants to be on a losing team. Everybody craves information and context. It’s your job to create this information, even if you worked in close-lipped or dysfunctional firm. Most people work to help their teammates and to please their boss. Be the kind of boss that engenders good will and affection by letting your people know what you know. Being a front line, first time manager is about transforming yourself and relating one-on-one to your team. What, When and Why are the fundamental building blocks of those relationships.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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