Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Twitter 10 Commandments

David Armano has published the Twitter 10 Commandments. Are you breaking any of these?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Top Twitter Tools in 2009

Here is a sweet list of the top Twitter tools to look at in 2009.

Let me know if you've tried any of these out. Also, what do you think of them?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Social Media Trends for 2009

Taly Weiss and Apurba Sen have posted some social media trends to look out for in 2009 on Trendspotting.com/blog.

United Airlines Responds

I recently sent United Airlines an email requesting information about a corporate blog. I received a response at 11:54 PM EST December 24, 2008. That's right, United Airline's sent me a response on Christmas Eve. While I am thankful for a the response, the timing is a bit odd. Here is United Airlines' response:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr. Coyle,

I appreciate your request for the information regarding the blog of United Airlines.
Mr. Coyle, your complimentary comments about our magazine is especially appreciated. Please know that United does not have a blog.
Than you for your interest in United. We look forward to serving you again.

Regards,
Shailesh Singh
United Airlines Customer Relations

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, I'm glad to see United Airlines respond to my email. Additionally, it looks like someone actually read my email and responded accordingly. It is much better than a simple "canned" response telling me that I'm a great customer, which is what I was expecting.

Overall, I feel United Airlines could really benefit by participating in social media. It doesn't necessarily need a blog; however, it should start by listening to consumers online at a minimum. Influential blogs such as Consumerist are always posting things about the brand online. For example, Consumerist recently published a post about a man suing United Airlines over getting him drunk and causing him to beat his wife. The article has received 12,500+ views and 59 comments on Consumerist alone. I'm sure that won't bode well for United Airlines. United Airlines, are you listening?

Does anyone know if United Airlines monitors discussion about its brand online?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Salvation Army Dabbles in Social Media

'Tis the season to be "giving." The Salvation Army is now using social media to increase donations.

Now, if only the Salvation Army accepted debit cards. I always find myself walking by a Salvation Army volunteer unable to give as I primarily carry debit and credit cards only.

I'm sure Visa and MasterCard could cut a deal to lower interchange fees for the sake of giving.

Has Anyone Tried ReTweet Radar?

Steve Rubel provides some insight about ReTweet Radar. This looks like a unique tool to help assess which topics are being discussed actively on Twitter. I'll have to check this out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Consumers Seeking More Advice on Blogs

A study by Jupiter Research on behalf of BuzzLogic found half of blog readers consider blogs useful when making purchases and more than half of this group report consulting blogs just before making a purchase.

Source: The New York Times

Still Waiting for United Airlines to Respond












Here is another letter that I submitted to United Airlines on December 22, 2008. I sent a letter to them early December, but I did not get a response.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To Whom It May Concern:

Upon returning home from New York City on Friday, November 21, 2008 (United Flight #7147) connecting in Washington DC, I decided to take a glance at the United Airlines "HEMISPHERES" magazine.
. I came across an interesting article titled,"The Business of Blogging". Overall, I thought the article made some very valid points. In fact, the author, Ethan G. Salwen recommends businesses integrate websites and blogs.

The article captivated my attention. I never thought an airline magazine could present such and interesting article. Reading up on the article peaked my interest in whether United Airlines, or it subsidiaries has a blog. I asked the flight attendant but she was unaware.

I did some basic Google searches, but I was unable to find out whether United has a blog.

Could someone at United Airlines please let me know if a corporate blog exists?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll make sure to update everyone whether United Airlines responds this time around.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 100 Marketers for 2008

Invesp.com highlights the top 100 Marketers for 2008.

Ford Redesigned Santa's Sled

Check this out! Ford redesigned Santa's sled.

I wonder how many miles per gallon this thing gets.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Should Companies Blog Last?

Geoff Livingston on The Buzz Bin feels that companies are failing at blogging and participating in social media. Part of the reason is due to the fact that 86% of companies cannot dedicate the effort required to publish useful content on a consistent basis.

Overall, I have to say that I agree with this. I volunteered some time to help a local dental office in my area create a blog and optimize their website for better search engine results. They now appear in among the top rankings across multiple search engines for the term "dentists in milford ohio", but they haven't updated the company blog since April 2008.

Blogging is hard. It requires work, but it is very rewarding. Additionally, it is one of the most cost effective ways to communicate with customers if a company goes about it the right way. Unfortunately, most companies do not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Still No Response from United Airlines

I published a posting about how United Airlines talks the talk, but does not walk the walk when it comes to corporate blogging on November 26, 2008. I even sent the a quick email to someone in the company, but I have yet to get a response.

I'll cut them some slack since it's the holidays and email them again. Expect a blitz of Twitter messages about United Airlines' lack of customer service if they fail to respond by January 5, 2009.

Don't Forget the Audience

Craig Daitch at Adage stresses the importance tracking comments and trackbacks for general audiences online.

Dell tweets bring in $1 million

During the past 18 months, computer maker Dell has raked in $1 million in revenue from sale announcements made via Twitter. Twitter has yet to announce how it will monetize its service, but announcements such as Dell's might help it make the case for selling paid corporate accounts.

Source: VentureBeat

Could Twitter Dabble in Online Search?

Does Twitter have a place in online search? You could "Google" it or "Twitter" it. I brought up the possiblity of another search engine trumping Google in a posting titled, New Search Engine Popping Up in August, 2008.

Does anyone have thoughts on Twitter becoming a potential player in online search?

Vizedu Helps People Understand Social Media

Very cool site on understanding social media visually: Vizedu.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Secrets to Engaging Consumers Online

The Wall Street Journal published an article providing several tips engage consumers through social media marketing.

Key themes include:
1. Don't just talk at consumers -- work with them throughout the marketing process.
2. Give consumers a reason to participate.
3. Listen to -- and join -- the conversation outside your site.
4. Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell.
5. Don't control, let it go.
6. Find a 'marketing technopologist.'
7. Embrace experimentation.

This list is pretty strong, but I'd like to add one more. This may tie into embracing experimentation, but your company should make sure to know who is talking about them online. Identify key influencers talking positively and negatively about your brand or its products. Don't be afraid to reach out to influencers periodically.

Does anyone else have any other ideas to add to this list?

A Little Problem....

I published a post about Kmart enlisting bloggers last week. Apparently, there is a bit of a snafu surrounding Jeremiah Owyang calling out Chris Brogan. Jeremiah insinuates that Chris is not authentic in his Twitter post. Visit Technosailor.com for more details.

More Companies are Dabbling in Social Media

David Ranii at Newsobserver.com emphasizes the growing popularity of social media marketing. He points out that social-media marketing is spreading as companies including SAS, Red Hat, Blue Cross and others recognize the benefits of blogs, online video and social-networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more.

Ranii says, "According to Forrester Research, the number of social-media "spectators" -- people who read or watch social media -- has increased from 48 percent last year to 69 percent of people who venture online."

Personally, I feel more companies will engage in social media marketing in 2009. Marketers will have to find better ways to measure the impact that social media expenditures have on sales given the current state of the economy.

What Will Social Media be Like in 2009?

Peter Kim takes a shot at making some social media predictions for 2009. Dwindling budgets will obviously cause companies to rethink their Web 2.0 strategies. Companies will need to find new ways to touch consumers online without spending a lot of dollars.
Given that, marketers will need to find better ways to measure the impact of social media in order to maximize dollars actually being spent on social media and advertising.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scott Monty @ Ford Working Hard on the Weekends!

I sent a direct message to Scott Monty, Head of social media at Ford, around 10:45 AM on Saturday, December 13, 2008 via Twitter. Kudos to Scott Monty for replying within moments. Seriously, I don't know how he responds so quickly considering he has more than 5,900 followers.

I am glad to see him respond on Twitter very quickly. It shows that he and Ford value my input and opinions. Additionally, following up with people is offering great customer service. This clearly shows that social media = customer service. Kudos to Scott!

Kmart enlists bloggers for PR

Sears / Kmart are really starting to impress me with their social media savviness. A sponsored social networking campaign enlisting the help of six well-known bloggers is yielding big buzz for Kmart and encouraging consumers to give the retailer another look during the critical holiday season. Kmart gave each of six influential bloggers a $500 gift certificate to go on a shopping spree in the store and then blog about their shopping experiences in any way they saw fit (no censorship).

The campaign appears to have been a success. One post by Chris Brogan was typical. Under a header stating "This post is a sponsored post on behalf of Kmart via Izea. The opinions are mine," Brogan started by admitting that he hadn't "stepped foot" in Kmart since it was "merged with Sears" (acquired by Sears Holdings). He then described the fun he and his kids had browsing and picking out their items. Within the post, Brogan noted that he was surprised to see that Kmart had "upped their name brand game" and now carries high-end brands like Dyson and Craftsman. He also noted being pleasantly surprised at the savings on purchased items--not just through special holiday sales, but through the chain's everyday pricing on some items.

Sears / Kmart also have an interesting social networking community on Sk-you.com.

Do Brands Belong on Twitter?

Mashable asks whether brands should be on Twitter. I answer this with a resounding "YES"! And I'm not the only person who feels this way. In fact, Warren Sukernek replies to the posting by saying,

"There are several brands (we all have our favorites like Zappos, Comcast, HR Block) that have done a fantastic job of engaging their customers on Twitter. Furthermore, in a recent survey of 240 Twitter users on brand perception, most users (89%) agreed that brands should engage their customers on Twitter. The majority also had a better impression of brands that use Twitter for customer service (81%). And if brands were not on Twitter, the monetization opportunities would be limited to advertising and users fees. Clearly, unacceptable options for many.
So banning brands from Twitter would be a big mistake in my opinion. - Huge!"

I couldn't agree more. I feel getting companies involved helps increase the quality and credibility of conversation online; however, companies must be transparent and engaging. I do not want a brand simply posting information on Twitter. I expect to be able able ask questions and get answers!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ford uses Twitter to avert PR disaster

I referenced Ford threatening enthusiasts the other day. When Ford took legal action against a fan Web site, the controversy soon spilled over into the blogosphere as automotive bloggers wondered what Ford's cease-and-desist letter meant to their operations. Ford's head of social media was able to keep a handle on the story by using a combination of Twitter and forum posting to reveal that the site in question was being accused of selling counterfeit auto parts.

Ford sent fansite TheRangerStation.com (dedicated to lovers of their small pick-up trucks) a lawyer’s letter over copyright violations. This sent the dozens of other Ford fan sites, many of which use Ford branded names, into a tizzy over fears that they too would be asked to stop using Ford names in their URL’s and site materials. By the time the story surfaced on major car blogs like Jalopnik and Autoblog the story had been boiled down to Ford’s lawyers asking for $5,000 or the site gets shut down.

Ford’s Head of Social Media Scott Monty ( @scottmonty on Twitter) was keeping track of these developments. Monty was using Twitter to follow the brewing controversy and quickly began responding online. He was able to help Ford avert social media disaster by using Twitter effectively.

As a proud owner of two Ford vehicles, I'm glad to see Ford using social media effectively. It's seems there was quite a bit of miscommunication surrounding its request. On another note, it saddens me to see Congress deny U.S. auto manufacturers bailout funds.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More 40-Something Women Using Social Networks

Forty-something women actively are using social-networking sites, according to a survey by SheSpeaks. More than 70% of those with children ages 13 to 17 discussed products on such sites, and more than four of 10 had established personal profiles. "These women have started to use the Web and social networks in ways that mirror the rest of their lives," SheSpeaks Chief Executive Officer Aliza Freud said.

Source: eMarketer

Laid-Off Yahoo Employees Tweet on the Way Out

About 1,500 workers at Yahoo! lost their jobs as part of cost-cutting moves designed to save the portal about $400 million in annual operating expenses. Some laid-off and remaining Yahoo! workers blogged about the experience via Twitter or left comments on industry site Silicon Alley Insider.

Source: BusinessWeek

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Do Consumers Trust Corporate Blogs?


A Forrester report says only 16% of corporate blog readers trust what they're reading.

Obviously, companies have to do a better a job convincing people to trust them.

Here are five ways companies may be able to make their blogs more trustworthy:

1. Find ways to get blogs to show up in search engine results. Consumers are more likely to trust content that is readily available through search engine results.

2. Connect with key influencers talking about your brand or its products. Encourage those influencers to link to your company blog.

3. Make sure your blog is relevant to your company and industry. Too often, a company will create a blog which is not relevant to its brand or products.
Wells Fargo's Guided By History blog is a great example. What does this blog have to do with business and banking?

4. Allow consumers to comment, even if they respond negatively.

5. Respond to consumer's questions quickly and truthfully.

6. Place a link to your companies blog on your homepage. I hate to pick on Wells Fargo, but it doesn't have a link to its Guided By History blog on its homepage.

Note to companies: If you do not feel your company blog is good enough for you to link to it, then why should I? (Wells Fargo - consider the link above as a favor).

7. Make contact information easily available. I don't want to spend hours searching for information to contact the company.

8. Talk about other things related to your company or industry. Discuss industry trends and important events. For instance, an automobile manufacturer could write a post requesting feedback from consumers about fuel economy.

9. Link to important news articles referencing your company blog. According to the Forrester study, 46% of people still trust newspapers. Given that, positive references about your company blog in a major newspaper is worthy of highlight.

10. Don't try to make your corporate blog too professional. By this I mean, focus on content, then design.

Feel free to comment if you have any other suggestions or concerns.

Ford Threatens Enthusiasts

Bold Moves:Ford Threatens Enthusiast Sites with Lawsuits Over Copyright Infringement.

This absolutely displeases me. I am an owner of a 2007 Ford Focus and a 2008 Ford Escape. Overall, I thought Ford was in the best position of the "Big 3" or "Big 2.5" going into bailout discussions. Ford was only seeking a credit line. Ford now goes to pull a Plaxico and shoots itself in the foot from a social media standpoint. Aggravating Ford enthusiasts and losing consumer evangelists is the last thing Ford needs at this point.

I will most likely take my business elsewhere is Ford keeps this up.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Retailers MicroBlog to Reach Customers

Retailers increasingly are using text-message alerts to keep their customers informed about sales and special events, while online retailers are using microblogging site Twitter to alert shoppers to deals. Gap, Target, Sears Holdings and Amazon.com have launched wireless-outreach programs this year.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Monday, December 08, 2008

Google Ads Point to Twitter Accounts Now

Check this out! Adwords point to Twitter accounts now.

Verizon LG Voyager


I currently have an LG Voyager through Verizon. I really love this phone, but I wish it had a password keeper (similar to Blackberry) and a Twitter application. I can access MySpace and Facebook quite easily but a Twitter shortcut would be icing on the cake.

Ten PR People to Follow on Twitter

Social Media Today provides a list of 10 PR people to follow on Twitter.

USA Today: Bad PR Gets Worse Fast in a Socially Networked, Consumer Driven Environment

Check out this article from USA Today. In a nutshell, it says that bad publicity has the propensity to spread faster through social media.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Where do you rank on Twitter?

Check out http://twitter.grader.com to find out.

Nordstrom is Following Me on Twitter, but does Nordstrom Know Why

I published a post about highlighting retailers using social media effectively on Thursday, December 4, 2008. Afterwards, I referenced the topic on Twitter shortly after.

Interestingly, one of the retailers I mentioned, Nordstrom, responded by following me on Twitter. I received the following email informing me about Nordstrom following me on Twitter.

Hi, Ronald Coyle.

Nordstrom (nordstrom) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Nordstrom's profile here:

http://twitter.com/nordstrom

You may follow Nordstrom as well by clicking on the "follow" button.

Best,
Twitter

Now don't get me wrong, I'm flattered Nordstrom has an interest in me, but does Nordstrom know why? I don't think so. I've never shopped at a Nordstrom. I may, but I haven't yet. I'm not even sure where there is a Nordstrom in the greater Cincinnati area.

A brand should not be following me just for the sake of following me. Nordstrom should try to find out more about me as a person. What are my need and wants? What would make want to become a Nordstrom customer? Why should I become a Nordstrom customer?

I initially criticized Nordstrom for not having a blog and using social media ineffectively. I'm glad to see the brand on Twitter, but simply following me isn't using social media effectively. I don't need an email from Twitter telling me that Nordstrom is following me. I need Nordstrom to do some homework, find out more about me and contact me on its own. Sure Nordstrom knows I have a Twitter account now, but I doubt it knows about this blog.

So here I am Nordstrom. What do you want to know about me? Additionally, why should I shop at Nordstrom? I'm waiting.

Can Social Media Improve Sales?

Effective social media monitoring and participation can improve sales according to this this article.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

8 Essential Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

MarketingPilgrem provides a list of 8 free social media monitoring toos.

Google Trends is pretty sweet! I'll have to try some of the others. Have you tried any of these? What do you think of them?

McDonald's To Introduce McBambi For a Limited Time



I'm sure this is a rumor but...uh...yeah...I think I'm going to stick with my Big Mac, Quarter Pounder and McRib sandwiches.


Source: Braintwinkey.blogspot.com

How Far Are We From Visiting CyberMalls?

Companies must learn to create virtual retail environments where consumers can shop, meet, talk and exchange information. Unfortunately, I'm not sure too many retailers "get it" when it comes to social media though.

I took a brief look at various retailers websites to see who is using social media effectively. Wal-Mart and KMART / Sears are doing a decent job while Macy*s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, JC Penney and Kohl's have a ways to go.

Store / Use Social Media (Yes/No)

Macy*s (No)
Bloomingdales (No)
Wal-Mart (Yes) http://checkoutblog.com/
KMART/Sears (Yes) http://www.sk-you.com/
Nordstrom (No)
JC Penney (No)
Kohl's (No)


Adam Weinroth on Gourmet Retailer provides more information on how retailers can benefit from social media.

Do you know of any companies using social media effectively? I'd love to get your see your comments.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How Big Companies Utilize Social Media

Here is a follow-up to Peter Kim's: A List of Social Media Examples.

DSWMG.com provides several examples of how big companies utilize social media.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Making Social Media Work for You

Social marketing isn't simply a matter of establishing a presence with a blog, social-network profile or Twitter account. Blogger Amber Naslund explains that a coordinated effort is needed, in terms of competitive intelligence and customer service.

You can read more about this on MarketingProfs/DailyFix.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Twitter passes on Facebook offer

Facebook offered a rumored $500 million in stock (based on its $15 billion valuation) to acquire Twitter, reports Kara Swisher of All Things Digital. No one went on the record to discuss the deal, but sources indicate Twitter felt it was undervalued in the deal -- especially considering the high valuation the deal put on Facebook. From the standpoint of Facebook, the acquisition of SMS-based Twitter meant taking on potentially high messaging fees from mobile providers.

You can read more about this on Allthings.