Archive for January, 2012

The social network officially crunched the data. Here’s what Facebook users like — and how to make it work for your brand.

You use Facebook as a way to connect to customers, but on average, only 7.5 percent of Facebook users subscribed to business fan pages see posts from those pages daily. To break out of the pack, you need to drive up the engagement and get people to respond.

And Facebook has some information to help you do that. The company has been wooing journalists (probably an attempt to push Twitter out of the limelight). Part of those efforts have included studies to find out what makes posts work on Facebook. But journalists are not in some special world.

If certain strategies work for their content, chances are they will work for yours. Here are some types of posts that can boost your results:

  • Commentary and analysis on breaking news — Readers like this. Three times as many Facebook users like opinion posts as the average post. These types of posts also get twice as many shares as average.
  • Controversy — No surprise here, given how conflict effectively drives so much of public attention. Drawing attention to “controversial stories on debatable subject matter” can double both likes and shares.
  • Reader shout-outs — Directly addressing readers can quadruple feedback. Asking for recommendations triples comment.
  • Strong photos — A strong photo can double likes, shares, and comments.
  • Humor — People on Facebook like funny. (Think of your own experiences looking at posts.) Get a laugh and your post gets 50 percent more likes than the average post and five times as many shares.
  • Calls to action — Spend any time in direct marketing and you learn how important a call to action is. So there should be little surprise that adding a question can increase feedback by 64 percent while a call to read or take a closer look increases engagement by 37 percent.

All of them work for me.. What about you ?

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Customer loyalty is the key to profitability. The reason is simple. It costs more–geometrically more–to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one.Without customer loyalty, customers leave. Then you can end up sacrificing as much as a third of your sales year just to get your numbers back to where they were the previous year.

With that in mind, did you ever wonder how top salespeople keep their customers so loyal? It’s not because they have great products or they’re good at schmoozing. The secret to customer loyalty lies in putting the interests of the customer ahead of your own. It’s really that simple.

Here are eight rules (8 Ways)  for making this happen:

1. Have a sales philosophy that emphasizes relationship building.

2. Define a unique niche and become the customer’s expert on it.

3. Help the customer build the customer’s own business.

4. Translate what you offer into the customer’s business results.

5. Value the relationship more than making your quota.

6. Think end-of-time friendships, not end-of-month totals.

7. Achieve a perfect job of delivering what you’ve promised.

8. Provide absolutely impeccable service after the sale.

“Twitter is not a media company,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo declared on stage at AllThingsD‘s media conference in Laguna Nigel, CA, Monday evening. The statement was surprising given Twitter’s well-publicized role as a platform for breaking news, entertainment and other communications.

“You [even] sell advertising,” AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka pointed out.

“We’re in the media business, but we’re not necessarily a media company,” Costolo elaborated. “We don’t create our own content; we’re a distributor of content and traffic. We’re one of the largest drivers of traffic to other media properties, [namely] to other online web properties, even to films.”

Costolo pointed to a Super8 campaign Paramount Pictures ran on Twitter last June. The studio promoted the hashtag #Super8Secret, through which it offered advanced screening tickets to the film. The film performed “50% better” during opening weekend than Paramount expected, Costolo said.

Get on a Southwest flight to anywhere, buy shoes from Zappos.com, pants from Nordstrom, groceries from Whole Foods, anything from Costco, a Starbucks espresso, or a Double-Double from In N’ Out, and you’ll get a taste of these brands’ vibrant cultures.

Culture is a balanced blend of human psychology, attitudes, actions, and beliefs that combined create either pleasure or pain, serious momentum or miserable stagnation. A strong culture flourishes with a clear set of values and norms that actively guide the way a company operates. Employees are actively and passionately engaged in the business, operating from a sense of confidence and empowerment rather than navigating their days through miserably extensive procedures and mind-numbing bureaucracy. Performance-oriented cultures possess statistically better financial growth, with high employee involvement, strong internal communication, and an acceptance of a healthy level of risk-taking in order to achieve new levels of innovation.

Misunderstood and mismanaged

Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It’s not intangible or fluffy, it’s not a vibe or the office décor. It’s one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success. It’s not good enough just to have an amazing product and a healthy bank balance. Long-term success is dependent on a culture that is nurtured and alive. Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death.

Think about it like a nurturing habitat for success. Culture cannot be manufactured. It has to be genuinely nurtured by everyone from the CEO down. Ignoring the health of your culture is like letting aquarium water get dirty.

If there’s any doubt about the value of investing time in culture, there are significant benefits that come from a vibrant and alive culture:
Focus: Aligns the entire company towards achieving its vision, mission, and goals.
Motivation: Builds higher employee motivation and loyalty.
Connection: Builds team cohesiveness among the company’s various departments and divisions.
Cohesion: Builds consistency and encourages coordination and control within the company.
Spirit: Shapes employee behavior at work, enabling the organization to be more efficient and alive.

Remember when RIM said its strategy is to focus on marketing its decaying line of BlackBerry devices for most of 2012 while we sit and wait for those shiny new phones it keeps promising us?

Four noseless super heroes based on some junk BlackBerry owners tweeted about a month ago.Each hero stands for some vague “bold” concept, but we honestly don’t have the energy or patience to type it all out here. It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

You can read the details here if you want : http://blogs.blackberry.com/2012/01/be-bold-infographic/

UPDATE: RIM updated its blog post saying this is not part of an ad or marketing campaign. It’s “just intended to be a bit of fun.”

Kodak Could Have Been in the Mobile Business By Now

On the one hand, Kodak. Kodak could have been the Apple of photography but last week, the iconic American brand filed for bankruptcy protection. On the other, Apple’s latest earnings figures surpassed analyst expectations. The difference? Not “design thinking” or great products, but contrasting attitudes towards the youth market and how those attitudes sowed the seeds of both failure and success in their organizations.

Kodak could have been, in so many ways. Kodak could have been in the phone business by now. It could be Instagram. It could have its own iPod but instead it had print and film

Apple Results Kodak Youth

It wasn’t all iPad and iPhone 4S; Mac sales were up 26% too. Beneath the iPad headlines lay a story of customers migrating between Apple products, from iPod to iPhone, from iPhone to Mac and Mac to iPad. It’s this story that underpins Cupertino’s wider fundamental success and perhaps explains why products like the iPad3 will merely be icing on the cake.

Back in the mid 90s, when the world was buying its first desktop PC with Windows 95 installed, Apple published this remarkable video clearly demonstrating a long-term vision to capture the youth segment. Apple wasn’t selling concept technology but an idea of how the company could make the education and learning experience for young people better. It’s a vision that persists until today; Apple recently announced a suite of products aimed at helping young learners from a revamped iTunesU (University) to its new iBooks app for the iPad.

Kodak and Apple share many virtues. They were both pioneers in their respective fields: Apple the first to launch the home PC, Kodak the first to give the world a cheap, portable camera. But, Kodak is nearly a century older than Apple and its legacy perhaps was also its own downfall.

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland launches 2012 awards programme

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has launched its 2012 awards programme – which will see three winners receiving €200,000 each in support – with a call for applications from individuals who are developing new, big ideas to address the social and environmental challenges currently being faced in Ireland.

The awards are sponsored by DCC and will be presented in October, when three social entrepreneurs will share €600,000 in funding and support to help them grow and scale their impact.

The awards will also support a further five individuals to the value of €35,000 each under the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland ‘Elevator Programme’.

The call for applications is the start of an extensive eight-month consultation and engagement process. The closing date for applications is Thursday 16 February. The selection process will include a ‘Bootcamp’ in March where shortlisted candidates will be invited to pitch their projects, leading to interviews from which eight finalists will be chosen.

The finalists will then take part in a three-month finalists programme, during which they will receive some funding and support prior to final selection of the 2012 award winners in October.

Since 2005, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has provided support to 150 social entrepreneurs, directly investing over €4m into funding these individuals. According to the organisation, these in turn have directly impacted over 170,000 people and created over 800 employment opportunities.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s programme, 2011 award winner Michael Kelly from GIY Ireland said the support from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has been a game-changer for his organisation.  “I’ve always felt that being involved with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is like having access to the mothership of all motherships,” he said. “The Impact Programme challenges me at every turn, makes me work smarter and think bigger.  It inspires, rewards and connects us up with an incredible array of leading experts and advisors.”

Kelly set up GIY Ireland in 2009 to transform the nation’s wellbeing, strengthen communities and protect the environment by helping people to grow their own food.

Last year’s winners also included former Amnesty Ireland director Seán Love for creative writing centre Fighting Words, which he devised together with writer Roddy Doyle. In just over two years, using over 400 volunteers, the centre has hosted more than 26,000 students of all ages in workshops in fiction writing, film-making, song writing and graphic novels.

Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating were also awarded €200,000 for Women for Election, which inspires and equips women to succeed in politics in order to bring balance to Irish political representation.

“In previous years we have been overwhelmed by the calibre of applications we have received, and we expect 2012 to reveal even better applicants,” said Seán Coughlan, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland chief executive.

“The main criteria is a passion for making a difference, thinking big and using business skills for social change. We really believe that together we can change Ireland and the impact of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland over the past seven years has proved that.”

Applications for the 2012 Awards Programme must be made online at www.socialentrepreneurs.ie, where full details on the application process, eligibility criteria and the Awards Programme are available.