The Jing of Social Media

A few weeks back I decided I would watch M. Night Shyamalan’s live action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I also for argument’s sake went on Netflix and watched the original animated series to see how far off he was.  In going through the animated version I came across an episode where the main character Aang is speaking to his old friend Bumi.  Bumi is the king of a conquered nation and has seemingly done nothing to stop it when he very well could have.  Aang ask Bumi ” I don’t understand. Why didn’t you free yourself? Why did you surrender when Omashu was invaded? What’s the matter with you, Bumi!?”.  Bumi replies by saying “Listen to me, Aang. There are options in fighting, called jing. It’s a choice of how you direct your energy…”.  He goes on to explain that there are three types of Jing Positive, Negative, and Neutral.  Positive Jing is when you are attacking and on the offensive, Negative Jing is when you are retreating and you are on the defensive,  and Neutral Jing is when you seemingly do nothing.  This, however, is not the case as Neutral Jing in reality is waiting so you can watch, and listen to your opponent waiting for the exact right moment to attack.

As I was listening to this and thinking of it after the episode was over I realized that these principles could be applied to any facet of our lives including a Social Media Strategy for businesses.  In fact it is exactly what I try to explain to my perspective clients day in and day out.  Here is exactly how these philosophies are applicable to Social Media.

Positive Jing- the art of attack – This is achieved by getting out there and posting and growing your audience by actively searching them out.  Engaging with them by putting out quality content which is relevant and interesting to them.  Posting in forums that are specific to your industry, or even niche within that industry, or  writing a blog that gives your subscribers a helpful tip are all Social Media examples of Positive Jing.

Negative Jing – the art of defense – Conversations happen within Social Media every day, some of them are about your company, and yet still some of those are not good conversations about your company.  These are the comments, posts, and reviews where people are complaining about your product and services and warning others not to deal with your business.  At this point is when our Negative Jing approach comes into play.  The last thing you want to do is simply delete negative comments about your business the odds are someone has already seen it and if they check back or send a friend to look, and it isn’t there they will automatically what was said is true and you are now trying to cover it up. Instead we must reach out to the person publicly where they posted and explain that you are sorry for the fact that they are unsatisfied and if they would like to contact you directly you would be more than happy to resolve the situation.  Once you have spoken to them, and if the issue is satisfied to their liking you should then ask them to post how happy they were with your customer service and how quickly their issue was handled.

Neutral Jing- the art of waiting – In regards to Social Media neutral jing is as, if not more important than our previous two jings combined.  With Neutral Jing philosophy you are going to listen to what it is your audience is talking about.  This will not only help to identify negative comments which you can transition to negative jing to handle but also you will find the positive comments and revert to positive jing to highlight those comments and make sure everyone sees them.  The greatest advantage to neutral jing however is not being able to transition to one of the other two based on comments about your business but that by listening and watching, hearing what your audience has to say they will eventually tell you how to sell your product to them.

Take Loft for example they had started a campaign on Facebook for a new line of pants they had coming out, and like most other people in the fashion industry they posted pictures of models wearing these pants.  Well that did not go over so well with their audience and on person actually commented saying sure they would look great on a six-foot tall thin model, but what about a normal woman they would probably make us look fat and dumpy.  This began an onslaught of comments agreeing with the original.  Loft being Social savy listened to what people were saying and immediately found women who work in their office that were “average”, took pictures of them in the pants and then posted those to Facebook.  Their audience ate it up and all of the women who had said that the pants wouldn’t look good on normal women took back what they said and Loft had very successful sales based on listen and watching and responding to what their audience wanted.

So as you can see if Loft had not, without knowing, practiced the art of neutral jing they may not have sold many of those particular pants at all, but because they did they had a very successful campaign. As business owners the end goal with Social Media is to make more money, and the only way to truly do that is to sit back, watch, and listen to what your customers are saying both about you and what they want.

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Social Media for businesses of ALL sizes

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words if that is true then a video is worth millions. Davanti Digital Media just finished producing its first Social Media Marketing video and it has gone live on YouTube. If you are a small business and are looking to increase your customer base you have to watch this. If you are a member of the Social Media Marketing community you need to share this with your clients and prospects.

I hope you all enjoy it a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into this and we think it’s pretty damn good.

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No One Likes a Loudmouth Self-Promoter

As in our real life interactions, or maybe even more so, the Social Media community hates to be a Friend, Fan, or Follower of someone who does nothing but talk about themselves.  Think about dates you’ve gone or maybe a party you where at and all someone did was talk about themselves and what they are doing in life. All the while you couldn’t get a word in edgewise and when you could they could care less about what you had to say.  I can with the utmost certainty guarantee you that you never went on a second date or hung out with that person from the party ever again.

The same will always hold true in the realm of Social Media.  If you business plan is go out there blast posts, tweets, and blogs everyday putting up promotions and telling people to come to your establishment then logging off and walking away.  It’s by far the worst business plan you could have, and one which I can assure you that by doing makes certain that your Social Media campaign WILL fail and fail miserably.  This isn’t to say people absolutely do want to receive promotions, because they do, and yes they want to know whats going on with your business; but at the same time they want to feel like you are really connecting with them and are not just there to use Social Media as another avenue of advertising.  You have to connect with your audience on a human level and see what it is they are saying about your business.  There may even be something that you have a common interest in that you can have a discussion with them about it, or ask what their advice is on the subject.  If you are willing to sit and listen you will be able to get to know your customers the way a small town mom and pop owner knows each and every person that walks through their doors.  In return they will display fierce loyalty and become what we now known as a brand evangelist.   These are the people who will tell every single person they know that they should go to you because you are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Don’t believe me, take a look at the truly successful Social Media campaigns Redbull, Levi’s, or A.J. Bombers to name a few,  they all have one thing in common and it’s that they engage with their audience far more than they promote their brand.  What other companies are failing to realize is that by not directly advertising but rather engaging with fellow users they are promoting their brand far more effectively than the companies that puts up ten posts a day saying to come by for (insert special) and don’t respond when some asks a question or comments with an issue they have.

There is a reason that humans were created with two ears and one mouth, it is due to the fact that it’s far more important for us to listen than it is to speak.  If we listen people will tell us exactly what it is they want us to say.  They will tell us as a business exactly how we should market something to them.  Social Media gives us the power to do this and in real-time so there are no delays between researching how people want to be marketed to and putting that into action.

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Lets Simplify

With all the advancements that have been made in Social Media in 2010 from the announcement of new Facebook emails coming out within the next year to Verified and Promoted products from twitter.  Along with a huge laundry list of technological advances I though it would be nice to take a step back and watch a video that simplifies the whole thing and puts into perspective what it really is we are trying to do. So sit back enjoy the Video have a Merry Christmas and truly Happy New Year.

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Social Business: Get on the boat, but don’t sell you car just yet

Image courtesy of iwishiinventedthat.com

Being a member of the Social Media Marketing Community I am constantly checking my various Social channels for any new or insightful input into our world.  In my digital comings and goings the other day I came across a blog post of a highly respected and well-known member of our community.  Some of you may know who this man is his name is Brian Solis.   The article itself was essentially a breakdown of the effectiveness of various social groups on the web.  The numbers that I saw really got me thinking about Social Media Marketing, where it is, and where it’s headed.  Before I  share what I found with you however let’s go over some of the basic numbers of Social Media and it’s usage. Here is Social Media at a glance

These numbers look great but what does that really mean for Marketers on Social Media?  Well here are the numbers I saw on Mr. Solis’s blog, these are based on a report done by ExactTarget.

  • A mere 37% of twitter users said they were more likely to buy from a brand after becoming a follower
  • Even worse only 17% of Facebook users said the same, while a staggering 49% said they were not more likely to do so
  • Also asking if followers/fans would be more likely to recommend a company to someone 33% of twitter users said yes and 21% of Facebook users.

There was also a report I found on prnewswirs.com that was run by Neurofocus. What they did was use their new and innovative full brain measurements technology.  They did this on Facebook, various websites, and TV ads for Visa’s “Trip For Life” campaign during the 2010 winter olympics these were the major findings.

  • Highest overall effectiveness of the campaign was on Facebook
  • Highest amount of purchase intent was generated through both Facebook and TV
  • Messaging carried by the ad was strongest on the internet especially Facebook
  • Highest attention getter was the internet
  • However Visa brand perception was lifted most by TV

So what is it all these numbers mean for Social Media Marketing.  Is it telling us that there is no real value and it all just hype?  NO, absolutely not, what this tells me is that even though the shift to Social Consumerism is not anywhere near completed — it is beginning.  If you take into account that both Facebook and Twitter did not exist 7 years ago,  we are already seeing proof people are influenced through those channels.  In just a few short years lets us see where things are headed.  Remember the Roman Empire was not built in a day, but it spread across three continents and was the center of the world at that time.  I’m not asking you to believe me look at Mercedes-Benz for example, who believe in Social Media so much that in conjunction with its TV ad for this years Super Bowl is running a Social Media campaign where it will give away brand new cars to the winners of the contest.

The numbers are definitely there as far as why Social Media Marketing makes sense. The numbers on how much it is working haven’t quite reached that same level yet but they are on their way, and you had better believe as the millennial generation becoming the primary consumer base the shift will continue to move from traditional to Social Marketing.

So while it isn’t time to completely drop your traditional means of marketing it is time to start shifting some of the budget towards Social Media.  Get on the boat just don’t sell the car quite yet.

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Social Media Marketing pt. 3: Doctors

Image courtesy of escapefromamericamagazine via escapefromamerica.com

Well here we are in part three of our series on social media marketing.  This is usually the time in horror films when things get really cheesy and bad, I promise you I will not take that turn in this series.  In this installment we are going to go through some of the things that Physicians can do to better improve their Social Media presence and help drive more business.

First and foremost doctors today need to realize that with the dawn of Social Media business as usual is over. Below are a just a few facts that should make doctors consider moving their efforts in the realm of Social Media Marketing forward.

  • 61% of American adults turn to the Web for medical answers
  • The fastest growing demographic of Facebook users are 35 years and older
  • Twitter top age bracket is 45-54

What this means is that your potential patients are online and the numbers are growing.  No longer is the Social Web just for young people.

The tools and channels you will be using are the same that any other business uses to harness the Social Media Market; what will change drastically is how you as a physician will use these tools and channels compared to other businesses.  As a doctor you going to want to do almost no marketing through your Social Media in the traditional idea of advertising. The way you are going to drive business is by building an audience  and consistently proving your expertise in your field to them.  This consists of logging on once a week or a few times a month at scheduled points and allow for a Q&A with your fans and followers. Writing blogs that give them insight into how to do things that will improve their overall health or what they can do to take care or prevent medical issues.  Also make use of videos, when people see your face and hear your voice on a regular basis they will start to feel as if they know you on a personal level.  This will make them more likely to refer friends or family to you for care.  Remember you’re not going to want to run promotions or do much if any self promoting.  People are weary of doctors as it is by doing this you may come across as a Social Media equivalent of an Ambulance Chaser.

Those are the whats, now lets discuss the hows.  While sites like SermoOzmosis and SocialMD are great to interact with your peers that is where their value ends.  Your current and potential patients are not going on these sites as they are not designed for that type of use.  Instead you are going to want to make sure you are on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  By having these sites you not only engage an audience but you give the search engines of the world more places to find information to bring up when people are using those search engines to find a physician.  As well you should make sure you are checking in on sites that people use to find physicians such Vitals.com,  HealthGrades.co and RateMDs.com.  While you can’t control what people say about you on these sites you can give yourself a chance to respond to their comments or concerns.  All of these methods allow you to connect with your audience on a very real and human level, which is what people are looking for today.

I would like to remind you that the biggest key to Social Media Marketing for doctors is going to be getting out there and engaging.  Put a face and a voice to a name and let people know who you are.  Tell them about charities you participate in and how you would handle situations if they were effecting your family.  When people feel like they truly know a doctor they are far more likely to refer a family member or friend to them.

Lastly a few things to be sure of before diving in

  • Make sure that anything you post on these sites is properly disclosed as information based on your past experiences and should not be confused with a medical diagnosis.
  • If you do not have your own practice it may be a good idea to check with your partners, supervisors, or board of trustees before you start posting.
  • Have a clear and concise plan ready before you start doing anything

If all factors have been thought through and addressed than you are ready to begin your Social Media Marketing campaign.

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Social Media Marketing pt. 2: Restaurants & Bars

Welcome back for our second installment in our series entitled Social Media Marketing. In part two we are going to focus on bars and restaurants. Before I begin however, I would like to remind everyone reading, that Socialization of business requires new doorways for businesses and customers to connect in places where walls once stood.

Social Media Marketing is quickly becoming the foundation for bars and restaurants to build business. It’s no longer enough to just have great food, fancy drinks, or a pretty hostess. I want you to think about any bar or restaurant that you have gone to in your lifetime.  I’m willing to bet the ones were you’ve spent the most time, and money for that matter, where the ones where you had become friendly with the staff. Obviously you are going to feel more loyal and comfortable with someone you consider a friend then some total stranger. What Social Media can do for you is make it so that instead of you having dozens of friends you potentially have hundreds or even thousands of friends.

Now you must decide what networks to engage on and how.  Multimedia is BIG  so you’re going to want to make sure you have Flickr and YouTube accounts, show people how great of a time they will have if they come hang out at your bar or how good the food looks plated. Also integrate the images and videos from these sites with your other social networks to make sure as many people as possible see what you have to offer them. Another thing you may want look into are location base networks like Foursquare and Gowalla. You can run promotions that people who “check-in” at your establishment the most get a free meal or happy hour depending on the promotions you are looking to run. By “checking in” they tell all the people they are friends with they are at your bar or restaurant and they should come down and hang out with them. Your going to also want to either set up or claim your establishment on sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon, and TripAdvisor. Once you do this ask your patrons to go on a write positive reviews highlighting what they like most about their experience.

With your blog you should have a head chef or bartender give them tips on how to prepare what would be their specialty dish or a signature drink.  Also let them know if you are having any special events i.e. fundraisers.  Showing that you give back always looks good no matter what industry you are in.

As far as the majors (Facebook and Twitter) you’re going to be able to use them for more than just posting and linking to blogs and websites. Imagine 6 months into your Social Media campaign that you’ve been such a success that your booked solid every Saturday for the next three months. Now lets assume that Mr. and Mrs. Jones have a babysitting emergency and have to cancel their 8:30 reservation at 7 pm. With Twitter and Facebook you can have a manager or hostess log on and announce the cancellation to the community, this is going to do three things for you. One it is going to fill the table, two it will engage your current audience and make them feel as though they are getting information not available without being a part of your community. Lastly it is going to grow your audience because when your fans and followers tell their friends about the update they will be sure to join the community so they don’t miss out the next time there’s a cancellation.

These are a few tips on how to improve your Social Media Marketing strategy if you are a bar or restaurant. Again, someone who does not have experience in this field who tries to implement these strategies may not succeed as other factors still go into running a successful Social campaign. As always you may want to look into hiring an outside consultant or agency if you are just getting started and not sure quite how to approach the world of Social Marketing.

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