Sunday, February 28, 2010
This post will be about work we're doing for the Springfield Regional Opera of Springfield, Missouri.
With 30 years doing opera in the Ozarks, our local opera company is struggling. It is not unusual for and opera company to struggle, especially in this economy. To do "grand opera," it is very expensive. Not to mention that the audience has aged and SRO (Springfield Regional Opera) has not been building a younger base.
The new president of the board, Les Brown Jr. of Les Brown and the Band of Renown is making great suggestions and things are working. The SRO is starting to do more contemporary performances out of costume, along the lines of The Three Tenors and modern versions of La Boheme. The other performances such as Voices of Christmas and recently a performance called Jazzaria, which combined Jazz with classical have been big successes.
Smart Group and Gallery has launced a new social media campaign. We've produced a new poster, showing the face of a four year old "diva" and several short videos, with the intention of building a new base of music lovers and positioning the performance as fun.
With just two weeks until the performance and starting with a small base of about 350 Facebook members, our goal to sell out the house of 375 seats will be a good measure of the effectiveness of the campaign.
Posted by Winston Riley at 3:24 PM
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Fan pages or Facebook business pages are all the rage. They're easy to create, they're simple to join. By joining one, there is very little downside. It isn't like loading software and doesn't tie up memory. It will increase an individual's network because of links with others who share some common interest. All around, fan pages are a good deal for everyone.
But one thing about them which is a vastly underutilized tool is the "Discussions" tab. Very few people would know this, but for someone who likes to blog, a discussion topic makes a great and easy home for a blog entry on any business page, just by starting a topic, posting content and then taking note of the link. If you happen to start a discussion on a fan page with a huge following, you have access to that readership.
The trick though is to make sure you post that link in as many places as you can. One thing you don't want to do is SPAM. So posting the link may be acceptable in some places, but not in others.
For instance, I'm an administrator for several fan pages. Some are for clients, some are for charities and organizations which I want to support and one is simply designed to support the industry of artists and social media marketing (and where the two intersect). You'll understand that makes sense because our company, Smart Group and Gallery is a collective of artists who also want to help clients with marketing using our unique artist-centric approach using social media solutions for businesses.
The page is called Interactive Social Media Discussion Board. If you're reading this, please take a break and go there now and become a fan. Feel free to use it to your benefit. We won't consider you SPAMMING in the least. The site is built with the theory that we can always find ways to help each other. You'll notice a wall post from the same day as this entry entitled "Creating more traffic using the discussions tab..."
I'm posting the same general message as that content from within that site, which was posted as a Topic in Discussions. Now notice that it also has a link of its own
You see the miracle of this stuff is how fast you can guide traffic. So go find where the traffic is and learn how to "talk" to the people in that flow of traffic. Don't SPAM but be genuinely interested in them. By proving to them you are, they typically will be open to whatever you want to talk about, even if it is to promote a product or service. Just be polite and honest. People dig that!
Now, go have a great day!
Posted by Winston Riley at 9:03 AM
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I'll try to start making my posts shorter. I know everyone is running crazy.
Something needs to be cleared up because there is almost an edge of "frantic confusion" about what Social Media is, what it can do and also about what it is not, and what it cannot do.
Let's start with the isn't (s) and can not(s).
Social Media isn't advertising in the traditional sense that it shouldn't be thought of as a "one way" tool. Traditional advertising, whether a TV spot, magazine ad or jingle on the radio doesn't involve conversation. It is designed to make an "impression." Period.
Social Media can not be tracked and analysed in the same way as traditional media (some would argue that traditional media analytics are bogus anyway). When someone asks me "What is the ROI?" or they explain to justify to the company bean counters that spending money on Social Media requires they put a value on the investment of time and resources, my reply is another question, "What is the value of being concerned about your customers?"
What Social Media IS is community. Social Media is the new place to meet. I want you to try something. Go to the free tool Google Trends. Start experimenting with terms. Nothing will show up along with Facebook. You will not find a term. "God?"--doesn't register. "Oprah?"--not even close. Wall Street, Obama, Tea Party, China, Haiti, Porn--doesn't matter. There is no term which registers. Facebook flattens everything. It is the most significant phenomena in the UNIVERSE!!! Perhaps of all time. What this tells me is that we still don't have a clue of what this is all going to turn out to mean. But for sure, one thing we know. For those who don't get "in," you might as well be stuck in a cave in Tibet.
What IS accomplished by integrating a Social Media campaign or campaigns in to your overall marketing/communications plan is that you engage customers in the most dynamic way and reach them through a network of friends and family.
This is already too long. Call me sometime to talk about how we can help you!
Posted by Winston Riley at 11:13 AM
Sunday, February 14, 2010
This article, with a different title is reposted here with permission by the author, Richard Lee Rignall. Richard wears many hats. He's a social media advocate, a promoter of the arts and an overall friend of humanity. Please see more of his writing at
http://www.facebook.com/eskimosoup and join the art society of Hull, England at http://www.hullart.co.uk/.
Are you finding that there isn't much interaction on your page? As we've said many times before, interaction is key for success, not just on facebook, but on any social media platform. If all you post is information about your products and services you may find that your fans rarely comment. Not only that, but you'll rapidly run out of things to say. Without the interaction, your page may as well be just a traditional website.
So if you're not just going to talk about your business, what should you talk about? First, ask yourself, who are my customers? Are they predominantly male or female, what age groups are they, where do they live, etc?
If you can narrow it down to less than "my target audience is everybody who ever draws breath", you can start to look at what interests those smaller demographics might have. If you struggle with this, why not ask your clients. Send out an email survey or just ask in general conversation.
Once you have an idea their interests, look for any that have any relevance to your business. If there aren't any, that's not really a problem, as the fact that your clients are interested, means that prospective clients could be. Whatever area of interest you decide on, start posting links on your page and ask for feedback and opinions. Once people start offering them, their friends will be informed and those with similar interests may participate too.
We recently launched a page for a lovely group of ladies who work at Originals Hair Rooms in Hull (http://www.facebook.com/originalshairrooms). They have taken over the administration of the page and it's going really well for them, with a lot of content on hair, which is a topic their clients like to talk about. They've also broadened this slightly by discussing celebrity hairstyles, etc.
However, the interaction is starting to wain, so we've suggested broadening the content further. Without wishing to stereotype hairdressers, a lot of chatter goes on in most salons, so they're perfectly placed to say what their clients are interested in. This needs exploiting and ideally, that chatter needs replicating on the page.
So we've suggested posting links on celebrity gossip and asking for opinions, and to think about what else their clients are interested in. They could also post content on holidays, making sure to ask a question, which invites that interaction. Hopefully with this in mind, they can maintain their momentum and make a real success of the page. Good luck girls!
Get people talking on your page and you'll soon see your numbers swell. Talk shop sometimes, but not always.
Posted by Winston Riley at 7:47 AM
Monday, February 8, 2010
If you have a product or service to offer, you should have a Facebook business page. It is easy to set up and it is free.
As of September of last year there were over 300 million Facebook users! It is estimated that over 300,000 new users join every day. Perhaps as many as 50% of the users work as professionals, sales, executives, educators or are in technical careers. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook are women over 55. So it is no longer a networking tool for college students alone!
Until recently, only big businesses with big marketing budgets could setup a Facebook account for their companies and/or brands. Examples included Verizon, Walmart, Victoria's Secret and other well known companies. For these brands, Facebook users could become "fans" by adding the brand as a friend (much like they would add a person as a friend). This was great for those companies but very expensive.
Now, any business can create a Facebook business page (sometimes referred to as a Fan Page), which any Facebook user can become a "fan" of. You no longer have to be a Fortune 500 company to afford this.
You will have to have a Facebook personal page. So if you don't have one, you need to create one of those before making a business page. Here are the instructions for Facebook users who want to creat a business page:
First go to Facebook's instruction page:
1. Follow this link
2. Choose the correct category for your business or organization.
3. Enter your business/product/brand name and click "Create Page".
4. Remember to add a short description of your business and a website address. This is in the "Add Information To This Page" area. You can upload a logo or a photo of your business, which you should do.
5. Click on your business name in the top left corner (it's a hyperlink) and then click "publish this page" (until you do this, nobody but you will be able to see your new Facebook business profile).
6. When you set up the page, from your new profile page, click "Become a Fan". This way, you become listed and can monitor and enter the conversation which will start to take place on your business page.
Once you've become a "fan" of your business, your friends on Facebook (some of which are likely customers) will see a message in their home page. Something like "Winston is a fan of Smart Group and Gallery". Hopefuly, some of your Facebook friends will add themselves as fans to your business. Then, their friends will see a message, and on and on, the more the merrier!
If you want to see a very creative Facebook business page to get your creative juices started, go here. Who would have guessed that stolen pencils would be such a great marketing tool?
Did you like what you read? Want more? Get automatic updates by subscribing to our blog (on the side of this page. And as always, we really appreciate your comments, so if you have a moment, give us your thoughts!
Thanks for reading...
Posted by Winston Riley at 3:12 PM
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
A good salesman is a good listener. Now we find ourself in a delicious soup of networks (or it can be), in which we can engage in conversation after conversation, and develop many new relationships in the process. Many of us like to write, but how many of us take the time to read everyone else's comment?
As I explore this vast terrain, I'm discovering a trend. People like to be heard and they appreciate honest feedback. There is so much noise out there, many people crave the simple attention that says, "I read your comment and...(agree/disagree/offer this observation, etc)."
This post is about an article I read yesterday about Essential Listening Tools, for this game of social media marketing. First of all, Kevin and I describe what we do as helping clients communicate their values, which we think will get them customers sooner than simply talking about their products. So we're cautious about the term, social media marketing. But those are just words and people understand what you're talking about if you call it that. So I will introduce my thoughts about some of the tools mentioned and provide my view of their value. Many of you are much more experienced and I will cherish your thoughts.
1. Google Alerts. Targeting keywords for research is a no brainer and the technology couldn't be simpler. Three words...Thank you Google. Very kind of you. Every day I get a steady stream of emails which link me to articles and blogs. Does anyone have other thoughts about something better or can you point out any negative things to know about Google Alerts?
2. Technorati. I submit this in second place, along with the authors same order, as an appeal to experienced technology users who have found the strength or weakness of this search engine. My gut tells me it will serve us well because we need to explore our inner geeks. We like to think of ourselves as artists, but helping clients will require that we flex our tech muscles. Tracking, bookmarking, report writing, data analysis--clients love that stuff. Don't they?
3. Lexicon. I mention this one in third place to say I'm not too impressed. I spent some time there yesterday and it seems weak to me. Lexicon is a free ap from Facebook. In principle the idea is sound, but phrase after phrase, I kept drawing a blank. Can you fill me in about whatever I'm missing? I'll owe you one!
4. Radian6. I did a webinar yesterday with these guys and this is mucho coolo (bad English, not to be confused with mispelled Spanish for Big Butt). All I can say is we will certainly offer Radian6 technology for clients, whether we turn them on to the service and they do the legwork themselves, or we use it as a tool. As the author reports--Radian6 pulls information from the social Web, and analyzes and provides consumer sentiment ratings for your brand. Seems pretty expensive but worth it for clients that do enough volume.
5. Tweetburner. This last one I'll stick in here just to whet your appetite. There are many tools for filtering and monitoring the Twitter chaos out there. You tell me, what works, what is good value and what to avoid.
This is already longer than originally planned. Please come again and sit a spell. My promise is to be back in touch with you in less than 24 hours, so please...talk to me.
Posted by Winston Riley at 12:50 PM