Here's the beginning of a weekly post on the topics, events and thoughts that have captured my attention. Sort of a personal curated expose across multiple influences and interactions.
Wherein Lies Transformational Power?
I begin with having just viewed Wael Ghonim's speech at TEDx Cairo. The Google executive shared how the Internet and social media platforms enabled a people to rise up and change their situation in Egypt. "This is revolution 2.0: No one was a hero because everyone was a hero," said @Ghonim at the beginning of his TEDx talk, Inside the Egyptian Revolution (YouTube video). At the end he said: "The power of the people is greater than the people in power."
Reminds me again how Web 2.0 technologies can and have been used for good. How in our lives and work striking chords of relevancy, truth and passion can enable great change and movement towards something fundamentally worthwhile.
For more on TED and TEDx, follow #TED on Twitter or go to TED.com.
How to Beat the Competition
I have a client who wants to beat their competition on Google rankings for specific keywords relevant to their business. This competitor knows almost no bounds when it comes to promoting themselves: they make false claims concerning their capabilities, they buy my client's business name keywords to show up in the sponsored links, etc.
We can understand the emotional fury this might cause and the desire to squash the competition - beat them at their own game perhaps? But wait, there's a better way: Buyer Persona Marketing.
a buyer persona is a realistic profile of a significant group of people representing your ideal customers. It's helpful to create a fictional character with a name and picture for each buyer persona you may have. Include everything you can think of - spare no details: their needs, motivations, goals, how they are influenced and think about your product/service and so on.
Does your website and your marketing clearly speak to your ideal buyer personas? Or, is it unclear who you're trying to reach - who needs what you do? Is it mostly about you, your products? If so, start re-thinking your approach, your content and any compulsion to market against the competition.
What would happen if instead, the keywords you use, the story you tell, the content you offer spoke directly to the core needs, values and problems of the very people your products/services is meant to help? Your competition (enemy) is not the one beating you on Google, it's you.
Start/re-start with discovering who your buyer personas are. Know, in intimate detail who you're trying to reach. Who, specifically needs you and what you have to offer?
Here are a couple of resources that might help you beat your competition by marketing to your buyer personas. The first is an excellent blog post on Copyblogger (don't let the title throw you): 6 Questions to Ask Before You Spend a Dime on Graphic Design. The second is a worksheet I've put together and use with clients early in the process (free, no registration required download): Buyer Persona Development.
Setting up a Facebook Landing Page with iFrame
This one got my attention back on 2/22/2011 when the HubSpot blog published: How to Set up a Facebook Custom iFrame Landing Page Application. Then, I caught a tweet from my friend, @johnhaydon on how to Create a Custom iFrame Tab for your Facebook Page with Wordpress (video), which I re-tweeted. And then got a tweet from @9clouds suggesting I check out their tutorial: How to create a custom iFrame tab on Facebook.
Hmmm...I think someone is trying to tell me something. So, I've checked out all the tutorials (all excellent by the way) and will get to work soon on creating a custom landing page tab on a Facebook Page.
Which one to follow?
Well, if you're on the HubSpot CMS (because the iFrame lives on your website/web server) you could follow the HubSpot tutorial. What you'll do is create a new page then choose the "Blank IFrame" layout in Page Properties.
On the other hand, if you have a WordPress site, check out John's video tutorial and get the plug-in that will make it easier for you.
If you want to know how to create an html file to use for your iFrame page you might want to get the handbook (registration required) from the 9Clouds' folks.
Why create a custom tab on your business Facebook page you ask? Simply put, it's so you can provide valuable, buyer persona-focused content and offers on your Facebook page. You can also then direct people who come to your page for the first time to your landing page vs. your wall. The cool thing about this is you can create a design and unique content outside of Facebook, then bring it into your Facebook page giving you a unique opportunity to market to your audience.
So there are the 3 things that caught my attention this past week. What's got yours?
A good friend shared dismay over her company cracking down recently on everything from the dress code to Facebook usage. This from someone with an exemplary record working for her company for over 18 years, the last 6 in a remote office over a thousand miles away from HQ.
While most progressive companies see the value of every employee being a potentially positive communicator of the brand, others seem to be going in the opposite direction - into a command and control mode.
This myopic view of trust reminded me of a story Capt. Nathan Broshear of the U.S. Air Force shared this past October at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston. In the video clip that follows I was able to capture Capt. Broshear relating a conversation he had with Generals over concerns of what Airmen might post on Facebook:
Operational Security Meets Social Media Trust
What does "operational security" in your world look like? Concerned about controlling the message? Do you trust team members with talking about your collective mission?
Do you have the right people on the bus (or plane)? Are you punishing the majority for the inappropriate actions of a few? What have you done to equip them with social media guidelines, educate them on company values and to empower them to communicate in a spirit of trust?
New Media and the Air Force
The New Media and the Air Force is a 31 page guide for the Air Force to use with all members. Here's an excerpt: "This guide changes the way the Air Force employs social media and Web 2.0 technology, and positions the Air Force well to communicate transparently with online audiences." It goes on to say such things as: "The Air Force respects the right of Airmen to use blogs as a medium of self-expression." Learn more about the New Media and The Air Force guide, see if it might provide a framework for establishing social media guidelines and policies that build trust in your organization.
As in the case Capt. Broshear shares, the one caveat to trusting Airmen with Facebook is to make sure they have the facts. Help them be clear on the mission and what it means. This is clearly something all CEO's and company presidents would do well to learn and provide much needed leadership on to their organizatons.
Just as every Airmen is a communicator, every single person in your organization is a communicator. They will share by word-of-mouth how they feel about working in your organization whether you like it or not. What are you doing to be open and to share the facts about your mission and how it makes a positive difference in the marketplace?
Consider what you've invested in the assets your employees utilize every day in the performance of their responsibilities. When you roll-up benefits, training, tools, etc. to compensation it's no small number. You trust them to fly your airplane...can you not trust them with the Web?
How much greater would they feel about the organization and their performance were you to demonstrate trust in them and encourage them, yes encourage them to speak openly? What would that do to productivity and retaining top talent?
Trust and transparency go hand-in-hand. And, on today's Web we need to embrace them, we need to cultivate and foster a posture for open communication. Regardless of how we may try or desire to hide behind well-crafted branding and marketing messages your customers are just one Google search away from what's really going on (Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith).
I hope to see you in the clouds!
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