Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Podcasting with David Meerman Scott and Paul Gillin from 2008For our recent eBook “The Social Marketing Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing“, we interviewed a number of leading marketing strategists and experts in social media. Many of their insights are in the eBook, but we weren’t able to use everything they shared with us. Beginning with this blogpost and continuing over the next several weeks, I’ll share some additional pearls of wisdom from those interviews.

B2B marketers often ask how they can apply principles of social media marketing to their business. Two of the experts we interviewed for the eBook offered advice specifically for B2B companies, so I thought that would be a good place to start. In this installment, Paul Gillin, a veteran technology journalist who advises marketers and business executives on strategies to optimize use of social media and online channels, and David Meerman Scott, an internationally recognized marketing strategist, seminar leader, keynote speaker and author, offer advice to B2B marketers.

If B2B companies do nothing else in the social realm, they should focus on search engine optimization, advises Gillin, who recently co-authored a book about B2B social media marketing. “There is a limited domain of keywords that people use when they’re looking for solutions, so if you optimize through various channels for those keywords, that’s the low-hanging fruit of lead generation.” He recommends not only a search-optimized web site, but also a blog for its power to attract buyers. Blogs are “the closest thing to a no-brainer for B2B in social media terms because of their excellent search engine performance.”

Similarly, search rank is the first social media metric that comes to mind for David. “Smart companies understand what it is that their potential customers are searching on because they’ve actually interviewed their potential customers,” he says. That deep understanding allows companies to develop salient social media content that incorporates the terms and phrases used by customers. “Create content not for your own ego, but for the people that you’re trying to reach. The biggest failure I see are companies that just create content about their products and services in an egotistical way. They don’t understand the people they’re trying to reach.”

Gillin suggests a couple of examples of the benefits of thinking like a customer. A maker of portable computers might prefer to describe its products as “notebook” computers, but a far larger volume of search queries use the term “laptop.” Walmart calls its people “associates,” but that term won’t do it much good in reaching searchers who use the far more common term “employee.”

There are myriad resources for marketers at B2B companies to identify the specific terms customers care about. Gillin suggests marketers turn to the people inside their organization who are closest to the customers: the engineers, the service people, product designers and product support teams. The idea is “not necessarily for you to be that source, but for you as the marketer to translate that expertise” with a goal to “speak in the language of the customer.”

“You are part of a team,” says David, “and your part in that team is to be able to create really interesting content.”

Social marketing presents a number of other opportunities for B2B marketers. For instance, interaction in the social realm can help identify new customers. Gillin recommends monitoring social platforms such as LinkedIn, as well as highly specialized vertical platforms, where individuals are asking questions relevant to your company’s products and services.

Social marketing is also helpful to the sales process. “The more you know about the customer, the more time you save the customer, the more individualized the solution you can offer the customer, the better the chance of getting the sale,” says Gillin, who observes that social customer relationship management is “getting traction as a way of simply building better customer profiles.”

Another means of driving sales through social marketing is multichannel syndication of content, a ” big trend over the last couple of years,” says Gillin. Multichannel syndication employs multiple social media platforms, and often multiple accounts on each platform, to achieve a broader reach and drive engagement. “It’s hard work,” says Gillin. “It’s easy to have your blog entries go out as RSS feeds and be posted to Twitter and Facebook, but you’re not going to have success if that’s all you do. You’ve got to go out and engage with people in the medium.”

For marketers just getting started, resist the temptation to take on more than you can realistically support. “Focus on a limited number of tools and learn how to use them well. It’s better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly,” advises Gillin. Once you’ve learned to do something well, determine its value. If it’s working, continue to invest in it. “You don’t need a social media strategy. You need to understand the value of social media and you need to apply it to your business strategy.”

For specific advice on how to employ social media monitoring and search engine optimization, download our free eBook: “The Social Marketing Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag.  For the last couple of months we have been in ‘event planning mode’.  Customers and prospects have been asking for social media training and educaiton and we have been organizing an event to meet their needs.  We originally started planning this event on our own but quickly realized it would be better to partner with an expert to develop and organize the content and the day.  So, I’m extremely excited to let you know that Awareness is partnering with my friend Jason Falls and Exploring Social Media to bring you the Awareness Exploring Social Media Business Summit, an all-day, intensive learning event, Monday, October 17, 2011 at the Boston Marriott Burlington.

I can’t be more ecstatic about the line-up for the day which is power-pcked and will feature Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang, Shift Communications principal Todd Defren, OneForty.com’s Laura Fittonand a Who’s Who of digital marketing and social media marketing notables will join Awareness in bringing you an incredible day of learning, networking and more.

Register by Sept. 17 to get the Early Bird Discount!

Content Rules authors C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley, mobile and event marketing expert Tim Hayden, Location Based Marketing For Dummies co-author Mike Schneider, and email and social media marketing expert DJ Waldow. We’ll also have a brand and agency case study panel that includes Christine Major from Demandware, Dave Kerpen from Likeable Media and more. The event will also include a special lunch keynote to be announced.

See these great speakers in Boston!

And all that is just $250 for early bird registrations completed by Sept. 17. The full-price for all that learning is just $300! The cost includes breakfast and lunch and all attendees receive a one month free membership in ExploringSocialMedia.com, Jason’s learning community and a special 10% discount on a subscription to the Awareness Social Marketing Hub.

This event will sell out. Register and reserve your spot now!

This is going to be a day you won’t want to miss! Awareness and Exploring Social Media are excited to see you in Boston! Reserve your spot today.

Pitching the Benefits of Social Media to Executives Part 2: Handling Points of Resistance

In part one of this blog series we discussed “Four Initial Conversation Points” in pitching the benefits of social media to executives.  While setting the initial discussion is important, it’s also important to be prepared to understand the aspects of social media marketing that have caused hesitation or even fear for executives.   These points of resistance are likely to arise during your discussions with executives.

Point 1: Reputation hits: “What if people lash out against our brand in public?” Knock Out!

The reality is that whether you are present in social channels or not, there will be people voicing their happiness – and unhappiness – with your brand.  If you’re listening in these channels and addressing occurrences quickly and professionally, you’ll to at be able to handle negative comments in a way that actually benefits your brand, rather than leaving them unanswered in public for others to find.

Suggestion: Point to the many conversations about your brand, industry or competitors that are already happening on the social web.  Be sure to position even the negative voices as opportunities and be prepared to outline how you could – or would – respond to these voices.  Pointing out that the conversations are happening – whether or not your brand is there -  will allow you to make the case that you need to be part of the conversation.  Making the conversations tangible by pointing to actual dialog and events will make it much easier for executives to endorse.

Transparent Laptop ScreenPoint 2: Transparency and control: “Won’t putting ourselves on social platforms give too much control to our users, and leave us open to showing more than we want to about our brand?”

In many cases, issues of how transparent you want to be as an organization and how much control you want to leave in the hands of your audience can be crippling.  Whether it’s a comment about a brand on a public forum, or a customer service interaction on Facebook, having conversations about your brand on platforms that are visible to a larger community is intimidating.

A related concern is using social media as a customer service outlet.  Your brand will be the receiver of both good and bad publicity, and if someone isn’t happy with their experience, they may make it known. As suggested above, if these negative comments or customer inquiries go unanswered it only makes matters worse.

Suggestion: As with the issues of reputation outlined in the point above, control causes executives to wonder if it’s wise to proactively provide social platforms for people to interact.  In general, putting the following three items in place beforehand will help you engage publically in effective and positive ways.  Be prepared to discuss them and how you would manage your social interactions as well as your team internally.

  • Have a person or team dedicated to listening and responding in these channels is a necessity
  • Use a Social CRM tool to listen to social media channels and provide a central place to manage your assets is a great addition
  • If your organization has a PR team, coordination between them and your social media team will make the experience even better


Point 3: Shelf life: “Isn’t social media just another fad?”Shelf Life

Another concern involves assuming social media is a short-lived trend, and to invest significant time or resources would be a waste.

Recent studies show that 75% of small businesses are upping social media usage this year.  This is one of many stats suggesting that it’s on the rise, and doesn’t look to be slowing.   Collecting numbers not only on social media marketing use, but also social media use in general would make selling the idea sound more legitimate.  For instance, did you know 20 million Facebook users become fans of Pages every day?

It’s also worth looking at specific organizations similar to your own that have successfully implemented and used social media in their marketing, as well as examples outside your industry.  This latter list is especially helpful if you come from a more traditional space.

Suggestion: Point to the growth rates of the space and be sure to make the case that social media continues to both grow and evolve.  Highlighting growth rates, like those mentioned above, will give you the ammunition you need to make executives understand that the space is here to stay and is worth your time and investment.

In part 3 of this series I’ll talk about tying social media marketing to the bottom line and how to position that discussion with executives.  Expect to see Part 3: Measurability and ROI during the last week of July 2011.

Photo Credits:

All photos captured from Flickr using a Creative Commons License

Below is a post I recently wrote for Social Media Explorer.  Hope you enjoy!

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Social Media Strategy In Four Steps

Building a social media program is an exciting opportunity and chance to dramatically change the way you connect with consumers.  It is a tool that allows you to tap into conversations, learn more about how your brand is perceived, promote your product/service in new ways, and ultimately grow your business. Often the things you learn in your social media program can inform your more traditional marketing efforts, as you engage directly with your audience and learn more about what makes them tick.  Social media – while trendy – is a fully mainstream communications tool.

Properly preparing a social media strategy, including goals and measurement, will ensure you get the most out of your program.  Taking a simple four-step approach to prepare for the launch of a successful social media program can ensure that you’re set up to interact in social media venues before you get started. This process includes:

  • Identifying your goals
  • Finding your audience
  • Setting your key performance indicators
  • Scheduling and resource management

Program building gives you a chance to focus your efforts, and to determine what kind of man power will be needed to support those efforts.  It will also set up your criteria for success in advance by creating a set of metrics. This will take some of the uncertainty out of your social media program, enabling you to know when you are doing things right and/or when adjustments need to be made.

Step One: Identifying your goals

Just a few examples of your social media program’s goals are reaching new customers, capturing leads, increasing sales, and establishing your brand so as to build loyalty.  Each goal will help you to choose which social media platforms and audiences are the best fit for your efforts, and will allow you to set realistic and measurable metrics for the program.

Be sure to also be realistic, too, in terms of how much time and staff you’ll be able to commit to your program. Companies who try to do everything at the start are, too often, quickly overwhelmed by how much time is required to keep up the effort. If your company is trying a social media program for the first time and you have limited resources, starting with one or two key goals, measuring the effectiveness of your efforts, and then increasing your commitment once the initial program is established will be a more measured and more successful approach.

Step Two: Finding your audience

Finding your audience is key to a social media program. Each social channel has different types of audiences, and each one is used in different ways for different purposes.

For example, if you’re looking to build a group of brand supporters, Facebook could be the best choice. If you’re looking to reach potential customers who have never heard of you, or to become a thought leader in a particular industry, Twitter might be the better option. If you’re hoping to use social media for something like recruiting, a combination of Twitter and LinkedIn could be your best bet.  Once you’ve set your goals, you can start researching and determining the best social channels, tools and services to meet the needs or your program.

Step Three: Setting your key performance indicators

Once you’ve set the goals for your social channels and established your key audiences and the platforms they interact on, you can start setting the metrics and benchmarks.  Start by looking at some of the things that can be measured on each platform:

  • Blog traffic
  • Twitter followers
  • Retweets of your content
  • Interactions on Twitter
  • LinkedIn group members
  • Blog comments
  • Independent shares of your content
  • Trackbacks to your blog

While there are a lot of metrics that can be measured, remember that this is a benchmark. You’ll need to customize your goals and measurement tools depending on what you want to get out of your social media program.

Step Four: Scheduling and resource management

This stage is about setting timelines and determining how you’re going to staff and support your ongoing social media program.  There are some important things to think about when formulating a plan. Not all of these are relevant to every organization, but these are some of the core things to consider when formulating your plan – the time investment, the man power investment and the timeline that you’ve set for the project(s).

These options will naturally lead to other questions to consider that will address any specific challenges or opportunities your organization may see when implementing its social media program. In the end, this planning process will prepare you to embark on the next phase: tactical implementation.

Last week I visited with Thomas Jones (aka Niketown588) to discuss social media, football, gaming and a host of different topics.  I have been a guest on several other podcasts and I was particularly impressed with Thomas.  He asked great questions and has a terrific sense of humor which made it very easy for us to chat.  Needless to say I have a blast talking to Thomas and I hope you enjoy the content as well.  Click here to check it out: “Coffee with Thomas Episode 24 – Awareness, Inc’s Frontman

Some of the things w discussed include:

  • Why Companies shouldn’t focus on Social media metrics
  • The over complication of social media
  • 3 types of individuals you’ll run into on twitter
  • Awareness Inc’s Social Marketing Hub
  • Effectiveness of passion in online conversations
  • Transparency in Social Media
  • How companies can prove value in social media before committing resources
  • and much much more

I’d love to get your feedback.  Let me know what you think.

Filed under: Uncategorized · Leave a Comment
Feb 2nd, 2011

For the last few weeks, Frankie (my two-and-a-half year old) has been walking around the house singing, as loud as he can, “Frosty the Snowman!”   He didn’t really know the other verses of the song, outside of some random phrases like “Button Nose” and “Began to Dance Around”, but man, does he know the chorus.  My wife and I assumed it was a song he learned in daycare and it stuck because of all the snow we have been getting this year.  It’s easy to reinforce Frosty when all you can see are 7 foot tall snowdrifts (those in Boston know what I mean).  To our surprise we discovered that he was actually rehearsing for his daycare’s annual Winter Gala, where the pre-schoolers get together and perform a couple of songs for their families and friends.   I have never been as excited to hear a group singalong of Frosty the Snowman.

When the big day arrived, the entire daycare class of eight 2 year-old children came out wearing top hats they had made from construction paper.  I think Frankie may have been a little generous with the amount of construction paper he used because his hat was a bit too big and kept falling over his eyes. This of course, added to my enjoyment of the moment.  At one point during the performance he was able to lift up the hat enough to notice me in the crowd, he smiled like only he can, pointed at me and yelled “Daddy” which of course, melted my heart.

Below is a video of Frankie (Yes, he’s the one who lets the music get the best of him as he dances into the crowd).

I wrote this post about Frankie at Dad-o-Matic over two years ago.  At that time I had only been a father for three months and was pretty naive to the whole ‘dad’ thing.  As many of you commented, I had no idea what I was in for and my life was really going to change.  To be frank (no pun intended) the last couple of years have been full of ups and downs.  The same high points and low points that defined my childhood for my parents, I’m sure.  Despite the challenges, I wouldn’t trade my experience with Frankie for anything in the world because, well, he is my world.  In the last two years, I have watched that baby grow into an amazing little boy who, everyday shows more and more qualities of his mom and dad as well as unique qualities of his own.   Everyday I try to learn how to be a better dad and I know I still have a lot to learn.  Each day he grows and learns and I couldn’t be more proud of my little buddy.

In 2010 Awareness hosted 24 webinars featuring a wide range of marketing topics presented by a host of social media authors and thought leaders.  The sessions continued to grow in popularity over the course of the year, attracting thousands of viewers and featuring entertaining and thought-provoking conversations.

Every session offered a ton of value but here is our list of the Top 6 #Awarenessinc Webinars of 2010:

#6:            “How Enterprise Marketers Keep up with Facebook” with Cappy Popp – July 30, 2010
Special Recognition “Most Positive Feedback”

In 60 minutes, Cappy taught me more about Facebook than I ever thought possible.  This session was both for the Facebook novice and ‘uber-facebook-geek’.  Cappy discussed key issues facing brands as they begin marketing on Facebook as well as drilling into how to execute, on a tactical level, within Facebook.

Cappy’s session gets 2010 the award for “Most Positive Feedback”.  Of the 24 sessions we held over the course of 2010 Cappy not only received the most feedback during his session (measured by number of Tweets, emails, and comments) but he also had the highest percentage of positive feedback for his session.

 

#5:               Are you answering the ‘social phone’? with David Alston – January 28, 2010
Special Recognition “Best Q&A Session”

This was one of my favorite sessions to host because David is smart, easy to talk to and has a great sense of humor.  That combination makes for a great session with an excellent Q&A.  With just over 900 registrations, Dave’s session focused on social media as a new communication channel, using the analogy of a “social phone”.

While the session took place just over a year ago the insights are still as relevant today as they were then.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

#4:              “Engage or Die! with Brian Solis – June 1, 2010
Special Recognition “Most Creative & Compelling Title”

Talk about a direct title!  In March, Brian released his latest book “Engage!” and we were thankful to have him on a call to discuss the details of the book a couple of months later.   During his session he discussed some of the highlights of his book as well as present some compelling case studies.  I am both a fan of Brian as a writer and as a person and this session did not disappoint.

 

 

#3:            “Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist” with Jeremiah Owyang – November 18, 2010
Special Recognition “Best & Most Relevant Research”

Jeremiah’s research is always compelling and relevant.  During this session in November, he unveiled new research he completed focusing on the career path of the corporate social strategist.  The session defined the ‘new’ strategist position that is being adopted in corporations as well as outlined how individuals with this position mature.  The research was based on insights gathered from interviews with several large organizations.

 

#2:            “Socialnomics” with Erik Qualman – February 11, 2010
Special Recognition “Highest Registration Number”

It’s always a blast to connect with Erik! This session drove thousands of registrations, the most of any session in 2010, and the volume of attendees made for an incredibly interactive Q&A with Erik.  During the session and in his book, Erik describes the current social media movement as a time when, “It’s important to free your content from being trapped in a “walled garden” because people have quickly grown accustomed to the news finding them, and there is no turning back,” and, “Businesses don’t have a choice on whether or not to DO social media, their choice is how well they DO it.” 

 

#1:            “UNmarketing” with Scott Stratten – November 11, 2010
Special Recognition
Most Compelling Content & Funniest Personality

Despite some technical difficulties, this was my favorite session of 2010.  Scott could be (should be) a stand up comedian.  He does a great job taking solid content, making a point and forcing you to laugh while you learn.  It’s a quality most speakers strive for, but few are able to achieve.

 

Thanks again to all our speakers in 2010 who helped to educate the market on social media.  We have 24 exciting sessions scheduled for 2011.  Check out our current listing here.

You may not realize the post production work we do after a webinar is completed.  Once a session is completed the video is downloaded and converted to a YouTube-friendly format.  We then spend a fair amount of time editing the content to clean up any gaps in the presentation.  The session is then resaved and uplaoded to YouTube for the public to see.  Sounds simple, I know, but the truth is the process takes some time.

I was able to get some free over the weekend to clean up some recent content as well as rewatch the sessions and learn from the speakers again.  During most sessions I spend my time listening to the presentation, developing questions of my own and monitoring questions from the audience on Twitter.  There’s a lot going on and sometimes I miss some really important nuggets of information.  Taking the time to rewatch the sessions made realize the value our speakers provide.

Here are some sessions I just uploaded to YouTube from Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) – author of UnMarketing, Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) – Analyst at Altimeter Group, John Nielsen (@john4frank) founder of FRANK, and Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear) – of Sametz Associates.  I embedded them all below to make it easier for you to view them all.  I hope you get as much out of them as I did.

Last week I hosted a fun and informative webinar with my friend Rachel Levy, founder and CEO of WebinarListings.com, called “A Webinar About Webinars: The 6 ‘P’s’ of hosting a successful webinar“.  I had a blast chatting with Rachel and I think we shared a lot of valuable tips on how to host a successful webinar.

In case you missed it, view the recording by clicking here

Also, check out and download the slides:

Finally, Here is the full list of questions and answers we fielded during the event:

  • Q: ­What kind of file do you get from recording the audio from Skype?­ (Jessica R.) A:The program we use to record Skype calls is called PowerGrammo (http://www.powergramo.com/).  It’s a seamless plug-in to Skype.  It produces and MP4 file that we go on to edit in Audacity as a podcast.
  • Q: ­Are you using PowerPoint to build the visuals?  Do you use the .ppt format in the webinar or do you need to convert it to another format? (Tami W.) A: ­Actually… I use Keynote (Apple)… but do use PPT as well.  It’s always easier (if you don’t have builds) to convert to a PDF because the file size is smaller. 
  • Q: ­True that YouTube has time limit?  10 or 15 minutes in length?­ (Kim H.) A: ­Yes, YouTube currently has a 15 minute limit, unless you have a producer account.  But, Viddler (unlimited), and Blip.tv have longer limits.
  • Q: ­Do you have any best practices for how to “train” a remote speaker? E.G. we can’t see the speaker’s equipment, what buttons they’re pressing, etc. Some are very inexperienced with webinar technology.­ (Veronica S.) A. Typically we hold 2 sessions with speakers.  The first is a week before the event where we walkthrough the logistics and provide relevant training on the platform we are using.  The next session happens 30 minutes before the start of the call.  We review logistics and training and make sure everyone understands the process.
  • Q: ­What niche markets do you service?­ (Susan B.) A:  WebinarListings serves all webinar types, but the most common categories we have on our site are Business, Leadership, Marketing, Social Media and Technology.  A. At Awareness we work with small-to-large sized organizations who use our software help manage their social media activities through one location.  We don’t have a niche as our clients span multiple industries.
  • Q: ­What is the philosophy on slides?  Personally I like to take notes on a print out of slides.­ (Roger W.) A: I have seen some webinar hosts do that.  The upside is that people can take notes, but the downside for the webinar host is that people will skip around and not pay attention to where you are in the presentation.
  • Q: ­Will you show the social media promotion strategy you use?­ (Jessica R.) A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.
  • Q: ­Mike, you mentioned you use WebEx; have you had the best success with them? Any others you’d recommend – Glance, GoToWebinar, etc…..­ (Nicki H.) A. We have had the best experience with WebEx because they seem to be the best at dealing with large audiences.  Each platform has its pros & cons.  I’d recommend making a list of the features and functions that are most important and trialing the 2-3 vendors that seem to fit your needs before making a final decision.
  • Q: ­Why are most Webinars held at 2PM ET?­ (Dave B.) A: 2pm is a great time for a webinar, as it accommodates most time zones at a reasonable hour.
  • Q: ­Do you always mute attendees during the presentation and then unmute them during Q&A?­ (Terri P.) A: I suggest keeping them muted during the entire webinar (including the Q&A) as it is difficult to control a large group from interrupting each other.  If you have a very small group, you can use the “raise hand” feature most software has, and unmute people when they have a question.
  • Q: Interested in how you incorporate the social media aspects with the webinar (Kim  H.) A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.
  • Q: What’s your position on pricing in today’s competitive webinar landscape? Charge or not charge? (Bob W.) A: It depends if your goals are more geared towards lead generation or revenue generation.  A fee based structure does tend to indicate higher quality, but your attendance will drastically reduce. My personal thought (Rachel) is, make more entry level topics free, and consider charging for higher level topics.  Then people have been introduced to your company in the entry level webinars, and are more trusting of paying.
  • Q: Why use Twitter vs. Webex chat/q&A?  As a participant what is benefit? (Kim H.) A: It’s best to offer both as options, as people prefer to use what is more comfortable to them.   People active on Twitter, oftentimes prefer to tweet questions, if they are tweeting highlights from the webinar there anyway. And, as Mike mentioned, the more people are tweeting, the more awareness you bring to the webinar, which will increase current or future registrations.
  • Q: What is the best way to handle dead noise? For example when we pause for Q&A and no one asks anything – how do you suggest on starting questions flowing? (Gwynne J.) A: Come up with a list of potential questions before the webinar starts, so you can answer them if no one is asking questions.  You can also go back and spend more time on some of the slides you ran out of time to discuss or didn’t spend sufficient time  on.
  • Q: What’s the best way to show videos during webinar?  I’ve tried to show videos but very slow is that wifi issue? (Chris Y. and Deb K.) A: Most of the platforms support video but what we have found is it can be an issue depending on the connection of the participant.  We encourage video on our sessions but have found some end users, with slower connections may have issues. 
  • Q: How many of you have dedicated staff to create program vs. use a intermediary to deal with platform provider/setup? (Kim H.) A: We have this as a component of one person’s function.  You would likely not need to budget a full time employee to accommodate.
  • Q: Has anyone used InnerPass? (Tami W.) A: No experience with them but I will check them out!
  • Q: Has anyone done the Ragan Communications webinars? They are all “pay” webinars. Not cheap. Wonder if they’re worth the price?  (Tami W.) A: No experience with them
  • Q: Length?  Can you hold interest longer than 60 minutes? (Kim H.) A: It’s hard to hold people’s attention on a webinar for much longer than an hour, especially if you are still presenting (versus handing Q&A).
  • Q: Do you have to estimate the number of participants when planning webinar? If so, how do you estimate? (Tami W.) A: You should estimate the number of attendees, to be sure your software platform and phone lines can handle the quantity you’re expecting.  The best way to estimate is to base it on prior webinars you’ve given.  If you’ve never done a webinar before, you could ask another host who had held a similar webinar.

In the last year, the popularity of foursquare, and location-based services in general, has grown significantly.  Last weekend foursquare hit another milestone by passing the three million-user mark.  This is less than two months after they topped two million users. With the growing popularity among users, brands have been trying to figure how they can leverage foursquare as part of their marketing mix.  Several brands have run programs on foursquare featuring branded custom badges, unique check-in tips, and custom landing pages featuring lists of to-do items. While user adoption of foursquare is growing at a staggering pace, many brands are taking a “wait and see” approach before adding foursquare to the marketing mix.

Yesterday, Awareness launched the foursquare Social Marketing Toolkit, which is collection of five pieces designed to help enterprise marketers understand how to leverage foursquare as part of the marketing mix. It’s designed to help sophisticated and novice location-based marketers alike and contains some great sources of information. You can download the foursquare social marketing toolkit here.

For me personally the most informative piece is “foursquare for the Enterprise”, a 45-minute webinar featuring Jason Keath.  Jason weaves actionable advice with real case studies giving marketers an overview of how they can begin to use foursquare in their marketing efforts immediately.  Below is a list of the other pieces included in the toolkit.

  1. “Top 10 Ways Enterprise Marketers Can Leverage foursquare” – graphic eBook
    All the salient points of a 45-page eBook boiled down into an easy-to-consume PowerPoint-like document. Included in the eBook are not only the Top 10 Ways Enterprise Marketers Can Leverage foursquare, but also the top 4 challenges of marketing with foursquare.
  2. “The State of foursquare” eBook
    foursquare is a social network focused on connecting users and allowing them to broadcast their locations using mobile devices including the iPhone, Blackberry phones, and Android phones. In this eBook we will discuss foursquare and how brands can leverage the network as part of their marketing mix. The report features data gathered over the course of the last two months and observational analysis of key brands running marketing programs through the channel.
  3. “foursquare for the Enterprise, A Brave New World” webinar with Jason Keath
    foursquare and several other location-based services (LBS) are the new pretty girl at the party. This webinar breaks down how your business can leverage foursquare and other LBS platforms, reveals emerging foursquare marketing best practices, and how these LBS technologies can improve your other marketing efforts.
  4. “Chapter 21: The Social Marketing Compass, Creating a Social Media Plan” — complimentary download of an entire chapter from Brian Solis’ Engage!
    Brian Solis, author of Engage!, defines the Social Marketing Compass as pointing, “…a brand in a physical and experiential direction to genuinely and effectively connect with customers, peers, and influencers, where they interact and seek guidance online.” He goes on to state, “At the center of the compass is the brand; essentially, everything you do will revolve around it.” He details how the players, platform, channels and emotions all tie together with an enterprise brand to provide you, the Enterprise Marketer, with a Social Marketing Compass to lead you through the new web to help build, cultivate and measure success for your business.
  5. “Chapter 1: Word of Mouth Goes World of Mouth” — complimentary download of an entire chapter from Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics
    Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, describes the current social media movement as a time when, “It’s important to free your content from being trapped in a “walled garden” because people have quickly grown accustomed to the news finding them, and there is no turning back,” and, “Businesses don’t have a choice on whether or not to DO social media, their choice is how well they DO it.”