Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Social Media MarketingAs we embark on 2012, the team at Awareness, Inc. consulted with the best and the brightest in marketing, strategy, technology, business and social media marketing to help us identify the top news, analysis and trends resources for social marketing and social technology.  Our industry is among the most dynamic, with many voices reporting, analyzing and advising on social technology, social media developments, successes, and best practices. To help you navigate the active social news space, we compiled this Ultimate Guide to the Top Marketing, Technology and Social Media Resources.  This guide aggregates resources quoted by leading strategists such as David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Jason Falls, and Jay Bear, top analysts and influencers Jeremiah Owyang, Debi Kleiman, Laura Fitton, David Berkowitz, brand leaders such as Ekaterina Walter, Michael Pace, and Pam Johnston, and agency visionaries Steve Rubel, Mike Troiano, and Jonas Klit Nielsen in our free report on 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, to name just a few.  The Ultimate News Resource Guide also contains the collective input from over 300 marketers from a cross-section of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing experience (we recently polled these marketers for our upcoming annual report on the State of Social Media Marketing to be published in mid January) and asked them about their top information resources and their sources of inspiration.

Here it is – the 55 Top Marketing, Technology and Social Media Marketing News, Analysis and Trends Resources in alphabetical order:

1.   AdAge @adage

2.   AgencySpy @agencyspy

3.   All Things Digital @allthingsd 

4.   Altimeter Group @altimetergroup

5.   Around the Net in Online Media

6.   Around the Net @aroundthedotnet

7.   Awareness, Inc. @awarenessinc

8.   Big Think @bigthink

9.   BoingBoing @BoingBoing

10.  Brian Solis’ Blog @briansolis

11.  Bull Dog Daily Reporter @BulldogReporter

12.  Business Insider @SAI

13.  Chris Brogan’s Blog @chrisbrogan

14.  Convince & Convert @jaybaer

15.  Customer Collective @yourcustomers

16.  Darwin Awareness Engine Blog @darwineco

17.  Direct Marketing Association @DMASocialMedia

18.  Editors and Publishers @EditorPublisher

19.  eMarketer @eMarketer

20.  Exploring Social Media @JasonFalls

21.  FastCompany @FastCompany

22.  Forrester @Forrester

23.  Gartner @Gartner_inc

24.  Harvard Business Review @HarvardBiz

25.  Jeremiah Oywang  @jowyang

26.  Lifehacker @lifehacker

27.  Mari Smith @MariSmith

28.  MarketingProfs @MarketingProfs

29.  MarketingSherpa @MarketingSherpa

30.  Mashable  @mashsocialmedia

31.  Media Post @MediaPost

32.  MediaGazer @mediagazer

33.  Newsmap @Newsmap

34.  Pulse @pulsepad

35.  ReadWriteWeb @RWW 

36.  Robert Scroble @Scobleizer

37.  SmartBlog on Social Media @SBoSM

38.  SmartBrief on Social Media @SmartBrief

39.  Social Commerce Today @marsattacks

40.  Social Media & Marketing Daily

41.  Social Media Examiner @smexaminer

42.  Social Media Times @socialtimes

43.  Social Media Today @socialmedia2day

44. @socialROI

45.  Socialnomics @equalman

46.  Summify @summify

47. @techcrunch

48.  Techmeme @Techmeme

49.  The Next Web @TheNextWeb

50.  Trendsmap @Trendsmap

51.  Venture Beat @VentureBeat

52.  WSJ Media Marketing @WSJMedia

53.  WSJ Tech @WSJTech

54.  Wired @wired

55.  Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) @womma

Besides these top resources, today’s marketers heavily rely on their Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook feeds to get to the top news and developments in our industry.  You can follow these Twitter lists to easily get the latest from some of the top experts, and from our top resources, listed here. If you are looking for the top CMOs using Twitter, then look no further than this list of Top CMOs on Twitter.  You can also read about how CMOs are engaging with Twitter. And one final Twitter tip – if you want to know when your top journalists are tweeting about your brand or relevant industry terms, use this new handy tool from Muck Rack.

And as David Meerman Scott reminds us, some marketers also get their insights from their peers – they make it a conscious effort to attend industry events and conferences where they get first -hands insights from their colleagues on what works and what’s in store next.

Don’t be shy – let us know if we missed some of your favorite resources. Experts and marketing leaders you follow not on this list? You have our word – we will update this top list based on your feedback. You can also download our free report 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, containing insights and predictions from 34 business strategy and marketing experts. Connect with us on Twitter #AwarenessSMM on Facebook at Social Media Marketing Best Practices and Social Media Marketing Mavens Pages or LinkedIn at the Social Media Marketing Mavens Group.

Photo Credit: webtreats  154 Blue Chrome Rain Social Media Icons Used Under a Creative Commons License

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Six Tenets of Social BehaviorOne of the aspects I enjoy most about my job at Awareness is the ability to hear and share insights about the future of social marketing and to connect with inspiring thought leaders such as Errol Apostolopoulos, head of innovation at Optaros, an e-commerce solution provider focused on innovated experiences for leading retailers and brands such as Rue La La, Puma, and Macy’s. Optaros is focused on social commerce innovations that create new closed-loop experience for increased revenues, along with back-office enablement of services to improve product information and management efficiencies.

On the social innovation front, Errol and his team spend a lot of time helping leading brands and retailers tap into social connections to drive new business. I chatted with Errol on the lessons learned from his work and the emerging best practices in social commerce that transcend the boundaries of commerce and can be applied to all social marketing efforts and industries.

The Three Pillars

Errol started by sharing his philosophy on what makes social marketing successful. In his view, there are three pillars to a full social strategy:

1. Social marketing activities that drive product awareness and traffic;

2. Conversion best practices using tools and tactics along your product catalog experience, such as rating and reviews, that support the consideration stage during the buying cycle; and

3. Social commerce, which is a new way of shopping that takes the social context into account from the get-go.  “Private sales have no search button; it’s a browsing experience that’s built on a time-based  group behavior, exclusive to a shopping club,” explains Errol.

Social Commerce and the Social Internet

Social Commerce and the Social InternetThis entirely new buying experience is built on a social business model. “There is no SEO, there is not the traditional customer acquisition strategy,” he said. It’s all done through viral advocacy and incentives that are driven by the customer membership. Enter the age of the “Second internet, or the social internet.” What Errol is referring to is the “evolution of the awareness that people are interconnected now.” This power can be utilized to do many things. It’s no longer an individual browsing or shopping experience. At first, the Internet gave us the power to research, where Google was the prominent player. It was about the individual researching and getting information, the individual finding out what to buy. To a certain degree, this first push was driven by “the convenience and wealth of information that I now have access to.” This new social movement, with its leader being Facebook, is all about the fact that “we’re connected and aware of each other. It’s not a one-to-one relationship between me and the brand; it’s a whole interconnected group, and our nature to be socially connected now is an experience that drives new ways of behaving,” continued Errol.

The Six Tenats the Drive Social Behavior

Six tenets drive social behavior and social psychology[1], Errol said, and these tenets come into play in varying degrees when people make decisions. These tenets are not only the drivers of social behavior, but, in Errol’s view, also the recipe for success for any social marketing strategy or campaign.

1. Social Proof: We as individuals tend to follow the crowd. Crowd-sourcing businesses that have successful used this principle abound – from music discovery platforms like OurStage to fashion prediction communities such as Krush.

2. Authority: People want to follow an authority, such as a brand, retailer, or an expert. For example, when a well-known designer like Naeem Khan, who has twice dressed Michelle Obama for black-tie state dinners, says feathers are going to be the next new fashion trend, people would have a desire to buy apparel and accessories with feathers.

3. Liking: We’re willing to follow people we like, admire, or find attractive. Look no further than Kim Kardashian’s Twitter followers which are approaching 10 million.

4. Interest: People tend to make decisions that are aligned with their particular self-selection, interest group, or passion point. “If I’m a golf enthusiast, I want to have the latest equipment or the latest gear, because I want the world to know that I’m a golf enthusiast,” explained Errol.

5. Scarcity: Things that are rare have higher value. If there are only five left of a product, “there’s this indication that other people all found it valuable, so it must be.” This is what private sales experiences tap into, said Errol, where “there’s limited inventory and you have to get there quickly or else it’s going to go, because when you arrive there are all these other items that are sold out.”

6. Reciprocity: We have an innate desire to pay it forward, or share and make decisions based on a service, incentive or a group reward provided to us. We are more likely to want to repay that reward. This is the basis of viral advocacy and viral customer acquisition.  If people receive great customer service, they will likely become an advocate of the service. “Zappos is a great example of great customer service,” shared Errol.

Equipped with these six great social behavior insights, I asked Errol how social commerce leaders measure the return on their efforts. “It’s ultimately the same as with any other initiative – it is about revenue, membership, repeat business, and cost of customer acquisition.” Additionally, he recommended connecting and engaging with key influencers, those most likely to influence their group to buy a certain product or service. “Look for the people who are your best brand advocates; measure their ability to spread the word and impact buying behavior with their circle of influence.”

To see the six social behavior tenets at play, look no further than the current two leaders – the private sale and the group buying industries. “The private sale was a $0 industry in 2007 and is now over $3 billion. Rue La La was bought by GSI Commerce within two years for $250 million; Gilt has only been around for four years and has over a billion-dollar valuation,” he said. Group buying players, led by Groupon and LivingSocial, have all been focused on marketing for local businesses, but ultimately, Errol believes, that the experience is going to evolve and “tap into the willingness to get a collective group of people to help either sell product or work together to get a benefit by participating in a particular program or experience.”

Are you the next Rue La La? Have you employed the six social behavior tenets to grow your business?

Pay it forward by commenting on this blog, Twitter: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook at Awareness, Inc., Social Media Marketing Best Practices and Social Media Marketing Mavens pages, and in LinkedIn Social Media Marketing Mavens Group. To learn how successful companies are employing the power of social marketing, download a copy of our free eBook “The Social Marketing Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing.”

[1] Errol shared that he is a big fan of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and some of the references were derived from that book.

Social Media Marketing by the Numbers.  Infographic via Mashable