This past week I attended the National Association of Realtor’s annual convention and expo, and I was amazed to see how few of the 200+ booths were taking advantage of social media and QR codes, less the 10% had QR Codes. What I found interesting is that I was told by many of the exhibitors that 2 years ago, almost every booth had a QR code. This begs the questions; Are the exhibitors assuming that the attendees still don’t get QR codes, or do they no longer care if they do, because they don’t understand the value of this simple tool. I thought I would share some of the “opportunities” I spotted to help those of you planning a booth for upcoming expos, of course your best bet would be to hire Head of Lettuce media to help you integrate the social media into the design, we have gotten quite good at event promotion and building conversation during an event (end shameless plug).
What’s the goal? First you need to consider the goal of your expo experience and your booth. Are you selling product at the booth? Are you looking for leads to follow-up on after the event? Are you looking to establish brand recognition? I know that in many cases you may be doing more than one of these. Consider how Social Media might come into play, in the mix of your booth. If your booth is crowded a well placed QR code could give attendees quick access to your information preventing them from walking away in frustration, because they could not get answers to their questions. I noticed one company using the QR code to allow attendees to enter to win a Kindle.
While their booth may not have been the most impressive, EXP Realty scored a home run in my book with a large QR code, easy to scan which took you to a mobile site which loaded fast (right picture) where you could register as well as get some questions answered. Unfortunately they were in the minority. The majority of QR codes went to websites, and typically they did not use a url shortener the result was very pixellated codes that are hard for some phones to read, if they are not large enough.
This one, while very detailed was made large enough for a quick read, I did give them the free advice to use a url shortener next time, so that it is easier to read. After this, QR codes just got less and less prevalent. Here are some I spotted.
My personal favorite was the use by Century 21 with the QR code at the top of the really tall banner and the others in their booth, hidden by the giveaways. If you are going to go through the effort of using a QR code, don’t tuck it in the corner like you are embarrassed to be using it, instead make it prominent and easy for anyone to scan from anywhere on the floor in front of your booth like EXP Realty did. Don’t make attendees crawl on the floor like some of the examples above. Keep in mind that even though I am mention these companies, good and bad, they all score for at least trying. Over 90% of the booths at the convention had no QR code at all, and even fewer mentioned their Twitter handle or Facebook page, other then having the logos on their booth artwork, you can only assume that their name is their handle. So I do applaud these few for making the effort.
I should mention that the National Association of Realtors did do an excellent job promoting a #hashtag for the event, my measurement using SocialBro on the #NARannual tag showed almost 500 individuals in the conversation, not bad for an audience thought to not understand QR codes.
With the #RNC2012 (Republican National Convention 2012) kicking off this week, it begs the question, how do you take your politics, or social media for that matter. As one who makes a living from studying Social Media I love when anything major happens, because it gives us a chance to study elements of social media at an accelerated pace. A good TV show promoting their hashtag can have the same effect check out #AGT (America’s got Tallent) or #SYTYCD (so you think you can dance) on their respective nights, their audience is very engaged.
I watch the conversation using a few tools, and thought I would share them with you as this week is a great chance to test drive them and find your favorite.
TwitterFall This is one of my favorites, you can enter a few search terms, and each will appear in a different color. I often use this to observe the 45+ twitter accounts I manage personally. Their are simple options, and you do not even need to be on twitter to watch this one.
SocialBro, as I have mentioned before, I like. They are great for monitoring a Hashtag and seeing who the influencers are in the conversation or where the conversation is taking place. They also let you select people from the conversation for following or putting on a list.
Bottlenose is a newer tool in beta that lets you look at a great diagram around the topic, showing the other related tags and you can also tweak it to see topics and who is a leader in the conversation. This is great for spotting conversations that might be related to your primary hashtag. Check out the other tags, as there is a good chance not everyone in those ancillary tags are following the main tag also.
You can also view the data in a few formats, like live
Tagboard another new comer gives you a great newspaper style format. This one is simple to use and great for reviewing material.
SeeS.aw is like Tagboard, but will let you save searches and the stream keeps flowing where Tagboard seems to need to be refreshed (which has its own benefits).
Geofeedia another Beta provides a map of tweets around a location, or a newspaper format. This helps you see also the conversation in the area of an event, when not everyone is using the event hashtag. I used the Tamp Times Forum as a location, even tho the screen shows St.Pete Times Forum (its name changed).
SocialMention offers a nice clean feed with highlights showing Sentiment, Top keywords, hashtags, users and sources. Great for seeing everything involved in the conversation.
Tawlk another beta is great for a live newspaper feed
Hashtracking is another favorite of mine, they are great for showing you the potential size of your audience as well as a ranking of those involved in the conversation.
These are still just a few of the tools available out there, feel free to share any I missed (my goal here was to give some tools you can use during the convention to follow the conversation).
Earlier this week Techcrunch posted an article by Jeremiah Owyang, Brands Start Automating Social Media Responses On Facebook And Twitter. In the article Jeremiah talks about the evolution of social media and the needs of companies to look to elements of automation. I liked the article and believe Jeremiah has made a very accurate assessment of the directions which things are going.
My own belief is that automation and AI in platforms like Twitter and Facebook are a foregone conclusion, it is the only way for a company to cost effectively scale their customer service on twitter. What cracks me up is how so many are acting like it will ruin their experience on those platforms and it is the end of the world. The fact of the matter is that “Social Media” is a result of the conversation on Twitter or Facebook. Is your telephone any less of a phone, because you deal with an automated platform in customer service, No, and twitter will be no less social. We at Head of Lettuce Media always tell our clients that the value of twitter is that you decide who you want to listen to, talk to and engage with. This will not change.
The greater issue in Jeremiah’s article is “what value can those elements of automation bring to the consumer’s experience?”. If I am having issues with a company, and I complain via twitter, do I care how my problem is resolved as long as it is resolved to my satisfaction? No, I don’t, if it’s done properly, they can make me happy, compensate me for my inconvenience and even win me as an advocate. The true challenge is in the writing and structuring of these accounts.
At Head of Lettuce Media, we do a lot of theoretical testing in twitter, trying to better understand elements of automation and artificial intelligence. Many of the tests are under wraps untill they have run their course. The interesting thing is that many people enjoy interacting with AI accounts as much as they do with an individual, and they don’t seem to notice or mind. I believe part of the experience with a twitter account has to do with the account being true to its nature and well scripted.
The tale of Social Media RockStar: This past January while emceeing at Ignite Tampa Bay I ended up improving for about 25 minutes, because of technical difficulties in the beginning. Well I decided it was time to spill the beans on two of our AI accounts, Socialmedia_rs and UnfollowedYu.
While I want to focus on SocialMedia Rockstar, let’s take a quick look at what we learned from Unfollowedyu. Unfollowedyu tested two elements of interaction specifically to see what their value is on Klout he follows everyone using unfollowers to announce that people are unfollowing them (no idea why, it’s like screaming ”look at me, I am uninteresting, I turn people off), he then unfollows them to get them to mention him, and when they do, he sends them ways to cope with being unfollowed (side note: while I don’t agree with announcing it, I do think it is a good metric to watch privately as it is an indicator of how your message affects your audience. See also TweetEffect).
Now for those of you rolling your eyes, stop and think for a moment of what we are learning here. He follows people, unfollows them, that causes them to mention him, he then sends them a message, and many still reply to that. This means he has a conversation with every single person he follows/unfollows. Today his Klout is a 34, not huge, but he shows us if you at least say hi, or find some way to talk to everyone who follows you, you will be perceived as engaging.
Getting back on topic, let’s look at SocialMedia Rockstar as he is one of our best functioning AI accounts, who I believe at times could pass the Turing test. Granted he is still a baby, but he is growing in his abilities. Most important, and I believe this applies to any account, he is true to his being, which means he tells you up front who he is (an egotistically self-obsessed “guru”).
Let’s break down what he does, forgetting about the silliness for a second;
- He finds his audience based on their conversation (he does not initiate conversations with individuals as I feel there is a line in the sand there separating him from spamming. Personally I hate automated “welcome aboard” and other messages).
- He puts out content that others find value in, how do we know, well in May this year, he was retweeted 296 times and mentioned 335 times, not great, but not bad either. His Klout is a 51 today.
- He talks to those who talk to him, staying true to his form.
- He is fun and entertaining.
Reading thru the comments with so many people talking like it will be the end of “social media” it made me realize that to many people look at Twitter and facebook as social media, this brings me back to my point, and that is; Twitter and Facebook are not social media, and not everything that happens on them is, but social media is that interaction that happens and flourish in those environments. Thoughts?
This past Feb. 6-7th 2012 was Social Fresh East and we at Head of Lettuce Media decided to join the event as a Sponsor, and when given the chance to have a booth, we decided to trade the booth in for some tickets (Special Thanks to Jason of Social Fresh for assisting in this unique request) that we could give to some deserving up and comers in the social media community who could benefit from a free ticket…ok, the tickets were not free, I asked the chosen to give me a blog on what the three best things were that they came away from the event with, well here is what they had to share. – Antony
The people that benefited the most from the Social Fresh East conference came early and stayed late, were open to new ideas, and got involved in on-site and online networking. If you don’t ask a question, you won’t get the answer. Those answers came from social conversations and during presentations. Social Fresh as a company and this conference’s amazing speakers are still answering and posing questions. They are still “being human” and providing social media content that “has value.”
The concept of being human and providing social media that has value were brought up by Scott Monty, of Ford Motor Company during his keynote. He also introduced a concept that I wrote down and need to keep in mind. His goal of integrating the “earned”, “owned”, and “paid” social media for his campaigns. “Earned” is the most exciting of the three, as it involves being re-tweeted, quoted, and a part of traditional news sources. It also would pertain to YouTube sensations whose videos have earned them viral status. Being human and providing value help with the earned.
The theme of targeting current fans of the product or company also was evident in talks by Scott Monty, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Christopher Penn of WhatCounts, and other speakers. Mr. Monty stated a brilliantly simple thing that “people like what they like.” That’s probably not an exact quote, but he built on this to say, you probably won’t “like” or “follow” Ford in social media if you didn’t already have a positive experience with them. When working on my own social media, and with the clients I assist, I plan to reach out to current customers more than people who have never heard of these companies and brands.
Also evident and important was blogging often, including guest blogging. I have been following some great blogs by Social Fresh, HubSpot, Argyle Social, WhatCounts, Convince & Convert, and other companies who were represented by very personable, funny, and knowledgeable speakers. I list the companies, but could just as well say Jay Baer, Christopher Penn, Eric Boggs, etc. because, they write blogs that are human and have value when representing their company.
Thank you Antony Francis and Amber Osborne (MissDestructo) of Head of Lettuce Media for selecting me as one of your distinguished attendees, Jason Keath and Corey Creed of Social Fresh for your hospitality and continued dialog on Facebook and Twitter, Shauna Causey of Nordstrom for the inspiration and friendship on Pinterest and Clipboard, and Chris Penn of WhatCounts for your LinkedIn connection. Chris, what you know about Google Analytics and analyzing ROI for campaigns, e-mail, and social media is truly something that I appreciate and aspire to develop in my continued studies.
Social fresh Tampa came through town this past week and I had the opportunity to attend (kudos to Antony Francis of Head of Lettuce Media and company for the ticket).
So what the heck is Social Fresh? Social Fresh is a conference that has been touring the country for the last few years that promotes..well, all things social. Facebook, twitter and a whole host of social networks you may of may not have heard of as of yet. All together, there were thirteen speakers over the two day seminar. The complete list can be found here http://socialfreshconference.com/event/east-2012/. There was really was an incredible amount of great information and ideas at the event.
On the first day of the event, Kipp Bodner from Hubspot talked about b2b leads for social media. He started off by mentioning that 73% of CEOs do not believe that marketing drives business. This is an in incorrect assumption. Marketing is all about generating leads and a constant supply of fresh leads is the very force that drives the growth of companies. One issue with marketers as he points out is that marketers are creative people and have to become more revenue focused. There is a fine line between focusing on revenue and keeping the creative juices flowing when it comes to marketing. Kipp also mentioned three key elements that are absolute must haves as far as social media goes.
First, we must build our social media footprint. We must follow, friend and connect as much as possible and also leverage existing contacts that we may have missed. The content has to be relevant and engaging or people will not care or pass the info to their peers.
Second, every time a new blog or article goes out, let everyone know across all mediums, email, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter at the very minimum, the more the better. On average, people are exposed to over 5000 ads a day, so the larger your network, obviously the better.
Finally, we must ask for people to take action. This applies to all things marketing, not just the social side. Everything that goes out to the social networks needs a strong call to action. Give away a free eBook or an audio interview or have a contest. Just ask for the customer to take action and measure the results of that effort. Learn from these actions and move forward.
On the second day of the event, the speaker I enjoyed the most from was Jay Bear of socialpros.com. Jay stressed the importance of connecting Facebook and email. He went further to advise that new (Facebook) is not necessarily better and most of us suffer from shiny object syndrome. It keeps us from moving forward and being productive if we allow it. Jay went on to compare email and Facebook in an interesting fashion, email is Madonna and Facebook is Lady Gaga, an interesting but effective analogy. Basically email got a fresh coat of paint in the form of Facebook. Email however is still the proven standard. Although the seminar was very informative, I personally see social media as just a small piece of the marketing pie. It’s best used as a tool for consumer feedback and perhaps brand building. It is best to stick with the tried and true methods and to measure and test all efforts. I would give no more than 10% to the R&D department. The bottom line is to sell something or get the customer to take action somewhere along the funnel. We need to build trust and relationships and strive to provide solutions that the customer needs. Provide constant value and you’ll have happy customers for life.
Social Fresh EAST offered a fast paced, in-depth look at Social Media management from industry leaders. With 14 speakers from a variety of different backgrounds and approaches, each presentation offered a unique approach to using and expanding traditional efforts in social media.
Social is Equal Parts Words & Numbers. Argyle Social’s Eric Boggs, day one presenter, detailed social media facts and statistics. SMM monitoring and tracking was a big theme throughout the event. It quickly became apparent that with a growing list of tools and services, knowing Social Media trends for your company or brand is essential.
Engagement is Key. Having frequent call to actions is just the start. With social media, interaction is the success to community building and brand advocacy. Scott Monty of Ford Motor Company said, ”Comments aren’t conversation.” Its about offering content and engaging followers.
Trial and A/B Testing. Even the best Social Media campaigns require a little trail and error. Christopher S Penn from What Counts explained, “You can hear millions of ‘best practices’ or ‘experts’ but you need to test for yourself, always.” Meanwhile, Jay Baer from Convince & Convert suggested using A/B testing for email lists.
Pinterest: The New Social Media On the Block. Its not like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, instead its a visual approach to sharing. Shauna Casey of Nordstrom spoke about this phenomena on Day 2 of Social Fresh. Since this speech, the buzz around Pinterest has steadily been growing with brands flocking to make their presence known.
Ultimately, Social Fresh EAST showed that social media management need not be a mystery. With the right training, monitoring tools and testing techniques, Social Fresh EAST proved that there is no longer an excuse to “just wing it” when it comes to your brand and emerging social community.
Author Bio: Catherine Williams, is a freelance SEO content writer. You can learn more about her writing and rates by visiting http://UrgeContent.com
Connect with Catherine on Twitter: @GwinevereRain and share fun interests on Pinterest.
This past week we took part in the Clear Music Jazz Series with Eric Darius, and had an incredible time. We Sponsored the event assisting with their promotion and social media needs, We also gave away some tickets via Facebook and Twitter. One of our winners, Cyndee Haydon wrote a beautiful blog about the event and we just had to share it, WTG Cyndee, enjoy
I’ll warn you now, this is going to be a little bit of a rant as there are two things that have really been getting under my skin. Lately it seems like I’m getting more and more DMs from people I’m following on Twitter. So I thought would write this as a public service announcement on how not to suck at twitter or get Unfollowed by me.
Pet peeve #1 just because I follow you, it does not mean I “like” you, it just means I’m checking you out to see if we might hit it off on Twitter. I’m hopeful that I might learn something from you, and maybe offer you something in return.
If I just started following you on Twitter and you ask me to like your fan page on facebook I can’t help but wonder if you missed the fact that I choose to follow you on Twitter, not Facebook. If you can’t hold my attention on twitter, I am not going to expose myself to more from you. Sending a DM to someone who just followed you, promoting anything is just bad form, and an express ticket to being Unfollowed, because it shows me you don’t understand social media, although it does flag you as a potential lead for Head of Lettuce Media. If you work for a social media company and you are doing this, you look like a real dope offering me classes in social media, especially if you are demonstrating by your actions that you just don’t get it.
If you have a fan page or website that you want to share, be interesting enough to make me want to connect further with you, I will look at your Twitter bio to find out more about you, place your link there, but don’t cram it down my throat and don’t make it a condition of getting to know you. Even if you tweet a shameless plug once every 4-5 tweets, you will be less annoying.
Pet peeve #2 So-as-So uses TrueTwit validation service. To validate… I can not think of a more annoying thing to do to potential new followers then to make then jump through the stupid hoop of TrueTwit validation. I understand the basic goal behind TrueTwit and believe it has some merit, however the way it functions now is more annoying then a social virus. They give you the option to sign up so you don’t have to endure validating yourself again, however now according to Truetwit “If you are TrueTwit Basic user, a new follower who you aren’t already following and who is not already a TrueTwit user will get sent a validation request.” this means they will be bugging everyone who goes to follow you.
If there is a moral to this rant, it is this…social media is a communication platform of convenience, and making people jump through hoops before they even know if they really want to know you is not the way to make a first impression, in fact, if you use it, it is an express ticket to being unfollowed by me. #KillTheAutoDMs
I had someone raised the question about the advantage of one vs the other, and I found this great article that I thought summed it up well. Personally I am a fan of QR codes as they seem to be the VHS of the two and the Microsoft Tag is a little more like Beta, well thought out, just not as popular. Just go looking at ads and see which one you see more often.
I was fortunate to score an invite to Rockmelt early after its launch and I have been playing with it to give those who have not had access to it yet
an idea of whether or not they should be chomping at the bit for this new toy that is teasing us all with the “invite only” method that Google tortures us all with when they release any cool new application. First I have to say I am not knocking the method of launch, I think it is sheer genius as it builds excitement and gives the company a chance to ramp up the application, making sure that it is sound. The risk is that no one wants to see the general public react to their product like Google Wave, which even though I love it, was not worthy of such buzz.
In the case of Rockmelt, I also put it on my 14 yo daughter’s computer, and she fell in love with it, because of the way it keeps your social media content at the tip of your fingers. She could easily chat with her friends while continuing working on the site she was on.
The browser shows on the left side which of your Facebook friends are online, and can be set to just show you “Favorites”, on the right you can place quick links to your social media feeds, and it will show you the number of new updates as well as give you quick access to pop up sidebars to review those feeds without leaving the website your on.
The benefits of this browser, it makes it easy for anyone to stay on top of their social media feeds without having to have multiple browser tabs or windows open. The twitter feed seems to be limited to your full timeline or your mentions, I have not yet found a way to post list feeds to the sidebar yet, hopefully this is my short fall and not the browsers, as without the ability to track specific lists, you need to deal with the entire timeline, which isn’t bad if you aren’t following more than 100 active individuals.
The short coming of Rockmelt seems to mostly affect those of us with large twitter accounts and multiple lists, or multiple twitter accounts under our management. However I still like using it as a frame for my Hootsuite. Over all I think the browser is great for most people.