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We all know that brands are everywhere on Twitter and for many of us who tweet on a regular basis, a lot of brands are part of our stream. We think that is a good thing, but we find it surprising that so many brands are not actively searching for and truly connecting with their customers. What a lost opportunity for so many brands. So, in the interest of some case studies, we have picked two brands we follow. One is doing it right. And one SHOULD be doing it right, but it isn’t.

BRAND 1: 1-800-GOTJUNK? THEY ARE DOING IT RIGHT

Gotta love Da Junk!

Gotta love Da Junk!

Who would have thought that a junk removal company understands Twitter? Well, we are all better for it. The 1-800-GOTJUNK account is so cool. Why? Here are the reasons:

1. They clearly identify who they are. They say that we are the Twitter admin for the company.
2. They do not promote their business online in a spammy way.
3. They engage with people and create a world where junk is fun.
4. They connect with others and are very nice.

As a result, for us, the next time we need to clean up a room full of old unwanted stuff, we plan to DM the Junk Guys. Perfect.

BRAND 2: WEEI SPORTS RADIO: DOING IT WRONG

Start Engaging, Best Sports Talk Station in America

Start Engaging, Best Sports Talk Station in America

This one baffles us. As you know, WEEI is a Boston sports institution. But their Twitter account weeisports might as well be a Yankee fan. It… [insert well-known Yankee Fan expletive said by Red Sox fans here] Here are the reasons:

1. All they do is post links to their web site. Breaking news, updates, and interviews are fine. But 100% of the time? Has anyone ever seen an @ reply with EEI on Twitter?
2. Someone at the station needs to make the simple connection that Twitter is just like their main product: sports talk radio! Can you imagine the possibilities if they started engaging with their listeners online, just like they do on the radio?
3. Social media is an extension of radio, and Twitter can be the forefront, but they are losing the opportunity. Maybe they just don’t care, or don’t want to engage. Too bad, because…

Now I have started listening more to the The Sports Hub. Maybe they will understand. They talk about Twitter all the time, let’s see some @ replies.

You Have a Chance to Engage on Twitter and Beat EEI

You Have a Chance to Engage on Twitter and Beat EEI

Let’s see who wins.

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Hey, guys

Today was a crazy, fun day. I taught Star Wars Camp to 22 boys under 8 this week and it was fun, although challenging. I’ll take all-day meetings over that, but it is over, and in the end, the boys had a blast. So, no video today, since I am also getting ready for my daughter’s Annie debut tonight in her premiere play! So exciting.

Here is the Follow Friday list and my recommendations:

@activate: I have probably already recommended Jim Delaney and his amazing sports marketing company in Boston, but since he is the second father to my children, he gets another rec. Jim is awesome, savvy, and knows his sports marketing. I do this so I can keep getting good seats to sporting events.

@PaulSegreto: I met Paul through my Chicago sister and adopted Varela, Gini Dietrich. Paul loves his baseball, and he just loves to have a good time on Twitter. Have always loved his vibe.

@retroplustees: Yeah, I have this thing with t-shirt companies, like RizzoTees, another adopted Varela, and this is cool. The Retro Plus is another brother from another mother. Please follow. You won’t be disappointed.

@shashmc: The moment she said that my Spam Police idea was a cool one, I said, done, you get a recommendation today. Yay!

@luiserpa : I love Brazil, and I love Brazilians. I want to be Brazilian. I want to be Luis. A great guy, so cool. And yes, I met him in person through Gini Dietrich. See a pattern here?

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Everyone, and we mean, EVERYONE, is pushing social media on the Internet. Not a day goes by where we don’t receive a link or a message saying that “Yes, social media is here, and we can help.” There is a ton of noise out there, and for the organization or brand that really wants to play in social media, it can be quite confusing. So, what do you do?

Keep these five questions in mind, if you are seriously considering outsourcing your social media campaign:

1. Where are the results? Everyone can tell you that they are successful with social media, but most people cannot back it up with real data. Ask your potential vendors to show the facts: prove how they have driven traffic to a specific site or have increased a client’s product sales.

2. Do you have the resources? Social media is not an automated tool, as much as many tell you that it can be. You still need resources and people time to manage the updates and tweets, engage with customers. We do not recommend 100% reliance on automated tools. Anyone who tells you that is just selling you a sham. Social media is about people engaging other people. For that to happen, your campaign needs people to work it.

3. Do you have the experience? This kind of goes with question 1, but always look for a vendor that has business experience and understands that in the end, a social media campaign is a business venture. Sure, social media can be fun and quirky, when you are out there engaging with people, but be wary of the vendor that gives you a fun and quirky presentation, as if social media were a birthday party with clowns.

4. How authentic are you? Ask your vendors to show you examples of how they would post for you. Force them to do a live demo with their social media accounts. See them “work the room” in real time.

5. I am going to Google you, ok? Vet your vendors. Check them out on Google. For Twitter accounts, check out their grades at Twitter Grader. Look at places like TwitBlock to see if your vendors have good reputations online.

Here at v5, we always show our clients how we are doing in real time. We let our experience speak for itself. We never overhype or overpromise. Social media is a marathon. You need resources and you need dedication. The quick fix won’t work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest.

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About a year ago, I wrote this post on a small-business website and stumbled upon it again. We feel that even after a year on refining our social media presence and expanding our opportunities, this post still resonates. Let us know what you think?

Where Are All the People?
There are times when I am beginning to question more and more whether the emails and posts I receive are even written by actual people. The technology out there is amazing, to the point that a good marketer can run a program on auto-pilot and people might actually believe them. However, for me, it has gotten to the point where I am so inundated by fabulous links, offers to earn cash while you don’t work, promises of overnight money, that I am tuning out. Granted, I tried to use all those tools before, and have found that the following methods actually build better relationships, which lead to better and more lasting business opportunities:

1. Be yourself and write it yourself: I truly believe that more people will respond to you if you are actually writing the messages yourself. There is something to be said about being genuine. In fact, I am thinking more and more that if you actually take the extra effort to try and personalize each message, whether it is to a business contact and a prospective customer, you will have a greater chance of getting a positive response.

2. Be a pro: A pro presents opportunities in a respectful manner that does not insult or offend the prospect. A pro doesn’t pressure, doesn’t mislead or doesn’t deceive. Stay true to yourself. Be responsive and respectful. In the end, you will build loyalty and trust. That might take time, but that is what builds relationships. And strong relationships create strong opportunities.

3. Use your voice: When in doubt, make a call and talk with the business contact or prospect. No email or post (or video) will ever replace the human voice. A phone call is more valuable than the best targeted email campaign.

4. Actually MEET people… in person: Have I ever closed an opportunity without meeting the individual? I would say that 95% of the time, I had to have a face-to-face. Even when I have dealt offshore with people, eventually we find a way to meet each other in person. Try connecting with people in person, you’ll like it.

There’s a reason why social networks are growing. People still believe in relationships, although I long for the day when we can actually have a social network that would gather us all together somehow so we can have that face-to-face and not leave our homes. Now that would be cool. Hope it happens in my lifetime.

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Are you feeling like this when it comes to your social media efforts?

This Social Media Thing is Too Much!

This Social Media Thing is Too Much!

Yes, you have done it all. You have your Twitter account, you have your Facebook account, you are on other sites, you are writing great blogs, and you have a gazillon friends. You are raring to go, ready to conquer the world and get your pages and your business up the rankings.

Weeks pass, you tweet all the time. You get tons of @. Your FB fans love you. You made connections with every country in the world. This is going great.

You check your stats. Traffic hasn’t changed much. You check your sales. Still the same. All you keep thinking is: all this tweeting and posting and status updates have done NOTHING. You feel like doing this:

Well, we are here to help. Here are 5 “big picture” tips to make the best of your Social Media Expectations, with the understanding that you should ALWAYS follow the #1 Non-Negotiable Rule of Social Media: Always be yourself, don’t stop being yourself, genuinely connect with others, and NEVER just shout out your awesome business opportunity 24/7. People will tune you out immediately.

Here goes:

1. Start small, stay focused: Target one thing. What does your business want to do online? Launch one product? Shout out a new announcement? At v5, we went into social media with one goal: promote Fernando Varela. That is it. And we because of this focus, we have just begun to grow and expand to other parts of our business, after 9 months of just focusing on Fernando.

2. Social Media Time = Appointment Time: Treat your daily Social Media like a business appointment. Treat it like a client. Add it to your calendar and work it. Rinse, repeat, and do it again the next day.

3. Engage, engage, engage: Remembering the #1 Non-Negotiable Rule of Social Media, submerge yourself and interact with your base. Be friendly, positive, initiate the conversation, push your stuff authentically and with honesty. You would be surprised what happens when you reach out in a geunine way, and not in a “check out my business now or else” way.

4. Be social, but not always: Saying hi and saying “this social media thing is awesome, I have met so many people” can only go so far. Start understanding what your different groups need and then provide that need. For example, when we launched Publish on @PublishGroup, we focused on the book publishing community, who are struggling to understand how the digital content movement is disrupting their world. So, what we do everyday is find relevant links about these challenges and tweet about them. We believe this adds value to that community.

5. Find a purpose and refocus: Yeah, we know this sounds like the first one, but it is an important one: if you find yourself just laughing and joking and having fun with your groups (and that is not a bad thing) and feel your work is being ignored, stop, and say: “My next tweet/post/update is going to add value to my online world.” Find something interesting (news, blog, event) that pertains to your group and post it. Redirect yourself, and then have fun after you feel this ship is right.

Pretty soon, you will be feeling like this. Hit it, JB!

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Ok, here is my Follow Friday video for August 7

Here are the people I am recommending today and that I mention in the video:

@StaciJShelton
@mlomb
@LauraJDaley
@SampaDee
@thatwoman_soho

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Here is my list and a shout out also to Raúl Ramos and His América Libre Novel. It is really good. Hope you like the video.

Here is the list of people I mentioned in the video:
@Raul_Ramos
@AnaRc
@rpolanco3
@ElCotorro
@artepublico
@martavines

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