Overcoming Social Media Fear: 5 Steps to a Braver Brand

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 27, 2012

Earlier this year, the CFO for Francesca’s Holdings, a retail clothing company, tweeted, “Board meeting.Good numbers=Happy Board,” and in doing so violated SEC regulations regarding fair disclosure. He was fired on the next business day.

In March of 2011, a social media representative at New Media Strategies, a social media marketing agency, who was handling Chrysler’s Twitter account accidentally posted a tweet to @ChryslerAutos that was actually meant for his own, personal account. The tweet read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to [expletive deleted] drive.” The representative was fired from New Media Strategies, NMS was taken off the Chrysler account, and Chrysler found itself scrambling to engage in damage control.

And in July of this year, Celeb Boutique, a fashion company, saw that #Aurora was trending on Twitter and decided to take advantage of the trend by tweeting, “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;)” with a link to the company’s online store. What they didn’t realize, of course, is that the reason #Aurora was trending was because of the tragic incident that occurred at the Aurora Century movie theater during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Understandably, the backlash was instantaneous and extremely damaging.

These are just a few examples of companies and representatives that have suffered the potential pitfalls of social media. They are by no means alone. In the past few years, we’ve seen similar stories from American Red Cross, McDonald’s, former Representative Anthony Weiner, Gilbert Gottfried, and many, many more. Social media snafus happen every day. They’re usually embarrassing, and although they sometimes go by unnoticed, they can also be incredibly damaging, to corporate brands and personal careers alike.

There’s just no way around it; social media can be scary.

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Topics: analytics, Business, business, campaign, compliance, dashboard, education, facebook, fear, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, regulation, regulatory, ROI, social media, strategy, twitter

7 Steps to Social Media Intern Success

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 17, 2012

A lot of social media advisers will tell you, unequivocally, unabashedly, without hesitation, and without reservation, to never, ever, ever, even in times of great desperation, put your company’s social media into the hands of an intern. The reasons they’re likely to cite for this are many; interns are untrained; interns are unproven; interns are untested; interns have limited experience; interns turn over faster than steaks on a grill. And are you really going to entrust your most accessible and spreadable public voice to a college student who is unfamiliar with your company and, in all likelihood, not even on your payroll?

These are all excellent points, and for many people, they outweigh the distinct benefits of intern social media management (namely, interns are cheap, they’re eager, and they tend to be digital natives). But sometimes, a dedicated social media employee just isn’t an option. Non-profit organizations and smaller companies with extreme budgetary constraints (or even budgetary non-existence) can find it impossible to justify the resources needed to manage an ongoing social media presence.

In other words, sometimes there’s no choice: Hire a social media intern, or forego a social media presence altogether.

Despite the warnings of naysayers, though, utilizing a social media intern doesn’t have to be a doomsday scenario. It just requires a little careful preparation.

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, education, facebookt, gremlin, gremln, intern, internship, linkedin, management, media, non-profit, organization, ROI, small business, social, social media, strategy, success, team, twitter

Twitter, UnLinked -- How Twitter's recent changes affect LinkedIn users, and how Gremln can help

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 2, 2012

If you have a LinkedIn account, you probably received an email last week explaining that their relationship with Twitter has changed. Until recently, users could connect their LinkedIn accounts to their Twitter accounts and have their tweets posted automatically to their LinkedIn timelines. In other words, if you posted a tweet on Twitter, it automatically posted to LinkedIn as well. But Twitter has altered its sharing strategy a bit, and it’s closed off LinkedIn’s ability to post users’ tweets on its own site.

The move is a good reminder to LinkedIn, and to all of us, that social networks are constantly evolving. Like so many companies, Twitter is exploring new ways to maximize its product potential, and their search for industry nirvana has caused them to change up their third-party sharing settings. As a result, LinkedIn has had to shift its own product a bit, and all LinkedIn users who have relied on the connection between the two networks to post their tweets to their LinkedIn timelines are going to have to shift their habits a bit, too.

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Topics: adapt, analytics, business, change, dashboard, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, media, news feed, ROI, social, social media, Social Media News, Social Media Updates, strategy, Timeline, twitter

The Power of the Survey

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 2, 2012

Okay, quick survey: How many of you hate taking surveys?

If you just rolled your eyes at even the suggestion of taking a survey, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I couldn’t manage to dig up any actual survey data on how many people refuse to take surveys (for obvious reasons), but I know the number’s pretty steep.

I know it because I’ve been on both ends; the giving (“Well, hm. Why aren’t more people taking my customer survey?”) and the receiving (“Oh man. Another customer survey? Oy.”). Surveys take time, and they’re often pretty dry. Taking a survey isn’t nearly as fun as, say, Rickrolling a co-worker.

But surveys are incredibly important for businesses – what better way to find out what your customer wants than by asking? – and if you think about it, they’re pretty flattering for us as consumers. Businesses create surveys in order to pinpoint our thoughts and attitudes about their products or services, presumably so they can better serve us and make us that much happier with our purchases. It’s a great thing to have the opportunity to enhance, or even alter, a company’s approach to the public marketplace just by sharing your thoughts and opinions. Your voice can, in a very real and literal sense, change a company for the better.

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, education, gremlin, gremln, Gremln News, Marketing, media, ROI, social, social media, strategy, survey

Facebook Fans: The art of passive engagement

Posted by Clayton Smith on June 13, 2012

As social media marketers, we usually tend to focus on Facebook fan engagement and active interaction. And that’s a good thing, not only because each Facebook interaction spreads your social media message to a new circle of people, but also because engaged fans are passionate fans, and passionate fans are likely to become loyal customers. For many of us, the need to engage becomes so all-important that our Facebook strategies can be boiled down into a simple equation: Engagement = Success, Silence = Disaster. Because of this, it’s easy to panic if your Facebook posts go seemingly unnoticed.

But take heart! While engagement is an excellent metric for measuring social media success, silence doesn’t necessarily mean your words are falling on blind eyes.  

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Topics: analytics, Business, business, campaign, crm, dashboard, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, insights, like, Marketing, media, network, ROI, social, social media

Conquering Compliance: Gremln presents new tools for meeting social media standards of regulatory authorities

Posted by Clayton Smith on May 2, 2012

Social media has taken the world by storm over the last several years, but when it comes to corporate usage, there are some industries that have been a little reluctant to embrace networks like Facebook and Twitter. Chief among them are the financial services providers. The reluctance of investment brokers, lenders, insurance companies, and credit unions to tackle social media head-on is due largely to the need for industry compliance. Regulatory agencies like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hold brokers responsible for following strict communications regulations and hand out severe penalties for non-compliance, so it’s not hard to see why many of these companies have deemed social media more trouble than they’re worth.

But with the growing importance of social networks, financial services institutions can’t afford to avoid Facebook and Twitter and still hope to thrive in an ever more digital marketplace. So the question is, how can companies like Gremln help brokers navigate the compliance minefield of social networks?

First, let’s examine what exactly is it about social networking that poses a potential threat to financial services.

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Topics: agnecy, Business, business, compliance, education, facebook, FDA, financial services, FINRA, gremlin, gremln, Gremln News, healthcare, HIPPA, lender, Marketing, media, pharmaceutical, regulation, regulatory, ROI, SEC, social media, Social Media for Small Business, strategy, twitter

Merge Confusion: What to do when traditional promotion and digital marketing don't mix

Posted by Clayton Smith on April 24, 2012

A few weeks ago, I was ordering coffee from a local cafe when the barista’s company t-shirt caught my eye.  Or, to be more specific, the right sleeve of the barista’s company t-shirt caught my eye. Because there was a QR code printed on it.

Hmm.

As someone who works in social media, it’s always exciting to see small businesses trying out new digital marketing tactics. The fact that this coffee shop has so fully embraced the QR code that the managers spent money to have them printed on company t-shirts is proof that there are small business owners everywhere are not just recognizing, but taking advantage of the vast opportunities presented by digital media. The desire to innovate is there. The problem is, it’s sometimes difficult to translate that desire into an effective promotion. It’s easy for us to get so excited about the fact that we’re using new technology that we don’t take the time to evaluate how we’re using it.

The t-shirt QR code is a great example.

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Topics: billboard, Business, business, campaign, code, dashboard, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, instagram, Marketing, media, qr, ROI, Shazam, social, strategy, tactic, twitter

Picture Perfect -- The importance of images in social media marketing

Posted by Clayton Smith on April 17, 2012

If Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram proves anything, it’s that photo sharing is big social media business. (It also proves that Facebook has a whole lot of cash. But that’s another topic altogether.) The importance of images in social media marketing has been pretty widely touted lately, even before Facebook’s big acquisition announcement. And for good reason.

Exhibit A: One estimate from the Harvard Business School study says that about 70% of all Facebook activities revolve around photos, whether people are uploading, viewing, liking, or commenting on them. For a social network with 800 million users, 70% of the activity is nothing to sneeze at.

Exhibit B: Pinterest, a wholly image-based social network, was the fastest independent site in history to snag 10 million unique page visitors. This picture-pinning program is already the third most popular social network in the U.S., and it’s only two years old.

But pictures aren’t just important for individual social media users. They’re also vital for successful social media marketing.

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Topics: Business, business, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, image, instagram, Marketing, media, photo, picture, ROI, social, strategy, twitter

#CustomerService - The power of social media in customer relationship management

Posted by Clayton Smith on April 9, 2012

When it comes to managing a business, there are few phrases more daunting than “customer complaint.” Unhappy customers have been known to send entire customer support teams into cold sweats, and for good reason. A company’s customers are its lifeblood. Making them happy should be at the top of the “To Do” list, which is why a good customer support program is imperative. An easy and organized communications system is vital for connecting with and satisfying unhappy customers. The only problem is, customer relationship management software can be a little expensive, and some of them present a learning curve for your customers, which can act as a barrier to efficient (and positive) communications.

If only there were a fast, efficient, and inexpensive customer support solution available to everyone, one that millions of customers were already using and wouldn’t need additional training on in order to connect seamlessly with the company’s issue resolvers...

Oh. Wait. That program does exist. It’s called Twitter.

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Topics: Business, business, crm, customer, education, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, ROI, service, social, support, twitter

There is Value in Fun: An observation from SXSW

Posted by Clayton Smith on March 16, 2012

There’s a lot to love about South by Southwest, the 10-day music, film, and interactive conference and festival held every year in Austin, TX. The live music, the keynote speakers, the panel discussions, the post-conference parties, and the sheer energy generated by thousands of social networkers converging to celebrate new app launches and long-established social successes alike; it’s all pretty overwhelming, and it can be difficult for any one aspect to really stand out.

SXSW is generally lauded as the conference for launching exciting new social products. After all, it’s where Foursquare debuted in 2009, and though it wasn’t exactly the network’s official launch, Twitter really started gaining attention at SXSW 2007. New apps and services are unveiled in Austin every year, and marketers spend big bucks to make sure their booths and launch parties stand out from all the rest. But the conference can also be a good reminder that marketing promotion doesn’t always have to be expensive or flashy to add value to your product. Sometimes, all you need is a little fun.

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, education, facebook, fun, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, media, network, ROI, skype, social, south by southwest, strategy, sxsw, twitter

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