Monday, February 6, 2012

Engaging with Facebook

In our last class, we had a great discussion about several social networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and a relative newcomer, Pinterest. With the exception of LinkedIn, most of these are generally used by consumers to interact with family and friends, you know, to be social. Brands do have an opportunity to become part of the conversation; we certainly saw many brands aiming to do just that during the Superbowl ads (mostly via Twitter hashtags, or labels).

Consumers will ultimately be the ones who decide how much you are able to reach them via Facebook by how much they engage with your brand on that platform. So, how can you get them to interact?

eMarketer recently shared some good information about what makes a Facebook post more likely to be engaging for consumers. As we discussed in class, photos are the number one way to get someone to interact with your Facebook page; the photo engagement rate was .37% vs .31% for video and .27% for text only. The article also pointed out that photos will continue to be powerful tools as Timeline reaches across more Facebook users (and potentially to brand pages as well). Here is one chart from the article:

The article goes on to discuss other ways to encourage engagement based on what words are used in the page's status update.

Don't assume consumers will see your Facebook updates in their news feeds just because they "like" your page. It is critical to get them to interact with you on that page. Ultimately, that's what we want, isn't it - to get our customers and prospects to build a relationship with us so we can sell to them or service them (and their friends) in the future? Keep it up for the long-term to see the best results.

What creative Facebook status posts from brands have you seen that have encouraged interaction? The photo at the top of this post is a screen shot of what Sanuk did recently on their Facebook page; love the long distance high five! I'd love to hear what you think works!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Building Connections with Blogging

Since I started teaching Marketing via New Media at UC San Diego, I have had over 200 students come through the door. They have each spent 9 weeks in my class learning about how to use social media to better communicate with customers and prospects, as well as to build longer lasting connections with customers. (And don't forget listening!)

Each of these students had to embark on a 9-week blogging journey. They learned how to write blogs, how to add in photos to enhance the content, how to link and comment on other blogs, and how to build a community with each other. My students tell me it is one of the best experiences they have during their time here at UCSD.

As my newest class gets ready to embark on their own blogging adventure, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the stellar blogs that have been created by students over the past four years that I have been teaching this class. I am amazed that these students are still blogging from their class blog (a few were blogging before the class started...) Perhaps they will inspire my new students in their blogging endeavors!

A Sampling of Student Blogs
bloggingaroundtheworld This blog comes from one of my very first students, Nicoletta Staccioli, who lives in Rome. She was one of my international students. Although she has taken a little break from her blog, it has always been very insightful as well as inspiring for me to see the passion it sparked in her!

FoodandUs This blog comes from Jessica, who shares a combination of pictures of restaurant food and of food she has cooked herself. It is a very authentic, fun blog and has inspired me to take more pictures of my own food!

iDownShift A simple photo blog, using Tumblr, which shares pics of exotic cars.

Secrets in San Diego Written by Jenn Boyd, a very active social media person here in SD who is also a part of the Social Media Club San Diego. An interesting blog; even San Diegans will find something new here!

Such Small Steps A personal blog written by Erin, one of my more recent students (who helped me with some book marketing ideas, too!). She had already been blogging for some time and has been continuing her efforts, even attending a blogging conference this week. Enjoy, Erin!

My Beautiful Life Written by Laura Lohr, who is a prolific blogger and is always open to learning something new. Another personal blog about her life and her family.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Start a Blog?

I love that my students all get to start a blog for class. This assignment does two things for you, students.

1)  It helps you learn how much time and energy it takes to keep up a social media "property". Whether it is blog, Facebook, Twitter, or any other tool, there is time needed each week to put up new posts, respond to existing posts, and share news and insights with others. The best way to get a real appreciation for what is involved is to start your own blog.

2)  It helps you create a community around your passion/topic. As you link out to other bloggers, they will get to know you and link back to you. As they do so, some will come and explore your blog and get to know you. They will start leaving comments back, invite you to be a guest blogger in their community, and most likely connect up in other places (LinkedIn and Twitter are two common areas).

If you can't come up with a topic that you would like to blog about, be sure to check out our textbook Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. You will be inspired by Gary and how he has chased his passion.

Finally, for some tips on how to make your blog really work, in addition to the online class lecture, here are 25 great tips on blogging from another friend, Valeria Maltoni, who I look forward to seeing at BlogWorld and New Media Expo 2010 in a few weeks.

Happy Blogging, students!

(Photo credit: my friend Shashi Bellamkonda)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer in San Diego - and Blogging!

Here we are for another summer quarter of Marketing via New Media at UCSD Extension. I am so excited to have this group of students. Each session brings new faces, new questions, and new case studies to review. So much has changed since I first started teaching this class.

My very first quarter teaching this class, 3 summers ago, I asked the class how many were on Twitter. No hands went up. How many on Facebook? About 50% of the hands went up. How many blogging? One. How many on MySpace. A handful.  How about last week, the first class of the new quarter?

How many students were on Twitter - about 60%
How many on Facebook? I think just about all hands went up (one or two may not have)
How many blogging? A handful
How many on MySpace? No one was willing to admit this!

Times certainly have changed - from a technology perspective. However, this class does not focus on just technology. We look at the strategy of building customer relationships via social media. That strategy does not change! This is one of the main reasons that I use Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff as my course textbook. It has a solid footing in the strategy of social media - not just the cool, new technologies.

I am also using Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk as a course textbook. Gary has a definite passion for customer relationships, and I want my students to experience that passion. Gary will be a guest lecturer via Skype our last week of class; get ready for some thunder!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Passion, @GaryVee, Students, and Blogging

One of the textbooks we are using this quarter is Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. It is chock-full of Gary's thoughts and gives people the encouragement to go out and do what they love. We were fortunate to have Gary as our guest lecturer this past Wednesday, and he was incredibly inspiring. Students lined up to ask him a question via our video Skype link, and conversation, laughter, and ideas were flowing. We all had an absolute blast, and I received many comments from students afterwards about how much they enjoyed it. Thank you so much, Gary!!

At the end of the lecture, Gary indicated that he really loved our class (gee, thanks!), and I told him he could keep in touch with them via their class blogs. Yes, each student gets to create their own blog, and the subject can be whatever they are passionate about. In fact, some of the students used their question for @garyvee (his Twitter username) as a chance to ask him about how to optimize what they are doing with their new blog. I love seeing this enthusiasm for blogging!

This is a special class this time around. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's that the classroom is full to overflowing with people who are truly interested in learning how to use social media to build strong relationships. Maybe it is the general acceptance of social media in the business world these days. Maybe I am just fortunate enough to have a classroom full of students that want to Crush It!

Whatever it is, I am loving their blogs. Check them out in the right sidebar under Winter 2010 Student Blogs, leave a comment to encourage the students, and enjoy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Welcome to a new quarter!

We kick off a new quarter of class this week. Case studies have been updated, we already have the non-profit we will be using for our final project (Rady Children's Hospital Auxilliary), and students are already Tweeting about the class.

I am looking forward to meeting all my new students and sharing about why your business would (or wouldn't) want to use social media to market to their customers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

San Diego Chargers and Social Media

We had a fun guest speaker last night, Joel Price from the San Diego Chargers. He shared with us how the football team has been using social media to get closer to its fans and create a "virtual tailgate party". Joel took us on a historical journey of fan interaction during his presentation.

Forums First
The Chargers started out with fan forums (message boards) a few years back. The boards are still in play and tend to be the team's most active and loyal fans (as well as mostly males). These are the people that know the players, all the details behind the players, even the back-up to the back-up quarterback. They are very responsive; ask a question of forum members, and you will get instant feedback (great for a regional market).

Die hard fans - 300,000 of them.

Facebook Comes In
The Chargers next started a Facebook Fan Page. These 75,000+ fans tend to be people who like to be affiliated with the team but are not as deeply into Charger knowledge as the fans interacting on the forums. Interestingly, these also seem to be people that were not being previously reached online. Demographically, they are about 60% male and 40% female.

These fans are more likely to come to games, and they are quick to react to new information. For example, just before coming to speak at the class on Wednesday, Joel posted about the throwback uniforms the team will be wearing at a few games this season. Within the hour, there were already hundreds of people who indicated they "liked" this information, with over 100 comments as well.

Tweet, Tweet
The most recent addition to the Chargers social media efforts is their Twitter feed, @chargers. With over 15,000 followers (and counting), the Chargers were the first NFL team to be on Twitter. In addition to the main account, there are several players that Tweet including @shawnemerriman and @kassimosgood. The latest Tweets are around items such as EA's latest Madden Football 2010 video game (who is in it, what are their ratings, etc), open practices, and the upcoming Chargers FanFest.

Social Media Goals
According to Joel, it is rare for an NFL team to communicate well with its fans. The San Diego Chargers want to break through that barrier and do their marketing by communicating closely with fans - and not in a "hard sell" mode, but in a fan appreciation mode. When asked how social media is currently being measured in the organization, Joel described it this way:
"How do we measure social media? How can you measure a hug? We are giving back to our fans."
Thank you, Joel, for giving back to us and speaking to our class. It was extremely interesting. Go Chargers!

(Photo credit: San Diego Chargers)