Monthly Archives: October 2012

Social Media and Online Branding Campaigns

In our previous post, How to Brand Your Company Online, we continued our series with a discussion on how to brand your enterprise online, and we looked at some of the key components of branding online. In this post, we take a look at how to run online campaigns to enhance your brand.

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Online Branding Campaigns

Let’s consider: What is branding? There are lots of definitions, but one that we like was formulated by Chris Levkulich on the BrandingBrand blog:[1]

Branding, in essence, is developing a plan of action that will make your product or company the ONLY solution to its targeted problems. Instead of making you stand out among the crowd of other products and having your product being chosen over the competitors as the best product, branding wants to promote the product as the only product. Like Kleenex.

This cheeky definition goes further than many others, but we like that it defines the ultimate goal of branding: To become inextricably identified with the problem you are solving as its only solution. Marvelous!

Then Levkulich goes on to declare that social media is the future of branding. While we won’t go quite that far, certainly the ability for the real owners of the brand — the people — to affect the perception and the definition of the brand changes the game completely. No longer is the Coke or Wal-Mart or IBM brand strictly what their branding experts say it is through their brand-building, traditional media tactics. Many aspects of a brand are now entirely in the hands of the people who use it, and who discuss it on social media.

When talking about brand, however, often people really are talking about brand recognition — how many people have heard of you? Obviously, social media has a strong role to play in brand recognition.

Every organization with any kind of presence in the larger world has a brand. It’s more than just your name or reputation, it’s what you’re known for, and it’s your promise — to solve a customer problem, to meet a customer need. If you’re not already thinking about what your brand means to your community, it’s time to start, because online, the opportunity for your brand to be known far and wide is great. And you don’t want to fumble this opportunity.

Here are some characteristics you should take into account to build your brand online:

  • Inspire Trust
    One of the best assets of a brand is trust. Let’s face it. If your community doesn’t trust your brand, you’re out of luck. Everything you do online should build trust. This means doing what you promise to do, and refrain from negative activities, such as criticizing competitive brands or individuals.
  • Maintain Integrity
    Integrity goes hand-in-hand with trust. Wal-Mart compromised its brand integrity with its fake-blogger campaigns (discussed in the Social Media Approach section in our book).
  • Build Brand Confidence
    Brand confidence is the result of positive brand trust and integrity. Your community is confident that you will deliver what you say you will. You become the go-to brand for your solution.
  • Deliver on the Promise of Your Brand
    When you look at how brands originally came to be and how they evolved, you can see that the modern brand is a promise. Derived from the Old Norse brandr, meaning “to burn,” branding began with livestock as a way to declare ownership. The first consumer brand was registered by Pears soap in the 19thcentury, but attempts to use branding to distinguish the quality of the product from others were common by the last days of Pompeii. It was the industrial revolution, and the extension of a maker’s potential market beyond the local community that produced many of the modern components of brand — the promise of integrity and the beginnings of consumers’ relationships to brand. More recently, a brand became a proxy for the unique selling proposition — the superior qualities of the product — and that aspect of brand is very important in social media today.So what is your promise? Can everyone associated with your organization put this promise into words? Understand your promise, deliver on the promise online, and ensure that your online efforts never betray it.
  • Personality/Personalness
    In social media, we obviously think it is important to Be a Person. Thus your online brand should have a personality, embodied in the people who engage your community. There are, of course, risks in involving your staff in your branding efforts, but there’s really no other choice. It can blow up as in our Nestlé example — a community manager who was insufficiently trained causing a ruckus — but it can just as easily have extremely positive effects, as in our Ektron example — a community manager who engaged with a negative poster and produced, in the end, an endorsement. No matter what you think about employee engagement online, your brand must represent your people, and not a faceless, monolithic enterprise.

Based on these qualities of the modern brand, your online branding campaigns should exhibit high integrity and emphasize the people involved in your business.

The ASUS entry in our Social Media Hall of Shame is an example of a brand campaign that failed due to integrity problems.

Computer-maker ASUS created a blogging competition at by picking six people and asking them to blog about products they’d been given for review. Readers were then to rate the blogs and the winner would be able to keep the reviewed products.

Things did not go the way ASUS managers hoped, however, since the readers picked an honest, but not perfectly positive, review by Gavyn Britton. Faced with endorsing and publicizing a review that revealed some faults in their product, ASUS changed the rules of the competition — several times. Instead of the ASUS community voting on the winners, the six bloggers themselves voted to decide the prize, resulting in Emma Hill winning.

It’s incredible to think that an online community would be hoodwinked by this duplicity. When challenged by its community, ASUS said they had upgraded the prizes the bloggers got, but did not apologize for fixing the race.

ASUS is a little known brand in the US that doesn’t spend as much as its big PC-maker com­petitors on building its brand. Chances are good they chose an online brand-building event due to its relatively low cost. Instead of positively building their brand, however, it can be argued they did damage.

What could ASUS have done differently?

    • Acknowledge that their product is not perfect, perhaps while pointing out its advantages over their competition
    • Commit to take the feedback from the winning blogger and make the product better
    • Promise to update the community on how they fix product deficiencies
    • Make a big splash when announcing an improved product, emphasizing the community’s contributions

On the positive brand-building side, here’s a case study from our Enterprise Social Media Framework[2] about a company that appears to get online brand building, and who took a big risk in a branding campaign: Burger King.

In this case BK leveraged a social media phenomenon — Facebook — to connect with its cus­tomers online in an offbeat and inside-baseball way. The company created a Facebook app cal­led Whopper Sacrifice.[3] To participate in the campaign, community members agreed to unfriend (break contact with) 10 friends in order to get a free Whopper. Ordinarily, people aren’t notified when someone unfriends them. But in the Burger King campaign, the removed friends got a notification that they had been sacrificed so one of their friends could get a free Whopper. This made the unfriended curious about the campaign, and this helped spread the BK Facebook app, and, Burger King hopes, builds loyalty to their sandwich.

This campaign is extremely sophisticated. It addresses the downside of a positive social media phenomenon: the fact that you may have, somewhere along the way, friended someone you wish you hadn’t or that you may feel overwhelmed by the number of friends you have.

This is a pretty subtle perception on the part of Burger King. It shows a deep understanding of the social media space. And it struck a nerve. Before Facebook took down the BK app for privacy concerns, Burger King spent an estimated $50,000 on the campaign, received an estimated $400,000 in press/media value, and got 32 million impressions for its brand. Incidentally, it’s likely Facebook pulled the app because it doesn’t believe friends should be notified when they are unfriended.

The major difference between these two branding campaigns has to do with respect for, and understanding of, the community. ASUS thought they were in control, but when they exerted that control, they found out that, as is almost always the case, the community was in control. Burger King took the time to understand their online community and to design an edgy — and potentially dangerous if not handled well — campaign that appealed to community sensibilities.

ASUS forgot to act with integrity. Facebook forgot to let their users be in control. Burger King pulled off a risky approach and reaped the benefits.

Keep these lessons in mind as you create your own online branding campaigns.

Social Media and Online Branding Campaigns is the 72nd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 222. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here.

Next up: Creating Online Evangelists

[1] BrandingBrand blog:

[2] Social Media Performance Group’s Enterprise Social Media Framework info:

[3] Whopper Sacrifice:

Facebook Permissions: What Marketers Need to Know

See on Scoop.itEnterprise Social Media

“Facebook Permissions: here’s what marketers need to know about collecting data from prospects and how to improve Facebook marketing results.”


Here’s a key finding: “With each data field a business asks for online, the opt-in rate drops by 10% (I heard this from a Facebook product engineer).”


Do you really need more than a name and an email address? If they’re interested, they’ll give you more on the second engagement.


What do you think? Comment below.

See on

Facebook Collections: This Week in Social Media | Social Media Examiner

See on Scoop.itEnterprise Social Media

“Facebook is now testing Collections, a new Facebook feature which reminds us of another popular social platform, Pinterest. Only a few select brands, including Pottery Barn, currently have this new Collections feature to test”


Remind you at all of Microsoft’s technique of either buying or imitating successful competitors back in the day?


Should Pinterest worry? Please comment below.

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Google+ The New Enterprise Social Network?

See on Scoop.itEnterprise Social Media

This is a very interesting perspective not only on Google+ but on the future of the Google application system. My favorite quote:


“Google+ doesn’t seek to be the biggest social network or the one where people spend the most time. Instead, Google+ seeks to be the most embedded social feature in the lives of its loyalist users so that they will never want to leave Google.”

See on

The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success

Our new book just dropped and we’re quite excited. You can buy it online here.

Infinite Pipeline book front cover

Many sales people, particularly in business-to-business categories, may think that social media is a consumer plaything and not well-suited for use in business, and especially in sales. The Infinite Pipeline demonstrates that social selling is real, it’s here, and sales people can learn social sales techniques to improve their effectiveness

The book describes the Infinite Pipeline™ Sales Development Process, which enables B2B sales people to use social media to create online relationships for sales success. It contains social strategy and practical advice for creating evangelists and communities that produce sales without the use of time-consuming, ineffective smiling and dialing techniques. Social Media Performance Group presents easy-to-use step-by-step instructions for getting on popular social networking sites and mastering the techniques of social selling, including a plan for your first 30, 60, and 90 days on social media.

The sales person edition contains dozens of case studies that explain how successful sales people are using social selling techniques to prospect and close sales as well as how their companies are creating online communities that help sustain relationships with customers and develop new relationships with customers.

The Infinite Pipeline will show you how to use social media to improve customer satisfaction, start, build, and sustain professional relationships and involve the whole company in sales efforts. Topics include: Why Social Media for B2B Sales; The Failure of Traditional Sales Metrics; What You Know About Who You Know; No More Smiling and Dialing; and Always Be Engaging Replaces Always Be Closing.

Infinite Pipeline provides everything you need to know to supercharge your sales efforts using social selling techniques, showing you how Infinite Pipeline theories and tools work in actual business scenarios.

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”

—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”

—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”

—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

The Infinite Pipeline provides excellent insight into how valuable social media is for sales teams large or small. I am recommending this book to our sales team and highly recommend you do the same.”

—Julio Viskovich, Head of Corporate Sales Training, HootSuite Media Inc.

The Infinite Pipeline presents practical advice to help a B2B salesperson use social media to sell clients what they need, not just what they have to move today.”

—Michelle Tresemer, Owner, Tresemer Business Group

“My particular favorite chapter is Your First 60 Days on Social Media. The book does a very nice job condensing some dense information, and everyone getting into social media can benefit from these strategies, some of which might even be new for the veterans!”

—Camille Rodriquez, Owner, social media marketing and management company Polka Dot Impressions

How to Brand Your Company Online

How to Brand Your Company Online

In our previous post, Understanding Social Media Optimization, we continued our series with a discussion on how to increase your visibility, linkability, and inclusion in social media. In this post, we take a look at how to brand your enterprise online, and look at some of the key components of branding online.

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Brand Your Company Online

You may employ branding tactics in your offline marketing, or you may feel that you either don’t need to, or don’t have the money to.

Online, you must pay at least some attention to branding efforts. A brand is a promise, and it’s also a handle by which people can find you, refer to you, and talk about you online. We’ve said before that online, if you build it, they won’t necessarily come. And if you have a haphazard, disorganized, or confused brand online, they may not come because they don’t associate what you do with your online presence.

All your online marketing efforts should reinforce your brand, and aim to drive traffic to your Website, the center of your brand presence. It’s great to get people to read your blog. It’s great to have thousands of followers on Facebook or Twitter. The goal, however, should be to make your Website the hub of all your social media activities.

The first step is to ensure your domain name (the part after the www) is easy-to-remember, easy-to-spell, and content-appropriate. Make it simple, direct, and if possible, the first thing that comes into people’s minds when they think about the problem your business solves. Don’t be too clever.

For example, if your products deal with drinking water filters, ensure that the word “water” is part of your domain name.

If it’s going to serve the purpose of being a hub of social networking activity, your Website needs to be optimized. At a minimum, your site must:

    • Have a call to action
    • Clearly describe your business, purpose, and products
    • Enable users to bookmark, tag, or email your URL to a friend

Have a Call to Action

Of the Must Have Three, the call to action is the most important. If your site merely explains what you do and, somewhere buried on an interior page, allows your visitors to take an action to support you, it fails. Period.

Design your site to clearly communicate what visitors can do to help you, and give them a positive action they can take, whether it be a buy button, a “Like Us on Facebook” button, or at the very least, a newsletter signup button.

If you’re not doing these things, don’t begin using social media.

The reason is simple. Much of your activity on social networking sites can’t actually enable a direct action. For example, the best action that can happen upon reading one of your tweets is for the reader to click on an URL to go somewhere else. That somewhere else is your Website. Other social media sites are similar: Blogs, tagging sites, photo sharing sites, and so on, all lack features to complete a significant action. They’ll all lead people to your site, where you must make it easy for them to act.

We discuss the importance of a consistent social media branding and graphic presence in the Triangulate Your Social Media Presence section in our book, and we talk a bit about site organization in the Engagement on Your Site section, as well. These activities will help reinforce your online brand.

Here are a few other specific recommendations for “socializing” your Website:

  • Ensure that your About page clearly describes your business in a way people will respond to. Yes, your board and your corporate structure is important, but is that the main thing you want people to know about your enterprise? Link to all your social media sites in this section.
  • Organize your site from your users’ perspective — If your site is organized based on your organizational structure it likely is not optimized for your users. This penchant for site structure mimicking organizational structure is called showing your corporate underpants.
  • Add commenting to your site — You’ll come to love it. And don’t require approval before comments are posted. See the previous post, Dealing with Negatives for reasons why. A nice, free option for adding comments is DISQUS,[1] but be careful of privacy concerns when users use Facebook or Twitter to log in to post comments. We use DISQUS on our site.
  • Add an RSS feed to your site — RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication and is a way for people to subscribe to a page or a site and receive updates using an RSS reader such as Google Reader or others. It’s what’s behind those little orange icons(RSS) you may have noticed on Websites. If your hosting software doesn’t already provide the ability to add RSS feeds to your pages, you may need to get a techie involved. You can also use third party software such as FeedYes[2] and others.
  • Ensure your site is usable — Usability is a deep and broad subject and beyond the scope of this book. But in general, use text and background colors that provide a lot of contrast; don’t make text too small (especially if you want older folks to read your site); and avoid garish or distracting graphics. Also you need to think about your major navigation and whether it is logical to the typical user. And beware of putting important material in the upper right of pages. Users often ignore that area since it very often contains advertisements.
  • Ensure your site loads quickly — Sure, everybody in your organization might love the Flash movie that loads every time a user goes to your main page, but is it really worth a 30-second load time? And will it just annoy frequent visitors? Aren’t the frequent visitors you want to optimize your site for?
  • Register your site with all the top search engines — You need to be found.
  • Claim your blog on — Technorati indexes tens of millions of blog, but to be sure you get into their directory, you need to claim your blog.[3] This allows you to specify categories your blog will appear in, and specify tags for the blog, enabling others to find it. In addition, Technorati will track the effectiveness of links you embed in your blog, calculating your Technorati Authority.
  • Search Engine Optimize your Website — Use[4] to make sure your site is attractive to Google.

Once your main site is optimized, you’re ready to start to build or improve your online brand.

How to Brand Your Company Online is the 71st in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 219. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Online Branding Campaigns


[2] FeedYes:

[3] Find out more about claiming your blog at:


Understanding Social Media Optimization

Understanding Social Media Optimization

In our previous post, Dealing with Trolls Part 2, we continued our series with a discussion on how to handle negative commenters in your communities. In this post, we take a look at how to increase your visibility, linkability, and inclusion in social media.

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Social Media Optimization

Every enterprise site should have a content team, a Web Content Management System (we like Tridion), and enterprise-quality search engine (we like Endeca), a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) team, and good policies and procedures to ensure that dynamic and static content is managed, updated, edited and retired – in other words, a Content Development Life Cycle (CDLC).

AttributionShare AlikeSome rights reserved by Ryan Coleman

The social media component of your enterprise site must fit into these structures, and can be treated in the same way as any other dynamic content. What we think changes when your site goes social is the necessity for a Social Media Optimization (SMO) strategy and practice. Developing SMO and integrating it into your version controls and update calendars is the essential activity you’ll need to undertake if you want to succeed in socializing your Website.

The term Social Media Optimization refers to techniques you can use to get the most out of your social media efforts. Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy Public Relations coined the term, and explained it like this:

The concept behind SMO is simple: implement changes to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs, podcasts and vlogs .

Bhargava proposed 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO)[1] which were later expanded to 16, and which we’ve adapted below:

  • Increase your linkability
    Enable and encourage others to link to you, and you should aggregate and link to your other content as well
  • Make tagging and bookmarking easy
    Enable others to tell a friend; list relevant tags on your pages
  • Reward inbound links
    Enable permalinks (links to, say, a blog that will never change) and feature bloggers who link to you
  • Help your content travel
    Submit PDFs or videos, and the like, to other sites to increase their reach
  • Encourage the mashup
    A mashup is when someone else does something with your content; the classic case is the Google Maps Mashup[2]
  • Be a User Resource, even if it doesn’t help you
    The classic give to get; contribute to the community and it will come back to you; link users off your site if it will help them
  • Reward helpful and valuable users
    Reward influencers and champions by promoting their works on the homepage, develop a rating system, or just drop them a quick note in private telling them you appreciate them
  • Participate
    If you’ve read this far, you know why
  • Know how to target your audience
    If you’ve read this far, you know why
  • Create content
    While this seems like a duh moment, think about the content you create in terms of how it can be spread by your community
  • Be real
    If you’ve read this far, you know why
  • Don’t forget your roots, be humble
    Just a good rule to live by, overall
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh
    Pundits from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose) to Woody Allen (A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies) have advised this
  • Develop a Social Media Optimization strategy
    A Social Media Optimizationstrategy, like all strategies, involves defining objectives, setting goals, and tracking progress
  • Choose your Social Media Optimization tactics wisely
    Don’t do social media to keep up with the Joneses — the Joneses may have a different audience, different objectives, and different resources
  • Make Social Media Optimization part of your process and best practices
    As we’ve stressed, don’t graft social media onto your organization; assimilate it and make it part of your way of doing business

Social Media Optimization is the 70th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 217. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Brand Your Enterprise Online

[1] Bhargava’s 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO):

[2] Google Maps Mania: