5 Tips to Ask in Order to Run a Successful Social Media Campaign with Increases in ROI and Sales? Yes!

As many of you know, finding an experienced professional to assist you with anything in life can be a daunting task. Also, as many of you probably know there are so many people out there that you speak with everyday that consider themselves “experts, connoisseurs, sales guru’s, geeks” of the trade(s), etc. Well as we both know, these so called experts or what have you, don’t actually have the experience that you may often find yourself needing… good advice, that actually works or saves you money? Yes?
Needless to say, we also continue to run across these same people in our line of work (especially social media), who claim to be experts but are nothing more than users who participate in things in a limited capacity or in social media words… in the basic sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. So, for this week’s discussion, we thought we would provide you with a few things (5 Tips) to consider or ask when you are considering putting together a social media campaign.
1)  The very first question you should ask someone that you are considering letting them help you with your online engagement is what sites do you operate personally or for your company and could you please provide me with the links to check them out?
·    Now that you have their attention, see if they provide you with more than just a Facebook or Twitter account. It is crazy to think about but many experts stake their claim on these sites and these sites alone. However, the truth is social media didn’t start with these sites nor are they the answer to everyone’s needs. Look for people/companies that give you links to blogs and old school forums, etc. Also, look at how long they have been ACTIVELY participating in online activities, since participating for 6 months or a year or two definitely doesn’t make you an expert. Just ask Melcolm Gladwell who wrote Outliersand 60 Minutesused to run a great piece on. Think 10,000 or 10 years (well maybe not that many) but at least look for 3,000 or 3 years of activity.
2)   The second question you should ask the so-called expert you are talking to is whether or not they are familiar with or know of any restrictions in online activities for your specific needs or industry segment.
·    Let’s face it much like people would like to tell you, in online or social media activities there is not one size that fits all approach… mush like Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services, etc. Sure you can participate get quotes for all the companies or operate on all the mediums but most people/businesses should stick with 3-5 networks. A good example is our consulting practice. We consult with clients on PEO, CRM, and Wireless Devices, so these are our ideal clients (companies who offer and those who also need these services), as we know the industry extremely well and any limitations that we must consider on their behalf. However, we don’t run social media campaigns for law, pharmaceutical, alcohol, etc, as we are not familiar with these segments. Sure we could figure it out but you really want a professional or business to help in your social networking that lives, breathes, and knows the industry and more importantly, where your customers hang out!
3)   The third question you should ask your so called expert is their overall opinion (personal opinion) of the industry and how thinks might change in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
·    This is a great question, as it usually lets you know where exactly the person or company started their online activities, why, and what they are trying to accomplish on a personal level. If they say they do it cause it’s their job… RUN! However, if they start out by telling you some of the reasons they started to participate in chat forums, started their own blog, or why they originally joined MySpace or sold stuff on EBay these are more than likely the people you want to deal with, as they have a personal not just a monetary investment in social networking. Also, this should clue you in, as to what other networks that they think will be the next Facebook, much like Pinterest, FourSquare, Scoop-it, etc are becoming. The true expert lives and breathes whatever they are an expert in, so they should/will always have options for you when things are not going as well as you think they should or how they are going.
4)   The forth question you should ask is who will help develop, manage, or engage your specific audience?
·    It still amazes us how many people and businesses think that social media begins and ends with a post or the creation of a Facebook page or Blog or better yet how many likes, followers, or friends you can acquire. Shoot that is the easy part about social networking… creating the sites and adding people, what is difficult part is keeping people interested, engaged, and coming back each week (CUSTOMER SERVICE). This is often the more expensive part of social media but a good investment, if you or your company is really serious about taking the next step online and something more people/businesses should be concerned about if you are looking for that so called Return on Investment (ROI). We cannot even tell you how often we see idle accounts out there that were set-up and abandoned, even some of our client accounts. Why? Cause most of the time just like in person, people and a lot of businesses do not know how to interact with others online or what they want to accomplish even if you tell them. What is the worst that can happen? Someone de-friends, un-follows, or leaves a negative response? Rejection and acceptance are both part of life, so in order to be successful online; you have to interact with others. You cannot just develop an account(s) but you must also manage and engage, so this is a very important question to ask your expert!
5)   Finally the last question, and perhaps the most important (ROI) you have to ask is how exactly social networking will improve a person or business and the measurement scale your expert will use to claim a SUCCESS!
·    This is probably one of our favorite questions to answer because more times than not, our answer doesn’t have anything to do with likes, followers, or friends. Instead we use tools that were created for measurement such as Kred, Klout, PeerIndex,EmpireAvenue, and Google Analytics.  Of course these tools do consider your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, FourSquare, ETC. accounts but remember that they also measure your level of interaction. Of course, these sites are not perfect but remember the more you interact with your friends, followers, and acquaintances, the higher your scores should go. If you are a business, these should also translate into more calls, sales, referrals, etc (ROI) plus the more you interact the more likely you are to create chatter that is positive even despite any negatives that others may have previously left.
Each week we try to take our daily personal/business conversations and translate them into the online world for others to view and use. This week is no different, as we hope that these five tips can help you decide on a person or company best suited for your online “social media” and other activities. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg, so if you need any other advice, please don’t be afraid to ask us or contact David Dandaneau directly, as we are here to help. Otherwise, we will see you back here again next week, with another tip brought to you… Well, by YOU! You know the story… Keep Smiling Kidzzz!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.


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Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or (a.k.a Social Media CRM) Can Produce or Increase Sales by 12%. How so?

As many of you already know Seven Times Seven headed by David Dandaneau is (are) dedicated to bringing answers to questions in our weekly tip each week that we come across. This week is no different, as we continue to navigate (7) difficult but extremely important segments for an organizations long-term growth and survival. This week in particular, we have had a tremendous amount of inquirers into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and it’s (the systems) effect(s) on business performance & sales, which just happen to be some of the things David Dandaneau has been researching over the last 3+ years, as part of his Doctoral work. What is crazy to think about is that every day we ask clients and individuals if they are familiar with CRM? They usually respond with the answer Yes! So, why the inquires now? Next question… what system are you using and/or what are you doing with the data you collect? Much to our surprise, many of you are still using the basic CRM systems such as ACT, Capsule, etc. Why is it that more of you have not moved yet to Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc. so you can collect more data and sales leads integrated with your website of blog? Well, if you are like most people a CRM system is something you probably bought or subscribed to in order to help you remain better organized and track issues (contact manager)… Yes? Well, if so let’s take a minute to look at some of the latest research trends and “statistics” in order to see if we might be able to make CRM (whatever system you use) work for you “more sales & retention”… not against you in order to produce some sort of Return On Investment (ROI).
So… What Needs are YOU looking for?
When a person or organization begins to look for a CRM provider or system, you will soon realize that there are tons “thousands it seems” of solutions available to fit almost any need, just like with Professional Employer Organizations (PEO), Mobile Solutions, or Social Media (SM). However, the one question you must ask yourself first with CRM much like the others, is what are you trying to accomplish with it (CRM) and how can you pull everything together? If you are like any normal person or organization, you should also be asking yourself what ROI will whatever system I (you) chose produce for me? The answer is simple… pick a system that allows you to retrieve information (i.e. offer white papers in exchange for contact information) and store it, so you can turn this information into leads and a resource, just like with social media… use the data to convert more inquires into sales, Yes? Also, let’s not forget to ask ourselves how can you (we) share information or help your (our) customers with the information and/or analyze the data we (you) collect with a CRM system to produce ROI?
A CRM Implementation is the most Effective way to Maintain Relationships

Just like social media or wireless device innovations (iPhone, iPad, Droid, etc), CRM (bringing systems together) should not be about what other people/businesses are doing but instead about what you and/or your personal or business needs are or in other words “what the customer wants.” With almost any PERFECT CRM implementation (on the behalf of the customer & organization), you should see customer retention and sales COSTs continue to decline overtime and organizational or personal profits increase over that extended period of time if utilized correctly. In a recent study it was found that “social” CRM or in other words social media or mobile CRM can help an organization or more importantly its sales force increase productivity and benefit by as little as +12% if used correctly. What’s more, is that this same study produced by Nucleus Research found that on average 21% of those people (organizations) or sales forces that use(d) social CRM, seen sales increases as much as 20%. Furthermore, this statistic equates to approximately 4 out of 5 companies that use/subscribe to a social CRM approach and integrate external sources such as Facebook, Twitter, FourSqaure, EmpireAvenue, etc with their CRM application(s) could expect returns (ROI) as high as 47%… crazy huh? What is even more shocking is that this particular course of action does not even take into account your mobile campaigns (25% increases), or RSS feeds through Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Etc (additional 22% increases).
So, What are you Waiting FOR?
Since the research and data points to increases in response, interaction, retention, and sales why are so many people (organizations) still reluctant to use and/or subscribe to a “Social CRM” solution? Or more importantly why are you (your team) not using mobile CRM applications “especially on your mobile” to convert leads into sales? The fact is and from our conversations, there are that still many people that still do not understand how all these systems work together or how to put all the pieces together or leave a footprint behind when meeting or following up with someone. In the Nucleus study, it was clear why; as only 16% of the 223 executives actually knew that, this was a total approach to business evolution, retention, and additional sales, which is hard to believe. Perhaps as more people turn to social media to solve customer issues left on sites such as Yelp, Google, Yahoo, etc. and by participating more in sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. more people will understand that CRM (especially mobile, as this has shown to increase productivity by +20%) should/will be an important part of their overall long-term strategy of conversing, linking, and connecting the dots (i.e. or at least a part of the solution) to increase sales.
From this short but direct post, we hope that you (your organization) realize the benefits that CRM, social media, and mobile campaigns can/will have on your overall success. As we continue to move further away from websites and more towards mobile phones, blogs, and social media for interaction, we will continue to rely upon CRM to help us stay connected to our friends, followers, and clients. If you have not yet made a decision on a social media, CRM, or mobile strategy don’t worry, as you still have time to make a decision. The important part is that you now start to think about it and about how all these systems work or can work together to help you and your team excel. Not only are these systems important to you but also to David Dandaneau, as these are large components to his research and the results that will be reported in his dissertation over the next several months. Therefore, if you would like more information or to participate in his study, please feel free to drop us a line or contact him directly by posting a comment. Otherwise, and like usual we will look forward to seeing you right back here next week with another Q&A session brought to you… well, by YOU! Cheers!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.


Three Things to Jump Start your Social Media & Networking Campaigns

In this new age of networking (online and in-person) what is the one question you ask yourself and others most often? Think about it? If you are like many of us, you may think the one thing that annoys you most is “pushy people,” or more importantly pushy salespeople. Yes? Have you been to a local Chamber of Commerce or other Networking event and found yourself in the middle of (10) people all trying to sell you something before they even know your name?
Well, just like with many of our other posts we continue to report to our readers and followers some fantastic ways to get your message across without having to call, email, or text another person to death! Social Media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, EmpireAvenue, FourSquare, Quora, Redditt, Digg, Pinterest, Tumblr, Scoop-it, StumbleUpon, Etc all allow us to pull other works, ideas, and statements thus increasing you or your brands exposure, which hopefully results in sales if your message was received well. Ah, yes does this sound familiar… being social huh? Anyway, you get the idea and many of you may or may not have heard of the push and pull concept before. However, we are sure, if you are anything like us, that someone in a prior job or even in your family may have introduced you to this concept or was/has tried to sell you or have you sell something extra so they can benefit. The good’ol push and pull strategy, only in this post, we are trying to emphasize to everyone the pull strategy (in content not distribution) versus the annoying push strategies (again in content not distribution) that most of us hate!
So, as more people and companies look for additional ways to attract more friends, followers, likes, etc, let’s think about how we can use networking events or social media sites to help each other versus hinder one another, a brand, or company. Great, so how you ask? This week we would like our readers to think about three simple things (REASON, CONNECTING, and FORMING ALLIES), so you can use these social networking clubs or sites to help another person or company pull their message across multiple platforms versus pushing a sale on them.
1. REASON
First, think about some of the REASONS you or your company might use the push and pull strategy(s). If you are still not familiar with these concepts, please see Push & Pull Promotional Strategy for a very simple explanation but remember we are talking about information and ideas in this post, so please also remember that. Now that you are familiar with the two strategies… what are the reasons you may want to use the pull strategy with networking or social media? Again, isn’t networking and social media about being social versus talking about yourself or selling something? Don’t friends and sales come from your ability to be social in these and other operating platforms? Besides who wants to always hear about you or something you may be selling right? Simply put, the reason you should be on any social media network or at a local networking event is to provide information, so you can give someone else another REASON to stay in contact, like, follow, or buy something from you at a later date. This is being the true industry expert and a main reason to pull people together not push them away!

2. CONNECT
While many of us find that connecting with others often involves a phone call after a phone call, follow up email after email, and annoying direct messages (more like pushing), whereas connecting should really be about connecting to others with REASON for them to help pull your message or product along just like in the distribution channel processes. Does that make since? Since we are focusing on social media and networking in this post, moving forward in your campaigns start to think about ways that you can CONNECT (tweet, retweet, like, pin, +1, etc) with others to help them spread their message(s). Simply, connecting one person to another, basically means that you are trying to bridge a gap between someone in your network (business or personal) and someone else, so everyone sees the value in the engagement or new acquaintance. Thus, both parties should see more exposure, friends, followers, and/or sales. Sounds easy enough right? So why do people continue to look to connect to others for self or company gain instead of first trying to get a message across? Start today by helping to break this mold and pull more messages through your networking efforts or social media sites and see if you can actually connect (pull) even more people into the conversation. Heck, curate something; re-pin, or retweet and see how that/these help expand your networks and/or connections.

3. FORM ALLIES
Lastly and with any networking or social media strategy as we have been discussing let’s not forget about one of the most important parts in trying to pull your/someone else’s message across any channel. Regardless of what network you are using, remember to equally share and help one another; otherwise, one party may feel as if the other party is not doing as much as they can to help the other. Consider this your marriage and form strategic alliances with allies that will help amplify your personal or business message. All too often this seems so easy but all too often it fails (just like marriage), as we forget to reinforce the value we bring to a local or online network “sharing.” If more people and companies would stop competing for friends and business and start forming allies, more friends and sales will surely follow. People and companies value partners and regardless if you are competing in the same industry or among the same friends just remember to create value that keeps people coming back for more. When value is created, more alliances are formed, and more pulling of messages will come.
Surely, by identifying a reason, connection, and ally you and/or your company will take the next step in building stronger relationships that ultimately results in more sales. As many of you know, Seven Times Seven is a consulting agency and thanks again to our clients, friends, and followers, we were able to once again provide our readers with another piece of important information that you can also pass along to your friends, followers, partners, or acquaintances; thus, increasing ours and your own value. Until next week, we look forward to also sharing your information and connecting more with you online and/or in-person. In the meantime, please drop us a line or contact David Dandaneau with additional thoughts or questions that we can help answer next week in our tip and surely don’t forget to KEEP SMILING!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.


Simplify your Time & Processes with a Google Gmail Account

Over the last few months, we have continued to preach the importance to our clients of staying up-to-date with all the industry trends either by using social media, networking, subscribing to industry newsletters, or by being the industry news letter. However, we also understand that this can be a very time-consuming process, so we wanted to provide our readers and clients with a few easy to understand and implemental tips online in order to save you time and more importantly money, while reaching even more people.

  • If you haven’t figured this out yet, Google is slowly emerging as the industry leader in several different (working together) segments, which should/will allow you more access to data, find people, services, and businesses and/or better yet them to find YOU easier! Needless to say, if you haven’t already… you should take the time to set up a Google (Gmail account) to start your own Blog (Blogspot), subscribe to Google Alerts, AdSence, Google+, etc, which will allow you to track trends and competition, while reaching everyone else who is already using these tools and/or social mediums.
  • With your Gmail address, (if you haven’t already… start a Blog), while subscribing to other social media sites such as Digg, Delicious, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc, in order to submit your posts and to reach more people and/or business through RSS feeds. What is good about this method is that all correspondence(s) will be going to one email (personal or company) address yourcompany@gmail.com.
  • Most importantly after you find industry or personal specific news sources, link these directly to your smartphone (that’s if you have one) through apps such as TipB, Pulse, Blogspot, etc. so you consistently train yourself to relay/share important information (i.e. position you/yourself/company as the Industry Leader).
Of course, this is only the TIP of the iceberg, albeit an important one. Therefore, if you would like additional tips, make sure to join us back here next week or if you cannot wait another seven days for Seven Times Seven Tip of the Week, make sure to reach out to us directly via phone, email, or social media and we would be happy to try and guide you in the right direction. Until next time… keep smiling, as it really does look good on YOU!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.