Author: Nick Roshon

August Event Recap – Social Media Advice with Neal Schaffer

AZIMA Neal Schaffer Meeting

The August AZIMA event featured guest speaker Neal Schaffer of WindMill Networking and author of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales & Social Media Marketing, who spoke about the power of social media, and in particular LinkedIn, to drive results for your company and your career. Neal reinforced the importance of businesses needing to not only participate in social media, but embrace it throughout their organization. A few years ago, social media was viewed as a fad – but now its here to stay. According to Neal, more time is spent online than watching TV, especially among 45-54 year olds, so it’s critical we shift our marketing focus there accordingly.

Neal broke down social media strategy into something easy to understand and act upon. According to Neal, the average marketer or company goes through three stages of understanding social media:

  • It’s scary and has no ROI – let’s ignore it.
  • Maybe we should consider it – after all, other companies are doing it, maybe even our competitors!
  • How can we do more social media? Social is great, lets do more!

Once marketers move to third stage and have fully embraced social media, Neal recommends the PDCA approach. What’s that, you ask?

  • Plan – plan your strategy & define your goals
  • Do – execute your plan
  • Check – monitor your results
  • Act – revise your plan based on the results you checked

In the end, you’ll realize just how critical the role of a social media marketer is. Neal believes its so important a community manager should truly be a 6 figure job!

Neal also shared some tips for LinkedIn with the audience – Neal was one of the earliest adopters of LinkedIn and known as one of the original “LinkedIn Lions.” He was part of the open networking movement and built his connections to be as large as possible, generating tons of business leads, consulting gigs and job prospects. Neal encourages marketers to be open & connect with each other on LinkedIn as a great way to generate leads and connect with others.

Arnie Kuenn

In addition to the presentation and usual networking hour, we gave away a free Kindle to one lucky attendee, as well as a few copies of Arnie Kuenn’s new book, Accelerate!, which just debuted recently on Amazon and can be purchased here.

Thanks to all that attended!

July Event Recap: Getting the Dish on Social Media for Restaurants!

The AZIMA Panel Discusses Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

The AZIMA Panel Discusses Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

July’s AZIMA event “Serving it Up with Social Media” was full of delicious stories about what it’s like to do social media marketing for restaurants. We got to hear from the perspective of national chains like Chipotle and PF Chang’s & Pei Wei, as well as from a local perspective of the acclaimed Phoenix restaurant Beckett’s Table. The discussion was moderated by Ty Largo, a food blogger & marketer of restaurants & hospitality at UP Agency, so we really got to enjoy a discussion full of expertise & knowledge! We also demoed an exciting new app called Chatterplug during the presentation, which allowed attendees to review the event in real time – which tied in nicely to our discussion of online review sites & getting feedback from guests!

What ensued was a great discussion where the three panelists shared stories on what they’ve found works well – and what doesn’t – to connect with their customers with social media. While all panelists agreed that social media can’t replace the importance of one on one interaction, and social media metrics can’t track mojo or the ROI on a smile, they all found social media to be incredibly effective & important to connect with their guests and spread the word about their latest dishes & promotions.

Chef Justin Beckett (@BeckettsTable) is not only a chef, but also the social media voice of Beckett’s Table, creating all of the Tweets & Facebook shares his guests enjoy himself. He finds that people react most favorably to pictures of the food, and he often posts pictures of the daily special, or even before and after pictures of the ingredients and the final dish. He joked that “Every time I post a picture of heirloom tomatoes, people go crazy!” in response to learning what kind of posts get the best interaction.

Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) connects with their local branch managers to ask questions like: Who are your customers? What do you want to do to connect with them better?  to help identify new marketing initiatives that will help them connect better with their various local markets. They also try to identify brand ambassadors and reach out to them for ideas & inspiration (in exchange for burritos, of course!), and are launching a new program where the local staff & managers can invite loyal customers to receive special perks & rewards. Making local connections is a big part of their social media approach.

PF Chang’s (@PFChangs) & Pei Wei (@PeiWei) reply to every tweet and try to connect with as many of their fans as possible, which is impressive for a national chain with over 20,000 followers on Twitter and almost 250,000 fans on Facebook! They find that coupons, such as the free lettuce wraps coupon that is currently on their Facebook page, are very effective at driving people to the stores through social media. They find that “one page, one message” is best when it comes to managing multiple locations so that they can control the voice and make sure no well-intentioned but perhaps less-skilled restaurants are posting updates like “nom nom nom nom nom.”

What was interesting was that all three restaurants  – PF Chang’s, Chipotle & Beckett’s Table – had just one person who was doing the heavy lifting of social media, and they all admit it’s no easy task and still playing catch-up on some social media fronts! Despite the challenges, you could tell that all three panelists really enjoyed their job and had a lot of passion for what they do, which was inspiring to restaurateurs and marketers alike.

And of course, all of that talk about food sure made the crowd hungry, but not to worry as Chipotle & PF Chang’s handed out coupons for free burritos & lettuce wraps, respectively, to everyone in attendance!

Event Photo Credit: Mark Goldstein

Internet Marketing Analogy: The Database of Intentions

There are many analogies out there to help explain the power of internet marketing, but one of the analogies I find most useful when thinking about internet marketing is describing search engines & social media sites as “Databases of Intentions.” It’s a useful analogy in explaining what makes internet marketing unique from traditional marketing, as well as to understand the unprecedented potential we as marketers have to aggregate & leverage data that our customers are sharing with us.

The phrase was coined by John Battelle, a founder of Federated Media Publishing and of Wired magazine, which is quoted below with emphasis added for effect and can be read in full here:

The Database of Intentions is simply this: The aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result. It lives in many places, but three or four places in particular hold a massive amount of this data (ie MSN, Google, and Yahoo). This information represents, in aggregate form, a place holder for the intentions of humankind – a massive database of desires, needs, wants, and likes that can be discovered, supoenaed, archived, tracked, and exploited to all sorts of ends. Such a beast has never before existed in the history of culture, but is almost guaranteed to grow exponentially from this day forward.

Since originally writing the post, he’s expanded this analogy to apply to any website, and implies that marketers can leverage both their own internal data as well as publicly shared data to create their very own database of intentions.

How can we as marketers create our very own database of intentions to help us market more effectively? Look to these sources first, and expand from there with other data you might have available:

  • Your Analytics Data – Your analytics data is your very own database of intentions that no one else can see. What kind of content do users most frequently read & interact with? What search queries are they entering to find your website? What areas of the site do they spend the most time on? All of this data will help you understand your customers better and create new content on your website around the topic areas they find most important or interesting.
  • Internal search data – If your website has a search feature, then analyze your log files to see what your visitors are searching for. Those search queries represent what your visitors are looking for, what kind of services they are interested in, or what kind of content they want to read but are having trouble finding through your navigation. Analyze your internal search queries for trends & patterns, then adapt to better meet the needs of your customers.
  • Google keyword data – Google has a plethora of keyword tools to find popular search queries, correlated search queries, trends, keyword insights and more. All of these give you a sneak-peak into Google’s massive database of intentions to find what searchers are looking for, enabling you to tailor your messaging to directly address the search intentions of your customers.
  • Twitter – Part of what makes Twitter so unique is that consumers can so easily communicate directly with brands, whether to complain, praise, or just chit-chat. What kind of questions are your followers asking you on Twitter? If you receive a lot of complaints about a particular area, address it by making a change to that problematic service line or product. If you receive a lot of praise for something, build on that praise and integrate it into your core selling points.
  • Facebook, Yelp, and other Social Sites – Much like Twitter, your customers are likely communicating with you, or providing feedback to you, in places like your Facebook Page, your Yelp page, Google Places, and other social media sites. Analyze the feedback & reviews left for your business to gain insights into common pain points & areas of praise, and integrate those findings into your marketing plan.

As you can see, there is a wealth of data out there to analyze the database of your customers’ intentions – allowing you to virtually read their mind and then create a marketing plan that speaks directly to their wants & needs.

Behold the power of the database of intentions.