The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketers

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Listen and Know Your Audience

Oftentimes we jump in to social media and start by posting. Many of the companies that I work with don’t spend time up front getting to know their audience and understanding their interests.

As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Spend time understanding what your audience really wants and how you can add value before you start posting.

Habit 6: Synergize – Engage the Right Resources in Your Organization

OK, so synergy is an overused buzzword, but there is value to working together to achieve more. Communicating on social media sites often involves many different parts of an organization. Typically marketing, PR, customer service, legal, and even product development play a role in developing and executing a social media plan.

Build the right internal structure and synergies to get results. Organizations that are not internally connected aren’t poised to succeed.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – Invest Time and Resources to Stay Current

Social media changes quickly, and the tools of the trade are always changing and evolving. It is important for social media marketers to continuously invest in their skills to stay relevant and effective.

Be sure that your work plan involves time and a budget to dedicate to training and education. A desire to learn new things and stay on top of trends is key to success as a social media marketer.

sevenMany of us have read the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” but as I was recently re-reading this book it occurred to me that most of these habits also apply to successful social media marketing.

Below is how “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” can be translated into habits that lead to successful social media marketers.

Habit 1: Be Proactive – Take Initiative

As a social media marketer it is important to be proactive and take initiative. Take initiative to learn the latest social media tools. Take initiative to bring your organization forward. Take initiative to test and learn. Take initiative to educate your organization. Take initiative to respond to customers.

Initiative is key to success as a social media marketer. In a fast-changing world, those who embrace learning and can generate buy-in to their ideas are well-positioned to succeed.

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind – Have a Plan!

Always begin your social media marketing with a clear vision of what success looks like. This means having a clear social media plan. Don’t just start posting on social media. Start by understanding what you want to achieve and build a plan to achieve it. My book, “Social Media Field Guide,” uses an eight-step approach to building a social media plan (see the graphic below).


Habit 3: Put First Things First – Prioritize

As a social media marketer (or a social participant) it is easy to log on to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest and suddenly wonder where the last few hours went. Prioritize how you spend your time on social media. In our social media training programs one of the tools we have is a social media checklist that helps marketers prioritize their goals once they log in to a site. Know what is most important to achieving your objectives and invest your time wisely.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win – Balance Marketing Objectives With Value to Your Audience

Oftentimes we approach social media at one of the two extremes. We either focus on what we as a business want, or focus on what our users want. The key to success is balancing the business objectives with what is actually valuable to your audience. The more value you create for your audience, the more value they will create for you. Consider both as you build and implement your plan. Leer más “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketers”

As Simple As 1, 2, 3



Having so many options in digital strategy and execution often means we falsely confuse the richness of a program or campaign with complexity, and in doing so lose the focus that will help us move our business goals forward. Simple in most things is usually better, and digital strategy is no exception. There is no badge of honor for including a ridiculous number of tactical elements nor does it make a program more effective. A highly fragmented digital strategy can make it more difficult to track, more expensive to maintain, more time consuming to optimize, and complicated to extract actionable insights. The rule of three is a good one in this instance. If a digital element does not satisfy one (or more) of these three primary goals then you should strongly question why it is included in your plan.

  1. Selling something or moving the user closer to the sale.
  2. Building something or creating future opportunities with that user including building trust or engagement and growing remarketing platforms.
  3. Learning something, gaining insights, or testing an approach or hypothesis.

    Let’s see… Leer más “As Simple As 1, 2, 3”

Top Digital Challenges of Marketers Today

Creating lasting impact. All advertising campaigns are over once you turn them off. The large spike in traffic to the website evaporates once the media supporting the campaign is stopped. In digital and social media, however, brands must think of building relationships with customers. This is centered on earning their trust; and this takes time. So companies that used to think in terms of ad campaigns need to now think about digital and social media commitments – long term. When you build a dialog and relationships with customers you can’t just turn it off. One way of building lasting value while still on campaign-based budgets is by spending the money to simulate the desirable social actions like “sharing” or “discussing” or “reviewing” instead of just buying “likes” where the users never come back after the campaign is over.
Keeping up or missing out. There is a common perception that things in digital move and change fast. That’s true. But the corollary that it’s impossible to keep up is only partially true. Indeed there are dozens of startups that achieve incredible fame in the media, but turn out to be flashes in the pan. And even huge successful companies may also wane – like Digg, Delicious, Friendster, MySpace, etc. So chasing every “shiny object” is not necessary; a focus on what really matters is. What are the best practices in digital disciplines that are the same no matter what industry or audience? So as long as you continue to read and learn (don’t read books, read online because it’s current) and continue to ask the fundamental questions about whether those tactics can actually drive business impact, don’t sweat the details or worry about missing out on shiny objects (there will always be more).
Speed and innovation. In digital channels, marketing can happen at light speed – a.k.a in real time. Once you put a campaign in market, you can immediately see user actions and reactions to it. No longer does it take months to compile data and write performance reports. With this comes the ability to optimize in real time as well. But too often, the companies don’t have processes in place to enable the quick reaction to problems or opportunities. A way to address this is to identify a few scenarios of how customers may react and then pre-plan actions to respond. This will allow the company to innovate the message, the marketing, or even the product or service in question to take advantage of the speed of feedback.
Organizational structure and knowledge sharing. In many large organizations, departmental silos were created originally for the purpose of standardization and efficiency. Unfortunately, in the fast-moving digital marketing world, these very silos now mean incredible inefficiency, slowness to react to opportunities, and knowledge gaps. While most companies don’t have the luxury of reorganizing, there are processes that can be put in place to increase knowledge sharing and speed. Johnson & Johnson has been a great example, proactively and continuously bringing together marketers from different brands (ranging from consumer to medical device to pharmaceutical drugs) to share best practices and case studies. The company brings together individuals from different teams (e.g., compliance, med/legal, IT, product management, marketing) to discuss ways to streamline approval processes, etc.
All in all, companies are at various levels of sophistication and face one or more of the above challenges in digital marketing. So you’re not alone out there. With a continuous focus on business impact and ROI, you can and should always ask the hard questions when something new and shiny gets pitched at you. And you should test and learn to quickly figure out what works best for your brand, product, company, and industry.



Over the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of teaching several hundred marketing executives through Rutgers University‘s Center for Management Development. I’ve started every class with the same question – what is your top digital marketing challenge? What follows below is the collection of answers from the marketing executives, which are increasingly common across classes, regardless of industry.

More and more marketers are making the transition to digital and allocating more spend to digital. This shift is also accelerating, even among industries that were historically reluctant or laggards in adoption. The economic downturn of the last few years forced brand marketers to try digital; once they have been on the other side of the “Grand Digital Canyon” and tasted the new metrics based on actual users’ actions, rather than audience sizes, there’s no going back. But many still have very logical and practical questions for making the transition.

In rough order of priority:

  1. Metrics, analytics, and ROI of the digital marketing programs. Since digital tactics are so new and so different from traditional channels, what are the right metrics to use and how do we even start to get at a return on investment (ROI) with these metrics? Another important aspect of this is benchmarking – e.g., what’s a good cost per thousand (CPM) or cost per click (CPC)? What kind of return should I be expecting and what should I do if I’m not getting it? Leer más “Top Digital Challenges of Marketers Today”

ComScore: Facebook’s Share of Display Ads Reaches 28%

As Facebook – which may file for a public offering as early as Wednesday – has grown to more than 800 million users worldwide, brands have gotten on board with vigor. The Menlo Park, CA-based digital giant has successfully courted Madison Avenue during the last two years in particular.

Facebook’s share of U.S. display ad impressions grew to 27.9 percent during 2011, according to comScore data revealed on Monday. It’s a sizable lift; the Reston, VA-based researcher estimated Facebook’s 2010 share of display ads at 21 percent.

Yahoo’s currently second with 11 percent of the market, comScore says, while Microsoft, Google, and AOL trail with less than 5 percent apiece. ComScore has placed Facebook No. 1 in the display ad impressions category since 2009.

As Facebook – which may file for a public offering as early as Wednesday – has grown to more than 800 million users worldwide, brands have gotten on board with vigor. The Menlo Park, CA-based digital giant has successfully courted Madison Avenue during the last two years in particular.

“Any time a site becomes so influential to the full digital landscape, advertisers are forced to pay attention,” comScore rep Andrew Lipsman told ClickZ News. “There was a time when brands thought of Facebook as a place for kids and teenagers. That’s obviously not the case anymore.

Study Shows Rapid Evolution of QR Marketing

Rapid adoption of QR codes and other action codes is only part of the story in a new study. More important is the way that marketers are learning to use them more effectively.

Nellymoser, Inc. released a study of all 2011 issues of the top 100 U.S. magazines. It found that advertising drove the 439 percent increase in action codes from January through December. In January, there were seven advertising codes for each editorial code. By September, the ratio was nearly 25:1.

“In the beginning of the year, it was really very much an experiment,” says Roger Matus, Nellymoser executive vice president. “It seemed like somebody in the company had said, ‘Hey, we oughtta do mobile, and I heard about this thing. Let’s stick it on there.'”

Click here to find out more!


Rapid adoption of QR codes and other action codes is only part of the story in a new study. More important is the way that marketers are learning to use them more effectively.

Nellymoser, Inc. released a study of all 2011 issues of the top 100 U.S. magazines. It found that advertising drove the 439 percent increase in action codes from January through December. In January, there were seven advertising codes for each editorial code. By September, the ratio was nearly 25:1.

“In the beginning of the year, it was really very much an experiment,” says Roger Matus, Nellymoser executive vice president. “It seemed like somebody in the company had said, ‘Hey, we oughtta do mobile, and I heard about this thing. Let’s stick it on there.'” Leer más “Study Shows Rapid Evolution of QR Marketing”

Friends Like You: Why Social Commerce Must Get Relevant – ClickZ

ith the wealth of reviews available today – sometimes thousands of reviews are written on one product alone – it’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to quickly find the reviews that are most relevant to them.

Let’s say you’re interested in buying a new television and have narrowed it down to two models. You visit an electronics retail site and it has the two models in stock, and each has over 500 customer reviews. You could read all 1,000 reviews, but that would take hours and not necessarily give you any clearer insight into which product is better for you. Maybe you’re not very interested in the sound quality, but are very interested in which television has better picture quality and is easier to set up.

The explosion of customer-generated reviews on the Web has put the customer at the center of every shopping experience and fundamentally changed the way that brands, retailers, and consumers interact. That’s a very good thing. But, to make social commerce even more valuable to both consumers and retailers, the industry now needs to work to make reviews more sortable and searchable so consumers can find and read only the content that is most relevant to them.

TurboTax is one brand that has introduced an innovative way to help consumers filter review content. This tax season, TurboTax, a division of Intuit, launched a Web site called that allows consumers to check boxes about their particular tax situation (own or rent a home, have children or not, previous tax prep method, etc.), and then filter reviews on TurboTax products to see only those written by “people like them.” In other words, consumers can quickly filter reviews to include only those from people who have similar tax and income situations to them – helping them quickly find the right TurboTax product for their needs. (Disclosure: TurboTax is a client of our company.)

“We have a very passionate following of customers, and when we launched customer reviews on our Web site, we started getting thousands of reviews right away; quickly, the review volume became almost overwhelming,” said Seth Greenberg, director of national media and digital marketing at Intuit. “We wanted to make it easy for consumers to sort, filter, and read reviews on our tax preparation products that were relevant to their own personal situations. Innovating the reviews database and launching has made it very easy for not only customers to find people like them but also for us to organize contextually relevant reviews in online advertising. Don’t believe us marketers, believe the 4,287 people like you who bought or sold investments last year,” says Greenberg. “The mashup of social media and advertising has been an important part of the mix contributing to double-digit increase in sales units thus far for TurboTax.”

From the site, consumers can also click through to Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace to instantly read reviews on TurboTax products written by members of their social network. In addition, anyone who writes a review of a TurboTax product, whether on or on the main Web site, can also automatically publish their review to any of those three social networks – making their review available to their entire social network in one click. Greenberg calls this type of targeted publishing “friendcasting.”

TurboTax has realized one of the most important things about consumer-generated content: it becomes even more valuable when shared among like-minded communities. When consumers broadcast the content they create to friends and followers, people with similar interests immediately gain insights into the products and services their friends are buying and commenting on.

TurboTax found that people who read a Facebook-shared comment or review from a friend that showed up in their social networking feed were four times more likely to click through to TurboTax than those who saw a banner ad. What’s more, friendcasting helped TurboTax not just boost site traffic, but increase new customer acquisition. Early indications show an amazing 75 percent of TurboTax customers who clicked on a “friendcasted” link in their social networking feed were new customers.

“As a marketer, my goal is to encourage conversation among our customers and their friends and get the heck out of their way,” said Greenberg. “The future of social commerce is enabling our army of 20 million engaged customers to be our best sales force, enabling them to easily promote relevant products to their friends and family.”

As customer-generated content becomes more prevalent on the Web, smart brands are moving ahead of just amassing as many reviews as possible to find ways to help consumers filter that content. Reading customer opinions on products and services is a great way to make more informed purchase decisions, but reading highly relevant reviews makes the purchase process all the more personal, expedient, and satisfying.

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No One Cares About Your Products – ClickZ

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Image via CrunchBase

No one cares about your products – that was the message that really hit me at Incisive Media’s SES NY two weeks ago.That message was delivered by David Meerman Scott – marketing speaker and bestselling author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and the new book “World Wide Rave.” He was the keynote speaker on Tuesday.

That sentiment isn’t really revolutionary. But the profound truth of it is probably more relevant than any time in the past.

Let me tell you a story.

My friend Greg and I had been talking all week about getting some good pizza in the big city. This is no easy task. If you look at this Google map, it’s very clear the place is infested with pizza.

If you are only going to eat pizza one night, choosing the “best” place is daunting.

Actually, for the last couple years coming to SES New York, I just took the listing on Google Maps first page with the best (and most) comments. For two years in a row that was John’s Pizzeria. They currently have 234 reviews listed in Google with an average of three and a half stars.

But it’s not the stars that kept me coming back. It was the actual comments people left:

The BEST…Hands down.
By Kelly – Mar 2, 2010
This is the best pizza in NY. If not the entire world. I have tried them all and this is the WINNER.

John’s Pizzeria – Fantastic
By A TripAdvisor Member – Jan 15, 2010
We went there for dinner 3 times during our holiday in New York and the food and the service were consistently excellent and we just wish we had gone there every evening! Definitely try it out!!!!

By A TripAdvisor Member – Jan 7, 2010
the doorman at our hotel recommended to go here for some good pizza. we werent disappointed, the first night we went we were seated in the first part of the restaurant and didnt realise how big it was until we went back the 2nd time.

That’s all I needed to hear. These people came to New York with endless choices of restaurants and they went to John’s Pizzeria multiple times. I went once and loved it. The next year I brought a party of 10 people there. And they loved it. The user reviews were spot on.

This year I thought it would be fun to try something different.

Greg dug a little deeper into the results and came up with Keste Pizzeria & Vino.

Granted, it “only” had 36 reviews, compared to John’s 234. But its overall rating was a solid four out of five stars. But that wasn’t what pushed him to select this place. Check out some of these reviews:

By TheBigOne – Jan 17, 2010
Took my fiancee there tonight. We are both ‘hard core’ foodies. VERY friendly staff. Service was great. Pizzas were some of the best I have ever had. Cooked to perfection. Ingredients tasted extremely fresh.

Best Pizza – ever!
By msasala – Nov 29, 2009
We ate lunch there today – it was by far the best meal we have had in NYC! We remembered Roberto from when he was in Pittsburgh and made sure to stop by. It was so good!

The pizza is delicious, refreshingly…
By TonyB1196736 – Aug 7, 2009
different and indisputably authentic. The reasonably priced wine list (of wines that are actually good on their own and as complements to the meal) and the interesting selection of beers make Keste a standout lunch or casual dinner destination.

This looked like an underground treasure of the city. And you know what? Those anonymous reviewers I’ve never met in my life once again did not disappoint. The place rocked.

But here’s where the story gets interesting.

I asked Greg if he went to Keste’s Web site.

His answer was, “I accidentally clicked on it. But it was all Flash and annoying so I just backed out and got back to Google.”

This interested me to no end. As I thought about how David Meerman Scott said no one cares about your product, I realized there is transformation happening.

People don’t care what you say about your products. They want to know what other people say about your products.

If we don’t realize this, I believe our Web sites will become obsolete.

People simply won’t go to your site because they know it’s just filled with puffery, marketing-speak, and straight-up meaningless content.

Another quote I got from David Meerman Scott was, “Stop talking about the product. Talk about the people who are buying the product.”

If you want to have any relevance in the conversation that is going on about your brand, you would do well giving your prospects some straight-up truth about who you are and what you sell.

All of this is reflected in the search engine results. User-generated reviews and blog posts increasingly dominate the top results for your brand name. We all need to be thinking of off-site optimization in this brave new world of search engine optimization in the second decade of the 21st century.

SES and ClickZ are both part of Incisive Media.

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iPad = iPain for Media Planners? – ClickZ

By Hollis Thomases

Another Apple device; another bout of hype. Apple’s latest launch, the iPad touch screen tablet computer, began shipping this past weekend, making news everywhere as reviews, expectations, and new announcements continue to stream in. In the most simplistic terms, the iPad is like a larger iPhone…except without the phone. Because it has a larger screen and its own built-in Safari browser, it theoretically presents more and better advertising opportunities. For media planners, however, it also presents multiple hurdles. Here’s why.

Yet Another Platform

Earlier this year, Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff wrote about what he called the “Splinternet,” in which he described how efforts to achieve standardization in the digital industry are disintegrating as new devices (iPhones, Kindles, FiOS TV, etc.) come about, all of which require programming unique to each device. Bernoff believes this splintering will bring an end to 15 years of the Internet‘s “golden age.”

He has a point. Ask any ordinary Web banner designer to build you an ad-supported iPhone application, and she’ll likely defer to a mobile specialist (though this is changing as more demand for these apps drive the need to learn this skill too). The iPad is no different. It will require iPad versions of programmed content. Though Apple has already signed on some marquee publishers for iPad, how many others will follow suit remains to be seen, partially because no one knows how well or how quickly the iPad will catch on. For advertisers seeking a broad reach, this doesn’t make the iPad ideal. Pain No. 1.

Ad Creation and Delivery Challenges

Good media planners try to plan for efficiency – they want to maximize their advertisers’ dollars while helping them best achieve their goals. This often means restraint when it comes to ad placements and creative assets: you want to be able to use the same creative assets in multiple placements across multiple buys. The iPad, however, will be a unique buy unto itself and one that does not enable the use of the most popular creative platforms out there: Flash. If you want to avoid having your ad broken or not served at all, be sure to provide a non-Flash (animated gif or static) ad to traffic as a back-up. These ads, however, with their less rich experiences, don’t appeal as well to the user. Pain No. 2.

Though the rich media mobile ad network Greystripe seems to have a beta-testing workaround it’s developed in conjunction with Adobe, the company behind Flash, that just adds another layer of required adoption in order to deliver Flash-enabled ads. Pain No. 3.

Recognizing the importance of advertising, of course, Apple has developed its own ad platform (are you ready for this?) – iAd, which it will launch tomorrow according to news reports. No one has been able to really say what the iAd platform will do or allow. But most speculation centers on the functionality and targeting capabilities of mobile ad provider, Quattro Wireless, which Apple acquired several months ago. Media planners will probably rejoice if iAd enables location-based ad targeting, but not knowing much of anything about iAd at this point forces everyone into a wait-and-see holding pattern. Pain No. 4.

The Matter of Adoption

As with any new technology in advertising, media planners must focus on critical mass: does this solution bring our advertiser enough eyeballs or the right kind of eyeballs? No doubt, the first batch of iPads will be purchased by Apple devotees. But how well will it sell beyond that and at what pace to make it worth considering? Recent media buyer focus group research conducted by consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates revealed concerns about the degree of iPad market penetration, use and adoption, ad tracking (will traditional tracking pixels work?), and measurement standards. Pain Nos. 5 through 8.

Magid did find that media buyers felt positively about iPad’s “always on” connectivity, the opportunities for localized targeting and more interactivity thanks to a larger screen, quality video and mobile TV, Apple’s brand impact, early adopter ad reach, and the truly mobile retail potential. Magid’s research also found the potential for the iPad to eventually cross the full spectrum of user demographics equally: from millennials to boomers.


Lastly, there’s the question of where dollars for iPad advertising will come from. If budgets are broken down between mobile and Web, which budget will suffer; or, do you need to find discretionary “testing” dollars altogether?

Ugh, yet another pain.

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Dynamic Ads Need Dynamic Landing Pages

Brian  Massey
By Brian Massey, ClickZ, Mar 3, 2010

You stand on a small platform called a “board,” high above the big top floor. A swinging bar – a trapeze – swings in front of you, away and then toward you. Your task is to dive into open space, grab the bar, and swing out away from your little perch.

At the apex of your swing, you are going to let go. Leer más “Dynamic Ads Need Dynamic Landing Pages”

Social Search’s Algorithm

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Image via CrunchBase
Mark  Jackson

In May 2009, I wrote a column about the talk at the time that Twitter could be a “Google killer.” Fast forward a few months (OK, almost a year) and now we have Google partnered with Twitter.

At the time of my initial writing, I mentioned that until Twitter cleaned up the potential for spam, I didn’t see that Twitter could possibly be a Google killer. I spoke about the fact that Google rose in popularity, years ago, because it had figured out how to deliver higher quality search results (certainly not entirely “spam free,” but much better than we had seen before).

On January 13, 2010, Technology Review interviewed Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow, who led development of real-time search. In this article, Amit shares how Google ranks tweets. Leer más “Social Search’s Algorithm”