Twitter competition ideas

There have been a few good quesitons around recently with Public Relations agencies in particular seeking ideas for competitions that can run on Twitter.

Running a competition is a good way of building new followers for social media communication channels – it also helps for brand awareness.  A contest doesn’t need to be expensive, or complex but the prize must fit the audience and be desirable.

Here are a few suggestions for Twitter contests:

  1. Short story – include an opening, middle and end in 140 characters
  2. Announce a photo theme and get uploaded photos on the theme
  3. Trivia question – allow funny, serious and absurd answers
  4. Buy a product and announce the invoice number on Twitter to enter a contest for a free prize
  5. Threadless tweet submisssion for printing on a t-shirt
  6. Collaborative songwriting / include your phrase or name in a song
  7. Joke sharing like the #bandfoodpuns on May 17th
  8. Munich beer contest to promote an expo – visit site and when the beer glass is empty the last person to RT the URL wins

Some marketing management suggestions

  1. Hashtag# the contest so you can track entrants
  2. Unique phrase with retweeting gets topics trending
  3. Contest entry added to follower request builds a following/community
  4. Use the contest to relaunch your twitter identity
  5. Frequent $100 prizes beat a big $500 prize
  6. Short deadline contests create urgency

Twitter competition prize ideas

  1. money
  2. music album downloads
  3. free product from your company
  4. a digital gadget – camera, phone, MP3 etc
  5. gift card from a recognised store
  6. a free service from your company
  7. a trip
  8. pay for a service for them from the winner’s favourite supplier (massage, haircut, car wash, online data backup, membership of a group / team fanclub)
  9. Music prizes – albums, concert tickets,

An example of a current twitter competition

Take a look a the Social Media Experiment at Glastonbury 2010 running now which I learnt about from the Chinwag group on LinkedIn.

The Social Media Experiment will take place on Friday the 25th June between 1pm & Midnight, and will feature a number of comedians, musicians, performance artists and live shows incorporating social media and interactive web technologies.  the prize is the chance to perform live on stage at Glastonbury

In order to win, visitors to the site are asked to join the competition group on Facebook and post a link to prove that they are a in a band, an artists etc. The winning act will then be chosen from the group at random in this ‘flash mob’ style competition.

Thanks to these people for providing me with ideas for the list above Trey Ratcliff, Alexandra Samuel, Internet marketing, Bob Baker, James Norris
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Writing an innovative pitch to a brand

Tiffany & Co. at The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong
Image via Wikipedia

We are often asked about how to pitch a brand in order to win their busienss.

Now a pitch is usually the end of a long process that starts with a chemistry meeting or a credentials presentation.

Here is an example from Razorfish who pitched for the jewellery retailer, Tiffany’s business.

This is an early stage document.  It has high level proposals, few detailed strategy recommendations and a free offer. Razorfish Tiffany New-business-pitch-creative

The good points are:

  • clear alignment with the Tiffany brand promise
  • aligning online and offline customer experience
  • data sharing online and offline (really hard to do well IMO)
  • a sharp offering to drive the future relationship
  • it’s short
  • the offer is risk-free

If they delivered the free workshop and used that to develop ideas for Tiffany – how strong would their offering be if Tiffany decided to make it into a public pitch?  They would have the inside track becasue all the ideas were developed jointly with Tiffany.

Can you do this?

How do you approach new prospects – what can you offer them that  makes it easy to buy and shows off your ideas without giving away your intellectural property?

Thanks to MZ Kagan and Scribd for the idea for this article.

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Social Influence marketing – how it helps your biz dev

Razorfish, the global marketing agency, has released “Fluent” a report on social influence marketing.  There is a big buzz on influence and perception or sentiment analysis towards brands going on recently – and I think it is a small red herring; a phase the internet is going through.  Whether customers buy is the really important metric to know.  What leads to that buying decision is where your business development skills can be put to work.

I had a read through the report – it has a reasonably short summary of findings and a detailed appendix detailing the project methodology (really interesting if you like stats, research and algorithms).

The main statements that affect business development and how you should change your biz dev tactics and strategies are

  • The world expects brands to “do” not just push messages

I think this applies equally to B2C and B2B brands – showing a leadership in a niche can be demonstrated by activity. It needs to be activity that benefits the customer in some way.  I worked with Websters Accountants as they set up their site about auditing service charges for multi-occupied buildings.  We set a strategy for them to “give away” a service of offering an aggregated news feed about service charge accounting.  It’s a subject covered in a range of journals, blogs and websites – bringing together into one place is a service to their customers and prospects.  An example of a B2B brand doing something, not just pushing messages.

  • If actions speak louder than advertising (and they will), what is your brand doing?

Showing off your CSR is no longer enough.  Acting on the brand message, being the public ambassador of what your brand stands for and delivering on your promises in consistent ways (not necessarily kookie show-off ways) is what gets you noticed in the long term.

  • Social influence has an equal effect on active and less active users

This is definitely borne out by Seymour, my 90 year old relation who follows me on Plaxo and declares himself delighted to know what I’m up to.  He’s a reader and a watcher rather than a participant in the conversation.  But be clear, he is “in the conversation” but just not saying much right now.

  • Increased reliance on personal influence networks for purchase decisions rather than branding messages

Obvious really.  When does your belief in the marketing message get most cynical – when you are close to purchase.

  • As customers move through the sales funnel, reliance on word of mouth increases effectiveness the closer to decision you are

As above.

  • Independent blogs carry more weight than corporate blogs – but these are helpful in the awareness phase (page 12)

And so there is a place for corporate messaging – but be clear about where it has influence and where it does not. 

  • Brands must focus on value exchanges

Again, as Don Peppers said – I give you something, you give me something back.  Now that was in the era of early stage CRM but it was in the context of getting data to populate your database…. something only the customer knows about herself.  What can you give me of value and what can I give you of value first?

Take a look at this summary diagram.  Spells it out neatly.

Social influence hasn’t changed – but it has moved online in a way that marketers can track, measure and participate in.  Now that is something worth thinking about.

Actions for your brand / business / enterprise:

  1. What are the characteristics of your marketing communications at each stage of the sales funnel now?
  2. Where do you lack material?
  3. Can you find places online where those conversations are being recorded?
  4. Can you align the conversations and the ‘sentiment’ with your brand to stages in the sales funnel?
  5. Are there ways to adapt your marketing and customer services operations to step into those conversations in an appropriate and brand-aligned way?

influence_fluent

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Guest Post: How CRM Integrates Into Business Development Processes

Adeline Grosrenaud is  London blogger with a blog dedicated to CRM.  It may seem an out of date concept now that the social web is going mainstream, but I asked her to write about how CRM and biz dev proceseses can be mutually supportive.

She has a helpful check list of  metrics that would be worth checking for your organisation.

Here’s what she has to say.

While the term CRM is often just used to refer to CRM software, true customer relationship management is much more than that. A business ought to have a well thought out and written customer relationship management strategy and plan which has involved thorough research if they want to succeed in their given industry.

CRM technology and software has evolved by leaps and bounds over the last few years from starting as basic contact management solutions and now features a huge array of tools and applications that can be used for a variety of business processes. The most important use for most business seeking out a CRM solution is the development and automation of business development processes.

New CRM technology and features that facilitate effective and efficient business development processes include:

  • Ability to quickly and efficiently integrate new business leads from a variety of sources.
  • Ability to automate follow up on new leads quickly and in a organized manner.
  • Automation of up-selling and cross promoting other products and services.
  • Easy integration of new business development managers, representatives and remote teams or call centers.
  • Creating a streamlined platform for communication throughout the company.
  • Instant access to and generation of reports and financial projections.
  • Easy tracking of a wide variety of statistics and metrics.

These CRM features not only facilitate better and faster customer relationship management and sales but can help a business cut costs and improve the bottom line through a simple, streamlined and automated system. Perhaps the most important among these CRM tools for business development is the ability to easily track a wide range of metrics. This includes times it takes for your sales staff to follow up with new leads, how hard they are trying to follow up and convert sales leads and which members of the sales team are performing best. Good CRM programs also enable rapid changes in the business development process whether it be reassigning accounts to another account manager or changing sales letters and scripts and much more. The latest advances in CRM technology also make split testing a breeze. In this tighter economic times this has become even more essential as businesses strive to maximize ROI more than ever before.

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How do I charge clients for doing social media work?

This question is a great one and was prompted by a reader enquiry (thanks Kate).  Many agencies seeking to integrate social channels into their campaigns want to know whether they can charge their clients for the work.

Our view is that this should be a chargeable service that you can provide.

First check a couple of things

  1. Does the client have a PR agency?  (they may be better suited to doing the work)
  2. Is there anyone on the client side team who is already an active social media user? (Could you train them up)

And so here are a few things to think about when considering your proposal and pricing

  1. Social media coverage is often time intensive and so a per hour fee may make it look expensive, consider a retainer or success fee combined with per hour billing
  2. Learn how to use as many ‘time saving’ applications as possible (Google alerts, Tweetdeck, TweetLater) so you can cover several client social media brand accounts simultaneously
  3. Offer a strict time-limited service so staff don’t over-do the time spent on social media.  Set up alarms so they know when to stop work.
  4. Transfer your skills into the client organisation as ‘training’ – you can charge more for this
  5. Ensure you set the strategy for social media execution and specify this work separately and charge appropriately

Any other advice you can offer?

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Other resources

Five things to ask a social media agency before working with them (FreshNetworks)

Social Media Group has a template RFP for brands looking for a social media service partner (Social Media Group)

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Top 10 must-read Business Development Blogs

If you are in business development, it’s important to stay connected to the buzz in the marketplace.  One of the hard things is to find a single place to gather all your news sources.  Biz dev can be written about in marketing magazines,  books, industry magazines, online in blogs and forums.  It’s a disparate subject and isn’t easy to collate for easy consumption.

I find two main sources helpful – Twitter and RSS feeds.  If you aren’t using a feed reader, it is really useful because it gathers all your RSS sources into one place.  Consider trying out Google Reader or Feedly.

Today I publish the ones I read most often

  1. Fuel Lines
  2. B2B Lead Generation
  3. Social Media B2B
  4. Creative Brief
  5. RSW
  6. Alchemis New Business
  7. Blowin’ in the Tradewind
  8. Digital Body Language
  9. BL Ochman’s Blog
  10. Web Liquid

I should add that the last couple are more about internet marketing but they often give me great ideas for campaigns and articles to write for CreativeAgencySecrets.

Any more biz dev blogs I should be reading?  Send over your suggestions.

The Top 6 most popular articles of all time

How to make inbound enquiries work for you

One of the nicest things about getting your biz dev working well is when inbound enquiries start to come to the business.

I am working with Websters , a niche chartered accountancy practice specialising in service charge accounting.  They have worked hard on a new website and blog as well as some collateral and internal management structures to support business development.

Websters aren't yet ready for the big formal launch event for the site and while it's broadly complete, we are continuing to use it and improve some of the features.  

And so I am surprised and delighted to find that people are signing up to receive their newsletter, the RSS feed and printed brochureware about the business.

Setting up the fields

When I set up the fields for the enquiry form  I originally thought that a simple Name, Email, Company name and country would suffice. 

But I was surprised by the number of folk who want to receive information about the Websters company.

This leaves them with a choice – send electronic information or print.  But for print we need a postal address.  This gave me an idea….

Rather than change the form to include postal address information, why not just research them online and phone them up. This is good becausse

  1. you can find out if they are a real person
  2. you can ask them if they prefer print or emailed information (customer chooses)
  3. you can do a bit of"digging research" into their organisation for your database
  4. you can ask them straight out if they want to have a credentials presentation or chemistry meeting
  5. you can make a fair assessment of whether they are a prospect and at what stage of the pipeline.

Hooray – i know what we'll do – a targeted phone calling session.

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Tone of voice in newsletter writing

This week I got a couple of newsletters from organisations – both happen to be agencies one is in PR and the other is an integrated retail specialist.

HAve a read of these opening statements

Well here we are, more than halfway through the year that was sent to challenge the retail, travel and leisure sectors to their limits. And, you know what? Despite all the economic hurdles we continue to deliver great results for our clients.
In addition, we bring you news of a few new clients, expansion of our digital offering and a couple of weddings. Read on, it'll put a smile on your face!

 

compared to

Rebecca, tell me how you feel about this scenario.

You take, say, 3 or 4 months to thoroughly research a topic. You become a ninja, the world's foremost authority.

You lock yourself in your basement for another 4 months to write a comprehensive ebook. A thing of beauty. The definitive guide. A masterpiece.

And then something unexpected happens when you launch…

*Nothing.*

Will this happen to you? Click below and let me know:

and this one

Priority check-in for First Class Web Design, Fast Track SEO, Web video lounge, self service CMS.  click here
For all other websites please join the back of the Very Very Long Queue.

I bet you can guess which one I chose to read and which ones hit my delete bin.

If you are interested in tone of voice advice, check out Ben Afia of Afia.tv who is a former client.

Social media learning curve

From Jock McNeish over at Thinking Pharma.   Made me smile

 Social Media Learning Curve