Managing multiple Social Media Profiles

Here’s an interesting exercise – go to Check User Names and enter your favorite/standard user name and see how many social networks you’ve signed up for.

If it’s more than 3 then you need to read Ben Parr’s article on Mashable about how to manage all them. It’s a great read with some great advice on how to stay on top of all your profiles. I was surprised how many I actually have – 12.

My only disappointment with Ben’s article was the fact that Atomkeep is not giving out any new beta accounts right now. They’ve got a great service that can update all of your social media profiles at one time from a single place – that’s a hell of a deal.

Word of mouth and the MediaTemple kurfuffle

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of word of mouth as a marketing tool. For one thing the majority of my work comes from word of mouth. Also, part of what I help my clients with is defining and developing campaigns to build relationships with existing and potential customers, enhance their brand and drive more sales and these campaigns always include a word of mouth component.

But what I’ve also been thinking about is the darker side of word of mouth. We’ve all heard the adage that a happy customer tells 3 or four friends and an unhappy one tells everybody. The reason I’ve been thinking about this is that I’m really upset with my hosting company – MediaTemple. I transferred a domain to my account for one of my customers and since doing so I’ve had major issues including 2 of my other domains pointing to this new domain. It’s been a mess. I’ve spent hours trying to get MediaTemple to help solve the problem. Most of what I’ve gotten is “the brush off” and treatment that has left me feeling like a nuisance instead of an asset. So of course I’ve been thinking about launching a negative word of mouth campaign against MediaTemple in an effort to shame them into providing better service – not to me as I’ve made the decision to take my business elsewhere but to the rest of their customers.

Part of what makes me so mad is that I’ve brought MediaTemple(MT) quite a bit of business over the years. I’m one of those people who tell everyone about products and services I like as much and as often as I tell about ones I don’t. So I sort of think of myself as an unpaid marketer for MT. And now in my time of need they’re treating me like crap. But oh well. I’ve decided that the karmic blowback isn’t worth the effort. That and, I just don’t want or need the negativity.

But this is, in a way, a lesson for companies doing business in this modern social media age – treat your customers well, maybe even the way you’d like to be treated, because it only takes one sufficiently motivated person with the time and increasingly easy to acquire skills to spread a negative word like wild fire. Companies can no longer afford to offer sub-standard service and expect it to pass muster for long. In the old days an unhappy customer would be able to tell 25 to 100 people so a company’s exposure was small. Today in the age of Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, epinions, digg, golo, Google groups, etc., etc. a single person can reach tens of thousands of people almost instantly and the ripple from retweets and the like can be exponential.

Using whitespace well

I’ve recently had several conversations with clients about whitespace. I find myself frequently having conversations about whitespace and it’s effective use. Most of us know that whitespace is the space between the different elements on a page – text, images, paragraphs, etc.

Whitespace is, in my somewhat less than humble opinion, one of the most important elements of design. It is also one of the least understood and perhaps the most underrated. I can’t tell you the number of times I have clients fight to get more text on a site or print media. I have to tell them that less is more.

Here are some examples of whitespace usage:

Not enough space between lines

Not enough space between lines

In the example above there is not enough space between the lines of text making it very hard to read. Additionally, the psychological impact (this is a subconscious and subtle effect that is almost never considered in design >> future post idea) is one of feeling cramped and claustrophobic.

Too much space between lines

Too much space between lines

Obviously there’s too much space above and user’s eye is sent adrift so the message is lost. Never a good thing.

Just right!

Just right!

As Goldilocks said, “This one’s just right”. Spacing is good so the eye is relaxed and flows well over the text and the message is received – goal met.

Above are examples of whitespace in use in text. How about for overall design? Here are two examples, one good and one bad:

Beautiful design

Beautiful design

Terrible use of white space

Terrible use of white space

To wrap it all up, whitespace is a good thing. It is a critical if oft overlooked design element. Use more!!

Social Media Marketing Budgets to Increase in 2009

Yesterday eMarketer posted “Marketers Moving to Social Media” which gave the high-level the results of a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group wherein the use, experiences and intentions of more than 275 enterprises using social media were examined. The results of this study show that 63% of companies in the survey plan to increase their media marketing budgets this year.

According to eMarketer:

“Companies use multiple approaches to identify the individuals who wield the greatest amount of influence in any given topic area and to track changes in their influence over time,” said Jeff Zabin of Aberdeen. “Best-in-class companies engage these top influencers as brand evangelists, and then track the impact of their words and actions in terms of return on marketing investment.”

eMarketer has estimated that social network advertising will reach $2.35 billion in 2009 – a rise of 17%. Good news for those of us who make our living helping companies figure out how to tap social networking to build relationships, enhance their brands and drive more sales.

A key takeaway from the research that Aberdeen did is that almost 40% of the companies they surveyed said it was pretty darn difficult to figure out how to measure the impact of social media marketing. That’s a pretty loud call to action for those of us hawking social media – as part of our spiel we need to not only talk ROI but also how to prove that ROI via quantifiable measures.

Which do you prefer?

I could really use your help. Look at the two home page mockups below and tell me which one you like the best and why? Which one would you rather shop at and why?


Twitter Killed the Job

Part of what I do for clients is explain how they can use social media like Twitter to build relationships, enhance their brand and drive more sales. So it’s always interesting to me to hear/read case studies of how individuals/organizations have done just that. Equally interesting, or perhaps more so from a voyeuristic perspective, is how people have used these same media to shoot themselves in the foot.

Current – the online presence for former Vice President Al Gore’s independent media company – had a post about a woman who interviewed at Cisco, got the job and then lost it because of a tweet she sent after the interview.

It opens up some interesting questions like should communication on social media platforms like Twitter be protected as free speech? Should what someone says in an open forum be actionable if it is considered derogatory/offensive by one’s employer? These aren’t new questions of course. They’ve been around since the inception of the internet. However, with the growing popularity of social media and the increasing use of the same by companies it becomes an issue more often.

I’m interested in your thoughts?

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