Monthly Archives: September 2011

Feed your customers’ inner geek – examples of extra value.

I don’t know how much time you spend thinking about the psychology behind the internet – social media, blogs, forums etc, but it’s an interesting area and one that is set to be much studied.

From theories about instant gratification, to the need to form connections in an increasingly isolating world – everyone from serious social scientists to Daily Mail columnists want to have their say.

I personally would like to make a case for the way all this ‘stuff’ appeals to our inner geek.

The explosion of accessible information created by the internet, together with the means to pass that around, has meant that whatever your obsession – be it  Lord of the Rings or Getting Married, there are hundreds of places online where you can go to share your nerdiness.

I confess to being a bit of a baby nerd when my children were about to be born. You suddenly discover an insatiable desire for information – up to and including – academic level while simultaneously becoming an expert in consumer journalism with special reference to baby strollers, cots and breast pumps.

I see something similar in my daughter – now thankfully past the stroller stage, as she hunts down information about Dr Who as though she were studying for a degree.

And it’s all there waiting for her. There are extra programmes to explain the background to each episode, forums to talk about it – DVD box sets with  unseen material and now an exhibition so she can get up close to a Sylorian (sp?!)

My point is that the endless capacity of the internet to provide us with information and its amazing capacity to join up those who want to share it has given our inner geeks free rein.

And this is where smart marketers, of the kind who like their customers and want to help them, can act as information providers and connectors, setting up Facebook pages and Twitter feeds full of extra information to share.Who doesn’t want to know more about the reasons why your favourite training shoe  feels so supportive and bouncy – cue lots of extra product information for the inner geek. Want to know more about that amazing seafood restaurant in Dorset? They have a blog and by the way their special Olympic lunches next summer are already getting booked up so get in there now.

So there really is no excuse not to feed your customers’ inner geeks – they want this stuff. It is up to you to find the time to give it to them.

3 really good Facebook questions

I love Twitter and have spent a lot of time using it and I’m pretty confident about what is best practice. But Facebook – now that’s a different matter.

Until recently I was using Facebook purely for personal and social interactions – we all need some personal space don’t we? But now I’ve been asked by a client to work with them on Facebook and the issues this has thrown up are both interesting and challenging. So I thought I’d throw a few questions out there to see what the collective wisdom might be.

  • Sharing information on social media has first and foremost to be relevant, useful and interesting – if it promotes your brand as well, then that’s great but we want to build communities that share, not dumb audiences to preach to. Given that, when is it acceptable to post a purely promotional link onto someone elses page?

Several people I have already spoken to reckon it is rather rude to muscle in on someone’s page unless you had been specifically asked to or had asked permission first. Others think it’s fair game. Personally I would want to look at the page as a whole and see if anyone had done this in the recent past – otherwise your promotional blurb is going to stick out like a sore thumb!

Having said that I think it is fine to go to your or your client’s news stream and comment on any of the posts you find there. It may be a friendly supportive thumbs up or it might be a comment that serves to add to the discussion while also subtly promoting your client. That’s where the skill comes in – that’s the fun bit!

  • How often should you put up new material to get the most out of your posts?

Some say once a week – others say once a day but it strikes me that there is a danger of sabotaging your own creativity if you push your own posts down the list too quickly. I would advise trying to space out your posts evenly over time, whether that is over a week or a day and stick to it. Fans who grow to love your genius will come to expect a certain posting frequency and you don’t want to disappoint but which frequency is ideal?

  • What is the best way to get new Likes?

So much has been written about this that I am only going to pose one question here – is it really annoying to ask people to like your business page or is this the one true way? How may times is enough and how many too much?

So, lots to get your teeth into there – I look forward to your wisdom!

The mystery of linking

After all these years there is still a huge mystery to blogging.

We pick up readers from the oddest place and the posts that succeed are not always the ones we would predict.

I have a post called Five examples of bad customer service  which gets more clicks than any other post I have ever written and shows up at the top of both Google and Yahoo consistently.

I’ve also hit the big time with another post called Does Grace Dent get twitter marketing which appears on the first page of Google for the term Grace Dent + Twitter – which must be really annoying for her as she has written a book with Twitter in the title!

I wrote my post after Grace Dent appeared on Woman’s Hour to talk about her book and since the words “Woman’s Hour” appear in my blog along with Grace’s name, the post is now being linked to by the Woman’s Hour web page itself under the banner “buzz about the programme”.

I am of course delighted about all this but I assure you that none of it was pre-planned – it is all genuine organic linking with no ulterior motive and no trickery – but it does go to show that there are forces at work out there that you could harness to drive traffic to your site – if you could penetrate the mystery.

Any ideas what the rules are here? Do let me know!

Keep on running

This may not earn me a stack of re-tweets or record numbers of new readers but I have to mark this occasion because I did what I said I would and ran a half marathon.

I wrote a few months ago, when I first took the decision to run 13 miles, that the biggest part of the whole deal was saying yes – I will do it and I still reckon that’s the truth. Deciding to do something huge is very liberating because then you are free to throw all your energy into making it happen instead of prevaricating about whether you should do it or not.

The three months I spent training were very focussed – I stuck to my plan and it served me well. There were ups and downs along the way; I fell over in week one and ended up with a huge scab on my arm –  I developed blisters on my feet, I went out in rather short shorts one day and got to experience the full horrors of chaffing! A week before the race I lost my magic socks which stopped the blisters and I also had a crisis of confidence about my breathing – all of which served me well because I was able to re-live those moments on the actual run and laugh at my “journey”.

As this is not a personal development blog I will shut up about fulfillment and goal setting and just let you know that I feel thoroughly satisfied, and pretty chuffed even!

So roll on the next challenge – because I know I can do it.