Banks’ Twitter Strategy: Lack of Strategy Hurting Brand

wachovia-bank-twitter

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 3-06-09

We’re here primarily to listen, to learn, to engage with the Twitter community and, occasionally, to share information about our company and services.”–Wachovia Bank

The Wachovia bank bio on Twitter explains their strategy in using Twitter. Unfortunately  they seem to be stuck in the same misunderstanding that many companies have wandered into blindly: they are missing their greatest opportunity to connect.

Wachovia’s Misunderstood Strategy:

According to Wachovia they are on Twitter to:

  • Listen
  • Learn
  • Engage with the Twitter community
  • Occasionally share information on their company and services

Wachovia’s Bio: Problematic

Listening, learning and engaging are exactly what works on Twitter. The first problem in this bio is the fact that you should never make the statement that you (company) “occasionally share information on our company and services.” The idea is to occasionally share company information and services  without stating that is your intention.

Step#1: One of the strategies that best suits businesses on Twitter is to be a go-to source of information by varying the content to include more “outside” information than sales pitches for your own products or services. The “Hard Sell” is dead and gone.

Mixed Signals: Challenge #1

Wachovia wants to “engage with the Twitter community” yet they only follow 204 out of a possible 1,793 people that follow them.

Step #2: If you want to engage your audience, possible customers, or networking partners on Twitter then you must acknowledge their existence and importance by following all 1,793 of your followers.

Perception Challenge: Understanding Strategy

Wachovia’s challenge is that they are trying to fit two divergent strategies into one Twitter account. They say they want to listen, learn, and engage with their audience. At the same time, it appears that they are trying to learn, from prominent Twitterers, information that they can leverage in their own social media efforts. This leads to an ineffective campaign.

Danger of Perception:

The danger is that Wachovia’s audience could perceive them as attempting to build “authority” by accumulating a large number of followers while keeping the number of people or companies they follow to a minimum. This ratio of large tribes of people following you (company) to you (company) following a select few is often perceived by people as:

  • The company or individual “must” be important and worthy of following for their brilliant content
  • The company or individual “must” be uncaring in their attempt to be perceived as important and a “player” in the Twitter community

Best Strategy:

Step #3  Wachovia’s Options

  • Keep the original account (we will call it #1) and make it your customer-audience engagement account
  • Account #1 immediately follow everyone of the 1,793 followers
  • Go to Tweetlater.com and set the “auto-follow” so that you automatically follow everyone that follows Wachovia
  • Set up Account #2 your Learn and Listen account. On this account Wachovia ONLY follows those individuals and companies that provide the most relevant information. If you wish to follow your competition, social media strategists, industry pundits, then do so on this account. Don’t worry about anything else except the research of learning and gathering recon information

Conclusion

By creating two accounts you are able to satisfy all your needs, create better perception for your brand, specifically and strategically target sources of information, and appear to care about the very customers who represent the life line to your business in this or any other economy.

Social Media Decision Tree Tips for Realtors and Brokers

brogan-pic

Chris Brogan President New Marketing Labs

Chris Brogan one of the best social media experts inspired me to write this article aimed at helping  Realtors and Brokers understand the social media decision tree. In Chris’s article “Social Media Decision Tree” he makes two very important points:

  1. “Coming up with a one-size fits all strategy for dragging companies into social media is just goofy.”
  2. “It’s not all about the conversation. It’s not a matter of whether you get it or don’t. Like all things, it’s finding what works, building from a foundation, measuring progress, and adapting to new situations.”

Takeaways:

  • There is NO one right way to utilize social media networks and tools. There is only what’s right for you
  • Experiment and find what works best for you. Experiment by listening first

Realtor-Broker Social Media Decision Tree: Yes or No

Q: Should you or your company blog?

A: Yes! I believe that all Realtors and Brokers should blog considering the fact that anywhere from 60%+ of consumers begin their search for real estate or real estate related service online by searching on Google.

A: No! If you do not have a plan and strategy then blogging is useless and in some cases detrimental.

Q: Should you be on Activerain.com?

A: Yes! ActiveRain.com is the most robust social media site specifically built for the real estate community. If you are not networking, communicating, collaborating, and educating your peers and consumers on Active Rain you are missing a huge opportunity.

A: No! If you are a superstar like Olivia Hsu Decker or you are so busy writing offers that you would neglect your work in establishing your brand on this social site then don’t bother to try to fake it.

Q: Should you be using Twitter?

A: Yes! Major global companies, brands, entrepreneurs, and mass media agencies are flocking to Twitter to engage, move information, collaborate, and network. If you want to learn it is also an incredible research resource.

A: No! If you plan on hammering your audience with listing notices, sales pitches, and a constant stream of me-me-me do NOT join Twitter. Many Realtors and Brokers think that the strategy behind Twitter is that of a “job board” where they slam their property listing up like a resume with absolutely no value attached.

Conclusion:

Facebook, Plaxo, and all the rest of the social media networks or Web 2.0 tools are only worth the time investment and hard work if you are passionate, believe in their effectiveness, and you are willing to be patient. Understanding the strategy of “giving first” is the very pillar that will determine success or failure.

Entrepreneurs & Job Seekers’ Tip #1: Utilize Box.net Linkedin Application

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 2-18-09

The focus of every entrepreneur and job seeker should begin and end with the concept that in today’s world you must become a go-to source of information for your target audience. If you provide valuable information, provide it continuously, and provide that information without asking for anything in return you will be very successful. The first step to becoming a go to source of information? Utilize Linkedin.com to it’s fullest capabilities.

Tip #1 Utilizing Box.net Application

Box.net is a free application that you can load onto your Linkedin profile. The application allows you to upload pdf files, videos, articles, or links into one neat storage area. Your files are then made available to anyone interested in accessing them.

box-net-application-for-linkedin002

Strategy of a Go-To Source of Information

The idea is for entrepreneurs and job seekers to give valuable information while they build their network. By creating your mini resource library on Linkedin, utilizing Box.net application, you will do the following for your career:

  • Establish your networking presence online
  • Attract new networking partners due to the fresh information you provide
  • Help others with challenges in their business
  • Create a reason for people to view your profile by giving value first
  • Utilize “What are you doing now” message to alert your network of new content you will share
  • Create opportunities for exposure, stay top of mind, with Linkedin updates every time you add to your application(s)
  • Drop the url to your profile in comment sections on  blogs inviting people to download the free valuable information in your Box.net library
  • Increase traffic to your profile

These are just a handful of the benefits that the Box.net application will provide you and your network in your strategy to become a go-to source of information. Linkedin is the key vehicle to drive your message. It is up to you to find the resources of value and deliver.

National Association of Realtors’ Twitter Strategy

The National Association of Realtors is one of the most, if not the most, powerful associations in the real estate industry.The people at NAR are often helpful, very pleasant, and professional in their approach. They take their jobs seriously; and that is why I am puzzled.

The NAR’s mission is to support Realtors, educate the masses, and provide a touch point for an industry that is quickly changing. The biggest change is the utilization of social media tools and blogs, by Realtors and brokerages, for branding, marketing, and lead generation. One of the most prominent of these new tools is the microblogging phenomenon called Twitter.com.

“The Voice for Real Estate”

If the NAR is setting the tone by being “The Voice for Real Estate” and leading by example then what is their Twitter strategy? My point is why don’t the people running the NAR twitter account give a voice to Realtors on Twitter?

Follow Strategy for Twitter

Many major brands or entrepreneurs that utilize Twitter want to initiate conversations with their targeted audience. The strategy most often used supports an open follow process on Twitter. Simply put if you follow Guy Kawasaki he follows you back-each and everyone of you.

The question I would like the NAR to answer: Why don’t you follow any of your constituents who follow you? If the NAR is the “Voice of Real Estate” why not give voice to Realtors, brokers, and affiliate service providers in the industry by following each one of these people back? As of this date, February 15, 2009 the NAR strategy:

Fact: 539 Realtors, brokers, industry affiliates follow NAR on Twitter
Fact: NAR follows “0” as in zero as in none as in nobody

The following is a snapshot of the NAR Twitter page:

nar-twitter-account2

Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs: Drive Your Competition Crazy

Reality Check

“If any of my competitors were drowning, I’d stick a hose in their mouth.” Ray Kroc

Harsh words no doubt but if you have ever read about McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc they fit his personality. Unlike Mr. Kroc’s take no prisoners attitude, Guy Kawasaki suggests that the best way drive your competition crazy is by “constantly innovating and serving your customers.”

If you are a entrepreneur or a job seeker go buy Guy Kawsaki’s latest book “Reality Check.” Begin on Chapter 66 with “The Art of Driving Your Competition Crazy” for the best practical advice on how to stand out, be memorable, and create your differentiating factor. Also check out the blog for more information. Although there are 8 important steps worth serious consideration, one stands out as the theme of Kawasaki’s advice: Focus on the Customer.

Focus on the Customer:  Entrepreneur

The irony here is that rather than trying to do something to your competitor(s), “the best way to drive your competition crazy is not to do anything to it.” The strategy to success is to focus on your customer by concentrating on great customer service, out-innovating the competition, and out-pricing them.

Focus on the Hiring Manager: Job Seeker

In the same respects there is an irony in this situation too. Instead of the job seeker attempting to out sell, out brag, or out maneuver his/her resume to be the best resume, the job seeker needs to concentrate on the hiring manager’s happiness.

This happiness can be achieved by creating value through a blog, a great Linkedin profile, and a social media broadcasting system. The goal for job seekers should be to remove the resume review process, time lost, costly hours wasted by a hiring manager who does not want to go through this process. By making a valuable case and delivering a message of value through target marketing, job seekers could completely remove this burden from the hiring manager.

Realtor’s Twitter Strategy: 4 Mistakes to Avoid By Communicating

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

Reuters.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

ComputerShopper.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

Free Twitter Strategy Chart courtesy of Paul Gram’s Websitesuccessdoctor.com

Twitter.com is quickly becoming one of the most useful, fastest growing social media tools available today. Anyone from entrepreneurs to large corporations can utilize twitter to gain exposure, push out their message of value, research, learn, and network. Yet a large number of twitter advocates are making the most basic mistake in social media which is costing them valuable opportunities and slowing their desired results.

#1 Mistake to Avoid: Collecting Numbers

Stop collecting and start connecting! Too many people view twitter as a place to collect followers or create impressive numbers. This syndrome is not exclusive to twitter as many people make the same mistake on Linkedin. The collection of connections has no depth, no meaning, and no value unless you create communication leading to relationships.

#2 Mistake to Avoid: Staying within Your Own “Tribe”

Many Realtors, from my observations on twitter, are guilty of staying within the “tribe.” Simply put many Realtors fail to communicate or investigate outside the sphere of real estate. Instead they tend to limit the majority (if not all) their communications to other brokers or Realtors.

#3 Mistake to Avoid: Stop Hard Selling

Realtors have been trained, and ingrained, to push features and benefits with an ongoing hard sell sales strategy that has worked for decades–up to now. In today’s information rich, Web 2.0 savvy world, the hard sell is dead. Today’s most influential and successful Realtors understand that they must provide valuable information on an ongoing basis without a sales pitch attached. Instead of A-B-C tactics of “Always Be Closing” fame, today it is all about giving value.

What does this mean to Realtors on Twitter? A: If you only provide listing links and links about you, people will quickly begin to stop paying attention to your messages. Which brings us to the next challenge.

#4 Mistake to Avoid: Narrow Focus

This dovetails into #3 mistake to avoid because delivering the same narrow focussed message over and over is not compelling. If you are a Realtor and the only subject and strategy you employ is to leave links to your listings or to your website-blog people will begin to tune out.

Then What is the Strategy?

Like any social media community, twitter is most valuable when you engage other members in meaningful communication, provide valuable information to the community, and then collaborate when given the opportunity. Antidote to the 4 Mistakes:

1. Stop collecting numbers by communicating with people, show you care, and get involved.

2. Go outside your real estate community and make new connections with people from other career paths. Also consider people with similar hobbies and interests as viable networking partners.

3. Stop Hard Selling and become a provider of valuable information. By doing this people will perceive you as a valuable resource and somebody to be read and respected.

4. Widen your subject matter for a more well rounded approach to your messages. Personalize and humanize by providing information about things other than your business. Create value for your business connections as well as your networking partners who have no business ties to you.

Blogging Realtor’s New Content Tip: Blog Article “Mashup” Provides Variety and Measurement

The mashup content post is a concept that combines 3 subjects, in tip or list format, in one blog article. Today’s first edition will provide 3 tips on 3 different subject categories: Anchor Text, Social Media Construct, and Focus and your plan.

Mashup Article Benefits:

1. Variety for the writer and reader

2. Measure your reader’s enthusiasm for each subject with traffic analytics

3. Valuable information in multiple areas

Tip #1 Anchor Text:

Anchor text is according to Wikipedia “is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink.” According to Marilyn at Seoshootout.com you will “Improve your SEO and build relevant anchor text by using an important keyword as the hyperlink – preferably linking it to another, relevant page on your site or linked to an external site that is relevant.”

Ex: SEO Shootout is the premeire SEO blog in the blogosphere

Tip #2 Social Media Construct: Chris Brogan-Darren Rowse featured by James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com

Here is a great description of the construct for Soc Media sites

a.) Blog is Home where all sites should point and all readers funneled

b.) Outposts (Darren Rowse) “are third party sites where he creates “Relationships, ideas, traffic, resources, partnerships, community and much more emerge from the outposts” Darren’s idea is a powerful method to multiple points of exposure for the blogger

c.) Frontiers (Kyle Lacy) feels these are “a website or service you have a presence on but rarely go.”

Tip #3 Focus

According to James Helms the best method to stave off burnout and feelings of overwhelming angst over the massive crush of available social media sites and tools is to consider the following:

“When it comes to social media don’t focus on the tools before the goals within your strategy. Said another way, first focus on your campaign and then leverage available tools that help you meet your goals.”

Great advice and very important to remember–your efforts to leverage tools is useless if you don’t stay connected to your planned campaign

Courtesy of James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com and inspired by Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Kyle Lacy and James Helms

Realtor’s 10 Step Process to Handling Customer Problems

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article October 17, 2008

Today’s Realtor faces challenges from a suffering economy, unavailability of credit, changing political landscape, and an overall public perception that “all is not well.” In the most competitive times in recent history for agents, it is of the utmost importance that a Realtor make the most of every single opportunity. A large number of opportunities are born out of obstacles or challenges within the real estate transaction.

Consequently a Realtor must have a set of processes that bring about solution that can be mobilized quickly in order to head off the worst scenario possible: a totally dissatisfied customer.

10 Steps to Handling Problems

1. Acknowledge Dissatisfaction and agree with the complaint if it is valid

2. Apologize for the problems leading to dissatisfaction

3. Ask Permission to revisit and outline the series of events leading to the disatisfaction

4. Acknowlege Responsibility for the actions leading to disatsifaction if it is valid

5. Provide Multiple Scenario solutions to the problem at hand

6. Ask Your Client if they have an alternative solution you did not name

7. Make Certain that the client has chosen a solution that meets their expectations

8. Outline a Schedule for the actions and the completion of the “fix”

9. Keep Client Informed by providing reports during the process of rectifying the situation

10. Upon Completion ask and obtain an agreement, verbal, that the client is satisfied with the solutions provided and everything involved with the “fix” upon completion

If you follow these 10 tips you will avoid the nasty fall out from “reverse viral marketing” where a dissatisfied client tells many friends, associates, and anyone who will listen their “perception” of your poor performance.

Yahoo Advertising Campaign Like Their Search Capabilities: Misguided At Best

Jerry Yang this past spring turned down what may have been the sweetest deal in negotiating a sales price for Yahoo during the Microsoft “take over” bid. In that scenario, as it has played out to date, Yang refused to sell Yahoo believing that the company was worth more than the nearly 50 billion being offered. In this case, Yang made an egregious error and his stockholders are now suffering the consequences with Yahoo stock price plunging to an alarming $12 per share.

Equally stupid, in my opinion, is the marketing campaign being pushed on Northern California radio by the mind trust at Yahoo. It seems in the information rich, human capital intelligent, internet savvy Silicon Valley, Yahoo is clueless to it’s audience. Why?

A Train wreck Marketing Philosophy: “Don’t get lost in all the links”

1. Taking on Google’s algorythim by hinting that Google confuses people by offering to much information in their search queries

2. Assuming the Public is too stupid to understand the basics of great search results offered by Google

3. “Ah Shucks” tone of innocence in attempting to sway the less than informed public

4. Bad Advertising ploy where Yahoo follows the old Madison Ave tactic where producing a very bad ad so enrages the public they talk about the product

5. “Less is More” in this case less is not more it is less information, less value, suspect results

Rule of Thumb

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. If you are going to take on the biggest advertising company in the world, you better have something to say that is worthy of the task. Trying to be Sarah Palin “folksie” only makes Yahoo look stupid and stupid doesn’t play in the Valley

Create A Workshop As A Strategy For Conquering Fear of Public Speaking

A modern day speaker addressing an audience through microphones

Courtesy Public Speaking Wiki: This young man looks a bit uncomfortable?

What is the #1 fear Americans try to avoid everyday? It is not flying, not going to the dentist, not heights, nor is it reaching 30 without a wedding ring. The #1 fear for Americans is public speaking. We hate to stand up and voice our opinions in front of people. This is odd considering the “loud Americans” tag we carry throughout Europe when people think of our countrymen.

The following information will provide a strategy for overcoming the fear of public speaking and it will illustrate the benefits of creating a workshop.

Workshops: A Strategy for Beginning Public Speakers

A great strategy to overcoming your fear of public speaking is to create your own workshop. A workshop allows the creator a far easier path as a beginning foray into public speaking:

Benefits of Workshops for Creating Confidence in Your Public Speaking

1. Participation: The majority of a workshop is speaker-audience participation. This allows the audience to interact and create content for the speaker. In turn this takes some of the pressure off the speaker

2. Memorization: Unlike keynote speeches or seminars which require large blocks of information memorization, workshops only really require that an introduction and setup be memorized

3. Notes: It is perfectly acceptable for the workshop facilitator to browse and refer to their notes while presenting their material.

Workshops are a creation of your own which become a tool for both you and your audience. The original idea is to create a tool which will deliver your “value” give. The Randy Pausch “head fake learning” value is that you learn about yourself, your ability to overcome obstacles, and your willingness to put yourself “out there.”

Benefits of Creating Your Workshop

1. Research makes you smarter. When you create a workshop you usually perform research

2. Writing your workshop becomes content for your blog or newsletter

3. Establish your public speaking platform

4. Instant exposure for you and your message

5. Opportunity to receive testimonials

7. Opportunity to receive Linkedin.com recommendations