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.

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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

San Jose Mercury News Soliciting Twitter Users For Obama Inauguration Coverage

Courtesy San Jose Mercury News

In another example of mainstream media adopting a Web 2.0 social media tool for instant breaking news coverage, the San Jose Mercury news announced today that they are looking to partner with Twitterers who are attending the historic Obama inauguration ceremony. Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media sites; Twitter allows users to “broadcast” mini press release 140 character messages. It is a vital breaking news tool for both the mass media and the growing blogosphere. Thank you to Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter, for the tip that led to this article.

The Offer

The San Jose Mercury news offer is exposure for any Twitterer attending the inauguration:

1. Exposure Offer #1: According to the paper “You could have your tweets (messages) seen by thousands of Mercurynews.com readers.”

Tip: The “Merc” is asking for a short itinary of your plans for inauguration day. If I were attending, I send in my itinary and make sure it was compelling, interesting, and provided the most exposure for the newspaper.

2. Exposure Offer #2: If you are chosen to “work with” them your Tweets “could be published in the paper.”

Tip: The San Jose Mercury news is the driving force for business news, at the newspaper level, in Silicon Valley. In order for you to have your tweets chosen for publication, I would suggest this approach. Consider the most interesting factors at the inauguration and tweet about them. Identify the historical surroundings, describe the energy, compare it to MLK’s famous speech, be observant of any “celebrities” in the crowd, and provide any breaking news if you can catch it.

How to Qualify

1. Send your Twitter ID.

2. Write a “brief description inauguration day plans” to phockaday@mercurynews.com.

3. According to the Merc “We will take a look at your Twitter feed and determine if you qualify for our inauguration day coverage.

Realtor’s Video Tool: Monkeysee.com How To Library For Exposure

Chicago Sun-Times paper the Post-Tribune published this deansguide article 10-31-08

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 10-31-08

How many times have we said: “If I could only watch someone do it first, I could really get the hang of it much faster”? And when we think of the concept of learning through video tutorials we are usually looking through youtube, or another video site. We often find amateur video with a wide variety of opinions on how something should be done. Not with Monkeysee.com. Monkeysee bills itself as providing “The highest quality, most credible how-to videos on the web.”

Monkeysee.com Features

1. 17 Categories: Everything from Auto & Mechanical to Business to Sports & Leisure

2. Upload: Upload your own videos for possible inclusion, save your favorites for future use

3. Become an Expert: Submit your video to be considered for inclusion on Monkeysee.

Monkeysee.com Benefits

1. Huge Library: Great informational videos for your education

2. Opportunity: Featured Videos are on the home page for each category and become a huge opportunity for exposure: Newest, Most Viewed, Recommended, and Highest Rated

3. Expert Spotlight: Expert page is a fantastic spot to land if you can get accepted

4. Traffic: Monkeysee.com has huge traffic numbers and would provide you with networking and exposure opportunities

Realtors Branding Guide

1. Public Speaking: If you create a video that showcases your expertise, and it is chosen for inclusion, you will have the beginnings of your public speaking platform

2. Exposure: If your video is chosen you will have the opportunity to gain wide spread exposure to your message and your business. Monkeysee.com’s Alexa ranking is 24,545 worldwide and 6,736 U.S. which translates to huge traffic numbers

3. Content-Research: The site library has how to videos with rich content and resource potential for ideas and projects

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

Poor Branding Strategy Mirrors On Field Ineptitude: San Francisco 49ers Misfire

Reuters.com published this deansguide and innerarchitect.com article October 6, 2008

Branding and marketing your brand’s message is all about perception, believability, and credibility. It is also something that requires a hard look at what will resonate with a particular targeted population of customers you want to accept and embrace your brand. If there was ever a case study on how not to brand a product, it is the recent season ticket sales radio advertising campaign by the San Francisco 49ers.

Qualifications: I am a native San Franciscan, a 38 year fan of the Niners, and a former season ticket holder from 1996 to 2006. I am a fan of this team but not a blindly “Faithful” drone as they seem to want to create. My assertions about fan demographics, fan behavior, and message viability is based on my experience with the sport. Since 1972 I have attended over 200 NFL games, 5 NFL playoff games, and one Super Bowl. In addition I have attended another 100+ college football games-I have experienced many crowds in my long journey as a sports fan.

The Radio Branding Message

Setting: A father gives his preteen son and daughter a lesson on being a 49er fan aka one of the “faithful.”

Message: the father is training his children to be 49er fans, faithful 49er fans, and nothing else.

Branding Message: Being a 49er fan is about blindly following, supporting, and being proud of your team.

The Reality: A Branding Message Gone Bad

1. Being a 49er “Faithful”: is a very old marketing message that was established in the 1970’s. It has very little impact upon the buying public as it does not address image, invoke faithful behavior, or inspire people to buy season tickets.

Case Study of Excellence: The Oakland Raiders, although enduring hard times for many years without excellence on the field, continue to invoke and inspire fan participation. Why? Being a Raider fan holds the connotation that you are a tough guy, hard scrabble, pure violence loving fan of a very violent game–the Raiders tell it like it is and embrace the brand they have created for themselves

2. Association with Baseball’s Message: The 49er’s attempt to utilize the message major league baseball has been extremely successful using does not work. Baseball is associated with family, apple pie, and America. It is a tradition of heritage passed down from generation to generation; something a father can share with a son or daughter. And baseball is an affordable family outing for everyone to enjoy.

3. The 49er’s Branding Strategy: to sell season tickets, is to create a following of blindly faithful fans. By describing a pep talk between a father and his children, you are left with the perception that the ticket buying fan base that attends games is a demographic closely inline with baseball’s fan demographic-that is ridiculous!

Football is a very violent sport. The fans at games are often unruly, drunk, and misbehave. The atmosphere at a professional football game has nothing in common with the gentile atmosphere at most major league baseball games. The age of the NFL fan base is older. The number of preteen and teenage fans at professional football games is far fewer than what you would see at a Major League baseball affair.

Results: A Complete Misfire

What the radio listening public is left with is a NFL team that is attempting to sell season tickets by invoking faith in the team. Their method of invoking faith is to “start em young” and bring up little 49er fans that will grow into season ticket buying 49er fans. Their brand is be faithful-be a 49er fan. This is very ineffective and completely ignorant of the brilliant marketing and branding message the team could create from their storied heritage. Why is a franchise with 5 Super Bowl wins, voted the team of the decade in the 1980’s, completely ignoring their brand strength?

LinkedIn.com: Authenticity Protocol and Referral Machine

Reuters.com published this deansguide article September 30, 2008

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article September 30, 2008

Sasha Strauss, Managing Director of Innovation Protocol a brand strategy consulting firm, makes a very compelling case for utilizing LinkedIn as a source of referrals. Referrals can be the lifeblood of a business and LinkedIn is the tool Sasha utilized to grow his business.

Innovation Protocol’s Story

1. Innovation Protocol has been in business 1 year and 5 months

2. Company is profitable

3. Hiring one new employee every single month

4. Sasha claims they are now turning away business

5. Never placed an advertisement in order to generate business

6. All their business is through referrals

7. Most of their referrals are from LinkedIn

8. LinkedIn profiles provide the robust information as well as recommendations that qualify potential clients according to Sasha