I miss you Twitter. But it’s okay.

I’m a self-proclaimed social media addict, but I haven’t been very active my own Twitter account – @hannahlah – much at all lately. Recently, I was called out for this by a friend/follower. So, I decided to write about a few reasons why this is, and in my opinion, they’re pretty legit.

First, I’ve been busy on another account.
Luckily for me, I now work at a kick-ass social media agency on a kick-ass account. Which means I’m logged into my client’s kick-ass Twitter page all the time. Sure, I have social listening tools, but there’s nothing like some manual watching and digging as well. Monitoring my client’s social accounts (there are multiple) is always my go-to when I power-up my computer in the morning, am waiting for a bus, or am catching up on TV. It’s my new obsession (and I get paid to do it – lucky me!).

Secondly, there are so many social distractions.
Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Wikipedia. There are so many sources of information (and distraction) these days, in addition to my Facebook news feed full of my friends’ activities. I find myself gravitating towards Instagram and Pinterest more than ever lately. This probably has to do with my being a visual learner, and the fact that most online content is becoming more visual, so we’re becoming spoiled with it. Either way, there are a lot more places to spend my time online than ever before.

Finally, life got in the way.
It’s been a rough year. Between taking more classes than I could handle when I was wrapping up my MBA, a few health issues of my own and even more serious health issues of both my parents, I’ve had little time to frolick around in the online space as @hannahlah. There is some positive that’s coming out of these events: I’ve re-prioritized what’s important in my life, with a strong focus on cherishing my time with family/friends. And as much of a social geek I am, Twitter just isn’t at the top of my list 😉

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Using Social Media as a Business Professor and as a Thought Leader

Yesterday I co-presented a session on how to use social media both in the classroom and as a thought leader with Leon Fraser at Drexel University’s Business Professor Teaching Summit.  We had a great time hearing other speakers and meeting some great people. We were very excited to share what we’ve done at Rutgers Business School with social media, and the thinking behind it.

Here are a few of the great questions we got from the audience about social media and the answers we gave:

Would you encourage professors to use social media to promote their own brand?
Yes. Creating insightful comments on blogs, having a Twitter account that is specific to your expertise or area of research is very beneficial to promote your work and your school. Signing a comment with your name and your university affiliation shows you are a credible source the media can go to when they have a question or need a quote for a story, again promoting yourself and your school.

What if I have privacy concerns with connecting to students on social media?
Social media sites often have privacy controls that you can manipulate to your liking. You can customize what your visitors see. On Facebook Groups for Schools, you don’t even have to “friend” (or connect) with a student to actually work with them in a group space, keeping all of your Facebook content private from them. With services like Edmodo, Yammer, and My Big Campus, you can create a community completely customized to the school/class instead of using a medium with existing personal data.

What if people say negative things about a brand?
When brands are open, honest and responsive to a complaint or to negativity in the social space, consumers are responsive. BOSE does a great job hunting down and relieving dissatisfied customers, making a very public display of engagement and customer service with their customers, which will keep existing customers happy and lure in potential customers.

View the PowerPoint slides and feel free to contact me or comment below with any oter questions.

After the conference, I got to spend some time with friends in Philly 🙂

What’s Beyond Twitter & Facebook?

Last week, @dutchessmtg tweeted to me:  How can a new product have a bigger online presence other than from using Facebook and Twitter? (luggage)

Those who have heard my lectures on social media know I am a huge fan of using social media to find core niche spaces for brands (especially new ones) to communicate their messages. Because even if your niche space has 13 fans, those fans are more passionate, more engaged than that hundreds on Facebook who let your messages fly right by them on Timeline. So, this is a topic I love love love to discuss.

I talk about it like this: there are two main spaces in social media. The “Niche” spaces and the “Mega” Spaces. Mega spaces would be Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, while niche spaces might be more like a specialized blog, Ning community, Meetup.com Board, or Yahoo!Answers thread.

I’m a huge fan of using the niche spaces to drive traffic, increase sales, get more shares, and feel there is huge opportunity there.  Mega spaces are great, and pretty much by default necessary these days (since your competitors are probably there and helps you come up in Searches). But, for example, say you’re Hershey’s. You probably have a Facebook page but don’t necessarily need a strong niche campaign because everyone knows what you do. You are well established and well distributed. But let’s say you’re introducing a new organic, Stevia-sweetened candy bar. You need to make sure you are on every organic, diabetes, and green recipe site on the web. You want to be in blogs, you want to do more of a guerilla campaign in talking about your product to generate awareness. The niche spaces play an important role in this type of Word-of-Mouth marketing.

You say you want to learn about social media for a luggage brand. Just like in any communications campaign, we start with the basics. First, who is your target? This will help you identify both the mega and niche spaces where your prospective customers are hanging out. Second, what are you trying to communicate? Is your luggage competitively priced? Is it more stylish? Does it roll easier? What are your differentiators? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself to determine what type of content will work for your social media campaign. Finally, what action will you drive your visitors to do? Buy? Click on a link? Like the page? Share? What exactly is it you want them to do? Keep that in mind when you are developing content. Maybe you have a great story to tell, but you want traffic to your site. Maybe you tell half of it on an external site, and put a  “… read more” link that leads to your site.

Then find the niche communities where you can post and create content. Here are a few communities off the top of my head for luggage to think about after you have established a list of key differentiators your product has:

Travel blogs (engage bloggers with your content)
Ning travel communities
Meetup.com Travel Enthusiast Boards
Travel boards on Pinterest with high # followers
Sample sale aggregators/blogs
Fashion blogs and forums – is your differentiator style?
Yahoo!Answers – are people asking for a better product? YOUR product? If not, what related Q’s are being asked? Can you answer them?

Well, @dutchessmtg, I hope this helps. Feel free to comment or tweet any further questions.

February’s lucky 7 social media stats

Everyone likes social media stats.
It seems like it was only yesterday that I was looking at infographics showing  that Yahoo and MySpace were in the top two traffic and search lists. And does anyone even remember using Lycos? (it still existis! ha!). Although they are constantly changing,  I would like to post some stats and give brief comments on each one.

!!! A reason to not block social media sites at work.
Social media ninjas everywhere, rejoice! (and send this to your boss).
“A University of Melbourne study showed that those [employees] who surfed for fun (within a ‘reasonable limit’ of 20% of their time in the office) were around 9% more productive than those who didn’t.” source

Use LinkedIn to network like crazypants to be connected globally in your field.
I was surprised to learn that some MBA students in my classes aren’t using LinkedIn! Check out this one about LI.
“LinkedIn revealed that it gains a new member every second and now has more than 90 million total members worldwide, 40 million in the U.S. and 50 million internationally.” source

What’s the $$ value of a fan? Wouldn’t everyone like to know.
I tend to think that the value of a “fan” or “like” is really dependant on the kind of customer you have. There is a great way to work on determining this thanks to Larry Weintraub and his team over at Fanscape in their whitepaper, “The Value of a Social Relationship.” But check this recent stat out anyway.
“The average value of a Facebook fan is $136.38, and this varies depending on how active a given fan is.” source

Another reason to heart NY!
Realizing the value and benefit of having someone in charge and managing the new media opportunities and presence, America’s greatest city now has someone in charge of it all.
“After a high-profile search that began over six months ago, New York City has hired new media entrepreneur Rachel Sterne as its first ‘chief digital officer.’” source

“Was it trippy to be in a room full of iPads?”
After my first social media class full of iPads (which they provided to us), my boyfriend asked me this question. My God, imagine if everyone had an iPad (um…or other tablet)? We’d be so productive! Check out this stat.
“[Forrester] expects the number of tablets sold in the U.S. to go from 10.3 million last year to 24.1 million in 2011, and growing to 44 million in annual units sold by 2015.” source

Extra! Extra! (crickets) Read all about it?!?
Here are the 3 most popular content marketing channels. Look what’s not on the list.
“The three most popular content marketing channels are e-newsletters (62%), print magazines (61%) and social media (49%).” source

Lots of green being spent on social ads.
In 2010, advertisers spent almost $1.7 billion on social media marketing in the US. source

Thanks to @PRsarahevans for her information. Visit her great blog to see the post “50 social media stats for your arsenal” for many, many more.

Why do I care what you ate for lunch?

A lot of my friends aren’t social media obsessed like me. Of those people who don’t embrace social media and real-time information just yet, the most common question I get about Twitter is “Why would I want to know what you’re doing at every moment. What you ate for lunch. How cute your dog is. Why would I care?”

Twitter serves as the ultimate two-way news source if used right. 
Many companies, news organizations, political leaders and experts are tweeting daily. You can follow your city’s Mayor to see what is being done about that pothole on Main Street, the airline you flew last week to ask them why you still haven’t gotten your lost luggage, your favorite news source to get breaking news headlines sent to you as they happen, and your favorite band to make sure you don’t miss the big announcement about their suprise reunion tour. 

For example, here are a couple of great tweets I saw today:
– Mayor Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) of Newark NJ responding to Tweets about where snow plows are needed. 
– Rutgers (@Rutgers_Newark) letting students know before the web site was even updated that day classes are cancelled until 5:20

I follow many brilliant minds in social media and the New York Times (and may or may not follow Jersey Shore’s Snooki) because these are the people providing me with the news and entertainment I want to see when I open my phone, iPad, or go on my computer.

So, forget what you’re friends ate for lunch! Only follow people who provide information you want and need to know and before you know it, Twitter will be an invaluable resource that you check everyday.

MBA Student Perspective on Social Media as Rutgers Business School embraces the online conversation

Because I am very interested in Social Media and I see the need for it in marketing now more than ever, I have worked to launch a social media strategy and presence in my department (Communications and Marketing). Here is an article I just wrote about this online, hott off the press for you:

Student Perspective on Social Media as Rutgers Business School embraces the online conversation
December 15, 2010

Did you know Rutgers Business School (RBS) was ranked among the top 10 business schools on Twitter? We were also one of the first business schools on the microblogging site beating out some of our prestigious neighboring b-schools in NYC. How about that top companies use the RBS Twitter feed to post internship and job opportunities for RBS students? Or that you can watch videos of RBS activities on YouTube?

I work in the RBS Communications and Marketing Department and I am also a part-Time MBA student here at RBS. As a young professional, I find myself in two worlds: the world of traditional business and the world of new and social media. I don’t remember the last time I bought a printed newspaper. It’s not that I don’t read the news; it’s that the way I get my news is no longer the traditional way. I get my headlines in Tweets, Diggs, and real-time Facebook status updates.

I’m completely immersed in and obsessed with social media. I found out about Michael Jackson’s death on Twitter while on my BlackBerry. I found out about Flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River on Facebook. I learn about my college alumni events on LinkedIn. And it’s not only news and events that I learn about on social media. This morning, I was told via Facebook that I should wear a hat and gloves for my commute. Social media is a huge part of my life and I’m certain it’s becoming a huge part of yours. According to Socialnomics, Social Media is the #1 activity on the Web, Facebook tops Google in weekly traffic in the U.S., and YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world.

Since RBS is a top school that is known for delivering the business, science, and technology credentials global companies demand, we recognized that it is important for the school to have a strong online presence as well. Not only do we have a brand new web site and interactive experience (virtual tour) on the way that will launch in time for the spring 2011 semester, but RBS is now on various social media sites for your advantage. As the person behind the keyboard and a student, I can tell you there is a lot to “like” and “follow” from Rutgers Business School. DegreeUs even ranked the RBS Twitter account among the best news feeds for all “business savvy students” in 2009.

We have a fan page on Facebook, a feed on Twitter, photos on Picasa, an MBA Student Blog and a channel on YouTube. We plan on adding a Foursquare and LinkedIn resource very soon. Now you can learn about all the great things going on in more ways than ever.

Many of our expert faculty members are also on Twitter. Professors Jeffrey Robinson, dt ogilvie , Judy Iskovitz and Wayne Eastman talk about current events and topics in business on their Twitter Feeds. The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development and The Institute for Ethical Leadership also have Twitter feeds.

We have a lot to be proud of, and a lot to communicate with family, alumni, students, friends, and employers: Our Undergraduate Program business major is ranked #3 by The Wall Street Journal, Our MBA Program was ranked #17 in job placement rate 3 months after graduation by U.S. News, our EMBA Program is ranked # 21 in “Top 25 EMBA Programs Worldwide” by The Wall Street Journal, and more. We have great speakers and events. We have great companies looking to hire RBS graduates. These social media platforms will integrate with our brand new web site and let people know in more ways than ever what great things go on here at Rutgers Business School.

Hannah Redmond is a part-time MBA student concentrating in Marketing and Editorial/Media Specialist & Webmaster in the Communications and Marketing department at RBS.