By Andy Sernovitz on September 22, 2009 | 56 Comments

With the explosive growth of social media and the success that companies are having, we’re seeing more and more brands expanding their teams and a whole new set of employee skills emerging. While adding talent to your social media team isn’t much different than doing it for other departments, there are a few special things to consider.

Things to think about:

  • Passion for the brand and what you do is everything. Does the candidate have a clear and demonstrated love for what you stand for and what you’re trying to do? They’re about to be your first impression online, and it’s something you can’t teach.
  • Twitter followers and Facebook friends are overrated. While an understanding of the tools and how to use them effectively is critical, any spammer can amass a couple thousand followers on Twitter.
  • Do they love helping people? Look for the candidates that find joy in helping people and surprising them with fantastic service. They’ll be the first to turn former critics into fans and happy customers into evangelists. (Hint: Ask them if they’ve ever worked in customer service and what they thought of it.)

Outsource Social Media Marketing

SEATTLE: Starbucks and Dell are among the brands displaying the highest levels of engagement on social media, and are enjoying a number of benefits as a result, according to a new study.

The ENGAGEMENTdb report was produced by Wetpaint, the social networking specialist, and Altimeter Group, founded by Charlene Li, co-author of the book Groundswell (reviewed here).

It assessed the top 100 global brands, as identified by BusinessWeek and Interbrand, to establish how effectively they were using the growing range of social media tools to engage with consumers.

Among the channels it analysed were corporate blogs, branded and customer communities, wikis, discussion forums, and sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Photobucket.

Starbucks posted an index score of 127, and operates across 11 different channels, as well as employing a social media team comprised of six people.

Its activities in this field include MyStarbucksIdea, which allows the coffee house chain’s customers to submit their views and suggestions to the company.

The firm’s Twitter account also has over 250,000 followers, and the brand’s official page of Facebook has more than 3.5 million people registered as “fans”.

Alexandra Wheeler, Starbucks’ director of digital strategy, said “we live in the physical world with thousands of natural touch points, so when we laid out the vision for our social strategy, it felt like home for the brand.”

“It’s about the relationships we form with our customers, not marketing. We need to build our social strategy up with integrity so that we are not compromising the relationships with customers,” she added.

Dell’s move into the social media space initially followed on from a need to improve consumer perceptions following a safety scare in 2005.

Having originally established a “blogger relations programme”, the company has now expanded its operations to include IdeaStorm, an “idea generation hub”, and a number of different Twitter accounts.

Indeed, earlier this year, the computer manufacturer reported it had generated $3 million (€2.1bn; £1.8bn) in sales through the microblogging service.

Richard Binhammer, a senior manager in corporate affairs at Dell, said that “when we moved into other channels, we learned our lesson and adopted a conversational approach culturally.”

These two brands were both described as examples of “mavens”, or commercial entities that use seven or more social media channels, and have an above-average engagement score.

Other examples in this category – and which are typified by making social media “a core part of their go-to-market strategy” – include eBay, with an index score of 115, Google, on 105, and Microsoft, on 103.

MTV and Sony were example of “butterflies”, or brands that used seven or more of these tools, but registered below-average engagement scores, often as they spread themselves too thinly.

“Selectives”, like Apple, Gucci and GE, participate on no more than six interactive channels, but often enjoy comparatively high engagement scores due to their strong performance in certain areas.

Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and L’Oréal were among the corporate assets depicted as “wallflowers”, under-performing either because they are concerned about the risks of using social media, or are still searching for the right strategy.

Overall, the ENGAGEMENTdb study found brands “in seven or more channels engaged deeply across all channels where they were present, as compared to brands that were present in fewer channels.”

Furthermore, over the 12 month period assessed by the report, those brands identified as being “mavens” saw their revenues grow by 18% on average, with net margins rising by 4%.

By contrast, “butterflies” saw revenues improve by 10%, while earnings fell 4%, while “selectives” sales rose 4% and income fell 2%, and wallflowers posted a decline of 6% in sales and 11% in profits.

One possible reason for this correlation is that “social media engagement and financial success work together” by encouraging brands to identify and meet customer needs in the marketplace, generating superior profits,” the report argued.

Data sourced from ENGAGEMENTdb; additional content by WARC staff, 24 July 2009

BizReport : Social Marketing : July 15, 2009
When it comes to the social marketplace, local businesses appear to be jumping in quickly. According to a new report from Borrell Associates, local businesses account for about 20% of the ad spend in the social marketplace.
by Kristina Knight
The report predicts that local businesses will spend more than $640 million in the social network marketplace, which is expected to bring in about $3.26 billion in ad revenue by the end of 2009.

“In the scheme of things, it’s still a drop in the bucket. The total is less than 3% of all locally spent online advertising. If we estimated it for individual local markets (we usually don’t do that until an advertising segment reaches $1 billion), it would equate to a few hundred thousand dollars or less in most markets,” writes Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, on the Borrell Associates blog.

Much of the social spending is being aimed at Facebook and MySpace, with good reason. The two social networking giants tower over other, niche social networks and continue to attract more consumers each month.

The real question, however, is will social networks work for marketers as an ad medium?

According to metrics firm Hitwise, less than 5% of retail traffic is pushed from social networks. Comparatively, search engines push 23% of traffic to the retail space. Still, the lure of the social marketplace is the ever-increasing number of consumers logging on. Sure, consumers may not be jumping from their social network to ecommerce hubs, but they are listening to peers who review or recommend certain products. So, while consumers may not be heading to a retail site from a social network, they are considering the products and perhaps making purchases at a later date.

Posted on Jul 14, 09 10:20 AM PDT You’re reading that right, applicants for the “senior manager – emerging media marketing” position at Best Buy were asked to have a Bachelors degree, two years of mobile media experience and at least 250 Twitter followers. Best Buy did find someone that fits the profile, so there’s no need to send your resume now. It’s interesting to see that there was no particular requirement for Facebook or other social networks – that tells you how much mindshare Twitter has acquired recently. Expect more companies to follow Best Buy’s example.


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Social Media Marketing Packages



Why Does my Company Need Social Media Marketing?


The goals of any successful marketing strategy are to let people know about you and your services and to generate leads. Traditionally this has included advertising to the traditional audiences presented by newspapers, television, and the Yellow Pages.


Those media channels are changing. Newspapers are going bankrupt because readers are leaving to online news sources, television shows are limited in reach, expensive, and very short term and have moved on to the Internet making themselves available 24 x 7, and the Yellow Pages have been replaced by Google and Yahoo.


As computers become common in every home, online audiences have exploded and companies are scrambling to find online audiences to advertise to for their products. Some of the most successful companies at drawing these new audiences and delivering eyeballs for advertising fall under the umbrella term social media. Social, in that they attract people, and media, in that they’re using the new Internet media format.


It can be time consuming to track the almost instantaneous changes in this new interactive Social Media, or Web 2.0, to keep your business running and qualified leads coming in. Rural America can assist you in creating and executing an online marketing communications so that you can reach the right people for your advertising dollars and have a permanent presence in your market.


We have the following packages to get you online and started quickly as well as advanced packages to keep your presence growing as your business grows.



COMPANY PROFILE PACKAGE                                  $399



This package for Social Media Marketing will help you get started promoting your company and brand. We will include tips and suggestions on how to continue to maintain and support your marketing.


 twitter logo

Twitter has become the most talked about new social media service for a reason. Twitter attracts serious people looking for information. Polls have shown the typical twitter use is 40+. Its popularity with politicians, journalists, and CEOs has shown it’s not another fly-by-night service.


We create your twitter personality with a customized name, background, description and get your business a unique personality on this hot new social site.



 facebook logo

Reaching the 35 and under demographic? A Facebook page is an absolute must for this demographic as part of the 100 million people that login every day.


We create your account, provide a profile and add photos as is appropriate.



 linkedin logo

LinkedIn is the business social media site. Creating an account here is the start of networking with millions of businesses and professionals. We create your account and profile and get you started in connected with professionals in your target market.




We suggest that you spend a min of three hours per week expanding your Twitter account, and at least one hour per week each on Facebook and Linkedin. Setting up this profile will helps build your Business, but it won’t do it by itselft. You HAVE to WORK to build your presence.





If you are time or staffing constrained, we will perform the maintenance and support of your profile. You get the same set-up as our Company Profile Package, but your monthly maintenance, support, and content updating is included.



Maintenance includes 17 hours per month:

  • 2 Hours weekly on Twitter
  • 2 Hours weekly on both Facebook and Linkedin


COMPANY BLOG PACKAGE                                       $250

 wordpress logo


A WordPress blog site is a great way to boost traffic to your website through the use of organic keywords, by providing useful articles, and information about your Company. Viewers can read your ideas, concepts, and visit your web site. As you build trust, this relationship will cause some of them to buy your product or use your services.





COMPANY BLOG SUPPORT                            $450/month


Your blog site doesn’t create traffic by itself: you have to continue to work it and add value regularly. We recommend adding two articles, or blogs, weekly and don’t forget to promote them on all your other social networking sites.


If you are time or staffing constrained, we will perform the maintenance and support of your blog. Maintenance includes 9 hours per month divided into 2 Hours weekly segments.






Other Social Media Services                                $50/hour


Once you have built your Social Media presence, ask us how we can expand your message to some of these other exciting sites.



The game has certainly changed in the last generation with regards to how businesses have to reach customers.  It’s a long ways from the days of just a smile and a handshake, and even the days of having a few limited sets of technology to work with having become “the good old days.”  Now, there are so many methods your company can reach the public that it’s difficult to keep track of them all.  The old stand-by of the print media is losing ground but still there, television and radio are out there, too, but the new frontier in marketing is the Internet.  Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to use the world wide web to your advantage and reach customers who you could never have reached before, and one of these new ways of communication is called social media marketing.


Social media marketing is centered around the ways that people use the Internet to socialize with one another.  These include websites that have been explosive successes, such as,, Twitter, and plethora of others that are popping up around the web.  The concept behind using these media to market your business is to get your company in the mix with its customers’ social interactions.  By doing that, your brand feels more natural to them, because it’s something that they associate with communication with their friends.


There are plenty of ways to incorporate social media into your company’s marketing picture.  One way is to have your employees place links onto their web pages, or onto a similar page.  Another idea is to have your company start a blog on a website that is widely read by people who you have or would like to have as customers.  Still another possibility is to go on public Internet forums that are of interest to the people in your market and use those as an interactive vehicle to get people interested in your firm’s product or service.  The concept of social media marketing is so new that people are still trying to get a handle on it, but it’s not going away, and it can be a wonderful way to reach your customer base.

Forrester Predicts Huge Growth for Social Media Marketing

What the future holds for Social Media Marketing

You Tube

5 Reasons your company needs to implement Social Media Marketing.


1. Social media marketing is now considered a best practice.

No longer a fringe marketing activity, social media marketing is often an integral part of a state-of-the-art marketing campaign, providing highly efficient and effective ways of reaching your customers. Costs for social media marketing are relatively low compared with those of other outreach efforts, and social media marketing can be targeted to exact audiences you want to reach. Even if you don’t currently have any social media initiatives, you can bet your competitors are working on theirs.

2. Social media marketing drives traffic to your website.

Social media can be more effective at driving people to your website. Your website might get some regular visitors, plus those who find you through search engines. But, what if you could post something online and those who read your message forwarded it along to their friends? You can benefit from the primary traffic of initial contacts, followed by the secondary traffic from referrals and links on other websites.

3. Social media marketing improves your search engine rankings.

Large groups of organic (non-paid) links to your site improve your ranking in most search engines. These links can come from the social media sites you use to promote your brand, plus the links that others post who are interested in your company or solutions.

4. Social media marketing lets you join the conversation.

Your customers are probably already talking about you online, and if they’re not, you should make a place for them to do so. Participating in an online community lets you be in the conversation, promoting your company, answering questions about your solutions, and promoting quality conversations. Loyalty increases when customers are part of a community where they can share concerns, generate ideas, and collaborate on solving problems. Your social media campaigns can be a great source for market information, customer feedback, survey results, and more direct communication with your target audience.

5. Social media marketing amplifies your marketing messages.

When customers rebroadcast your message, they amplify it. If you include a social media-marketing component with every outbound marketing campaign, such as an e-mail blast, banner ad, direct mail, PR, or advertising campaign, you can multiply the effects. More traffic can be driven directly to your landing pages or 800 numbers, securing a better reach for your promotions.


The list above presents just a few of the reasons why you should include a social media component in every marketing campaign. If you have a social media-marketing plan in place, start expanding your reach in different places. If you don’t have any social media marketing initiatives, get started with a blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook company page. Just make sure you get started soon, to take advantage of all the benefits that social marketing can add to your company’s marketing efforts.


5 steps in a social media marketing plan


1. Define the goals of your campaign.

It’s important to clarify the goals of your campaign before you do anything else. Is your goal to get more visitors to your website or blog? Drive awareness of a new product or service? Increase the response rate for a promotional offer? Drive downloads? Or, maybe, respond to a crisis? Make sure you have a clear idea of how you want things to be different after implementing your social media plan.

2. Build in measurement.

Before launch, be sure to establish a baseline so you can compare the results of your social media push. Once your campaign launches, continue to monitor the results using the baseline numbers for reference. You might want to use Google Analytics to measure activity and time spent on your site, and to find out where your new visitors are coming from. You could also measure participation on your blog through the number of comments left by visitors. You can also look at ratings such as your Technorati rating to see whether others are responding positively, and you should make sure to do some qualitative analysis of conversations to find out whether they’re positive or negative. Of course, one of the best results is an increase in sales, which you can hopefully attribute to your initiatives.

3. Build your toolbox.

Before you launch your plan, you need to listen to the market. Do research, identify the social media sites where your customers and key influencers in their industry are active, post questions and follow the responses, and start to enter into online conversations. Secure names and/or pages on targeted sites, and set up keyword alerts and analytics to monitor activity, analyze results, and filter out noise from your campaign. Set up different URLs if you’d like to monitor exactly where your best results are coming from. Create initial content for your accounts, including custom background images, photos, video, wall posts, etc. Determine who will be your internal brand evangelist(s), charged with spreading the company messages, responding to concerns, and answering questions online.



4. Participate.

In order for your campaign to work, you’ll have to make sure the interactions you’re planning will resonate with your online audience, be helpful, and be genuine. Identify topics that are trending up, conduct research, and promote your findings on social media. Share your knowledge, lead discussions, and be accessible to answer questions, clarify comments, and direct people to outside resources. Be sure to acknowledge feedback and criticisms, and engage in friendly conversations with your competitors. Your goal is to be involved whenever someone is talking online about your company and to facilitate conversations between your company and your customers, and among your customers. If you distribute the responsibilities for participating in discussions online, be sure to keep in close contact to coordinate your efforts.

5. Make your efforts sustainable.

Once you have had some experience with your online audiences, you should develop a set of guidelines for continuing involvement in social media networks so that many people in your organizations can participate. Include policies about the timing of discussions and responses, tone of communications, appropriate content, and how to handle problems and criticisms. Create a schedule for updating backgrounds, uploading new images, and posting new information. And, be sure that your entire marketing team notifies the person responsible for your social media campaigns every time there’s a new marketing initiative or public relations push.

If you complete all of these steps, you will be able to consistently create successful social media campaigns.


 Rural AmericaOutsourcingOnshoring Social Media Marketing