Brands and the Power of Connected Citizens

Best global brands 2011

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Simon Mainwaring, the author of “We First,” at Social Good Summit. If in the past, brands controlled the conversation. With social tools at people’s disposal, that is no longer the case.

Game changing: We First

The use of social tools changed how consumers view their relationships with brands. (even for those that do not fall under the category of big brands, i.e. business or people – like you and I) Because consumers now have the power to drive ‘the’ conversation.

So we talked about how connected citizens – those who are actively sharing their values via various social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. – choose to communicate with brands.

Some of the things that we discussed:

– The power of connected citizens.

We saw what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain how people are reaching out despite the state of oppression in communicating the value of what they care. In the business world, for example, citizens’ participation in Pepsi Refresh Project. This is a project, where anyone with an idea can get their initiative funded.

Continue reading “Brands and the Power of Connected Citizens”

How do you Make Brands to be More Social?

This is the behind-the-scene interview with Simon Mainwaring, the author of ‘WE FIRST,’ at the Social Good Summit. At the Summit, Simon talks about ‘Building a Private Sector Pillar for Social Change.’ Got a few more Q&As with Simon, which I’ll put it up soon.

How this First Lady Uses Social Media

It’s fascinating to learn what other politicians or the spouse of a politician uses social media for. We know for a fact that President Obama enjoys a social media celebrity status, because he’s one of the few politicians who have millions of followers! What about on the other side of the world?

There is the First Lady of Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez, a celebrity politician in her own right.

When she made a surprise appearance at Social Good Summit, she talks a bit of how she uses social media. She says that “she is both a follower and user of social networks, Twitter, Facebook.”  These tools give her the ability to be connected with the youth and people from around the world.

In her capacity as a First Lady, she uses ICT (short for information communication technology) to empower women, improve literacy rate, economic development. If you want to connect with her, the twitter handle is @margaritacdf.

Check it out.

Making the Connection for #SocialGood

It’s very inspiring to see how people across the spectrum around the world, are using technology and social media to make connection & do social good. They are using different platforms to educate, empower women and girls, spreading the buzz, connecting displaced people, and more. One thing they share in common – is the ability to make a change.

The starting point of any conversation. Why are we doing this?

Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “When are we going to get over the idea that it is shocking that women can do things?” @mashable…
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Kids need to see entertainment where females are valued as much as males.” @mashable @unfoundation
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
Guterres -The most nobel part of our job is to help refugees unite, go back home. #socialgood @refugees
melissarfleming
September 20, 2011
.@womenwarpeace: “It’s not just a question of who’s watching media, it’s an issue of who’s talking. We’ve only heard from men.” #socialgood
lionozion
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore says startling statistics & tidbits are great way to spread awareness on malaria through social media #socialgood
USAID
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Gender portrayls influence aspirations. If they can see it, they can be it” @mashable @unfoundation
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
A bed net can protect a family of 4 for up to 3 years (@TheMandyMoore + @ashong are showing+telling!) #socialgood
unfoundation
September 20, 2011
#SocialGood @ABurak on how gaming can be used to make social good changes…in this case for girls & women. Teaching via data.
mgyerman
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore Totally agree about teaching kids about things like malaria in school. Why isn’t this being taught now? #SocialGood
johnrougeux
September 20, 2011
Every 45 seconds a child dies of malaria… #SocialGood let’s change that…now @nothingbutnets @themandymoore
WaterIsHumanity
September 20, 2011

Grow Your Mailing List Without Trying Too Hard

Email still is the most preferred medium of communication. People spend 45% of their online activities on sending or reading emails. I don’t know about you, but I check my email first thing in the morning before Facebook, Twitter. Oh. Yes!

I’m just amazed that some people don’t use the opportunity to collect email addresses at different touch points of their activities. Jeffrey Gitomer, the sales guru says that “Over the next millennium, the single most valuable asset you and your company will posses is your email list. Build it, grow it and guard it with your life.”

Email marketing is probably the cheapest, easiest and most effective way to build relationship with prospects, customers, members, and clients. 

Barack Obama’s campaign was probably the best political campaign – ever. The campaign has built their list to a huge list – some 3M people are on the list. We know the results. He is now our President. Every time he was scheduled to speak at an event – there would be volunteers out there scouring the crowd collecting ‘personal’ information – the kind of permission-based information that would be used later for voters’ outreach, volunteers recruitment and for contributions. The list is then used over and over and over again. 

We’re no Barack Obama, but we can certainly grow our email list from at various touch points. 

Here are “The 5 tips for Building a High-Quality List that Leads to Sales, via Constant Contact.  

  1. When you network, ask people you meet if you can sign them up for your newsletter. The number one cardinal sin in networking is trying to close the sale right after meeting someone new. Rather than push your services, push your newsletter. It’s a great way to have people get to know you on a “trial-basis.”
  2. Contact your professional trade organization for their member list. A few trade organizations provide their chapter lists to members for free while others charge a modest fee for the national list. Once you get the list, send your colleagues a direct mail letter, with your free newsletter being the offer.
  3. Recommend other good newsletters in your newsletter. I’m a firm believer in “sharing the wealth.” If you think your readers would enjoy another newsletter, by all means, recommend it. Usually people are so surprised at being positively noticed, they’ll give you a reciprocal recommendation, resulting in many new subscribers.
  4. For presentations, include your newsletter info on the last PowerPoint slide. That last slide on PowerPoint presentations is valuable real estate. Don’t use it to list only your name and company name. Put your newsletter URL there instead.
  5. Develop a no-cost guide people can download at your site. Offering high-value content on your site is always a good thing. Write a press release about your no-cost guide or report and send it to trade publications. Give people the option of subscribing to your newsletter at the same time they download the guide.

The other few places where you can collect email information:

– SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

The best thing right now is you have social networking sites at your disposal, where you can connect or reconnect easily with people, that were not available before. You can exchange emails with your social networking connections. LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, Twitter – just to name a few sites. 

– BLOGS

There is this symbiotic relationships between blogging and email. Darren Rowse with ProBlogger, is using email alongside his blog. His blog helps him to drive up people to sign up for his newsletter. And the email drives people back to his blog. He was able to grow his subscriber base by 800 people per day using this technique.

Blog_and_email

image: ProBlogger Continue reading “Grow Your Mailing List Without Trying Too Hard”

Inside Honest Tea HQs (pictures)

Sometime last week I attended Net Impact annual networking hosted by Honest Tea at their headquarters in Bethesda. Read the story here at Urban Trekker streaming

Here are some pictures from the event. 

50 Power Twitter Tips (video)

More mileage for a blog post. This is an example of content in Creative Commons (shareable) mode.

A video-grapher-marketer named Paul Durban adapted Chris Brogan’s post and put it on a video. (Chris had the post on shareable mode) It’s amazing. 

The first 10 tips:

 Intent (Human Artist)

  1. Don’t read EVERY tweet. It’s perfectly okay. You have permission.
  2. Follow anyone who follows you (and unfollow spammers/jerks).
  3. Promote other people 12x to every 1 self-promotional tweet.
  4. Build lists to watch people who matter to you more closely.
  5. Retweet the good stuff from others. Sharing is caring.
  6. A lot of @replies shows a lot of humanity/engagement.
  7. Robot tweets are less sexy than human tweets.
  8. Promote the new/less followed more than the “names.”
  9. Set an egg timer. Twitter is addictive.
  10. Everyone does it their own way. You’re doing it wrong, too- to someone.

Read the rest at Chris Brogan blog.