February 09, 2009

Social Media Scorecard insights are an object lesson


(click on the image above for a full-size version)

Last week, a client asked WideFoc.us to perform a quick-hit competitive social media analysis for a QSR, where we'd look at a range of competitive brands and rate their efforts. This wasn't a full-blown Social Media Audit Package; just a scorecard for easy reference and future discussion.

The project proved interesting in practice and results, as we looked at major brands like Chipotle, Starbucks, Nike, Red Bull, among others, and took a snapshot of their online presence.

What we saw:

  1. Everyone had some sort of Facebook presence—fan pages and groups with high member levels, even some applications, but most of their pages' content was anemic at best.
  2. Their Twitter presence (except for the rare exception) was non-existent or poorly executed.
  3. Most companies we looked at didn't have a corporate blog, and, though all of their websites had feedback funnels for customer response, very few actively engaged social media-friendly practices like sharable content and online consumer interaction.
  4. Flickr and YouTube presence was inconsistent.
  5. But the really glaring omission, with every company studied, was a lack of LinkedIn engagement. Are your executives on LinkedIn? Are their profiles current? Are they active in LinkedIn Answers, proving to the community that your company is staffed by thought leaders? We were very surprised to note how deficient these huge brands were in establishing themselves on the professional network.

Overall, we were underwhelmed at the results, but gained a lot of insight into what some major corporations are doing, and where their competition has potential to take advantage of their uneven social media strategies and execution. More on that next time.

January 13, 2009

Eric Elkins to conduct teleseminar on online reputation management

WHEN: Thursday January 22nd 5:32pm-6:32pm PST

Join PR genie Starr Hall with special guest social media strategist Eric Elkins, CEO of WideFoc.us, for information about quick and easy ways to keep apprised of your company's online reputation.  Make sure that your efforts are paying off- STOP wasting your time online and ATTEND THIS TRAINING!  

Brand reputation is no longer the domain of the company. With the advent of interactive media, the ubiquity of inexpensive production tools, and the influence of consumer reviews on purchasing behavior, the concept of brand protection has grown beyond trademarks and advertising. Whether it's on Yelp or craigslist, ripoffreports.com , or someone's personal blog, the reputation of your company is in the hands of the consumer. And that's a good thing. Consumer influence on reputation opens huge opportunities to engage potential customers, co-opt messages, and enhance word-of-mouth and front-of-mind transmission within days and weeks rather than over the course of months or years. Of course, you need to know what's being said about your brand, and have solid strategies and messaging in place.

To get $59 OFF the normal tuition of $79 for this training CLICK HERE.

Teleseminar conference information will be sent to you after registration. Conference line space is limited, register today!

November 10, 2008

Mix1 hires WideFoc.us

Mix1_logo_protein&antioxida  Mix1 is a forward-thinking company that produces two high-quality healthy beverages. The drinks, which were created by wellness guru Dr. James Rouse, are growing in popularity with several psychographics – including active moms and people with special dietary needs (e.g. those suffering from Crohn’s Disease or Celiac).

Mix1 has retained WideFoc.us to help identify where market segments are gathering —both the potential customers who will find Mix1 a special, useful addition to their lives, but also to gatekeepers like physicians, dieticians, and other nutrition experts, who might recommend the beverage as a meal replacement or supplement to their clients — and to assist in creating an online outreach strategy (content, thought leadership, branding, conversational media, etc.) that will engage potential customers and influencers.

WideFoc.us is looking forward to building awareness for a product whose qualities truly make people’s lives happier and healthier.

October 28, 2008

Your corporate blog needs help.

(Excerpted from here.)
Company blogs can be effective ways to share news with your customers and build brand affinity, but they're also powerful vehicles for establishing thought leader status and for learning from honest, open feedback provided by clients and industry experts alike.

The key is to create a process for posting that's as painless as possible, and that maximizes your team's individual expertise while encouraging writers to engage in conversations beyond the confines of your blog.

Here are a few high-level recommendations:

  1. Choose a blog platform that's easy to set up and use (yes, I know how vague that is).
  2. Establish your blogging team — make sure you recruit writers from different departments and points of view.
  3. Make each blogger a subject matter expert, covering a certain concept or aspect of your company's message or expertise (e.g. Jennifer from engineering focuses on back-end systems. Micah from marketing writes about the latest campaigns (both yours and others'). George in design looks at industry aesthetics trends. Ean the CEO sticks to high-level insights about the company and the industry as a whole. You get the idea).
  4. Create a bi-weekly content schedule. Six to eight posts in a two-week period, with everyone writing one post. All posts are bylined.
  5. Give your blogging team an hour or two each week to dig into related external blogs and forums. Have them create conversations by commenting on those blogs and/or reacting to them in their own posts and linking back. Encourage them to engage in conversation and to build cross-chatter. If they don't already follow certain social media outlets, show them good search tools like Technorati and Tweetscan.
  6. Have everyone set up Google alerts and Filtrboxes with key phrases and terms, so that good stuff to comment on hits their inboxes regularly.
  7. Support your team with encouragement. Share interesting bits you come across. Make recommendations.
  8. Make sure you're sticking to your own regimen. If you're not keeping up and making your posts, how can you expect your team to believe in the process?

Ready to create a social media newsroom that really engages? We can help.

October 17, 2008

Talented writer/marketing genie joins the WideFoc.us team

With a bolus of new clients coming on board this fall, including Pearl Izumi, Mix1, United States Equestrian Federation, a PR agency (with offices in San Francisco, Boston and London), a major national retailer, a political campaign and a non-profit organization, WideFoc.us is fortunate to have Dina Chaiffetz join the team as a research associate.

Dina’s background includes work at advertising and consulting firm AdHouse Creative as Creative Coordinator, where she developed concepts and copy for advertising campaigns, and as Junior PR Xpert at Xstatic Public Relations, where she conducted research, news writing and media relations.

As research associate, Dina works closely with the team and clients to find relevant targets for social media engagement and to brainstorm ideas for seeding and buzz-building. She also takes on writing copy for news releases and client messaging.

Dina’s instincts in the social media space and in marketing practices make her a powerful addition to WideFoc.us Corp.

September 17, 2008

Summer Vacation Ends, Examiner Title Changes


Eric Elkins is writing again for Examiner.com, a user-driven content network, made up of national and regional "examiners" who expound on a variety of subjects.

Eric's new title is National Internet Business Examiner. Look for his musings about social media, ePR and general web biz subjects several times each week.

August 22, 2008

Pearl Izumi engages WideFoc.us

Pi_gradiated_logo_06You may recognize the Pearl Izumi name from its line of high-quality cycling gear. But the company’s running shoes are gaining great, um, traction with athletes in the know. When they launched their polarizing “Run Like an Animal” campaign a few months ago, complete with a powerful microsite, the company found itself right in the middle of a firestorm on the nature of running.

And that’s just where they wanted to be.

Now that the initial shock of the campaign has faded, Pearl Izumi has asked the WideFoc.us team to work closely with the company to propagate their message and increase sales of their running shoes.

After completion of a Context & Inquiry phase, where we will immerse ourselves in Pearl Izumi marketing and branding initiatives—everything from email campaigns to current online initiatives and metrics, WideFoc.us will create online content recommendations that integrate with a social media propagation strategy plan.

From discovery through execution, WideFoc.us will work closely with Pearl Izumi, to make sure goals and outcomes are in alignment.

We’re excited to get started.

July 16, 2008

WideFoc.us on the Road

This week, Eric traveled with client bSocial Networks to Sand Hill Road in order to speak with several venture capital firms about Market Lodge, the company’s social commerce solution.

Eric’s role on the team was to discuss the company’s position and marketing strategies—Market Lodge’s value proposition to identified Millennial segments, how messaging would be propagated to influencers, and what marketing strategies and tactics would be used to encourage conversions.

The team sat down with partners at several companies, including Norwest Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, and Sequoia Capital, and generated solid indications of interest.

WideFoc.us is happy to join its clients in the funding process, providing specialized insights on social media strategies and marketing as they relate to client offerings.

July 02, 2008

Fun with focus groups (part 1)

I’ve spent the last few days helping to moderate focus groups for one of our clients. Market Lodge is an application (currently on Facebook, soon to be on others) that allows users, or Keepers, to create storefronts right on their profile pages. They can choose from tens of thousands of products that they have, or recommend, or want, feature them in their Market Lodges, and earn 10% whenever someone makes a purchase.

We took on the parent company, bSocial Networks, as a client, because I could see Market Lodge as having the potential to be the holy grail of social network monetization—everyone benefits—from social network users, to vendors, to social networks as entities.

So spending hours with the target demo (Millennials—who, along with Gen-Xers are a WideFoc.us specialty) was truly thought-provoking. Granted, the sample size is small, but my instinct tells me that most of the sentiments we picked up are valid.

Here are our first four key insights:
1.    We’re seeing a slight but pronounced behavior and motivation differences between students and young professionals. Students (and recent students) and Millennials who are establishing themselves in the workplace use social networks in different ways, with different goals. More on that someday soon.
2.    The drift from MySpace to Facebook is real. Everyone we spoke with spends most (if not all of) of his or her social networking time on Facebook. The few who had MySpace pages said they hadn’t visited them in weeks or months. LinkedIn is on the rise among young professionals.
3.    Millennials are sensitive to purchase recommendations from their friends, but still make their own decisions based on pricing and perceived value. And the friend making the recommendation must be perceived as truly qualified. If you don’t know crap about speakers, your friends aren’t going to act on your recommendation about those woofers you picked up.
4.    Application fatigue is very real. Zombies? Vampires? Sick of them. New applications must be useful and interesting, and have a very clear value prop to have any sort of longevity. Many group members had removed all but the most basic of apps—what’s left are the tools that allow them to share their personalities and predilections with minimal fuss (good news for our client). Getting their attention about a new app is another story altogether.

Looking back at these first four thoughts, I admit they’re pretty obvious. And insight doesn’t = execution success. Still, it’s good to know you know stuff.

June 09, 2008

Reputation Management How-To for BMA Colorado

Businesses are under fire.

Your brand’s reputation is no longer the domain of your company.  Brand protection today involves far more than trademarks and advertising, thanks to the advent of interactive media, the ubiquity of inexpensive production tools, and the influence of consumer reviews on purchasing behavior.

Whether it’s on Yelp or craigslist, ripoffreports.com, or someone’s personal blog, the reputation of your company brand is now in the hands of the consumer.

And that's a good thing.


About WideFoc.us

  • WideFoc.us specializes in harnessing ePR and social media strategies to develop unique, innovative marketing and strategic communication programs across multiple platforms (blogs, forums, social networks, print, email, SMS, viral, etc.) delivering focused messages to targeted segments.

    Strategies include everything from identifying online influencers, to creating corporate blogs and targeted social networks, to developing plans for creating cross-chatter and conversation around a certain concept, message or product.

    Current projects:
    • Working closely with agencies to provide insight and pitch new and prospective clients on ePR and social media strategies
    • Outsource PR (research, news releases, pitching stories, blog and alternative media placements)
    • Creating customized Ning networks and corporate blogs
    • Writing/copywriting for various media outlets, websites, collateral
    • Branding, PR and marketing and strategic communications plans and execution
    • Marketing collateral development
    • Ad and sponsorship sales
    • Project management for website development
    • Freelance writing for newspapers, magazines and websites, specializing in books, movies, video games, education and pop culture
    • Curriculum consultation, writing, editing; project management and writing for educational toys, workbooks, and classroom/parent guides

Who is WideFoc.us?

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  • Add to Technorati Favorites

Click Here

Blog powered by TypePad