Why Your Social Media Followers Mean Nothing
I had a very interesting conversation last night with a digital media veteran by the name of Mark Cutten.  Mark runs a highly recognized firm called Accord Media Group.  As a special surprise, he brought along a well-respected colleague of his, Sheila Morris of Morris PR & Marketing, who specializes in international public relations for the entertainment industry.  Three hours later, our mind-schmoozing had ended, but along the way we realized there’s an epidemic in understanding a few basic social media principles, and the Top 100 theory was born.

At Genius Effect, we often find that the most important part of our job is educating our clients.  Teaching them the how’s and why’s of what we do and some of the “mad science” behind our strategies.   Although things always become bigger and better as they progress, we always find that we have to dispel one particular theme repeatedly:    Your s*^!load of fans doesn’t matter.

Enter the theory of Top 100 and its principles.  From a 30000 ft level, the idea is that if you do a good job at picking your top 100 (or proportionate amount) fans/friends/followers, the rest tends to take care of itself.

rifle-target1.)  Selective vs. Collective. The shotgun approach to marketing and publicity days are numbered. Instead of looking to collect thousands upon millions of followers, brands should look to select the right groups of followers.  Hence the top 100.  These targeted individuals should ideally be the thought leaders of your intended fan base.  Bloggers, insdustry leaders, journalists, trade organizations, partner organizations, and uber-fans, are all palatable selections.  Think of individuals and businesses tangential to your own.  Got the best authentic Italian pizza in town?  Food bloggers, travel writers, neighborhood councils, and local schools are all good candidates.  Ideally, this group will have a larger or more targeted group of followers than your own.

2.)  Activation = Active Nation. Reaching your top 100 is great, but often not enough.   Brands need to create reasons for these individuals to go forth and spread your gospel.   Give that blogger a specific angle or tidbit that he/she knows is valuable to their audience.  Work out an incentive program with that partner organization that engages their audience and creates a win-win for both organizations.  Let that uber-fan be the first to tell all her friends about the cool, new “it” that your brand is launching.  By creatively activating your top 100, you’re empowering your best followers and creating an authentic means of discovery for your product, project or service.

3.)  Overnight Success. Overnight success in social media is kind of like  spotting a blue unicorn; and if anyone tells you they’ve seen a blue unicorn, tell them they should say “no” to drugs.   We’ve all heard the stories about how X person’s project got “10 Million views in the first 11 minutes.”  We can’t stress enough, that this is the exception and not the rule.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of projects that launch digitally every day; from mom and pop operations, to Old Spice’s “Smell Like Your Man” campaign.  Unless you have a massive existing following, or a mega-budget to properly align the stars and moon and industry resources, be patient, and expect to wait to see significant growth.

4.)  “Meantime” Means Time. While you’re waiting, continue to execute meaningful ways to remain in dialogue with your top 100 (and even the ones who may not fall within that group).  When you think about it, in real life, the best conversations are the ones where everyone’s included and  individuals are going back and forth, sharing ideas and information, laughing, finding commonalities, and there is an equal exchange of banter.  The same goes for social media.  Congratulate your top 100.  Laugh at their jokes.  Thank them.   Share common links.  Like their new photos. Be as engaged with them as you want them to be with you.  Over time, the camaraderie will pay off immensely.

5.) Point But Don’t Disappoint. Like the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” If you’re pointing your top 100 to an experience or information that falls flat, is incomplete or doesn’t deliver on its promise, then not only do you run the risk of losing that thought leader, but you also run the risk of losing that community as a whole.  There is so much in the ether vying for audience attention, that individuals are quick to move on and forget when left short-handed.  This concept is no different from basic  or more traditional business/marketing management.   After all, your brand is at the top of the pyramid, and if you want the base of that pyramid to expand, then be sure to give your top 100 an experience they won’t soon forget.

Again, for those of you who have now begun counting, these rules in no way are geared toward a literal 100.   Notice on the picture of the target that more accurate you are, the more points you accrue.  The overall idea is that essentially – with the right tools and strategies – you can achieve greater viral marketing success with a smaller, highly targeted initial group of enthusiasts.

(Special Thanks to GenuisEffectLA)

The Secret to 5-Star Amazon Reviews

Posted on 14. Feb, 2011 by Andy Beal in Advice

How would you like to achieve a 4 or 5 star review on Amazon?

Not just a single review–or even just a handful of 5-star reviews–but 1,911 perfect scores out of a total review count of 2,439!

As I often tell audiences in my presentations, customers don’t just flock to the web to leave positive reviews. If they’re pissed, sure they’ll find a way to leave a negative review, but if they are delighted with your product or service, they need a little prodding.

Here’s a great example from Eat Smart:

Let’s break down why this is the perfect way to achieve 5-star review status on Amazon, Trip Advisor, or just about any review site.

1. Momentum – Eat Smart didn’t want to just hope you’d leave a review, they actually asked!

2. Direction – The company knows that Amazon is the key to its success, therefore it directs you where to leave a review.

3. Concern – Not happy with its products? The flyer informs you that Eat Smart wants you to be 100% satisfied and provides a dedicated email address and telephone number should that not be the case.

4. Instruction – They give the consumer explicit instructions on how to leave a review for the product just purchased.

5. Gratitude – The company thanks you for your business and reminds you that if you have any problems, they are there to help.

Just about perfection, right? Notice that everything guides the consumer towards a 5-star review, without actually having to ask for one. After all, if you are unhappy, you’ll contact the company direct. If you are thrilled, then you’re likely going to want to leave a positive review.

How are you encouraging positive reviews of your company?

Here’s How You Prevent 99%* of All Online Reputation Crises

Posted on 07. Feb, 2011 by Andy Beal in Advice

Want to know the number one rule for preventing an online reputation crisis? Give your customer the opportunity to complain and receive a response BEFORE they ever get to a blog, Twitter, or Facebook.

This is especially important for hotels, restaurants or any local business with a physical presence. I just came back from giving reputation management advice to Cars.com’s dealer members and was delighted to see this card in my room at the Westin San Francisco.



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