Social media is great for earning new fans and getting them to talk about you. But for Life Technologies, word-of-mouth was just the beginning of what the company could do with social media. The brand wanted to get enlightened.

In her presentation at SocialMedia.org‘s BlogWell conference in Los Angeles, Life Technologies’ global senior e-marketing manager for search and social, Robin Smith, explains how the deep relationships the company makes with its fans help influence the stuff the company makes and how it does business. This is about more than a crowdsourced marketing stunt — this is about a sustainable way to actively make your business better with social media.

Some key points from her BlogWell presentation:

  • Customers relate to a person, not a company. Making real, human relationships with individuals, as individuals, is key to earning your fans’ trust and opinions. Smith says Life Technologies works hard to let employees have their own voice in social media.
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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Are you concerned about your social media accounts being compromised by hackers?

  • Yes: 63.30%
  • No: 36.70%

Recent hackings of Burger King’s and Jeep’s Twitter accounts are unfortunate, but they may yet have an upside. The hackings prompted Twitter to improve its security tools. And hopefully it has spurred professional social media users to take the threat of hackers seriously.

It’s a mistake to think your brand is too small or too benign to attract the attention of hackers. Instead, take the opportunity to examine your security on two fronts.

  1. Password. Make your password something not obvious. Make it alphanumeric. Control the number of people who have access to the password, and make sure the e-mail address associated with the account is similarly secure.
  2. (read more…)

Oh, the pressure of a blank status update staring you in the face. If you’re managing a community on social networks for your own business or a client’s, this can be a real challenge because you always want to be engaging, interesting and possibly edgy/cool — but the reality is that your company or client doesn’t always have something to say.

So what do you do when you feel this way? Well, here are five suggestions guaranteed to get you posting.

  • Real-time research: All those comments and discussions on your page(s) are what the honchos call “real-time research/data,” and you can use those to spark new conversations because what do people want to talk about the most in the world — themselves. Believe it. Simply ask a question to one of your followers and allow them the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. As Picard would say, engage!
  • Sawdust on the floor: Every company has interesting things happening every day, whether it makes the approved distribution list or not.
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Blogging provides your company an opportunity to share meaningful knowledge with potential clients and customers, which in turn gets them to know, like and trust you. Once they know, like and trust you and your company, the sale isn’t too far behind. But blogging without social media is like peanut butter without jelly, fluff without the marshmallow or thunder without lightning. It’s just not the same.

If you are implementing or managing a lead-generating inbound marketing program, blogging without social media is like trying to run your high-performance marketing machine on lighter fluid. It’s going to sputter to a halt sooner than later.

First, people have to subscribe to our blog to get access to your brilliance. This takes time, but by pushing your educational blog content out via social media, you introduce your thought leadership to an entirely new audience of perfectly targeted prospects.

Here are a couple of ideas to consider then blending your blogging and social media efforts together to improve the performance of your marketing program:

  1. Build your reach.
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If you’re looking for ways to figure out how to finally understand how social media can help your business this year, here’s one of the most important things you can do: Forget everything you’ve been told about social media.

  • Forget what social-marketing agencies have been wildly promoting.
  • Forget what industry analysts having been boldly predicting.
  • Forget what social media listening vendors have been over-promising.

Start this year with a new approach to your social media strategy. A strong case of “social media amnesia” may be your best marketing move in 2013.

For five years running, social media continues to be one of corporate America’s biggest enigmas — an incredibly valuable new way to reach and connect with customers while at the same time being one of the most underutilized and misunderstood capabilities in the world of marketing and research.

Even the advent of the World Wide Web didn’t create this much head scratching by marketing executives around the world. (read more…)