I work in an industry that has a unique training process.

Experiential marketing takes part-time, temporary employees and quickly turns them into go-to experts on products and brands — otherwise known as “brand ambassadors.” When you speak with a brand ambassador at an event, it’s possible that he has only been representing that brand for less than a day.

This need for instant expertise is a challenge, but it also provides great lessons to other industries that are looking to hone their training processes.

Typically, managers want to spend days or weeks training new employees before turning them loose in a real-world setting. But employees usually learn more on their first real day of work than they do during the entire simulated training process.

Why on-the-job training works

On-the-job training puts employees in a sink-or-swim situation. If they don’t quickly master their duties, they risk making themselves and their new employer look bad. (read more…)

Given all of the pronouncements regarding the failing health of organic social media, we’re reminded of the peasant in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” who cries, “I’m not dead yet!” only to be clubbed on the head shortly thereafter. Though the reach of organic social media has continued its downward spiral, there are glimmers of hope among best-in-class practitioners who are cleverly avoiding the death knell.

1. Celebrity engagement

At the recent Social Media Shake-up, John Yembrick of NASA dazzled the crowd with myriad examples of opportunistic engagement. One involved Justin Bieber, who happened to mention on Twitter that he was interested in doing a concert in space. \NASA not only responded, “Maybe we can help you with that,” but also added a clever wink to Biebers song “All Around the World.” Needless to say, the “Beliebers” went crazy over this reply, which ended up generating millions of impressions among a young audience that NASA very much wants to inspire. (read more…)

You understand the value of referrals. With the goal of attracting new business coming in so high on the list of firms’ marketing priorities, it’s no surprise that the desire to generate more referrals remains a key marketing initiative. But in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, traditional referrals from clients alone aren’t enough to accelerate growth

With this in mind, the Hinge Research Institute set out to rethink referral marketing and determine how successful firms are capitalizing on referrals today. After gathering responses from over 500 professional services firms, we found that 81.5% of service providers have received a referral from someone who wasn’t a former client.

This suggests that truly effective referral marketing needs to include strategies for generating referrals from both clients and non-clients. But where do these non-client referrals come from? Well, we discovered that most non-client referrals are a result of your firm’s reputation and expertise. In fact, we found there are actually three types of referrals that firms can utilize to attract more new business:

  • Experience-based referrals are traditional client referrals.
  • (read more…)

When marketers monitor social conversation, it’s difficult to determine if a spike in post volume is worthy of attention or simply a fluke.

For instance, Dairy Queen’s marketing team may notice a sharp increase in social posts that mention their brand. Getting to the bottom of a conversation spike normally requires digging through hundreds of posts to get the complete picture. What caused the spike to occur? It could be something in the news, a shout-out from a celebrity or a customer service issue gone viral. Either way, Dairy Queen needs to go beyond post volume to understand the reason mentions spiked at all.

What’s important to note, however, is that a sub-topic that spikes around your brand is truly only valuable if it deviates from the norm. For instance, if posts about Dairy Queen rise at the beginning of the summer, no one should be surprised. People are spending time outside, are warming up and desire an ice cream snack. (read more…)

With an audience size on social that rivals some media outlets they pay to advertise, EA’s David Tinson says it makes sense for the brand to become a media company. As the senior VP of global communications, David says his job is to help create a newsroom that’s centered around an opportunity to connect with customers.

In his presentation at SocialMedia.org’s Member Meeting, David shares how they created an internal structure to support listening, content creation and distribution for EA’s media. Here are some key points from his presentation:

  • Standards and policies at an enterprise level are crucial. David explains how they created governance around a common set of tools, invested in creative resources, and formed alignment across teams. That meant creating a consistent voice and staying on the same page with paid, advertising, product marketing and customer-support teams.
  • Listen first, then create content. David says, “So often marketers and communicators start creating content and then figure out where it should go after.
  • (read more…)