Brand Storytelling Spotlight: Panera Bread

Last month I wrote that telling your brand’s story was the easiest way to build brand buzz online. Here are two pieces from that blog post that I’d like to reiterate:

The brands that are getting the most buzz on social media are the ones that are taking the time to creatively share their unique stories. They understand the importance of being genuine, and they legitimately care about the communities they’re sharing content with.

 If you want to stand out on social media, if you want people talking about your brand over all your competitors, if you want to get anything back from your social media efforts at all, share your story. Sometimes it’s the only deciding factor between you and the other guy for consumers like me.

To illustrate the power of brand storytelling, I decided to start featuring brands that get it. A few weeks ago, I shared  the story behind Sweet Leaf Tea

This week, I’m featuring Panera Bread.

“Panera Bread bakery-cafes showcase the art and craft of bread making, helping customers truly appreciate and enjoy a great loaf of bread by studying its crust, crumb and craft. Panera Bread understands that great bread makes great meals, from made-to-order sandwiches to tossed-to-order salads and soup served in bread bowls” (Source).

As with Sweet Leaf Tea, Panera break stands out to me as one of the brands that gets it because of the following reasons:

  1. They make and serve great food.
  2. They do a fairly good job of telling their story on social media.

Specifically, the brand has a great website, and a strong and interactive presence on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Like Sweet Leaf Tea however, I couldn’t find the brand on Instagram! But I hope they’ll read this post and jump on the insanely popular mobile photo sharing app.

I’ll ask that you spend some time looking through the links to their social sites above to get a better idea of what they are doing right as a brand. But just in case you don’t have time, I wanted to share a few videos from them right here on this page for your convenience. These videos illustrate perfectly what your brand should be doing on social media: showing why you’re different. Giving people something they can to relate to. Expressing passion. In them, you’ll meet and hear from a few of their bakers—the people behind the brand. Watch now:

Are you telling your brand’s story? If not, start planning. If you have questions about the best ways to move forward, ask me! I’m @RobWormley on Twitter.

Want to suggest a brand for me to spotlight? Shoot me an email.

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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How Social Media Can Lead To Sales

If there’s one common question that every business, brand, or organization new to social media has, it’s probably “how will using social media lead to sales?” It’s a fair question to ask. The problem with this question, however, lies in how it’s worded. What businesses new to social media should be asking is not “how will using social media lead to sales?”, but instead, “how can using social media lead to sales?”

It’s a slight difference, but here’s why the second question is a better question for business owners or brand executives to ask: it shows that they already understand the fact that creating a presence on social media sites doesn’t automatically lead to sales.

Unfortunately, most business owners just can’t seem to grasp this truth—that just joining social media sites isn’t a guarantee of even one new sale for a company. Developing a social media strategy for your business and joining social media sites are two very important steps to take, but if you want to actually start seeing real results—i.e. actual ROI—then you’re going to need to walk a lot further than you might have originally planned.

So with this new question in mind—”how can using social media lead to sales?”—what’s the answer? I’d be lying if I told you it was a simple “a + b + c = $$$” equation. There are a number of factors that play a part in whether or not your efforts on social media will actually lead to sales. To help you better understand what some of these factors are and how they work together, I’d like to share with you a chart that I like to call the social media equation. Here it is:

If the chart above looks complicated, it’s because it’s meant to. Because using social media to make sales isn’t as easy as a lot of people want it to be. It takes things like time, consistency, transparency, interaction, and value. It takes real work.

You may know that you have a good product that you think a lot of people could use, but if you can’t take the time to genuinely care about your followers and show them that you have a good, valuable product, you aren’t ready to be on social media.

No one wants to see a video on Facebook or a photo on Flickr that looks like an advertisement. No one wants to see the same “great deal” tweet ten times in one day.

If you decide to take the first steps to create a presence for your business on social media, it can lead to sales. It just takes time, effort, passion, dedication, authenticity, patience, and above all—a good product.

Still have questions? Ask me on Twitter. I’m @robwormley.

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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5 Embeddable Resources You Could Be Using To Enhance Your Blog And Keep Visitors Coming Back For More

For a lot of businesses, the idea of blogging can be scary. It’s easy for a CEO to decide that his or her company needs to have a blog. For most blogging platforms, the setup process is fairly simple. In fact it only takes a matter of seconds. The hard part, however, comes when the person who has been put in charge of running the company blog realizes they have no idea what to write about. So what’s the secret to running a successful, interesting, valuable blog that keeps people coming back for more? It all comes down to two things: strategy and creativity. That’s it.

Here’s the deal: Blogging isn’t hard. It just takes a little strategy, and a little creativity. Blogging is a must for all companies. Joe Soto, CEO of One Social Media, said it best at a recent social media luncheon that he spoke at following New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer’s sales seminar. When speaking on the topic of blogging, he said: “If you don’t have a blog, you’re not taking your business seriously.”

To help you come up with effective blog strategies, AND to help you boost your creativity, I’d like to share 5 embeddable resources that will help you enhance your blog and keep visitors coming back for more.

1. VYou
Site:
http://vyou.com
What it is:
The concept behind VYou is simple, yet ingenious: Ask a question about a topic—get a video response. Click here to learn more.
Strategy Tip:
Set up a VYou account and start interacting with your clients. It provides a great opportunity for organizations and companies who want to start connecting with customers on an entirely new level. Invite people to interact with you on VYou by embedding your profile in a blog post.
Cost:
Free
Example:

2. ISSUU
Site: http://issuu.com
What it is: ISSUU is the leading digital publishing platform on the web. It’s a site that allows you to upload and share publications.
Strategy Tip: Create a profile on ISSUU for your company and start uploading your brochures, reports, case studies, and any other marketing materials you have. Then embed your publications into a blog post on your company blog.
Cost: Free
Example:

3. Prezi
Site: http://prezi.com
What it is: A new way to present information. Prezi allows you to take your personal or corporate messages, meetings, and speeches to the next level by helping you create visually-stunning presentations.
Strategy Tip: Set up your account on Prezi, then spend some time learning how to use it. In the meantime, share other presentations that you come across by embedding them into your next blog post. Search for a topic that relates to your industry.
Cost: Free
Example:

4. Twitter Search Feed
Site: http://twitter.com/about/resources/widgets
What it is: A Twitter widget that allows you to create a live stream of tweets based on a specific search term.
Strategy Tip: Search for a word(s) that relate to your industry. Help keep your clients and future customers informed by embedding a Twitter search widget into your next blog post.
Cost: Free
Example:

5. LiveShare by Cooliris
Site: http://www.cooliris.com/yoursite/express/builder
What it is: A new way to share YouTube videos, Flickr photostreams, Facebook photos, and more!
Strategy Tip: Use LiveShare by Cooliris to share your company’s YouTube channel with your clients. Embed the LiveShare app into your next blog post.
Example:

Hopefully these ideas will help get you started. At the least, they will help you drastically improve your next five blog posts. Just use one resource per blog post and share them across all your social media sites. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the positive feedback you receive. The key to using your blog as an effective resource for future business is all about value, and in order to provide value on your blog, you need to invest in two things: strategy and creativity.

Still have questions? Ask me on Twitter. I’m @robwormley.

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Facebook Page

One common question I often hear from businesses and organizations who are new to social media is, “How do I measure the success of my social media efforts?” It’s a fair question to ask in my opinion. Answering that question, however, isn’t always as easy as asking it. What’s hard for many businesses who are new to Facebook to understand, is that the success of their social media efforts shouldn’t (and can’t) be determined solely by the number of overall ‘likes’ their page has. There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration when trying to measure the success of a Facebook page, or a social media campaign in general. Sometimes it’s important to recognize the quality of interaction that exists on a Facebook page, rather than the quantity of users who ‘like’ a page.

What I mean by that is this: you might not have as many Facebook fans as you would like, but what you do have is a number of loyal Facebook users who continue to consistently interact with you on your Facebook page. If you’re getting caught up in the numbers, you’re probably not paying attention to the great interaction occurring on your page. Measuring the success of your social media efforts sometimes requires you to ignore quantity (the number of ‘likes’ your page has), and instead focus on quality (the interaction from loyal fans).

I understand, however, that ignoring the numbers isn’t always easy for some businesses and organizations to do. For that reason, I’m offering five simple things you can do to improve your Facebook page. Here they are:

1. Add Value: I just got done reading a great new book about social media by author Jeffrey Gitomer, who explains that “the purpose of your online presence (especially on social media) is not to sell, it’s to attract people who want to buy” (Jeffrey Gitomer, Social BOOM!). Wise words coming from someone who is actively creating valuable content on his social media sites. It’s important to understand that people who connect with you on Facebook aren’t necessarily interested in buying from you (at least not right away). What they are looking for is value. They want to connect with you because you have something to offer to them besides your latest product. You have insight. You have advice. You have knowledge. You have expertise. Start offering valuable content on your Facebook page, and you will not only see an increase in the amount of people who ‘like’ your page, but you will also see an overall increase in the interaction that occurs on your page.

2. Add Variety: If you aren’t sharing photos, videos, or links on your Facebook page, you shouldn’t be surprised that your numbers aren’t where you want them to be. Providing consistent updates on your page is great, but it can only do so much. You need to start sharing other forms of content with your Facebook followers. Upload photos from your last event. Upload customer testimonial videos. Share interesting links, or links to your blog with your Facebook community. Once you start adding variety to your Facebook page, your numbers will most likely go up, and the amount of interaction occurring will also increase.

3. Engage When Your Followers Are Listening: Knowing when your followers are listening can be an extremely effective way to increase your Facebook numbers, and improve your Facebook page. If you’re wondering why no one is ‘liking’ or commenting on content that you are sharing on your page, it might be because you aren’t engaging with your followers at the right time. Your followers aren’t always logged into Facebook at the same time you post an update. I recently read a great report from Buddy Media that looked at the best time of day (and best day of the week) to share content on a Facebook page. I was surprised with some of their findings, and I’m guessing you would be too. I encourage you to download the report yourself if you are interested in learning more about how to engage when your followers are listening. There are a lot of great graphs like the one below that will help you understand their findings:



4. Cross-Promote: Your Twitter followers might never know that you have a Facebook page, unless you tell them. The people who visit your company website won’t look for you on Facebook, unless you show them you are there. Your company needs to make sure every separate audience you have online—your website audience, your blog audience, your newsletter audience, etc—knows that you have a social media presence. You need to cross-promote whenever you have the opportunity to do so. Cross-promoting is one of the easiest ways to increase your numbers on Facebook, because you are inviting people who already interact with you others places to join you on Facebook too. Need examples? Click on the photo below to see all the ways we cross promote on our site.

5. Respond: One of the best ways to improve your Facebook page is to respond to questions your followers ask you on your page. Ignoring hard questions is the easiest way to lose Facebook fans and damage your online reputation. If  you have decided that you want your company to have a presence on Facebook, then you need to be ready to address questions or concerns that your followers have. It’s easy to delete a question or comment from an unhappy customer and move on, but it won’t help you in the end. Your Facebook followers will think much more highly of you if you actually take the time to answer their questions, and let them know you care. Responding to questions or comments on your Facebook page will show other non-fans that you have something to offer them that your competition doesn’t. It’s worth it.

I hope you are able to take at least one of these five tips and start incorporating it into your Facebook page. When you do, come back to this blog post and tell me if you saw any changes! I’d love to read your comments. Just remember, measuring the success of your social media efforts isn’t always about the numbers. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to think about the quality of interaction on your page, the loyalty of your followers, and the value you are providing to your Facebook community.

Still have questions? Ask me on Twitter. I’m @robwormley.

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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Using Your Blog as an Effective Social Media Marketing Tool

Social media marketing is an effective tool these days. But a lot of us don’t know where to begin or what steps to follow for efficiently using social media. There is no single route or path to follow. The strategy that you implement depends on the size of your enterprise and how social media can help your company.

A blog is a very useful social media marketing tool. It acts as a front for social media and also promotes your marketing activities. A Website is helpful in reaching out to your customers but your blog essentially acts as a catalyst for online marketing.

Blogs are very useful in communicating with people as you can link it to social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Your blog can contain a variety of information such as product information, new trends in the industry, tips and strategies or press releases. You can even upload your video feeds to your blog.

The essential factor is that the information in your blog should be valuable and interesting so that people actually read it. Giving out tips and lessons will evoke an interest in people who will sign up to get more information from you.

This is how your blog can be helpful to you:-

  • Your blog will help in SEO by capturing the ‘long tail’ keywords. This will help create the backlinks automatically.
  • Newsletters should be sent on a regular basis so that people will follow the link back to your blog for more details.
  • Link your blogs to popular networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The content in your blog will be automatically posted and people on these networks will be able to communicate with you directly.
  • Link the press releases to the emails sent to customers and to the social networking sites. This will help in building better visibility.
Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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Tips to Tweet Right

This one’s for the newcomers on Twitter and those who need some advice on how to do some meaningful tweeting.  First and foremost you need to remember – be real, be yourself, and use a tone of conversation you would have others use with you. If you can remember and put this to use, you are on the right track.

1.    Depending on the kind of followers you want to target, share information that is new, fresh, and offered from a fresh perspective.

2.    Interact with people by responding to their tweets. You might comment on a bit of information shared by someone either by providing additional information, replying to a question, or by expressing your view on the topic.

3.    Respond to Direct Messages or @mentions. Apart from spam, make it a point to reply to messages sent to you. When someone mentions you or retweets your post, acknowledge it. Thank your new followers and do all of the above mentioned in a  sincere, authentic voice.

4.    Get your new followers to know more about you and ask them about themselves too. Some people may use a Twitter client to respond to new followers while some may do  it directly through Twitter. Whatever the case, you need to add a personal touch by expressing interest in your followers. Only then will they show interest in you and pay heed to what you have to say.

5.    Follow live events on Twitter with a hashtag (#tag). You will find several people using hashtags and following events; if the event is of your interest join the bandwagon after introducing yourself. This is a great way to make new contacts among people sharing your interests. You can follow up with these people even after the event.

6.    Ask questions on Twitter. This is probably one of the best ways to find niche followers and build your network. You will be surprised at the kind of ideas, leads, and insights you can receive by tweeting wisely.

Twitter is a very powerful social media platform which can work wonders for your brand or business if it is used optimally.

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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Social Media Use Has Become a Regular Habit for Three Quarters of the Online Population

social-media-marketing

Each week I get asked, “Do you know what percentage of those online are engaged and influenced by social media?”
Rarely do I have a really good answer for that.  Until now.
A new article from Adweek was recently published revealing new research.  Research that shows social media use has become a regular habit for three quarters of the online population.
One interesting part of the research study point out that “more than half of top ten daily media destinations are social media.” It’s where people are turning too.
With Facebook climbing to half a billion registered users and Twitter adding more than 300,000 new registered users daily, it’s time for small to medium businesses to jump on the train.
To read the complete article on Adweek.com, click here.
To read the research study, click here.

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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Twitter: The most misunderstood social media tool for small businesses

mm_twitter

Even though 25 to 30 million people registered for Twitter between late 2009 and early 2010 (and company projections estimate 1 billion users by 2013), Twitter remains one of the most misunderstood social media tool for small business owners.
Avoiding Twitter could cost you money if you don’t take advantage of it.  Too bold of a statement?
Think about it, at some point there was  a time that the idea of the internet seemed very foreign to you. There was even a time when the idea suggesting every home could have a personal computer seemed impossible. But now the business community at large can’t imagine being able to conduct business without the internet or a computer.
With that said, admittedly Twitter may not be right for every business, but there is a way it can work for most.
One of the misperceptions is Twitter is only useful if you have a national or worldwide product or service. The fact is, local businesses can connect to local followers on Twitter and build a local following.

Here are some quick Twitter tips and resources for you:

Click here for an article on 16 Twitter Tips for Small Businesses
Click here to see a video on how NYC street vendors are using Twitter
Here is a video that explains “Twitter in Plain English:”

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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Yahoo Mail to Integrate Facebook

yahoo_facebook_091202_mnFacebook added a huge feather in their cap this week. Yahoo, a leading provider of web-hosted email, has integrated Facebook into Yahoo Mail.

Yes, you’ll be able to see your friends Facebook profile photos directly from your Yahoo Mail and further interact with their Facebook buddies. While this news is not a revolutionary change, it does display Facebook’s dominance and other web properties’ desire to team up with them.

By integrating Facebook into Yahoo Mail, Yahoo will keep more people connected to their web property for conducting social networking activity. This overlap of social networking sites is a trend that will likely continue as other “Yahoo” like properties (i.e. AOL) try to figure out how to either compete or play on the same field with new players such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Buzz.

Articles to reference:

ABC News/Technology

Paidcontent.org

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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Twitter vs. Facebook, Which is Better?

boxing1A new comparison study of the Social Media marketing strategy benefits of Twitter verse Facebook was released. The goal was to determine which of these social media marketing platforms offers the best strategies for the specialized needs of businesses and online marketers.

The study was broken down into eight different categories comparing them as effective website traffic driving platforms, comparing their viral marketing benefits, the better overall platform for business to business marketing, the better overall platform for business to consumer marketing and more.

Would it surprise you that Twitter won the “Better overall platform for business to business marketing” category?

It didn’t surprise us.

Read the article here to learn more

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Pinterest - Google Plus