Thursday, December 30

Facing the Facts and Truth in Social Media

In a few days, we bid the 2010 a warm farewell. And as most of us ready our resolutions for the coming 2011, it’s great to look back at the highs and the lows this year brought us. And what a year it has been, proving to be quite fruitful for social media and the Internet in general. Only by doing so can we map out a better 2011 with regard to our brands and how we deal with our demographic online. And it’s also time to face the facts we’ve learned with the marketing campaigns we have unleashed in the past 12 months and those we have yet to churn out. Here are a few of them.

Focus on Engagements Rather Than Promotions

Image by Wild_Child_HC
This may sound really Social Media 101, but a lot of brands new on the social media platform are still struggling to get their word out to the Interwebs because they push every erg of their marketing energy promoting their brands. Now don’t get us wrong, brand promotion is a really crucial part of online marketing, but its value depreciates when you don’t interact with your demographic. You are, after all, interacting with real people, and it’s only natural for them to want to talk to a real person with human identity and attributes they can relate to, and not some corporation.
Your followers will pay attention if they notice that you’re listening to them, sharing your personal thoughts on interesting topics, and maybe laughing along to some spreading meme. Spending a few minutes responding to comments and tweets, retweeting, using the platform as an extension of your customer service hotline/s, and maybe even socializing with people offline on events can really go a long, long way.

Loyalty Goes Both Ways

Image by dtcchc
Naturally, as you pursue those multiple interactions online, your relationship with your followers grow. And a sign of a healthy brand-demographic relationship will inspire loyalty on both parties. You can monitor your brand impressions online easier and thus get insights into how your brand and products are perceived, and get a chance to clear out brand misconceptions. This way, you can probably realign your campaigns, and maybe make changes to the products to satisfy their needs. When you play your cards right, your follower’s loyalty will be your brand’s strongest marketing weapon.
Consider this: loyal fans satisfied with the treatment and the services they receive serve as brands’ social media ambassadors as they spread the word and put the kibosh on negative feedback. Some even create heaps of content around brands; like podcasts, Wiki pages, fan sites, unofficial physical items. These will definitely help you rank higher on the search engines and are awesome crowdsourcing materials.

Be Innovative and Stand Out

Image by DieselDemon
A great thing about social media is that it’s still a fresh platform. And as such, it has lots of leg room for creative marketing ideas and new distribution tactics which many are still easing into and continuously discovering best practices. So now is a good time as any to take advantage of its potentials for your brand. Your challenge though is how to unveil your messages across the thickening noise on the cloud and get your demographic’s to notice you.
In traditional marketing, brands compete against their competitors on which detergent to buy or which phone service to opt for; but in social media, we all compete with everything else online for our demographic’s attention. So yes, those pictures of cute, fluffy animals, autotuned videos, and your usual dose of spam—all these and more are clogging the tubes and it’ll be up to your marketing know-how to get you measurable results. The best way to do this is by being original and avoiding the following:
Reusing the Formulaic
A formula may have helped your previous campaign succeed, but if you keep on churning out the same strategies, people will eventually get tired of them. Yes, even if you candy-coat the newer ones with different marketing elements.
Swiping Successful Tactics
Even if a marketing strategy has worked with some other brand, there’s no guarantee it’ll work for yours. There are a lot of components to a strategy that is meant to be mapped out carefully to tailor to a brand’s identity, ideals and products. Also, don’t underestimate your audience’s intelligence by hoping they won’t notice your copied tactic because they will find out, and it can be very detrimental to your reputation.

Please share with your friends and family.

Wednesday, December 22

Haiti Aid Watchdog National Conference on the Impact of the aid

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - FEBRUARY 26:   Women s...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Accountability and Transparency of Aid to Haiti is much bigger than 2% of money from USA to Haiti via USAID actually making it to Haiti contractors, where 98% goes thru Washington DC beltway bandits. I posted links to that story here:


Out of every $100 of U.S. con­tracts now paid out to rebuild Haiti, Hait­ian firms have suc­cess­fully won $1.60, The Asso­ci­ated Press has found in a review of con­tracts since the earth­quake on Jan. 12.

An audit by US AID's Inspec­tor Gen­eral (IG) found that more than 70 per­cent of the funds given to the two largest U.S. con­trac­tors for a cash for work (CFW) project in Haiti was spent on equip­ment and mate­ri­als.

I cited various places:
  • USAID claimed this unavoidable because that equipment was not in Haiti.
  • I shared documentation showing that equipment really is in Haiti.
  • IG said clearing rubble is essential to the rebuilding effort (I agree).
  • USAID said that's a means to an end - getting money into Haitian economy by paying people to move rubble around, that's what's important, not the rebuilding
So long as USAID is in charge, able to disregard what the IG says, and so long as US Congress has forgotten they have oversight authority over USAID, then nothing will change there.  But aid to Haiti is a hell of a lot bigger than what USAID is doing.

There's also the scandal of nations around the world promising specific sums of money and not delivering.  Check out here
the various links to international assistance tracking.

Tens of thousands of NGOs etc. claim to be doing certain stuff in Haiti.
There have been independent audits of what they allegedly did.
It does not matter if it is an agency of government or an NGO.
No correlation has been found between what they claim to be doing, and evidence of what got done, found by the audits.

Some of this may be due to where there are expenditures not showing up clearly in the financial reports.  On Haiti Rewired discussion of recovery architecture, we learned of a building boom in Haiti of housing, not for quake survivors, but "mansions" for aid workers.  Rent, to stay there, is probably showing up in financial reports as some kind of aid to Haiti.  Ditto costs to transport volunteers to Haiti to do work, which local Haitians could be hired to do.

There have been a parade of investigations into the quality of the aid provided to Haiti, and the quality of the information from the providers of that aid.  These investigations produce recommendations how to fix the problems, then nothing happens.  People are getting frustrated.  I say there needs to be follow up, how come the humanitarian aid community for the most part is living in the 18th century, unable to apply 20th century technology, let alone 21st century technology?  How come the people with extremely sensible recommendations cannot get any traction?  How come the aid organizations, which produce "lessons learned" reports are unable to apply those lessons to their own operations?  How come we have tens of thousands of NGOs not talking to each other, while they trying to do work which can be done more effectively thru mutual cooperation?

This conference is an attempt by Haitian Grassroots organizations, and others, to go to that next step, of dealing with the failure of recommendations and lessons learned to be applied.

A major part of this is the people of Haiti deciding what is right for their nation, and taking charge of the recovery effort.

Alister Wm Macintyre (Al Mac) pro bono volunteer

Haiti Research shared with / posted at  "And you people wanted to boycott Hot 97, Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds? Where is the logic? Thank him for being a scapegoat to bring light to this situation that is really going on."

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Friday, December 17

♫ ♪ * Values to be Happy ♫ ♪ *

A smiley by Pumbaa, drawn using a text editor.

♫ ♪ * Values to be Happy ♫ ♪ *
Be tranquil within. Let that peace and inner joy
radiate through a serene countenance.
A serene face is peaceful, smiling, serious and shows no
any violent emotion.
It's like the surface of a calm lake.

Be regular in your daily habits, in your spiritual practices and
in your work.
Always get up at the same time. Be punctual in your activities.
That will free you from worries and anxieties.
You will do the right thing at the right moment.
Let your words match your thoughts.
Let your actions match your words.
Let there be harmony between your thoughts, words and actions.
Be natural. Speak simply.
Do not twist the words, do not fall into stereotypes.
Be plain. Avoid diplomacy, deception and crookedness.
TRUTH ♫ ♪ *
Be truthful. Fulfill your promises.
Do not exaggerate or twist the facts.
Think twice before you speak.
Speak sweetly. Be precise in what you say.
Do not flaunt your birth, position, qualities or achievements
Remember the nature of all things.
Praises to others. See God in everyone.
Try even the smallest of creatures as your equal.
Irritability is a precursor to violent outbursts.
Watch the mental balance disorders.
Look at the ripples of anger that curl the lake of your mind.
Do not allow them to acquire large proportions.
Then you will reach a state of irritability not, peace and love.
Be calm. Patiently endures insult and injury, the
suffering, failure and lack of respect.
Do not be puffed up with praise, success and honor.
In both situations, keep a balanced attitude.
Works well with friends and enemies.
Never let anything disturb your inner peace.
Peer ♫ ♪ *
Remember that a fickle mind has no chance of
achieve anything.
Awaken your discrimination. Choose your ideal.
Keep it mind.
Do not let your mind away from him even for a moment.
♫ ☆ ♥ ♫ ♪ *  of the Spiritual Path
- - - -
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