Fresh ideas are the best way to keep people talking about your brand, notes Andy Sernovitz -- but where do they come from? Your R&D department can help, Sernovitz writes, but the best word-of-mouth campaigns are often generated by your own fans. "Get fresh ideas for starting conversations by getting closer to your customers," he advises. "Take your quest for topics outside of the company."
Many franchise business owners are finding that social tools can help tailor their marketing messages to local audiences, writes Gwen Moran. Companies such as Zpizza and Express Employment Professionals now complement their national Web sites with tailored regional Twitter feeds. A Tasti D-Lite franchisee managed to win almost 600 fans before opening, helping the new branch to hit the ground running.
Corporate bloggers should make sure that they enable e-mail alerts, since they can generate far more traffic than RSS subscriptions, writes Lily Zhu. A survey of more than 600 businesses found that almost 12 times as many people signed up for e-mail alerts as subscribed to RSS feeds, Zhu notes. Many blog platforms don't turn on e-mail alerts by default, so simply flipping a switch can be an easy way to boost blog traffic, Zhu writes.
How well automakers adapt to the social-media revolution could determine which companies survive 2010, writes JD Rucker. Some manufacturers have made tentative forays into Twitter and Facebook, Rucker notes, but local dealers have not managed to use social tools to build meaningful connections between customers, Rucker writes. "It is here where the battle will be won or lost," Rucker argues. "It's in local engagement that the automotive industry must embrace social media, and so far very little of that has been happening."
Too many social-marketing strategies are halfhearted token gestures, writes Amber Naslund. When you're ready to get serious about social media, stop making excuses and obsessing over small details and commit to implementing a methodical, long-term plan instead, Naslund advises.