When to Adopt Social Media for Your Business?

by Eric Tsai

roger's-bellWhat happens when hype is no longer hype but a real trend? Can you afford to miss benefiting from social technologies?

These are questions I get about using social media as part of the brand strategy conversations. This is when I introduce the theory of Technology Adoption Lifecycle (aka Rogers’ bell curve) to illustrate product adoption to better understand how new ideas and technologies spread especially in today’s digital culture.

Fundamentally Innovators seek new ways of doing complex tasks and are willing to take the risk hoping to gain competitive advantage over time.

The Early Adopters want speed and cost savings to drive other innovations that’s mostly perceived advantage.

I see the rest of the adopter groups (early majority, late majority and laggards) as Mass Market. This group relies heavily on the concept of social proof and wants proven process from credible source that demonstrates significant cost savings over the existing way of doing things.

Now let’s apply this concept to social media.
Adopting at the Right Time
The idea of adopting new technology is to improve productivity and fuel growth, not to chase the hype

The 12 Principles of Brand Strategy

by Eric Tsai

In a situation where you’re selling to multiple personalities, it’s best to first connect everyone on a common ground then articulate clearly what’s in it for each of them.

The goal is to stimulate an engaging conversation that allows us to change perception, diagnose expectations and bring clarity to the dialogue.

That’s the essence of developing a brand strategy – the foundation of your communication that builds authentic relationships between you and your audience.

It is by defining your brand strategy that allows you to utilize marketing, advertising, public relations and social media to consistently and accurately reinforce your character.

Without defining the core strategy, all channels of communication can often become a hit and miss expense.

Here’s 12 brand strategy principles I believe to be the key to achieve business success.
1. Define your brand
It starts with your authenticity, the core purpose, vision, mission, position, values and character.  Focus on what you do best and then communicated your inimitable strengths through consistency.

There are many examples of companies acquiring other brands but only to sell them off later because they don’t fit within the brand

Harness That Social Media Bottom Line

by Eric Tsai

smmeasureThis week an interesting question came up during a discussion I had with business owners wanting to learn more about integrating social media into their existing marketing strategy. As expected, the second question hit on the topic of social media ROI (return on investment), specifically it was “Can social media help my bottom line?” I quickly went into a discussion about measuring the result which is sales, and how companies must understand customer profitability in order to make smarter decisions that produce higher profits.

Of course we can use the “old way” of analyzing impact such as clicks, eye balls or traffic, but those are limited not to mention unproven at this point.  We’re still at the “testing before the test gets developed” stage before a solid method of measuring social media ROI is meaningful.  However, it’s about time that we all try to find meaningful metrics that truly justifies the investment.

Accordingly to the research report “2009 Marketing Industry Trends” from Equation Research, the top 4 ways to track social media efforts has little to do with directly tracking sales. 

The Secret to Social Media Communication

by Eric Tsai

dma-headmix-social-networking-biggest-impact-may-2009Recently a report was released by US market research firm Pear Analytics with a statement on how 40% of Twitter messages are “pointless babble.” As you can see from the comments followed, the statement rubbed some people the wrong.

Although the analysis was based from a personal value judgment on individual’s communication, it somewhat puts Twitter usage in perspective. At the end of the day nobody can speak words of wisdom every time they open their mouth (not even Warrant Buffet), but the real value of Twitter is its openness as a real-time platform for engagement opportunities.

Perhaps the report is subjective but the truth is Twitter has allowed users to utilize the platform however they like propelling this incredible movement towards the personalization of media. Simultaneous to this growing personalization of media is a stronger notion of connectivity in social media. Not just Twitter but all social media technologies must be seen as revolutionary not simply in their design, but in their redesign by people because there is really no rules or limits on how you want to use it

How the Social Web is Redefining Community and Brand Legitimacy

by Eric Tsai

facebook_populationRecently I gave a presentation on social media in which I mentioned that one of reasons social media is gaining great momentum is that it fosters the creation of community.

Naturally, we all have the desire to be part of a community, to become an insider on something that we’re interested in.

I gave the example of how two fans who loved Coke created a Coke Cola Facebook fan page that became the 2nd most popular page on Facebook with more than 3.5 million fans and yet they don’t work for Coke.

I was then asked “How do I build our community?  Where do we find them? On the internet?” To that I replied “Start by looking around your office, the community should start here, with your employees first. Internet just makes it easy for brand enthusiasts to gather and share their collective values.”

That led to a discussion about how internet is redefining the concept of community as we can now gather and form any online community revolutionizing the idea of social capital (connections within and between social networks) and embracing personal

Why Social Network Engagement is About Conversations

by Eric Tsai

smreport-rf-egWith the recent acquisition of Zappos by Amazon, many companies are now taking a serious look at social innovation especially after the latest Engagement report by Wetpain and the Fluent report by Razorfish on social influence marketing. Basically these reports prove that brands with high social media activity increased revenues while the less active ones aren’t as profitable.

The statistics not only adds fuel to the social media hype but helps to convert the naysayers to believers.

Even Twitter is leveling the playing field by publishing its own “Twitter 101” guide, which contains ideas, tips and case studies intended for businesses to make the best of the service.

The beginner’s guide to Twitter is intended to lower the learning curve but could evolve into the ultimate Twitter knowledge base.

This is actually a good thing because it allows users to focus more on the strategic usage of Twitter rather than the tactical side.

It also forces the “experts” to elevate their game to the next proof of concept level on those “how to use social media” content.

Recently I’ve notice that there has been a

Technology Paradigm Shifts How We Work

by Eric Tsai

605px-Cloud_computing.svgWe are in the middle of a second major paradigm shift in IT (information technology).  This is not about simply going from web1.0 to web2.0, but something that’s going to have a major impact on how we work. I am referring to the disruptive force of “cloud computing.

I’ve been focusing on brand strategies in the technology sector for quite some time now and I’ve seen some resemblance in cloud computing hype similar to that of social media on the web.  Further investigation led me to identify some of the underlying implications and the cumulative impact of them on businesses.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Primary Characteristics
Cloud computing is basically a dynamic computing environment that’s delivered over the internet with on-demand resources that are scalable and flexible. In the old days businesses had to purchase hardware, software and then hire IT staff to manage them.  With cloud computing, you simply pay for the service on a per usage model, as known as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Benefits: Eliminate the risk of owning and maintaining software, hardware and hiring resources. It allows business to shift from capital

3 Keys to Improve Your Brand in Social Marketing

by Eric Tsai

trust_in_advertisingMany businesses continue to operate under the assumption that a website, a basic product offering or great brochure will bring profits and revenue to their bottom line. Those days are over.  Brands are now crossing over into the hybrid marketing era that incorporates some form of social media.

You already know the importance of product, price, placement and promotion, but none of that matters without people. People is what build relationship and creates opportunities.  And that’s exactly what social media has added: the fifth “P” of marketing.

Whether your brand provides information products, consumer goods or services, one thing still remains the same: the most effective marketing is still word-of-mouth (WOM).

WOM generates buzz and it gets passed along over and over and over again in a highly influential way. It’s how friends tell friends about the things that excite them or what business owners tell other business owners on what works for their business.

According to the latest Nielsen Global Consumer Survey: 90% of consumers said they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.

It’s indicative that

How Social Media is Transforming Business

by Eric Tsai

Lately I’ve been researching on how brands are using social media to improve their business.

While doing a bit of thinking on social branding, I recalled a conversation I had with a friend that just launched a web2.0 startup business.

The one advice I gave was to launch it as soon as possible without worrying too much on branding.

The idea is to deploy your initial idea and allow your users to tell you how to evolve the product.

That’s how majority of the new web startups utilize crowdsourcing with an emphasis on the power users then really listen to what they have to say.

The brand development aspect of a startup isn’t as important as the initial user experience.

It got me thinking about business models and how more and more companies are finding it necessary to transform their business model due to the economic crisis.

In addition, the shift in consumer behavior will cause brands to adjust to a fundamentally altered playing field.

In most cases brands will find it hard to transform themselves unless they’ve already got a flexible, dynamic long-term strategy that embraces