So it’s no secret I work for Dyn, one of the biggest DNS companies in the world. Companies that make money off their websites pay us to ensure their website is always available and fast. Ok, so it may be a little more complicated than that but that’s it in a nutshell. When you look across our industry of internet infrastructure/ performance providers, you will notice a lot of trends when it comes to social media marketing.  I’ll dive into the 4 major trends I have noticed.

Product Support

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Many companies are using social media to communicate with customers. I know my company encourages it. People reach out to us via Twitter all the time whether they are happy, mad or just have a questions about our products. Our social media team does a great job at assisting people when they have questions. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned a social media tool called Tweetdeck which is a great tool to use when trying to monitor this. Not all people know your companies’ Twitter handle or they will use a hashtag instead of an @ sign. This helps pick up the stragglers. 

Updates/ Outages

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I think that Twitter is great for product updates, especially in the internet space. When DNS or Hosting companies have outages, it is very difficult for them to send updates out to their customers. Without working DNS you cannot reach a website or send an email in most cases, so companies will take to social media to update their customers. Since we are in the internet infrastructure industry, if we or similar companies have outages, then our customers’ websites would be offline as well. Because of this, it is  imperative that you notify people as soon as possible. As you can see to the right, Cloudflare has created a Twitter account specifically for communicating these updates. 

Product Releases

Since most of our customers and prospects are active on social media, it makes it a great place to announce new product releases. We find that when people are shopping around in our space they will follow all the major players like Dyn, DNS Made Easy, Neustar Ultra DNS, Cloudflare, etc to get a feel for their companies. As you can see in the picture below, DNS Made Easy just released a new feature that is in high demand due to recent web security issues.

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This is a great example of how to communicate product releases and it would be a great candidate for a promoted/ paid Tweet as well. A promoted Tweet would help get this info out to non followers. It would be wise to target the followers of their competition (like us) because they are one of the few to offer this in their consumer level products.

Events

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 10.15.18 PMOne last trend I’ve noticed over social media is event marketing. In a world where most communication is done over the internet, it adds a whole new dynamic to actually meet the person that is interested in your products and talk face to face. At the end of the day, whether your marketing b2b or b2c at the end of the day you are selling to another human. Face to face interaction helps push this process forward creating  higher close rates and shorter sales cycles. This is why events are so important. In order to succeed at events companies must inform people that they will be there, where to find them and get them to stop by and talk. Social Media is a great way of doing so. In an effort to create social media buzz for our presence at SXSW, which is a huge music and technology festival in Austin, we created a contest which the winner will win a free trip.

There are certainly many more uses for social media in the business world but in the internet industry these are the trends I have noticed. It will be interesting to see where these trends go as social media evolves.

So in case you didn’t know this about me I’m going to drop some fun facts. I come from a family of football players. My father played for the 86′ and 87′ Kansas City Chiefs and my grandfather played for the Boston Patriots (yes, Boston, before they were the New England Patriots) for 9 years back in the 60’s. So naturally I played football all the way up through college, Go Wildcats! Through the years I picked up tons of valuable lessons and forged a lot of relationships, one which got me my job at Dyn. For the sake of time, I picked 5 of the top lessons I learned that translated into my professional life.

Problem solving

So this one came about mostly in college. There were many times where my coach would be very vague in his directions and instead of re-explaining he would just say “Figure it the F*** out.” So instead of doing the wrong thing and enduring physical punishment, we would just figure it out and fast. Another way this skill set was trained was when we would implement new plays. If my coach noticed you hesitating or looking confused, he would scream the word “PANIC” over and over again until you got it right. Fast forward to my professional life, the conditions are no where near as extreme so when challenges get thrown my way, I just think, I may not know how to solve this problem immediately but I know I can figure it the f*** out.

Decision making

The game of Football consists of a whole combination of decisions. These decisions must be made quickly, accurately and executed right. Make the wrong one as a DB on defense and the offense scores, make the wrong one on offense while you are carrying the ball, you may get jacked up. Again, when it comes to my professional life, the consequences are less extreme but the ability to think on my toes and make quality decisions on the fly has definitely helped.

Teamwork

Now, this one ins an obvious one that doesn’t only pertain to football, but every team sport. Everybody has a job to do and without everyone executing their jobs the team will fail. Same thing with the professional world, it takes a group of people executing their job functions smoothly for a department and ultimately a business to run optimally. Back when I played ball and someone would mess up their coverage or try to do to much, coach would yell “DO YOUR JOB” because if everyone does there job other teammates wont have to compesate for missed assignments.

Brand/ Flair

I’m a firm believer in the ideology, if you look good, you play good. I know this is silly, but I take it more as a reflection of your talent. My defensive back coach in college was a character and would critique us on our flair. Flair is a combination of gloves, socks, sleeves,  etc that would set you apart from the rest of the team. He was half joking when he did it but he wanted us to look as good as we played. This was our personal brand and this subject has grown exponentially with the adoption of blogging and social media. One other aside I would like to add to this is, the same ideas with branding a company apply. Your branding must visually reflect your product or service in a positive way or else you will loose out on potential customers.

Competitiveness

And lastly, another strikingly obvious one but important as well. It takes very competitive people to succeed in football among other sports. Coincidentally, the same competitiveness makes for a great business person. When I started my career as a business development specialist it was all about the quantity of qualified sales leads I could generate through cold calling and emailing. Obviously I strived for the most every month out of my team. Now, I use email marketing to drive sales leads and I compete with myself month after month.

 

To all of my fellow athletes and competitors out there, I hope I was able to shed light on some of the skills you didn’t know you had. I put these on my resume and used them to my advantage during the interview process. It definitely helped me and hopefully it can help you as well!

Throughout my marketing endeavors I have come across tons of tools/ applications I’ve used to leverage all of the social networks. Three of them that have withstood the test of time are Tint, Tweetdeck and Just Unfollow. I use all of these personally as well as for business purposes which means they are extremely versatile and powerful. They all have different purposes and I will dive into Tint first. 

For any brand that uses social media and has a website, I strongly recommend Tint. I know this is a broad demographic but it helps you understand the power behind this tool. In a nutshell, it is an easy way to embed all of your social feeds onto the web. As a matter of fact, I have a Tint feed on the homepage of this blog. I found out about them when they released a Wix plugin last year when I was building the website for my side business The Woods Collective. In case you haven’t heard of Wix, it is a drag and drop website builder and I highly recommend it if you aren’t efficient with HTML/CSS. Tint also offers custom options for mapping posts with certain keywords, mentions, and hashtags to displays for conferences and concerts. They operate on a freemium model which lets you add two networks for free and they strip out some of the customization options. The free version is more than enough for a personal user.

Next up is Tweetdeck. I was introduced to them within my first week at Dyn. At the time I was a business development rep, prospecting and trying to generate hot leads for the sales team. Tweetdeck helps keep a pulse on what people are saying about your company or your industry. It allows you to create columns which display a Twitter feed of a user specified keyword, hashtag, or twitter handle. Since I was generating leads for a DNS company I had a column for each of our competitors and for keywords such as “DNS Issues” or “DNS Outage” so I could see if people were having issues. I would then reach out via email or Twitter and offer up help. It can be extremely difficult to maneuver through all the noise on social media and Tweetdeck allows this to be possible.

Lastly, we have Just Unfollow. I found Just Unfollow when I was a business development rep for Dyn. Came across them while I was prospecting and started to email the founder to try to introduce Dyn’s DNS and Email services. Long story short, after about 8 months or so of talking with him on Google Chat he finally agreed to chat with us and he became a customer. Just Unfollow works with both Twitter and Instagram, which I heavily use, and monitors your followers. When people Unfollow you on either network you are able to see it and can make a decision to follow or un-follow them right from within the app. I use this more for personal stuff but it could be used by companies to maintain their followers and find new people to follow. They offer different ways to find similar people to follow based on your followers as well to help you grow your network. They are constantly adding features and its exciting to see this app grow.

I highly recommend these three tools to all the social media butterflies out there. I use all of them almost daily and they are a great compliment to social media in general. They help me use these networks to their full potential and, hopefully, I was able to uncover one of these tools for you.

So as a marketer, I personally feel like one of my responsibilities is to give existing customers the warm fuzzy feeling. Not many large companies do a great of doing this even with the financial resources they have available but Westjet is another story. In case  you havent seen it, the video is here:


Its truly amazing what they have done with this. With a little planning and money they have not only made all the customers in the video feel special but this video went viral with over 19 million views. People eat this stuff up, they were able to build loyalty with those customers and I saw a ton of friends on Social Media saying they will fly Westjet next time simply because of this video.

We recently did a stunt through Dyn on a smaller scale than this, Keep an eye out on Dyn’s social channels next week when we launch it.

So a couple months ago I moved out of a business development role to a marketing programs coordinator role, both had to do with lead generation but instead if emailing and calling people individually, now I use marketing automation to generate and nurture leads. For anyone who has done marketing automation stuff before you know building and optimizing landing pages is an integral part of the process.

The first company I think most people turn to regardless of whether or not they are using their product is Hubspot. They are not only excellent at optimizing landing pages but they offer a ton of content surrounding landing page building. Naturally, we turned to them as well and realized, although their pages work great in their industry, the same tactics would t work in ours. We saw below average click through rates on all of our social and ppc campaigns and realized we needed to regroup.

Example of Hubspot Page:

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The beauty of the Internet is the ability to see exactly what your competition is doing. We googled the keywords that we wanted to optimize and checked out the landing pages that came up. We noticed vast differences in design and content. It appears that the IT audience requires a lot more information on their landing pages to fill out a form than a marketer.

Example of IT Landing Page:

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We are currently working on developing and deploying these now and I will bring you updates when we have some results! We are looking to combine the attention grabbing elements of the Hubspot pages with the added information of the other one. It is a catch 22, give too much information and we risk losing out on good conversations, give to little, and we run the same risk.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of making a personal site for a while now and after attending the AHA! Summit yesterday at SNHU I finally got the motivation to do so. Learned some cool stuff but one thing that really hit home was how marketing yourself is just as important as marketing for a company. They said personal blogs are a great way to do so, so this is how I wound up here. I usually contribute to my company’s blog over at The Woods Collective so this will just be my personal stuff.

I will try to post periodically with some updates on what I’m working on, hope some of the stuff here can help!