Hardwicke Group Scores in 2012 Best and Worst “Olympics”

August 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Richmond digital marketing agency The Hardwicke Group voted “Best Local Company Using Social Media”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) – Aug 03, 2012 – What a difference a year makes. In 2011, The Hardwicke Group, a digital marketing and pr agency, was voted third place as Richmond’s “Best Local Social Media Company”—just after Tumblr and the Martin Agency.  The competition is an annual local “olympics” conducted by Richmond Magazine that highlights the area’s top performers, as well as those who would receive a lump of coal from Santa Claus.

In 2012, Richmond Magazine dropped the Social Media company category, and replaced it with “Best Local Company Using Social Media.”  This time, The Hardwicke Group received more votes than any other local company—a first place finish.

Jason Yu, managing partner of The Hardwicke Group, was notified of the win several weeks ago, and found it difficult to hold back the announcement.  “Richmond has a large community of tech-savvy, social media users,” said Yu, “So this win truly indicates our visibility in one of major markets.”  The agency’s clients include large and small businesses, non-profit organizations, political candidates, and media commentators.

Richmond Magazine’s Best and Worst 2012 edition is available on newsstands, and will be posted online, generally in 30 – 60 days.

About The Hardwicke Group

The Hardwicke Group is a digital marketing company headquartered in Atlanta, GA, that specializes in digital strategy, online presence, and custom client solutions. The group’s clients include national organizations, small businesses, media commentators, political candidates, authors, and non-profit organizations.

For more information about The Hardwicke Group, visit http://www.thehardwickegroup.com.

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Non-Profit Forms Grassroots Effort for Job Creation

August 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

The launch of a non-profit is announced. The Reinvent Me Foundation is a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the reinvention process to displaced workers, veterans, and recent college graduates.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) – Aug 02, 2012 – Even before The Wall Street Journal and the American Enterprise Institute began calling attention to the “human disaster” of unemployment, a group of concerned Virginia entrepreneurs and professionals from IT, training and development, digital media, marketing, and psychology had identified this issue and began working on a solution. This group of innovators who have used emerging technologies to solve real-world problems formed the non-profit organization, the Reinvent Me Foundation, Inc.

The Reinvent Me Foundation, Inc., a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the reinvention process to displaced workers, veterans, and recent college graduates, was formed in 2012 to develop a high-potential, scalable, self-sustaining approach for job creation.  Founders include Dr. Susan Hardwicke, Martin Chekel, Linda Hipskind, Patsy Arnett, Jason Yu, and Ray Lepper.

Mission of the Reinvent Me Foundation

The mission of the Reinvent Me Foundation is to empower people to rethink, retool, and retrain themselves to meet the demands of the current economic reality.  “Waiting for someone else to create jobs that match their existing skills is futile,” said Board of Directors Chair Dr. Susan Hardwicke.  “Today’s work seekers need to reinvent themselves to meet today’s marketplace, and then do this every two or three years to stay relevant, interested, and interesting.”

The foundation’s target audience is displaced workers, veterans, and those entering the job market from college.  The primary delivery vehicle is a web-based hub of  scalable, rapidly available, integrated content and social media channels to engage individuals and support their career change.  Participants embark on a positive reinvention experience that will enable them to make decisions about their future, develop an action plan, and then implement it.

To learn more about the Reinvent Me Foundation, visit http://www.reinventmefoundation.org or call 804-205-0897.

Top 10 mistakes to avoid in B2B Social Media

July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Published by Dr. Susan Hardwicke, Ph.D. & Jason Yu

don't just jump right in without the right social media strategy #1. Jumping in without a strategy. You’ll only go so far with a “let’s throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks” social media approach, or the Nike “just do it” mentality. A social media strategy should be based on understanding which tools to use, who will be responsible for what tasks, what your goals and objectives are, and how you will measure success. Ask yourself why you are engaging in this specific marketing tactic and what results you want to see from it. Your objectives should be measurable and time-specific.

 

 

It's all about social media integration!#2. Failure to integrate with other organizational entities and activities. The greatest risk of  failure in social media is treating it as a standalone activity that’s layered onto existing activities or added to the existing org chart. Integration and bringing in the appropriate marketing, sales, service, and other staff can create a more powerful strategy and ensure buy-in.

 

 

 

 

There's more to analytics than Google Analytics...
#3. Failure to use analytics or use them effectively. First, companies need to understand the power of analytics in developing detailed knowledge about customer demographics, needs, and expectations. They need to learn how to use the information for continuous refinement of their approach, and for developing their unique success factors. The adage of “data does not equal information” applies here.

 

 

 

B2B social media does not equal B2C social media#4. Assuming that B2B social media marketing is qualitatively different from B2C social  media. Authentic customer intimacy is the means of developing business and sales, regardless of whether the target audience is a consumer or a decision-maker in a business. Common denominator: they are both people. In a B2B model, you may need to address more “touch points” than with a consumer sale, but it’s easy to forget that those “touch points” are people with specific needs and expectations.

 

 

social media marketing#5. Failure to understand the customer and effectively use customer information. This point sounds like Marketing 101, and, to a certain extent, it is. The challenge of social media is that you can get so distracted by posting and responding on the plethora of channels that you can lose sight of your original intention. In engaging with customers in social media, take care that you don’t build up expectations that the company can’t meet.

 

 

The new rule of social media is about customer intimacy. #6. Expecting too much too soon. Some of our clients come to us expecting the phone to ring or contact requests to flood their email inbox within days of implementing a social media strategy. With the increasing information overload in all forms of media, the length of time from initial impression to engagement or conversion can only increase. Through successful customer intimacy, companies can continuously refine their approach and successively decrease that time interval.

 

 

Be found. Get noticed with SEO.

#7. Failure to optimize your website and integrate it with social media. While social media offers opportunities to connect and deliver your brand without your website, the website can neither be ignored nor exist in a silo. Companies should add their social media to their website to help rank higher in search results and become successful in spreading content far and wide around the world wide web.

 

 

Don't miss opportunities with CRM

#8. Missing opportunities to reengineer customer service and customer relationships. The ubiquity, convenience, and low cost of social media offer the most advantageous opportunities for cost-effective, high-performance customer service and customer relationships since the inventions of the Internet and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Companies can offset the cost of social media implementation by reengineering.

 

Video#9. Reductionist thinking that content equals text. Ebooks and white papers are a must for building your reputation and “mind share,” but don’t limit yourself to them. Videos, podcasts, and interactive applications aren’t just “nice to have”: they’re expected.

 

 

 

 

Interns#10. Hiring an intern for the heavy lifting. If you believe that social media can be understood only by the “wired generation” or that it consists of simple content posting, you are likely to undervalue its importance and err in prioritizing the use of resources. The time you take to understand the importance of social media and how each channel works, along with online ads, will be well worth the effort. A corollary is using a student intern who may not have sufficient expertise to gather and disseminate mission-critical data or recognize a problem or opportunity soon enough. Interns can serve your purposes well, but they must be trained and managed by professionals on your team.

 

Here’s a holiday social media list to check more than twice

December 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

by Susan Hardwicke, Ph.D., and Jason Yu

Whether you’ve jumped into the fray of business social media or just tiptoed in, an end-of-year inventory of your social media efforts is an essential to a jump-start of your business in 2012.  The landscape will grow only more competitive.  If you haven’t taken a systematic approach to this new relationship technology, it’s not too late.  Using this checklist will help get you into shape early in 2012 and begin to discover your market leadership potential.

If you’re one of the thousands of businesspersons who have been too busy running your company to realize that the social media revolution is just beginning, don’t read any further.  Just buy any book or guide on social media and start doing it.  NOW.  As social media sage Erik Qualman aptly said earlier this year, “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it (emphasis Qualman’s).”  In 2012, make an effort to do it well.

10. Do you have a social media policy for your employees?  As more and more people spend hours socializing online, the importance of employees’ clear understanding of the company’s expectations for online behavior only increases.  People who identify themselves as your company’s employees and behave inappropriately or who make inappropriate comments about the company stand to tarnish the company’s reputation, not only their own.  Ensure that your human resources department has this as an immediate action item, if you are missing this in your employee handbook.

9. Are your company profiles (LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) up to date and complete?  Do they welcome visitors to contact you?  This is one of the most basic, high pay-off items in the list.  Make this a routine at least every six months and put it on a list of items associated with major events such as a move, merger, or name change.

8. Who in the company is responsible for social media strategy?  If you can’t answer this question, move this item to the top of your to-do list.  If you can answer this question, and the answer is more than 3, make consolidating responsibility one of your priorities for 2012.  And don’t forget integrating social media into key organizational activities.

7. Are you building an email subscriber database using social media (invitations and offers, for example) and methods such as ebooks or white papers?  The volume of your email subscriber database is not as important as it was even two years ago.  People open emails that are important to them at the moment they see them in the inbox.  You have a split second to get their attention, even if you are a company they value.

6. Are you monitoring your reputation online?  How many times and ways do you Google your company (or your professional name) and search various channels to learn what people—customers, employees, and vendors—are saying about you?  Even if you are using a reputation management company or software, you need to check to ensure it’s doing its job.

5. Is your website “social media friendly”?  Do you have a blog, Facebook widget for comments, and an article share widget?  If the answer is “no,” don’t wait until 2012 to fix this problem.  Social media widgets are now expected as the contact form on your website.  If you don’t have one, savvy technology users will view you as clueless.

4. Are you attracting enough “likes” on Facebook and has your Twitter “followership” increased at a steady pace over the past six months?  Are your “likes” and “followers” greater than your competitors’?  The number of followers and likes needs to be geared toward your business.  A local small business marketing to other local businesses might be well served by only 150-200 likes, a number that is ridiculously low for any consumer business other than a hot dog stand.  If your followership is too low, it’s an indicator that you don’t have your finger on the pulse of your customer base.  If your competitors’ are even lower, you have an opportunity to grab mindshare and become a market leader.

3. Have you evaluated any of the following for their applicability to your business? 

  1. Google+
  2. Tumblr
  3. Foursquare
  4. StumbleUpon
  5. Reddit
  6. Mobile Apps

Staying on top of the latest developments in social media and analyzing if and when to deploy is as essential to business as monitoring the right financial index is to your portfolio.

2. Are you tracking customer (and potential customer) contacts, click streams, and other data and USING it to change how you interact with your customers?  Nearly all companies have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that typically ends up in silos, unused.  The new buzzword is Customer Intimacy (CI), and it will remain just that, a buzzword, without merging data from multiple sources and using the best minds in the company to innovate new ways to interact with customers.

1. Do you emphasize engagement more than broadcasting to your contacts?  The “push” mentality is the most difficult marketing mindset to break, as it tends to permeate the paradigms of advertising, public relations, promotions, and sales. Consider how your behavior and attitude toward direct mail, and even email, has changed in the past two years.  If you send unwanted direct mail and emails to the physical and virtual trashcans, why would you expect your customers to behave differently?  A fundamental way of engaging is the blog (including micro-blog channels, such as Twitter).  A recent study by a social media company revealed that blogging between 16 and 20 times per month had twice the website traffic than businesses that blogged less frequently.

Top 10 mistakes to avoid in B2B social media

December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

#1. Jumping in without a strategy. You’ll only go so far with a “let’s throw stuff at the wall don't just jump right in without the right social media strategy and see what sticks” social media approach, or the Nike “just do it” mentality. A social media strategy should be based on understanding which tools to use, who will be responsible for what tasks, what your goals and objectives are, and how you will measure success. Ask yourself why you are engaging in this specific marketing tactic and what results you want to see from it. Your objectives should be measurable and time-specific.

Top 10 mistakes to avoid in B2B social media

December 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

It's all about social media integration!#2. Failure to integrate with other organizational entities and activities. The greatest risk of  failure in social media is treating it as a standalone activity that’s layered onto existing activities or added to the existing org chart. Integration and bringing in the appropriate marketing, sales, service, and other staff can create a more powerful strategy and ensure buy-in

Top 10 mistakes to avoid in B2B social media

December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

There's more to analytics than Google Analytics...#3. Failure to use analytics or use them effectively. First, companies need to understand the power of analytics in developing detailed knowledge about customer demographics, needs, and expectations. They need to learn how to use the information for continuous refinement of their approach, and for developing their unique success factors. The adage of “data does not equal information” applies here.