Numerous benefits – by Michael Kogan

There are many benefits for companies that focus on social enterprise strategy, which involves using social media to connect people inside and outside of an organization, writes Michael Kogan. “It magnifies the voice of the customer, allows companies to identify macro trends, improve their customer service, maximize sales through new channels and even improve employee satisfaction.” Successful social enterprises have both an internal and external focus and address the market for mobile devices, Kogan writes.

It’s not for everyone – by Michael Kogan

Pinterest is potentially a valuable tool for search marketers, but only for those capable of approaching the site creatively, says Michael Kogan. The site’s code is crawlable, and “pinned” content confers authority to its original source, but brands can’t simply use the site as a Twitter-style broadcast service. Instead, marketers should find ways to encourage their users to “pin” brand- or product-related content.

Social seating planner – by Michael Kogan

Airline KLM has launched a social-network-style seating planner that lets fliers choose who they sit next to based on stated interests, languages spoken and other personal data. About 200 passengers have participated in the pilot project, which covers flights between Amsterdam and three other cities, but the airline says it plans to roll out the tool for all intercontinental flights. “KLM really sees social media as a way to tap into a different part of their customers’ lives. They want to be viewed as more than just a flying piece of metal,” Michael Kogan says.

Damaging the brand – by Michael Kogan

A Twitter rant by Chris Brown damaged his personal brand, and shows the problems that PR pros have in handling off-the-rails celebrity clients, crisis-communications expert Michael Kogan says. The key to recovering from such a mistake is to make a public display of contrition, since it gives the public the chance to show forgiveness, Michael Kogan says. “Admit what happened, tell the truth and speak up. That’s what Brown should be doing — address it, ‘I made a mistake,’ now let’s move on,” Kogan advises. 

New timeline – by Michael Kogan

Facebook has confirmed rumors that it will launch Timeline for Pages, and that means big changes for many brands — especially ones that use third-party tools to add features to their Pages, writes Michael Kogan. Still, there’s no need to panic, because the social network has no reason to mess with features that brands already are putting to good use. “It’s in Facebook’s best interest to expand upon current capabilities, not limit the things everyone loves and relies on,” Kogan writes.

Making most mistakes – by Michael Kogan

Ragu made fun of dads making dinner, Netflix flubbed a product launch and Durex made sexist jokes — earning all them all “Suxorz” awards for the biggest social media goofs of 2011, Michael Kogan writes. Woody Harrelson’s one-way conversation with Reddit users and the escapades of then-Rep. Anthony Weiner also made the list of dubious achievements. “The lesson for marketers, PR professionals and brand champions is to make sure you understand the social media platform before you launch your initiative and use some old fashioned common sense,” Kogan writes.

Talk to the partner – by Michael Kogan

Many entrepreneurs say it’s better to interact with the partners in venture-capital firms instead of dealing with associates, Michael Kogan writes. “It’s much better to get a clear no from the partners in the VC firm than a ‘maybe’ or ‘hold on’ from junior associates that only drags out the process,” Kogan writes. Partners also tend to have more experience than associates, who might be trying to bring as many deals as possible to the partners.

Pay attention to techniques – by Michael Kogan

Business owners would be wise to pay attention to the marketing techniques used by Girl Scouts to sell boxes of cookies, Michael Kogan writes. One troop has developed a sales plan that includes calling customers from past years, holding a contest for a free box and visiting local businesses. “Business owners can benefit from this strategy by doing the same thing, going to networking events, attending chamber of commerce events, and putting themselves in the path of prospective customers at every opportunity,” Kogan writes.

Share the burden – by Michael Kogan

More employers put the burden of managing benefits onto employees, but 40% of workers say they don’t understand the plans, an ADP/Human Resources Pulse survey indicates. Employers need to use more targeted communications that convey information in the way that individual employees can best understand it, such as through written reports or text alerts, commented Michael Kogan.

Powerful data source – by Michael Kogan

Facebook “likes” are a powerful data source for brands that know how to make the most of them, writes Michael Kogan. Free tools such as MicroStrategy’s Wisdom mine Facebook pages for data and can provide quick, compelling insights into a brand’s fans’ demographics and other brand affiliations. “The opportunity for CIOs is to help lead the way toward integrating this stream of customer data into other sources of customer insight to provide a competitive advantage,” Kogan writes.