Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Mulholland’


Social Media: Reflecting Room or Eye Opening Forum

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Kelly Mulholland*

networkingAn overwhelming amount of news has been about Facebook’s new Timeline, a feature which all users will be required to implement in the near future. (If you are unfamiliar with the Timeline layout, please check out my colleague Andrea Corbo’s blog post for a detailed explanation of this new debatable feature.) Other headlines have focused on Facebook’s Rise From Start-Up to Establishment and its latest IPO.  

Personally, I’m much more interested in Facebook’s recent study on how the social giant has changed the way we gather and transfer information.

In a 2011 study conducted by Facebook’s Eytan Bakshy — which I found when I subscribed to Mark Zuckerberg’s statuses via Facebook this past month — the  author debates whether or not social media acts as a reinforcement of our own ideas we share with “strong ties” (such as friends, family, coworkers, classmates) or  a tool that broadens your view of the world by taking in new opinions from “weak ties” (strangers or acquaintances) and asks us to Rethink Information Diversity in Networks. Bakshy’s study was inspired by a 1973 American Journal of Sociology study conducted by economic sociologist Mark Granovetter called, The Strength of Weak Ties. In Granovetter’s study, documented well before the Internet, stronger ties flock together sharing similar information while weaker ties aren’t as prominent and withhold eye-opening news.

Fast-forward to the age of social media … Interaction is often compared to that of a party-like setting in which you must interact and share information with people in a similar manner. Bakshy conducted his current study to measure to and/or from whom at this “party” we are more likely to share information. With the help of Facebook’s newsfeeds feature, the study measured how often a Facebook member would re-share their weak ties links versus their strong ties links. While it was found that strong ties’ links would be reposted more often, it was the weaker ties that were the ones who provided the most information. How? While the strong ties may have more interests in common and a stronger influence,  Facebook friends are more likely to have a majority of acquaintances invited to their metaphorical social media bash than close friends.

The majority of a person’s newsfeed will contain new information from more dissimilar members via new updates posted throughout the day. Now more than ever, “weak ties” are able to share information spread throughout a social group. Whereas before this segment would not have the capability to reach a broader audience without the assistance of a larger media outlet, but now thanks to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and any other social network site that has a newsfeed element these “weak ties” are spreading their influence. I can say that Bakshy’s theory explains why I read his article in the first place from Mark Zuckerberg, a “weak tie.”

 Do you believe we are more likely to spread information due to the quality of the connection or the quality of content? Have you found that you are more aware of opinions that differ from your own, now that use of social media outlets has increased as opposed to face to face interactions? Most importantly, did you read or share my article because of this theory?

***

Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

Business IS Personal – Five Tips for Effective Client Relations

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Kelly Mulholland*

In business you commonly hear the phrase, “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.” While this saying may signify that there is nothing wrong with playing competitive games professionally, it’s impossible to argue that business isn’t personal. Businesses have always had to be personal with their clients – though the tactics by which they reach their audiences and the modes by which they build and maintain relationships have certainly changed over the years.

@emorgenstern: It's all about the people. Always.

Even so, fundamental techniques still need to be put in place to ensure high levels of client satisfaction. Here are the 5 most useful ways I have found that help to build client rapport overtime:

1. Use the client’s name when speaking to them: It not only ensures the client feels that you are listening but it also helps you remember with whom you are speaking.

2. Don’t delay communication: Haste doesn’t always make waste. Bad news never has good timing, but it definitely doesn’t get better with time. If you see issues, contact the client immediately acknowledging you are working with your team to resolve the issue. You want to keep your client informed regularly, so that all parties involved know when the job is complete.

3. Educate your client while educating yourself: A client may not know when to ask for help. Taking the time to coordinate your schedule for training sessions can help provide them with the information they need to do their job more effectively and keep you and your organization informed of service features and product improvements that your clients want to see based on their feedback.

4. Don’t rely on just email to communicate: In AdAge’s “How In-person Meetings and Phone Conversations Will Save Your Client-Agency Relationship,” Judy Neer discusses how we shouldn’t rely on one form of communication with clients. While email has many benefits, such as sending documents, a lot can get lost in translation. Make a habit of picking up the phone if you are playing email tag with the client. Take your client to lunch, coffee or even write a handwritten letter. (You can also see my colleague Denise Giacin’s blog post for further details on email etiquette.)

5. Over-deliver, under-promise: Never promise a client something you have hesitations about delivering, otherwise you risk ruining your credibility and trust. In other words, manage the client’s expectations.

What customer relationship management tools do you find most useful? How are you putting the personal back in your client relationships? Please share your tips here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

***

Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

Marketing through the Web: How Information is Power

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Kelly Mulholland*

Flickr Image: Jeffrey Beall

Flickr Image: Jeffrey Beall

There are three ways consumers use the web: they search, browse and buy. Most organizations increase their site’s traffic by adding searching tools and enhancing SEO. While this helps people answer their initial question of “what,” it doesn’t necessarily go the extra step and encourage them to browse or buy.

However, if positioned correctly, encouragement to go beyond just the initial search can be helpful to the consumer… at least when it comes to expanding their knowledge and possibly influencing their buying decisions. Today’s consumers, want a site to tell them something they didn’t think to search for or think they might want/need. In the process, they may be persuaded to take some action and possibly lead to a conversion or sale based on the resources you provide beyond the original search.   

Search Mode- Provide the consumer with what they know they want
When a prospective customer is searching a site they almost always have an overall notion of what they want, but perhaps not all the details or at least a vague idea of the need they want to fulfill. This is where websites that utilize the search toolbox plug-in (usually located at the top of a webpage) come into action. The client wants to be able to search their product and be given substantial results.

For instance, when I simply type in the search box “scarves” at ShopBop—a luxury clothing retail website and BurrellesLuce client—I get an overwhelming list of over 200 results. The search function on the site even makes my quest easier by providing suggestions of related searches much the way Google or Bing might.

Browse Mode- Provide detailed information
With a list generated, a prospective buyer shifts into browse mode. What’s important here is how much information is provided—the customer wants to know more about their prospective purchase in the most organized fashion possible, no pun intended. Generated reviews from other customers should be at complete view coupled with suggestions. This will help the consumer differentiate one product’s value from another. It is also most helpful to provide organizational tools for the client to be able to sift through all the search results.

Shopbop does a great job at this. First, I can see “More from Scarves /Wraps” and also descriptions about the designer and the item itself. I have the capability to see how other customers rated each scarf. I also have the option of organizing my products in “Wish Lists” and “My Likes/Hearts” giving me time to consider my purchases without fully committing myself to placing the product in “My Cart.” I can sort the scarves with drop-down options by designer, size, color, and price. These categorizations are an aid to a consumer who might be inundated with an overwhelming amount of data.

Buyer Mode- Be your customer’s personal researcher
Now that the customer has browsed all the data, they have finally chosen the best product for them. While they may be done researching, that doesn’t mean the work of the service provider should end there. In fact, it is now your job to take on a new role: personal researcher. As Tara Gessinger, states in this Online PR Media blog post on Online Public Relations: Building Personal Relationships with Customers in the Digital Age, you need to keep the online conversation with your clients going through email as you would in real life. For instance, provide future recommendations based on previous purchases to the client. After I browse ShopBop or make a purchase, I receive an e-mail weeks later suggesting clothing that I might like based on my past shopping experiences.

Sites using this type of search and browse capability are designed to work for people who research and take a period of time before making a committed decision. In today’s market, researched buyers are becoming the norm and the buying cycle is changing. The impulsive spendthrift is a dying species. Marketers need to be a step ahead of the curve. Web marketing should not be about gimmicks to get attention from a prospective buyer – today’s savvy consumers will see through this. Instead it is about understanding the keywords that buyers are using and then positioning campaigns to engage buyers to webpages full with the content they want (or never knew they wanted). 

How are you using search capabilities on your website to influence visitor action? What are some of your favorite search features provided by your favorite sites?

***

Bio: Before joining the Burrellesluce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

Has Apple Hit a Sour Note?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Kelly Mulholland*

It’s that time of year again. Yesterday, Apple launched another sleek new product: iPhone4S. Noticeably different during the launch was not the appearance of the phone—which retains the same look as its older model—but the appearance of their new chief executive Tim Cook. In the promotional video below, it advertises that, “Your I-Phone can do more than any other phone.”  How so? For starters, Siri is your personal assistant built into your phone. This voice activated system can dictate measurements, recipes, reminders, timers and much more in natural language – proving to be the next wave of semantic innovation.

Besides voice recognition, the new smart phone is made smarter by these other features. 

  • An 8 megapixel camera with backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that carries more light and is 33 percent faster.
  • Video camera is now 1080p, and includes video image stabilization.
  • Downloading data through wireless system is twice as fast
  • The new phone has a longer battery life than its older counterparts. 
  • Sprint is now another service provider that will carry the new phone that is priced between $199 to $399.

While others may show loyalty to the Apple brand and pre-order the new model, on October 7th, others have voiced opinions of being duped by an “imposter,” according to “Apple’s Absent iPhone 5 Whose Fault is it Really?” Matt Peckham, Time/Techland, while the Tech communities were busy informing each other through social media outlets about the upcoming I-Phone5 launch, Apple stayed mum. Instead Apple pulled the wool over the public’s eyes, and we learned about the 4S—we never knew we wanted. Consequently, Apple Stocks dropped 5 percent after the launch, confirms, Mashable’s “Apple Stock Drops 5% Following iPhone Event.” Whether or not this was due to the market or directly linked to the disappointment about the new smartphone launch is moot.

What do you think? Are you impressed that the new smartphone can be your personal assistant or is Siri the most amazing thing that no one will use? Most importantly, do you think Apple needs to do some PR damage control for inadvertently misinforming the public and not simply being there to acknowledge they were never going to release an I-Phone5 yesterday?

 ***

Before joining the Burrellesluce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland