There’s the old saying, nobody likes to be pushed. They like to guide themselves into making the right decision and how they feel comfortable doing it. This is a form of “Pull” rather than “Push” Marketing. An example of Push Marketing would include an advertiser saying “buy my products, buy my products, they’re the best!” See an example here. The best for whom? Well, the marketer of course. Pull marketing is based more on thought leadership and / or having a conversation. An example would include creating a white paper based upon your industry and posting on your Social Media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Not only does it establish yourself as an industry expert, it allows for those within your network to comment and engage with you. You’re pulling (or attracting / inviting) them into your sphere – a sphere that is more comfortable for those within it. Of course, we’ll always have television advertisements or radio spots, but as the future progresses and time gets more precious, wouldn’t you rather spend it on things that you enjoy and want to engage with? We’re curious to hear what your opinions are…
Category Archives: Social Media
There are numerous businesses who utilize Social Media on a regular basis, often posting 2 or 3 times a day. It’s a great way to spread the word about upcoming events, new product offerings, and providing insight into your particular industry. The time spent on these postings can be cumbersome, which is why there are Social Media aggregates available (most for FREE!). Try Hootsuite.com if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and WordPress. You can post multiple communications, on separate days, and schedule them ahead of time. When Monday comes around, that communication will automatically post. You don’t even have to think about it (well, unless someone responds to your post – then, you have to give feedback). Another good Social Media aggregate is TweetDeck. Whichever system you decide to choose, saving time is so important to a business, especially one in its infancy stage or strapped for employees.
Being simple isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, it’s harder! How do companies excel within this extraordinary world of complexity and so many options to choose from?
Look at companies like Apple and they keep it simple (yet still profitable). Their product lines (iPod, iTouch, iMac, etc) are easy to navigate and understand. Not a lot of extraneous buttons or manuals that take weeks to understand. Their advertisements are simple and to the point. Their “Think Different” campaign in the late 90’s, again, was simple, to the point, and EXTREMELY effective. Their message encompassed radical thinkers, those that stepped beyond their boundaries to produce something spectacular. And, for which the world will always love them for. Bob Dylan, the Dalai Lama, Amelia Earheart, even Steve Jobs himself, all in black & white with the simple tagline of “Think Different”. Everyone gets it. The short video, “Think Different” had simple dialogue and made people yearn to become something better than they were today.
Not that every company needs to model themselves after Apple, but oftentimes less is more. Whether it be product design, advertising, assembly lines or how corporate meetings are run – Keep It Simple.
Facebook is the huge behemoth people drop into daily conversation. But, are businesses capitalizing enough on fan engagement and following? Here are seven ways to assist in garnering attention, capturing interest and keeping those followers:
- Website: include a link on each page of your site. Or, include a scrolling log of Facebook updates (see example here)
- E-Mails: send regular e-mail marketing campaigns to your subscriber list notifying them that you’re on Facebook and post updates to your business on a regular basis.
- Promotions: Third Party Affiliates such as Wildfire or a less expensive solution called North Social partners with Facebook’s interface to provide promotions. Just about anything can be offered, from a Sweepstakes to a Deal Share. Fans are looking for info that’s not just relevant to your business, but what’s in it for them.
- Promoted Posts: Facebook recently started allowing businesses to promote their posts for a flat fee, see article here. Facebook estimates that only 16 percent of all posts are seen by the intended audience. Therefore, promoting your content can go a long way to increase engagement.
- In-Store Signs (for brick and mortar locations): strategically placed signs that encourages your presence on Facebook can be placed near the cash register or front door. In fact, you can even have cashiers mention to customers to “like us” on Facebook. Quick, easy and most importantly free.
- E-Mail Signature: place an icon on your outgoing e-mails to customers, vendors, anyone you might do business with
- Ask Questions: people love to engage with a brand or business that they love. Why not ask them questions that solicits feedback. Heck, you can even use it as Market Research! And, when they do interact, that interaction will appear on their friends’ newsfeeds.
Number 8 Communications provides social media strategy and consultations for small to mid-size businesses. If you have further questions or would like assistance on growing your fan count, please let us know.
8 Benefits For Social Media
The benefits for social media are endless and are quickly gaining popularity within the business community. Done properly, social media can engage the business, its customers and employees, creating a connectedness to the brand for all involved.
1. Customer Engagement. Traditional advertising (television, radio, print) is a one-way conversation with your customer. It allows the company to advertise the product or service being offered, however no feedback is ever solicited from the customer to say “yes, that ad was effective” or “no, I just don’t get it”. With social media, it’s a two-way conversation. Great ways of engagement are to ask questions (hence, market research), and ask for ways to improve the overall customer experience.
2. It’s Viral. Social Media is viral. Your message and brand awareness will spread through word of mouth when you post the right content. – people love to share content they find appealing. Be careful what you post though –once content is on the internet, it stays there.
3. Increases Traffic. Social Media increases traffic to your website which then potentially produces more business. It also builds valuable backlinks and improves your search engine rankings.
4. Cost Reduction. Let’s face it, brands are going digital and paper is expensive. With a few clicks of a mouse and some strokes of the keyboard, your brand can have a business page on Facebook and a Twitter account in less than an hour. The only main cost is time while developing content and relationships.
5. Environmentally Friendly. Is paper dead? No, not really. We’ll all have a need for it at some point or another in our lifetime, however social media does not deplete the rainforest like print advertising does. Your computer may utilize electricity to run these websites, however it’s way more environmentally friendly than print advertising ever was.
6. Build Customer Base. A company can have “fans” or “followers” on their company’s brand page, which may turn into customers for their business. By going where the customers already are, companies are able to capitalize quickly and efficiently.
7. Improve Responsiveness. Are you looking for an immediate response from your customer? Sure, most businesses are. With a direct response strategy through social media, the goal is to maximize quantifiable responses to a campaign. A few examples include coupons, sweepstakes, or a special offer. Very quickly, these direct response campaigns can have an immediate impact on the bottom line – and trackable too, to calculate the Return on Investment (or ROI).
8. Track Feedback. Analytics are key to evaluate the effectiveness of a company’s social media accounts. Just about anything can be tracked including a person’s age, town they live in, links clicked on, and what information they share. What does this mean for the company? They can target their future communications to these customers more directly, thereby increasing the brand recognition and long-term sustainability with their customers.
When it comes to social media marketing, one of the biggest fears small business owners have is the time commitment. After all, time is money, right? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Allocate time to be social. In fact, even place a note in your calendar ahead of time so you don’t forget. And, stick to it! Social media can be a major time sink; whether browsing friends’ pictures or reading the online daily news, however a few minutes per day is free and won’t break the bank. And, don’t forget – consistency is key!
2) Use tools to help. Managing multiple sites can make your head swim and cause brain overload. Why not take advantage of some tools that can plan, prioritize and organize your communications:
a. Nutshell Mail – a service that aggregates updates from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Yelp, Foursquare, Citysearch, and You Tube. The service delivers these updates to your e-mail inbox on a regular schedule.
b. HootSuite – tracks your social media networks, schedules updates, and sets alerts if certain terms or phrases are mentioned (if utilizing HootSuite, or even if not, create a calendar of communications a month or so in advance. Then, when the appropriate day has arrived, you already have the communication available and ready to deliver. Even better if you utilize HootSuite’s automatic scheduling option).
Still think that Social Media is a time killer? Consider these statistics:
1) More people visit a social media site each day than read a traditional newspaper (GovLoop)
2) 1 word of mouth conversation has the impact of 200 TV ads (Buzz Agent)
3) Consumers are 3 times more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising for purchasing decisions (Jupiter Research)
Though Social Media is still somewhat in its infancy, the future potential is increasing daily and the boundaries are endless.
Anyone heard of Constant Contact? Over the past few years, they’ve been touted as a leader in E-Mail Marketing, however they also offer services ranging from Online Surveys, Event Marketing and now applications intertwining E-Mail with Social Media.
I received an invitation last week to attend a free seminar, given by them and sponsored by a local design firm. The presenter, Corissa St. Laurent, Constant Contact’s Regional Development Director for the Northeast, gave a phenomenal presentation, engaging the audience which consisted of mainly small business owners within the Providence, Rhode Island region.
The seminar was intriguing and portrayed how incredibly professional the company is. St. Laurent mentioned a few features within Constant Contact, mentioned below, that can be really beneficial for those involved in marketing and communications (whether for personal or professional reasons):
- Nutshell Mail – tracks your brand’s social media activity and delivers a summary to your email inbox on your schedule. And, the best part? It’s FREE!
- Learning Center – allows users to learn about upcoming features, benefits, how to’s
- Local Seminars – you can attend these seminars, most often for free, and you learn a TON. Just when you think you might know everything about the latest and greatest, think again!
Overall, I can’t say enough about the company. Looking forward to utilizing their great product(s) in the near future.
What new Social Media products / software / applications do you find most useful?
HootSuite: the web-based social media client, which measures performance of social networks like Twitter and Facebook announced today a new customer analytics platform called Social Analytics. The newest feature includes a completely new interface and the ability to create custom reports that include everything from link click-throughs, to Twitter follower growth, to the demographics behind the Facebook Likes – all in one reporting mechanism. Reports can be customized with logos and skins and can be shared with any registered HootSuite user. The only drawback to the upgrade? For the users who favor the link shortener bit.ly (Number 8 does!), the new analytics platform doesn’t provide an integrated API solution. Unfortunately, users are stuck with utilizing Hootsuite’s own Ow.ly shortener for now until HootSuite upgrades in the future.
To see the new platform in action, check out the HootSuite video at this page: http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-analytics-reports/
It seems that all companies, brands, musicians, actors, etc. have their own Facebook Fan Pages, with more growing daily. What people are now capitalizing on are Facebook Welcome Pages. These Pages have the ability to handle almost what an entire website can handle: content, images, video, e-mail newsletter sign-ups, even eCommerce!
Sure, anyone can build a fan page in under 10 minutes, and some big brands may even attract fans without any real effort. But even if you have a million fans, if the extent of their involvement with your brand is that at one point they “became a fan,” is that really branding your company or engaging with the fans? The trick with social media is that you want to involve a community. The “fans” have “liked” your page for a reason, now it’s your responsibility to engage with them: have creative content, two-way communication, fun promotions, active discussion boards, images / videos…not to mention having a fun and casual tone.
The larger companies are certainly capitalizing on Social Media (and making it a large chunk of the current year’s marketing budget), however there are some smaller companies utilizing Social Media in creative ways that outperform the large guys. Check out a few of these companies and see that creativity goes a long way:
- Moosejaw: This outdoor apparel and gear retailer created a sweepstakes campaign (through a FB Landing Page) that was promoted through Facebook, Twitter, email and text messaging in advance of Christmas. Called “20 Days of Decent Giveaways,” the retailer gave away merchandise, a couple of quirky prizes like a wooden squirrel, and a $1000 shopping spree as a grand prize. To enter, the contestant had to forward, “like,” or “retweet” the company’s messages. Result: The company increased Facebook fans by 31%, Twitter followers by 45%, and increased sales of the merchandise offered as prizes by 10-15%.
- New Belguim Brewing Company, Ft. Collins, Colorado: This craft brewery used Facebook to introduce a new India Pale Ale, a style of beer that was outside what customers would expect from a Belgian brewer. The company used some fun interactive tools on its Facebook page, and a strategy that incorporated local events. Result: They surpassed their 3-month sales goal within the first 3 weeks after product launch.
Social Media, though still in its infancy stage, has the potential to open wide doors for small businesses, if given attention, strategy and a tad bit of creativity.
The marketing atmosphere and day-to-day communication methods are changing everyday. The traditional marketing methods, such as radio, tv, and print advertising are still used as proven methods, however Social Media is gaining ground at record speed. An interesting article, published by Mashable.com a few months ago states how companies, in particular small business owners, can gather leads utilizing Social Media. The article states a few ways of gathering the leads, including:
- Continuously pointing users to your content
- Promoting Your Social Presence with Your Social Links (here is a company that does it well)
- Monitor Conversations About Your Brand and Competitors (see article here about a recent Comcast incident)
- Respond to Customer Questions and Feedback (see YouTube business owner advice here
Of course, utilizing offline methods such as networking and face-to-face meetings are still important, Social Media is fast, efficient and hopefully will save time and money for small business owners going forward.