by admin - posted on January 13th, 2011
Many small businesses are making the jump to social media and have already established a presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If your business has a Facebook Page, you might be wondering how to attract a larger audience and fan base on a limited budget. Here are three tips to help increase awareness of your Facebook presence, in an organic and unforced manner.
#1: Add the link to your Fan Page in your email signature. It sounds so simple, but many businesses with social media accounts and pages aren’t promoting their outreach to the people who matter most: those that they talk to on a regular basis. It’s also important to promote your social media accounts in your other emails and bulletins, whether it’s a newsletter or a holiday email to your clients and vendors.
#2: Join relevant groups and Pages on Facebook, participate in the conversation and promote. We recommend joining groups and Pages, on your personal account, with audiences that are similar to those that you are targeting. Once you’ve joined, begin to participate in the conversation. You can leave comments, questions or compliments. Whenever it’s relevant (for example if you just discussed something similar on your Page), promote your Page by including its link. However, be warned, don’t do this too often, or people will start to view you as a spammer. You can also mention other Pages with similar audiences. We recommend borrowing their content and attributing it to them via a mention. This will allow you to show up on their wall as your Page, thus increasing your awareness.
#3: Promote your Page on your other social media accounts. Be sure to sporadically plug your Facebook Page on your Twitter account, YouTube channel and Flickr account to help promote growth. We also recommend including links to your social media presences in the description area of all your YouTube videos to help increase awareness and gain new members that found your videos via search.
Of course, there are many other ways to grow your fan base on Facebook, but starting out with these three simple steps will help you increase organic growth to your Page.
by admin - posted on December 11th, 2010
In today’s day and age, each brand’s public relations strategy needs to move at the speed of light. Or, at the speed of Twitter. But, essentially, they’re the same thing.
Not to give him any more attention than he deserves, but if we look at the case of Tiger Woods, we can learn a lot about how people will always fill the void if nothing is being said. It took him excruciatingly long to come out with his side of the story, and what happened? Everyone and their mother came out with their side of the story. Now, if Woods had come out with his side at a much more reasonable pace, the fourteen or so women most likely all wouldn’t have tried to claim they had the inside scoop.
The exact same thing happens in business. If something negative and newsworthy happens, and a business keeps their lips sealed for more than an ample amount of time that it would take to whip up a press release, quick tape a YouTube video and start tweeting about the issue, people will begin to fill that void. Whether it’s with assumptions and rumors, or just plain bashing the brand for the simple fact that nothing’s been done.
So, the moral of the story is that if you want to avoid the rumors and the negative chatter, especially in a place as visible as the web, it’s imperative to create a plan of action for public relations mishaps and act as quickly and efficiently as possible.
However, on the other hand, a void can work to your advantage – but only if you already have a very loyal fan base. Take Apple for example, they rarely come out with information about new products until it’s time for Steve Jobs to give his keynote. This void often creates a lot of hype, and positive (although potentially led astray) rumors. So, if you are going to allow a void, make sure it’s only about things that will create hype around your brand.
by admin - posted on October 6th, 2010
Like we said before, it’s important to focus on the numbers game, but equally as important to focus on organic, and not forced, growth. Forced growth could be defined as following 125,603 people and keeping your fingers crossed that they all follow you back. Organic growth is about building connections, creating a community around your brand. The difference is that with forced growth, people don’t often feel like they have a connection or relationship, and therefore will feel less inclined to truly listen to you.
So, how exactly to you create massive, organic growth in the social media sphere? Well, it takes patience and a firm understanding of the following tips.
#1: Create something worth paying attention to. It may seem like an obvious tip, but even after social media had its year and the hype has begun to die down and it has entered mainstream acceptance in the marketing industry, there are still people making the same mistakes. In order to get people to start paying attention, make it about their favorite subject: themselves. Instead of talking about you (or your brand, in this case), ask for their opinions or embrace topics that are relevant to what you do and to your audience. Then, to get them to keep paying attention, it’s essential to open up and share. Give fans and followers an inside look into your organization and the people behind it.
#2: Build connections. Focusing on your audience will large in part aid in creating a connection with your consumers, but there are other strategies that can help turn regular old customers into brand advocates. Contests where winners are chosen and featured are one way to build a connection with a select few. Giveaways and promotions (such as discount codes) are another way to keep your audience’s connection and help build an affinity towards your brand. Another simple strategy that will help build relationships is just simply to acknowledge your fans and followers. Did they retweet your latest blog post? Let them know that you’re appreciative with a thank you tweet or direct message.
#3: Reach out. One of the easiest ways to gain a large, genuine audience is to promote, promote, promote. Link up with influencers in your market on Twitter and work out a deal where they tweet and blog about your company or product. Do something innovative and unique enough in the social media sphere that your story is guaranteed to attract some press. When people find out about you, and search you out on social media to find out more, the connection is a lot more genuine than if they’re just thinking “Hmm, I guess I’ll follow them.”
The last and final step, is to have patience and be persistence. A large fan base and following won’t happen overnight, but it if you keep it up and constantly experiment with new strategies, it will happen.
by admin - posted on September 4th, 2010
Could a soda really help to make the world a better place? Countlessly we’ve read about social media campaigns that have proved to be beneficial to great causes. After all, social media is about the community, getting heard and getting people involved and sharing experiences.
Coca Cola’s Facebook Fan Page has over 4 million fans. Pepsi doesn’t even compete, with less than 300 thousand fans. Could you imagine a Super Bowl with no Pepsi commercials? No magnetic Justin Timberlake to drag in (pun intended) millions of impressions?
In the past, Pepsi has spent over $140 million on Super Bowl ads, telecasting to the nation. Not this year, though. Pepsi is switching up their strategy. The brand wants comparable levels of engagement with consumers and fans. The Pepsi Refresh Project will grant millions of dollars to fund great ideas. We think this is really great — supporting entrepreneurship! This is exactly the type of campaign that will get a lot of eyes, and has the potential to go viral. Choosing to be social over Super Bowl superstars…
Is this a gamble? Maybe — for a company that spends practically all their marketing and advertising dollars on television spots. But, we think the brand is getting into the right mindset. The campaign has the potential to connect a global community, and provide hope for entrepreneurs all over the world. The dollars that they’ll be spending will have further reach, but more importantly… lasting impact. Social media measurement can be a solid base for brand measurement.
Additionally, it makes sense, for the Internet (more specifically, social media) has proven to be a sound strategy for people and products alike, aimed at today’s generation. The massive brand should be embracing this opportunity, even if it does mean moving away from the appeal of the baby boomers or even the millennial generation. Way to go, Pepsi.
Is Pepsi redefining what important? What really brings out brand loyalty? What does this fight for marketing dollars mean? Share your opinions with us in the comments!
With that, do you know someone who has a great idea and can make a positive impact? Pepsi is collecting 1,000 ideas every month. You can submit & vote here until Jan. 13th.
by admin - posted on August 22nd, 2010
If you’ve taken a social science course at any point in time, you’ve probably heard this exact scenario, or at least something similar, laid out before.
You’re standing in line at Starbucks debating whether you should just go with the skinny latte laced with a couple Sweet and Low’s, or totally splurge and go for Venti, 2 percent mocha with extra whip. You decide, with the holidays and all, it might be best to go with the slightly healthier option and step up to the plate to order. The young girl scribbles it down on the red cup as you hand over a crisp bill. As you get your change, you glance down at the tip jar. It’s brimming with coins and paper currency (because, again, it’s the holidays), so you nonchalantly slip your left over change into the jar to join the party.
Now, when the holidays are over, you repeat the exact same process (again, choosing the lower cal beverage option after devouring too many holiday party treats). However, with everyone out of the giving spirit, the tip jar is practically empty, and you follow suit, and slip your change in your pocket upon receiving it from the cashier.
So often, we rely on society to tell us what the social norms are that it essentially becomes subconscious. Just as in the examples above, society’s actions can dictate how we behave, and the same holds true for social media. Did you ever notice that you’ll almost automatically follow @Twitteruser1, with 508,970 followers, yet completely ignore @Twitteruser2, with only 32 followers? It’s because we associate a value message with all of those followers; the large following signifies that the user is providing content of value (whether it’s true or not is another story…). On the flip side, we automatically assume that the second user with the same amount of followers as there are students in a third grade classroom isn’t saying much that we could apply to our own lives, learn from or get a laugh out of.
While we will always promote organic, natural growth, it is equally important to focus on the numbers game, because it will send a strong message to potential fans and followers. Now how do you experience explosive, yet organic growth? Well, that’s a whole other story for another blog post…
by admin - posted on July 17th, 2010
You have two emails sitting in your inbox. One is clearly for your best friend’s birthday party and the other, well, it’s your younger brother hitting you up for money. Which one are you more likely to open first?
The party invite, right? Your audience is no different. Of course, having a call-to-action that requires contributing or purchasing is necessary, but it’s just as important to make social emails a part of your campaign.
Creating emails with a social call-to-action, will increase engagement, thus increasing brand affinity. It could be as simple as a request to join your organization on Facebook and Twitter or could be more complex, like inviting your audience to join in on a video contest on YouTube. Either way, it’s essential to integrate your social media outreach into your email marketing campaigns. Not only does it increase engagement on your social media sites, but it also can increase your fan base, open rate and brand affinity.
by admin - posted on June 16th, 2010
Marketing traditionally is a very one-sided conversation. Even in the digital age, with banner ads and SMS offers sent to your phone, there often is very little room for conversation; for consumers to offer feedback and share their opinions. Each day, more and more tech savvy consumers are entering your markets, who often will be taking to their blog (little known fact: 20,000 blogs are started every day) and Twitter to talk about their life, opinions and musings, which often can include brands.
You see, social media gives everyone a voice. Instead of being squawked at by your television set, or being bombarded with Netflix pop-ups (yeah, we said it…) when you’re trolling your favorite site for worthwhile news, consumers are now able to broadcast to the masses, just as marketers have in the past, via social media sites. But, more importantly, they are able to join the conversation. And, that’s exactly why social media, and social media marketing, are here to stay. Because, just as much as brands will always need their voice, people will crave their share of attention, too.
One of the first reasons why it’s important to recognize that it’s better to start on social media sooner, rather than later, is three-fold:
1. You’ll miss out on participating, and potentially leveraging, all the conversations surrounding your brand.
2. Joining later, will only make it harder to cut through the clutter and gain a sizeable audience.
3. Social media has a learning curve, and is always changing, so it’s important to get familiar with it and learn what works before your competition even starts.
You see, online, whether it’s to your face or behind your back, people will talk. But, in order to lead, manage or capitalize on those conversations, you need to be there. Even more importantly than being there, is knowing the medium’s norms, culture and language and having a distinct, yet flexible strategy in place.
by admin - posted on May 10th, 2010
You’ve decided to jump on the business blog bandwagon. However, you’re not sure what to write about or where your focus should be, or even what comes next. Well, provided here are some key points to remember.
Identify your goals & draw an audience.
Keeping a company blog is one of the best tools you can utilize to develop and maintain relationships, generate leads and improve your organic search results.
Start with the audience. No, but you won’t get any RSS subscribers without giving readers what they want. A business blog has somewhat of an obligation – more so than a personal blog. You’ve got goals: subscribers, engagement goals, reach, comments, etc.
We readers don’t only want to hear about your company and what’s going on internally, post after post. What about the industry at large? What current events are happening that you can tie into your overall mission? The idea is to be a source of useful information.
Try asking a question. This will make the reader stop to think about his or her own perspective and encourage further reading.
Brevity will take you far.
Your blog shouldn’t be suspenseful – unfortunately you’ll lose readers. In a way, think of it like traditional newspaper layouts… you don’t have to read all the way to the end to hear the big news because it is all laid out there for you with juicy details to follow.
Pretend that every reader has a short attention span. Break up your post into sections and avoid long paragraphs.
Include a photo in the post whenever possible, for it draws in the eye. Not sure where to find photos? I like to use compfight, various photos from Flickr or other photo sharing sites. Yes, this is OK to do, but always remember to give adequate credit!!
Which reminds me – link out. Notice how I’ve linked for reference periodically. Also, consider linking to other blogs and posts to strengthen your point or argument.
Read blogs outside of the scope of what you normally would read or write about. Take a look at how the content is focused and targeted. Try browsing Alltop or Technorati, and don’t be afraid to point out other people or businesses who do a great job.
Why do you subscribe to the blogs that you do?
More than likely, it’s the content. You are provided with something. “What’s in it for me?” holds true.
Lastly, promote you blog effectively to grow your audience. However, we won’t get into this now, for it in its entirety deserves it’s own post. So be sure to check back!
I hope this was useful for you (rule number one – GIVE the audience something to take away). If there’s anything I missed, please share your insight in the comments below.
Image: Ian David Blum
by admin - posted on April 8th, 2010
We see many brands, people and organizations using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to successfully market themselves, however, Flickr seems to still be an enigma to most. Below are five tips on how to make Flickr work for your organization.
#1: Decide what your goals are. Maybe your main goal is to highlight your service or product in a creative way, for example, if you sell baby clothes and products and want to show off how cute your goods are with photos of babies in action using them. Your organization might be looking to attract new talent, so your first goal is to promote an attractive corporate culture, for example, showcasing photos of brainstorming sessions, events and having fun at the office. Without clear-cut goals, your photos will lack messages and purpose and will most likely get lost in the clutter. Of course, you can stray from your main theme or goal, but having somewhat of a guide will help provide clarity for your audience.
#2: Make it worth looking at. Don’t just post photos for the sake of keeping content fresh, make sure that they are compelling and tell a story. Many Flickr users are actually photographers (whether it be professionally or as just a hobby), so don’t be afraid to get artsy, using shots with interesting angles and perspectives. When creating sets, also be sure that your cover image is compelling enough to entice viewers to check out the rest of the images.
#3: Share with like-minded people. Just like many social networks, there is a group for pretty much anything under the sun on Flickr. Own a pet store and want to show of your newest products? Post them to groups related to pets. Want to generate more awareness about your brand new restaurant? Add your photos to foodie groups. Joining relevant groups not only allows you to be part of a greater community and conversation, it can often give you a direct connection to influential and active Flickr users. Also, be sure to tag each photo, although tedious, it opens the doors to discovery from a whole new audience.
#4: Soft sell like it’s your job. The fastest way to tank your Flickr outreach? Including a description to the effect of “You need this new kitchen set! Buy it today!” or “This child needs you! Donate today at feedkids.com.” However, it is important to make sure that your account adequately links to your website, so if people do feel inclined to buy or contribute, they can.
#5: Open up. Encourage people to share your photos and use them. Many bloggers (and on occasion, media) are using Flickr as their photo source. If bloggers, services or media ask for permission to use your images, be sure to get back to them in a timely manner. Also, on your organization’s profile, you can encourage people to use your images, and of course, give credit where credit is due.
by admin - posted on March 3rd, 2010
So we’ve been using bit.ly for quite sometime and are impressed with the fact that it allows us to track hits over time, referrers, location, comments and retweets.