Social media marketing isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. I’ve recently ran into a couple problems and it’s taken me awhile to
1) Problem: You want to clean up your Twitter account but are stuck with too many inactive, irrelevant followers. Maybe, you’re following too many people who aren’t reciprocating.
Resource: With ManageTwitter, you can quickly go through your followers and weed out the inactive ones. It’s a handy tool and sure beats doing it manually.
2) Problem: Your business isn’t showing up right in Google’s Local Business Center.
Resource: Check out the Google forums and you’ll see how many other business owners are in the same boat. We haven’t figured out a better/fast solution so if you have any insight, please let us know!
3) Problem: You don’t know where to start with link building
Resources: Look no further than Lee Odden’s open letter to spammers and 101 ways to build link popularity
The History of Blogging
Web + log = Blog. According to Wikipedia, early-blogging dates back to around 1983. What evolved from a personal online diary has become a helpful tool that can be as powerful (or more powerful) than a website. Let’s take a quick look at some interesting tidbits:
- Cameron Barrett compiled the first of blog sites in 1998
- Peter Merholz coined the term “blog” in 1999
- Pyra creates Blogger in 1999
- Twitter introduces the world to microblogging in 2006
LiveJournal, Open Diary, Xanga, Blogger. The dot-com bubble paved the way for companies and individuals who wanted to make a name for themselves via blogging. Nowadays, blogggers are more dynamic and it’s more than just detailing the mundane facts of your everyday life. From online marketers to large corporations, blogs are now considered to be a serious for of entertainment, news, and information.
Business Blogging Webinar
This morning’s webinar with Chris Baggot and Duane Forrester was about business blogging and how to apply SEO. They distinguish the difference between how personal blogging has evolved into a more sophisticated form of corporate blogging. Chris shared insight about organizing several different blogs dedicated to specific topics, while Duane talk about the importance of tracking your success. Here are some things to keep in mind as you establish your own blogging strategy and best practices:
- 66% of blog traffic comes from search engines
- Companies that utilize blogs generally get more traffic
- Frequent and recent – successful blogs are updated regularly and contain relevant information
If there’s any way that white papers can be interesting, Mike Stelzner found a way to do so. His webinar with Marketing Profs this morning was about “Maximum Search Results with Rich Content and Social Media”. In the hour, Mike explained how he successfully conducted the survey and shared the finished product.
Focusing on the Industry Report
If you haven’t heard of it already, this is the social media marketing industry report that we’re talking about. Nearly 900 social media users participated in this survey and here are the results – five stats from the report that caught my eye:
- 61.83% people who invested a few months in their social media marketing report new partnerships were gained
- 72% of marketers are newbies (have only just started using social media)
- 64% devote roughly 5 hours a week on social media
- 81% of participants agree that social marketing has generated exposure for their business
- 94% of marketers use Twitter
Spreading the News with Fire Starters
Getting people to participate in a survey is one thing, but how do you engage them in finding interest in your results? Mike passed the word along to a few key friends who have a lot of influence in the social media world aka fire starters. In Mike’s case, it was friends who had many friends or followers. Kinda like a ripple effect and things took off from there through word of mouth. Mike also took advantage of scheduling Tweets during relevant times of the day to catch the eye of his many followers. Well, it really worked as over 40,000 people read this report over the span of 1 month. Hundreds of blog comments and other mentions throughout the online community helped put Mike’s report on Google’s coveted first result for ‘social media marketing’.
In the social media world, going viral is gold. It’s hard to get people riled up about something and when it happens, the spontaneity of word of mouth is unstoppable. Today, we’ll take a look at how some notable name changes have helped in going viral. Sit back, take some notes and get ready to change your name.
Making a Splash for a Good Cause
Courtesy of this short clip, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian shows us how effective the right name can be. As he explains it, social media helped out for a worth cause in 2007. Greenpeace held a contest to name a humpback whale and raise awareness about protecting these gentle giants. Mister Splashy Pants won out above the other names and helped attract attention to this cause.
A Foodstuff Gets More Fans than The Worst Band in the World
Can this pickle get more fans than Nickelback? Yes, it can. If you haven’t heard, Nickelback is arguably one of the worst bands in the world. An anti-Nickelback enthusiast decided to create a Facebook Fan Page and gather fellow fans for this cause. You may have seen it pop up on your friend’s page and it’s too funny not to follow! Here are some other things that this Pickle beats: MTV, Glenn Beck, and naps. As of now, the Pickle is still in the lead.
Are you a fan of Chad Javon Johnson? Maybe Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals rings a bell. In 2008, the football player legally changed his last name to match his jersey number 85, in Spanish. The word “Ochocinco” is actually displayed across his uniform. There were some rumors that Chad wanted to change has last name to “Himself”. Just picture the announcer saying, “And Johnson throws a pass to Himself”. Hilarious, but no. Chad has recently announced that he is planning to change his name to “Hachi Go” – which roughly translates to 85 in Japanese.
As a consumer, it’s only right that you can to take to the internet to share your good and bad experiences at certain establishments. Some prefer personal blogging but Yelp provides a standardized platform for consumer-based business reviews. Yelp is pretty great. I’m continually surprised by the hole in the wall restaurants and have even managed to find a new dentist. Then again, there are times when you stumble upon some horrible reviews and wonder how owners feel or react to this type of criticism. I’ve heard of lawsuits against Yelp before, but not like this.
Last week, Yelp was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging “extortion schemes”. In short, many business owners are claiming that Yelp hit them up for $$$ (so-called advertising packages) after they received bad reviews. Some claim that Yelp offered to remove the negative reviews in exchange for convenient monthly payments.
Of course, Yelp’s CEO has a different story. In the way Jeremy Stoppelman explains it, their marketing tactics are completely legal albeit, a little “weird”. Things are looking more than weird for Yelp right now as more cases are rising against their favor. Time will tell what will happen, but can Yelp’s credibility be fully restored after this case? CEO Stoppleman claims they have nothing to hide, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
There are a lot of cases where small businesses have benefited from Yelp reviews. I’ve even seen negative reviews completely reversed when owners take the time to reach out and contact the negative reviewers. Everyone deserves a second chance at correcting their mistakes but maybe, Yelp has had one too many?
What do you think about Yelp’s current dilemma?
Office Space ignited our love for adding tacky buttons to our uniforms in a vain attempt to convey a persona. Let’s stop to ask ourselves, are we limited OR are we only limiting ourselves? Take some time to find your own source of inspiration. After all, no one wants to end up like a Milton… (spoiler: he’s the one that burns the office building down).
So, what are some of your favorite ways to add a little panache to your work/workspace?
Personalize Your Browser
Calling all Firefox fans! Their Personas toolbar has been out for awhile and it allows you to apply different themes to your internet browser. Not feeling any of the designs? You can create your own, of course. Create a header (3000px wide x 200px high) and footer (3000px wide x 100px high). Next:
- Install the tool bar
- Click on the fox icon on the bottom left of your browser
- Preferences > Show custom Persona in menu
- Custom > Edit > Locate image locations, apply and you’re done!
Jazzing Up Your Facebook Fan Page
Do you need to create a custom box or tab for your Facebook Fan Page? Don’t waste your time with other useless applications – Static FBML is all you’ll need. Check out Mashable’s latest showcase of 5 interactive Facebook Pages. Isn’t GAP’s campaign cute? With this application, you can also add picture galleries, videos and more. I really like how business-friendly Facebook is becoming.
Travel to Another Era for Inspiration
Sometimes, there’s nothing like a blast from the past to get our creative juices flowing. If you love vintage print ads, this is a collection that you can’t miss! Don’t know what it is, but there’s just something that is so exciting. Maybe, it’s the technicolor and lack of Photoshop! I’m not just talking about ads – literature, films, and movies can always help you feel inspired if you’re in a rut.
There is much more to social media than just building up Twitter hype. Nowadays, businesses may be excited to implement a new social media marketing plan, but have unrealistic expectations of what it can really do. Like anything else, you can’t expect it to help bring you success if you don’t put in enough time and effort. Here’s a look at what social media can and can’t do for your business:
What It Can Do
- Target your audience: If you’re looking into running ads on Facebook or MySpace, these two sites allow you to target specific demographics of your audience. This will be helpful in identifying your goals, as you can reach users by age, location, interests etc.
- Improve customer interaction: On the surface, the point of social media profiles is to be social. You’ll want these connections to translate into something deeper but you can’t unless you can improve customer involvement. Social media allows you to do so by consistently involving the audience via blog posts, Tweets, and status updates.
- Keep customers informed: Awhile ago, Bausch + Lomb recalled their contact solution because it was linked to eye infections. As a recipient of their newsletter, I got an email about the recall and a coupon for a new (untainted) product. Luckily, no eye infection for me! Social media can help with damage control just as well as it’s used to announce local events or new products.
What It Can’t Do
- Have a short-term mindset: Your marketing plan consists of ongoing efforts, so why wouldn’t your social media campaign? Many people make the mistake by neglecting their social media profiles over time. Social media requires the three C’s: consistence, commitment, and creativity.
- Replace your entire marketing plan: Although it’s successful for very few companies, a marketing plan solely based on social media is not realistic. Instead of looking at social media to replace your marketing plan, think of it as an additional tool you can use to complement your more traditional strategies.
- Guarantee success: You may be popular on Twitter, but what does it really mean? You can’t guarantee success on any social media site if you don’t tie it back to your goals – this may be increased visits, clicks, purchases etc. Being popular doesn’t mean that you’re successful, but it can help!
Your Plan for Victory
When it comes to your online marketing plan, there is no one route that will guarantee your success. The hard part comes with analyzing your brand and how you want to portray yourself to your audience. Luckily, Twitter and social media internet marketing allows you to have better control of your online reputation. One of the hardest obstacles a business faces is getting new customers and Twitter can help you get started.
A Better Way to Circulate
Don’t underestimate the power of a coupon! Direct mailing and printouts can be costly nowadays, but there are alternatives. In this example, a local chain restaurant more than doubled their foot traffic by advertising a $3 burrito on Twitter. Whereas they usually get 350 customers come in with the coupon, they got an influx of 900 customers when they turned to Twitter.
Find Relevant Followers
If you’re a local business with a physical location, you’ll want followers who are from your surrounding areas. Have more followers is great, but you’ll gain more from customers that are more likely to frequent your business. You can use tools like Mr.Tweet to join relevant communities and connect with others. Whether you’re into psychology or politics, there’s a place for that. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter’s trending topics and to participate in conversation. You can also search hashtags (#) to look at what others are saying about a particular topic. If you like something someone is saying, check out their profile. Once you follow them, you can initiate conversation and they may do the same to you.
Get the Right Attention
We’ve all heard about Kevin Smith’s recent fat fiasco. Not all of us will face a situation of this capacity, but it’s interesting to see how things played out. Twitter is good for damage control, but you can get the right attention too. If you’re an expert in your field, why not start some Q&A? Maybe you do taxes or know some good cooking tips. Your knowledge will benefit your followers and they’ll trust you. Or maybe, you’re looking for new employees. Twitter is a great way to give a shout out to open positions and find people in your relevant field.
It’s Not Just Twitter
If Twitter doesn’t work out for you, don’t fret. There are other social platforms that you can try. Facebook, WordPress and even MySpace works wonders. My hairdresser gets great business from their MySpace and Yelp page. She goes on to share that they continue to get more customers each month! If you haven’t gotten started yet, what’s there to lose? As the old saying goes, “You`ll never know unless you try”.
With your busy schedule, you may already have a hard time finding a spare moment to crank out some blog posts. Do you take the time to read any other blogs in your leisure? Browsing blogs doesn’t have to be a time-waster and there’s actually a lot you can learn. If you live on the internet like I do, you’ll know why you should read other blogs:
1) Get ideas. Like anything else, blogs come in three different categories: the good, the bad and the ugly. Although you want to stick with the good ones, you can learn from the horrible ones. Reading other relevant blogs will help you keep up to date with current topics. Don’t have a list of favorite blogs? No problem. You can always browse sites like AllTop that aggregate the most interest blog topics. Sometimes, I also just like to surf tags on WordPress.
2) Make connections. Maybe your blog focuses on a niche topic. By reading other blogs, you can make friends with other relevant bloggers. Once you exchange comments, you can add them to your blog roll and hopefully, they’ll do the same. Link exchange is great and you can get more readers.
3) It’s fun! Feel like killing some time on your lunch break? Instead of browsing YouTube for some videos, why not browse some fun blogs? Blogs and tumblelog can be fun and give you a much needed break. Now, sit back and de-stress by reading other people’s work-related hell.
Saturday morning’s meeting at the Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum featured the topic of New Media Revenue Models: Growing Greenbacks in the Digital Ecosystem. Although we wished there was a clearer focus on ways to actually obtain greenbacks (especially for smaller and start up companies), the keynote speakers, panelists and audience helped make it a very informative experience.
Where Social Media Fails
This topic came up and the panelists did a very good job of showing how and why social media marketing can fail.
- Relevancy– Instead of spending millions on a Super Bowl ad this year, Pepsi has come up with a Refresh project, where users can vote to allocate funds to a certain charity. Although this is an interactive campaign promoting worth causes, Steve Banfield questioned its relevancy when tied back to Pepsi’s brand. For example, the current leader for the $5,000 block is a charity that will send girl scout cookies to overseas troops. What does this have to do with the Pepsi brand?
- Keeping Momentum– When something goes viral, it can spread like wildfire. The I’m with CoCo Facebook Page has nearly 1 million fans. How do you keep your fans and followers excited and willing to participate? The momentum can’t and won’t last forever. Traditional marketing channels have years of research and tons of studies to go off of. While social media marketing is more of an experimental tactic that will take some trial and error.
Where Businesses Fail
In a classic episode of The Simpsons, Homer becomes a human guinea pig in testing experimental products for some extra cash. He tries an appetite suppressant that works surprisingly because it makes the person blind! Why crave food when you can’t see it?
Scientist 1: Who’s gonna buy a pill that makes you blind?
Scientist 2: We’ll let marketing worry about that.
Many companies, small businesses and individuals fail because they put too much emphasis on social media marketing. They begin to forget that it’s important to provide excellent products and services. Marketing consists of ways to make your product look good, BUT is it actually good? Consumers aren’t stupid and if you offer them shoddy stuff it won’t matter how many friends or followers you have. Chances are, you’ll end up on Consumerist and your bad reputation will follow you for years to come.
Bottom line: Always work hard to improve your goods/services and let marketing take care of the rest.
Check out some tweets on the forum and learn more about upcoming events here.