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Foursquare Update Accommodates Businesses

6 Aug

Foursquare, a location-based platform, recently announced a few new tools that allows business owners to communicate more efficiently with their customers. Previously, business owners were able to “claim” their venues, allowing them to create check-in specials. The new additions leverage location-based marketing in a more targeted way in comparison to Facebook and Twitter.

The new tools include:

  • Updates — Share photos, specials and news to nearby customers via tweets or Facebook status updates
  • Specials — Create and manage Foursquare specials (no change here, just a sleeker interface)
  • Dashboard — See statistics about who checked in and how your venue traffic changes month to month
  • Tools — Manage your business presence on Foursquare, including adding new managers and editing your venues

How to: Increase Social Media Following via Email

3 Aug

Looking for ways to get more “likes” or follows? Here are tips to get consumers to follow your brand through email.

1. Make it easy to find your social media links by putting them on your email signature or subscription page.

2. Make it a value exchange by featuring a discussion, asking a question or even offering resources. Don’t just ask them to “be your friend.” Using a certain level of intrigue and reciprocation is much more effective in obtaining new signups.

3. More than 40% of consumers check their email on mobile devices. Make sure you are mobile friendly. The key is to give people the ability to interact via mobile devices.

4. Run a campaign where your primary call to action is to invite consumers to join your social media following. Use a content engagement strategy to get them there, get a dialogue going and then make your business offer.

5. Create special emails for your social media club by making exclusive offers to them first. Seek their help in getting the word out to their group of friends.

Engage, Engage, ENGAGE!

2 Aug

The World Wide Web is a source of information content to the consumer.  Consumers regularly use the Web to find answers to their questions, research, and learn.  A pushy banner add or pup-up advertisement is inconvenient and annoying.  It interrupts the consumers content-search. 

Content search is the first step in the buying process for many consumers.  According to David Meerman Scott, “when people come to you online, they are not looking for TV commercials.  They are looking for information to help them make a decision”.  Successful businesses build a relationship with their customers before applying high-pressure sales.  Simply put, offer content to build reputation, reputation builds trust and loyalty, trust and loyalty leads to sales.  “Content drives action” is the bottom line.

The key to driving sales through offering content, without the high-pressure banner ads and pop-ups, is an optimized website.  The example that Meerman Scott uses is Amazon.com.  Amazon.com uses website optimization to guide its buyers through the final decision to purchase.  The flow of the customer’s clicks determine at which stage of buying they are at.  Amazon uses these patterns to direct the customer to certain websites which will help the customer to make that final decision to make the purchase.  Make it a point to avoid the traditional marketing experience – we no longer want to interrupt the customer’s buying process with pop ups and loud banner ads, we want to help them through the decision making process by providing information content in a user-friendly way.

We are not giving content to our competitors, we are giving content to our consumers.  A blog, for example, gives customers a chance to make a personal connection with a company, it offers an opportunity for the customer to interact with the ‘company’, and have a voice.  It also gives companies a perfect opportunity to reach the niche of the market.  Research where your customers are spending their time on the Web, become active, offer your knowledge and expertise.  Accept criticism, and know when to act.  Allow loyal customers to step in for you, should your company be on the verge of a public relations crisis, you are already a trusted member of the blog, you already have an ‘innie’ – you have a way of reaching your customers directly. You are IN!

Sure, the competitors can take the content and do what they please with it.  What is important here, is to realize that you, as a company, need to set yourself as the leader in the industry.  Sure, competitors will offer the same content eventually, but who offers it first?  Who offers the most?  From the words of Scott, “Content turns browsers into buyers”.

Resource: The New Rules of Marketing & PR 
By
David Meerman Scott

The Power of Blogs

1 Aug

Blogs offer a unique and cost effective way to get into your customer’s head.  Through blogs, niche customers offer uncensored, unsolicited, blatantly honest comments about a company, their products, and their services.  Social media marketing is not just another selling platform to display high-pressure banner ads and pop-ups.  Social media marketing, such as blogs, offer a way to connect with your customers on a much more intimate level than ever before.

  • First, understand blogs.  Who is writing them, who is commenting, what is the general tone of the blogs?  Also take into consideration who the perceived expert is, who supplies the answers or solutions - you will want to connect with this blogger.  You also need to understand the role of blogs to your social media marketing strategy, which is where the research comes in. 
  • Do your research.  Search for blogs that are already established about your industry, company, products, and services.  What is being said?  Search for blogs that are specifically written about your competitors – what is being shared?
  • Become involved.  You need to take an active role in the blogs that are centered around your niche.  Again, this is not a selling platform; this is a place for you to offer information content to your niche.  Offering information content to subscribers will increase your reputation, earning trust and credibility.  This gives you a unique opportunity to communicate directly with your customers in an environment where they feel comfortable.
  • Monitor blogs.  Check out Technorati, this website shows the activity of the highest trending blogs.  This will also be very helpful in keeping an eye on blogs about your company and your competitors.  Simply search for your company name or industry, and begin monitoring!  Monitoring blogs will give you insight to customer complaints or compliments of your product or service; it will perhaps give you a running start for necessary product enhancements.
  • Avoid unnecessary public relations crisis!  Blogs offer a unique opportunity for public relations and marketing professionals to control and prevent a crisis.  You now have an insider view of what exactly your customers are thinking and saying, and because of your involvement and information content sharing, you are seen as the go-to expert of the blog; you are at a perfect position for public relations.  Companies that do not take advantage of being activley involved in blogs heighten the risk for a crisis.   

Simply put, to succeed in marketing today, you must include blogging in your social marketing strategy!

 resource: The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

Social Media Marketing = New Talent

30 Jul

Don’t let your company become the victim of a bottleneck! 

Do you have well-seasoned, experienced executives at the top of your company?  Great!  But what about those employees at the bottom of your ‘bottle’?  Have you looked into the unique expertise that these younger, entry-level employees posses? 

You need to differentiate yourself from your competitors; you already have revolutionary, innovative products and services,  but you need to let your customers know.  Excessive marketing and advertising budgets spent on print and television commercials are a thing of the past; if you still rely solely on this, you will soon be left in the dust.  Social media marketing allows you to reach your customers on a whole new level, in a much more efficient and cost effective way.   Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, blogs) allows you to reach a greater amount of consumers with much less effort.   I bet that some of your competitors are already well-engaged in social media, defining themselves as in-the-know, credible and dependable resources for consumers. 

To stay in the game, you must adapt to using social media as a significant part of your new marketing strategy.   How do you tap into these new resources, when your entire staff is accustomed to the old ways?  You need new, fresh thinkers to get your staff acclimated to the new way of marketing.  You will need to utilize resources which have not been considered so valuable in the past – the new, young talent.

A great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “There are always two parties, the party of the past and the party of the future; the establishment and the movement”.  The past serves as a foundation, but it is forward and revolutionary thinking that will truly ensure that your company has a place in the future.  

There is valuable young talent at the bottom of your bottle, make sure to create room for them at the top.  What are you doing to be sure that you do not become victim of the bottleneck?

Strategy as Revolution” by Gary Hamel

Recommendations Drive Business

27 Jul

A new study conducted by RewardStream reveals that word of mouth among friends and family drive more purchases than any other purchase influence.

Here are some of the key findings from the research:

  • Personal recommendations are the number one driver of consumer purchase decisions.
  • More than eight in ten purchases influenced by a recommendation are influenced by people talking face-to-face.
  • The overwhelming majority of purchases that are swayed by recommendations are influenced by either friends or family.
  • Women are more likely to be influenced by a recommendation than men are, but recommendations play a big role for both genders.

Are you surprised by these findings? Why or why not?

Events & Sponsorships- Are They Worth It?

17 Jul

Events such as sponsorships, trade shows, and public speaking opportunities provide your company with publicity and usually some sort of direct contact with a portion of your target audience.  You may be looking to present a new product, establish affinity, or reach out to a new customer market; regardless, you will need to evaluate the value of your participation before deciding to partake. 

When choosing events to participate in, or in deciding to accept an invitation to speak, Katie Paine consults a spreadsheet to compare total attendees, views, leads, contacts, site visits, and costs to help her determine the value of her participation.  Now, there are also social media aspects that must be considered as well, is there an online version of the event (Facebook event, Twestival, etc)?

If your company chooses to participate, either as a sponsor, an exhibitor, or by sending a keynote speaker, after the event you will need to measure the value (ROI) of your participation. This is also a good way to decide which events to participate in for the future, especially if you are experiencing budget cuts. Remember, in participating in these events, your goal is not simply to reach as many eyes as possible – this is also a way to develop and build on relationships.

Measure Your LinkedIn ROI

5 Jul

Q: How do I measure the ROI of LinkedIn?

By now, you should have a LinkedIn profile for yourself.  You should belong to any group reputable and relevant to your profession and/ or professional goals, and you should be interacting with other professionals.  If you also happen to have a business, you should also have a LinkedIn Page for  your business. 

Now- for quantifiable evidence that your efforts are paying off…literally. 

  1. Reach:  Are your connections and/ or following growing steadily? By how much?
  2. Monitor Interactions: Are people commenting on your posts? Are they engaging in online conversation with you?
  3. Thought Leadership: Are you/ your business giving and receiving recommendations?
  4. Compare: If you have a business Page, and have or will be starting a campaign, be sure to take a snapshot of your activity before the launch, so that you can use that to determine the success of the campaign, and if anything needs to be altered.
  5. Website Referral Traffic: Do you see an increased amount of website traffic referred from LinkedIn?
  6. Bottom Line:  Is your business seeing an increase in the number of leads developed?  If you are able to track their origin, is an increased amount of leads coming from LinkedIn?

Measure your success!

 

Put Your Content To Good Use!

27 Jun

You have spent substantial resources creating great content for your website – it is time to put it to good use. 

Supplying great content creates a positive experience for your consumer, and gets them started in buying process.   Naturally, your goal is to reach as many consumers as possible, but if you are not utilizing social media to spread your content, you are missing out.  According to Nielson’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report” Q3 2011, social networks and blogs reach more than three-quarters of active internet users, and more than half of active online adult social networkers shop online. 

You have a great opportunity with social networks and blogs to positively influence your company’s bottom line- social media is no longer an option, it is a necessity.

Consumer Feedback

21 Jun

When it comes to feedback, research indicates consumers prefer to do it online. If you’re like me, you probably prefer a text over a phone call. In my opinion, it is a much quicker way to get the point across. It seems that this concept has also shifted to the way consumers provide feedback.

As Maritz Research points out, three-quarters of respondents used email for direct feedback compared to two-thirds who used the telephone. When Maritz Research looked at social media, 29% of respondents used Facebook for direct feedback, while 8% used Twitter and another 8% used Google+.

These findings are significant to brands because they reinforce the need to stay connected on all online outlets. Frequently check social media and email accounts to make sure feedback doesn’t get lost. Respond to all feedback, positive and negative, in a timely manner to ensure customer satisfaction. If you need tips on monitoring consumer feedback, please comment below.

For more information, visit eMarketer for the original article.

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