Valentine’s Day is one of the most important holidays of the year for many flower retailers. Unfortunately online merchants like 1-800-Flowers were stuck dealing with thousands of angry customers after many deliveries didn’t arrive on time this year due to bad weather.
Of course, there’s nothing that could have been done to control the weather, but let’s take a look to see what the companies did in terms of social media engagement with customers and how they might be able to improve in the future.
There’s a disturbing trend I’m seeing in the automotive industry when I visit websites. Perhaps it’s been like this for a while and I simply took my eye off the chat ball. When I see chat windows that instantly prompt for the customer’s contact information, it makes me cry a little inside.
This isn’t what chat is supposed to be about. I’d love to have that debate with anyone. Chat is an alternative means of instant information. In other words, it’s more akin to phone calls than to anything else. If you believe in having a barrier of entry for your customers to chat, then you should have your receptionist answer the phone with, “Thank you for calling XYZ Motors. Can I have your name, phone number, and email address, please? No? Okay, thank you for calling.”
The more social media followers, the better — right? As is often the case, it’s not quite that simple.
A big boost in your Twitter followers might give you a warm glow inside, but it’s not going to pay the bills. Likewise, a popular post on Facebook might collect hundreds or thousands of “likes,” but it doesn’t always follow that your bottom line will receive a boost.
To ensure that your social media presence is effectively advancing your company and brand, you’ll have to hit the right notes with your customer base and navigate a minefield of dodgy shortcuts. And it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting (and what you’re not getting) from your company’s investment in social media. (more…)
Don’t worry. This isn’t one of those “feel good” stories about how social media is all about interacting with your local community. That part’s true, but you should know that already, right?
Today, let’s go over a quick explanation of how social media algorithms, especially Facebook’s, work and why you’re actually hurting your local page’s chances of being seen by having too many people outside of your local area liking your page. It isn’t just a matter of them not being interested in your content the way that locals will. It is an algorithm play that can actually prevent locals from seeing your posts.
It seems like a lot of bloggers and mainstream media publications are talking about JC Penney’s #TweetingWithMittens stunt on Twitter. Most are saying that it was a misstep. As they complain about it, they fall into the trap perfectly. It’s being talked about by journalists, Twitter users, and even other companies trying to get their own clever Tweets into the mix. The jokes on all of them. This campaign worked beautifully. When you consider that they didn’t spend millions of dollars to advertise during the Super Bowl and are being talked about as if they had, the ROI is very apparent.
The biggest complaint I’ve seen is that it’s not like the Oreo brilliance last Super Bowl. That is irrelevant. Lightning didn’t strike twice and it didn’t have to. People are talking about it. Even while a huge chunk of people were embarrassed for their apparent “drunk Tweeting” escapades, they still talked about it. The only real mistake that JC Penney’s made is that they let the secret out of the bag a bit too soon. Oh well. Nobody’s perfect.
Today has never been a more important time to solidify your business’ online presence, especially with the progression of Facebook algorithms constantly changing. Social media plays an ever-growing role in not only engaging in customer interaction, but also in building your overall online reputation.
Business owners are having a harder time these days adapting to Facebook’s newest algorithms, stating in their announcements that if companies want reach, they should pay for it. And while many companies are starting to utilize Facebook ads more, there are still numerous methods to gain user visibility that are either completely free or very-low cost. Here are some ways which you can use Facebook to gain more social proof and essentially grow your company: (more…)
Pinterest is a social online pinboard known for its eye-catching images, but over the past year, it’s become a search engine of sorts as well. After it received two sizable investments in 2013, the site rolled out a variety of features that have made it even more user-friendly. It’s no longer just a site to save images for travel and home decor inspiration or to create wishlists.
When I first started in digital marketing back in 2006, I had a dream of helping people take over the internet realm for their particular niche. At the time, I had 4 automotive clients and with the thought that content and links were so powerful for SEO while social media was the future, I pictured a product where my clients were blogging several times a week and posting them on several different blogs that fit in with particular topics.
In today’s world, there is a huge focus on social media and Internet marketing. While the Internet has definitely made it possible for businesses to connect in new ways with clients and customers worldwide, the Internet has not totally replaced traditional print marketing, nor should it.
Social media marketing should not be a stand-alone tool, but instead you should have multiple different marketing channels that are available to you and that you work to seamlessly integrate. Print marketing and social media marketing, for example, can go hand-in-hand in order to reach the most customers and potential customers.
How Print Marketing and Social Media Marketing Can Complement Each Other
Print marketing and social media marketing can integrate in many important ways as long as you have a clear marketing approach that you take across all of your different marketing channels.
Some of the different ways that print marketing can complement your social media marketing include the following:
Allow participation in contests in social media that can result in real-world prizes that someone can enjoy. For example, you could run a contest so that everyone who follows you on Twitter or who re-tweets something you post is entered to win a great promotional item from your company. Promotional products are great advertising because when people use a product with your brand on it, this spreads the word about your brand and company to others. A social media contest to win a promotional product gives you lots of bang for your marketing buck because you generate buzz when people enter (and talk about entering) the contest AND you get the benefit of giving someone a promotional product that can be used. You can purchase such prizes from a company like Quality logo Products out of Aurora.
Include hashtags and an easy newsletter signup on all print media that you distribute. Whenever you send out a direct mail marketing piece, provide a print brochure or otherwise give someone print materials about your company, you should be sure to include hashtags that can invite people to visit your social media channels and talk about the product. You can also include all of your information on websites as well as social media channels and user names (like your Twitter handle) so that people who see your print material can quickly and easily find you online. Those who receive your print material can then visit you on social media as well. Be sure to make your social media names representative of your company and simple and easy to remember in order to encourage more people to visit your sites.
Build a database of potential customers through both print and social media. When someone obtains print material from you, ask for that person’s email address to be added to your online mailing list using a service like Mail Chimp. When you get someone’s email address, you can then contact them over the Internet and invite them to follow you on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. Likewise, if you are running a contest for those who follow you on social media, consider asking for a physical address (to be kept private, of course, not publicly shared on Facebook or otherwise on social media). When you get the physical address of a customer or potential customer, this makes it possible for you to send print material.
Use QR Codes. QR codes can integrate online and local ads by making it easy for people to access your digital information. A QR code included on print material can allow people to connect with you digitally in a very simple and easy way. For more information on generating and using QR codes, click here.
Include social media mentions on print material. If you send out marketing material or newsletters in print, you can include things that people have said on social media about your company. These statements act as a reference, and those receiving the print material may become curious and sign onto social media to learn more about what people are saying about your company.
These are just a few of the key ways that you can integrate print marketing and social media marketing. There are many different approaches to take and the right choice is going to depend upon your specific business model. However, you should not assume that since social media marketing seems to be the wave of the future that it is the only kind of marketing you should do.
A comprehensive marketing plan should include social media marketing, email marketing, a great company website, and print materials. You will have multiple ways to connect to clients and customers, won’t have to worry as much about losing trust because of a change in email address or because of a move, and you can offer content and information that people appreciate in multiple formats. This just makes good business sense.
One of the most amazing parts of my job is spending time reading, watching, and testing the practices of others. It’s conceivable that the true secret to my success over the years has less to do with creativity and more to do with listening and deciphering. You have to listen to the channels like Google and Facebook. You have to listen to your customers. You have to listen to your customers’ customers (if you’re an agency like me).
The annoying part of my job is sifting through the recycled techniques and reinvented terminology that surrounds so many marketing practices. In most cases, it’s the same old things repackaged into a different form or applied from a different angle. Those are valuable, but not gamechanging. Still, it’s important to go through them all in order to find the hidden or not-so-hidden gems that arise. The best practices I’ve found over the years haven’t been on the pages of Mashable, Search Engine Watch, or Social Media Today. The real winners have come from some of the least likely sources.
With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the point. There are three types of marketing. Despite all of the various names – push and pull marketing, social media marketing, gravitational marketing, search marketing, influence marketing, content marketing – the easiest and arguably most pure way of looking at it is to tackle everything from a perspective of venue and intent. Where are the people going and what are they doing when they get there? It’s important for me as well as business owners to look at it from this perspective because the collision of the various marketing types is forcing a holistic marketing model to outperform niche marketing techniques or specialized strategies.
In other words, if you look at venue and intent, you can craft your overall marketing strategy much more easily. We look at it as following the quest – what are they doing, why are thy doing it, and how can we be there to help them choose our clients. When people buy your products, they are fulfilling a quest. No, they’re not slaying an actual dragon, but if they’re on a quest to buy a car, then your dealership selling them a car is the culmination of that particular quest.
Here are the three types of marketing for 2014 (well, early 2014 at least – it changes so quickly) that we like to tackle:
Fulfilling the Quest
This is the easiest to understand and often the hardest to achieve because of the simplicity of purpose. Everyone knows that if someone is interested in buying a car, they’re probably going to go to Google, Bing, or one of the various classified sites to start looking. They might go to review sites and OEM sites as well, but for the most part they’re ready to seek the fulfillment of their quest, they’re going to try to look for cars.
Search engine marketing of all types, whether it’s SEO or PPC, gives you the opportunity to drive them to your website so they may fulfill their quest. They aren’t searching for Honda dealers to have fun. They have a purpose. They’re in buying mode. This is where you have to be in order to help them fulfill their quest.
Renewing the Quest
More businesses are starting to do this. Many of them tried to do it in 2009-2012 and failed miserably. Part of it was because the venues such as Facebook, banner advertisements, retargeting, and other forms of “passive” marketing arenas weren’t developed to the point that they are today.
Now, the goals have come full-circle thanks to the overall availability of the internet. Mobile devices have made checking social media sites and reading websites the common activity when there are no activities to do. As people ride a bus, wait in line at the bank, or even perform other mundane activities like watching television, they are also surfing the internet. They aren’t going to Facebook to buy things, but they’re open to the concept. They’re open to having their quest renewed.
When they go to Fox News to see what’s going on and the retargeting ad pops up in front of them, they are reminded that they are still on a quest even if they aren’t actively on it at that point. When the business they visited last week pops up on their Facebook news feed, they get that reiteration that they still need to buy something. It might take a dozen instances of seeing a brand and its message before they actually click through, but the statistics are showing that it’s working. Not every sale is made through Google. In fact, some of the most important and actionable clicks come through other venues when they’re not in active buying mode.
Creating the Quest
Of the three, this is the one that’s ignored the most. It’s the hardest to do and the least rewarding when not done right. However, it can be the most rewarding when companies are able to make it sing. This is one that we focus on in particular because in our industry, nobody is doing it right.
In many ways it’s like good old fashioned advertising. No, it’s not like the commercials that we see on television today. Think along the lines of the early days of television when brands were built by establishing a problem that people will see in the normal course of their day and then having that problem solved either in the middle of the initial marketing effort or after further research.
The reason that it’s so hard today is because of attention span. We have seconds instead of minutes to get the message out through most advertising and marketing venues. There’s no longer time to tell a story…
…or is there?
The art of creating the quest is about putting the right content on the right venues that will reach people and establish a need whether they’re in the market right now or not. With this particular article already breaking the 1,000-word mark, there’s not enough time to go into it in detail. We’ll do that next time. Instead, watch the following video that shows two commercials that worked well in their day. Today, having a minute-long television commercial isn’t practical for most businesses, but taking advantage of the various channels online to accomplish the same goal and better is something that we know will move the needle. It’s hard. That’s the point. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
More on that next time. For now, here’s the video: