Social Media Marketing: Another Thing to Love About Responsive Website Design

Responsive for Social

As a good chunk of the internet is finally starting to switch to responsive websites, let’s put another nail in the unresponsive website design coffin. For social media, consistency between mobile devices and desktops is imperative.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can send a good measure of traffic to websites, particularly if appropriate campaigns are being run on them. Creating landing pages that are “social-appropriate” can be a challenge when there are two variations of a website running, which is the case with adaptive websites that present different pages for the same URL depending on the device through which they’re called. If the goal is to send traffic to the website through social media, responsive is an ideal solution.

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Putting to Rest the Concept of “Organic” Social Media

Organic

There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.

Okay, so that’s not really original. Any opportunity to plug in a line from Gladiator, I’ll take it. Despite the overly serious tone of the quote, it plays well with the dream that was social media. The idea of having a set of free venues through which businesses could interact with consumers and the consumers could interact back presented itself as a grand concept to be desired and cherished. Unfortunately, the dream is dead. Success on modern social media requires one of two things: serious fame or cash invested.

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Localize on Social Media or Else

University of Albany

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.

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The One-Two Punch: Print and Social Media Marketing

One-Two Punch

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.
  • QR CodesUse 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.

Facebook & 3 Concerns With Video Ads

Facebook Video Advertisements

As it seems, Facebook is climbing onboard the video ad boat and it is a move that is actually very fitting. With such a large audience to consider with this particular website, it was only a matter of time until videos would start to constantly appear on the newsfeeds of users. This is a great financial move on the part of Facebook but I have to wonder how much this move will impact the user base at large. While these concerns have been confirmed, they are concerns with the upcoming change nonetheless.

  1. The change will not bode well for the faltering teen demographic. As it’s been reported in the past, those within this group have utilized the site less and even Facebook itself confirmed the matter. While some of this could be considered a result of young men and women wanting to get away from the vigilant eyes of their Facebook-using parents, it can also be argued that they have started to see more in the way of advertising on a site that is meant for social engagement. If there’s one things teens enjoy, it isn’t a litany of advertisements, in video form or otherwise.
  2. These videos may not be too friendly to older computers. Your typical laptop is not going to sputter out of control and combust if only one website is open but think about the common Internet user. Is that individual going to have one tab alone open on their browser of choice? When that individual is moving from page to page, they expect a smooth experience. While videos can come together as arguably the greatest platform for marketing, it’s reasonable to worry about how much bandwidth it will consume.
  3. No one really asked for video ads on Facebook. Yes, it is true that the videos on a user’s newsfeed will play silently at the onset, which is a smart move that any Long Island advertising agency can support. That being said, Facebook stated that, “Compelling sight, sound and motion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns.” While this might be true, is there a chance that Facebook will implement a change where videos are no longer mute to begin with? The idea of this social media mogul forcing video advertising in the faces of its users will do more bad than good in the long run; this won’t apply to only teenagers, either.

When considering the idea that Facebook will sell these ads for $2 million a day, it’s clear that the company stands a great chance of coming into money. Companies have to understand that this site is where most individuals on the Internet frequent. The idea of utilizing video content for awareness is understandable. Hopefully I am wrong about the concerns listed above and that these ads can benefit everyone.

Spotify: Could Free Mobility Offer Challenges?

Spotify

The days of purchasing CDs alone for the sake of building a music library are fading and one can make the argument that downloading MP3s could go the same way somewhere down the line. There are many music streaming sites that appear to be able to fill the needs for those who can’t get enough of the classics or the tracks that have become all but viral. Spotify is one such example and it seems like it is taking a new step as far as mobile streaming is concerned. Will it be a step that everyone will agree with, though?

On the surface, the idea is brilliant. The Wall Street Journal reported that Spotify may soon offer a free version of its service on mobile devices, which would replace the paid version that many have utilized. Since Spotify was introduced, the only way that anyone could benefit from its free music streaming was through computers. However, if this change were to come to the surface, it would allow users to play a set number of songs on demand and create their own playlists to boot. Shouldn’t an idea like this make everyone happy?

Keep in mind that while there are many Spotify users who would clamor for free mobile streaming at no cost, there are those who have paid for the service for different reasons. A monthly fee was put in place for the sake of allowing fans to enjoy hundreds upon hundreds of tunes without any ads. With this in mind, what if they don’t want to take the free route? If they were to do so, they would have to endure ads after a set number of songs, which is one of the reasons why the premium route is taken.

For example, it is not uncommon to go through two or three songs on Spotify, only to be greeted with an ad. However, this ad may not be tailored to your interests. If you are someone who runs a business, are you going to care about opportunities for potential freshmen at particular universities? What if you enjoy songs along the lines of Lorde and instead you’re given an ad telling you to sample a Billy Joel compilation album? Not only are these ads bothersome but they oftentimes fail at grabbing your interest and keeping it in place.

When a social media agency is hired by a particular brand, it is easy to assume that the efforts will be able to appeal to various audiences. Said audiences are driven based on interests, so whatever advertisements are put forth have to accommodate such matters. In my experience, the ads on Spotify are pesky, to say the least. That being said, if they are able to facilitate complete mobile functionality at zero cost, perhaps they are caveats worth enduring.

Are You Really Saving on Free Apps?

Apps

Someway, somehow, consumers have been led to believe that everything on the Internet is free. Why do you think movie and music piracy are so rampant? Such sense of entitlement extends to the buying of apps. Most consumers would rather have their apps free than paid.

Unless, that is, the apps are designed to get something done. According to app analytics company Distimo, paid apps dominate the top ten in the categories of productivity, medical, business, fitness/healthcare, navigation, catalogues, lifestyle, photo & video, travel, and weather. These apps enables you to work hard, get healthy, find directions, book flights, check weather, and so forth. They make your life easier. Consumers are won to appreciate and buy such apps.

Even so, the utility of an app is no guarantee of its being purchased. The situation is even worse for other app categories, such as games, where ‘free’ is the byword.

Free is understandable, especially if you’re really bereft of money, but paid is ideal. Here are the most compelling reasons why you should buy paid apps:

1. There’s no such thing as a free app.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch or a free app, for that matter. Sure, that nifty social network or cloud storage app comes for free but make no mistake. They will find a way to offset the gazillions they have expended on overhead, etc.

As information technology pundits would have it: “If you don’t buy the product, you are probably the product.” You only have to check out the terms of service on Facebook; they have clauses that virtually let them intrude upon privacy and mine your data, like where you shop, who you’re connected to, etc. Next time you think an app isn’t selling something, think of yourself. It is probably selling you.

2. Rage against the Machine.

Many of us don’t like to buy something because we think we are pawns of the corporations selling them. We believe that our money is not really of benefit to its end producer. With apps, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your hard-won money directly goes to the creators, which brings us to next reason.

3. Put some bread on the developer’s table.

Each sale encourages these small businesses to forge ahead with their offerings. This is not an easy thing, considering the manifold challenges the average developer has to face. For one, he or she has to meet an annual fee set by Google and Apple before submitting an app. After that, the developer is caught between a rock and a hard place: If the developer doesn’t charge customers for the app, Apple/Google will charge yearly fees anyway. If the app comes with a price, customers will be put off. And when the app eventually sells, Google/Apple gets a cut.

These are to say nothing of the expenses, especially in running the app’s website and getting hosting. These expenditures could only skyrocket with more customers, ironically what developers are after.

4. Payment = zero ads

One way developers can market an app as free, and still monetise it, is to offer advertising space. The trade-off is that customers will eventually resent the clutter.

In other words, paid apps give you the minimum incentive of being ad-free. If the paid app still comes with ads, feel free to complain or find a new one.

5. Price of a coffee

Injustice. That’s what it boils down to if you are able to afford a Starbucks but run away from a dollar or two in snapping up an app.

6. Quality is not an excuse.

Granted, there are unscrupulous developers who charge a premium for garbage. You can skirt this problem by reading reviews from top-notch websites. Besides, you can always get trials of paid apps.

Final word

An app shouldn’t really feel like an investment considering how cheap it is compared to what you’ve already been buying. Always remember that ‘free’ comes with a catch.

To ease you into the mindset of paying for apps, try buying them in bulk. This piece of wisdom is especially useful if you’re in business: The utility of many paid apps today are just too remarkable. Also, start by looking for a sale or markdown. Search for coupon codes too.

Have fun app-shopping!

Good and Bad Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

Automotive Social Media Image Marketing

If you’re reading this, you’re probably failing at social media image marketing. That’s not me being cynical. By examining dozens of business social media presences every week, I get to see what so many are doing and the unfortunate fact is that 9 out of 10 are doing it wrong or not doing it at all. I’m being conservative with that estimate.

The “unfortunate” fact really isn’t that unfortunate, especially for those who are reading this. You see, you can actually do it right, which means that you’re going to have a leg-up on the competition. When things are too easy or too well known, they have a tendency to become universally good. When they’re universally good, that means that everyone is average.

Image marketing on social media is not about taking advertisements and posting them as images. It’s not about talking about your big sale next week in the form of a banner that you post to Twitter or Instagram (though there’s a way to do that which I’ll demonstrate below). It’s not even about taking pictures of happy customers in front of their latest purchase jumping in the air with the caption, “Oh what a feeling!”

Proper image marketing should accomplish some of the following goals listed in no particular order:

  1. Improve branding
  2. Promote an upcoming event
  3. Demonstrate a lifestyle advantage associated with your product
  4. Connect with the community
  5. Make a statement
  6. Drive traffic to a landing page

It doesn’t have to do all of these. It can do one of them really well, a couple of them very well, or knock out three or four of them with a single post. To highlight this, I’ll use examples that I found in my Twitter feed just in the last couple of hours. This does not only apply to Twitter; Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook can all work nicely here.

It should be noted that size and aspect ratio are extremely important and arguably the biggest miss by most. Twitter has an aspect ratio of 2:1 while Instagram is 1:1. Small images don’t do as well. on any of the platforms. Pinterest is the only platform that does vertical images well. Appearance on mobile is more important than appearance on desktop. These and other technical aspects of image marketing will be covered in a future post. For now, let’s just look at the content…

 

Bad Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

These ones are bad. Don’t do these. I blocked out the business that posted one but I kept the one posted by Ram only because as a manufacturer, they should know better by now…

Bad Twitter Image Marketing

The image quality is poor. The car is cut off. There’s no visible branding for the dealership in the image. Overall, it’s extremely boring. This is not going to get anyone’s attention and nobody who sees it in their feed will care.

* * *

Bad Twitter Image Marketing 3

It’s a nice image of a mountain. Wait. Is that a truck at the bottom peeking up over the edge? It’s good that they are getting their fans involved, but the picture should have been edited to appear properly on Twitter before posting it. This is the lazy way out and accomplishes none of the goals.

 

Decent Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

These aren’t bad. They aren’t good, either. They’re good enough to get listed here just to show the differences between them and the ones further below so you’ll know what mistakes to avoid.

Decent Twitter Image Marketing

The attempt by Nissan is pretty strong. They’re trying to do well on Twitter and they’re doing an above-average job at it. This particular piece is missing something: impact. The message in the image means nothing other than stating a minor incentive. It gives no reason for people to actually click through to the landing page other than the boring message itself. With image marketing, you need to make a statement in order to get clicks. They should have put more creativity into the messaging rather than state the offer plainly.

More importantly, the offer itself is designed specifically for those who already plan on buying a Rogue, so the incentive is in the reservation itself. At first (and second, and third) glance, this appears to be another rebate offer because it looks like another rebate offer. There are brighter minds than mine that could have fashioned a better message, but it should have been less statement of the facts and a bit more mystery and uniqueness to draw people to click.

  • This Rogue wants to be reserved (and it will pay you to reserve it)
  • What do reservations and $250 have in common? The 2014 Nissan Rogue.
  • Early Bird gets the cash on their Rogue
  • No Reservations Necessary (unless you want an extra $250)

* * *

Decent Twitter Image Marketing 2

This isn’t bad because it does accomplish one goal – making a statement. The only thing keeping this at decent rather than good is that the message is a personal one and should have been delivered in a personal manner. While the picture is cool and the message in the text is strong, it would have been better to have a member or former member of the military (there’s probably some working at the dealership right now) by a car or the dealership’s sign with an American flag in hand. This is a bit generic but a good attempt – still better than 9 out of 10.

 

Good Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

Here are some good ones. These are nearly great but are missing a couple of minor components. If you did your marketing like this, you’d be ahead of 99/100 others.

Good Twitter Image Marketing

Great aspect ratio. Hot car. Good message and most importantly there’s a link to the inventory search for the vehicle itself!

* * *

Good Twitter Image Marketing 2

This one is much like the previous except a different variation for two reasons. First, it uses a stock image, which is only good if the image is as good as this one. The thing that brings it up from “decent” is that the link takes you to a vehicle specific landing page which is more appropriate on Twitter than a straight vehicle search. Remember, if they want to search, they will. Putting them on a page with information about the vehicle is better for higher-funnel customers that you’ll get through social media.

 

Great Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

These are the best that I’ve seen so far… after searching four hours back in my Twitter feed. There are better ones. There are plenty of worse ones. They aren’t perfect but they’re pretty darn close.

Great Twitter Image Marketing

This one hits goals 1, 5, and 6 nicely but it really nails home #3: Demonstrate a lifestyle advantage associated with your product. It doesn’t need to show the whole car. It doesn’t need a beautiful background. It has a simple, elegant four word message that can reach the target audience where it hurts.

* * *

Great Twitter Image Marketing 2

Remember, it doesn’t have to nail several goals to be effective. This time, it does a wonderful job of branding but keeps it touching the community with the localized weather factor. This is exceptional and if the following is engaged, it’ll resonate.

* * *

Great Twitter Image Marketing 3

Simple and powerful. This is what Nissan missed when they promoted their message. Well done, Mr Potratz and Mr Ziegler.

* * *

You don’t have to be a professional photographer or a creative genius to get it right with social media image marketing. You just need to have a good strategy, solid execution, and a willingness to know the “rules” well enough to break them ever so slightly.

Offerpop Releases Hashtag Gallery, Empowering Marketers to Manage User-Generated Content at Scale

Offerpop

NEW YORK, New York (Nov. 6, 2013) —Offerpop, a leading social marketing software company, has released Hashtag Gallery, a solution that allows brands to unite social media with traditional marketing channels, compile and store user-generated content, and showcase hashtag campaign content in a single location.

Hashtag Gallery capitalizes on an exploding trend: brands everywhere are including hashtags in their TV commercials, print and digital ads, and other marketing programs.

With Hashtag Gallery, brands collect, manage and showcase user-generated content related to these hashtags in a seamless branded display, on websites, auto-generated landing pages, or Facebook tabs. Through these campaigns brands encourage passionate consumers to share photos, videos, and posts. These engaged communities span multiple mediums and generate an expansive library of valuable user-generated content that can be repurposed for marketing and merchandizing programs.

“The convergence of social and mobile is fundamentally changing how consumers interact with their favorite brands, enabling them to share experiences and user-generated content,” said Prakash Mishra, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Offerpop. “Hashtag Gallery gives brands ways to turn content into relevant, real-time consumer engagement, amplifying the reach of traditional marketing programs.”

Marketers have struggled to organize, respond to and reuse consumer posts that include their branded hashtags. Hashtag Gallery automates this process, allowing time-strapped social marketers to track and follow up with responses in real time. Through auto-responding to entries with custom messages and “claim your entry” links, marketers can easily get permission to repurpose user-generated content. They can also incentivize and reward consumers for participating, offering daily, weekly, or monthly prizes.

Marketers can create and launch their Hashtag Gallery campaigns in minutes, with no custom development required. With Hashtag Gallery’s powerful back-end moderation capabilities, marketers can choose to approve entries before publication. And they can view program metrics like unique visitors and participation in real time, allowing for campaign optimization.

Offerpop’s launch of Hashtag Gallery includes an early access package that rewards companies and marketers that launch a Hashtag Gallery campaign in November by giving them hands-on help from a team of Offerpop’s social media strategists, who work with brands like Audi, American Express and NBC Universal. Sign up at www.offerpop.com/earlyaccess.

To learn how to tap into the power of hashtags, check out Offerpop’s new e-book, The Definitive Guide to Hashtag Campaigns. (http://go.offerpop.com/definitive-guide-to-hashtag-campaigns/)

 

About Offerpop

Offerpop helps marketers launch powerful social marketing campaigns to reach, engage and connect with their consumers. Global brands, agencies and small businesses use Offerpop to increase revenue and grow fans, followers and email subscribers. Launch campaigns across any marketing channel — website, advertising, email, and TV — and drive engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Offerpop is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, qualified by the PMD program in Apps.  Offerpop is a Twitter Certified Product. Learn more at www.offerpop.com.

The #History of the #Hashtag: An #Infographic

Hashtags

Before a hashtag was what it means today to just about every major social network, it was a pound button. It was a number sign. It was a tic-tac-toe box. It was anything other than what it is today, one of the most useful and important tools used by social media marketing firms and general social media fans across the internet.

I was there, believe it or not. I saw the first hashtag ever used. It was funny because at the time I thought it was a pretty silly idea, but obviously it grew on me and hundreds of millions of others. Now, I often find myself wondering why hashtags aren’t used more often. Go figure.

Here’s an infographic from Offerpop that breaks down the long (in internet years at least) history of the four little lines.

History of Hashtags Infographic