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.
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:
I know the feeling. Despite having worked every weekend for the last two years, I know the desire to let it all go and just focus on the important things in life like faith and family. I’ll get there, someday, but you can get there now and still be strong at social media management.
See, the challenge is that social media for business is ever-so important. The weekends can be, for many pages and social media profiles, have the highest potential for engagement and interaction. A good chunk of people check social media more regularly on weekends than during the week. It’s also a time when money is spent in different ways so having the right engagement to go after the weekend dollars or the dollars that will be spent in the coming week can be achieved more readily on the weekends.
Unfortunately, you probably don’t have a weekend team watching and controlling everything for you. You’re stuck with it, even if you have weekends off. This translates into one of two most likely scenarios: you either spend time on the weekends using social media or you let your business social media accounts go on the weekends. Either way is bad.
There’s an alternative. You can have your weekends (mostly) and still stay on top of social media as a result. Here’s how:
- Set up your mobile alerts. If you have a heavily-trafficked social media presence, you’re probably monitoring manually through the week, so you can turn it off then. For the weekends, yes, it means your phone will be blowing up, but you can still stay on top of it and make a decision about replying or waiting until Monday based upon the urgency. Thankfully, if it’s a casual communication, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until Monday. However, there will be important business communications and you don’t want to make those wait.
- Schedule. When I see businesses that post 5-days a week, it annoys me. Social media doesn’t take weekends off and your presence shouldn’t, either. If it makes it easier, set up a theme for the weekends. Don’t ask questions if you’re not ready to answer the responses. There’s nothing sillier than blowing a weekend with a question that brings in 500 responses blowing up your phone. Save those for the week.
- Get creative help. A part-time employee or contractor that you can trust can cover the weekends for you at a very affordable rate. Students and stay-at-home parents come in handy here. Give them tasks that can help during the week as well such as creating content that will be posted later, scheduling up Mondays that are often meeting-heavy, or vetting the new likes and followers from the week.
Social media might not rest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Do it the right way and either minimize or eliminate the need to be omnipresent all week while still maintaining a strong presence.
Presence is 50% of the game when it comes to social media. You have to be in front of people, accessible, and able to bring to them the other half of the social media equation: message.
A message without a presence brings to mind the old saying about a tree falling in an empty forest. If a Facebook post goes out and nobody saw it in their news feed, did it really get posted at all? Of course, having a presence is great but if the message isn’t powerful, engaging, and resonating, it won’t do your dealership any good.
In this podcast through AutoSuccess, I talk about the ways that dealerships can improve their presence and focus on what really matters: driving more business and keeping customers as happy as they can be.
Like Oliver Twist, we want more please. More?! Yeah, more fans. Brands are always on the hunt for more fans to pile onto their brand page and bellow out a devious Jabba the Hut chuckle with the number of fans that liked their page. In the grand scheme of things, does your brand need more fans?
The social media marketing industry is always looking for the biggest and best way to promote themselves, their clients or impact the social media scene. While social and SEO is geared towards good content, there are certain rules that need to be addressed prior to launching your content; am I being to spammy? Why am I not ranking? My post was clever, why are people not linking or sharing?
In any business venture, implementing a solid customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is paramount to success. However, to get it right requires effort.
Any burgeoning business cannot overlook social media as a means of conversing with its clientele. Gone are the days when specific departments dealt with customers through company-defined channels during set business hours. Now, social media allows the customer to tell you how and when they want to talk – it is up to you to be there to listen.
In order to get ahead, you need to understand how it has evolved.
There is no need to pale at the face of a mountainous social media campaign. There are plenty of resources available to help you update your CRM process. To make your life just a little bit easier here’s a summary of how to build social media into your CRM efforts.
1. Choosing the right community
The social customer expects brands to have a presence on the sites that they use. Be it Twitter or Facebook (but don’t forget there are others), research where your customers are hanging out. Remember, you don’t need to sign up for all of the social media accounts, only the ones that you find your customers are participating in after careful research. Remember, setting up accounts on these sites is easy – it’s making the most out of them that’s the hard part (see point three). Thus, you do not want to be on a ton of different sites that are difficult to maintain and see ROI results from. Remember; once you are in the social space, there is no getting out without risking a tarnished brand and user experience.
2. Building a strategy
Planning is everything. When you use social media to manage your customer relationships, it is important to maintain a consistent and cohesive appropriate ‘voice’ (using a dedicated, well trained social media team is a good idea). Once you have this in place you can really go wild. Social media isn’t just about getting feedback – by providing your customers with incentives, entertainment and relevant content you are cementing your business in their online experience.
3. Leverage the strategy
Social media allows you to unite marketing and CRM. Your customers are offering up information that years ago would have taken an age to collect (such as their preferences, tastes, and demographics), so use it. There are plenty of CRM systems available that allow you to aggregate this data and analyze it. Once you have this information you will be able to create highly targeted and integrated CRM strategies that will lead to all important conversions.
4. Avoiding pitfalls
Remember, while social media communication is oftentimes the business speaking to the customer, it can also be customer-to-customer and customer-to-prospect. One bad customer experience can spread like wildfire. Make sure you are equipped to deal with a significant increase in customer interaction. The social customer expects businesses to listen, engage and respond quickly, so you need to be ready to do so. If things do start to go wrong then make sure you can practice a little damage control to protect your reputation.
5. Measuring results
Not all of your social media efforts are going to be successful, so once you’re up running you need to track what it is you’re doing that is actually working. Monitoring metrics like traffic, conversations and followers is a great starting point, and will make it a lot easier for you to see which tactics are working and which are just putting a drain on your resources and offering little ROI.
At this point you’ve probably heard something about So.cl. At first I heard people say that it was going to go up against Facebook and Google+, even though anyone with a cursory knowledge would know that it’s not the case. I also have colleagues tell me that this shows that Facebook is getting into search engine marketing, but I think that’s not the case either.
Every few months I take a serious look at my chosen profession and wonder if it’s really a tool for good or if it’s real “use” is to promote the negative in the world. There are many examples of good happening through social media whether through revolutions that weren’t possible a few years ago from oppressive regimes or the simple connection of people with others who they need to meet.
The attachment that social media has to entertainment is clear. We tweet the shows we watch, like the Facebook pages of movies we’re going to go see, and blast out or elation or rage on all social networks when our sports team wins or loses.
No sport or other form of entertainment has as big of a social media following as football. No, not American football, even though it’s pretty darn big as well. We’re talking about soccer. We’re talking about the little round ball that goes up and down the field trying to find its way into one goal or another.