The Two Categories of Social Media Marketing Strategies

All In

When it comes to marketing (and just about everything else), there are right-brained thinkers and left-brained thinkers. The right-brain thinkers are more subjective and often more creative and would not like the concept of social media having two options. It makes it too black and white. Left-brain thinkers are guided by logic and wouldn’t necessarily believe that there are only two categories in social media marketing. In other words, neither type of person will likely agree with the assertion of this article, at least not at first.

One can make an argument that there are definitely multiple sub-categories, styles, and strategies that go into social media marketing, but there are really only two stances that businesses should take. These two categories can be called “outbound” and “inbound” social media strategies. They shouldn’t be confused with inbound or outbound digital marketing strategies. In the case of these social media categories, we’re being a little more straight forward than that.

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Social Media isn’t a Megaphone. It’s a Two-Way Radio

Megaphone

Social media is the one marketing medium that allows customers and businesses to interact in an organic fashion.  However, it astonishes me just how many companies don’t take advantage of this.  Rather than engaging with their customers on social media, they use it to tell the customer what the business wants to say.  There is very little listening going on.

I would suggest that every business should use social media as a two-way radio as opposed to the megaphone that it currently is for so many companies.  When you listen as well as speak, you get the opportunity to find out what your customers want, what they need, and what they think of your business. [Read more...]

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.

Why Businesses Are Still Being Left Behind When it Comes to Social Networking

Left Behind

There can be no denying that social networking is something that is growing – more internet users than ever are now using social media on a daily basis. When you consider the size of social media you would assume that businesses are on the mark when it comes to social media campaigns and keeping in touch with their customers via social networking, but sadly for many their efforts still do not cut the mustard.

A Few Social Media Stats

  • When asked, over 60% of people said they would be more likely to buy from a brand they follow on a social networking website.
  • Facebook is the biggest social media website – if you added up all of its users and put them in a country to live together, it would be the third largest country in the world.
  • Within 80 days of it being released 50m people were the owner of an iPad – it took nearly 40 years for the same number of people to own a radio.
  • On YouTube the equivalent of 500 years of videos are watched every single day!

These stats show that social networking and the internet is growing – which is reason enough for companies to get on board and get involved. However, not only are more customers getting involved in social media but they’re getting more comfortable with it.

Gone are the days when a customer would write you a letter if they were unhappy with your service, now you’re likely to get an angry tweet or a long letter on Facebook. Their anger and unhappiness is the same as it always was, but now everyone else gets to hear about it too! We all know that word of mouth travels fast – so you want to be on the mark and dealing with customer complaints on social media because otherwise you could quickly find the situation growing to one that is much more serious.

Did you know that fashion brand ASOS have more followers than David Cameron?

ASOS are a brand that is renowned for their social media efforts. If you see their Twitter you’ll notice that they always reply to customers promptly – often with fun and witty replies, which help to keep customers interested! They have a specific twitter account which is designed to deal with customer issues and problems and they’re always quick and efficient when it comes to dealing with any tweets that customers send.

The fact that a fashion brand has more followers than the UK’s Prime Minister is a pretty big deal. It goes to show that they are on the money when it comes to dealing with social media & that their hard work has paid off. With so many followers on one account, their influence on Twitter is massive!

Companies are Still Being Left Behind

While companies like ASOS are coming on leaps and bounds with their social networking there are still companies that are being left behind. The problem with this is that we live in a social media generation – people are used to being able to get in touch with companies immediately and expect quick replies, companies not doing this are doing themselves an injustice and will get left behind if they’re not careful.

Making Use of Different Social Media Platforms

Generally the two main social media websites are Facebook and Twitter, but that doesn’t mean they are all you should use! Instagram is growing at a rate of knots and more Snapchat messages (350 million WOW!) are sent daily than anything else. There are different social networking websites out there to make use of – Pinterest is good if you have a crafting business and LinkedIn is great for interacting with other business owners and getting on board with local people.

The Mistake Many Businesses Make

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to have all of your eggs in one basket. If you’re going to be on a social networking website then you need to do it well. One of the worst things you can do is start up a social media profile on a website, do a couple of updates and then never coming back to it. Just because you have forgotten that you have an Instagram account (for example) that doesn’t mean that your customers will have. It is far better for them not to find you on Instagram than them finding a profile you have left behind – because this will give them the impression that you do not care.

So to Conclude

So, we now know how massive social media is. The influence that social media has over people is huge and as a business, if you are not tapping into this then you are missing out massively! Instead you need to make sure that you are doing what you can to be involved in it – and not leaving your customers wondering why you do not care.

Moving forward you need to make sure you have a clean-up of social media accounts that you already have. If you tried a social media website and didn’t like it – find it again and delete the account. It is far better for your customers not to be able to find you on a website rather than finding a social media profile that has been made redundant.

You then need to think about the type of social network you want to be on and how you can get involved. Whether this is setting up a page on Facebook or getting involved in tweeting on Twitter you’ll find loads of ways to get involved and hints and tips on how to make the website work for you and your needs.

Communicating with your customers is key – so make sure that once you are on social networking websites you use this to reply to your customers and interact with them when you can – you’ll notice it makes a massive difference!

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.

Social Media Fears, Tips, and Strategies for Small Businesses

Social Media Anxiety

I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the Huffington Post. It’s not that I don’t like some of the content. I don’t like what they’ve done to content as a whole and how they’ve really dismantled the concept of fair search and social marketing for blogs. Then again, you have to admire the results.

With that said, the infographic that they had built below is rather exceptional. It’s not the most visually stunning piece of work ever, but the information is top notch. The anxiety-causing issues surround social media for small businesses are spot on. The tips that they offer are pretty darn good. Their strategies aren’t bad for those new to the game. In a world where poor social media infographics get posted around the internet on a daily basis, it’s a breath of fresh air to find one that actually works.

And yes, it’s from HuffPo. Still posting it. Quality over source. Information over bias. Begrudgingly, here it is:

Social Media Anxiety Infographic

Facebook Marketing Goals: The Aggressive Approach

Tigers

We’ve taken a look at the safe approach to setting Facebook goals. Now, it’s time to discuss letting the tiger out. Let’s sharpen our claws, stretch our muscles, and prepare for battle. Getting aggressive on Facebook is about going to social media war.

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Define Your Facebook Goals Before Determining a Strategy

Aim

About a month ago I was asked when speaking before a group about what I thought the biggest mistake was that businesses were making on Facebook. I replied, “lack of coherent strategy” and went on about how too many business pages seemed like they were posting for the sake of posting, that they didn’t appear to moving in any particular direction, and that they were managing their social media presence on a day to day basis. If I could take back the answer (or better yet, elaborate further), I would.

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Social Media Reputation: The Key to Search and Social in 2013 and Beyond

Louie Baur Twitter

This is Part 1 in a 5 part series.

When it comes to teaching some of the more advanced techniques in search engine marketing and social media promotions, we often find that we create challenges. It isn’t that the techniques we use are hard once the individual components are understood. It’s that the individual components themselves are often challenging to turn into a reality. In other words, saying something like, “take your most powerful and influential social media profiles and generate a bunch of likes, tweets, and +1s to your viral pages” is easier said than done.

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Social Media is More Akin to Television than Search or Other Internet Marketing Forms

Watching Television

One of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding social media is that it’s a distant cousin of search engine marketing or that it’s goals are similar to other forms of internet marketing. This isn’t quite true. There are definitely tie-ins; social media can help improve search rankings, it is a valid follow-up component to email marketing, and it can be used as a direct lead generator for certain products and services. However, real success on social media often comes down to knowing the frame of mind of the people on it and realizing that the messaging style is much more akin to television advertising than any of the traditional online marketing formats.

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