Archive for July, 2011

Five social media marketing ideas for businesses

Connect with customers and build your brand with these five social media marketing strategies for businesses.

There are plenty of resources for small businesses to leverage social media, but what about after your business has grown? We’ve constructed this article to help medium and large companies navigate the social-media marketing space. Social media services like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have become the go-to tools for companies who want to boost their visibility with the 12-to-40 age demographic. Below are five ideas for large-scale campaigns that can grow your brand.

Viral videos

Television commercials have long dominated the marketing world as the preferred advertising method for Fortune 500 companies. Social media sites are slowly rendering these TV commercials obsolete as Internet video traffic grows. A new breed of advertising dubbed the viral video is giving brands exposure on video-sharing giant YouTube.

Contrary to popular thought, a massive budget is not required. The best example is BlendTec’s “Will it Blend?” viral video campaign. Tom Dickinson needed a cost-effective method to advertise his blenders and decided to take the viral marketing route on YouTube. The result is over 160 million views to the campaign and massive brand growth for BlendTec

Many larger corporations have taken an indirect route within their viral videos by making a passing mention of the product. For instance, in Evan Longoria’s Bare Hand Catch, it takes a keen observer to realize the video is an advertisement for Gillette. It is cost effective because the video stays uploaded to YouTube and doesn’t incur the heavy cost of a TV spot.

Facebook fan gating

Big brands are enticing their consumers by asking them to “Like” their pages to gain access to special content. For instance, Dr. Pepper’s Facebook page allows you to win free cases of the soft drink. Large brands are following up with custom games, apps and contests to keep people active on their page.

Facebook’s 750 million users makes it the biggest social network in the world. Most consumers are now spending their time on the site and businesses are finding the value in interacting with their customer base.

Crowdsourcing

If you have a brick-and-mortar business selling a product or service, your best bet is crowdsourcing. Daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial bring masses of people together to buy from your business. The catch is you provide a heavy discount in exchange for an abnormally large amount of new customers. The tradeoff is good enough that these sites are generating millions of dollars daily. Affiliate marketing has given birth to spin-offs like extraGroupon that ensure further savings.

Twitter engagement

Think of your company on Twitter as a human entity. For the first time in history, companies are enabled to talk to their customers directly, quickly, and efficiently. The micro-blogging tool can gives businesses a voice to respond to customer inquiries. As Greg Voakes pointed out in hisTwitter for Business feature, @DellOutlet has made millions of dollars by Tweeting products and deal, while @JetBlue planted its flag by holding conversations with their customers as a friend would to a friend.

Listening and monitoring

When a company is looking to break into the social media space, the easiest way to start is by listening. Chances are consumers are already talking about your business on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Radian6 is a highly recommended tool to start the listening and monitoring process for your business on social media. Check the existing conversation about your brand and join your customers in the discourse.

Traditional marketing is a one-way street where the business pushes a marketing message to the consumer. Social media has created a two-way street where consumers respond to the marketing messages. Businesses need to take an active role in participating in the conversation that ensues. The conversation that it creates social media will have an impact on the bottom line of any company.

Guest contributor Jay Singh is a cofounder of ViralMS, a social media marketing agency

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5 Ways Salespeople Can Use Social Media to Grow Leads

One of the practical opportunities for companies that acquire and engage customers through a sales force, is through social media content and participation.  In fact, many corporate marketing departments have found their field sales reps active on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube before headquarters has.  Such “rogue” social media activity might be proactive, but can also create issues without adherence to corporate standards and provide conflicting experiences for customers.

A salesforce that functions as educators, consultants and in some ways “subject matter experts”, can be a formidable asset for corporate social media efforts towards engagement and customer acquisition. Rather than shutting down individual sales reps blogs and Facebook accounts until corporate gets their social strategy in place, companies should consider how to coordinate and empower sales teams as social media ambassadors of the brand to their individual circles of influence and social networks.

Those same sales people are already maintaining contact with prospects and customers through other communication channels like email, phone, snail mail and newsletters. Why not social networking and media sites?

As business managers decide how to best leverage sales people for social media objectives, here are a few ideas on tactics they may decide to implement:

1. Create a Destination – Whether it’s a blog, tumblr, posterous site, YouTube or even Facebook Fan page, a destination for social participation can serve as the hub for a salesperson’s social media activity. This is where social content is published, aggregated and curated. It’s also where calls to action, offers and invitations to engage on a more business level can be posted. The social hub scan serve as a destination for other publishers and bloggers to link to and appear within search results.

2. Monitor for Leads & Engagement –  As more consumer and B2B buyers participate on the social web during the discovery and consideration phases of the buying cycle, sales people can monitor for comments and conversations that indicate engagement opportunities. IBM’s Listen for Leads program has uncovered millions of dollars in sales by monitoring social media sites for keywords that indicate prospects with questions or in the search phase.

Simple tools like search.twitter.com, board reader or a variety of Facebook search enginescan provide access to discussions. Free social search engines like socialmention.com ortopsy can also be used along with Google Alerts. Ideally, a robust social media monitoring tool would be used that includes advanced filtering options.  It takes some refinement of search queries to make this kind of monitoring work, but can be very effective at identifying prospect conversation opportunities at their greatest moment of need.

3. Create, Curate & Repurpose – Most Sales Reps, Account Executives and Business Development people that I know are pretty busy, so efficiency with social media and content is essential. With an understanding of relevant search keywords and social topics that matter to prospective customers, salespeople can create a content plan as a guide.

However, creating new content on a regular basis while maintaining high quality can become a challenge, so it’s important to think about where content can be repurpose

For example, salespeople might each maintain their own blogs that they publish to once a week. But they might also share portions or customized versions of their blog posts with other industry blogs, online publications and industry newsletters. They could compile blog posts into ebooks or could be used within corporate content marketing materials.

An effective way to become a “go to destination” for information on a particular topic is to aggregate or curate news from different sources on the web to the salesperson’s hub.  Subscribe to other industry news sites, newsletter and setup Google Alerts for topics of interest to collect news. Collect the most interesting and/or themed news of the week and add short comments.  The same curation tactic can be used to create a newsletter. With some practice, the process of scanning headlines and putting together a weekly news roundup can be done in only a few minutes a day, resulting in one beefy blog post per week.

4. Participate -In the course of researching useful industry news to aggregate or to cite in original blog posts, salespeople will undoubtedly find other blogs and online publications that allow commenting. They’ll also find others discussing topics of interest on sites like LinkedIn, Groups & Forums, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others. Searching or monitoring for prospects also reveals these kinds of interaction opportunities.

Answering questions, sharing useful resources and asking questions on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ helps communicate personal characteristics and thought leadership for the salesperson. Corporate marketing might be able to use their resources with social media monitoring tools to identify social channels, groups or individuals that are most influential and relevant.  Salespeople could also use tools like Klout to find others with influence to engage with.

This can seem like a very time consuming task, but many salespeople who are the most productive with lead generation through social media make a consistent effort to participate on a frequent basis. Setup a recurring reminder in Outlook to spend 15 minutes each morning to ask/answer questions, collect, aggregate and share useful links. Spreading this activity over several days using a consistent amount of time is very productive. Schedule Tweets and Facebook updates during the day in advance using a tool like Hootsuite.

5. Collaborate –  Corporate sales and marketing leadership can keep tabs on the most effective uses of social media and networking sites by their sales teams and create best practices for the benefit of all. Continuously improved processes, new social tool evaluations and tactics evolution can improve salesforce social media effectiveness and overall ability to create value and engage prospects.

“In the end, it’s about empowerment, not control.

Companies can provide sales teams with templates, process and training plus regular internal networking opportunities to share best practices in order to help salesforce social media efforts succeed.  It’s also important to provide ongoing education so salespeople know what it looks like to be overzealous and forward with their social participation efforts.

As with all social media marketing efforts, mileage varies according to the target audience, industry, resources and sales teams capabilities. There’s no doubt that strategy alone doesn’t sustain long term social media marketing success. Ongoing training and feedback mechanisms are essential to improve skills and identify both productive and non-productive behaviors.

Lee Odden on Jul 25th, 2011    B2BOnline MarketingSocial Media

Social Media Marketing Tips

Marketing today, stands as the pinnacle for a successful business. With social media marketing gaining profitable focus, let us enhance this strategy with a few social media marketing tips. Read on as we explore the latest boon of the world wide web.

Success stories stand tall as long as they get the space and recognition to grow and flourish. In any business, right from introducing the product, to drawing profitable sales, there is one word that makes all possible. Marketing has not only justified its very definition but has also elevated the strategies for advertising and creating an image in the market. With a marketing tool in view, the most effective strategy that has gained a lot of importance with achieving its primary role is social media marketing. Now who is not aware of the social media, or I must say who does live in a social era that is ruled by social media, it has almost conquered the globe today.

So what is social media marketing? Marketing with the help of different forms of social media is called social marketing. When defining social media marketing, it is a type of Internet marketing that is designed to gain brand image and successful goals of marketing communication with the help of the social media. Simply put, it is to advertise and create market space and image with the help of social networking sites and other spaces on the Internet. Blogs, news, Twitter, and even Facebook and MySpace are well known and established social media attributes, that are the major targets of social media marketing. Social media marketing gives a more connected feeling and a human touch in the race of high end profits. The definition of social media alone is not helpful to gain reasonable profits with social media marketing. This article continues with some important and effective social media marketing tips below. Let us take a look.

Tips for Social Media Marketing

It is important to analyze the perfect gap in the market space, to be the most visible, and that is what social media marketing does. Even if you have the best of cards, you should be able to play a smart game, and a smart game will need tactics and strategies that will help you draw the game in your favor. It is so in the case of social media marketing too. You already have the weapon, all you need to do is to use it strategically. The following list on social media marketing tips will help you with them.

*A little study and research on your target, short term and long term goals and prospective customers, etc., will help a lot in framing the basic strategies of target social media tools. Remember that there is a pool out there, you will need to decide when would you fish in each of them, whether targeting a single social media tool or more at a single time. One cannot be a master in marketing in the first go, trial and error with different tools of social media will eventually give you the opening for profitable audience gain.

*As truly said by Li Evans- “Content Doesn’t Win. Optimized Content Wins”, the tip here is that the best online exposure is got only when people like your content and share it with others, which is not a big space of choices, but that which is optimized, apt and conveys your message effectively. Get the best of your content linked and shared.

*Building a healthy audience is the key role of social media marketing. A healthy audience can be made by being ethical and acknowledging them too. Keep updating information and news and do not ignore social media conversations. Once you make the audience feel valued and important, it will add to your brand image and enhance the number of prospective sales, clients and audience.

*Social media has got its sudden boom with the growth and popularity of social networking sites. Facebook and Twitter are tools that are the most effective platforms for an audience. With a business page of your company, you can constantly update and share content, news, and more about your business. For the short and direct messages to create a following to your company website, Twitter makes an effective choice.

*Learn the game with time and research. Do not stick to one plan for a long time. You might want to consider multiple options along with interlinking them for effective results. Use strategies like cross-linking and cross-promoting. You might consider connecting your Twitter account to Facebook, or linking your blog to Twitter that will show a follow button to your blog. This will also help the audience choose the tool that suits them the most, to communicate back to you. This works best for social media marketing for small businesses.

*Keep track of the ups and downs in social media competitors. If there exists a horse that races down the fences in no time, you don’t what to be riding the one that hardly makes it to the post. It is alright to be picky when it comes to profit. Make strategically planned choices when choosing the correct tool for marketing

*Use tools like Linkedin, blogs and also other multimedia tools like YouTube, which are also effective among the social media marketing strategies. You may create your Flicker account to post customer or product photos. YouTube can be effective for businesses that aim at video marketing too.

These were a few strategies and tips for social media marketing. You may tweak these strategies with your own ideas or any other options you find the most suitable and effective, to market your service or product. Here again, patience being the key, do not expect unrealistic results. With constant efforts and effective strategies, success will no longer be blocked on your business charts.

By 
Published: 5/26/2011

Success At Social Media Marketing – 10 Powerful Tips

There are many ways to advertise online and one of the most popular is through social media marketing. You will have to make use of these ten powerful tips if you want to succeed in beating competition and generating higher profits or site traffic.

Tip #1 – Start by developing your own plan

You have to identify the target audience and determine how you will be able to deploy the tactics. Before you launch the marketing efforts, one should create objective so that he knows where to focus. Increasing brand awareness is vital and you have to get customers involved.

Tip #2 – Make use of LinkedIn

You have to connect with relevant people and focus on timeliness. It is necessary to complete your profile to get started and encourage people to send comments or feedback.

Tip #3 – Bookmarking Sites

You can use this site to share the ones that you’re interested to use. Users can easily build a community and gain referrals by tapping this social media.

Tip #4 – Leverage Widgets

This refers to standalone applications or tools that contain dynamic content. Make sure that the widgets you’re using are useful and relevant.

Tip #5 – Learn how to blog

If you want to get the word out, blogging is one of the best options. This type of social media marketing is a great way to provide vital info to your target market. There is a need to update the content regularly once you start posting blogs. You will benefit more if you include the human touch instead of just using auto-responders.

Tip #6 – Utilize Facebook marketing

Like Twitter, Facebook is also another popular social media website that can help you in generating potential traffic and increase sales. You will have to create a suitable profile so that you can connect with your friends and target market.

Tip #7 – Utilize Twitter marketing

If you have a Twitter account, then this is no longer new to you. You can use the social media site to promote the products or services that you’re offering. Perhaps you’re already familiar with tweets. You can send out tweets that has something to do with your business.

Tip #8 – Use YouTube

Viral videos are very popular these days and YouTube is on top. This will allow you to generate large traffic.

Tip #9 – Host giveaways

Regardless of the social network site that you’re using, you can host giveaways. People like to get ‘free’ things and if offered something of value, you can easily build credibility.

Tip #10 – Combine all these social media resources

You don’t have to use these strategies one by one. You can easily use them simultaneously as long as you’re equipped with adequate knowledge.

Five Simple Social Media Marketing Tips For Business Professionals

Five Simple Social Media Marketing Tips For Business Professionals

As a business professional, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in your busy day to dabble with social media. The following easy social media marketing tips will save you time and increase your ROI and profits.

Tip #1

Sign up for the top social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Make sure to fill out your profiles Include links to your business/company websites and blogs (how you get back links to your sites). Make sure to include your email and phone number so clients and customers can contact you.

Tip #2

Offer free incentives and valuable information to your customers and clients who follow you. Include worthwhile news related to your target markets Analyze your target markets and hone your message accordingly. Don’t just follow or add just ANYONE to your networks. You want to target people who will actually benefit from your services and products.

Tip #3

Always Include your photo on social media sites. Would you want to conduct business with a faceless person? Make sure it’s a professional-looking, appropriate photo – this is a great branding trick and attaches a real person to your company name.

Tip #4

Create unique content. Don’t write posts about what you ate for dinner. Make sure the content you share with your networks are interesting and quirky. Include keywords to optimize your posts for search engines.

Tip #5

Don’t come across as arrogant or rude. Engage followers and contacts and create strong, dynamic relationships. The purpose behind social media marketing is to brand yourself as an expert in your field and create long-standing business relationships. Always remain courteous and professional when interacting and commenting with your contacts on social media sites.

 

Tips for Betterment of Social Media Marketing

There are some things that can make social media marketing more successful for any particular person regardless of the types of networks that they are members of. Here are a few tips to make the marketing a little better. To be influential on any social media network, a person has to be active.

Tips for Better Social Media Marketing

Marketing is only as good as the method in which it is carried out. With the various types of social media networks available, there are hundreds and possibly thousands of sites available for a person to sign up for. All of this might leave an individual wondering how they can take advantage of this for their own purpose.There are some things that can make social media marketing more successful for any particular person regardless of the types of networks that they are members of. Here are a few tips to make the marketing a little better.

Choose

Since there are so many social media networks to choose and a person needs to submit to their networks of choice on a regular basis, they cannot expect to be active on more than a few of these networks. Therefore, they need to choose the best networks for their business. This could be anything from high profile networks created for conversation between members or a nice blog. A few networks that a person is visible on and builds a positive reputation from are good for a business. Just as a note, there are a number of aspects to look at while making the choice and wise choices should be made.

Active

To be influential on any social media network, a person has to be active. This means submitting a blog post on a regular basis whether it is every day or every second day, and so on. For micro-blogging sites, posting a few times a day is better than posting only once. Other networks may require daily posts, weekly posts and so on. Whatever the case, a person must be active for others to know that they exist and for anyone to take notice of them. The activity should represent what a person wants others to think of them. They need to be professional but keep the personality that suits the business.

Consistent

This activity has to be on a consistent level. Posting submissions on one day, waiting for a week and posting three submissions and disappearing again, doesn’t generally work very well. If a person posts once a day, they should keep it to this. In the case that they prefer once a week, then set up a schedule to do so. For those who need to post a few times a day then this is recommended. The level of posting that a person settles on should be recognizable for the most part. There might be occasions when posting isn’t possible but when it is, there should be submissions made according to the plan.

Value

To make a great reputation through social media marketing, there has to be some value in what a person is posting. This information is based on what the product or service they are offering, but there needs to be something that a potential customer wants to find. If people turn away because they don’t find any value to the postings then the person is really losing out.

Viral

Making it easy for other people to spread the word is a very good idea. This creates less work for the person involved in the marketing. There are plenty of ways to do this through votes, comments and other such things. Creating a video to go viral or other various ideas are working right now for thousands of businesses and when done right, it can work for anyone else. The more a person can have other people spread the word, the less this individual has to work at it themselves thus offering more free time for other tasks