What’s Missing in your Social Media Strategy?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone underwater as a kid? First, it doesn’t really work and second, the life guards don’t really appreciate it. Listening to the market is one of the most important things that social media allows us to do. It allows you, the business owner, or marketer to follow trending conversations, curb dissatisfaction with proper customer service and to win over those second guessers. Before we had social media, marketing was considered a monologue like talking in an empty room, or underwater for that matter. Social media brought the guests to the party and now it’s up to you to mingle, to create connections that are relevant and that could potentially benefit your business.

Before we get into the benefits of social media and the importance of branding I wanted to introduce the trend of online ventures, entrepreneurs, and business that we’ve seen in the last couple of years. In lieu of this continual climb of online businesses there will be an increased demand for social media and online marketers in general. With that being said I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to see a lot of social media marketing blunders and champions in the next few years as well. I’m sure that we all agree when I say that we would like to see more champions out there as that means us, as marketers are doing a great job!

When I’m working with clients to build a strategy for their online campaign and social media accounts I stress diversification. For example: Say my client is a photographer and when targeting people on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, etc. I suggest they target: stylists, salons, acting/modeling agencies, fashion boutiques, etc. This is instead of just targeting photographers, photo shops, photographer communities or anything in the photography industry. I believe that by starting with a diversified manner in mind there is more opportunity for the business to grow in multiple directions.

Diversifying your market helps to build segment pools for your target market which would eventually lead into a primary segment, a secondary, and so on. Building pools early in the launch allows the business to see which demographic they are getting the most reactions from. The segmented pools also suggest which segments deserve more attention and allocated resources. The only thing to be careful with when you diversify your market is the content you share, will it offend some people or will it be shared with positivity?

I also believe that branding is a very important element in running social media personas. What I mean from that is the “gut feeling” you get from viewing a brand’s profile page. Anyone should be capable of building an image of what the company is all about through the content that they share. Make sure the content you share is relevant, consistent and witty in some manner to encourage people to engage, share or like it. Although, those kittens or miniature pigs are cute you have to ask yourself if this is consistent with your company’s branding, but that’s what personal pages are for, right?

Author: Anthony Baisi

Why is Social Media Important?

ComputerCoffeeTaking that first step with your online strategy can be a little overwhelming, with content marketing, social media marketing, email campaigns, search engine optimization and endless reading. Staying on top of the online presence is no easy task and in some industries seems to be undervalued and often ignored. A company’s online presence has grown from just a marketing channel to an international representation of the company’s brand. It has become the voice, opinions, interests and personification of the brand itself.

The other day while I was on my way to grab a coffee before I headed into the office I decided to take a different route and stop at a different shop. I’m guilty of being a long time fan of Starbucks but I really did feel gouged at the recent mark up for a cup of coffee. With less than 25 cents as my catalyst I made the decision to try Urban Village even though I was a bit doubtful due to the price to food ratio for their lunch. Surprised, I bought a coffee equal to Starbucks Grande size and a muffin for 23 cents less than what I would normally pay for coffee itself at Starbucks.

With global transparency at an all time high, the audience has access to more information that it’s ever had. And what do people do with valued information? They share it with their friends, families, colleagues and professional networks in hopes that they too will find it entertaining, insightful or useful.
I can assure you that I shared this information with my colleagues because I was genuinely pleased and surprised with the score.
shattered
Then it hit me. Through the use of online marketing tools a local competitor to Starbucks could have easily anticipated this move. I used to cringe at the sight of people’s feeds that included every minuscule detail of their mundane lives. However, now enlightened I stand corrected because through relevant Tweets a business owner could discover my negative sentiment towards the mark up and could have simply converted me. If convenient enough he would have a long time customer and I’m sure that it would catch on with the office too.

The proper implementation of social media and online marketing is not a trend.  These new channels and platforms are the beginning of a new way of doing business. Content marketers, social media enthusiasts and community managers need to be using online marketing tools that leverage their efforts if they are to increase their progress. The scope of online marketing has grown and is continuing to grow and therefore marketers need increase their reach. Marketing today consists of wearing many hats and it’s easy to forget to change your hat sometimes, so it nice to have a little help sometimes.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Facebook Stirs Uproar with Privacy Advocates

facebook-graph-searchYeah, it’s true you don’t get the chance to take on a force like Google every day, that is, unless you’re Facebook. This challenger so to speak, has launched its new addition to the platform and has dubbed it “Graph Search.”

There is speculation however, that this was long predicted ever since Facebook’s growing presence started to rattle Google’s confidence on the web, especially in the online advertising market. In an interview between Wired and Larry Page, the CEO of Google said that “Facebook was doing a really bad with their products.” Seems a little disagreeable to me. But, if Google didn’t feel threatened by Facebook, why would they want to venture into the social media industry and not remain the search engine king?

We’ve seen a search engine go social with Google+ and now we get the chance to experience a change of suit with Facebook introducing its own search capabilities. However, this search engine is a little bit different as in users get the chance to search for answers from their friends and friends of friends. We know it may not be the place to go when doing research or simply solving a bet at the pub; but we can start discovering interests in people we didn’t even know before, right? But, the real question is whether or not Facebook will keep Graph Search as a private, social search that only includes personal networks, which makes for entertainment but limits the potential value. Or, Facebook permits personal data accessible to Graph Search in order to make it more valuable, thus hurting privacy advocates and tarnishing its core value: connecting with friends in a trusted environment.
spying
For business, Graph Search shows potential as a new form of marketing by introducing a better way to understand their target audience. A business could use Graph Search to gain insight into attitudes, opinions and interests of their audience. This could be filtered down to their favourite activities for Sunday afternoons, favourite locations, favourite artists, and favourite celebrities. Gaining this sort of knowledge helps companies leverage their efforts and ensures an impacting message. Hypothetically, a company could use it to find out a selective segment’s preferred artist and favoured hangout. That company could then incorporate these two customized elements into a highly profiled advertisement for that segment, guaranteeing a genuine interest.

Ultimately, Facebook’s dilemma has sparked the interest of its users because it infers that Facebook may possibly capitalize on what we’ve confidently shared with our friends. We’ve seen Instagram’s privacy debacle washed away with an increase in users and activity, why would this be different? After acquiring Instagram, will Facebook keep the momentum of its new counterpart and continue to push privacy concerns? Even if Facebook has over 1 billion users, making it the 3rd largest country in the world; do you think a stint like this would actually cause a loss in activity, or simply a shrugging of the shoulders?

Author: Anthony Baisi

The Kings of Online Marketing

Marketers have to learn that content, design, or big data aren’t and will never be king. The king is the reader, the viewer, the person that follows your company’s tweets, blogs, news or PR. The king is the people that find genuine interest in your content and share your stories within their social circles. Don’t get me wrong, good content and inbound marketing attracts more people with relevant and genuine subjects. However, these elements of marketing are merely the bait marketers use to fill their nets.

While companies strive to build those links and get those visitors the real value is what’s on the other side of the bridge that truly matters, significance. Now this could be content, the product or service, the company’s mission and vision or even the reputation. For example: Patagonia, I love their company vision, ethics and transparency. But, would I pay for the product? No. Do I like product design? Not really.

While the means of bringing the traffic in is important, it’s not what gets people talking about the company. It’s the relation that’s created between you and them, through the engaging factor. As a writer, nothing would make me happier than my boss telling me it’s my writing that is building our reputation; wishful thinking, right?
In the end, it’s about knowing what your customers want and how they want it.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Online Marketing Trends 2013

Both technology and transparency have brought the advertising industry a long way from the droning, one directional communication of the past. It’s now becoming an industry where marketers busy themselves trying to attract and engage their customers in a more meaningful way, by offering more relevant and genuine information. Applying online marketing to a company’s strategy has become essential for any campaign, but with the internet becoming more cluttered the consumer has become harder to reach.  Common themes are emerging that point towards what businesses can do for their customers, instead of what customers can do for business. People want to know how companies can help them reach their goals. Subsequently they are becoming more interested in well thought out and genuine communications. These three trends are the ones that I personally see making the biggest impact in the industry this year.

Mobile Marketing – With the popularity and reach of mobile networks, it’s said that more than 75% of the world has access to mobile devices. Furthermore, these devices offer a multitude of applications that engage the user in an interactive and personalized manner. These apps can now help business owners reach and monitor their audience and marketing activities. From your mobile device, you can monitor, average visit time of your website, page views per visitor, repeat visitors, what site your viewers came from, and who referred them.
The trend is beyond making your website mobile friendly and easy to navigate, it is more about how you engage and interact with your customer. Marketers should be discovering new formats you can you offer the customer while, winning them over with new information and resources.

Inbound Marketing – Inbound marketing is the action of pulling in customers by attracting them with rich content, relevant conversation and new resources. This will ultimately result in more unique visitors and a larger amount of loyal followers. It’s predicted that inbound analytics will see upgrades, therefore helping marketers to plan their next steps and better manage their inbound marketing strategy. Another important part of inbound marketing is the design of the website, usability, and data visualizations. Great design has never been so available and affordable then now; it’s recommended that companies polish their websites for 2013.
Google authorship has become a factor in SEO and will also help writers pull in viewers based on visibility, placement and trustworthiness. This means Google will begin to identify authors online and will measure their influence and trustworthiness. Google is striving to reduce the amount of duplicates and spam by rewarding verified content creators with additional images and links in search engine results. Resulting in a scenario where a high quality and trustworthy writer can pull in a higher amount of views.

Growth in Analytics – Analytics go beyond monitoring the performance of your website; instead they help measure and optimize your marketing efforts. Analytics have grown to new heights where you can find who is talking about your company, the sentiment they have towards you and the influence their opinions carry. This means there will be less time wasted building connections with those whom have a very limited entourage and more time available for structuring an influential and prosperous network.
Influence doesn’t mean building the amount of followers you have with irrelevant or inactive accounts, but instead with followers that share common interests and goals. Some dedicated companies, like My Viral Web have begun working towards this direction as it strives to build richer and more relevant networks for its customers.

Author: Anthony Baisi