They’ll Listen if You Speak their Language: Native Advertising Infographic

With the internet growing old, the soft glow and one page scrolls of infinite blogs seem to grow more mundane each day, causing our expectations for better design, advertising, and interaction to rise. With content marketing making a big impact in the online advertising industry late last year and early 2013, we’ve seen a multitude of sponsored and promoted stories fill our social networks. These stories are relevant to the stuff we like and the people in our networks, but the promoted article is still displayed whether we expressed interest or not.

Native advertising is the process of integrating sponsored content into the organic experience of the platform. In this post: 15 Things You Probably Never Knew About Celebrities brought to you by, Cottonelle reaches the Buzzfeed audience in a way that is parrellel to Buzzfeed’s brand image. By taking on a familiar or preferred voice, a brand can reach a new or existing customer segment by playing on the fable of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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Author: Anthony Baisi

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Demographics of Social Networks: Who’s Who?

Yeah, so we know social media is important and that fact that it’s getting older gives us no excuse for understanding and integrating it into our business structures. We’ve come a far way in this information age and we’ll only be moving forward with apps being developed constantly as well as technology breakthroughs -such as Google’s Glass.

Social media websites are just like cities, towns or Countries  if you’re Facebook. Most of these websites attract a certain type of person with common interests, opinions or activities. These demographics are important to marketers and anyone working in social media as they allow us to peer into the culture and behaviour of the website’s users. Once we know who we’re talking to it becomes much easier to connect to the users and start genuine dialog.

The infographic below breaks down the demographic profile of some of the webs largest social networks. The criteria is broken down into:

  • Gender
  • Education Level
  • Income Level
  • Age
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Infographic by Flowtown

Social Media Demographics: Who’s Using Which Sites? is brought to you by, Flowtown.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Twitter Targets Advertisers

TWITTERVERSEIn 2010, Twitter announced that it would begin showing advertisements. Up until now, it has allowed people to promote their Tweets or to promote their accounts for the purpose of gaining followers and exposure. In March of 2012, Twitter launched limited availability of a self-serve tool for purchasing ads and in February, 2013 they launched an Ads API for programmatic buying of huge campaigns. Unfortunately, for three years businesses could only access these tools through invitation only.

However, it wasn’t until last week that Twitter announced their ads could target keywords of Tweets, or Tweets that users engage with, allowing Twitter to compete with Google and Facebook ads. Twitter strived to make the new self-serve interface as user friendly as possible allowing just about anyone to navigate without question. Once you decide on what media you want to use and your budget you can build your own campaign by targeting your market’s location, and interests. Coupled with promoted Tweets and accounts, users can also use Twitter’s Business Analytics to track the impact of their marketing efforts.

“…Today we’re taking the next step and opening up Twitter ads to everyone in the US; Every brand, every business, every account, every individual…”

Twitter has proved itself as a worthy form of communication as major news outlets refer to the Twitterverse for insight on opinion, breaking news, or even disasters from around the world. With social media constantly evolving it’s only a matter of time before the majority of businesses are fully integrated with all platforms. This means that businesses are competing for a limited amount of followers and more so, the engagement of those people within their own networks. When the chance comes around to amplify your voice and reach more people it only makes sense to sign up and try to be heard.

Author: Anthony Baisi

How to Monetize your Social Media

http://www.myviralweb.com/featuresWith social media getting older by the minute, people are getting wiser and finding their way around the clutter. Sure, there’s plenty of nonsense and useless memes but there’s still relevant and creative merit out there waiting at every corner. If you’re a small business owner, finding the right platforms that run parallel with your business goals is a tedious but rewarding task as they will soon be the catalyst in your online strategy.

I’ve found that for every business structure there is around 4 or 5 social networks that are relevant and hold potential for business development. For instance, a business that is service based would have less success than a business that is product based on Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr. But those that are service based can have more success on Twitter, Linkedin, or even Four Square.

The point is that there is a unique environment in every social media platform that demands a certain type of content and promotion. If you’re a little cafe or restaurant don’t be afraid to get interactive with your clients, put a sign in your window indicating a social media contest: Enter your picture of your favourite XYZ dish and you’ll be entered to win a free XYZ meal every day for a month! You can do this with food, coffee, or pretty much anything you can take a picture of.

The tedious part in finding your business’ preferred social networks is A/B Testing. I sat down last night with a photographer friend and we went over the social networks he was on and the ones he’s made sales on. Obviously, you want to focus more on the channels that drive your development but you also want to diversify and reach into different segments without stretching yourself thin.

Don’t feel by setting up a Google+ account that you have to stay consistent with it, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. However, pay attention to where your competitors are, if they’re already on Google+ maybe you should stay on and post content regularly. Going back to my photographer friend, he didn’t want to post his work on Pinterest because of their user terms. I suggested that he could just post the pictures that he’s already sold on Pinterest in hopes of using them for promotion and potentially driving traffic to his point of sale.

I think a lot of new business owners, free lancers, artists, and people with little online marketing know how often get intimidated by social media marketing. I’ve found that people are often misinformed, intimidated or they feel like it doesn’t apply to them or their business structure. Look at what we’re achieving with social media:  civil uprisings went viral, we increased political involvement, we documented and monitored war, and we ensured a sense of internet freedom.

Social media isn’t going anywhere and with its maturity more people will catch on. The question is: will you be left behind?

Author: Anthony Baisi

How the Internet is like the Spinning Wheel

This is spinningwheelthe information age and just like the industrial revolution had its “putting out” system we are having our start-up and entrepreneurial period. It seems likes the amount of small businesses, free lancers, and entrepreneurs flocking online to sell their services, products or ideas is only growing. Instead of simply producing goods from our homes like the industrial revolution we are using the internet to conduct many different channels in order to run our business.

With the internet we can control manufacturing, distribution, sales, customer support and more without leaving our homes. Social media marketing has helped this exodus gain more power to reach their desired target markets. It has helped build networks from hundreds to thousands and it has helped raise thousands to millions in funds. However, with great power comes great responsibility, right? Proper online marketing can help a business complete what we’ve just mentioned but poor practice can lead to… well, nothing.

There are unwritten laws for every practice and online marketing is no exception. While there are many out there that choose to ignore the code, there are more that abide by it. By using common courtesy and genuine interaction principals we can extend our reach and impact of any message. There’s no need for irrelevant, unwanted, and over bearing messages. But this is to be expected because the surge of new online businesses has spurred a flux of online marketers. Unfortunately, this includes the good, the bad and the ugly.

But with every problem comes an opportunity.

There has also been a rise in online marketing platforms which offer a range of marketing services in one channel. Of course these platforms range in types of service and in price but they are becoming very popular in order to satisfy the growing demand. Redefining how their clients think of online marketing these platforms help business’ find, connect and engage with the proper audience. The client is also supplied with monitoring and analytic tools to weigh the cost to benefits of the campaign.

It was only a matter of time before the business industry received a little reform.

Tools like these help small to medium sized businesses discover their market in a whole new way. They give the little guys leverage for reaching their audience and for creating genuine conversation. They also help the client visualize how their stakeholder’s actions affect them. Ultimately, tools like these help businesses stay ahead of the curve and one step ahead of their competitors.

Author: Anthony Baisi

What About Google?

google+With all this talk about Twitter’s Vine, Facebook’s Graph Search and content being king, I found myself thinking, what about Google? This led to a discussion this morning with a colleague where I couldn’t explain the difference between a Google+ Community and a Facebook Group. I couldn’t let this uncertainty sit for long so I quickly jumped to it and developed a little clarity on Google’s Social Network.. Google+ Communities offer businesses a platform where they can quickly find a large amount of relevant people that all share similar interests.

People join these communities because they have similar interests with the founder and hope to learn, grow and build their network. Through sharing, the group becomes more knowledgeable and gains reach with every new member. Google Communities allow people to manage a public or private group where they can house an unlimited amount of members. But, unlike Facebook, when you share in your public or private GC your comments will not show up in your network’s feeds. They will only show up on your page if you allow them to. GC’s allow for unlimited discussion categories as well as events and hangouts. Members of Google+ are also permitted to participate, create and moderate within the community. An added bonus to GCs is that the network is relatively more organized than Facebook groups. With +1 you can also share anything from across the web with your community. Ultimately, GC’s are very similar to Facebook Groups, but with subtle differences, better organization and SEO benefits. It is more discrete, provides more services and if you use it, Google rewards you.Google-Authorship2

I’ve read a lot of flack on Google+’s popularity based on its adoption rate, and how it was a ploy to copy Facebook. You’re wrong. I was also guilty of believing this. What really convinced me was how much I started using Google myself. This was shortly after I found out that Google’s search recognizes +1’s coupled with the discovery of Google Authorship. Employing Google Authorship as a PR channel has proved very beneficial to Google as they are now the second largest social network, next to Facebook. I’m calling it a marketing channel because it has helped Google build their social network around business trends and technology. I mean that it is now largely populated with geeky types who write, advertise; and you know what else? Know PR like the back of their hand. These writers encourage people to check out their articles and share their work via Google+ because big media sites pay these writers by the traffic they generate. The writers are also eager to get their faces beside their latest posts in Google’s search results because it increases their familiarity, credibility and following.

Google also corralled small business owners for the purpose of showing up in Google Maps and local searches. The added value of showing up in searches requires business’s to set up a Google+ Local Business page and you need a Google+ account to do so. This has resulted in a surge of accounts and why not? As business people we are taught to opt for the win-win solution, right?

Some say that this was Google’s plan all along. That it chose to rise to the top with the “slow and steady” approach. Personally, I don’t know if I believe that, but I do believe that by the end of the year Google+ will present some exciting new features as well as a much larger audience.

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.
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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