Tag Archives: social media

Are you a 2.0 Marketer?

Do you Brand Your Brand?
Creating a brand experience has moved to the top of today’s marketers’ priority lists. The American Institute of Graphic Design defines brand as “a person’s perception of a product, service, or company.” That definition has nothing to do with your mission statement, logo or tag line, or the design of your website. Instead, a brand is defined by the perception, good or bad, that your customers or prospects have about you and your business.
Your brand experience is made up of the cumulative impressions your current and potential customers take from their visual and verbal encounters with your business and staff. Some experiences are controlled, such as your office environment, how you answer the phone, your advertising, the services you deliver and your Web site. An uncontrolled – but just as important – experience is the word-of-mouth about your business. Strong brands come from consistently delivering a consistent experience. Savvy marketers will look at every impression in the context of and their overall brand experience.
In the new 2.0 world, marketing is less about what you say and more about what your prospect actually hears. It has become essential that you learn the needs and aspirations of your customers and provide value through each communication.
Most inexperienced marketers are unsure of their competitive difference and place a lot of attention on features instead of benefits. So what’s the difference? Features talk about your business and the services you deliver. They talk about the details, such products, services, hours, etc. Most people don’t care about features. Benefits tell customers what results they can expect from buying from you. They explain how customers will feel and about the time and money they’ll save from you compared to your competitors. For your marketing to be effective, you must be sure that every message you craft and send is benefits-focused.
Do You Effectively Get the Word Out?
Once you have established your message, you need to get the word out. The following marketing channels should be used to get people talking about your business and the services you provide:
Mobile: President Obama’s election campaign was one of the most talked about in history, not only because of the barriers it broke down in terms of race, but also because of the innovative ways in which it engaged with the electorate. In many ways, it was a turning point for mobile messaging, employing the most coordinated text-messaging, get-out-the-vote campaign in U.S. history. Mobile marketing delivers highly personalized and useful information when and where it is needed. More than 90 percent of text messages are read by the recipient, which creates the opportunity for an instant link between you and your customers.
Social Media: Not just for kids any more, 35 percent of adult Internet users now have a profile on at least one social networking site. Wise marketers will capitalize on the growing appeal of social networks like MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook. According to USA Today, social networking grew 93 percent from 2006 to 2008. During that time, Facebook grew 500 percent.
The key term here is networking; give and take. Social networking success stories have one thing in common: they’re all about the ping-pong effect. It’s you sharing information about yourself and your business with dozens, and then perhaps hundreds, of potential customers. In turn, those people mention you to their friends. Like all worthwhile business relationships, online networks must be nurtured. Make the effort to do so, and you will reap the rewards over time.

Video: How we communicate has changed. With the Web evolving to also include richer media channels, the savvy marketer must learn how to listen, understand and use the same media. Broadband penetration is 70 percent in the U.S., making streaming video a “must” marketing tool for your business. According to eMarketer, an estimated 154 million Americans watched at least one video in 2008, and three-quarters of those told a friend about one.  Video provides you with an enormous opportunity to engage, educate and entertain your customers – the “Three E’s” of successful marketing.
Gaming: Gaming now permeates just about all of society, creating a fresh way to connect with customers. Millions of non-skiers are hitting the virtual trails in Nintendo’s Wii and playing guitar in virtual rock bands on PlayStations. Senior-citizen centers are buying Wii to entertain guests and connect with grandkids. Having fun in the workplace seems like an oxymoron. However, having fun at your business is not only good for team-building, but also makes for more productivity. People learn best by doing, and the opportunity for group interaction provided by gaming’s virtual environment can make the office a bit more enjoyable. It can also be used to show appreciation for work well-done. Work doesn’t have to be one big party, but a little bit can make the work day go more smoothly.
Take Action
The successful 2.0 marketer not only will craft a targeted message, but will also keep customers happy by finding out the best ways to engage them.  Now is not the time to take a “wait and see” attitude.  With the marketing trends moving at lightening speed, 2.0 marketers should work at being early adopters and finding the right marketing mix to take them into marketing 3.0.

10 Tips to being Successful in Social Media

Social media is so new and ever changing it is hard to find one definitive definition for it.  My definition is an uncensored conversation in as few words as possible, in as little time as possible, to as many people as possible on a worldwide stage.  That includes blogs, wikis, social-networking sites and other online communities, and virtual worlds.  According to Alexa.com the top social networking sites in the U.S. are (in ranking order): Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Craigslist, Blogger, Photobucket, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tagged, Ning, Twitter, and Yelp.

Here’s ten tips to using social media effectively:

1. Keep content current. Do updates frequently to stay credible and to keep people coming back for more.  Mix up what you post.  Keep the content helpful, fun, and informative.

2. Pick and choose the best for you. You do not have to be all places.  Pick the networks that are right for you.  Determine your demographics first.  Then target the networks that fulfill your objectives and where you will have the most impact.  Remember to be engaging!

3. Just do it. Try out a social site personally first.  Watch for about 30 days to get a feel for how people interact.  Once you get a good handle on how it works, and then create a company profile page.

4. Embrace conversation. Don’t just feed information about your business.  Remember, this is an opportunity to talk, interact and create advocates from your customers.

5. A picture speaks louder than words. Content is important but don’t forget the visuals such as photos and videos.

6. Be friendly. Create advocates.  After you join a network, make sure to connect with other businesses like yours, industry people, and major brands that partner with you and others in the industry.  The more people you connect with, the more they can spread your messages.

7. Give people a reason to participate.   Social networking is an incredible outlet for grass roots marketing within this high tech culture.  Create reasons for people to talk back, enter a contest, or simply participate  in a discussion.

8. Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell. When people are invited to participate in online communities, they expect resorts to listen and consider their ideas.  They don’t want to feel like they’re simply a captive audience for advertising.  If they do, they’re likely to leave and not come back.

9. Jump on the bandwagon now, and remain in the conversation for the long haul. The sooner you act, the more leeway you will have with experimentation.  You’ll also be a significant step ahead of your competitors (unless they get there before you).

10. Oh the humanity. Get creative and try to let the conversation flow freely. The more accessible you are to your customers than your competitors, the more likely it is that you’re going to be a part of your customers’ lives.  So, as a brand, this is your opportunity to humanize your company and be part of your customers’ life experiences and their personal networks, from which they draw so much. You can be part of a positive association in the good times. And, in the bad, you may have the support of your friends and followers when you need it.

Skittles the Un-Website

Ok, for the last month or so I have heard people talking about “what Skittles did” and the huge controversy.  I just figured it was more of the usual website hype.  Until this morning.  Now I understand what the hoopla (who says those words anymore?) is about.

In a nutshell, if you also have not followed the Skittles talk, they replaced their regular website that had content, product information, and the usual company fluff, with a portal atmosphere that brings in many of the big social networks.  That’s right, they got rid of their website and are using YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and other network spaces instead.  WOW.

They have essentially said, “you our customer know how you want to interact with us, so we are handing you the keyboard” (my quote not theirs).  I personally think this is brilliant.  Skittles is going where their customers are.  They are truly “giving power to the people”.  They have however gotten quite a bit of criticism from marketers and business people.  One blog post I read called the move “crazy“.

According to Skittles, their goal was to “consolidate access to all social media around the brand.”  I applaud them.  They are a bit ahead of their time.  What they did is what I consider a stab at web 3.0.  What’s that?  It’s where businesses and brands will be able to harness and make the current social media landscape usable and personal.  Friendster and ping.fm are just a few examples of organizations already trying to do this.

Good or bad, there’s a few things we can learn from this:

1. The first one there owns the game. Skittles will get the most publicity and launch excitement because they tried it first.  Others that follow will have a hard time getting the coverage that Skittles did.  Since they did it first, they also get to create the rules and build the business model.

2. Integrated branding. Skittles is focusing their time on creating their company profiles across the social media channels online and their traditional marketing offline.  They are approaching new media with new thinking.  They are creating an entire brand experience from each part and funneling everything back to their website URL.

3. Optimization. Talk about high ROI.  Skittles will be able to gain higher visibility and link-ability on the web faster and easier than any website before it.  How?  They are letting their customers do it for them.

4. Mistakes happen. Is the Skittles new concept perfect?  No, of course not.  By trying to legally protect themselves with a dialog box asking your age before you can visit the site they seem to be turning off site visitors.  But, this is how they and those that follow behind them will learn.

So, as I wrap up this post for the day,I am left thinking, who else would this concept work for?