Category Archives: PR

Nine Ways to Create a Marketing Machine in Social Media

Puzzled Over Social Media?

Puzzled Over Social Media?

Many times, businesses are so focused on building their own social media and marketing avenues that they forget the cardinal rule of safety in numbers.  Whether your company is one company “going it alone” or part of larger collection of merchants like shopping center, there is strength in numbers.

Sometimes, small business owners believe that they have to compete with everyone else around them in the marketplace.  In truth, it is easy to share your FREE real estate of social media with other businesses that flatter your good and services.

Some easy ways to share your social space with business partners include:

  1. Online Reviews Sites – Statistics show that people are 23% more inclined to do business with companies that have positive reviews.  Translation?  Online reviews on sites like Yelp are gold for companies trying to get a leg up on the competition.  Take the opportunity to exchange positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google.
  2. Shout Out on #Twitter – A good Twitter following can be an asset to any company that wants to broadcast news and PR about their company.  Build the marketing machine by exchanging promotions, deals, and news to tweet.  Twitter can also be an excellent platform to share news and press about business partners with #hashtags, photos, and links.
  3. Post on Facebook –Posting a positive comment, reviews, and promotions about a partner on your Facebook with good #hashtags, links, and images shares your free social space.
  4. Share a Resource, Discount Coupon, or Expertise – Everyone likes a good discount or promotion.  If you have an excellent partner, then sharing it with your audience shows that you are on their side and gives you fresh content.  In fact, creating a special promotion just for your customers for their services – and vice versa of course – gives everyone a win/win deal.
  5. Feature on Blog – The nice thing about a blog is that you get lots of space to really do a good job.  If you are not a great writer, then ask the company to write their own highlight footage.  Either way, pass the piece by the company to make sure all details are accurate.  With some great keywords and images with links, this blog post could be used in your newsletters, social media, and search engine rankings that lasts for years to come.
  6. Record a Testimonial for YouTube – If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth tons more!  Whether you record a video or ask them for a video of a testimonial, product, or se3rvice, it gives each of you good content to share.  It does not have to be a professional video with a production crew, but it should be professional.
  7. Get Pinterested in Your PartnersPinterest is the fastest growing social media in the female demographic.  If your partners are in this demographic (and who is not? ), sharing an image, links, and #hashtag posts on Pinterst can get others interested in their company as well as yours.  It is a good idea to have a board for nothing but partners.
  8. Share the Good News – If your company has a monthly newsletter (and you should!), profiling a business partner encourages others to strive to be featured in your newsletters. Moreover, it can show your email list that you are interested by sending them exclusive partnership discounts or deals they might not get otherwise. The exposure could bring new customers to each business.
  9. Linkedin is Plugged InLinkedin is the perfect social media to recommend your business partners  because there are mounds of potential customers and it is set up for reviews.   By adding those reviews to your Linkedin company page or theirs, your groups, and your status feed, you can really help them get the word out as they help you.
Connect the Dots and Share the Real Estate.

Connect the Dots and Share the Real Estate.

The most important thing about creating a good social media partnership is making sure everyone knows what to expect and defines how they will share each other’s information.  Partnership means that each of you is doing your part to help the other cross market.  If there is a business not willing to invest the same effort, then move on to others.

No matter what size or collection of businesses your business currently resides – to quote the Beatles – you can all “get by with a little help from your friends.”  More to the point, you can own the market by surrounding your customers with your brand on social media with the right connections.

Unlike a collection of merchants, small businesses might have to connect directly with other businesses, but the connections can create a strong link between customers looking for local services and merchants.  Either way, the effort of coordinating a social media marketing effort between brands and companies in close proximity can really own a local marketplace.

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Get Your Free Social Media Dictionary:  Social Media in Clear Terms at www.socialmediasecond.com

Get Your Free Social Media Dictionary: Social Media in Clear Terms at http://www.socialmediasecond.com

 

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Complimentary Social Media Dictionary

Complimentary Social Media Dictionary: Social Media in Clear Terms

Complimentary Social Media Dictionary: Social Media in Clear Terms

In all of the social media classes we have taught over the years – there is always one common struggle among attendees.

Social media is another language that most people do not speak or understand!

Social Media Second wants to offer you a complimentary electronic copy of our Social Media Dictionary: Social Media in Clear Terms.

  • How can you ask questions when you don’t know the proper terms?
  • How can you manage and execute a strong social media campaign without knowing the language?
  • How can you understand the success of your social media campaign without understanding the language?

Please feel free to download your free copy as our way of saying THANK YOU!

Crowdfunding – Six Social Media Marketing Failures to Finding Funding

authr-crowd-funding“If you build it, they will come,” is a fantastic slogan for inspiring a baseball game in Field of Dreams, but not all the bright lights of Hollywood are able to fix some of the submission for crowdfunding.  In haste to create a revenue source for their dreams, hundreds of people everyday eagerly post projects on sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Crowfunder, and IndieGoGo.

In truth, most projects are a little like Tom Cruise screaming “show me the money” in Jerry Maguire.

Apologies for the digression into movie history!

First – Lets Talk About Crowdfunding Demographics

Although GoFundMe boasts “over $75 million dollars raised since 2010,” the reality is that most projects that fail to receive funding lack the six essential social media elements that create a strong approach to answering the most basic marketing questions.

Indicators show in a study by American Dream Composite Index the demographic for crowdfunding as:

  • Age. Individuals ages 24-35 are much more likely to participate in crowdfunding campaigns; those over 45 are significantly less likely to back campaigns.
  • Gender. Men are much more likely to take a risk on an unknown startup.
  • Income. Those earning over $100,000 per year are the most likely to invest in startups through crowdfunding.
  • See:  http://bit.ly/crowdfunding_demo for more in-depth information.

Next – Habitual Behaviors of Crowdfunding Investors

crowdfunding

In truth, there are three levels of crowdfunding investors:

  • Level 1 – Initial Investors:  These investors are the people who buy in early because they love the concept or idea.  These people usually also enjoy the reward connected with the contribution and the ability to say they helped fund the idea.  These are the early adaptors of most markets and technologies.
    • Marketing Motivation:  Making your crowdfunding campaign sharable and rewarding is very important to this type of investor as well as creating a steady update stream for monitoring growth such as pictures, video, and social media.
  • Level 2 – Get On Board Investors:  These investors are interested in watching the project progress to see if it will be viable.  For them, the burden of proof – even if it is slight – is overwhelming.  These people need to see some justification for investment through either press coverage or other investor interest.
    • Marketing Motivation:  The stream of social media with newsletters combined by way of press releases, images, and video help move an investor to get on board while they can because these options open the door to sharing and seeing others participate in the growth process.
  • Level 3 – Home Stretch Investors:  There are two types of home stretch investors.  First, the Finalists are people that have just found out about the project through a friend / family member or a “Get On Board Investor” with a stubborn streak who decided not to be left out at the last minute.  Second, the Secret Santa’s are the people who dig deep to invest a little more to the project in order to push it over the top.
    • Marketing Motivation:  Investors are attracted by being a part of the winning team.  These people are usually not new to the project or crowd sourcing in general.  The marketing needs to accept these advanced investors with special rewards and recognitions with contests, informational presentations, and product placements in social media.  For example, ask for their opinion on color selection, optional features, and functionality that allow them to claim some ownership in the production or outcome.

Finally – Let’s Get Social!

crowd-fundingWhen adding up the money, the dollar signs are indeed staggering as words like crowdfunding and crowdsourcing became the new buzz words for every new invention or service.

These six essential social media marketing strategies touch each type of crowd funding investor in the wheel-house of their marketing motivation:

  1. Social Media Share:  Social media avenues help build an input channel for potential investors and build an audience accustomed to sharing viral information.  At the same time, certain social medias like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and blogging creates searchable content for Google.
  2. You Too YouTube:  Youtube is the number two search engine in the world.  Is that enough reason to have video as a part of a crowdfunding campaign?  Yes!  Without doubt.  More importantly is the video evidence of each successful step of the process.  From the initial demonstration of the product or service to latter stages of development, video has the ability to gain buy-in instantly because investors can see that the product actually works and how it works.
  3. Picture Perfect:  Outside of the initial design sketches or ideas, most projects have the basic pictures of drawings or images taken with a camera.  Seriously, it is time to shine up those images because a picture is truly worth a thousand words.  When a potential investor can see someone using the product to solve a problem, there is the advantage of being able to become a part of the situation and the solution.
  4. Good Newsletters:  Without a good newsletter, a crowdfunding campaign fails on several levels.  First, this is the best way to stay in connection with funders to update progress.  Second, newsletters are sharable from one investor to others with a simple click of a forward button.  Third, newsletter gives potential investors the opportunity to answer MAYBE if they are not ready for YES and would decide NO.  Lastly, a newsletter engages investors and keeps the project in front of them so they can fund again if needed or necessary.
  5. Press the Press:  One huge often overlooked social media strategy is approaching the press through magazines, newspapers, and industry related bloggers.  Armed with a strong press release that explains the best of the project, coverage from the media – online and offline – can give great exposure, fantastic links, and high level creditability to any project.  Most investors will trust a review from the New York Time or a respected industry blogger.
  6. Web Ready:  Many projects rely on crowdfunding websites for information and interaction with potential investors; however, a website devoted just to the project and marketing materials can be a useful tool in encouraging fast communication with press and reliability for investors.  With a minimal space and restrictions of a crowdsourcing project guideline, a website gives project owners room to spread out to share information instantly.

mmw-crowdfundingRealistically, crowdfunding is just like selling a service or product WITHOUT the service or product on-hand ready to ship.  In many cases, the marketing must work harder to convenience potential investors of the value proposition.

Last Stop – The Crowdfunding Mentality

Even as Kickstarter touts that there are over $606 dollars pledged every minute with over 50,000 people funding more than 10 projects, there is only a 43% success rate with some categories significantly skewing the curve upward.

If you want to see the stats for Kickstarter – http://bit.ly/kickstarter_data.

Consider this – As the link above shows, if your product or service is in the realm of frequently successful categories for crowdfunding, it does not mean that the road is easier.  In fact, it probably means that your social media needs to be more on track and targeted to reach the audience segmentation.

Without proper social media marketing, potential project owners should consider buying a lottery ticket instead of working through the process of creating and executing a crowdfunded marketing campaign.

The Networking Personality – How to Go From Wall Flower to Business Power

The Networking Personality

The Networking Personality – How to Go From Wall Flower to Business Power

In networking events all across the country, from Chamber After Hours to professional luncheons to business mixers, there are always those people to meet and greet everyone.  Often referred to as the “movers and shakers,” the truth is these people are in possession of the networking personality.  You know, the networking personality is that set of charismatic characteristics that turns everyday business people into born promoters and marketers to help grow their contacts and enhance their connection based.

While this may seem like good fortune for those lucky few, the truth is the networking personality is only a matter of practice of these few simple rules:

  1. THIS IS NOT PROM – GET OVER YOURSELF:  This is perhaps the hardest rule for people to overcome.  Many people stand on the outside of groups during networking events waiting for someone to come up and speak to them.  In truth, the only person who ever talks to them is the servers passing around food or drinks.  The purpose of a networking event is meet people.  It is expected.  Every time you approach someone and extend your hand, you are taking a risk, but most people receive an approach very well and appreciate the effort.
  2. “NO” CAN BE GOOD:  In most people’s minds, hearing NO is the ultimate failure in networking; however, in some cases, hearing NO can be a ground breaking opportunity to disengage early and move on to an introduction that will lead to businesses.  In this case, it is very much like buying a house.  You will know quickly if the person in front of you is a good contact for you.  There is no tragedy if both of you disengages and moves on to new connections.  Be professional, ask for their business card, and move on!
  3. TAKE INSTEAD OF GIVE (Business cards):  There are two problems with giving out a business card without being asked.  First, you are spending money with every business card you give.  Save your business cards for the people who are great leads.  Second, if you give someone your business card, this means they are responsible for the contact.  Receiving a business card gives you the opportunity to stay in contact and makes your responsible for the correspondence.  Even in cases where the person is not a good contact, ask for a business card for net-weaving (see below).
  4. PRACTICE NET-WEAVING:  INTRODUCE (3) AND CONNECT (2):  At any business event, the goal is always to make connections and introduce yourself to other decision makers.  Net-weaving is a great way to keep your placement in the minds of those who are currently contacts as well as make new contacts by connecting people around you.  At every event, make it a habit to introduce three current connections and connect two new connections to others.  Why?  It is simple – when you are interested in other people’s business you stay in their mind.
  5. YOUR NAME TAG IS YOUR FRIEND:  There are three very common mistakes to wearing a name tag.  First, most people with pre-printed name tags tend to forget to wear it.  Just like wearing a shirt or shoes to a networking event, your name tag should always be in the right place.  The second most common mistake?  Putting your name tag on the wrong side.  Your name tag should always be on the right shoulder because people’s eyes travel up your arm when you extend your hand to shake hands.  Third and final note about your name tag?  Invest a few dollars in a pre-printed name tag.  Often times, writing your name on a white tag is hurried and looks unprofessional as you try to squeeze your name and company into the little 5×7 sticky paper.  It is worth a few dollars to have a clean, branded name tag that is easy to read and associate.
  6. BE KNOWN FOR SOMETHING – A DISTINCTIVE SIGNATURE:  Establishing a moniker for your appearance or a staple that people can lock in their mind is vital to the networking personality.  In a place where everyone is wearing a golf shirt with khaki pants or a simple black dress, it is easy to be “the person who always wears __________.”  For women, it might be a scarf or a hat.  For men, it might be a bow-tie or a cleaver shirt pattern.  Either way, connecting something about your person to your brand makes people remember you all the more.
  7. IF YOU JUGGLE, YOU LOOK LIKE A CLOWN:  Over and over again, business struggle with the presentation of their materials.  Especially true of women with purses or bags, digging for a business card or, worse, giving someone another person’s business card is incredibly unprofessional.  If you have to dig for a clean, crisp business card, then it says that you do not have your act together.  HINT – keep your business cards in your right pocket and the business cards of others in your left pocket.  With this habit, you will automatically be able to produce a business card at moment’s notice.
  8. SOCIALIZE LATER – MEET THE PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW:  It is easy to fall back into the waiting friendships of people who you know and feel comfortable with at a networking event; however, socializing is not the goal.  Your goal is to get out there and meet the people who you are not connected.  Take the time to gather your senses and really get comfortable with those who are not in your business circle while using those opportunities to connect with familiar people through net-weaving.
  9. EVERYTHING IN YOUR HANDS ARE OBSTACLES:  At many networking event, food and drinks are supplied as part of the entrance fee.  Although this is done with goodness to allow people to relax, everything in your hand presents an obstacle to shaking hands, giving business cards, and interacting with others.  If you have set down a drink or ask someone to hold a plate of food, then you are not presenting the most positive professional appearance before those people who are thinking of doing business with you.  Clear your hands and streamline your interactions.
  10. THE BIGGEST FAILURE – FOLLOW UP:  Many times, when people leave networking events, the handful of business cards end up on a desk or thrown away.  The most important thing about the networking personality is the plans for how you will connect with the leads you develop during the event.  All of the dynamic character and outreach of the networking personality will be wasted if you do not follow up immediately with people while you are fresh in their minds.

There are many reasons to work on building the networking personality. If the cliché is true about first impressions being the best impressions, then creating a dynamic lasting connection relies on claiming a unique presence in the mind of each person encountered at the event.  After all, there is no point going to a networking event if people don’t remember you have been there.

Customer Service Stabbed Marketing in the Office with a Knife

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Do you have a clue what is killing your marketing efforts?  Whether you are a small business or large corporation, it is likely at least one of these customer service issues is planning the death of your marketing dollars!

Recently, I had occasion to travel across several states on business and pleasure.  Traveling provides a unique opportunity to view the world of customer service from the good, the bad, and the ugly.  While noting that the holiday season brings out the worse in both customers and customer service, it was particularly apparent that most companies do not take enough time to think through the rationale of integrating customer service into the marketing department instead, as is traditional in most case, into the sales department.
 
As an even bigger offense, if for some unfathomable reason, customer service is a department unto themselves because the divide between performance and evaluation increases at alarming rates.  Without doubt, more marketing dollars are needlessly wasted each year on ineffective customer service than any other marketing endeavor.  Clearly, the most preventable cases the murder of marketing dollars is easily fixed by addressing these five customer service issues:

Man-Handling:  Many times, service representatives react with overzealous pressure on customers.  Upon asking to be left alone (clearly) to browse for shoes, I was continually followed and addressed by a sales person.  When I requested, pointedly, that the sales lady go away, she did only to be replaced by another salesperson from the same charm school.  As a result, my shopping experience was ruined and I left the store.

Cow-Towing:  For some service reps, good customer service is equated to bowing and scraping before the buyers.  The buyer feels horrible that the company or the service individual is fawning over them like an entourage following the diva of the week around the store.  With a strange mixture of discomfort and annoyance, the customer exits the store as quickly as possible.

Passive-Aggressive:  Interestingly enough, in the past few weeks, I have encountered this behavior in several professional settings. When asking for a call number in the library, the Librarian literally snatched the paper from my hand to go get the book from me with a curt, “that is my job!”  As I stood in shock staring at her back, it seemed an odd sense of customer service that resounded of policy filtration.  In another case, I was seriously asked, “What do you want?”  Looking around a large, brand name bookstore, I humorously ordered, “a double cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate shake.”  In both instances, marketing dollars are wasted as customer service is isolated from the rest of the company structure.  NOTE TO CUSTOMER SERVICE WORLD:  The customer does not care if YOU are having a bad day, so that excuse does not fly for me.

Know-Nothing:  In contrast, customer service employees that know nothing about the product or services offered by a company are the worst waste of marketing money.  When customers fill the store seeking details about services or directions to products, a customer service representative should at least have general knowledge.  If the product or service base is so large that no one could have a strong working knowledge, the product specialist should be assigned to aid the customer.  I watched as a bookstore employee advised a beginning PhotoShop7 (yes, I know….groan from the audience….PhotoShop7!) to buy the PhotoShopCS3 Bible because it was about the same thing.  Needless to say, I stepped in to advise her to look online for a copy for a Dummies or 24-Hour book appropriate to her version of Photoshop.  “What’s the difference?” she asked me politely.  “About $75, years of needed Photoshop experience, and the frustration of trying to follow a book that does not represent your software,” I replied with encouragement.

Techno-Interruptus:  Shopping for a new cell phone urged me to add one more criminal act of marketing murder to the sphere of customer service.  Although I do admit that technology is a wonderful thing for business, it might well be the worst thing ever created for customer service.  Encountering service reps texting or talking about a party on their cell gives the worst impression of a company and completely sends me toward the door.  If that customer service rep adds a deep resounding huff of “you are bother me” to the mix, then I might ban the store from coast to coast from my shopping experience.

In most cases, customer service initiatives can enrich the return on investment for every marketing dollar spent by a company.  Marketing expenditures can lead to increased sales and heightened positive brand awareness with the help of informed customer service force as part of the marketing team.

Social Media Mission: Come one, Come all

Advertising, Blogging, Business, email marketing, facebook, linkedin, Marketing, project managers, return on investment, roi, social media, social networking, twitter, Viral Marketing, virtual assistants, wordpressIn my new capacity as Social Media Marketing Examiner (http://www.examiner.com/x-8932-Social-Media-Marketing-Examiner) for Examiner.com, my task is to write several times a week on the benefits and pitfalls of social media marketing.

Cue scary music (DUM DUM DUMMMMM is heard the background!)…

So, here is our mission if we chose to accept it:

The rules are several times a week I have to post something informative yet bite-size for readers to enhance their understanding of social media and marketing!

I am so looking forward to this ride into social media marketing.  Join me wont you?

Our first trip…for your enjoyment…is called Twitter Talk 101.

Let’s see if we can get some REAL answers and please…and talk back to me.  Let me know what I can answer or help you understand.