Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Foursquare and the psychology of "checking in"

Very brief but interesting article I came across regarding how apps like Foursquare create a buzz and increase awareness about a business by marketing it correctly. Leveraging this type of SMM is going to be increasingly vital for businesses to stay ahead of the competition and grab more market share.
Click here to read more.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Inbound Marketing: The Heart of SMM

Does anyone remember the old Faberge shampoo commercials? "And you'll tell two friends...and so on..."

SMM is built upon the idea that if someone knows about your business, they will tell a friend. Except that they are telling hundreds, sometimes THOUSANDS of friends about your business in a matter of seconds. Their friends are now looking for your business, and all without you having to intercede or be involved. This is a general description of inbound marketing. People finding your business based on referrals, reputation, and presence.

This is the very heart of smm. Social networks of people forming "marketing teams" to advertise your business for you based on their experiences. Compare this to outbound marketing whereas a business looks for prospects and clients/consumers actively through traditional sales methods such as cold calling, print ads, radio/tv and trade shows.

Shampoo teaches about smm:

"And you'll tell two friends...and so on, and so on..."

Social Media Marketing

What is Social Media Marketing...
it's the 11 on the control knob of marketing.

Social media can be apps, websites, blogs anything that allows people to connect and share information in real time. It's an interaction between you and the world in a digital form...it is the new Word of Mouth advertisning.

Social networks like Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn, to name just a few, allow users to and have a presence globally which they use to communicate, purchase items and validate products and services.

From a business owners prospective, social media marketing takes that user base of people and turns it into a two way conversation, a conversation between business and consumer. The interesting thing about social media is the connection starts with the user connecting to a business, a 180 degree spin on the way business connected to consumers in the past.

Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, Youtube are 4 of the most popular networks that are in thier infancy for tapping into this social media explosion. Whether it's rewarding customers for purchases, sending them an email for writting a nice review about your business or posting a "how to" video about your product, social media's potential is just starting to be realized. "These go to 11"

Reputation and Reputation Management

There are basically three types of reputation management:

1. Creation and building. In the infancy of a company, or perhaps their infancy in smm, creating and building a reputation has to do a lot with the initial communications with the world around them on social sites. Being proactive and transparent is paramount. It also takes time.
2. Maintenance. This is the continuation of the above type, and comes with time for most businesses. Some businesses are lucky enough to already have a great reputation either within smm, or because of their known history, so sometimes this ends up being the starting point.
3. Reclaim. Here is one of the most overlooked aspects of smm. Some companies fear smm irrationally due to the chance someone will publicly post a negative comment. In actuality, people always did. The company just never heard about it! In the wold of smm, a company now has a chance to address a concern publicly. This transparency is a tool to be used to actually turn a negative into a positive. People want to be heard when they are dissatisfied, and acknowledging them speaks volumes about how you do business. This in turn allows others to trust in your product or service.

Historically, it was difficult for companies to assess their reputation. Many prospects or clients/consumers were lost without the business ever knowing. With today's tools, a proactive involvement, and an open mind, it is quite possible to increase sales by simply being honest and forthright and most importantly listening to your market.

Transparency in SMM: How it works for your business

Social media is a great opportunity for companies to represent themselves as real people and build real relationships to others. It is the very essence of smm. Prospects and clients/consumers look to companies for openness, communication and most of all accountability. This is known as transparency. They want to know that if someone has an issue, that a company is willing to stand behind what they are selling and communicate with that person.
Let's take Facebook as an example. Companies who do this well will leave a negative comment up on a wall on facebook and address the issue by directly communicating with the poster and working to resolve the issue. This is a brilliant hint of how that company cares about the product or service they are putting out into the public domain for consumption.
A company which fails at this would delete the comment. This leaves an incredibly sour taste in the mouths of those following a company, because they are no longer being transparent and working to resolve an issue. They also forget that the thousands of other fans have already received notification of the post that was deleted.
Prospects, clients and consumers want the truth. They want to trust the businesses they are going to spend money with. Building that trust through transparency is an important piece of the puzzle in your success in smm.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Social Media is the "New Marketing Tool"

I have been fortunate to work with various marketing tools so far in my life. I enjoyed the results I achieved with print advertising campaigns I used to run for clients in weekly and daily papers and also magazines. Direct mail was challenging as well once you knew how to target effectively. Those two mediums are similar to radio and TV ad’s in the way you “cast a line” and hope to catch a customer. Radio, TV and newspaper are all taking a beating financially because the public is starting to realize that "hoping" a potential customer sees or hears my ad is not the way to get the message out anymore.

I first used social media, like everyone else, I found old friends, played games, etc…then I realized the power it has over traditional media. Instead of casting a line and hoping a fish takes the bait, social media marketing is like having someone put the fish on the line for you. People are connecting to business on their own, they also take time to voice their opinions and post reviews about their favorite or new found places…it’s the new word of mouth advertising that used to take time to build and now it virtually happens overnight.

I have been seeing that companies are slow to embrace this new medium and it is due to not knowing what it is and what it can do for them. There once was a time when no one had a websites but now everyone has one. This new medium is in its infancy and will continue to grow as the younger generations have at their fingertips the ability to retrieve your information, a place where they get validation about you from their piers.

Social Validation

Social Validation is the psychological phonomenon that occurs when buyers in ambiguous situations who do not have enough information to make decisions independently, instead look for clues like popularity, trust, and reccomendations, as well as how a company reacts to negative feedback. It has always been a factor in the decision making process, but before social media, was a guess for companies at best. With today’s tools, it is possible to use this to a profitable advantage.
Think of it this way: when people are ready to purchase a service or product, most often they ask people they know about that product or service to get their input. In the past, this was done with with the business never knowing or having a say. New smm tools such as Facebook allow a business to now get directly involved in this conversation. As well, tools such as Google alerts makes it easy for a business to get notification instantly if their product or service is being discussed.

Can I implement social media marketing internally?

For a business wishing to start their foray into social media themselves internally, they should sure to be able to allocate resources to this. SMM requires immediate response and continualy updated information. Not sustaining it properly and consistently keeping your audience interested, educated and involved can actually turn both prospects and clients off to your brand.

Internal marketers must understand how to compliment the various forms of smm (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, enews, etc) so they work together as one cohesive marketing plan. Having too many messages across several platforms makes it confusing to their audience. While the platforms are vastly different between smm tools, integration becomes easy with experience.

As well, marketers should be trained on how and what to post up on smm networks. How to answer a negative review, or thank people for a compliment in a personal way but in full representation of the company's image. These are no longer the days of creating a newspaper and letting it fly. The interaction smm demands, requires people of personality and patience, as well as creativity since they will be the spokesperson for your business.