Monthly archives: April 2012

Tips for Building a Social Media Content Strategy

social media strategy tactics Tips for Building a Social Media Content StrategySo you’ve finally decided to integrate social media into your marketing strategy, and now trying to find the answer to the biggest question: Where do I begin? Luckily there are many inexpensive and useful tools that can help you build your social media content strategy. From experience I’ve found that there are three steps to a good strategy: Research, Implementation and Monitoring.

Research

In order to understand where to go, you need to understand where you currently stand. In this phase you need to take the time to understand your audience. This will guide you in creating content that reflects your audience’s interests and needs. This will also help you with positioning and developing the overarching goal of the efforts. Are you looking to build brand loyalty, develop more leads or increase brand awareness? Researching what your customers are looking for will help you answer the questions to determine your social media content strategy.

There are many useful tools to begin your search. Here are some recommendations:

Social Mention: A free real-time social media search tool
Google Alerts: Learn about content related to your brand
Google Consumer Surveys: While this tool is fairly new, surveys in general are a great way to ask your customers about their needs and challenges.

Using information pulled from these sources, you will be able to develop a guide that will help you determine the Who, What, When and Why factor in developing social media content.

Implementation

Now that you’ve researched what you’re audience is talking about, it’s time for execution. The very first step is creating a content calendar. Using free tools like Google Docs will help you stay organized and keep track of ideas. Ideally this document should also contain information about themes, social platforms or even major events.

Once you’ve created the content calendar, the next step is executing that content onto the various social media platforms. Social media never sleeps so scheduling your social content is a great way to plan ahead. There are many free and inexpensive tools like HootSuite or Sendible that can help you with distributing the content.

Monitoring

Social media measurement is not a one size fits all. It’s best to test various tools to help you determine what works for your goals and organizational needs. Some recommendations are: Sendible, SocialSprout or SocialBro.

Using Google Docs, you can also create dashboards to track various types of data, such as: engagement, growth over time, clicks or revenue generated.  After a period of time, examine and analyze the data to determine if changes need to be made to the strategy you’ve created. It’s good to remember that everyone’s social media strategy will look different, which means that results will differ as well.

These are some tips of how to organize and build a social media content strategy. What tools and tips have you tried?

Posted in Engagement, Online Marketing, Social Media | 1 Comment

The Power of Creative Marketing

Lately I’ve been reading the book, Uprising by Scott Goodson. It’s a great book for people looking to feel inspired by marketing movements that have occurred the past few years. The book provides some great thoughts and insights on how we can use cultural and human movements to market products and ideas, building connections with potential customers.

This idea inspired me to look into marketing activities that companies have put together to gain attention into their industry, products or services that are creative and out of the norm. Here are some videos that I found intriguing:

TNT’s “Push to Add Drama” (Belgium)

To launch the TV channel TNT in Belgium, a sign with the text, “Push to add drama” was placed in a Flemish town square. Following this comes a brilliant and dramatic stunt. Watch the video to see what happens next.

Red Stripe’s “Make With A Red Stripe” (England)

Jamaican Lager company, Red Stripe, partnered with a British street artist, Filthy Luker, to create an installation in Manchester Town Square. He built a recreation of 80’s classic space invaders, which come to life with LED lights at night. Watch the video below to see how it was put together and what happens.

McDonald’s “Come as You Are” (France)

While I’m not much of a McDonald’s fan, I do admire some of their marketing efforts. Here the food giant has partnered with an agency in Paris to create a booth that promotes user generated content. Watch the video below to see it in action.

These are some fun and creative ways companies have taken marketing to another level, connecting with audiences and building brand awareness. The power of creative marketing is giving the customer the opportunity participate and become the brand endorser, which is the ultimate goal of word of mouth marketing.

Posted in Creative Marketing, Social Media | Leave a comment

5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

Just when you thought you had it figured out Facebook marketing… the Facebook Timeline is introduced!

Facebook officially launched the Timeline to all pages on March 30th. What does this mean for your brand’s Facebook page? A great amount of control and enormous opportunity for engagement, but it comes with some initial work. Many B2C and B2B companies have already implemented this change. Below are five ways to make it work for your company.

1.  Feature an enticing “Cover” image

Facebook has enabled the “Cover” which is an 849 by 312 pixel image that spans the top of the profile page. This can be changed any time and is great real estate for product shots, promotions or brand building. These days people consume mass amounts of data through pictures and images (think about Instagram, Infographics, Pinterest, etc.), and Facebook has opened up the platform for this. Here are a few examples:

Macy’s:

fb Macys Cover pic 5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

Walmart:

Walmart Cover Pic 5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

IdeaPaint:

ideapaint Cover Pic 5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

Each of these brands has taken a different approach to reach to their fans. Macy’s features their largest store in Timesquare, NYC to showcase brand strength. Walmart features products and customers to build an emotional bond. Ideapaint showcases the benefits of their products via the cover image.

2.  Highlight historical milestones/posts

The new Facebook Timeline provides insight into – time.  Users have the option to click through the years and see any posts or milestones you have any provided. A great example is Walmart’s milestone about their first store in 1962. Posts such as seen below provide brand confidence and credibility:

Walmart milestone 5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

Another example comes from the agency, Leo Burnett Worldwide:
Leo milestone 5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

3. Feature important apps

Facebook has also redesigned the display of page apps (which used to be on the left navigation). They are now located to the right side of the About section. There are four app tiles, with the first defaulted to photos. Users will always see the Timeline first and will actively have to click through to the different apps. Many brands have adopted Facebook landing pages, so time will tell how brands will enhance this new feature. Here is an example from Mashable:

Mashable apps 5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

4. Use Private Messaging

A new feature that can help both B2B and B2C companies is having the ability for users to send private messages to your page. This has created a new customer service channel that goes beyond the Facebook wall. It allows businesses to address any customer concerns or issues without having to publicly discuss them on the wall. The limitation is that page owners cannot start the conversation, you can only respond to users who have contacted you. As a page owner, you will need to constantly monitor and respond to the messages or you will be perceived as ignoring your fans and/or customers.

5. Pinning!

Facebook now allows page owners to “pin” posts to the top spot for seven days at a time. Are you looking to direct your fans to a special photo, app or link? Pinning can be used to accomplish this. This tool gives you the control over what visitors see when they first arrive to your page. It is highly recommended to keep a link to your website pinned at all times to drive traffic. Here are some examples from Fred Meyer Jewelers and Macy’s:

FMJ pinning 2 5 Tips to Enhance Your New Facebook Timeline

Summary

Overall, the new brand timelines will prove successful by cultivating more interactions between the brands and followers. These tips will creatively guide you through Facebook’s new changes.

Have you seen any interesting brand timelines? Share them below!

Posted in Online Marketing, Social Media | Leave a comment

Mobile Marketing Trends in 2012

As we move further into 2012, the mobile advertising market is expected to grow tremendously, especially since smartphone adoption has increased. Emarketer reports that U.S. smartphone penetration is expected to surpass 58% by 2016.

Over the last few months, I’ve observed several trends and patterns that are expected to enhance mobile marketing this year. Forward thinking companies are continuing to evolve their marketing because of the following trends:

Growth of tablet adoption will enhance the mobile experience

Research showed that by the end of December 2011, 13% of U.S. consumers had tablets and an additional 15% had e-readers. The Apple iPad is said to hold 55% of the market share, while Amazon and Android are quickly gaining more users. The typical tablet owner has been found to be younger (25-44) and has higher income ($100K+).

What does all this mean? Growing tablet adoption will prove to change consumer behavior as more customers will begin shopping on their tablets – this trend was already seen during the 2011 holiday season. This means that companies should focus on building platforms that enable interactive experiences for consumers, encouraging them to shop and explore the brand further. This includes, apps and tablet specific ecommerce experiences.

Mobile Commerce Growth

Emarketer reported that in 2011, U.S. mobile commerce sales increased over 90% to reach a whopping $6.7 billon – and this is expected to grow even further. Internet Retailer reported that 18% of consumers booked a flight on their smartphone. This data shows that now more than ever, consumers are willing and able to make purchases on their mobile devices. The information is valuable as companies are looking to adopt m-commerce or mobile friendly websites. Mobile shoppers tend to be spontaneous, and in the “right there right now” moment – companies must find ways to fulfill this instant gratification.

Location Based Marketing
location based marketing Mobile Marketing Trends in 2012

Location Based Marketing

Imagine if you walk into your favorite retail store and you receive a coupon or discount code on your phone to use during your visit.  Does this seem like an invasion of privacy or are you willing to receive the offers once you’ve officially opted in? This is a form of location based marketing, known as Geofencing. Foursquare and Gowalla offer check-in services through an initial app download, which is the most common use of location-based advertising. On the other hand, Geofencing reaches out to the customer and all they have to do is click on the opportunity. While there are concerns of being followed, as mobile technology continues to expand, location tracking may become synonymous with phone numbers.

Strong Mobile-Social Traffic

Social media is now at the forefront as more people are taking their social experiences mobile. From Twitter to Facebook, people are becoming more connected. According to comScore, as of December 2011, 64 million smartphone owners in the US accessed social networking via their mobile device – which is up 77% from December of 2010. This means that smartphones are definitely playing a larger role in people’s everyday routine.

I’d love to hear about other mobile trends you’ve heard of this year. I may put together a “how-to” guide for those interested in Location Based Marketing… until next time!

Posted in Mobile Marketing | 1 Comment

Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

The online pin board, Pinterest, that has been making waves this past year, is no longer just for individuals who pin what they love in home, weddings, recipes, etc. It has become a hub of consumer generated content that encompasses fashion, photo sharing, a personalized way of categorizing items and so much more. This has become a platform where brands can share what they offer in many different ways and reach out to users who are already talking about them. Along with this, Pinterest provides B2C and B2B companies another way to drive traffic to their website, boosting SEO!

Pinterest definitely brings opportunities for brands that are looking to build buzz. Below are five ways to make it work for your company:

1. Introduce products or interests with “boards”

Are you launching a new clothing line or introducing new styles? With Pinterest “boards” you can showcase these products and create an inspiring collection of pieces. Many brands have embraced this concept and created boards that not only showcase their products, but also provide a sense of inspiration. Here are a few examples:

Gap:

Gap Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

Travel Channel:

Travel Chanel Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

Each of these brands have taken a unique approach in unveiling not only their content, but their interests as well. They engage you with inviting titles that they know will appeal to their fans. Brands should use this to their advantage by creating boards that provide some stimulation in regards to their products. Gap’s “Everybody in Gap” invites you to view their clothing worn on everyday people. Travel Channel’s “Daily Escapes” invites viewers to browse through favorite vacation spots. All items are linkable – which in turn creates referral traffic to your website!

B2B companies can also take advantage of this by creating boards that relate to their industry. Here are some examples:

MarketingProfs:

MarketingProfs Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

OpenView Partners:

OpenView Partners Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

Both of these B2B companies showcased their interests via different types of boards. This content not only gives them a channel to provide some inspiration to their readers, but also gives them credibility in their field. OpenView tackled this well with their Books Worth Reading collection.

Video is a hot trend for marketing in 2012 and Pinterest has made it easy for users to pin their favorite videos to boards as well. If you feature product videos on Youtube, trying pinning them on a board to encourage viewership and sharing. Here’s an example of a video on a board:

Video Example Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

2. “Re-pin” what others have pinned in your industry

Once you’ve created a presence on Pinterest, you’ll find that people may either already be talking about your brand or are talking about topics that are related to your industry. For example, if you’re an apparel company then people might be talking about a certain type of clothing or in the example provided below, if you’re Whole Foods, people might be talking about their favorite recipes.

Whole Foods:

Whole Foods Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

Whole Foods has made the best of this social media channel by “re-pinning” many pictures associated with food from other users because they relate to the food industry. If you explore the “Sweet Tooth” board, you’ll find various “pins” from around the web (which look quite yummy I must say):

Whole Foods Sweets Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

3. Offer ways to categorize products (holiday gift guide, etc.) or ideas

If you’re an apparel company then you know that one of the best ways to showcase your product is to show consumers how to wear them. If you’re a jewelry designer then you know that if you illustrate how your product will look on a consumer it will make it more appealing. Pinterest provides a great platform for retailers to categorize products according to styles, trends, gift guides, etc. Bergdorf Goodman embraces this concept and provides various ways for potential customers to view fashion trends and styles. Here are a few examples:

Bergdorf Goodman Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

The brand has created certain categories that entice customers to click through and learn more. Here’s another example from Nordstrom displaying coats for the winter season:

Nordstroms Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

This board has over 10,000 followers and over 200 people have liked this page. The winning factor is engaging users with content that is relevant and relatable to them. Don’t forget, if users have linked Pinterest with their Facebook account then their pins will show up in their timeline – which increases the likelihood of more users seeing your brand page.

One hidden tip is that if you add a “$” to your pin description then Pinterest will automatically create a price banner for your photo. Pinterest provides an alternative platform for retailers to show and sell their products!

tip Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

B2B companies can take the opportunity to collaborate with their clients or partners on project ideas. Pinterest allows multiple users to pin to one board so it can provide a great shared platform. For example, if there is a major industry event coming soon, a company can create a fun board to share must-haves for the event, including local recommendations or handy smartphone apps. This can help position the company as a trusted expert.

4. Build contests to promote more “pinning” and “liking” of your products

Everyone knows that people love contests! Contests are a great way to engage people to visit a page or participate in a brand. One company that executed this very well was Land’s End Canvas. In December they asked users to create a pin board with 10 to 20 images from Land’s End website, or repin them from the Land’s End Pinterest page. Once users had completed the board, they had to email the URL to the company to officially enter the contest. They called this contest: “Pin It to Win It” and a quick search shows that this contest garnered nearly 200 entries: http://bit.ly/wtJE58. Given the viral nature of Pinterest, the contest was able to expose their brand to a wider audience and engage Pinterest users. Here is a snapshot of an entry board:

Lands End Canvas Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

5. Add Pinterest Social Plugins to Your Website

Pinterest offers some goodies for brands to add to their website and help them connect their web visitors to the audience on the Pinterest network.

Pin It Button Pinterest1 Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with PinterestThe Pin It Button – This would allow content on your website to be easily sharable on the Pinterest platform and allow web users to pin the content directly to their boards. The plugin should be added to similar places where Like or Tweet buttons are located for consistency.

 

The Follow Button – These can be added to your website, blog or other social networks to help promote your brand’s page on Pinterst. The button would encourage visitors to follow you and browse through your images or videos and potentially share or repin them to their network – creating word of mouth marketing for your brand.

P logo Pinterest Top 5 Ways to Build Buzz with Pinterest

Summary

These are some basic tips to help companies find creative ways to engage users and build buzz on a social network their customers may already exist on. The social network nearly equals Twitter and Google in referral traffic, so it goes without saying that Pinterest is here to stay. How will you use Pinterest to promote your brand?

Posted in Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media | 1 Comment

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