Browsing articles tagged with " Interactive Marketing"

Can a Business Utilize the Power of Facebook?

Apr 21, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Facebook, Online Marketing, Social Media  //  No Comments

By now, most people know what Facebook is. Yes, Facebook is a social utility, but what does that mean? How it works and what it can do for the business person – and this is where its true power lies.

For the business person, it means that your business contacts, your profile, business groups, targeted prospects, social media applications (and many other), can all be under one online roof. It means that through information sharing, you can find more opportunities to network with other business people. Not to mention the opportunity to be a better resource to more people in your market.

Here are 8 more reasons to start using Facebook for business today.

1.   The very nature of Facebook is viral.

Here’s just one example.

Each time you log into Facebook, the home page gives you updates of everything your connections have done that they chose to share since the last time you logged in via their profile. And when people visit yours, your mini-feed at the top of your profile page is one of the first things they’ll see, which contains your own updates.

With this capability, you can virally drive news to your Facebook connections. If they find what you’re doing interesting, and take action on it, those actions are driven to their network as well.

In this way, your news can be driven far beyond your direct reach.

2.   Facebook is the ultimate in social presence marketing.

Social presence marketing is the activity of promoting by participating in the pre-existing conversation around your target market, in a way that enhances and uplifts the dialogue, rather than intruding upon it.

In Facebook, it’s easy to make such contributions to the community, and for people who want to know more to find and contact you. If that wasn’t enough, the audience is often already targeted and organized.

3.   Your target market tells you exactly what it wants, and they’re easy to find.

Each person who joins Facebook has the option of filling out an extensive profile. You can browse or search profiles by keywords, or find groups and events by keywords filled with people who gather in the name of a common interest.

For example, if you had a business that sold weight loss supplements, you could join groups about fitness. Instead of leaving marketing messages, you can relax and be open with your advice. Those who want to learn more, or hire you, will follow you back to your profile, where they can continue to communicate with you, or be led back to your website.

4.   Over half of the people using it, use it daily.

Think of how many subscribers or monthly visitors you have. How many of them, honestly, visit you daily? What if you could increase that number simply by having a presence in a free tool they use daily already.

The opportunity exists in Facebook. Of the 35 million people currently using Facebook, half of them are using it daily. Why do they do this is the key observation here.

There’s no way I can speak for 17 million people, I can only tell you what I see. And what I see is that people who log in daily connect more with the people and information around them. Why can’t that be you, and your information?

5.   Better, stronger online connections.

Facebook goes the extra mile in helping you find a basis for connection to the people you know, or would like to know.

Conversation starters include common interests, status updates, and upcoming birthday reminders. Information sharing is immediate, passive, viral, and costs nothing. You can control the quality of data by controlling the quality of the people you’re connected to, and vice versa. Therefore people who understand Facebook are careful about the quality of their connecting news.

6.   Hard core marketing is out of vogue and declining in effectiveness.

The traditional online sales-letter may continue to work with trusted audiences, but it’s beyond dispute that improvements to this model are changing the way sales take place online with new clients, not to mention how different the lead generation stage has changed with the progression of social media.

In English that means that while the way your present clients buy from you probably doesn’t need as much tweaking, the way new people meet you is shifting every day. All online marketing interactions are becoming more transparent – the visitor doesn’t need to take an expert’s word for it. They can become their own expert, do reputation checking on their favorite guru, and can now search for, and find the majority opinion on their business of choice.

It’s becoming more important to make a better impression on your audience before they actually show up at your site. With Facebook, contributing knowledge and resources to the conversations taking place is what brings more people to you, faster.

7.  Your clients — and your competition’s clients — may already be on Facebook.

With 35 million people registered, and new signers showing up so fast, that by the time you read this, that number will have changed – someone from your desired online demographic is on Facebook.

Why is this different, this time? What does it matter that your clients use Facebook already?

Because with Facebook comes a completely different way for you to build trusting relationships with your clients and prospects. Since they must join your group, or add you as a friend to interact with you, it’s completely opt-in.

You’ll be able to have deeper interactions with them, through photos, videos, private messages, public messages, or through custom applications you can build or use to enhance their experience with your company.

8.    Facebook friends are willing to continue the conversation.

Facebook is for social information sharing and interaction. It makes sense that people who are already in the mode of action would continue interaction with you or even follow you to your site.

The traffic to your site isn’t, by far, the most important benefit of Facebook for business. It’s worth noting, but the real opportunities with Facebook are to get better information, faster, and to have better social connections to both existing and new contacts, be they client, friend, acquaintance, or colleague.

Benefits of using Twitter in Business

Apr 20, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Brand Recognition, Online Marketing, Search, Social Media, Twitter  //  No Comments

For businesses, there are a number of benefits to using Twitter. Many of which deal with the real-time gathering of information. Here are some ways that businesses should be leveraging Twitter.

  1. Participating in Industry Conversation – your target audience and/or potential prospects are on Twitter where they may be discussing their frustrations or are communicating positive experiences. Why not be a part of that? Participate in the conversation when it makes sense to do so. Thinking of Twitter as the newest type of social mixer to engage with your industry.
  2. Brand Awareness – businesses can use Twitter to keep their brand top of mind. Whether you are Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) promoting an upcoming Kiss concert in Windsor, Canada or Toys R Us (@ToysRUs) promoting the latest Transformer toys, Twitter allows a business to keep their brand out there for people to engage with.
  3. Use Twitter to gain Competitive Intelligence – hey guess what? Your competitors are on Twitter. As a result you might want to consider monitoring their tweets from time to time to see what they are working on. Perhaps they are preparing to launch a new product or are opening a new branch. Heck maybe they are going through massive layoffs and an opportunity presents itself to acquire them or at least hire some of their laid off employees. Twitter can be a great environment for monitoring what the competition is doing. It can also be a great way just to see how your competition is using Twitter themselves. Perhaps you can pick up a tip or two.
  4. Engage with your target audience – Twitter allows you to interact with potential prospects and your target audience. While you do not want to be "in their face" all of the time, Twitter does allow you to engage with these people by re-tweeting their posts or responding to something that they may have tweeted about, which leads us to …
  5. Online Reputation Management – information on Twitter breaks quickly. The reported death of Michael Jackson on June 25th, was one example of this. Businesses can use Twitter to monitor what is being said about their brand almost in real-time. If someone had a negative experience with your brand, chances are they may tweet about it. If so, work to address the issues and communicate the fact that you are doing so. Remember Twitter is a social environment so transparency and honesty can be a good thing.
  6. Promote your Blog Content – if your company has a corporate blog or various blogs, you can use Twitter to promote your blog content. Heck you can set up a feed to automatically post your blog post URLs directly to Twitter.
  7. Twitter and Mobile – because Twitter is so simple to use and is limited to 140 characters, mobile use with Twitter is also easy. You can both send and receive updates what you and your friends are doing on the go using a simple SMS. Twitter can be a great mobile communication tool. As we know in business, this can be a pretty powerful thing.
  8. Understanding Tool – Businesses can use Twitter as an understanding tool to learn what their desired target demographic is saying and looking for. For example, if you are a brand that targets a younger target market, just by listening to their conversation via Twitter, you can learn what their latest interests are and what’s the next shiny new object that they are looking to latch on to.
  9. Feedback Mechanism – launching a new product? Perhaps you are launching a new website? Businesses can use Twitter to obtain instant feedback on these items and as a result make any necessary changes before the formal launch. This feedback can be invaluable and by using Twitter, it is free!
  10. Promotion – of course you can use Twitter as a promotional tool to announce offline endeavors or upcoming online events (webinars, virtual tradeshows etc). If you are an e-commerce site, perhaps you have a deal of the day where you can promote these deals such as how is currently leveraging Twitter @toysdeals. The fact is you do not want to be too promotional, but Twitter does present the opportunity to promote your products or service and brand to your friends.
  11. SEO Boost – if you have great content on your website and you want to drive additional traffic to this content on your website, you can use Twitter to do so. A quick tweet with the URL can help drive additional traffic to a preferred landing page on your site to help coax the conversion on your site.
  12. Ask Questions Receive Answers - those who do not ask will not receive. As a business, perhaps you are looking for a specific answer to a question that you have. Maybe you are looking for some industry stats. You can use Twitter to pose the question and if the question is engaging and if your friends are remotely interested in the same question, you should receive a response. Twitter is a social community and usually these social communities are tight knit. Someone is bound to answer your question and at least point you in the right direction.
  13. HR Tool – while this may not be the best way to go about your hiring practices, you can tweet about your HR needs and link to relevant job postings on your site via Twitter. You just might receive some additional interest that you may not have otherwise had.
  14. Press Release / News Management – Have a major announcement? Use Twitter to promote your press releases and to communicate company news. Remember our earlier discussion on Internet Speed? News travels fast online, Twitter is another information super-highway that can help communicate news quickly.Internal
  15. Communication Tool – while not many businesses think to do this, but you can use Twitter as an internal communication tool within your business. There are various ways to do this. Of course one of the best examples of this is Zappos, who encourage employees to tweet. Again the timeliness of the information plays a key role in using Twitter as an internal communication tool. While we have instant messaging, using Twitter to communicate internally can also be an effective way of sharing information within. Of course there are pros and cons to this, but use your discretion

5 Tips for Better B2B Branding

Mar 26, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Corporate Blogging, Industry News, Mashable News, Online Marketing, Social Media, Thought Leadership  //  No Comments

Think branding only falls in the B2C court? Think again.

In fact, three of the top 10 brands in 2009, as ranked by Interbrand, generate a sizable amount of revenue from their B2B customers: IBM, Microsoft and GE.

As a B2B marketer your brand is your most valuable asset.

B2B branding is less about cool, hip monikers (the Apples and Starbucks of the world) – and more about thought leadership.

Particularly in down economies, B2B prospects and customers conduct significant research leading up to purchases. That means you as a marketer have to educate them early on, and establish your brand as a trusted resource that gets their problems and has the solution.

To help your organization be seen as the thought leader it is, we’ve identified five B2B branding tips:

1. Consistently produce useful, innovative content

These days, every company is essentially a media company. So it’s easier than ever to provide relevant, informative content for customers and prospects.

From a company blog to Twitter to YouTube, there is no end to the content channels available. Provide the latest industry news and insight on trends through:

  • Offering a white paper through an email marketing campaign
  • Creating videos and promoting through YouTube and on your web site
  • Conducting interviews with industry influentials and turning into blog posts

Whatever channels you choose to promote, and whatever types of content you create, these consistent signals prove to customers and prospects that you are a thought leader.

2. Network digitally and in person

Nothing communicates a brand more than direct involvement with customers and prospect. In that regard, online social networking has opened a new door. According to a recent eMarketer study, six in 10 B2B marketers planned to up spending on social in 2010.

Whether your organization integrates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or another social network into its B2B branding efforts, the same rules apply:

  • Social media is about engaging in conversations, not just pushing products
  • It’s not about the masses; it’s about your target audience
  • It’s listening and hearing before selling and talking

That’s not to say that in-person networking is irrelevant. On the contrary, perfect B2B branding combination. Take advantage of opportunities to give keynote speeches, participate in panel discussions or lead breakout sessions at industry events.

3. Get personal and be real

B2C marketers seem to have this concept nailed. But humanizing your company for customers and prospects is just as important in B2B branding.

For one TopRank® Online Marketing client, an industrial part distributor for the bulk powder processing industry, humanizing its image was a top concern.

The TopRank team created the Powder Doctor, a unique character, to relate to customers and prospects through email marketing campaigns. This humorous cartoon character offers advice – Dear Abby style – for common industry problems. Powder Doctor campaigns have increased sales for Powder-Solutions by 83%.

4. Position yourself differently than others in the space

No doubt about it, it’s tough to build personal B2B brand if you’re just like everyone else. You simply can’t be known for what everyone else is.

Standing out from the crowd is easy when your products or services are truly one-of-a-kind. When products or services are similar to those offered by the competition, it’s more of a challenge to uniquely position yourself.

For one TopRank client – a staffing software company – that challenge was known all too well. To help the client stand from a large pool of competitors, TopRank developed a copywriting strategy where website copy was written in first person, from the viewpoint of the staffing software (i.e., “why you should hire me to fill your staffing software needs”).

This strategy has not only helped the company develop a truly distinct B2B brand; the strategy has also achieved increased search traffic, high rankings for terms such as “staffing software” and a trend up in inquiries.

5. Leverage proof points

It’s perfectly appropriate – and necessary – to toot your own horn from time to time as part of your B2B branding efforts. Whether it’s an impressive media placement or a web traffic milestone, implement proof points illustrating why your organization is a thought leader into marketing communications.

Keep in mind that proof points are both analytical and subjective. For example:

Analytical: website traffic increases, number of retweets of blog posts, number of blog subscribers

Subjective: media placements, media interviews, mentions on blogs

Are Your Ready to Take B2B Branding to the Next Level?

B2B branding through thought leadership is not as easily quantifiable as other marketing efforts. And investments in reputation building might not pay off as immediately as pay-per-click or email marketing.

But building a recognizable B2B brand pays off in the form of long-term increased referrals, positive brand conversations on both digital and in-person channels, web traffic and sales.

What methods have you used to build a B2B brand?

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