, ,

What Your Ad Campaign Can Learn from Social Media

In the modern world the best platforms from which to launch a campaign are those which make up the mighty world of social media. Over the course of a day you may go from unknown to an internet sensation.

Read more

, , ,

What’s Your Online Brand Personality?

Too often, businesses are afraid of making an impact online – but playing it too safe can have some serious downsides when dealing with online marketing.

If you lack any sort of character, you risk being forgotten or ignored online. This blog explores how to define your online brand personality and how to make the very best use of it in your content marketing.

 

What’s Your Online Brand Personality?

Communicating with consumers online is vital for your business. Your brand’s personality needs to come across in these communications: it’s how consumers know who you are.

But how do you develop an online personality that represents your brand the way you want it to?

 

Find a Voice

Finding a voice for your brand is key; it will humanise your brand and build trust among your consumers.

Once you’ve found the right words to describe your brand, you’ll find your voice.

What makes your brand different from others? What are your values? What is your personality?

Do you want that voice to be professional and so a bit formal or chatty and relaxed?

Once you’ve decided on your voice you must execute it consistently. Your consumers will be confused if you are professional in one blog post and very informal in the next.

 

 

Find a Tone

Tone adds more specificity to your brand.

It’s how you apply your voice in social media platforms.

How is your language translated in your communications?  Whether you use simple or complex words will determine your tone.

The kind of language you use will also depend on what your purpose is: do you want to educate or do you want to sell?

 

Choose a Face

One way of creating a brand personality online is to give your company a face.

You can develop a mascot, like McDonald’s for example, or you can utilise a more human approach.

Having your employees provide your brand with a face, for example, makes you relatable and human.

Consumers are more likely to listen to your message if they feel the personality behind it is approachable and knowledgeable.

Your voice and tone needs to be congruent with the face of your brand: it all needs to be consistent.

Having an adorable mascot with a serious, formal voice is incongruent and inconsistent and consumers will be unsure about who you are and what you represent.

 

Online Brand Personality and Content Marketing

Your online brand personality is directly associated with content marketing – how you come across on social media platforms as you share your content. By appearing as credible and expert you can set yourself apart as a leader in your market.

It affects your visibility directly as consumers associate how you deliver your content with your brand and your company. If consumers enjoy your online brand personality this will engender loyalty and trust.

Knowing how to adapt your tone to different platforms will aid you in sharing your content easily.

Adaptability is one of the most important steps in marketing and it includes content marketing and your online brand personality: adapt your tone, while keeping a consistent voice.

 

If you would like to know more about how you can develop your online brand personality to grow your business, you can contact me on 01483 200387. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

, , , ,

Should You Market Yourself on Social Media?

Social media marketing gives you the opportunity to market your business and build your brand.

Each platform offers a unique marketing experience and more platforms seem to be appearing almost every day.

The major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn seem to have become almost mandatory parts of your online presence.

But do you really need social media marketing and is it beneficial for you and your business?

 

 

Advantages

Compared to some traditional marketing channels such as TV for example, social media marketing is very cost-effective.

It’s also the perfect space to build brand loyalty – social media allows for direct interaction with consumers and by showing them your personality and your business’ values, you can build your reputation and make useful connections.

This interactivity enables instant feedback on your products and services and even on your employees. For big companies, social media can be a way of discovering when employees are performing to a high standard or conversely when they’re underperforming.

Facebook, for example, with over 1 billion users, provides you with a huge guaranteed audience.

It allows you to reach consumers you otherwise might not be able to: not everyone buys a newspaper, or watches TV.

Consumers will share your content on other platforms if they like it, which can give you massive exposure.

Social media makes it easier to share videos, images, and articles, which can boost traffic and online sales by ranking in the search engines.

Fun, informative, and creative content will be shared multiple times on different platforms, and has the possibility of “going viral” – the holy grail for marketers.

 

 

Disadvantages

Results from social media aren’t necessarily immediate.

Building a brand and a reputation takes time; you have to be active and update regularly with relevant content and be prepared to hang in for the long term.

Public backlash can be a big problem.

While social media can help to grow your business, you can also find yourself under public attack due to an employee’s actions.

These websites encourage people to share where they work and your employees may not represent your business and your brand in the way you would hope which can potentially ruin your reputation.

Negative feedback is easily visible to everyone and can quickly get out of hand. There are all sorts of people  on line and you can find yourself being attacked by ‘trolls’, ‘scammers’, or ‘spammers’, who enjoy nothing more than attacking companies and destroying their reputation.

 

 

How Does It Fit in Your Marketing Strategy?

In spite of the inherent dangers of social media, the fact is that the majority of companies are active to some degree on social media. These websites are commonly used by consumers to re-assure themselves that a company is who it says it is.

Businesses are expected to have an online presence nowadays and while a website is still necessary, by itself in is no longer enough.

Social media helps build trust and relationships with consumers, making them feel more connected with brands.

Social media platforms play a big part in content marketing and to be successful, your business has to adapt to popular consumer demands and needs, which includes being present on websites like Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Marketing, whether traditional or done through social media, is a vital issue for businesses.

With constantly emerging marketing platforms, developing strategies for your business might be tricky.

If you have any questions about how to market yourself on social media, you can contact me on 01483 200 387 or mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk and I’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, you can also find me on my Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn pages.

, , , , , ,

The Best Ways To Use Twitter

When I talk to new prospects, I find that social media is invariably a topic they want to discuss and so today I want to talk about the best ways to use Twitter.

What do you think about it because  if I’m  completely honest here: I’m not a massive fan.

Having said that, I fully accept that it has a role to play but as lead generation and conversion are the key issues most businesses want from their marketing and as Twitter isn’t an effective lead generation tool, I therefore think there are other more important marketing issues to focus on.

But when you have a medium that has over 300 million users worldwide and 15 million in the UK and I often get asked “How should I use Twitter” I always explain that there are definitely ways that businesses should be using Twitter to help to grow their business.

  1. Driving traffic

One of the key marketing objectives is to drive traffic to your website.

SEO and PPC are the primary routes but Twitter is a great way to promote your website.

Every time you write a blog post, add a new product or even add a new testimonial, you should use Twitter to promote it and by putting in a link, driving traffic to the relevant page.

By the same token if you have a free report or some other give away, you can promote it shamelessly via Twitter.

However you must remember that only a small proportion of your audience will see any one specific tweet so you should repeat the tweet several times.

  1. Prospect list

Put together a list of 100 or so people or companies who are active on Twitter and you would like to have as customers.

Having followed them you can closely monitor what they are saying.

If they tweet about a problem that you can help them with, this provides a perfect time for you to contact them.

The way you respond is crucial. The obvious route is to send them a direct message telling them how you can solve their problem.

But obviously we come back to the issue of whether they will see the tweet.

How about going one step further and writing them a personal letter. This is bound to be seen and gives you more than 140 characters to make your pitch.

  1. Search facility

Twitter allows you to search for particular keywords or phrases that other Twitter users are using.

For example I have a number of searches set up for “I need help with marketing” and various other similar searches.

So anyone who tweets that they need help with their marketing or something similar will show up against those search terms.

This now gives me the opportunity to get in touch with them and to start a dialogue. Within this dialogue I will at some stage tell them how I can help them.

I have generated clients in this way. I don’t know if there’s a correlation, but they’ve never turned out to be very satisfactory clients, but don’t let that stop you from setting up your own searches.

  1. Awareness

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of Twitter is the ability for you to raise awareness of you and your business by being active on Twitter.

If you use it to comment on relevant industry issues, to put out thought provoking tweets and to talk about your successes not only can you create awareness but you can create an image of a leader in your sector and an opinion former.

  1. Special offers

Although social media is best used as a social platform to build relationships just as you would do in the off line world, you can use Twitter to sell via special offers.

I was always a bit dubious about this as it runs contrary to everything we’re told about social media but I used to follow a printer who continually quoted rock bottom print prices.

Eventually I tweeted him to ask him whether this strategy was successful and he said he generated about 80% of his business in this way.

So whether you agree with using social media in this way, this guy demonstrated to me that it can drive sales even if his sales must have been at virtually zero margin.

So there you go – 5 ways in which you can use Twitter usefully to grow your business and not just tell people what you had for breakfast.

 

, , , , , , ,

How Social Are You On Social Media?

So are you using social media to market your business?

How social are you?

We all know how much furore there’s been over the last few years about social media and the truly amazing stats about the number of Facebook and Twitter users there are. If you admit to not using these platforms you’re likely to be viewed as a dinosaur. There is a perception that we all ought to be on all the platforms.

But why?

If you think about the phrase “Social Media Marketing” the most important word to remember of the three is marketing. The other two really just describe the medium you’re using. And marketing doesn’t change just because the medium changes.

Marketing is always about the 3Ms Market Message Medium. You have to give the right messages to the right people in the right way and allow them to respond and let you know that they’re interested in what you’ve got.

Now the fact is that social media and especially Twitter is not the right medium for communicating your message as it’s not about selling. Additionally you can’t select the audience you communicate with it selects you.

Your objective therefore has to be to move your audience from the social media channels to your own website. Of course you can do this by posting the right links but tracking and measuring how effective your efforts are is virtually impossible.

Now I’m not saying that you can’t make contacts, build relationships and maybe gain business from social media. What I am saying is that it will probably take a lot of effort and time and that you could probably have greater success with other marketing channels.

The next question to ask is whether social media is right for all businesses.

The answer to that will depend on who you target audience is. If your target audience hang out on social media then fantastic. If they don’t, you’re wasting your time. If you’re a driving instructor and your audience is teenagers then yes social media is 100% right for you. But if you operate B to B and your audience is 40 60 year old men, then I suggest you’re probably wasting your time.

The final part of the jigsaw is you.

Do you enjoy the social interaction? Are you the kind of person who’s comfortable going to a networking event and working the room with the clear objective of making contacts and connecting other people together.

If you are then you probably love social media and doing it won’t seem like working at all. If you’re not, the chances are that you won’t engage with social media enough to make a success of it.

, , , , , ,

Win New Customers From Your Small Business Marketing

How to generate new customers is the issue most small businesses focus on in their small business marketing. The fact that when I start working with a new client, I focus on how to maximise the value of existing customers isn’t the point here. Most clients prioritise new customers.

I’m going to give you therefore 7 very simple tips which while being pretty obvious, will make the process of acquiring new customers significantly easier.

small business marketing delivers new customers

1. Identify your niche audiences

The key to marketing is relevance. Marketing will only be successful if it is totally relevant to the people consuming it.

It’s therefore vital that you identify a number of niche audiences as closely as possible so that your marketing talks to them directly.

2. Use a variety of marketing channels

Different people like to receive information in different ways and from different sources. Many businesses use one or two ways of communicating and leave it at that. The problem with this is that if your audience don’t use these channels much or if these channels stop working for some reason then you’re in trouble.

Smart marketers use multiple channels (10 or more) with each channel supporting and backing up the other ones.

With traditional and digital media together there are now more channels available to us(many of which are now free) than ever before.

3. Use a CRM (customer relationship management) system

You need to be able to keep track of all your prospects and to keep a record of all contacts and actions. The most basic way is just to use Excel but this is very basic and has no clever functionality.

There are plenty of CRM systems such as Act or Goldmine which are very sophisticated and will help ensure that maximise your customer and prospect contacts

4. Provide helpful educational information

The more you give out to the market, the more you will get back.

By providing interesting and informative information to the market, you position yourself as an expert and start building relationships with your prospects.

5. Have more conversations with more people

The more people you talk to, both face to face and on line, the more business you’re going to do.

Login to your chosen online networking / social media platforms every day and ask questions, answer questions and provide input and feedback.

6. React quickly to sales enquiries and always follow-up

Speed of response is always impressive. If you do a good job at the very first contact, the prospect will have a positive impression of you from the start.

It always amazes me how many people fail to follow up an enquiry or lead. A while back I phoned four carpenters when I wanted a bookcase made. Only one actually called me back. You also need perseverance. You’re not going to get through to the relevant person on the first call. It may need 5 calls or maybe more. Stick in there.

7. Measure your results.

If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not you won’t know where to invest your money for maximum return.

You have to know where your money is generating a profit and where you’re simply losing money.

, , , , , ,

Five Rules on How Not to Use Social Media

I recently read this blog from Marketing Profs and agreed with all the points. So much so that I thought I would reproduce it word for word.

So with full acknowledgment to Marketing Profs………………

Social media is a very powerful thing, but like any powerful thing it can wreak havoc if misused or misdirected. First of all, always remember that social media is built around being social.

Being personable, honest, and entertaining is the best way to get users to interact with and about a business. You want users to trust and be entertained by your company, product, slogan, or marketing campaign, so then they turn around and do the rest of the buzz work for you.

The five rules that follow are fundamental to building users’ trust, interesting them in your business, and getting them to talk among themselves about it.

Rule No. 1: Don’t be dishonest

Most of us have been taken in by a false post a time or two. Discovering our credulity, we felt embarrassed and disappointed, and in response developed an acute awareness of duplicity: We are on the lookout for it, and we hate it when we see it. Overtly dishonest posts, comments, and reviews that are thinly disguised promotions… we don’t like them and our customers don’t either, so just don’t go there.

The flipside of this distaste for fakery is that Internet users appreciate straightforwardness and honesty. So rather than respond to a negative review with fake positive reviews, publicly respond to the reviewer. Offer her discounts or a way to fix the problem, and you might win over a vocal customer who can potentially do far better work for you than any PR department or reputation manager.

Rule No. 2: Don’t be annoying

Remember the chain emails of the early 2000s? Sure, those things went viral quickly, but nobody appreciated them. In the same way that you don’t lob useless information or advertisements at your customers’ inboxes, don’t spam their Twitters with less-than-brilliant blog posts or promotions. If you focus on making your promotional content engaging, Internet users will do most of the promoting for you.

Look around to see what promotional techniques other companies are using to get users talking. A popular tactic these days, for instance, is to give away a free service. What service could your business give away that would likely interest those who subscribe to your Twitter feed or who have “Liked” you on Facebook? A generous promotion builds trust and loyalty with users, and can be a great way to get them talking about your site with friends.

Rule No. 3: Don’t fight the nature of the Internet

Promoting a product or a service online is a tricky business, as piracy, theft, and sharing are rife. If your product or service is threatened by the openness of the Internet, then try a different approach.

Look at how the music industry has responded to the widespread availability of free music. Musicians have shifted their emphasis to live shows and even give their recorded music away for free, in an effort to gain a following and get their name and their sound out in the world. They depend on their fans to talk them up on social media and get people to their live shows.

Think about it: Many of the biggest companies online—including names like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and Pandora—offer their services for free. Is there a way you can make money by offering a free service? See where you can adapt your business to fit to this new model.

Rule No. 4: Don’t think social media will solve all your problems

Social media is merely one tool for a business. A great one, to be sure: it can be used for advertising, for gathering customer feedback, for getting your brand out there, and more.

But it works best in concert with other efforts. Consumers will get tired of your products and services if you simply keep promoting the same ones. So encourage creativity in all parts of your business—product enhancements, new products, new ways to provide a service, new markets—then use social media to promote all that is fresh and exciting about your offerings.

Rule No. 5: Don’t treat each new social media sensation as the Holy Grail

Of course, it’s great to have as many promotional outlets as you can, but the risk is that you grab more than you can really handle and let one or two fall by the wayside, doing damage to your image as an active, living, customer-focused company.

The other danger is running after each social media fad of the moment. Focus on what works and then pick up new channels deliberatively, after you figure out how best to use each new one.

Remember that users of social media want to interact with people, and they all have their own motives and goals (whether that’s to impress their friends or find a job). If business professionals and marketers can remember those two fundamentals, plus the social media Golden Rule—to treat their users as they themselves would like to be treated–they will be well on their way to making social media work for them.

, , ,

Social Networking – The 21st Century Twist on Small Business Marketing

I was very surprised a couple of weeks ago as I was listening to a social media “guru” who was expounding his strategy about using Twitter.

He was using technology very cleverly. He had about 15 different Twitter accounts all with their own following so that he had over 14000 followers. All his accounts were linked so every tweet went to every account and so was put in front of his very sizeable audience.

All very clever but to my surprise he never once mentioned the concept of interaction – actually having conversations with and developing relationships with other Twitterers.

Now whether this guy is generating business via Twitter I don’t know. He implied that he was but who knows.

The Secret’s In The Name

Surely the secret to Twitter and other social networks lies in the name.

Social networking.

I always refer to Twitter as being like traditional networking but without having to get up early.

If you meet someone at a networking event and they are all “send and no receive” ie they talk a lot but don’t listen and interact, you are unlikely to feel drawn to that individual. We all know that people do business with people they like and to develop a friendly relationship you will have to have had a number of two way conversations. In those conversations you will decide that you like the other person and he will have demonstrated his competence and expertise in his specialist area.

At this stage you may consider doing business together.

To my mind this “guru” is missing the point. While he’s harnessing  the technological side very cleverly, he’s missing the human side, the social side. He’s using it exclusively as an advertising medium and while blatant self promotion is of course part and parcel of Twitter it shouldn’t be the only part of it.