Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

“This is it! This is the answer. It says here… that a bolt of lightning is going to strike the clock tower at precisely 10:04pm, next Saturday night! If… If we could somehow… harness this lightning… channel it… into the flux capacitor… it just might work. Next Saturday night, we’re sending you back to the future!” That’s right, folks. We are headed to the future, the future of social media that is. Even Dr. Emmett Brown doesn’t know what is in store.

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“So wait, you’re telling me you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?” What are we going to find when going 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!

Videos. It looks like micro-videos are going to blow up. As we all know, millennials love images and interactive content. What will be the next best 10 second video?

Content Marketing. Social media platforms continue to become less of an afterthought and more in the forefront of marketers mind, consumers will continue to see more brand engaging content. Their sole purpose will be turning thoughts into things, to drive continuous and measurable brand engagement.

Mobile optimization. Mobile access is a big step towards the future. Wearable and portable devices allowing us to be constantly connected are far from science fiction. Additionally, voice controlled devices will become increasingly common.

Communication. Similar to Marty Mcfly’s experience, the future of social media may hold some familiar trends. Marketers will always be attempting to sift through the noise. Consumers will continue to pick up trends and drop them just as quickly, making life for marketers just as fast paced. Methods of reaching consumers may change, but efforts to communicate ,engage and build distinct relationships will not.

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A wise time traveler once said “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

Brooke

Restaurant Social Media Marketing

It is finally Friday night! TGIF, right? You and your bros, or gal pals, are in dire need of a wild night on the town. There are two new happenin’ places downtown and your friends are torn. Margret said she heard from coworkers that one place has a great ladies night special. Carl is boasting about the dance floor scene at the alternative location.  What do you choose? Your instincts tell you to check social media for reviews and possible promotional content.

For restaurant owners or managers, social media should be nearing the top of the list as a strategic communications tool. But, there are so many voices on social media. How can restaurants utilize social media platforms to directly increase in customers?

First thing is first – know your customer. As with any strategic communication tool, the marketer needs to know what the target group of individuals desires. If the restaurant is a dive bar and grill with great drink specials, speak to consumers on social media searching for a Friday night hang out.

Use multiple platforms. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are three popular social media sites. Important and necessary, yes. But, these sites are not the only places target audiences are located. According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly 79 percent of diners are using Yelp to read reviews and suggestions about restaurants. 4 out of 5 diners are using TripAdvisor to decide where to eat. As mentioned before, know the consumer and their needs.

Be visual. By using photos and hashtags,  a social media platform can improve greatly. According to Wishpond, posts with visual aspects increase views by 94 percent. Consumers are 60 percent more likely to view a business’ page if the post includes a photo.  Additionally, using hashtags can increase brand recognition as well as search engine optimization.

Social media is a vital tool for communication. Both listening to and engaging with consumers improves relationships with consumers. Individuals across the nation and around the world develop a bond with a restaurant, the food and even the staff. By strategically communicating with past, current and potential cliental, a restaurant is catering to their needs (ba-dum-pss).

Brooke Todd

Why and How Social Media Provides Crisis Management.

It is no surprise social media can be the direct cause of a crisis. Believe it or not, however, social media can be an exceptional tool for crisis management.

Many platforms extend an option for users to provide feedback. However, a vast majority of social media users are utilizing platforms to listen. This enables a great opportunity for businesses to speak to users and consumers during a crisis.

One unique example of crisis management via social media is utilizing multiple platforms for crisis communication on a college campus. Jimmy Daly in Ed Tech magazine writes about the importance of speaking to students through channels that are available and relevant to their needs; social media. Fordham University, for example, chose to use Facebook and Twitter as a point of access for students due to the loss of power resulting in no email access.

According to Ed Tech, 96 percent of universities actively use Facebook and 80 percent are actively using a Twitter account. 85 percent of those universities have a readily available crisis communication plan but only 59 percent include social media in the plan. Why?

In order to successfully implement social media in a crisis communication plan a business or school must take the following action:

Select and implement a social media monitoring system. Sysomos’s Heartbeat is a real-time monitoring and measurement tool; this is one example of the many monitoring system available.

Develop a social media plan.

Implement the social media plan.

Make the plan synonymous with social media platforms.

After taking these steps, it is important to remain consistent throughout, have a plan (one can never be too prepared!) and listen to your audience.

Brooke Todd

Discussion boards: online focus groups

Qualitative bulletin boards or bulletin board focus groups are an online forum for a targeted group of individuals. The boards have a moderator, administrator and are comprised of online communities, just like general discussion boards.

Organizations that specialize in qualitative assessments of consumers’ attitudes and perceptions offer focus group sessions entirely web based. Online forums extend for 3 to 4 days offering researchers insight in a short time. Participants share their thoughts in great detail revealing high levels of emotion that surpasses traditional focus groups. Forums provide participants with questionnaires that require open ended data therefore providing qualitative information. Researches use multiple forms of marketing materials such as print video and audio for users to fully understand the products.

Pros

Many researchers claim there are many benefits to conducting market research online. Some include:

  • lower cost
  • faster turnaround time
  • respondents increase openness when they do not have an interviewer staring them in the face
  • loss of geographical barriers
  • attract hard to reach participants
  • completely anonymous
    • detailed data
  • reduce chance for visual biases
  • instant, communication between participants and moderator

Cons

However, there are some drawbacks involved in using online focus groups.

  • poor results due to non face-to-face interaction
  • difficulty creating real world dynamic
  • lack of security
  • moderator unsure if participants are giving full attention to the computer screen
  • external distractions

Given that there are both strengths and weaknesses to both methods of conducting a focus group, many organizations have begun conducting  market research online. One notable instance when an individual conducted online market research by utilizing Facebook to create an online focus group provided to be beneficial. Read more here.

Brooke

Microblogging: B2B Marketing on Twitter

Marketing a product or service on Twitter for the consumer is a common concept. Business to business marketing, however, is an exciting world many of us hear little about. Tactically, the two are similar. Foxtail Marketing share three significant differences between B2C and B2B marketing on social media. b2b twitterPurchasing motivation. Offering a product or service on social media can be difficult, especially in 140 characters. When creating B2B content it is important to establish leadership in the area of expertise. An organization in search of a specific product or service is looking for practical need as opposed to a gut feeling purchase. By becoming a thought leader and expert, organization’s will recommend your name when asked for a quality suggestion.

Additionally, as with any form of marketing, get to know your audience. If the targeted organization has a personality, offer them a similar personality through your chosen platform. Through this, one can begin to establish a relationship. Which brings me to my next point.

length of marketing period for a B2B market is significantly different from B2C marketing. A organization can instill a “fear of loss” within their consumers by offer a limited time only product or service. However, simply because an offer is made to an organization doesn’t mean the timing for a purchase is right. Organizations with strong B2B relationships have taken time and consistent engagement. This process requires patience and a true understanding of the targeted audience.

Win-Win Negotiations

Author and small business expert Frank Sonnenburg emphasizes the importance of true relationships in a business model. One specific aspect of successful business relationships Frank discusses is transparent and honest communication. One way to do this is by using Twitter and other social media platforms to speak to your audience.

Delivery methods. B2B marketing must be direct. Traditional media will not speak to your audience. That’s where Twitter comes in. Utilize the platform and tailor message to be exactly what the organizations need. The need is already out there, you simply must fulfill it. Know your competitors and listen to what they are saying about you.

So, in conclusion, build relationships, be a good listener and provide a practical benefit(s) for an organization through Twitter.

Check out these successful B2B marketing Twitter accounts.

Brooke

Image Marketing via Snapchat

When a marketer thinks of photo sharing, the first platform to come to mind may not be Snapchat. Instead, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Of course, these platforms are at the forefront of the brain for good reason.

According to a study done in January 2015, more than 75 million people use Instagram, 890 million people use Facebook and nearly 100 million people use Twitter, daily. Can you believe that? What an incredible tool markers have.

But, what about Snapchat?

Oh, but it is already happening Regina. Since launching in September 2011, there are nearly 400 million Snapchats sent every day. This tool is a marketing strategy that should not be ignored.

So, how can you take part in using Snapchat as a social media marketing tool?

Know your public. Like all strategic communications plans, it is important to begin with researching your public. Snapchat is commonly used for sharing pictures or videos of daily activities with friends. The majority of the time, people are not approaching the photos in a professional manner. Keep that in mind when developing content. Be relevant to your audience.

Know the limits. And use them to your advantage. The maximum amount of time an image or video can appear is 10 seconds. This is an opportunity for teasers. Keep your audience coming back for more; be creative and think outside of your comfort zone. Snapchat is the perfect location for engagement. Allow members of your intended audience to add you on Snapchat. Give the opportunity for potential consumers to create a relationship with the organization.

Live your story. We live in a world full of visual consumers. When a member of your audience can see what your story is, they are more likely to invest. What is a “story” you ask? Seth Gobin explains in his book “All Marketers are Liars” that a story is an idea or experience a consumer expects when he or she purchase a product or service. “Stories make the world easier to understand.” Gobin encourages marketers to live the organization’s story; make it authentic. Snapchat is one place marketers can do this. By putting a face or an image to a product or service an organization then has the beginnings of a personality. This generates interest and conversation; the next best thing to a purchase.

Be clear in your strategy; consistency is key. Just as with any other social media platform, your posts are forever, even in under 10 seconds.

Brooke Todd

Good evening America. Tonight’s top story: Article Marketing

There was a time, a time before cable. When the local anchorman reigned supreme. When people believed everything they heard on TV… But, that was 70’s. It’s 2015, and article marketing is fresh and exciting. Don’t worry, you can still wear sex panther cologne and a quasi-European suit with extra flare pants.

A scene from "Anchorman"Don’t act like you’re not impressed. In order to begin article marketing, much like the start of any other marketing strategy, you must first identify the niche market. Decide what topic your content will provide information about and what specific group of individuals will benefit from the content. Creating subgroups of individuals to market creates a greater opportunity to gain a following. As they say “trying to speak to everyone, speaks to no one.”

The human torch was denied a bank loan. One of the most important steps in creating a successful article is choosing a good title. Readers typically decide whether or not they are going to proceed with reading the article after reading the title. A successful title is descriptive, and should evoke a question the reader would like to have answered. For instance, what is a human torch? Place keywords in the beginning of the title and use high search key terms to factor SEO into your marketing strategy. Offer the readers a promise to deliver quality content.

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They’ve done studies, you know. 60 percent of the time, it works every time. Delivered through content.  The marketing will only be as efficient as the articles themselves. The article can be constructed similar to a press release; use proper grammar and punctuation. Place supporting statements in the body to support opening statements. Most company articles open with a bio pertaining to the company or relative topic. Close the article with a link to your website to improve the site’s SEO.

Baxter, is that you? Baxter! Bark twice if you’re in Milwaukee. Article distribution can determine the readership. In addition to strategically placing articles throughout a company’s website, marketers can contribute articles to article directories. Marketers typically favor directories that do not have a “no follow” column to avoid being blocked from search engine word association. There is an unlimited number of article directories available for contribution. A few of the most popular  directories with a high traffic rank (TR) include Seeking Alpha (breaking news, opinions and analysis on stock exchange), Hubpages (anything from art to travel) and Technorati (technology).

Share your articles on social networking sites. Remember quality and quantity are equally as important when writing an article.  Be thorough when determine the niche group and distribution.

As always, stay classy.

Brooke Todd