Are You Developing Your Social Media Strategy?

Another rainy Friday morning in Los Angeles! We began this one with the first out of a series of implementation courses by The Art of Online Marketing and Rachel Perlmutter.

Equipping Your Marketing Tool Belt
From the beginning, a very important point was made and that is: social media is just another marketing channel. Think about social media tactics as another marketing tool. Like other traditional channels, this means that you need to set a strategy in order to realize your goals. A big mistake many make is that they get too caught up in social media without realizing any success. Friends and fans mean nothing if they can’t be translated into real life.

Your Virtual Reputation
Next, when you’re present on social media sites, how do you portray yourself? Do you have a professional picture? Are you comfortable with this picture and profile representing your brand? An easy way to think about this is to think about how you behave at an actual networking event. You want to be friendly and make small talk before pushing your business cards into other people’s faces. At the same time, be wary of the people you meet and see if they are actually interested in providing you with value.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Many may get caught up in the social media marketing hype because it’s “free”. But remember, your time is certainly not free! Self and time management will help make your time spent on social media sites more effective and efficient. Rachel suggests taking an hour or so out of the day dedicated to your social media activities. Who really spends hours on end on Twitter? Except for the Twitterholics, most people will want to break up their time spent into 10 minute blocks. Sounds like great advice for those who don’t want to waste their time.

Just Attended: Social Media Club

Last night, we braved the rain and made it to join, “Social Media: Getting it Right in 2010”, with the Social Media Club of San Gabriel Valley. Moderated by Sally Falkow, the panelists included: Dana Chinn, James Macpherson. and Jessica Gottlieb. With good people and good fudge, what more could we ask for?

In about 2 hours, a wide array of topics were covered. It started out with what’s changed in the media. Nowadays, you small businesses can take advantage of bloggers to monitor your brand and listen to what customers want. No doubt, the theme of the night was to measure your efforts and adjust accordingly. Just because we’re talking about social media marketing, doesn’t mean that you should throw the basics of marketing out the window!

Useful Tips and Takeaways
– When it comes to social media, you don’t necessarily need to be everywhere. Utilize the right platforms that will work with your overall goals.
– Make use of location-based review sites: Foursquare and Yelp. Listen and be nice to your customers!
– Don’t forget to be engaging. Leave comments and interact with your fans and friends frequently.
– Communicate your passion. Chances are, there are many readers out there who share your enthusiasm for certain topics. Even if they don’t, your excitement is a great way to bring them in.

All in all, it was a fun and informative night. Looking forward to more of them in the future!

Effective Copywriting for Web 2.0

I recently read a magazine article describing the profession of copywriting as “sexy.” After giggling for half a second, it dawned on me that “sexy” was just the right word to use. Copywriters, through the power of the written word, are responsible for “seducing” their audience. They have the fun, yet daunting, task of generating interest and then developing that interest to lead to some sort of fruitful relationship, not unlike the dating world. And, just like the dating game, the rules have changed.

The more information that technology makes readily available to consumers, the less time these consumers have to spend on any one particular product, service or idea. The attention span of the average web user has steadily decreased as the barrage of online information continues to overwhelm human senses. With this in mind, the web copywriter must truly embrace the concept of “less is more.” Relevance and credibility are still important principles to keep in mind when writing content, but Web 2.0 consumers now want relevance and credibility…in cliff notes format. A great example of this trend is the micro-blogging phenom, Twitter. Twitter’s popularity and success is a smack-in-the-face realization that web users’ tolerance for information has been Mini-Me-ed down to 140 characters!

With that said, here are some key guidelines for downsizing a seven-course meal of content into a snack-size bar without losing the essentials:

1. Listen to data: Conduct A/B testing on different versions of headlines to determine which works best.
2. Waste not, fluff not: Don’t make claims you can’t support. Consumers can smell a phony sales pitch a mile away!
3. Forget “short and sweet”: Just keep it short. Jargon, hype, gimmicks are all unnecessary sugar-coating. Give them what they want to know.
4. Know your audience: This one seems obvious, but is worth repeating. Write copy that speaks in a voice that your target market, not only understands, but listens to.
5. Format for easy reading: Use headlines, sub headlines, short paragraphs, lists, and an eighth-grade reading level. Have your 13-year-old read the copy. If he/she doesn’t “get it” by the time their attention is lost to a new YouTube video, it’s time to rewrite!

Twitter for Customer Service Success

Do What Now?

From shameless self-promotion to broadcasting tweets about everyday things, there is no doubt Twitter is a place to be social. But, what about turning to Twitter as a way to promote good customer service? This is exactly what some companies, like Best Buy, are doing as a way to extend their customer service efforts. It may sound silly or confusing but in the end, it makes sense. Twitter and other social media platforms are attracting your customers, so why would you ignore this segment? With a team of technology pros, Best Buy’s Twelpforce is readily available to assist consumers with any questions and give advice that can help them with pending decisions. Best Buy has even invested in numerous TV spots to help spread the word of their Twelpforce.

Strengthening Your Weak Areas

Some commend Best Buy for their breakthrough marketing and customer service efforts, as they will surely set an example for others to follow. But this idea did not arise from nowhere, as Best Buy has been lacking in the customer service department in the past. Just Google “Best Buy customer service” and you won’t be surprised to find these gems: “Best Buy, worst customer service”, “Best Buy Customer Service is a Joke!”, “Best Buy Embraces the Suck” and more. This is not what any company or individual wants to hear. By utilizing new social media potential to create powerful tactics, Best Buy has found an effective way to strengthen their weaknesses.

A New Trend for 2010

According to the Harvard Business blog, customer service via Twitter is a trend to look out for in 2010. It’s a mutually beneficial plan as businesses will benefit from a cost effective measure that will leave their customers happy when they get the help that they need. Additionally, Best Buy’s Twelpforce is a unique way to build their brand. Their Twitter account is decked out in the signature blue and yellow with a sea of smiling employees. If that isn’t an image that a successful corporation wants to convey, I don’t know what is! Although the Twelpforce is not yet a year old, I think that Best Buy is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to nurturing passionate employees and gaining loyal customers.

Tweet for Tat

Social Media” are the buzz words of 2009. What used to be the online playground of undergrads pulling all-nighters in their college dorms, has now turned into a marketing phenomenon for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike.

However, what a lot of professionals with decades of marketing experience tend to forget when dealing with social media platforms is that they are “SOCIAL” media platforms – arenas to engage other users and build relationships. Meaning, you can’t create an account on Twitter, sign in once a month, and expect to see results. Remember, it takes two to tango, and posting tweets for your business without bothering to read, follow and interact with other users is tantamount to lecturing your teenagers while they’re playing Guitar Hero World Tour on Wii. Futile.

According to a study conducted by MarketingSherpa research, nearly two-thirds of marketers do not monitor their social media accounts. Think of all the missed opportunities to join conversations, learn what potential clients (or competitors) are saying, and to just get the word out there that your company exists! Behave in social media communities the way you would normally behave in live, face-to-face interactions: be interesting, don’t talk only about yourself, ask questions, be a source of useful information, have a genuine interest.

Not only will your fellow Twitterers appreciate the valuable content you contribute and feedback you provide, but you’ll soon find that your company is well on its way to achieving its social media marketing goals.

What is Twitter?

At nearly three years old, Twitter is not new to the Internet world. Many individuals may not be familiar with the concept of tweeting and find themselves asking, “What is Twitter?”. This video accurately sums up how the social networking service works in very simple terms. Having heard so much about it, it’s refreshing to understand what makes Twitter attractive to such diverse segments of Internet users. Initially, Twitter really took off with working adults who like to stay connected to friends, colleagues, and peers. Nowadays, teenagers to people under 35 are also getting their tweet on.

Twitter has the advantage over other social networking sites because it is well-organized system, yet maintains a sense of informality which makes it so appealing. In September 2009 alone, Twitter received over 23 million unique visitors. So, why are so many people boarding the Twitter train? It’s always nice to hear updates from friends or acquaintances that we don’t see so often. What about news from celebrities, politicians, and even your favorite products? Twitter is a unique place where we can get all that and more in just one place.

Between catching up with text messages, emails, and blogs, Twitter posts are a 140 character package to fill in the void. The average visitor stays on Twitter for about seven minutes and that’s all you need to stay connected while doing everyday things. Twitter is about more than just tweeting what you had for lunch. It is a social phenomenon because users share interesting things that they encounter during the day with the people that they care about. Even when it’s sharing with strangers, Twitter tools allow you to create a bond that would have never happened otherwise. You may also learn new things about people and the tidbits are sure to brighten your day. So, if you’re looking for a social networking site that is simple and sweet, tweeting is the way to go!

A Social Media Mix for Politics

Is This It?

Years ago, marketing experts predicted that social networking sites would be the next big thing when it comes to politics. It is safe to say that we are now of that age. In the booming era of social networking, politicians are concentrating their efforts on websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. You may know that Governor Schwarzenegger has a Twitter account, but are you a fan of your local congressman on Facebook? Social media sites are popular because they are user friendly and people like using them to keep up with the latest news. Politicians are experimenting with all sorts of mediums in order to reach their audience and their efforts are paying off.

Spreading the Word

We have seen how social media has changed the tactics of politicians. Viral videos circulate the internet praising striking speeches and mocking officials at the slightest misstep. Smart politicians are adapting to these new changes and using the internet to their advantage. Getting the interactive audience involved is an important aspect of social media and getting creative doesn’t hurt. Turning to a popular site like Flickr is a sensible alternative. There is even a political photo pool among many others. Blatantly asking for e-mail addresses is unlikely to work, but what about asking them to vote for your campaign theme song? In this modern age, it still pays to be different from your competitors and offer the public something new.

Raising Important Matters

Social media sites are not just for entertainment but are useful in raising important issues. Ever since its inception in 1990, Rock the Vote, has integrated online strategies to reach young voters. The non-partisan organization stresses the importance of voting and educating the public about politics. In recent light of the economic situation, awareness of a helpful government plan such as Making Home Affordable, would benefit citizens. Many people don’t know about this option and may be deceived by local refinancing companies. When it comes to informing the community about important political issues, it never hurts to have more options. From providing voting information to useful resources through social media sites, politicians as well as the general public can both benefit.

Using Twitter to Achieve a Higher Search Ranking

It can be difficult to fully recognize the potential of Twitter as a useful advertising tool. So, how do you know if you’re doing it right? Take e-commerce company Zappos, as a good example. Zappos effectively utilizes Twitter by establishing a microsite, twitter.Zappos.com. The site obviously also links to Zappos’ site, but more interestingly links to the CEO’s Twitter account and even features employee tweets.
twitter-of-the-day_1248821387171
Many companies use Twitter, but what makes Zappos different? Their CEO, Tony Hsieh, tweets on a whole variety of topics. Ranging from business advice, occasionally promoting his business, and even humorous updates, such as “Calling a children’s word game “hangman” just seems plain wrong”. They should invent a more humane game, like “lethal injection””.  Sometimes, it is really refreshing to see a corporate Twitter account actually be social! Users are drawn to this because it shows that a CEO understands the use of Twitter as a social media utility and is not only using the account for the sole purpose of gaining sales. Zappos has gained followers, received positive publicity, and gained exposure by being featured on sites such as Twitter of the Day.

The success of Zappos’ Twitter site has resulted in their achievement of a higher search ranking. However, there is still argument on how you can really tell if the traffic driven is accurately measured as a direct result of the Twitter account. Nevertheless, studies have shown that you get the best results when both your paid and organic search works in unison. A recent study found that you can get up to a 20% increase in clicks on your natural listing if you have a paid ad near it. Not surprisingly, the study also showed that if you show up on paid and organic search, your number one ranking gets 20% more clicks. In the end, it is important to learn from Zappo’s social approach to gaining more clicks and to think about synergizing your paid and organic search efforts to get the best results.

Twitter Overloaded & Hacked

Well Twitter must be growing considerably in the last few weeks. I’ve gotten the below screen a few times in the last few days. It’s only up for a few seconds at this point and when I refresh my browser its working properly. I recently saw Twitter being used on CNN for a news program the other day where Tweets were being streamed in real time below the news anchor. I believe they must be screening what’s showing up on national TV though. The Twitter stream was actually for the CNN reporter. And of course McCain and Obama used Twitter in their campaigns. I believe Obama is still the number one user in Twitter with over 100k in followers. I actually just tried to pull the Twitter page for Barack Obama up and received another error which is also pasted below. Twitter must be experiencing some serious growth pains. I actually just found out that some hackers were able to hack into Barack Obama, Britney Spears, and Fox News personal Twitter accounts along with 33 other high profile people. Twitter has also had problems unrelated to this latest attack a few days ago with hackers sending out phishing tweets to get users to click links to enter in personal information to win free prizes. Click here to read the full article. I’m sure Twitter will continue to be tested as it grows in 2009. Stay tuned for more Twitter news!

Twitter Overload Error
Twitter Overload Error
Twitter Error for Barak Obama Page
Twitter Error for Barak Obama Page

Twitter Buzz!

Well I contine to here more about Twitter and have started to get caught up in the buzz myself. As of this writing we have 518 followers and are following 2,000.  In short, for you newbies out there that haven’t started tweeting, Twitter is a live way to follow other companies/individuals and also a way for yourself to update people following you with short blurbs (140 characters or less). We have actually hit a cap with the amount of companies/people we can follow. There’s nothing about this as far as I can tell on the Twitter site but after digging around online a bit I found that we have to increase our followers in order to follow more. I’m not sure exactly how many more followers we have to have but it’s a little frustrating at this point since I’m continuing to come across others I’d like to add to our company twitter profile. After reading a great article by Guy Kawasaki who we follow on Twitter, How To Use Twitter as Twool (a must read if you’re interested in Twitter), I was compelled to setup a twitter account for my name as well so I can start gathering a following and following others with my name, Matt Ramage (Click my name if you’d like to follow me!). This was just setup last night so no jokes on how I have no followers at the moment. Guy, in case you don’t know, is a successful author/blogger who has a huge following on Twitter! Over 41k following him at this moment. Guy also runs an online magazine I just discovered yesterday called Alltop which is basically a huge RSS feed of resources from various magazines.

Back to the Twitter buzz! Sites are now poping up to provide various services to enhance your Twitter experience. You can read about the main ones if you click the article that Guy wrote above. There are stand alone applications and also extensions you can add to your browser to help with notifications, managing multiple twitter profiles, reading twitts, and much more. emarketed has also setup a stand alone Twitter feed blog using WordPress and twitter feed so that every time we update twitter our blog gets posted to with fresh content for the search engines. We also have this same feed working off this blog so that everytime we post to our search marketing blog it will post on Twitter with a link to our new blog post. Well that’s it for now on Twitter. I’ll let Guy show you some other helpful Twitter Tips!

If you found this blog post helpful please start following us on Twitter by clicking here or inviting your friends to follow us if you’re already an emarketed follower.

Here’s one last resource that I believe I’ve posted before but it has over 140 different Twitter tools! Click here to view this resource.