Social media: Great for business, but beware of the pitfalls
Here's a rundown of some social media pitfalls and gotchas that keep managers awake at night. Know what you need to watch for to get the best out of your use of social media and keep your brand out of trouble. Example: Not "listening" in all the places where conversations about your brand occur risks missing crucial information, good and bad. If you're going to use social media, it's not enough to watch the most visible places. The good news is that there are cost-effective, efficient solutions for social media monitoring.
Facebook Offers and online ordering boost sales
Facebook Offers now gives businesses, especially restaurants, a platform to feature special deals on their business page and get them into their fans' feeds. Facebook Offers also can be turned into "sponsored stories" and Facebook ads (which are not free, but are effective at getting new fans). Online ordering directly from the Facebook brand page is a winner for many businesses. Page fans appreciate the convenience of placing orders without having to leave Facebook for a different website. It's perfect for restaurants, but all kinds of businesses can find customer-pleasing uses for this tool.
Jamba signs on to use PayPal for cellphone purchases
PayPal is one of the contenders for the huge potential market for customer payments by cellphone at a retail business's point of purchase. Jamba Juice is one of the 15 merchants that recently made deals with PayPal to offer the service. Cellphone purchasing is expected to attract shoppers, provide merchants with rich information about their customers, and reduce costs associated with credit card processing. Jamba has also been working with Google Wallet, Google's entry into the burgeoning cellphone purchasing market.
Social sharing buttons help spread the word about your brand
Ever wonder what those social sharing buttons that you see on websites and blogs are for? They're an effective way for people interested in your brand and content to share their interest with their friends and networks. And people definitely do share: many marketers find social sharing buttons to be one of their most important sources of online referrals. This infographic shows the various choices, and helps you decide which are right for your brand.
"Who are those guys?"
(Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969) Marketing personas are profiles of prospects and customers that businesses create to help understand the different segments of their markets. The technique consists in creating profiles of imaginary individuals who personify a particular group of customers or prospects the business is working with or is interested in attracting. Good personas have names, back stories, and even photos of an individual to help in understanding what the people they personify need and how to offer it to them. Here's an introduction to the aspects of social media use relevant to the creation of useful marketing personas for your brand.
Big brands embrace Facebook Timeline
Ford, Best Buy, and Target are among the big corporate names using the new Timeline interface on their Facebook business pages. Best Buy entertains its customers with games, music, and video. Target offers planning and collaboration with custom applications, and online chat make Target's page a winner for its Fans. Ford takes advantage of Timeline to create posts going all the way back to 1903, using its rich history to engage fans of the page. Need some ideas about how to use Timeline on your Brand Page? Start here.
LinkedIn: "Companies don't give you business - people do."
(Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn) LinkedIn now has more than 161 million members. Many miss the opportunities LinkedIn provides for connecting one-to-one with other business professionals. LinkedIn connections can be the people who help you build your business with referrals and introductions. They can become customers, serve as mentors, and provide timely information. Here are 10 tips for using LinkedIn more effectively. All the techniques introduced in this piece are available free to any LinkedIn user (you don't need a premium account to take advantage of them).
Pinterest drives more online sales than any other network
Now the third most popular social media network in the U.S. after Facebook and Twitter, and having passed LinkedIn, Pinterest shines at driving traffic that results in actual sales. People coming from Pinterest spend 10% more than buyers coming from other networks. This figure comes from Shopify, one of today's most successful e-commerce platforms. Shopify also reports that the average sale to buyers coming from Pinterest is $80, while orders coming from Facebook average only $40.
Twitter's growth in mobile and with Millennials
Twitter is growing: 15% of online adults use Twitter, 8% of them daily. Twitter users are young (twice as many 18- to 29-year-olds use Twitter as the next cohort, 30- to 49-year-olds), urban, and more likely to be African-American or Hispanic. Twitter is heavily associated with mobile use, too. As smartphone ownership grows, the Millennial generation becomes more important to marketers, and as non-white Americans become an ever-larger segment of the population, Twitter will be an important channel for brand communication with these growing demographic groups.
Five viral videos
Having a look at what's trending in video is a good idea for anyone interested in using video for marketing. The Samsung Smart TV video got nearly 4 million views in one week. DC Shoes and Paintball Warfare will certainly appeal to a young, male demographic. Don't miss the quirky, exquisite Prada video with Sir Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter, directed by Roman Polanski. Adding a few inexpensive stylistic touches for a heightened look and feel to your marketing videos can go a long way.
Google Ads for small businesses
Small businesses spend more than $20 billion each year on marketing, and Google is rolling out new services that it hopes will capture some of those small-business dollars. New features in the Google+ social media platform and a streamlined version of Adwords called Adwords Express are two of the new offerings coming online now.
Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to"). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mas, he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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