Your Small Social Business Strategy: The Content Urge

social media content

The year 2012 shows that marketers have an interest in social media marketing that goes beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. According to a study titled “The State of Social Media Marketing”, released by the company Awareness , the top trending area for investment is the one well-known channel: blogs.

It was raised that marketers not only intend to keep investing in social media, but their top areas of investment will be in presence and frequency, which includes the periodicity of content publishing. Ninety-one percent of the surveyed professionals mentioned they will increase the use of blogs. Other popular platforms are: YouTube (86%), Foursquare (59%), SlideShare (43%), Flickr (50%) and Tumblr (30%).

Each of these outlets are useful to drive web traffic and develop a relationship with prospective and current customers. It appears that marketers are valuing monitoring resources, as the report shows that is becoming more urgent to find parties that can offer people and tools to help busy businesses stay on top of all media feeds – with the ability to respond instantly.

The need to create well-tailored and engaging content for every channel was also raised. It is shown that there is an urge to offer something more than games and giveaways on Facebook and Twitter, for example. A “like” or a “follow” are only useful if they can be turned into profit, and this only occurs if the audience engages with the brand. The audience, in its turn, will only engage with the brand if enticed to do so. That is the reason as to why content creation was mentioned by the research participants as one of aspects to be evolved on Social Media.

The survey took place in the US, where 320 marketers were interviewed. Their companies belonged to a diverse range of industries, varying from B2B to B2C, with revenues from less than $ 1 Million (36%) to over $100 Million (15%) and different levels of social marketing experience.

The Websites That Make Small Businesses Smile and Frown

Don't Worry Be Happy

1. Facebook

Half of the entire Australian population – i.e. 10.9 million people who live in the country – is on Facebook. Also, more than half of online Australian consumers  interact with brands on this channel.

However, the same powerful marketing platform can turn into a brand trap if no resources are invested to ensure that messages – especially negative ones – are monitored and responded. After all, Facebook has many settings available to control and minimise spam as well as abuse.

The purpose of a business page on Facebook is to create and maintain a vibrant virtual community, not a void that will keep customers away.

2. NotGoodEnough.com.au (NotGoodEnough.org)

This site is an Australian customer complaints and opinions website. It has more than 60,000 online members that discuss a range of products and services, including retailing and hospitality. The site aims to give its online members the opportunity to share their good and bad experiences. Members also seek information from each other on what to purchase.

All forums at NotGoodEnough.com.au are transparent and there is no editing of critical comments as long as users play within the rules. It also regularly publishes top gripes and top issues along with a similar list of compliments.

3. TrueLocal.com.au

TrueLocal is an Australian local business directory that offers customers the chance to share experiences by submitting their own reviews on any enterprise, which are made public via the homepage and customer newsletter. The right hand side menu is divided in categories, including restaurants and retail. Users can also find “Today’s Local Star review” and deals displayed on the main page.

The website has just below two million monthly users and recorded a growth exceeding 50% in the last year. Good news is that businesses can reply directly to online reviews. Even better, if a business finds a review inappropriate or unfair, the business owner can report the review, which allows TrueLocal to contact the critic to verify any concerning details.

4. Word of Mouth Online (Womo)

The site receives about 1.2 million page views a month and is growing at about 50% a year. It has almost 100,000 members who have submitted 12,000 reviews in the last month. Customers can share both good and bad customer experiences on the Word of Mouth Online site and most reviews are immediately made live without being edited. On the main page, users can promote, review, as well as find the best and worst local businesses. It is also possible to access deals.

If you are looking for assistance in having a positive presence on social media, get in touch with Excite Marketing on 1300 886 177 or via email. We guarantee you results or it’s FREE.

 

 

Reference:

Adapted from Five Websites Your Business Needs To Worry About

Attention Australian Retailers: Going Social Is An ‘EmerGen-C’

Get Connected

To which generation does the connected customer belong? If you believe they are divided in groups according to age, think about it again. The connected customer is stretching demographics, as the difference between them and the ones from the past is the difference in technology development. Introducing Generation C (aka Gen-C), a concept discussed in an article by Brian Solis, having “C” representing “connectedness” and age symbolising just a number.

According to a study published by Nielsen, a global leader in measurement and information of what consumers watch and buy, 89% of Gen Y, 79% of Gen X and 72% of Baby Boomers have accounts on social sites across the world.

Gen-C is connected through different and combined platforms, from smartphones to tablets, embracing the digital lifestyle. It is worth taking the opportunity to mention that tablet computers more than doubled to 18% and forecast to reach 39% of Australian homes by 2013 – information released by the Nielsen Australian Online Report.

Nearly half of online Australians participate in social networking on at least a weekly basis. Still according to the report, close to half of all online Australians browse others’ social networking profiles with the same frequency. Close to one in four online Australians ‘Like’ a brand or organisation in that timeframe as well – by the way, this activity has increased to 57% from 46% in 2010. Also, one in five connect or interact with brands on social networks.

Another factor to be considered is that connected customers are multitaskers across their various screens. It is shown that six in ten online Australians have used Internet while watching TV and more than one third do it daily.

Back to the article published by Brian Solis, “fifty seven percent of smartphone and tablet owners checked email while watching a TV program and 44% visited a social networking site”.

The TV advertisements are not ignored by the connected audience either, as “19% of smarphone and tablet owners searched for product information and 16% looked up coupons or deals while the television was on”. The top websites Gen-C visits while watching TV are Faceook, Youtube, Zynga and Google Search. Twenty nine percent of mobile consumers use their phone for shopping related activities and more than 50% visit deal sites daily.

Most importantly: 27% of male and 22% of female consumers would use their mobile phone to make payments in restaurants and shops if they could.

Be Polite On Social Media: Etiquette Rules for Small Business Owners

ettiquette on social media

You have probably noticed that relating to people is easier if you are honest and polite. The same principles apply when using Social Media, which offer tools for anyone to develop loyal connections leading to business relationships.

Sampling popular articles about mistakes to be avoided on Social Media, I decided to select the best advice concerning behaviour.

Don’t get desperate in case you identify your practices with the ‘no no’ list. Face it as a chance to change, if you wish.

1. Propositioning Strangers

Of course, the more friends and followers you have, the easier it’ll be to spread the gospel of your small business, but asking strangers to be your Facebook friend just so you can pitch them a product or service is a classic obnoxious move.

2. Private Messages

Never, never send marketing info for people via private messages. Not only is that rude, but you may as well be spamming. Besides, if you have something interesting to tell them about your business, your best bet would be posting it to their wall (on Facebook, for example); that way everyone else can see.

3. Share The Love

Always give credit where credit is due. If you mention someone in your blog, tweet or Facebook post, give a link to their site. If someone tweets something nice, thank them and if it’s fantastic, re-tweet it. It is simple, but you would be surprised how few people take the time to be courteous.

4. Airing Bad Feelings

One of the biggest mistakes is airing bad feelings/arguments over sites like Twitter. Ecommerce Shopability Consultant/ Designer, Pamela Hazelton, reports on a LinkedIn Q&A: “I think the biggest mistake is airing bad feelings/arguments over sites like Twitter. I watched a CEO debate rather childishly with a PR guy – going so far as to use derogatory and inappropriate language.”

References:

Adapted from 5 Signs You’re Being Completely Obnoxious With Social Media and LinkedIn Q&A

 

Despite The Consumers Going Social, Australian SME’s Still Very Slow In The Uptake

Social Media Cafe

The North American business Cupcakes A-Go-Go, from Madison, Wisconsin, has been catching media attention – and, consequently, promotion – since it started in October 2009. The common factor that aroused interest of the examiner.com in January 2010 as well as the Wisconsin State Journal in March 2012 was their successful social media marketing strategies.

Back in 2010, Madison Social Media Examiner, Wendy Soucie, interviewed Laura DeVries, co-owner of Cupcake-A-Go-Go, as she found a survey showing that Wisconsin businesses were using social media. According to that study, 87% of respondents claimed awareness of the social media vehicles discussed in the survey and 69% of companies were using some form of social media in their organisation.

To promote her business and generate sales, DeVries – and associate Wade Stewart – were trying to keep expenses low, which is why social media has been playing such a big role in what they are doing. Facebook was – and still is – one of the channels DeVries explores to achieve her goal of driving sales. Before taking the step to move the business forward, she had linked her business group to her personal page. Later, it was changed into a business page as the owners wanted to make the platform more professional and accessible to people.

It seems that the strategy has been working. In 2010, Cupcakes A-Go-Go had 275 Facebook “fans”, according to DeVries, and now they have nearly 4000.

From the Wisconsin State Journal website, Leo Burnett, a Chicago-based advertising agency, said as of March this year that “96% of Americans use social media, while 42% have woven social media into their shopping”.

Nearly three-quarters of all Australians use social media. According to the social media consultancy company, WhiteEcho, retail therapy  is a reason why many people are on social media networks. Australian users read an average of six review blogs before making a purchase, with 36% purchasing a related product and 70% of them completed online. Despite the statistics, only half of all large and medium sized businesses and 15% of small businesses utilise these channels.

Even if it appears that your business needs to engage in virtual communities to maximise a profitable trend, it does not mean you have to jump on board no matter what the circumstances. Your presence on the web requires commitment to content update as well as to your public demands, as this is the key to giving your brand a positive image. It is also essential to select the right channel by research and specific knowledge of your target audience.

You can get in touch with Excite Marketing on 1300 886 177 or via email for a complimentary social media marketing analysis and report valued at $195.

 

Small Business Owners: 5 Tips and Strategies On How To Make Social Media Work For Your Business

Marvin Powell, a small business growth consultant in Washington DC, United States, threw a question on LinkedIn that was answered by 97 people. The result is a compilation of the most common complaints from different experts on mistakes made on Social Media Marketing. The list was published by the website Business Insider and brings 16 pieces of advice. I have summarised some of the content into five tips, adding a personal touch. I believe the following will help your restaurant or retail business to get Social Media right.


1. Keep this in your mind: It is a marathon, not a sprint

Social Media is all about building relationships and this takes time, but is worth it and achievable. The key to make it work is to keep posting regularly and always engage with others. Don’t neglect the practice of advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn for example, which also generates results and profit.

2. Develop a plan and stick to it 

It is important to have a clear strategy around why you are using social media to promote your business, aligned with what you want out of it. Have a clear understanding of the reasons that made you select a certain channel, monitor traffic, investigate, research and give forethought the same way you do in relation to any other new endeavour for your business. Treat it casually and you won’t get consistent results. In the worst case, you might even get reputational and/or brand damage.

3. Learn how to listen

People will be more drawn to you if you listen to what they’re saying, rather than if you force your message upon them. Keep an eye on your brand vice just promoting it in a one-way conversation. If you receive a complaint, action it promptly. This practice allows you to quickly change a negative view into a positive one. “Just think, it can take 20 years to build a business and watch it be destroyed in 20 minutes!”

4. Make it relevant to your audience

Your audience wants to hear things that are valuable for them and their lives. However, don’t make anything too frequent: “I don’t want to incessantly hear about your business. It won’t make me think of you more, it’ll just make me annoyed with you”. So, keep it fresh, short, sweet and valuable.

5. Engage with the audience

If you have a close look at who is successful in Social Media, you’ll realise it’s people who are having fun whilst sharing and interacting. There’s a lot of room for sharing humour, providing motivational quotes and asking for opinions about products or services in your industry. This does get the public talking about your business. The more they talk, the more you earn. Try to offer something for free, as it creates good word-of-mouth and offers you the potential to up-sell.

Get The Message Out There

message in a bottle

The global marketing landscape has shifted towards a more digital focus. The latest research conducted by The Creative Group shows that US companies are accelerating their investment in online channels, both established and

emerging. At the same time, according to reports like the study The Internet Economy in the G-20: The $4.2 Trillion Growth Opportunity, by the Boston Consulting Group, and an article about social media statistics in Australia and New Zealand, published by Econsultancy – Australia is clustered with the US, the UK, France and Germany, in being considered ‘mature’ with respect to the mainstream use of social media.

Despite a population of only 23 million, Internet reaches nearly 80% of Australians, with around 90% using social media networks – ahead of similar-sized, Canada.

The Creative Group report shows that 53% of the respondents expect companies to increase their investment in Facebook this year. They also anticipate that a higher proportion of marketing budgets will be channelled towards Twitter (43%), Google+ (41%), Linkedln (38%) and YouTube (36%).

Each of these outlets are worthwhile inclusions to any marketing strategy for different reasons. However, all of them are useful to drive web traffic, build brand reputation, and develop a relationship with prospective and current customers.

Facebook uses various tools to transmit information. Any business can deliver in-depth content on external broadcast sites and use Facebook to distribute it. Groups and events can be created to bring people together around a brand, as part of promotion and awareness strategies.

Twitter has real-time communication tools that facilitate the instantaneous distribution of news and information. Having a large audience is not essential, as a substantial number of ‘re-tweets’, for example, will get any message out.

‘Like’ it, or not

It happened a couple of weeks ago – the chance to win a special treat from a chef’s hat restaurant. Anyone who ‘shared’ the offer on Facebook, within 72 hours, would go in the running to receive a $100 cocktail degustation for two.

The catch was appealing and the action, easy. However, I wondered why they let such a marketing opportunity go by without asking people to ‘like’ their page as well. It seems the golden goose was in the room and nobody saw it.

[Read more...]

What It Takes to Make Social Media Social

Having a presence on social media channels is a start, and there are other steps that can be taken in order to make platforms like Facebook work for a business. However, according to the latest A.T. Kearney Social Media Study,this appears to be a lesson yet to be learnt by many big brands.

The report shows that 48 out of 50 brands that use the services of Interbrand (the world’s largest brand consultancy firm), are reluctant to embrace social media to reach their customers. Also, 27 out of 48 companies failed to respond to any consumers via the Internet, even though online messages from them have grown to a “staggering quantity, indicating social media’s increasingly important role as a communications tool”. [Read more...]

Social Media Dominates Traditional Marketing

telemarketing

By Allie Schratz

A survey reveals that telemarketing is on the decline as more businesses turn to social media marketing

Online marketing is becoming the new traditional.

The once ‘traditional’ forms of advertising – newspaper ads, radio spots and television campaigns – are on the decline as “new” media – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – rise in popularity among businesses as the preferred medium of marketing.

In a survey conducted by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace solutions, 16,000 businesses all across the world were asked about their preferred forms of marketing. According to a press release detailing the results, 58 per cent responded that social media campaigns will provide the most significant boosts to their brands – a considerable uptick from the 39 per cent of companies in favour of this medium over the past three years.