Posts Tagged ‘social media’
Yesterday I spent sometime looking around online at our local businesses. Many local businesses in Crystal Lake are small to mid sized businesses, and most family owned/operated. Most of these businesses stay afloat by getting business from local residents. Is that enough anymore in this economy? It may be for some, I am not sure. But it’s something else I discovered in my searching that made me scratch my head.
While I was not surprised to find many firms still didn’t have their own website, or if they did it is so out dated it is probably not getting much traffic or new business leads. But, thats a entirely different post. What surprised me, and probably shouldn’t have is that a lot of these firms are still spending money to be listed in the Yellow Pagess (online) and the Chamber of Commerce. I get the the Chamber is a community thing, with pride in the community a strong pull. But, if you are paying dues to be listed in a online business directory, shouldn’t someone searching for your business find your website address just as easily as they can find your phone number and business name and not have to click through your listing? Sadly, I discovered that is not the case.
Another thing I discovered is that local firms tend to only use other local vendors. This maybe getting these firms poor or outdated advice. I understand loyalty to vendors and community. But, if you are working with a local marketing or advertising agency to increase your business shouldn’t that agency be up to speed on current trends? I understand keeping business local to grow your community, but that doesn’t always mean that the best companies for you to work with are always local. In a effort to point out what to look for when working with firms to promote your business, here a few things that stood out.
What to look for in a marketing firm for small business:
1. When was their own site last updated? If the marketing firm hasn’t updated their news or portfolio in 5+ years that should be a red flag. Does the site look ancient? If so how can they advise you on moving forward?
2. Their services offered page is lacking. If a marketing firm tells you they can redo your website or get your site mobile but their own services makes no mention of their experience or has no portfolio to show for it, start asking questions. A marketing firm that just says “web site development” but offers no languages, specifics or a portfolio, should be taken with caution. How can they advise you on something they really dont offer and in many cases don’t understand.
3. What new marketing techniques have they employed with proven results? If their own site is outdated how much new business are they getting with it? If their own site doesnt have a mobile version or they have no clients with e-commerce sites and they tell you that you don’t need it, is it because they don’t understand it and are wary of it?
4.They offer seminars. Just because someone is giving seminars (usually free) on a topic doesn’t make them a expert. If someone is having roundtables on location based marketing but isn’t using it themselves (note do they even have a smartphone?) do they have proven client stats to back up their “expertise”? Just because someone has thousands of Twitter followers doesnt make them a social media expert, look past the number! But wait, they have Pinterest and can tell me how to set it up or help with my Facebook page, surely they are a expert…NOT!!! Many small firms are using buzz words and so called expertise (because they have a account) to have seminars and hear themselves talk. Do your research!
Marketing and advertising firms that focus strictly on print and/or mail are falling behind. If they say they offer branding but do not offer you web as well, how is that branding? Hiring a firm to redo your website that buries menitoning the web in a random paragraph on their own site means they don’t understand that your website should be the hub of your business and branding campaign. Look at it this way, in this economy you are working hard, and the money you spend on marketing should be helping your business not just other local business.
Are you a small local business looking to move your business forward in this economy? What do you look for in firms to help you in your efforts? Are you a small marketing or advertising firm specializing in working strictly in your community? If so, how are you keeping yourself and your services current to offer the best advice, not just small town advice?
Did NBC underestimate the power of Twitter? Is social media stealing the networks thunder? Especially on the most anticipated events that the network is showing on tape delay to air during prime time? Twitter has said that more tweets were sent in a single day than in all of the 2008 Olympics.
Then of course there are Olympic Twitter wars happening as well, like the one between Hope Solo of the US Womens Soccer team and Brandi Chastain former US Olympic Soccer Star. It was suggested by some that the athletes should be experiencing the Olympics and not be on Twitter. I don’t know that I agree with this. Olympic athletes are young, embrace technology and live in social media. They worked so hard to get to where they are and they are sharing their experiences via social media just like they would any other experience. If we are saying they shouldnt tweet, then shouldnt the same be said for someone on vacation or at a major event, etc? I think its awesome that the US Olympic Committee supports the use of social media.
Now, I am not saying that the imbeciles who are tweeting racist rants or mocking opponents shouldnt be punished. Nor am I in support of the above mentioned war, but the athletes should be able to share their experiences. I also think that NBC and network affiliates shouldve have been more prepared for this. After all they all share news daily via social media, they shouldnt expect to keep spoilers off Twitter so they can show tape delays of the events at times they see fit. In this day and age, people want their information in real time, and if the networks wont show it, they will find it elsewhere.
What do you think? Have you been following the Olympics via Twitter, any athletes in particular or particular events?
Yes, you read my title correctly. I have seen people attempt to use social media ridicule to get new business!!! Now, I have no clue if its working, I hope and pray that it isn’t! But, when I see this occur it really makes me want to call out the bully by name and draw negative attention to the tweets, but I know that wont accomplish anything, its just more finger pointing.
I have been stewing about this for awhile as there is a company who does this quiet often on Twitter. After reading Ken Muellers recent post “Quit Yer Whinin’” about using our big stick responsibly I started festering about this more. Allow me to give an example of what I am seeing below. (All twitter handles have been changed)
GraphicDesignerMaster @xyzcompany We’ll redo your website; we tend to make things not shitty graphicdesingmaster.com
GraphicDesingerMaster I can’t believe @innocentcompany has such a horrible website. Can we help you guys out? Would love to pour some design magic to make this sell.
Now those are only two of the many appalling tweets I have seen from the same company. Targeting innocent companies who it appears they would like to do work for. Now, maybe it is just me, but I wouldn’t run out and hire someone to give me a new design image that publicly ridiculed me out of the blue.
I have had a specific conversation with GraphicDesignerMaster, and can tell you first hand that he believes he is holier than thou and that his design trumps all design. He has no problems hurling insults even when unprovoked. My conversation, mind you started on twitter and went to email. I immediately un-followed the company but it has been like a train wreck that I keep going back just to see what kind of appalling crap he is spewing now.
My question is this. When we witness this type of bullying on social media, what is the appropriate way to respond? Never in my gawking have a I witnessed the innocent firm that was being attacked take his bait and reply. However, I think that someone needs to call him on the carpet publicly. He is insulting companies without warrant or being provoked.
I get that it probably (hopefully) isnt winning him any new business, whether it be from his target or anyone just looking into his firm, but still. So, what are your thoughts? If you see social media bullying, how do you respond? If you havent seen it or responded to it, what is your opinion on handling it?
I made a liberating choice today. I decided to practice what I preach. I decided to not participate in something that I am deeply critical of. I decided to get the monkey off my back. This morning, I disabled my Klout profile. It was a freeing feeling! I then went and revoked Klout’s access to my Twitter account and Facebook account, and anything else it was linked to.
So, don’t look for my score on Klout, don’t look to see what they say I am influential in. As much as I appreciated all the +K’s I received, don’t go there and attempt to give me points on the silly things Klout says I am influential about, you won’t find me there. Instead, look for me on our website, look for me here on our blog, look for me on Twitter, or Facebook. Look for me at our office. Those are the places I hope to make a difference. Those are the places I hope to connect and have relationships with you all. Those are the places you can decide what SYDCON, or I am influential about. Those are the places we are proud of. Take a minute to say “Hey” on Twitter or start a conversation in lieu of giving me +K. Take a minute to chat and learn about me instead of reading a list of topics that I probably know next to nothing about. We can use that minute to learn about each other and actually gain something.
Let’s make the most of social media and decide for ourselves who is influential and interact with each other out of choice versus a number in a popularity contest.
Ultimately, what is Facebook & Twitter? A WEBSITE
Where do PR, Marketing & Ad campaigns direct audiences? A WEBSITE
Social media is all the rage, or wait, is it mobile? Hard to choose, right? If you are a PR firm drafting a campaign for your client, which is more important if you had to pick one? The reality is whichever you pick, ultimately it will be secondary. Secondary to a company website. That’s right, a website, even though Wired Magazine declared them dead some time ago.
Think about it, if your campaign is the success you are hoping for, if your target audience is listening to your message, your entire message, what happens then? If you nailed it, you leave your audience wanting more, right? They want to learn more about the firm/promotion/product, so where is the number one place they go? To the corresponding website! Is it ready?
But wait, the client says, “I have a Facebook Fan Page, my website isn’t important!”
Give them this statistic, 250 million people engage with Facebook from EXTERNAL WEBSITES via integration. This is a statistic right on Facebook’s site. 250 MILLION websites are the first stop in traffic then onto Facebook!
Also, take in to consideration that not everyone is on Facebook or Twitter, does your client not value their business as well? Also, consider this, according to Facebook 70% of their user-base is OUTSIDE of the U.S.A., is that the target market?
According to a recent study by ForSee research, on average, social media is responsible for a 1% increase in traffic. This percentage comes from surveys of such companies like Kellogg, ESPN, Ticketmaster & General Mills to name a few. All of these probably have fans & followers in the thousands, and more “Likes” than we could image. Yet, they are generating only an average of 1% traffic increase from social media! That means all those “Likes” are gaining less attention than a firms other marketing efforts. It also means, customers are accessing the websites without Facebook or Twitter. That means 99% of the traffic is from people interested in hearing right from the firm on their OFFICAL website!
In a recent interview with SmartBrief editor Mary Ellen Slayter, Chris Brogan used this analogy of Facebook “businesses that rely on Facebook pages as their “website” to people who would call a hotel room their “home.” Like a hotel, Facebook doesn’t allow the complete customization you would find in your home — plus, it can kick you out whenever it wants. Facebook is where you congregate fans and reach out to them, but a website is where you establish your identity, Brogan said.”
Mobile is yet another example of the importance of your website. Is your website mobile ready? With the sales of smart-phones up 85%, chances are there are many potential new customers attempting to access your website via a mobile device. What will they see? Is your website flash-ridden, if so, the customer wont see it on Apple products! Is your website optimized for mobile?
Are you utilizing QR Codes to generate new leads or target specific, track-able demographics? If so, where do those QR Codes send the user? To a website or micro-site. Is the site ready for new traffic, more importantly mobile traffic?
Every Marketing, PR, Social Media firm needs a developer for a best friend. Before you launch that mega campaign, you need someone to analyze and bring the website behind the campaign up to date. What should be in order, prior to launch?
What could happen if you launch a campaign for a company who does not have an updated web presence? Your campaign could fail. Sure, you could have knocked it out of the park, created a great traffic boost and then, implode! If the site doesn’t back up the campaign, a potential client could be confused, frustrated, annoyed. If the content on the site can’t back up the social media buzz, the visitor is likely to leave and in all likelihood find a competitor to hire! BAM! ROI dead in the water!
Ducks In a Row
Bottom line, no matter what kind of campaign your are designing for your client, it all leads back to their website. It’s best to take a look at it and discuss it with your client as part of your initial consultation. Does the website have its ducks in a row? Can it handle the attention your campaign might bring? This is an important conversation to have with your client. If the website cannot perform, no matter how good your campaign is, the client will not get the results they had hoped for, and in the end be disappointed in the outcome! Don’t set yourself or your client up for failure!
I have noticed a disturbing new trend when I follow people, maybe you have seen it? It goes like this…I find a new and interesting person and/or business to follow, not long after I click the “follow” button I receive a Direct Message of all things from this new person with a link to True Twit Validation . Sometimes the Direct Message contains a personal note with the request, sometimes not. Basically I consider it a spam Direct Message from someone who allows a bot to validate me, to ensure no bots are following them? ARGH!!!
Now, I don’t proclaim to be a social media expert or guru, but doesn’t this just scream anti-social?? I mean none of the folks I have received this request from have had locked tweets (which is another thing altogether), they are just what at the time, I considered interesting people I would like to learn from or interact with. They don’t want bot followers, but they allow a bot to validate potential new followers? Can I just say…Pot meet Kettle!
What gets me is that they are allowed to Direct Message me this “validation” request! The few that I have received this request from do not follow me (which is fine, I never expect follow backs, if I get them I am honored) and technically if I don’t play the validation game does that make me a bot whom they will block from following them? So, what gives, why do they earn the right to Direct Message me?
I understand not all of your potential followers are going to be real people, some might be but we have all seen the questionable followers of shall we say “off color” nature? But if someone wants to follow us, don’t we allow them the courtesy of viewing the profile ourselves, making the decision ourselves, not having a bot do it? Personally unless you are pornographic or otherwise offensive or a obvious bot, I don’t block followers (unless the rare occasion of stalking comes up I guess!)
So tell me, what do you think? Am I wrong to be offended by these validation request? Do you think it’s right they get to Direct Message these requests to you but you can’t Direct Message them? Why would you want to close yourself off from potential clients or business or social relationships? You don’t trust bots to validate your business meetings or business inquires, why would you do it on a social network of all places? You tell me?
It’s November, Happy Thanksgiving! Whether your business is flourishing, or just hanging on in this economy, we have to be thankful for the business we have! With November also comes the end of the year, moving on from 2010 and looking into 2011. What does your business have on the horizon for 2011? Lot’s of new trends are emerging, in social media, as well as in mobile & web development. Below is a our list of some key trends, we have also included a link to a post from @GiniDietrich at Spin Sucks for a list of social media trends. Which of these are you looking to implement?
1) Mobile Apps: Are there aspects of your business clients or staff could access on their mobile devices? Say product inventory or pricing?
2) iPhone/iPad Apps: Everywhere you look you see the phrase “There’s an App for that!”. Does your company have an App? Do you have the next great App idea? Look into bringing it to life!
3) QR Codes: QR Codes can offer your company valuable tracking information on how your advertising dollars are working, and where they are working best. They can help you track how well promotions succeed in certain areas. For example, did your promotion work better in the store or on the web?
4) Microsites: Microsites can be used for QR Code campaigns, new product lines, announcements, press releases, launch parties, you name it.
5) Ecommerce & Mobile Ecommerce: Is your website site up to snuff or is it hard to navigate and scaring away your prospective clients? Is your website mobile ecommerce ready?
6) Custom CMS: Do you frequently update your website content? You should consider implementing a custom content management system (CMS) to give you control over your site content?
Today, technology goes hand in hand with Social Media, so in addition to my list have a look at Gini Dietrich’s post “Eight Social Meida Trends for 2011“. Do you see any new trends you want to embrace and implement for your business in 2011? Start making plans now to incorporate them into your 2011 marketing plan and budget. You never know, it could give you a lot more to be thankful for next Thanksgiving!
So I am sure you have seen one of the slew of articles around lately saying the web is dead and Facebook is the killer. Nah, not happen’, don’t buy it! Here ’s a few reasons why I think this is like the Y2k panic…remember that?!
Last week it was Wired declaring “The Web is Dead” – but also telling us not to rush out the coffin. Today it’s Adage “What Happens When Facebook Trumps Your Brand Site“, and there are many other articles/blogs too. But, is it really dead, is your site really trumped?
This is how I see it, and heck I may be 100% wrong, but first of all, technically, Facebook IS A WEBSITE! So, therefore it’s not going to kill the web, right? Second, are you really going to give all your power to Facebook, or anywhere for that matter? You are not seriously going to give them all the control and forget about the website that your company owns and can do with what you please? No way! Why would you, to boost Facebook? What happens if it is down, goes away or is no longer the place to be, like MySpace?
Many of these article talk about new ads with Facebook tag lines, sending people to brand Facebook pages, and how many fans brands have. Yeah, OK….so to me you know what that means? It means your advertising is working. Whether it be your commercials, social media campaign or radio spot. If potential clients are following the tag line to your Facebook page it means your ad campaign is a success- you grabbed their interest enough to give them simple directions “Go to Facebook page A” and they go! So, congratulate yourself, you accomplished something, you did, your company did…NOT Facebook! If you made your website or mobile app interactive you might just see the same turn-around of “like” that Facebook is showing you.
Is Facebook an important part of your marketing campaign, YES, absolutely! But, don’t give them the keys to your kingdom. Don’t make your Facebook page more important than your company or brand website. You own your company, you own your brand, you control your website and your domain. We have seen the fade of MySpace and the surge of Twitter, but its your website, you call the shots, you make it your own, just like your business. Facebook has rules you will need to abide by as well as limits to what you can and can’t do.
So, my take? By all means embrace Facebook, just like Twitter and LinkedIn and whatever else you are using to get your name and message out there, but don’t ever give up your individual control or conform your brand identity to someone else. Learn something from it, be interactive; whether on your website or mobile app or through social media. Businesses surge and survive because of their product, their message, their customer service, let’s not forget that!
Let’s face it, the current economy is changing the way most business’ function. Many are re-assessing their plan of attack, changing how they focus their marketing and advertising campaigns . While also making sure they are positioning themselves for the now as well as setting themselves up for the business world recovery.
Your clients needs are changing, so therefore, so are yours. If you run a Marketing, Design, Ad, PR or even social media agency you know that the way you promote your clients is moving in a new direction. Are you prepared to help them advance not only socially but technologically as well? Can you point them in the right direction of current web standards, or mobile apps? Even if that’s not your strong suit or specialty you should still be able to offer guidance, assistance or maybe even a partner to help.
Are you uneasy when it comes to discussions that are not in your typical list of services offered, yet fall under a similar category? For instance are you a marketing firm that doesn’t have a deep programming capabilities? Don’t be hesitant to get in the ring, programmers, especially web and mobile programmers go hand in hand with marketing firms and the like. Don’t feel as though suggesting a partner or business associate to help meet your clients needs is a sign of a weakness in your firm. Think of it as showing your strong suit, showing you understand how important all your clients needs are and that you are there for them and will help them in anyway you can. We believe it takes a strong, confident business to make effective partnerships or offer successful referrals. So next time you find your self out of your realm, or wanting to expand your services, reach out to your social network, or industry related firms to help conquer client needs. Face it, things just work better when we help each other!
Social Media is all the rage. Everyone one wants in on it, and everyone wants to see great results (us included!). We are far from social media experts, but we are web experts. As web experts we are contacted by Social Media Experts as well as firms of various sizes and varying industries who are either just embarking on social media or knee deep in a plan that isn’t producing the expected results. Perhaps, a key element needs to be considered before launch….the website that will be the back-bone of the campaign.
Whether you are the Social Media/PR Expert outlining a social media plan or you are the CEO/Marketing Director of the firm hoping to capitalize on the campaign, the website should be a big part of the focus! In our experience we have been witnessing firms who have a great campaign outlined, but the website that supports it is lacking! Or we have firms or experts come to us because the campaign is in full swing, traffic is sky-rocketing but the bounce rate is huge, and the site isn’t bringing in new business, thus making the overall campaign a failure.
Perhaps if both the Social Media/PR experts and the CEO/Marketing Executives evaluated the website prior to launching a new campaign, better results would be achieved. Consider having a web professional evaluate the website to make sure it can handle a influx of traffic, retain the visitors, communicate with the visitors and pave the way for increased revenue.
SYDCON offers free consultations and can provide website evaluations for both Social Media/PR Experts and their clients or for individual firms looking to spruce up their website prior to working with a social media expert. Your website should be your number one salesperson, and offer the same high quality first impression the executives would offer in a face-to-face meeting. If your website is poorly designed, out-dated, not utilizing best practice, or just has plain bad functionality, you will never see the great results you desire!
A key thing to consider before launching into social media is to remember that it always goes back to how strong of a web presence you have!
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