Archive | November, 2011

Email and Social Media: The Perfect Holiday Combination

28 Nov

For many people, Thanksgiving last week meant turkey, family, and a much needed day off. It also meant we’re less than a month away from Christmas, Hanukkah, and the end of the year. Chances are good you’ve already started receiving an increased number emails offering 20% off, free shipping, and other generic offers. You may even have already sent a few yourself.

At the holiday time, with so much competition in the inbox for subscribers’ eyeballs and attention, separating yourself from the herd can be a challenge. That’s why it’s even more important to use all your communications channels — particularly email and social media — to reach customers, clients, and supporters.

When you blend email and social media, you present a stronger communications message, one that’s more engaging and more visible. Email and social media, when used effectively, can make the difference between a business or organization whose messages blend into the others, and one where its customers, clients, and supporters actively look forward to receiving and interacting with them.

Here are 3 ways you can combine the power of email and social media at holiday time, and year-round:

1. Use social media to support your email program. This holiday season, in between your regularly scheduled emails, make sure you’re keeping up with your posting to Facebook and Twitter in between your email messages. And don’t keep posting coupons and special offers. Share good content that will make a connection with your fans and followers, and engage them. Ask questions about their holiday plans. Share tips for using your products and taking advantage of your services. Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell, and your fans and followers will keep you in mind when they want to buy or donate.

2. Promote your emails on social media. If you want your emails to be seen, give your subscribers a heads up on social media that they should look out for a message from you. Post a message on Facebook and/or on Twitter such as “Our newsletter is being sent out later today. Keep watch for it and let us know what you think!” Or, even better, tease the content that’s included in your newsletter. That will put people on the ready and get them excited to read.

3. Get your subscribers to share. Sure, everyone likes a discount, but on social media, people like helpful or fun content they can pass along to their friends even more. When you give that to your subscribers, and arm them with the tools they need to share your content, then your messages will go farther than your subscribers’ inboxes. In fact, they may even be seen by someone who is looking to buy the product or service you sell, or to support your cause.

What kind of content will get passed along? Expert tips on using your products or surviving the holiday season. Compelling success stories about the success your organization has found. A fun video that shows off your business or organization’s silly side. Anything that doesn’t sound like a promotion and that provides a benefit to your readers.

What tips do you have for getting your customers, clients, and supporters’ attention at holiday time? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook Page.

Hot Holiday Social Media Marketing Tips!

21 Nov

Thanksgiving is just days away with the Christmas rush following! Most businesses will be pushing special promotions between now and the start of 2012, meaning the social space will grow even more crowded and marketers will have to be on their game, 24/7.   Here are some tips to help you get ahead and succeed in your social media campaigns this holiday season.

#1: Develop a strategic plan and set realistic goals.  Figure out what it is exactly you’d like to accomplish with social media this holiday season and how you can incorporate these goals into your overall marketing campaign.  Next, determine which strategies you’ll implement to support and meet said goals.  With a clear plan already set in place, you won’t have to worry when your brain starts to grow fuzzy from eggnog and an excessive amount of baked goods.

# 2: Share excellent content.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – content is king.   First, develop a calendar weeks in advance to stay focused and organized, which will ultimately enable you to devote more resources to customer service.  Second, share special deals and promotions with your fans and followers, but remember that the holiday season is a time when many people are stressed and could also use some advice or a pick-me-up.  Depending on your target audience, try adding light-hearted photos or comic strips, fun facts and trivia questions and gift-giving advice.

#3: Collect valuable user-generated content.   Ask fans to share their great experiences with your brand, to post photos of themselves interacting with your brand in some way, or to review some of the products or services your brand has to offer.  Fans love to give their opinions and share their experiences, and this valuable content can be used throughout the year.

#4: Have a knowledgeable team ready to field all customer questions and complaints.  As fun and wonderful as it may be, the holiday season can bring out the scrooge in even the merriest of holiday shoppers.  Train your social media team in advance so they are well-equipped to respond to any questions or complaints in an efficient, helpful and cheerful way.  Also make sure members of your team are especially prepared for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Eve.

#5: Be strategic with Facebook Ads.  With so many people advertising with Facebook Ads this holiday season, it’s going to be even harder and more expensive to achieve visibility and to drive traffic.  Think outside the box in terms of targeting – everyone will be targeting moms because they’re the ones doing the shopping, but what unique angle can you take to tap into other less crowded markets?

#6: Be creative with your promotions.  Most brands will be running some kind of promotion, and most of these promotions will be giving away an iPad.  How can your brand differentiate itself with a promotion? Think of unique prize ideas and fun and interesting ways to frame your promotion to make it stand out in a sea of iPad giveaways.

#7: Make use of holiday hashtags and trending topics on Twitter.  With over 250 million tweets being sent out each day, it can be tough to achieve brand visibility.  Take advantage of popular holiday hashtags, such as #Thanksgiving, #BlackFriday, #CyberMonday and many more.  Also be sure to check in on daily trending topics each morning and consider how they can be used to leverage your brand.

#8: Attach colorful, festive photos to your Facebook posts.  Take advantage of the quality real estate images now have in the News Feed.  Fans love eye candy, and really, who can blame them?

#9: Ask fans to share photos from their own holiday festivities.  From family portraits to ugly sweater parties to delicious Thanksgiving feasts, fans love to share photos of their friends and family, holiday gatherings and cooking conquests. Encourage them to share these photos and you’ll receive an influx of great user-generated content and an increase in engagement.

Comment below and tell us how your business plans on maximizing your social presence this holiday season and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Using Social Media for B2B Marketing

14 Nov

Today most B2B companies are decreasing their offline marketing dollars and spending it on online marketing strategies. A survey by B2B Magazine revealed that over 48% of those surveyed were increasing their online marketing spend. According to another study by KnowledgeStorm of B2B technology decision makers it was found that:

90% Participate in Video
80% Participate in Blogs
80% Participate in Wikis
69% Participate in Social Networks
53% Participate in Podcasts

In the same study it was shared that of 69% of B2B buyers use social networks primarily for business networking and development.

At a minimum B2B businesses should at least be involved in communities and social network where their customers are present. It would also pay to explore the opportunity to reach out to key influencers in their target market segment and optimize their content and social media applications for syndication. There is enough data available online which proves that social media marketing has made a mark and is here to stay!

B2B Social Media Marketing Present Usage Trends
The 2010 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study found that those B2B companies already using social media were much more active in the space than their B2C counterparts, especially when it came to microblogging, participating in discussions on third-party sites, blogging and monitoring company mentions on various social media.

B2B Social Media Marketing Trends
2012 Outlook indicates social media marketing will be of rising importance for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Website, e-mail and search spending were at the top of the list for online tactics to increase, but social media was not far behind. Six in 10 B2B marketers planned to up spending on social in 2012.

Fifty-four percent of respondents currently use social media for marketing. That was up 9 percentage points from November 2008 and about 4 points from June 2009, showing a steady increase in B2B participation.

How B2B lead scoring companies use social media varies but what is important to note is that companies use different social media platforms depending on their end objectives, which could be creating brand awareness, lead generation or just customer engagement.
Social media coupled with other marketing campaigns both online and offline can give any brand awareness or lead generation program the much needed impetus. The best part is social media can don multiple hats, same accounts and profiles can be used to promote products, to attend to customers, generate new business leads and respond to customer feedback.

However, getting into social media marketing requires a change in mindset by the company adopting it. It involves the risk of putting out all that the company has to offer on a platter for comments, complaints and compliments. If the company ideology can facilitate that, social media can change the way it does business and interact with customers.

Social media marketing can be considered as one of the best lead nurturing best practices as well. Through constant interaction prospects can be nurtured as part of the companys lead generation effor