Archive | August, 2013

Taking a Blogging Break to Get Married!

30 Aug

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Sala Social Marketing will be on a brief hiatus from August 30, 2013 until September 16, 2013 because we’re getting married!

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3 Steps to Leverage Social Media Marketing

26 Aug

Investing in marketing campaigns can be nerve-wracking for business owners. When you have limited resources, you must be strategic with your budget, and every marketing investment has to pay off. This is why social media campaigns tend to be the first thing that gets cut. Although free to set up, they take valuable staff resources to manage, and the return on investment (ROI) is not always apparent.

While launching a social media campaign for your business likely won’t bring leads and sales pouring in your door tomorrow, when you implement a few strategies, you’ll find it much easier to drive a positive ROI that benefits your organization for years to come.  Here are seven ways business owners can leverage their social media efforts so they translate into real sales.

1. Reframe Your Outlook

Many businesses fail at social media because they think it means Facebook or Twitter when it’s actually much more than that. Rather than putting labels on it, think of social media as a concept. It’s actually about engaging with your audience in a broader way.

Traditional media has always been one directional—you place an ad, the customer calls, and you have an offline private conversation. Social media allows businesses to interact with their community in a public online forum. That openness and transparency is scary to many business owners, but it’s exactly what customers crave.

2. Start Small

As you delve into social media, begin with the platforms that can make the biggest difference for you. Usually, this means starting with the three main platforms that can drive results and interaction: Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Depending on your business model, there may be others. However, if you’re just getting started, this is a great set in which to begin.

  • Facebook has highest adoption rate, and people of all ages spend time on this social media platform, thus giving you great exposure.
  • While LinkedIn is not consumer-focused like Facebook, it can help with business-to-business sales, vendor connections, recruiting and other business needs.
  • Although YouTube is a bigger investment than the others, consumers resonate with different types of content, and YouTube videos tend to pay off in the long term.

3. Don’t Be Boring

Guess what … Your brand, services, mission statement and corporate values are boring. Although they may represent you as a company, they don’t represent the human element and personality of your team. Social media is not about only building a community but engaging your customers. Doing that requires you to show some serious personality.

7 Steps to Productive Business Use of Social Media

19 Aug

Most startups, and many big businesses, still don’t have a clue on how to use social media productively for marketing their business. They randomly churn for hours a day on a couple of their favorite social media platforms, with little thought given to goals, objectives, or metrics; and ultimately give up and fall back to traditional marketing approaches.

The first thing that entrepreneurs need to realize is that the process and framework for making social media marketing work are different from traditional marketing, and trial and error certainly doesn’t work.  Here are some steps for a great social presence.

  1. Focus on desired outcomes first. Valid social media objectives for a business should include one or more of the following: increased brand awareness, lead generation, service and support, or reputation management. Obviously, the platforms and how you use social media would be different for lead generation versus service and support.
  2. Incorporate brand personality and voice. Popular BPOP +0.33% culture these days expects a more humanized brand voice, and constituents are listening carefully to the tone, vision, and expertise of that voice. Think about how you can project the voice you want, and make sure it is consistently used by all team members across all platforms used.
  3. Identify the smallest segments possible of your constituents. Due to the information overload felt by consumers today, marketing at the generic segment level no longer works. Social media is the only one which allows you to be hyper-granular and drill down to micro-segments, to dramatically improve engagement levels and conversion ratios.
  4. Identify the communities for these micro-segments. Traditionally, community implied a physical grouping, but today a community is characterized by what they value, more than proximity. More important than finding a community, is creating one, with your blog and other social media engagement. The best communities then become your advocate.
  5. Identify the influencers of these communities. Social media brings all the aspects of important influencers these days, including peer pressure, authority, credibility, and in some cases, celebrities. Because feedback from social media operates in real time, you don’t have to wait months for results. You spend the months influencing the influencers.
  6. Create an action plan with metrics. Good action plans include a listening plan, channel plan, SEO plan, and a content creation plan, with activities and metrics. Social media activities span the gamut from curation to gifting, building relationships and groups, blogging, service actions, to lead conversion. Pick the ones that fit your desired outcome.
  7. Iteratively execute and measure results. Measuring is all about return-on-investment (ROI). This can be customer acquisition cost, revenue growth, profit, or whatever other parameters are key to your success. Iterate and expect to pivot, based on results, because you can’t get it all right the first time. This is not trial and error.

In fact, marketing in the social media is fundamentally different from conventional marketing. The depth in which connections can be made with the “audience” or “customers” is far greater than it possibly can be with any other medium. The very nature of influence at this level mans that values and vision must be in tune.

Of course, with social media marketing, trial and error is not the only way to fail. You can fail by not being there at all or making the big mistake.

More positively, social media also brings many more ways to succeed. It’s time for you to learn the best practices of using social media in your company, and putting them to work before your competition puts you out of work.

Six Brands that Are Storytelling Genius’

12 Aug

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for a  client with advice to help brands master storytelling. In my research, I came across many brands that tell their story in impressive and impactful ways. Many of these stories are best experienced firsthand rather than through my explanation so here is a look at six brands that rock at storytelling:

Oreo: Oreo recently released a new Oreo Wonderfilled Commercial featuring a song by Owl City. Oreo did a spoof of The Three Little Pigs and other fairy tales and show how typical evil characters eat an Oreo. The commercial shows these characters in a much more positive light. Oreo’s message is that their brand “makes lives better, brighter, friendlier, and more fun,” even for the most evil of characters. Oreo proves that other companies can situate their brand or product within a fairy tale, customer experience, or fictional world of its own to send a unique message to consumers and engage them.

Kraft: Kraft shaped information into meaning for their“Sanity Snack” campaign. The brand interviewed stay-at-home moms about their lives raising their kids and the stress it often evokes. During the interviews moms admitted that when they give their kids a Kraft snack, they get a break from the insanity of raising kids. Kraft took this opportunity to connect their products to decreasing stress and increasing sanity for moms, which isn’t a traditional message for the brand. This is an indirect, yet emotional way to connect Kraft’s products to real life issues that their customers face.

Johnson & Johnson: Johnson & Johnson effortlessly weaves storytelling into content through their “You were a Johnson’s Baby” campaign. The commercial follows the arc of Johnson’s Baby brand with respect to mothers, its target audience. The creative images that form the timeline show how the brand’s contemporary advertising is a natural extension of the brand’s story and further brings the brand to life by featuringwomen’s relationships with their children. Johnson successfully creates a story that resonates with their audience at a deep emotional level by proposing that their baby products create special moments for mothers and their babies.

Allstate: Consumers create relationships with other people not products or services. Allstate successfully created a fictional character that encompasses their brand with Allstate’s Mayhem. Dean Winters, the man that so skillfully plays Mayhem is constantly humorous and embodies human characteristics when something bad occurs. Allstate puts Mayhem in highly realistic situations to show audiences that Mayhem is everywhere and customers can save money and be better protected from it if they’re covered by Allstate. By creating a likable character that audiences appreciate and root for, companies like Allstate humanize their brand by giving it emotion and personality.

Nike: For as long as I can remember Nike has always created unique messages that inform and excite their audience. In 2012 Nike embraced an innovative market technique with their “Make it Count” Twitter and Instagram campaign. Max and his friend were hired to film a set of commercials, instead they took all the money and traveled to 13 countries in 10 days and filmed it all then put it together to create thecampaign video. Nike then asked consumers to share how they #Makeitcount on Twitter and Instagram. Nike’s “Make it Count” campaign was aspirational for consumers. It placed Nike in a position of power and desire as a company that can help you achieve anything you want to help make life count. Brands can take a lesson from Nike and create a story by doing something completely out of the ordinary and then ask consumers for interaction. Consumers will engage regularly with brands because they are constantly reminded of the experiences brands create for them.

Kellogg’s: Kellogg’s has a plethora of studies readily available for public consumption but instead of boring consumers with facts, the brand forms the facts into a realistic and relatable setting. For example, their 2012 Cagdus Artu commercial features families all over the world waking up and starting their day with Kellogg’s and then shows the individuals continuing their day with genuine happiness. The commercial creates an essence of familiarity for viewers and helps them recognize that the power of breakfast lies in Kellogg’s boxes. Kellogg’s proposes that its products will better the lives of the people it touches.

These six brands understand their mission and the people they want to affect with their products. Through these creative storytelling campaigns, they were able to inspire, create connections, inform, and much more.

Staying Optimistic in Social Media Marketing

5 Aug

Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full?

“Would you say this glass is half empty or full?” That is the question. When looking at that glass what does your mind tell you? This is a great way to gauge at your outlook on your Social Media Marketing (SMM). Do you look at your SMM and think, “Meh, I guess that’s the best we can do.” Or do you look at it and say, “Awesome, look at what we have done, but what can we do now to improve?”

Do you look at your SMM and pull your hair out? Perhaps you’ve lost your hair already from the stress. Or do you stand up straight and look at the challenge and meet it head on and smiling the whole way through? How do you keep optimistic in the ever changing world of social media marketing?

1. Have a Plan

Always have a plan of attack. Is your plan clear, clean, and simple, or is it convoluted and complex? Complex sounds nice, but in the long run simplicity wins out. It’s great to stay simple because it allows for easy modifications when needed, leading to less stress and hair pulling. When it’s simple it is also easier to see the end goal and when you can see goals being achieved its makes for an easier work environment. It also makes it easier for your troops to be organized and be efficient. Keep it clean, keep it simple.

2.  Be Active

To get rid of stress is constantly active work; work out those SMM muscles. If you don’t use it your lose it. Your SMM muscles will atrophy. So make sure you are active on the Social Media sites you have chosen to use. Make sure your presence is known. So pick up the weights of Facebook and jump of the treadmill of Twitter to work out your stress. It’s hard not to feel optimistic when you’re constantly doing something.

3.  Celebrate in your Success

Don’t be ashamed or afraid to give yourself a pat on the back when something good happens. How can you keep optimistic when even after your success you are still beating yourself down. So jump up and do a little dance, have a good laugh, and then get active again. Celebrate and be happy, but don’t forget that there is still work to be done, so get back to being active so you can do another dance later.

4.  Smile

Put on a happy face. When you smile it’s hard not to either be or get into an optimistic mood. Either you will be happy or you’ll start laughing at yourself because you think you’re being ridiculous and smile anyway.  Smiling is contagious. When you smile other people will be happy as well. People can even tell in your SMM if you are happy, just like you can tell when someone is smiling over the phone, you can just tell.

In conclusion, make sure you plan, are active, celebrate your successes and smile. At times it can be hard to stay optimistic, but follow these steps and you’ll become a “Glass half full” person and not feel like you’re “half empty” in your social media marketing.