In 2013, there are a lot of marketing channels. Like, a lot. Any good marketing strategy takes this into account and allocates marketing dollars to those channels that are most effective, whether that means social media marketing, television ads, or even billboards. Sure, some channels are going to work better than others depending on the business. But I’m going to propose that no matter what your business: you should be email marketing. ManoByte is doing it. Everyone is doing it. You should be doing it, too.
A lot of people are understandably turned off by the idea of email marketing. No one wants the carefully cultivated, precious brand that they have created to be associated with that ugly word: SPAM. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, email marketing can actually help you to build your brand, improve your influence, and most importantly, create customers.
To put it simply, email marketing works. We’ve seen it work. Studies have shown that it works. A good email marketing campaign can be just as effective as direct mail, or TV commercials. But if it’s only “as good,” you may be wondering, why use it instead of those other tested methods? That one’s easy. Email marketing is cheaper.
Think about it. If you want to put a commercial on TV, the barrier to entry is incredibly high, even for local ads. You have to write a commercial, find actors, a production company, an ad agency, and pay for the ad space. Even direct mail costs are not insignificant. But writing an email to your loyal customers, or to people who have already opted-in on your site? It costs basically nothing. There are even a ton of free programs that can help you make you marketing emails look pretty and professional. The less you spend on the actual marketing, the higher your return when it gets you customers.
But besides cost, you also have to consider another important marketing word, analytics. You can run analytics on marketing emails until the cows come home. Put a commercial on television and you have no idea who is actually watching it. Send a piece of mail to someone’s house and you don’t know how much of it is going straight in the shredder. But an email? You can find out who opens it, what links they click, and follow the whole labyrinth of their experience on their site. This means you can make every new marketing email better than the last and tailor them specifically to different user groups.
The title of this blog post is meant to be a little jarring, but it’s also true. Is your business going to immediately fold if you don’t start using email marketing this instant? Probably not. But what is going to happen is you’re going to waste money on more expensive, more time-consuming, less flexible, and less effective marketing strategies. All of these things are going to have a bad effect on your bottom line. So tell me again, why aren’t you using email marketing?
Social media marketers know that a robust social media presence can have a very real impact on a business. But it doesn’t stop with having thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook friends. Proper social media engagement can generate leads for all types of businesses by driving high value traffic to your site and encouraging those visitors to stay, return, and share what they found.
There are a lot of reasons to utilize social media for your lead generation goals, but tops among them is the fact that social media is simply enormous. Facebook alone has more than a billion users. It’s safe to assume that there are at least a few of those who want whatever you’re selling.
Additionally, social media lead generation is effective, affordable, and measurable: all key reasons to reconsider your social media lead generation strategy today.
The best way to start utilizing social media as a lead generation platform is to make sure all your social media profiles are up to date and active. This is social media 101 stuff so hopefully you’re already at least part way there.
Then you need to utilize your lead generation skills in a way that is conducive to social media interaction. Listen to the conversations that people are having about your brand, your competitors, and your industry. Gauge what people want to know and what they want to talk about. This will be the most valuable information you can have as you set out to get new leads.
The listening portion of this strategy should never stop. Initially, you can use it to generate ideas and strategize. Then, as you launch a more concerted effort, you must continue to listen not only so that you can keep getting ideas for content, but so you can know how effective your strategy has been thus far. Always keep an ear open across social media channels.
The best way to use social media for lead generation is with content. A lot of this can be original content that you create yourself. It is important to keep in mind that the content that will have the biggest impact is content that your demographic wants. Posting a sales pitch is all well and good (and there’s a place for it) but it’s not what lead generation is about. Find out what people need: infographics, statistics, information, research and give it to them. Remember that you don’t have to create all of this content yourself. To fully participate in social media and be credible as a source, you have to link to relevant content from other sites as well.
So you have great content that you are publishing across your social media channels and it’s driving people to your site. How can you turn these curious visitors into leads and keep them on the site? With targeted landing pages. Make sure that whenever someone clicks a link you post, they know exactly what to expect, can easily find what they’re looking for, and can easily share it. One lead in the world of social media can beget many more through webs of friends, followers, and other connections.
Finally, use your analysis tools to keep track of your campaigns. How many new leads are coming in via social media? How can you increase that number? The instant nature of social media means that you can test, try, create, and finesse new ideas and get nearly instantaneous feedback.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media in generating new leads for your business. It’s one of the most effective and affordable tools you have and you should be using it!
This morning, you may have seen a new, interesting look to the Burger King Twitter account. Why was Burger King advertising McDonald’s new McFish Bites? Well, apparently, their account was hacked by a well-known group.
This group went so far as to change the name of the account to McDonald’s and changing the background pictures to those matching McDonald’s products. Then, they began to create several posts, including one of a male with a needle in his arm, stating, according to them, that it was an employee. Other posts included one stating that Burger King had been sold to McDonald’s and one with a link to a video promoting Chicago rapper Chief Keef. Several of the posts contained vulgarities.
It is unknown yet exactly who is responsible, but the group that may have done this is previously linked to previous hacks to several MLB websites and celebrities. Authorities believe the group to allegedly hacked the page may have chosen today because many of Burger King’s corporate employees have the day off for President’s Day.
As of early this afternoon, Twitter has suspended the Burger King page and its future is unknown. It is believed that the Burger King corporate office is now aware of what is happening. Their next steps will be intriguing for those in social media to see exactly how they deal with this crisis.
As a company, being involved with social media has many advantages. It allows companies to reach out to people that normally they may have no exposure to. While a company may gain great, loyal customers during this process, many detractors may come out. These people create posts, blogs, or other social media items that could bring about a crisis for the company. How a company handles this social media crisis is the difference between building more fans and ruining a reputation that took many years to build. We defined what a social media crisis is in a previous post.
Here are the seven basic steps you need to take in order to handle a crisis correctly:
1. Learn who is creating the issue. It is important to learn who this person is and how influential they are. Someone who has an issue that only has 50 or 100 followers on Twitter may not seem like a threat. But, if one of their followers has a million followers themselves, this could become a crisis quickly.
2. Figure if this is even an issue at all. When deciding what to do, it is important to evaluate if it even is a crisis. Discover exactly what the person’s issue is to begin with. If they are simply a dissatisfied customer, the issue may dissolve quickly just by reaching out to them and helping to solve their problem.
3. Decide how the company should respond. Use social media to your advantage during this process. Let fans and followers know the company is aware of the issue and is being worked on. Continue to post updates regarding the issue in the same tone previously built by the company. Avoid typical “legalese” or “jargon” that could make the crisis even tougher to overcome by changing the normal tone of your social media.
4. Build a crisis team. It may be advantageous for a company to create a social media crisis team to deal with any current or future crises. Let these staff members answer complaints and manage them in a timely fashion, while handling the issue at its source. A company may need to give certain crisis team members the approval to respond to the crisis as it’s happening.
5. Create a separate place for response. This team may need to go as far as creating a separate page on a social media site that focuses only on the crisis. If this happens, it will be their job to monitor complaints and handle the answers created. Building this page may be a necessity only in certain extreme cases.
6. Take lessons from the crisis. Lastly, once the crisis is over, learn from it. Discover what could have been different and implement these changes to avoid another crisis. Learning how to respond to the next crisis makes everyone involved better equipped for it. Every crisis gives a company the opportunity to learn about how to not get into another one.
7. Respect those who helped. Thank those who were involved in solving the crisis, especially if these were fans or followers.
By following these 7 steps you will be better equipped to handle a social media crisis.
Google Plus is by far the fastest growing social media site. This site is similar to Facebook and Twitter where you can create posts, but you can also create “Circles” based on industry, interests, and even employees. In less than a year, it’s far exceeded expectations to have over 90 million followers. Google Plus is now the second most popular social media site; Facebook is number one. Many businesses have had a “wait and see” attitude toward this site, waiting to see its level of growth. Now, it’s very clear that a company must have a Google Plus page in order to stay in the loop with customers and potential customers.
If you use Google to search for items, your business should have a Google Plus page. Chances are setting up your website for proper SEO verbiage was focused on Google. Having a Google Plus page will make it that much easier to bring traffic to your website. Your Google search results will be positively impacted by have a Google Plus page; they will eventually tie into each other.
When starting your business page, it is very important to completely fill out the page. With Google Plus being tied in with Google, it is important to consider the best keywords when describing your business. Treat it similar to choosing the best SEO keywords for Google; it will also make your page easier to find when someone is searching for your business. Consider also which words will attract potential customers to your page. In your description, you have the freedom to add links to places you want your customers to go to. This could be a special you have, a blog you are promoting, or anything else your business wishes to highlight.
Once you’ve finished your Google Plus page and it’s looking great, let everyone know about your new page. It’s a great idea to add the link to your page in the signature section of your email, so that everyone you email will know your company has a Google Plus page. Also, add a badge to your company’s website so customers and potential customers can reach your page right from your site.
Your Google Plus page is set up; you are making contacts and creating Circles. Now, you need to create great content to keep the contacts you have and grow your page to build a fantastic following. Keep your posts interesting and timely, while engaging with your contacts. Use videos and pictures to create a great visual. Ask questions to gauge opinions and ideas. Google Plus will even allow you to post your blog if you have one and wish to share it with everyone. When using it properly, Google Plus will provide you with a wealth of great contacts and will bring you nothing but great results!
When Pinterest first started a couple years ago, it had been used merely as a way to share recipes and great looking outfits. Over the last year, building and creating Pin Boards has become a method to grow business. This social media site has now become the third most popular in just a few short years. Getting onto Pinterest can help your business be more visual, bring great customers to your company, and expand your fan base.
While Facebook, Twitter, and sites like these focus on verbal content, Pinterest is much more visual. These visuals can not only build your brand, but can give your followers an insight as to what interests the company has. Make these visuals interesting to look at, somewhat informational, and engaging enough for your followers to share with their friends.
In Pinterest, you can create Boards which are built on a topic or subject matter. Within these Boards are pins, or the actual picture, infographic, or other visual item. Create Boards that coordinate with your industry, branding, and corporate interests. Each pin confirms the subject of the Board, and can even enhance it. This content should be added on a regular basis, so followers know you are interested in giving them positive and popular information.
Just as with other social media sites, you want to build your followers and engage with the loyal followers you already have. They want to know that you want them to be great customers who will continually return to do business with you. Many larger companies create more than just corporate content; they create a personality, or brand, within their page. Adding Boards about your industry in general, a charity you support, or even common interests with your core customers show your followers that you are not just spitting out information. This shows you are a company that wants to know about what your best customers like to do, see, and even where they like to go.
Once you’ve built your Boards and are putting some great content within them, it’s a great idea to track your progress. There are several programs where you will be able to track how well your pins and Boards are doing. Applying a program like this to your page will allow you to not only see how popular your page is, but will also note trends and will give you a chance to adjust to any issues you may be seeing.
Building a following on Pinterest takes time, but can absolutely pay off. Creating interesting Boards and pins, engaging with your followers, and taking opportunity of trends will give you a chance to draw attention to your business. But remember that no growth is possible unless you provide great visuals. Once your visuals are amazing, so will your following!