Tag Archives: Marketing

What to Look for When Evaluating a Social Media Management Platform

8 Jun

So you need a social media platform to help you with your day to day marketing tasks that cover everything from publishing to customer service to reporting, sound familiar? So how do you cut through the marketing noise and find a tool that will actually give you what you need? It’s easier said than done but fortunately I am here to help you demystify some of that. 

I have worked as a sales engineer selling these platforms to brands of all sizes for over 8 years now and still come across social media management platforms that I have never even heard of. So how do you begin your evaluation?

There are literally tons of choices and all of them are awesome. Seriously, look at their websites and marketing materials, every one of them lists a bunch of big name customers and appears to the greatest platform on the planet to handle all of your marketing needs. Detecting sarcasm yet? 

A Googling we will go.

You will find yourself at some point Googling “Social Media Platforms” or “Social Media Tools” and you will see a litany of ads and results like “23 Tools for Marketers” or “The Top 52 Social Media Platforms Every Marketer Should Know”. Spend enough time searching and you will find review sites, analyst reports, webinars, product guides and even some dated demos.

Let me save you some time check out the following:

www.TrustRadius.com

www.G2Crowd.com

www.Glassdoor.com

You’re probably asking, why Glassdoor? Isn’t that a job review site? It is, but you are buying a platform that needs constant development and there is no better place to get some insight into how things are going with the product development team. There’s gold in those reviews and you just have to look for it. If you see reviews describing product teams as a disorganized mess then there’s a good chance you are going to see some major issues with future development or lack thereof.

Social Media Tools

Let us not forget the analysts, Gartner and Forrester Research. Gartner provides a report called the “Magic Quadrant” while Forrester provides “The Wave”, fancy huh? Both of these reports evaluate social platforms based on criteria in which they select and determine to be relevant and “where the industry is going”. Basically, they send vendors a questionnaire and if they like your responses you’re invited participate to demo your product against a handful of use cases they select.

Review these analyst reports but take them with a grain of salt. Gartner and Forrester both provide paid consulting for some of the vendors that make this list and magically those companies seem to score the highest, go figure.

There are more things for you to consider when reviewing these platforms but this should give you a good start as to where to start looking.  I will be covering much more very soon to help you dive into the details and identify things that you want to look for. If you have questions or thoughts be sure to share them in the comments below!

 

By – Adam Lazzara

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Why Your Business Needs Foursquare

11 May

foursquare

All things overheard about the insanely popular location based check-in social network Foursquare

  • Foursquare is stupid.
  • Foursquare is pointless
  • There is no value for my business
  • I don’t get why people want to check in

These are all things that come from people that don’t understand the business benefit of encouraging people to “check in” to their business.  

First the facts:

  • Users: Over 8 million worldwide, adding around 35,000 new users each day
  • Check-ins per day: Over 2.5 million, with over half a billion check-ins in the last year
  • Businesses: Over 250,000 using the Merchant Platform (more information at foursquare.com/business)

So now that we have the objection “nobody uses it out of the way” lets address how it can be helpful for your business.

Foursquare allows friends to “friend” you on their application so that they can keep tabs on all the great locations that you go. Foursquare users also have the ability to link their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts so that once they “check in” somewhere they can also share that with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  This allows the Foursquare user to exponentially increase the reach of who is viewing their “check in”. 

Let us picture an example for a moment; you are a local ice cream shop with a special on Foursquare that once you check in you can get an ice cream cone for a dollar. That’s an awesome special and I want an ice cream cone for a buck so I check in and share with my friends that I am enjoying an awesome double chocolate chunk ice cream cone. My buddy who is sitting at home staring at Facebook sees that I just checked in and now he knows where he is going tomorrow, the local ice cream shop for an ice cream cone for a buck.

This also works if you’re a major national brand such as Tasti D-Lite. Foursquare has allowed them to reach a demographic that they otherwise were not reaching. They found that the typical Foursquare user demographic for Tasti D-Lite is a young thrifty male that will visit more frequently then their core demographic which is predominately female.

Foursquare can open doors to help you reach a new customer demographic and bringing new customers through your doors is always welcome. 

Follow Me: @AtlantaSnoop

Don’t Leave New Fans Stranded on Your Facebook Page

20 Apr

Flip Burger Atlanta

While I appreciate your attempt to be socially engaging with your brand you haven’t really done anything to be socially engaging. Indulge me for a moment.

As I am sure you already know, its all the rage these days to build an engaging Facebook page if you plan to cultivate a following and rightfully so. Taking advantage of the tools that are out there to help you create a fancy Facebook page makes sense for your company and your fans.  But whatever you do, don’t leave your fans stranded on your page with nowhere to go or nothing to engage in.

Let us use Flip Burger here in Atlanta as our case in point and let me add this as a disclaimer, I love this restaurant. Seriously, they are amazing if you are looking for an incredible burger and shake but lets break down their Facebook page for a minute.

When you visit the page you see this wonderful image of one of their killer milkshakes prompting you to like their page and “sign up and join the conversation”.  Ok, sounds good right? Click on that “like” button notice NOTHING happening? I’m stranded on their Facebook page with nothing to do, I was ready to sign up and join the conversation. Hell, it doesn’t even take me to their wall, I’m stuck looking at this picture of a milkshake. I liked the page and nothing happened, what gives? This is a missed opportunity for Flip Burger; at the very least they could have captured my information once I clicked that like button. After all I was ready to sign up.

So what am I rambling about?

What I am referring to is what I call “Fan Gating” your page. Creating an image, similar to the one you see on the Flip Burger page that is designed to prompt a user to click that magical little like button. Once that user clicks “Like”, that image should be replaced or “turn over” to display some sort of exclusive engaging content for that new fan.  What we are doing is saying to our potential fans, “hey like us and check out something really cool” or “like our page and we will give you an exclusive coupon to redeem”. In the case of Flip Burger, according to their “sign up and join the conversation” message, that page should of flipped over and displayed some sort of sign up form. It could be a sign up for a mailing list, a coupon, a giveaway or really anything else they would like to offer. This way at the very least they are capturing that users information for future marketing efforts.

Here is the Flip Burger page:

http://www.facebook.com/flipburgerboutique

vs.

A proper fan gated page by The Milwaukee Motorcycle Clothing Company

http://www.facebook.com/MilwaukeeMotorcycleClothingCompany

As I said this is a missed marketing opportunity but nonetheless an awesome burger and shake, if you’re in Atlanta I suggest you get there, NOW.

Building the Proper Facebook Audience for Social Media Success

18 Apr

So you have taken your talents to Facebook to build an epic fan following in hopes of finding potential customers and engaging current customers. Excellent. Let us just assume that you have filled out all the appropriate info, uploaded all of your pretty company pictures and even told your co-workers to “like” your page in an effort to get 25 “likes” so that you can get your vanity URL.

What now?

It’s time to build a following of mass proportions to share your company message with the world. 

But how to get fans always seems to be the magic question and far too often somebody comes up with the idea of an ill targeted giveaway. How many times have you seen this? “Like my page and you could win an iPod or an iPad”. Swarms of people jump at the chance to click the like button for your page in hopes of winning that sweet new iPad.  Your chest swells with pride as you have just taken your page from 25 “likes” to over 1000 overnight. Ah, the power of Apple.  

A job well done smells like success, right? Ehh, not so fast…

Congratulations you have just baited people into “liking” a page. If it is shear numbers that you seek then yes, you have done something very successful. However, if you are a company that has a particular audience to market your goods or services to then you really haven’t done yourself any favors with this attempt at gaining fans.

Consider this, you are a bait and tackle company that sells high end fishing equipment. You are giving away a chance to win a brand new iPad 2 and to enter simply “like” the page. My Aunt Elaine has decided that she wants to be in the running for the new iPad she has been hearing so much about so she “likes” your page. You just got a fan, but one problem, my Aunt Elaine hasn’t fished a day in her life nor does she ever intend to.  

Your giveaway is casting a very wide net, pun intended. The people your catching in that net have little or no desire to hear about your fishing company, gear, bait, fishing tips, stories etc. Eventually they will unlike your company, simply hide your posts from their feed or just flat out pretend that you do not exist. This is not the desired effect in building your social media audience that you had originally intended.

The desired audience that were hoping to attract would be people who have an all round interest in fishing. These are the people that could potentially purchase goods or services from your high-end fishing company. So how do we attract those people? Here is an idea, if you gave away a $100 gift certificate to your fishing store and all you had to do was “like” the Facebook page to enter, I assure you that my Aunt Elaine has no interest in liking your page to potentially win a $100 in fishing tackle. That is a good thing; after all she isn’t the target audience for your business.

Remember it’s not about gaining mass amounts of fans; it is about the gaining the proper audience. Ask yourself would you rather have 1000 fans that can have a wide variety of interests and maybe one of them is fishing or would you rather have 100 fans that you know are fishing enthusiasts? Logic tells you to take the 100 fans of fishing as these are the folks that want to hear your stories, get your fishing tips and look at new fishing gear that they can purchase from your store.

Come up with ways to properly target your audience like this and with time you will begin to see social media success. You will be connecting and engaging in conversations with people who are passionate about fishing. Improperly target your audience and you will be wasting your time talking AT people who have no interest in hearing what you have to say.  Social media will work for you but you must properly define the people that you are looking to reach. 

Local Business – Are You Sure You Created a Facebook Business Page?

12 Apr

Facebook Profiles Vs. Business Pages.

This one goes out to all those small business types that are jumping into social media. First of all, good for you! It is a great for you to connect with the people who are actually walking in and out of your establishment. It is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to hyper-local marketing.

The term “Hyperlocal” is characterized by two major elements.

1)    Events, news, and happenings are all located within a well-defined target area.

2)    Content is intended primarily for people who are located in that area, it is a very defined target.

Example: You are a generic local bar; you have a few TV’s and three beers on tap in your establishment. Your market is the people who live nearby who can easily get to your bar for a cold one. That is your hyper-local community, your neighbors.

The beautiful thing about hyper-local social media is that it is going to allow you to connect and target those people who are your current customers as well as potential nearby customers.

There are a number of things that you need to do to market yourself properly to your hyperlocal community but the number one mistake that I see is the first thing that everyone does. They Create a Facebook profile page instead of creating a “Like-able” business page. Facebook profile pages are meant for individuals and NOT businesses. In fact, it is actually a violation of the Terms of Service.

From the Facebook Terms of Service:

“Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization”

If you have to add a friend instead of having somebody “Like” your business then you have screwed up.  You have a profile page, you need to have a business page, you are going to want people to “Like” your business and it is essential in targeting your hyperlocal community if you want to do this right.

What’s the difference? Many, but for starters and it’s a big one, you are limited to 5000 friends and your business page is unlimited to the amount of “Likes” it can receive. You want as many people to “Like” your business as possible right? So why stop at 5,000? Besides, one morning you may wake up and go to post that you are having a 2 for 1 special tonight at the bar you are running and you discover your profile is gone. You have violated the terms of service (TOS) and Facebook reserves the right to eliminate your profile once they discover that you are a business and not a individual.

Fortunately, if you have been tirelessly building your friends on Facebook and your reading this thinking that you are eventually going to be screwed, Facebook has recently allowed you to convert a profile page into a business page so there is hope for you after all.

Convert your profile to a page here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=19691

Please keep in mind that this is meant for people who intended to create a business page and instead created a profile page for their business. If you are not running a business do not just arbitrarily convert your personal profile page into a business page as some people have done. This has resulted in people losing a ton of their personal Facebook data.

Key takeaway: Facebook profiles are for individual people and Facebook business pages are for organizations and businesses. 

Follow Me: @AtlantaSnoop

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