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Follow the Lonely Marketer on Twitter

Category : social marketing

6

The one social media platform that I think has uses far beyond what any of us have thought of is Twitter. The general concept will creep into our lives in some innovative ways in the coming years. But, I’m probably preaching to the choir as many of you are more heavily involved in Twitter than I am.

I’m consuming more and more information from the medium and would love to interact with more of you there. So, check out the Lonely Marketer’s tweets at Twitter.com/PatSchaber and let me know you’re out there so I can follow you as well.



Social Media is Creeping Further and Further

Category : social marketing

15

As a social media fan examples like this are so much fun to see, but imagine if you’d never ventured into Facebook or LinkedIn? How would you feel about seeing it creep in everywhere? Would you feel anxiety that you’re missing the boat or would you look at it as a fad that will soon die out?

I’ve long subscribed to a newsletter called the Pragmatic Marketing Update which focuses on information geared towards the technology product manager and marketer. Until recently I wouldn’t have considered the newsletter innovative in any way. It simply provided some good information that is relative to my career. Then, I saw this recently in the corner of the newsletter:

Pragmatic Marketing

Obviously, this caught my eye. Pragmatic Marketing jumped into the realm of social media with a prominent LinkedIn and Facebook profile. I’d guess that most people that read this blog or other similar blogs are familiar with these social media sites and probably aren’t that surprised to see it. At last check, their Facebook site had close to 400 members. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like their using it for much more than allowing members to post job openings.

But, what about the Pragmatic Marketing subscriber that doesn’t engage in social media? What do they think of that? They’re seeing sites like these creep into their everyday life more and more.

A recent article on the MediaWeek website also highlighted a similar trend in their article Is Social Media Killing the Campaign Microsite? The article focused on the new method of companies not waiting for customers to come to their campaign landing page or microsite but rather jumping out and engaging the customers where they’re hanging out. From the article:

The growth of social media is causing marketers to realize they cannot expect consumers to always seek them out. Web widgets and video-sharing tools make it easy for any user to take content that formerly might have lived only on a brand site with them wherever they go. And social media sites help them share that content with friends.

Sprite Sips is an example of a Facebook campaign that is aimed at taking the Sprite marketing message to a popular social media site. It looks like the marketing campaign got off to a great start, but has since tailed off. Regardless, kudos to them for realizing that people probably weren’t going to seek out the Sprite website to see their latest campaign.

My belief is that social media campaigns such as the ones I’ve listed above are creeping further and further into people’s lives. I believe the more touchpoints people have with these types of marketing, the more likely they’ll be to jump in and figure out what this is all about.

The small business marketer should be looking at social media marketing tactics for 2008!

What are your thoughts? Do you think people not currently involved in social media will start to get into the action or will they think this is all one big fad?


7 Ideas For Social Media And Business

Category : social marketing

38

social-media-toolbox.jpgValeria Maltoni over at Conversation Agent has invited me to contribute to a string of posts dedicated to businesses measuring the ROI and success from social media efforts. If you haven’t already you should check out Valeria’s site – I think much of my audience would find her content very useful and engaging!

I’ve been asked my thoughts on companies measuring social media efforts many times. In fact, I’ve gone through the process of justifying the effort and definitely have a strong opinion. If you’re a marketing manager wanting to jump into social media, but your superiors are hesitant to give budget for the effort, you really need to think out how to position the medium.

I don’t think you can put a dollar figure on social media to prove ROI. You’ll have a hard time showing what the revenue increases were from your blogging or other social media efforts. The medium has not advanced far enough for that. I also don’t think that the medium is wide-spread enough that you can justify ROI with only subscriber count and number of comments. Many senior executives wouldn’t know what an RSS subscriber even means.

With that said, I think this is a very viable form of corporate marketing and there are a number of ways the medium can be sold up the chain and measured throughout the year:

  • Don’t Isolate Social Media: Position social media as a component of your overall marketing plan. If you engage in print advertising, you’re used to making the case that print advertising is a branding component that is used to support your overall marketing messaging. Like social media, the ROI from print advertising is very hard to measure. Social Media should be one medium you’re using among many in your communication with your audience and customers.
  • Sales Tool: When is the last time you created a brochure and were asked to measure the ROI from that effort? You created the brochure to support the overall success of a product or service. The brochure helped to position and describe your product development effort. Blogging as a social media medium could be considered along the same lines. With every piece of content we create for our company blog, we make sure our sales people are aware they can share that content with interested customers. It essentially becomes a unique and innovative tool they can use to spread the word. As long as you’re providing useful content for your audience, they’ll appreciate your effort and most likely visit again.
  • Feedback: We’re also finding success in using blogging as a method for gathering customer feedback through surveys, new product ideas and product feedback forms. Social media is supposed to be a conversation, correct? Well, treat it as such and allow your audience to participate in the future of your products. We’ve already received valuable feedback that rivals that of an individual order placed.
  • Promote Realistic Expectations: I think many marketers who are into social media and blogging are a bit misguided as to the affect blogging will have on marketing efforts. In the marketing blog community, you can start a blog, link out to 50 other bloggers in your first week and pick up traffic and subscribers that are fun to measure. Not all niches have that opportunity. Many communities lack a large enough niche in which to socialize. What then? I encourage people in less sociable niches not to pump the benefits of thousands of subscribers, millions of page views, or hundreds of comments. It could take years to develop that following in some online communities as the medium matures. Focus less on expected statistics and more on how social media will be integrated with the rest of your product marketing efforts.
  • Multipurpose Content: As a small business marketing manager, it’s always music to my ears when someone says that we can use content we’ve created for multiple purposes. If you’re blogging, you should be creating valuable content. Have you thought about using portions of that content for an eNewsletter creation or the beginning of a white paper? Make sure you have a plan to have multiple purposes for your efforts.
  • Go Find Your Customer: One easy case I was able to make for blogging was the ability for our company to more easily go meet our audience where they begin most online searches that lead to our website – Google. Most of our website traffic originates on Google so it only makes sense for us to continue our efforts to get in their search results. Blogging platforms are very solid ways to optimize content for search engines – especially if you’re updating often and using the right methods.
  • Stats: I know, I know – stats are important. I just didn’t want them to be the focus of this post because not all social media efforts should be measured with analytics. Believe me, I do follow our stats, but I pay more attention to subscribers, comments, and from where the visits originate. These are important statistics to gauge how well your audience is receiving your content.

In two years, I’ll guarantee that there will be measurements in place that prove ROI from businesses engaging in social media. This method of conversing with your audience is growing by the day. But right now we need to focus on social media as a tool in our marketing toolbox that supports all the other tools we’re using in our marketing plans.

I’m supposed to tag some people to also contribute to this conversation, but there are so many people I’d like to hear from that I don’t know where I’d begin. For starters I’d like to see what Marty, Matt, Pat and Stoney have to say. But, if you have opinions and want to chime in, please do – and send me the link to your post and I’ll add it this one.

Reader Responses:


What Stinks? The Febreze Facebook Group Will Tell You

Category : campaigns, social marketing

12

FebrezeOne aspect of social media that I truly enjoy is watching companies, who historically engage in traditional marketing mediums, adapt and change as their audience changes. More and more articles are popping up talking about companies who have jumped into social media in an attempt to meet up with an audience their trying to attract. A recent example I saw on AdvertisingAge focused on Febreze, a P&G brand, and their attempt to attract coeds with a new Facebook campaign.

The relatively young (Febreze’s family of products has been around less than a decade) but burgeoning $600 million brand has just kicked off “What Stinks,” the online and viral campaign for its fabric-refresher spray aimed at college students.

“There are 18 million college kids out there and we’ve never really targeted them,” said Martin Hettich, North American marketing director for Febreze. He said there have been pockets of students that over the years embraced the odor-fighting spray, typically priced between $3 and $7, despite the fact that there has been little in the way of dedicated advertising toward the group.

Citing the fact that “washing is not a convenient part of the lifestyle at college”, the Febreze execs probably took a sizable step outside of their marketing comfort zones and tried something new. With ROI being in such focus for marketers, that’s not an easy step to take, but I love the risk they’re taking and I think it will pay off. Let’s take a quick look at a couple elements of Febreze’s What Stinks campaign. Naturally, the first thing I did was see if they bought the domain. Yes, they did and here is the landing page:

Febreze What Stinks Website

You definitely get the feel for the graphical elements of the Febreze What Stinks campaign. The other aspect of this page that I like is there being one link on the page. So, there is only one way to go from the page and that is to the Facebook group. The page is obviously here for people like me that hear a campaign name and instantly type into my address bar of my browser.

Next, we visit the Facebook page dedicated to Febreze’s campaign:

Febreze Facebook Page

I like the fact it carried over the graphical elements from the website. That consistency typically indicates a well thought out campaign. CO-ED Magazine picked up the Febreze story and also includes the main graphics so Febreze did a good job of branding the campaign.

Now, let’s check out what they did with the “I Tell Febreze What Stinks” Facebook page, which at last check had over 750 members:

Febreze Facebook Contests and Games

Along with a comedy tour schedule, the page contains cartoons, some user generated photos, an intro video, and a potentially viral video game called The Dank Game. Other standard Facebook features such as a discussion board, member photos, and The Wall are also included on the page.

One last element I thought was creative was the Wheel-O-Stink:

Febreze Facebook Wheel

This is Febreze’s subtle attempt to educate the college crowd about their various products and how they might be used. Very creative! Out of curiosity visitors will try this out and will get some exposure to the Febreze product line.

A potentially dangerous aspect of this campaign is the fact they’ve opened themselves up to potentially damaging Wall postings on animal testing and crude stories about smells that could diminish the brand. I noticed a few of those while on the page. The college crowd could easily jump on the wrong bandwagon with some of that.

One other quick note is search engine exposure for the campaign. I went to the major engines and Febreze does not rank in the top 3 or 4 results for the phrase “What Stinks” and they also are not running any paid search ads. People curious about this campaign might head to a search engine and search for details, but may not look far enough down to see the actual Febreze website. A PPC ad could help guide them to the campaign page.
Overall, I think Febreze did a great job with this campaign. They’re obviously taking major steps to make their brand recognizable by the college crowd and they’ve done that by going to where that crowd is hanging out. Am I curious about the results? Yes! Brand appeal will be tough to measure, but if their goal is the college crowd I think they’ve done it right.

What are your thoughts?


7 Tips For More Blog Subscriptions

Category : social marketing

15

please-stay.gifAdmittedly, I’m getting stingy on new blogs to which I subscribe. When I first got involved with social media, I was subscribing to anything and everything. A while back I purged and got down to a manageable amount of daily blog reading. But, more and more people are writing interesting and engaging content and I continually want to add more blogs to my reading list.

So, what am I looking for on a blog site that will urge me to subscribe? If I was starting a blog today and looking to build a subscriber base that included other established bloggers, here are some elements I would include on my site.

  • Unique, Actionable Content: To be honest, I don’t care if you’ve been blogging for 5 years or 5 minutes, if I feel I’m going to leave a site having learned something new, count me in. I’m all for subscribing to someone that can teach me something.
  • Let Me Share: If you have something good, let me tell others about it. Offering methods to bookmark or post on a favorite social media site is a way to let visitors know how to participate.
  • A Recognizable Avatar or Logo: The part about blogging I like best is community. Whether that be through participating on a favorite social media site like Small Business Brief, Sphinn, or StumbleUpon or through frequent commenting, I like to know you’re involved and participating in the discussion.
  • Frequent Content: If you go three weeks between posts, you’re not showing you’re committed to blogging. A couple posts a week is fine – it shows you enjoy what you do and are passionate. Displaying recent posts in the sidebar also gives visitors a quick snapshot about your content.
  • Have a Focus: I’m typically more attracted to sites that offer a focus and make that focus clear through easily found description or images. If your intent is to write about marketing one day and your trip to the zoo the next – that’s great – just let me know your content will be varied.
  • Decorate: Put a few minutes into adding images to your posts or your site. So much of social media is visual perception!
  • Show Some Enthusiasm!: I personally love writing that shows a passion for a topic. Energy and enthusiasm should be easy to show in your writing if you’re truly excited about what you’re doing.

Anything else you would add?


Are You Ready To Be A Gooruze?

Category : social marketing

1

GooruzeThis seems to be the week of new site announcements! Along with the Small Business Brief which launched last week, I’ve also had a first peak at a new site called Gooruze which launched earlier this week.

The new site is a very feature-rich community for online marketers. Along with the popular voting and friending features found on similar sites, Gooruze also includes blogging, article, and forum platforms. It really gives you every option you can imagine to spread your knowledge and tap into that of others.

You can also create your own profile and incorporate your blogs feed by mentioning a custom URL like PatrickSchaber.gooruze.com.

So far, I’m pretty impressed with the functionality. But like many other social sites, you get out of it what you put in. Hopefully, many people will have the time to add their content and expertise making Gooruze a success!


Small Business Brief Re-Launched And Transformed

Category : general marketing, social marketing

2

Small Business BriefIf you haven’t heard some of the buzz over the last week, you’ll want to tune in quickly and check out the new and improved Small Business Brief! My friends Jennifer Laycock and Robert Clough at Search Engine Guide have re-launched their Small Business Brief into a much more current story submitting and voting format.

The popular small business news site has turned into a site dedicated to just about every aspect of small business. Sales/Marketing, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Management, Website Development, and Employees are just a few of the categories that you’ll find on the site.

Is this just another Digg or StumbleUpon? Absolutely not. Those site are very big and very broad while the Small Business Brief is a perfect niche site for small businesses. For more information on the new site, stop over to Matt McGee’s Small Business SEM and see his Q&A with Jennifer Laycock about the re-launch of the Small Business Brief.

Now, I never thought I’d ever say this, but would someone please FETCH this post??


Ring, Ring….Coupon Calling

Category : social marketing, strategy

9

Text Message AdvertisingImagine this:

You’re sitting at your desk slightly before noon on any given day and the hunger calls are loud from your stomach. Yes, it’s time for lunch. You head for the door and start thinking about what might taste good today as your cell phone notifies you that an incoming text message has arrived. With your mind still on food you reluctantly check the message…

…but wait…

The text message advertising is from the sandwhich deli two blocks down on the right. They’re having a special today that inludes a free cookie! All you have to do is show that text message at the deli and you get the cookie with your sandwhich. All of sudden, a sandwhich would taste really good today.

How about that for Local advertising? Can you get any more local?

An article I saw recently caught my attention and led me to look into location-based text advertising. The article profiled Julian Reytel of SuddenDeals.com. From the article:

Location-based services offer consumers something they want based on where they are. Reytel’s start-up company sends free electronic coupons he calls “Sudden Deals” to the cell phones of people who sign up to receive them. Coupons are delivered based on where in the city consumers plan to be that day. (His service can’t track their actual locations, though that’s coming soon from a competitor.)

Consumers can redeem a coupon, which is really a text message, by showing the merchant the coupon on the cell phone’s display screen.

This is by no means a new advertising technology, but I’ve seen more than a few articles talking about advertising via text in the last couple of months. The medium is definitely gaining momentum. As long as the texting content doesn’t go the way of spam, I think this is a win-win effort for advertiser and consumer.

What are your thoughts? Is text message advertising too intrusive or worth trying?


What’s Black and White and Read Online

Category : social marketing, writing

6

Man Reading NewspaperAn article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune caught my eye yesterday and I wanted to discuss it from a couple different angles. It’s not exactly small business marketing, but hits the social media topic about which I often write. In case the site requires registration, the title of the article was “Former Star Tribune publisher to launch online news site”.

Let me go on record as saying…I hope print newspapers stick around for awhile. Does that sound odd coming from me? I author a blog and spend most of my life using online tools or writing about online topics and trends. But, I love baseball box scores in the sports page, stock prices in the business page, and picking up the local newspaper in a different city. Tom Murphy from Murphy’s Law also agrees with that take on newspapers.

With that said, I’m very interested to see how MinnPost.com does. MinnPost.com is the news site being launched by former Star Tribune Publisher, Joel Kramer. From the article:

The site, with $1.1 million in funding, promises news and blog-like posts distributed online and via a printed newsletter distributed at high-traffic locations over the lunch hour, says the man behind the nonprofit venture, Joel Kramer. It will rely on advertising and donations, akin to Minnesota Public Radio.

The article also mentions that MinnPost.com joins Minnesota Monitor and Twin Cities Daily Planet as sources for Minnesota news. The Star Tribune also indicated they have big plans for expanding their online presence as well.

Wow, that’s alot of Minnesota news sources. The Star Tribune has the brand name behind them so I’ll be curious what the other sites will do to drive traffic and take the lead in online news. I think the future of news lies in social media platforms such as this, but with all the online news sources out there, it won’t be easy to separate themselves.

Will they reach out to local bloggers such as me to drive traffic or solicit content? Will they look into taking on local correspondents from each city and town to report on local events?

Where do you see news coverage in 10 years? 20 years?


It’s Time To Figure Out Image Marketing

Category : search engine marketing, social marketing

5

image collageOne of the hot topics this week at SES San Jose is the coming of age of the blended and universal search engine results page (SERP). I won’t go too much into it as I posted about it earlier in the week, but it does have relevance to this post. Images are now and will be playing a greater role on the SERP – possibly taking up space once reserved for a standard web page listing. If images are a factor in your marketing, I would say now is the time to get them optimized for the search engines.

Adam Snider posted a comment on my universal search post yesterday asking if there was any information at the conference about ways to optimize images beyond the basic alt-tags text.

Well, given the new importance on multimedia and images, I decided to figure that out by attending the session on Images and Search Engines. It turned out to be loaded with great information.

Sheri Thurow led off with an easy to follow presentation that walked through tips and tricks to optimizing images. From her presentation:

  • Alternative (alt) text is what shows when the image does not show. This alt text is also crawled by the search engines. Make sure popular keywords are included here.
  • Relevant keywords should be in text around the image.
  • Anchor text (hyperlinked text) leading to the page and image should include relevant text about the page and image. Instead of “Pictures Here”, try something like, “See photos of SES San Jose and the Google Dance”.
  • Photos should be in .jpg or .gif, but .jpg is the best.
  • Utilize caption or label text in the immediate area around an image.
  • Make sure file names make sense to the audience. Rather than “img002.jpg”, try “patrickschaber-sessanjose.jpg”.
  • Use dashes and not underscores in filename.
  • Utilize correct SEO site structure on the page.

Liana Evans of Search Marketing Gurus also pointed out that the universal and blended search factor means companies need to have increased reputation monitoring. Non-professional images can quickly make their way across the web and now have a greater chance to make that first page of results. In other words, make sure photos from the company party don’t include anything too risky!! Liana also added to Sheri’s list wtih these suggestions:

  • Increase your use of correctly formatted images in press releases.
  • Create a sitemap of your images for the search engine crawlers.

Chris Smith of Netconcepts was next up and he had a great presentation on using Flickr for image marketing. Before I get into Chris’ tips, I want to point out that Matt McGee at Small Business SEM also has an incredible post about Flickr and image marketing. Matt also points out a great example of the potential of Flickr photo buzz.

Chris outlined some photo sharing sites but strongly indicated that Flickr was best optimized for SEO purposes. Utilizing a photo sharing service like Flickr for your images increases the possibility that your images will turn up in search results either on that photo sharing site or in search engines. Thus increasing the chance that an image will lead a searcher to your site. Here is what Chris indicated that Flickr will do for your images:

  • Create a well-optimized profile page for each image
  • Good caption text
  • Includes links back to your site
  • Images can be tagged for easier searchability
  • Images can be cross-grouped
  • Alt-text is used
  • Date taken and page views displayed (search engines like this)

Here was his list of tips if you’re going to try Flickr:

  • Add unique title to image profile page
  • Add description
  • Tag with popular keywords
  • Make images publicly viewable
  • Choose loose licensing so others can use photo (encouraging a link back to your site)
  • Geo tag them if applicable
  • Use flickr groups
  • Add links to descrpition field
  • Post each page to del.icio.us 

For more information on Flickr and image optimization be sure to check out Chris‘ or Matt’s blog.

I encourage you to take a look at your images used in your business and see if it makes sense to optimize them for search. It does seem like images will be playing an increasingly larger role on the SERP.