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Using Social Media as a Business Marketing Strategy


social media isn't scary - honestIf you think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the many other social media tools out there are only good for catching up on your mates’ latest escapades (or broadcasting your own), guess again. They offer an effective link to your target market and many businesses are using them successfully. Here’s how it can tie in with your marketing strategy.

1. Objectives that Social Marketing Programs achieve effectively

Social media suits branding objectives and encourages participation.

For example, Adventure Boot Camp launched a breast cancer initiative via their Facebook page. Fans are requested to upload a pink message on their profiles for a month to show their support for the cause. In so doing, ABC is enhancing their social responsibility stance and getting fans to actively engage with the ABC brand for a month. By including the ABC brand in the pink message, they’ll be spreading awareness of the company to their fans’ friends too.

2. Research your audience

Find out where they are. If you’re an advocate, you should check out where your target market is. Are they more likely to be on Facebook which is decidedly social? Or will they be more active on LinkedIn which is geared towards professionals? Where you go will impact on your company image too so make sure if you’re wearing a suit that you aren’t ending up at a baggies and bikini braai.

3. Tactics for the effective use of social media platforms

Types of social media include:
Blogging (on a company website or separate blog)
Pro: anyone can publish opinions and ideas and anyone can comment on these. Interaction and information sharing is greatly enhanced.

Micro-blogging (a well-known example is Twitter)
Pro: short messaging with immediacy – ideal for getting urgent action.

Social networking (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn)
Pro: profiles are not limited to people.

Multimedia content sharing (e.g. video via YouTube etc or podcasts [successful education tool])
Pro: creates personal interaction and in some cases, negates the need for a tedious written explanation which can be as difficult to read as it is to write.

Bookmarking, forums, social news sites
Pro: sharing content is easier if you participate in online forums and upload articles etc to bookmarking sites for greater reach.

4. Integration with other marketing tactics

Social media on its own is like a ship without an anchor. By its nature, social media is controlled by the audience and the discussion can be taken anywhere. This is a risky but useful fact. If you can weather the storms that social media can bring your way (in the form of negative experiences), you’re in for smooth sailing with a strong loyalty in your market.

The “anchor” would take over from the interaction at some point. For example, an email strategy or a solid website design that would convert visitors to perform an action (e.g. buy a book or sign up for a newsletter). Here’s how email marketing strategy can be improved using social media.

5. Putting the plan together

Avoid random acts of social. Have a plan and a purpose. Know what you want to get across by having a clear set of goals that social media must achieve within your overall marketing strategy and steer the conversation about your company / product.

Beware:
Not all businesses are suited to using social media and most will find only certain tactics useful.

Using social media involves long term time investment. Make sure you’re set up for it or don’t do it.

It may start off as a cheap method but costs will increase the more effort you put in. The results will show the input, however, and it’ll always be cheaper than traditional advertising on tv or print editorials.

In your communications, do not make sales pitches – engage your audience using education & information that’s interesting.

Need some help? I recommend this eBook.Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online (eBook)

Happy connecting!
Claudine at Triquetra Consulting

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How Social Media is Perceived at Budget Time


A financial commitment to overcome challenges and achieve social marketing success:
Depending on the size and type of your organization, this may simply require a thumbs‐up from your boss or demand a full scale lobbying campaign to win over skeptics and gain the support of an executive committee. But winning financial support for social marketing is no different than winning support for any other business initiative – you have to prove its value to the organization.

How Social Media is Perceived at Budget Time - Chart

Considering that social marketing is at a very early stage in its life cycle, a 7% confidence rating indicating it is producing measurable ROI and should be funded liberally is outstanding.

Conservative budget increases by half of all organizations and budget time, based on the promise that social media will eventually produce ROI, demonstrate another vote of confidence in the tactic for the longer term.

The 17% of organizations who still believe social media marketing is basically free, and should stay that way, are destined to get what they pay for.

Source: Marketing Sherpa

Email Marketing: 11 Steps to Getting it Right


like throwing a party, anybody can send an email but not everyone knows how to do a great job of it.Email marketing is an ideal tool for reaching a large customer base at a low cost. So why are so many individuals and companies getting it wrong? Like throwing a party, anybody can do it but that doesn’t mean they know how to get it right. Here are some simple steps explaining the right formula for your campaign.

1. Prepare

Set the goals for your email marketing campaign. Will you use promotional emails which have immediate goals such as the user making a purchase? Or are your goals long-term which would require building a relationship with the user?

2. Invites

Define your database for the email campaign. Targeting relevant segments of your database will ensure the right message reaches the right audience. Get permission – nobody likes a spammer so don’t ruin your company’s reputation before you’ve even started.

3. Identify Yourself

Recipient: Who’s this from? I don’t recognise the address. This might be spam or a virus. I couldn’t be bothered to find out. Delete.

This is where you’re knocking on the door. No matter what email program you use, there’s an option to customise the “from name” and “from address”. Use them to identify yourself to set your messages apart from other mail and create a personified message.
Best practice: [Becky at TechnoGeek] becky@technogeek.co.za

4. Be Upfront

Recipient: Oh good, let’s see what TechnoGeek has to offer this week to make my life easier.

Your subject line gets your foot in the door. Avoid using overpromising words like Free, Win unless it’s in context. Exclamation marks here are a no-no. Be honest about what your intention is.
Best practice: TechnoGeek Weekly News: Power Savers for an Energy Efficient Life

5. Greet Individuals

Recipient: “Dear Jacky”? That’s me. They’ve taken the trouble to use the info I submitted so what do they have to say to me.

Remember you’re communicating with people, not an inbox. If you’ve made the effort to collect names for your email list, use them. Everyone likes to see their name in lights (or at least at the top of a page) and is likely to read on if they feel valued.

6. Keep It Simple

Recipient: I know your company covers a lot of topics but I don’t have a lot of time. I’m going to skim this email and see if there’s anything that looks interesting.

If an item is worthy of making it to a newsletter, it’d better be engaging for the reader. If you present more than one idea per newsletter, make use of links to the full content on your website.

As a rule of thumb, if you can get the gist of any newsletter by reading the eye-catching subheadings and bold font for keywords, then it’s good.
You don’t have to cram every piece of news into your newsletter. Using an enticing link for readers to follow can generate traffic to your website.

7. Avoid Trapping

There’s nothing worse than feeling trapped and not being able to opt out of an email subscription is like a trap. Even if they won’t use it, have an unsubscribe link to gain trust and integrity. Other useful links in the footer include a forward function so the news can be shared and of course a link to an appropriate landing page on your website.

8. Topical Choice

What you write about in your email must be relevant and valuable to the reader, not to you. It’s important to research what your readership wants and then supply that in order to gain and keep up the interest.

9. Visual Decor

Test your market to find out what the best time of day and week is to send an email. Send it in the format they can read i.e. html or plain text. It’s simple enough to set up so make it readable when it hits their inbox.

10. Mix and Mingle

An email campaign, or any other marketing tactic for that matter, is stronger if integrated with other marketing activities – online or offline. For example, a shoe shopper reads the email and clicks through to the website where they get more exposure to the company and the detailed product information they seek. More browsing locates a nearby store which directs them to the store, in front of a floor salesperson = sale.
Say you’re running a recruitment drive for the month. Communicate this in all your correspondence – even billing mail. This cross-over makes use of existing communication channels and reinforces the message.

11. Happy Guests

In another item, I explain the importance of measuring marketing tactics. What can be measured in an email campaign to assess success?
• The number of emails delivered
• Number of soft and hard bounces
• Number of emails opened
• Number of unsubscribes
• Number of forwards
• Click-through rates and conversion

With so many individuals and companies using email marketing, many readers are feeling overloaded. Use the above guidelines to create interesting, useful, quality emails that will be read.

Happy email-ing!
Claudine at Triquetra Consulting