Social Media – It’s All About THEM

October 15, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                              return to JayVee Media Link LLC 

launching rocket covered with social media iconsLaunching a social media campaign can be daunting.  We are excited by the prospect of a new business challenge; we are eager to show positive results as quickly as possible.  We can easily become overwhelmed in our attempts to build an audience, post consistently, create quality content, etc.

Points to Remember

There are three things we need to keep in mind with each new campaign launch:

  1. Every new campaign needs direction.  Just as we plan out a road trip, with a designated travel route and defined start and end points, we need to build a strategy map for each campaign we launch.
  2. Building social relationships is essential if enough trust is to develop for conversion to take place.  This takes time.  There is no short cut for allowing familiarity and trust to take root.
  3. As we research, post and engage in our quest for the most direct route to a successful campaign, we must remember that our efforts need to be all about the people in our target market.  What appeals to them?  How can we satisfy a need that they have?  What can we share that will have good value to them?  These are the questions we need to keep in mind as we proceed.
Tips to Apply

What are some of the best ways to get quality interaction going with our fans and followers?  Here are some of my favorite methods:

  1. Post authentically.  Be open and honest.  Show eagerness to help.  Let others see that our brands have human sides.  People can spot phonies very readily.  Why would we risk such a branding?
  2. Do an analysis to determine what days and times the greatest number of our fans and followers are on their social media profiles.  We can then arrange to concentrate our posts during those peak times.  Don’t neglect weekends, too!  Recent studies have shown that a lot more activity takes place over weekends than was originally assumed.
  3. pitches forbidden

  4. Avoid constant sales pitches.  The majority of our posts should be carefully crafted information (original and shared) that has great value to our fans/followers.  Remember to use multimedia postings, too.  Pictures and videos get the most attention and inspire the most engagement.
  5. Contests and special promotions are wonderful ways to build and engage audiences if our businesses lend themselves to such strategies.
  6. Use picture postings to encourage fun conversation.  For example, invite fans and followers to supply captions.
  7.  Ask open questions, both at the end of our blogs and as stand alone posts.  Queries can be business related or about life events, general/current issues, etc.  Be ready to respond in a timely fashion, so the engagement we foster doesn’t languish.
  8. Involve fans/followers in certain business decisions.  For example, if a new product is in development, post pictures of various possible designs and ask for input.
  9. Ask fans and followers to post their own pictures on our business page timelines. Photos depicting our products in use can be great testimonials!
  10. Encourage crowd sourcing.  People love to feel valued.  Asking for their input to help others breeds excellent loyalty!  This activity can also teach US more about THEM: the way they think and problem solve, and what makes them tick.

Each social media campaign we launch requires a large time investment and plenty of patient diligence.  We must remember that there are no short cuts to success…and we must remember to make that point clear to our clients if we are managing campaigns for them.  Working steadily and employing the tips listed above are good ways to pave the most direct route to success.

What tips can you add to the ones mentioned above?  Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

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Twitter Makes Some Marketing Changes

September 10, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                               return to JayVee Media Link LLC 

We have been hearing a lot lately about innovative ways to advertise on Facebook.  Well, Twitter is not about to let Facebook monopolize the marketing limelight!  Over the past few weeks the microblogging platform has introduced several tweaks to its advertising opportunities.  Since the changes are new, it’s too early to tell how effective they will be.  But they do sound promising!

Twitter Promoted Tweets logo

One change Twitter has effected is that the rule requiring “promoted tweets” to be sent only to a business’ followers has been lifted.  Businesses can now target ads to a variety of different interest categories, as well as to people who demonstrate similar interests to the companies’ accounts.    With a little imagination, we can see how broadly this new allowance opens up the field of potential recipients for marketing ads.

Another change is that Twitter has dropped the price of its promoted tweets considerably.  While the platform still employs the auction style sales model, the price it charges per engagement for an advertising bid has been dropped from 50 cents to a penny.  This change should dramatically expand the number of merchants who use Twitter advertising.  Be warned, though, that merely winning auctions does not guarantee ad placement into the stream.  The tweets that will be promoted must first demonstrate that they achieve good responses.

Ad Dynamo Get Paid to Tweet service logo

In conjunction with these changes to Twitter promotions, global advertising marketplace Ad Dynamo has added a new twist:  paying Twitter users to promote products.  What better way to appeal to prospective customers than through sincere endorsements from some of their peers?  With the launch of Ad Dynamo’s sponsored tweet campaigns, any Twitter user can become a paid promoter of a company’s product or service.  He or she needs only to register for the program and respond to briefs that prospective marketers prepare.  A price is then set for user promotion.  Of course, those participants with large followings and good reach are able to set higher prices for their recommendations.  The companies have final say to ensure that the right messages are being conveyed in an appropriate manner for them, and Ad Dynamo supplies them with analytics to measure the success of the Twitter users’ promotional efforts.  Authenticity in tweeting is strongly suggested, since hollow endorsements can be spotted fairly easily.  Other than that, the process is pretty straightforward.

I should mention here that Facebook also offers a version of sponsored stories.  However, its version is done differently, and is not very popular with the platform’s users.  In order to employ its sponsored stories ad campaigns, Facebook relies on a frequently overlooked stipulation in its terms of service that new users are required to accept.  In a nutshell, this rule allows the platform to turn a Facebook user’s “like” of a business or product into an ad if that business pays them to do so.  No further permission is required of the profile owner, whose name is then used for endorsement purposes.  Many Facebook users resent this move, believing it to be both a violation of their privacy and not necessarily a true endorsement.  Even those users who don’t mind having their names appear in Facebook’s sponsored stories acknowledge that merely liking a business page is not tantamount to a recommendation.  All things considered, sweetening the deal as Ad Dynamo is doing by offering a monetary incentive AND making participants opt in yields a much higher acceptability rate for Twitter’s sponsored stories over Facebook’s efforts.

The competition between and among social media platforms and their advertising offerings is giving way to more innovation and diversity for businesses who employ the sites.  This is good news for companies who understand the growing importance of these marketing tools and embrace the strategies they offer.

What are your thoughts about Twitter’s changes to its promoted tweets?  Does Ad Dynamo’s sponsored tweets service appeal to you?  Please let us know in the comments section below!

Twitter bird with lots of cash

Unlocking LinkedIn’s Treasures

August 6, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                            return to JayVee Media Link LLC

linkedin logoLinkedIn was the hot topic for one of my recent coaching sessions.  For all the people on that site, it is surprising that a considerably small percentage understand how to make optimal use of its rich offerings.

While many of the “rules” for proper use of the platform coincide with those of other social media sites, LinkedIn is a little more regimented in the way it presents its opportunities.  Considering that it is oriented more toward business to business interaction, the manner of contact and communication on the platform is understandably more formal.  People generally maintain profiles for job search or for business networking; hence, “best foot forward” etiquette applies. There is less latitude for informality.  Finesse is also a word that comes to mind when I think and talk about interaction on LinkedIn.

Let’s look at some of the basic procedures we can follow to increase our chances of successful interaction on LinkedIn:

–“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”  Remember that sage old adage?  Our first impression on ANY social media site comes from our profiles.  It is essential to fill them out as completely as possible.  We need to be as descriptive as we can, in as succinct a manner as we can achieve. Not an easy feat!   We also need to keep an eye toward employing strong niche related keywords and phrases as we craft our passages.   Equally important is the inclusion of a profile picture, preferably of us instead of logos or products.  It really helps to facilitate communication when a person can see a picture of whom he/she is addressing!

–Make connections with people already known to us on LinkedIn.  If we know them well enough, we shouldn’t be shy about asking for recommendations.  The sight of positive reviews on our profiles builds our reputations as well as our brands.  BUT, remember that giving is even more important than receiving.  We must be willing to write recommendations for others too – even before we are asked to do so.

–Search for and join niche related groups.  We must prepare to be active participants in them, too.  That entails keeping our eyes on the discussion topics, and adding our input wherever we see an opportunity.  If possible, we should also initiate topics ourselves.  This consistent activity builds visibility on LinkedIn and elevates status in our fields.  In turn, it will also translate to more connections that hold good business potential for us.

–Another good feature for building our visibility, credibility, and ultimately connections is the “answers” section of LinkedIn.  We should remember to visit it often, perusing it for posted questions that hold an opportunity for us to demonstrate our expertise with our answers.  Of course, we can always post our own queries there if we need assistance!

–The more we interact via the above mentioned LinkedIn features, the more potential we will have for making good connections.  This is something for which we need to strive. And we must remember to nurture those new associations.  Direct selling, especially right away, is a sure way to find ourselves ostracized.  Even on a profile like LinkedIn, which is primarily for business interaction, relationships must be grown and trust must be built before selling can take place.  Ideally, once a comfort level is achieved with connections on site, an invitation can be offered to discuss business more in depth off the site; e.g., via email, chat, video conferencing, or even in person.  That is the arena in which concentration can be turned to how we and our LinkedIn acquaintances may be able to benefit each other with our businesses.

What other tips can you offer to help us achieve business success via our LinkedIn profiles?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

LinkedIn logo with a handshake above it

Twitter: Terrible…or Terribly Misunderstood?

July 9, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Twitter new logo“Twitter?  Ugh!  I HATE Twitter!”  That is the reaction I often get when I recommend the platform as a business building tool in new clients’ social media marketing toolboxes.  In spite of its wild popularity among business owners who grasp the vast potential Twitter holds, those who are less well informed about social media marketing seriously misunderstand the channel…and underrate its value to their companies.

The biggest complaint about Twitter that I hear from new clients stems from their notions that everyone on the platform does nothing but tweet nonsensical minutiae about their personal lives.  The second biggest grievance I hear is that the channel spreads users’ messages too widely to ever be useful to them.  Objections like these are quickly put to rest when my clients learn a few facts about Twitter:

Targeted Searches

It is easy to build a following that is very specific to one’s niche by using Twitter’s search tool.  There are other related sites, like Twellow, that also offer this service.  But the one built into the platform is very easy to use, and returns the best results I have seen.  Just type in some relevant keywords and click the search button.  While not necessary for this activity, it is helpful to precede the words with the hashtag symbol (#).  Follow any accounts that look like good potential matches; Twitter etiquette dictates that the vast majority will follow back.  Of course, be sure to message a note of thanks to those people who do, which helps set the stage for engagement.  But don’t try selling right off the bat.  On Twitter, as on every other social media platform, the name of the game is relationship building.  Pitches must come later.

Twitter search example

Sharing Information

As we build and engage our targeted Twitter followers, we become immersed in a constant stream of the freshest industry information available, posting almost as it is breaking.  Think of it as the most valuable instant messaging system we can join.  We can contribute our expertise as well as benefit from that of our peers at the uppermost levels of our niches.  The best way to grow our following further is to demonstrate our knowledge, and to be willing to help by freely sharing it.  The best way to service our clients is to operate with the most cutting edge information we can find.  Twitter is one of the best resources for both sides of this business equation.

Hitting proper targets for our expertise

We can target our messages to those who will potentially benefit the most, and hence stand the best chance of becoming clients, by using one of the same tools that helped us locate relevant followers in the first place.  Hashtags are invaluable for this process.  They also categorize our messages by subject or niche, making them easy to find.  As with all great tools, however, be sure to use them wisely – and avoid overuse.

Twitter hashtag and driving traffic examples

Driving traffic

By posting links in our tweets, we can use Twitter to drive traffic to our websites, our blog pages, and to our other social media platforms.  In fact, Twitter has the potential to drive more traffic than almost any other channel.

Brand identification

Twitter allows much latitude for businesses to advertise their branding.  Almost everything from a profile’s background image to the colors of its text can be configured to match a company’s branding.  This is very significant, as uniform appearance across a website and all social media channels strengthens a company’s identification and instills confidence in its customers.

Twitter branding example JayVee Media Link

Whether new to social media marketing or not, every business owner needs to understand the importance of using a Twitter account.  For any of the above mentioned necessary activities, the platform is an invaluable tool.

Do you get pushback when you speak of Twitter to your clients?  How do you handle a negative reaction toward this important social media tool?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Facebook Ads: Thumbs Up or Down?

June 25, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                     return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook ads – to buy them or not?  Considering how many posts are circulating on both sides of this issue, the choice is not an easy one to make.  My views aren’t set in stone just yet, but I’d like to share them with you.

Facebook ads logo

I like Facebook for marketing, and I frequently recommend it to my clients.  I especially like the business friendly features the platform added to its pages.  But, while I understand its desire and need to generate revenue, my belief is that the push for more advertising goes against the social media site’s core concept.  Facebook has always been a place for social connecting, not hard selling.  I recommend the platform for engaging with a brand’s current and potential fans; as an avenue to breed familiarity, build trust, and service those fans.  With the new, no cost features Facebook has given its business pages it is relatively easy to highlight new products, services, special deals, etc.  For my philosophical purposes, that is good enough.

Of course, I will not refuse a client who wishes to advertise on the Facebook platform.  And lately, there has been push back against the reports that as a marketing venue Facebook isn’t successful enough to be considered truly viable for businesses.  But most of those countering reports stem from one marketing analytic organization, which lists Facebook as one of its main clients.  It would be nice to see analytical interpretations done by other associations as well.

The research I have done so far has indicated a proclivity toward unhappiness over Facebook’s push toward monetization via its ads.  Some merchants feel the rule changes shift the playing field so that creativity and traditionally successful strategies can be undercut by competitors who are willing to pay for more exposure.  Personal profile users are not happy about being bombarded with ads all over Facebook.  And some of the platform’s newer marketing systems target users via methods that are more intrusive on privacy than ever before.  For example, facebook sponsored stories ad examples merely liking a business page can be reason enough for a user to turn up in a “sponsored story.”  Also, the platform is using cookies placed on profile users’ computers to track their off-Facebook activities in order to tailor ads for them, as opposed to just relying on the preferences they list on their profiles.  This is similar to the methods Google uses for its advertising.  Facebook claims that its users have the ability to opt out of this level of intrusion.  But how many users on average know how to change their settings to do that?  For the general public who wants to connect, socialize and engage with friends, this is a bit too much privacy to sacrifice.

There is also talk that Facebook may eventually begin charging for the special features it now offers to business pages for free.  This may happen especially if the platform’s ads don’t generate the revenue for which it is hoping.  One recent study actually concluded that more positive response is coming from the free features than from the paid ads.  That said, it stands to reason that Facebook might want to push everyone into a scenario where every type of special promotion will cost.  I can’t say so definitively, but I believe a move like this will turn more people away from marketing on Facebook – especially when we consider how many new social media platforms are cropping up almost daily. It’s only a matter of time before one (probably more) of them rivals the number of users that Facebook currently has.

examples of Facebook ads

While I understand its motivation, I feel that Facebook is trying to make itself into something it wasn’t meant to be.  Its current structure plays an important role for its social clients as well as its business pages.  Change can be a good thing, but sometimes completely reinventing oneself can have undesirable outcomes.  In its quest to procure greater profit margins, I wonder if Facebook may be going too far in a direction its users do not wish to go.

How do you feel about all the new methods for paid ads that Facebook is pushing?  Do you approve of this new direction the platform is taking?  Will it help or hurt, in your opinion?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

See also:

Facebook to Debut Real-Time Bidding on Advertising Prices,” by Douglas MacMillan & Jonathan Erlichman, Bloomberg

ComScore: Stop Bashing Facebook Ads,” by Jennifer Booton, Fox Business

Facebook Consultant Argues That Website’s Ads Work,” by Sarah McBride, Reuters

Here’s ComScore’s Massive Report on Facebook Ad Effectiveness,” by Laura Stampler, Business Insider

Avoiding Social Media Overload

June 4, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                     return to JayVee Media Link LLC

passed out with head on top of computer keyboardContent creation; posting; engaging; marketing; curation; strategizing; maintaining an active presence on all the relevant social media sites; mobile marketing; email marketing…  Hour after hour we sit, until our eyes blur and our minds turn foggy.  Day turns to night; darkness gives way to dawn, and still we toil.  There is SO MUCH to do, and so few hours in a day…

Does this feel like an accurate description of your life in the social media field?  If it does, you’re not alone.  I recently came across this mind blowing social media infographic posted by Business Insider, and it put everything into perspective.

When we love what we do our enthusiasm is high, and it’s easy to overreach.  That’s why it’s so important to understand the scope of the tasks we undertake, and to know our limits.  Even the most knowledgeable and motivated amongst us can’t possibly deliver quality work when spreading themselves so thinly.  The only possible result of trying to do it all is poor quality for our clients, and a bad case of burnout for ourselves.

So how do we navigate the labyrinthine processes of the social media field?  Here are some thoughts:

Research
  I mean this on several different levels.  Stay on top of the changes and rollouts that impact the major social media platforms.  This way you will remain knowledgeable on how to best utilize their features.  Do your best to become familiar with at least some of the smaller outlets across the different facets of the social media marketing sphere, too. That will help eliminate the need to blindly cast around, grabbing at the latest, newest crazes for which it may not be truly worth devoting any time.  Instead you will be well equipped to recommend the few platforms that will optimally suit your clients and yourself.

Bring in help
  There’s no getting around this.  The only way you will be able to deliver consistent, quality service is to share the work load.  But please note:  It won’t do to “hire” your 12 year old niece because she is a Facebook powerhouse or your best friend because you enjoy socializing with him/her.  You need to look hard for people who:

–share your dedication to the field;

–eagerly embrace the ongoing learning, including the necessary research to be able to faithfully speak and engage in the voice of your clients;

–have great marketing skills;

— possess strong communication and writing abilities, including proper spelling, grammar and sentence construction;

–are intuitive enough to readily adapt as circumstances dictate.

Interns are fine, as long as they are interested enough in the field to pursue related work.  In other words, innate interest, intrinsic motivation, dedication to the process and commitment to the end goals are necessary qualities to seek when bringing in assistance.

The social media marketing field is exploding as more businesses come to understand its power and significance in today’s marketing strategies.  For anyone who finds the field exciting, it makes a wonderful, stimulating career.  But we need to remember to prepare ourselves on all levels so that we are able to deliver great quality while avoiding the pitfalls and the burnout.

What steps do you take in your business to ensure top quality service and keep from becoming overwhelmed?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

social media icons exploding out of computer

See also:  “Building a Great Social Media Team,” by Social Media Today’s Deborah Sweeney

For Marketing: An Exciting New Tool

May 21, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                         return to JayVee Media Link LLC

I’d like to change things up a bit this week by sharing news of a new marketing tool about which I recently read.  It’s from a startup company, and I believe its potential is enormous!

Gumroad logoGumroad was developed by Sahil Lavingia, a 19 year old former Pinterest employee.  It appears to be an answer to the dauntingly complex task of listing goods that merchants wish to market online.  Simply put, it allows us to sell directly through our social media channels.  All we need to do is upload the information about our merchandise, and share the link that Gumroad generates for us on our social media platforms.  For a 25 cent transaction fee and 5% of the sale price, it handles the hosting, payment and delivery for us.  Yes, really!  Gumroad can have us marketing our wares literally in the amount of time it takes us to upload our information to its site and share the resulting generated link!

I am very excited about the potential Gumroad holds for my social media clients, and I’m sure you will be, too.  For the ease of its functionality alone it is destined to be very big!

What are your thoughts about Gumroad?  Will you be able to make use of it?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Gumroad banner

For further information, see New Start-Up Aimed at Selling Goods Socially, written by Lindsay Stanford and shared by Social Media Today’s Maggie Fox.