Sunday, 20 October 2013

Rethink Your Social Media Marketing

This week was full of information! Not only did I get to attend Pivot Con (a Conference held in New York City) but also I was able to sit in on the Social Media Success Seminar held online. One of my favourite Keynotes was held by Jay Baer. His topic was “Why You Need to Rethink Your Social Media Marketing”.

From the very beginning Baer points out the main reason for using social media – it is not to obtain new customers but it is primarily about building customer loyalty. And when you really think about it, that makes total sense. Who among us follows someone or something on Facebook that we haven’t already been introduced too? The things we “like” we have already built a relationship with and are seeking a way to stay better connected.

Following that discussion Baer moved onto this quote “Do less social media, but do more with the social media that you’re doing”. It seems like such a simple concept but honestly it makes sense. The point of social media is not to repeat the same message over and over again on different platforms – that is how you loose engagement. The point is to develop a strategy for each platform individually in order to keep the content fresh and consumers interested. If your customers are already “loyal” than they are gaining nothing from hearing the same message on multiple platforms. Below is a list of questions that you must ask yourself when creating different social platforms. If you cannot talk yourself out of doing a social media platform using these questions – its probably a good idea.

• Who is the audience for us on this channel?
• What can we provide them that they will find interesting and useful?
• Where will the content for this channel come from?
• Who is going to take care of this thing?
• When will this channel be updated and by whom?
• Why are we spending even one minute or even one dollar on this channel?
• How do we justify this?

Baer challenges all of us to rethink how we are using our social media platforms for business. He asks us to "give it a shot" and really challenge ourselves to create different content for each platform. By doing this we can move strangers to friends and friends to loyal customers - which as he mentioned above is the ultimate goal of social media.

Overall I loved Baer’s voice throughout his speech. He is very blunt, real and almost cynical which ultimately kept my interest during his lecture. He is clearly knowledgeable about this topic, which only added to his over all presentation. I would not only be willing to sit in on another one of his speeches but I want to. I strongly believe you need to learn from the best in order to be successful and Baer meets that mark.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Should Instagram Insta-Regret Their Ad's?

With over 80 million users seemingly popping up out of nowhere, Instagram is the latest and greatest in the social media craze. Started in 2010 this photo-sharing platform has changed the way of picture sharing forever.

Until recently this social media platform has been virtually ad free – yes, businesses have used it to share images of their products and what not but the overt placement of advertisement were nowhere to be found. To me this was a huge selling point. Spending a lot of my time online it was reassuring to know I could always go to Instagram for a clutter free experience but this is no longer the case. In early October Instagram announced that they would be jumping on the advertising bandwagon and would start to implement them immediately.

To many of us this did not come like a shock. All of our beloved platforms must become commercialized at some point in order to make money – but it never makes the transition any easier. With information hubs like Statigram we were able to see the value in our posts very early on in Instagram's creation. It's sites like this why I believe this change has taken so long. The point of ads are to see value in a post but when it was so readily available it slowed down the need for this advertising change.

From a marketing perspective this was the smartest move Instagram could make. Its now been active and thriving for three years and it's time to start making some money. Before this change brands could make a profile, share images of the brands persona, products, staff members, locations etc. and have users opt-in to follow their image feed for FREE! As a marketing tool this was genius – but now not only can they have all the above (still for free) but they can also pay to have ads pop up on users feeds that do not currently follow them. This could drive traffic to their page or simply sell a product. 

I am left wondering what other users feel about this change. Unfortunately, due to the field I’m in I am forced to see both sides and I do see where they are coming from. This change not only makes Instagram a stronger marketing tool but a more valuable business overall. Good thing I love you Instagram! I guess we will have to make this transition together. Like it or not!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Blogging a 2 for 1 Tool!

The Internet world is expanding every single day. Not only with professional websites, social media platforms and hilarious videos but also with high quality user generated content. With the ability to create, imagine and share online we as a society are much more connected and in tune with what is going on in the world around us. We have the ability to expand our minds

Blogging is one of the main platforms people use in order to start this sharing process. As a marketing tool a blog is an amazing asset that will allow your brand to further establish your brand persona but is can also be used as a communication tool. Consumers can comment on your posts and share your story so the conversation can continue.

Strangely enough blogging as a medium also has tremendous Search Engine Optimization capabilities. Using keyword strategies, linking to websites and generating creative content your blog can help drive traffic to your brand.

A keyword strategy allows the user to choose words that best describe their brand or product and “bulk up” on those words. This allows Google to easily recognize what the post is about and place it accordingly.

Linking to other blogs or websites will help build the authority of your page. By using a number of different resources consumers will trust that you know what you are talking about and that you are telling the truth. This will drive traffic and encourage sharability. Another strong addition to your SEO would be to have others linking to your blog. Search engine watch agrees that this link building technique allows you to build a connection with other brands and establishes your credibility. If the goal is to drive people to your website this is an excellent approach.

Finally blogs allow you to design new content to share with your consumers. This step helps with both the keyword strategy and the linking process. Content is the “meat” of your blog. It is the reason people will continue to come back time after time. Without content the other two SEO strategies are useless.

Blogging is a great way to show your talents and interest to prospective consumers in your brand and products but it has so much more to offer. With its ability to be both a successful marketing tool as well as have numerous SEO strategies blogging is an amazing opportunity for businesses/people. I for one have been building my online brand through my blog for a few years now and I can certainly see the benefits.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Key is Content!

Since the beginning of advertising different groups have struggles with whose part of the ad is the most important. The art directors swear by the image, the sales people say it’s all in the pitch; account managers say you need good client relationships and the marketing team thinks it’s all about where the ad is placed. The funny thing is they are all right. Their part is equally as important as the others because if one of these sections is lacking then the whole ad suffers.

But I am compelled to pose this question. Without the proper content what is the point of having an ad in the first place? The content is what drives the consumer to learn about the product, calls them to action and even closes the sale. It is also undeniably the only piece of the marketing puzzle that has not changed in all these years. Customer service techniques, graphics, sales pitches and ad space has all changed over time with the market but good, creative content has been valuable all along. 

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant andvaluable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined andunderstood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

The Content Marketing Institute (created in 2007) has determined that there are seven steps that will turn a visitor into a brand evangelist all using content marketing.

The best part about these steps is we know that they work! Think about an experience you have had with a brand. No one can say they magically fell in love with a product over night. Your loyalty took a lot of work from the brand. Not only did they have to create a good product but they also had to earn your trust - and that trust building comes from a clear content strategy.

Joe Pulizzi is one of the great content marketing developers of our time. He focuses on the value of telling a story rather then just simply writing content. Pulizzi knows that consumers want to feel like they are apart of something bigger than themselves, and what better way to do that then let them into your brand story. With his new book (Epic Content Marketing) he quotes,

“As a business, your content marketing goal is to become part of the fabric of your customers’ lives. Once you can do that, selling to them becomes relatively easy... The good news is that we can all be epic”

Pulizzi also has the facts to back up his statements. For example in his blog he quotes “only 11 percent of marketers who don’t have a defined content marketing strategy for their enterprise describe their efforts as being effective.” Yikes! With facts like that it is hard to deny the clear value that good content or a good story can brings to your brand.

Story telling itself is not all that new of a concept. It has been going on for years, centuries even! Check out this video to see how far back story telling for the purpose of content marketing really goes.

Gila de Vries from Mashable takes a slightly different approach when looking at content as a marketing tool. He believes that with content must come with design, multiple platforms, balance between professional vs. user generated content and share ability. He thinks that even with great content must come a fair amount of engagement. By making your online content available on multiple platforms, shareable and interesting (both written and graphically) you are bound to have success. Gila also notes the power of on offline content strategy. He sates,

“A solid offline strategy can be one of the keys to bringing your online content to life, engaging your audience, and attracting new eyeballs. Red Bull has become an inimitable force in the field of content marketing and has blended online and offline marketing to become synonymous with extreme sports. In addition to a hugely popular website and magazine, Red Bull organizes sporting events from freestyle motocross, to extreme downhill sledding, to chariot racing. These offline events allow it to own the agenda, while engaging with their community in a very natural way.”

If I have not convinced you yet about the value in content marketing I have one more "Guru's" insight to share with you. Content Marketing Spot's creator Kevin Yeaman is passionate about his field. He specializes in a number of different content fields such as press releases, webinar hosting, social media content, business blogging and more. Yeaman shows us how content has a clear path to increasing sales. 
He posted this quote to his website, 

Content marketing as a whole is an amazing promotion tool – don’t you think? The power to build a relationship with your customers through words and stories is simply amazing. But we cannot forget about the value in its overall design, placement and share ability as stated by de Vries. If we as marketers can develop a brand story and stick to being "epic" like Pulizzi then we should have no problem with this concept. The content evangelists have paved a road for up and coming advertising/ marketing people to be successful - all of the information is right at our finger tips if we are willing to listen. I for one am convinced that this works and I know I will be using these techniques in the future. 

What brand do you know of that does a great job with their content? Personally I believe brands like Coca-Cola, Apple and Gatorade do fantastic job of connecting to their customers through content both on and off line. Let me know what you think. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

How To Create Amazing AdWords

Have you ever wondered how to create amazing Google AdWord campaigns? Well, here is a relatively simple template that you can follow for almost any business. These steps will help you define your target set, a goal and create dynamic ads to reach your target! I used Farm Girl Food (a local Kingston gourmet food truck) as my model for these work sheets to use as an example.

WORKSHEET 1: Organizing your Account

Step 1: Design your advertising plan by answering some questions about business needs

What do you offer?

Gourmet locally-sourced comfort food

Who do you want to target? (in Kingston and the surrounding area)

- Young business professionals
- Queen’s students
- Sustainable food activists

What's your budget?

$5 per day > $35 per week > $140 per month

Step 2: List campaign goal (which can be used as your campaign name)

Campaign Goal:

Increase Lunch Sales

Step 3: Create at least three ad groups for your campaign (optional)

A delicious Farm Girl Meal Arancini di Riso

WORKSHEET 2: Picking the Right Keywords

Step 1: Expand - list keywords that relate to both your business and campaign goal. Use the keyword Tool for ideas.

Kingston, Gourmet, Gourmet Food, Dinner, Lunch, Food Porn, Small Business, Food Truck, Comfort Food, Lunch Time, Seasonal, Local Food, Fresh Food, Farm Girl, Seasonal Food, Downtown Kingston, Home Made Food, Cheap Lunch, Gourmet Food Truck, Kingston Menu, Kingston Lunch, 

Kingston Local, Kingston Dinner, 
High Quality Food, Catering, Sustainable  

Step 2: Group - separate keywords into ad groups by common theme

Theme 1:                                      Theme 2:                                                Theme 3:

- Local food                                - Gourmet                                               - Kingston

- Kingston Local                         - Gourmet food                                      - Small Business
- Sustainable                              - Gourmet food truck                              - Downtown Kingston
- Catering                                   - Comfort food                                        - Kingston menu
- Lunch                                       - Fresh food                                           - Kingston lunch
- Dinner                                      - Local food                                            - Kingston local
                                                   - Homemade food                                  - Kingston dinner
                                                   - High quality food

Step 3: Refine - cut out any irrelevant, unclear, generic or too-specific keywords from the list above.

Food Porn, Food Truck, Lunch Time, Seasonal, Seasonal Food, Cheap Lunch, Sustainable

WORKSHEET 3: Write Targeted Ad Copy

In this section Google AdWords has you create 3 sample ads for each Ad Group! However, I've simply included a few examples along with the breakdown of how Google formats your targeted ads.

Google Ads consist of 3 parts:

1. Headline - A 25-character headline

2. Description - You get 2 lines of 35 characters each to describe what you have to offer
3. URL -

My Examples:

Private Catered Lunch

Meeting with the boss over lunch?
Contact us for a private catering

Local Gourmet Food Truck

A fresh, homemade comfort food menu
Come visit us today!

Kingston’s Hot Lunch Spot

Homemade, locally sourced menu options
Join us today!

Let me know what you think about this model and if it benefited you on your AdWord journey!
See you all later this week with a new post.