Social Media Marketing: Branding Your Company

Many small business owners struggle with retaining customers after an initial use of product or service. What these business owners don’t realize is that there is a cost free quite effective way to do this. Social Media Marketing is becoming a large part of how companies interact with its customer base and also a way in which they gain new customers.

With a Facebook page, your business is gaining visibility, which will allow you to obtain new customers. Thus, the challenge is to create a special relationship with the people who follow you. In this sense, Facebook facilitates business interaction between the company and its customers. It is an excellent opportunity to survey people who follow you, to let them express themselves, to better understand their expectations and to be better prepared to respond. Your Facebook page is the place to talk about your business, and thus inform their news. Use it to promote your offers, your products etc. Take advantage of Facebook to promote your blog posts, news about your company, the events and your partnerships. Facebook is also an opportunity to improve the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your site. This way prospects and potential customers who are looking for information can find you more easily. All of these reasons explain the importance for a business to continue using a social network but especially to develop it in order to collect the benefits.

Professional blogs have become a strong medium of communication in the professional sphere. Here are three good reasons to create its corporate blog:

• Better SEO: The major advantage of a corporate blog is to provide a tremendous boost to your SEO. Compared to the website that can be static, the blog frequently adds new pages to create targeted content. With a business blog, prospects are much more likely to find you via the search engines, and can easily be directed to your site.

• A reassuring proximity that can influence your image: with a professional blog, you show another aspect of your company: a less formal side and more forward in the exchange with your customers. The tone is freer and less commercial than on a website. The user can react and interact with you by leaving comments. This proximity creates a reassuring image of the company but also helps to develop the relationship between the company and its clients.

• Easy editing and updating speed: It is very simple to add links, images or even videos. You are fully independent in its management

Many companies post online videos on YouTube without worrying about SEO. However, if you are a company that cares for the contribution of your YouTube videos, a good SEO strategy will help you to generate more traffic to your videos. Here are some tips that will enable you to get more traffic to your videos and ultimately bring more traffic to your site.

• Write an extended description of at least 200 words: YouTube does not (yet) have the ability to detect the subjects of a video. The more you give a long description, the more Google and YouTube will come to understand the subject of your video. YouTube uses keywords to rank you in its results so do not hesitate to use them.

• Optimize your video based on the keyword: if you properly tag your video with the good keywords, the search engine will propose them when it considers they are relevant videos.

• Share your videos on social networks: Sharing on social networks will bring in significant traffic. You can ask your friends to share the video on their different accounts. Do not hesitate to post your video on several sites.

• Subscribe and comment: ask to your followers or viewers to like, subscribe and comment on your videos. The more viewers that your videos attract, the more YouTube will give importance to your video in its ranking.

• Order your videos: From the moment you start to have a lot of videos, order them into playlists for the users and associate these to a certain topic.

Using Sex To Market & Brand Your Small Business

“The whole idea of guerrilla marketing is to transform cold prospects into consenting partners.” Jay Conrad Levinson

Levinson´s brilliant article makes analogies between sex and guerrilla marketing…here, I´ll focus on a couple examples where sex was blatantly used to market small businesses in atypical guerrilla fashion. Both examples offended people and ruffled feathers. Why was one a brilliant success and one a colossal failure?

In early May, a certain Chicago Billboard It caught the eye of every U.S. media outlet. Lots of people hated the sign, especially those that viewed the sign as actually encouraging divorce. Due to improper permitting, the City of Chicago forced it to be removed, which kept the story in the media for a longer period of time. When a new version of the sign went up, news coverage continued giving the firm even more exposure.

Were there tangible results? The lead lawyer of the firm appeared on network television and the local news stations provided saturation coverage of the story. Alexa shows huge traffic spikes to their website. The firm got links from the Wall Street Journal and the Tom Leykis show. Variants of their ad slogan appear close to 30,000 times in Google. Almost every prospect in their target market likely knows of the firm (or at least the ad) and in an industry where few lawyers create any ads (let alone memorable ones), this firm has grabbed incredible mindshare by advertising with this sexy billboard.

The ad likely resonated with people because it portrayed divorce and the opportunity to be single as a hedonistic fantasyland so far removed from the truth (for most of us) that a viewer can suspend reality long enough to laugh, remember the image/message, and tell all their friends. The word-of-mouth around Chicago must have been tremendous. Through their billboard, the firm has branded themselves as the Chicago divorce lawyers that everyone knows. They should now reinforce their display advertising with SEO / PPC / Social Media Optimization to make their branding as strong online as it is off.

This is the billboard.

By contrast, I found via SEO-Blokes a story published on an online marketing agency website entitled “How Website Design Got Me Laid“, which is a textbook example of how not to brand your business with sex.

Now, I´m not totally against the concept of writing a story about a tryst at a SEO conference (which what was done here), providing that it´s clearly fictional and (perhaps) a vehicle that satirizes the unique interpersonal relationships that can occur between conference attendees:

“The look she gave me from across the room made me realize I don´t need to surf Google Images with safe search ‘off´ anymore…she was shallow and superficial, so I nicknamed her ´Mahalo´…I never dugg blondes but have always preferred Reddit heads…”

Unfortunately, the unnamed author (no name makes the offense even worse) does not make it clear to the reader whether this is parody or truth…and in the small search community, if it could be true, people will start to wonder who is represented in the story and do I know them?

I guess (and I´m reaching for any explanation why this story would appear on a corporate website) that the company in question is trying to brand itself as young and hip. However, casting the narrator in the Dustin Hoffman “Graduate” role and setting the story at SMX just doesn´t work. The story make the narrator look like a total dolt and by portraying the female character as a simple-minded Mrs. Robinson, is extremely insulting to all women.

Along with the book publisher who swiped Google´s laptop, Lifeblue (the agency that published the story) has to be strongly considered for the marketing turd of the year award. I can´t see any positive outcomes arising from this effort.

If you decide to use sex to advertise your small business, be very careful…you might be cutting edge or you just might get cut.

Is Social Marketing Brand Marketing Dressed in Digital Drag?

“Branded social games are gaining traction with marketers seeking to add another dimension to their interactive programs.”

So reads the first line of a past article in the weekly marketing newspaper, DM News.

On the surface it’s an unremarkable and anesthetizing introduction to a marketing phenomenon that is, nevertheless, and needless to say – driving me nuts! What I specifically take issue with is encapsulated in the very last line of the article, which gushes: “Brands believe interactive games will eventually create revenue!”

Now c’mon… either that’s the most amazing and damning indictment against interactive/social marketing in general, and interactive games in particular, I’ve ever heard – or I need to get hooked up to a Valium drip!

Am I the only copywriter today bemoaning the ungodly amounts of corporate money lavished upon the trendy excesses of interactive marketing – a largely unproven, and certainly unquantifiable marketing fashion that only offers the hope of a return on investment?

I mean, does the emperor have no clothes, or what?

Yup, the MAD MEN are at it again! Except this time they’re not the same macho, cut-throat, Brooks Brother types you see on the TV show. These MAD MEN are pretty much techno nerds, born-again, re-branded marketing agencies with a digital veneer. But don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against the new MAD MEN version, much less the older one.

I admire and applaud the business acumen of both – for they successfully carved out a niche for themselves and seized their profitable opportunities wherever they found or created them.

I’m just amazed that so many marketers – predominately, those with huge corporate structures, marketing budgets and MBA driven initiatives – have fallen hook, line and sinker for the glitz and glamour of social marketing.

Okay, okay, I’m not so surprised. This is, after all, the same genome of marketers who are easily enamored of and predisposed towards brand marketing, as opposed to direct response.

Social Marketing is not Revolutionary – it’s Evolutionary!

Look, social marketing can be a valid strategy for incrementally increasing revenue.

Because in the last analysis, it’s just the latest methodology for putting a company’s name out there in the market place in the hope of generating brand awareness.

In other words, social marketing is no more than the digital successor to billboard advertising, Super Bowl TV ads and NASCAR sponsorships – except the interactive component now allows marketer and marketee to network on a one-dimensional plane – i.e., you click here, I click there and another window appears.

Now when all that can be accomplished in a virtual three dimensional environment (anyone seen the movie TRON yet?) – where you can touch me and I can touch you back, then we can storm the mountain top and declare a revolution in marketing has begun!

So am I saying that marketers should avoid virtual social outreach? Of course not. Social marketing, as part of a multi-channel advertising campaign, if it can be afforded, rounds out a company’s marketing efforts.

But to put social marketing at the head of the line and devote a majority of one’s budget, time and efforts to it – while decreasing or ignoring, or worse, eliminating entirely direct response – would be in most instances suicidal!

And that’s why I believe…

Many small marketers have a distinct marketing advantage!

Precisely because they’re time and financially challenged!

The CMO of a multi-million dollar company who doesn’t have any skin in the game, and must only satisfy the requirements of his or her job function, however defined, can entertain fads of little immediate consequence, so long as his superiors believe he’s doing whatever he’s supposed to be doing.

But the small marketer, who watches her metrics and analytics every day, because her mortgage and car payments depend on it; she must see more dollars coming in than going out. So she knows she has to make an offer – ask for the order – and make a sale, often, consistently and effectively!

Of course, she understands too that bonding with her target market – acquiring their trust and loyalty is extremely important. But, then again, she also knows that in business, platonic love and long-distance relationships cannot sustain a viable much less profitable relationship.

Hence, she must always attempt to move the relationship forward. She has to ask for a kiss – and get one! The bigger and more remunerative the better!