Archive for category Marketing
In my current profession I study the use of mobile devices and how we can readily interact with one another to spread messages, incorporate branding and facilitate social change. As a result, I came across an article in CNN that really made me think. As a society, we are incredibly dependent on our mobile phones.
More than 88 percent of U.S. adults own cell phones and over half of all U.S. adults are smartphone owners. That means half of our society can pay their bills, check-in to locations, update their Facebook status, play with the stock market and more, directly from their mobile device 24/7. The result is making us an incredibly connected society and it’s changing everything from how we do business, how we make purchasing decisions and even how we date. In fact, 68 percent of us are so connected to our phones that we sleep with them at our bedside. With all of this hyper-connectivity at our finger tips, it sort of makes you wonder. How is this affecting our daily lives?
CNN is suggesting that the use of our smartphones is indeed making us smarter, more productive and what some would call even “superhuman”. This is the first time in history that we have been this connected and had everything we could ever imagine, accessible at our finger tips. With over 6 billion phones now on the planet, one for nearly every person on earth, in some third world countries people are more likely to have access to a mobile device than running water. So, in some ways, we have to wonder if there are negative consequences to such connectivity.
Of course, there is a downside. There is now a “phantom limb” association with cell phones. When you don’t have your phone around you, you’re constantly thinking about it and wanting to check your updates. Ironically as well, people may tend to hide behind their phone and not really be present and live in the moment. How many times have you been out to dinner with friends or at a sporting event and felt compelled to take a picture, instagram it and share it on Facebook with 500 of your closest friends. While you’re busy waiting for the spinning wheel of death to connect to your favorite social channel or determining if sepia is the best color for your latest photo, you may actually be missing the final score of the live match you paid tickets for or the punch line to your friends joke. So many of us are busy updating our status and sharing the interesting moments of our lives that we fail to be present and actually experience them. Ironically, our drive to be constantly connected can actually lead to more feelings of isolation.
Yes, whenever a new technology is introduced in society that disrupts our previous way of life, it does take some time to adjust and experience the downfalls. Yet, when used appropriately, it’s also a way to improve our daily lives and set forward into motion political and social movements. In fact, it was a mobile phone that recorded Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire, which initiated a wave of Arab Spring demonstrations. Being able to instantly record and share scenes around us has been able to bring awareness to issues that may have previously gone unnoticed. I relate it a lot to how the emergence of photography helped to spur the American Civil War. Yes, people had heard of slavery and knew of the mistreatment of other human beings, but when it became visible through photography, it somehow became more real. As a result, it helped to spur activism and a call for change.
So yes, at times, the mobile wave and revolution can seem scary in terms of all that it is uncovering. But I’m sure every age had its own concerns and fears for people living in them at the time, like the Industrial Revolution. The truth is there are positives and negatives that can be identified in each new age. The trick is to use this time to do more good with what we’ve been given and view the use of our constantly evolving mobile devices as more of a tool than a crutch. It’s helpful, yes, and it certainly makes us more productive. Yet it doesn’t mean we should shut off our brain or become disengaged with the world around us. It’s an enhancement to our daily lives, not a replacement.
Do you think we’re becoming too dependent on our mobile phones? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at Elizabeth@ElizabethHoffman.org.
The other day I was crafting a targeted advertising campaign to take place on Facebook. Just as I was adding the final touches, I saw a story come up in my newsfeed announcing that GM was pulling its ads from the platform stating that they were ‘ineffective’. Immediately the social sphere buzz ensued, questioning everything from the platforms advertising effectiveness to its seemingly overblown IPO offering.
This isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Yes, the presence of Facebook and its popularity is undeniable, but traditional marketers have long questioned the value in actual advertising on the platform. Unsurprisingly, even now when Facebook boasts close to a billion users, it can’t touch Google’s popular advertising platform. When push comes to shove, companies still prefer Google to Facebook for digital advertising. Partially, it’s because companies better understand how to use it and the goals are more definitive and digestible.
Google’s adverting popularity is strongly linked to its ability to up your SEO factor, a very clear and tangible goal which is certainly important. However, in order to use Facebook advertising in a successful matter, you can’t let your SEO ranking be your determining factor or the idea that you want to just link someone to your website. Different digital platforms require a different approach in order for you to find success. You have to have clear goals and understand how the unique platforms you’re using can help you get there. I have to wonder if this is something GM thought through thoroughly.
Personally, I have found a lot of success in using Facebook advertising. Last month alone I doubled the fan base of a business page and increased their level of engagement (number of people talking about them) by 40 percent. So yes, I still find Facebook advertising to be effective and I’ll continue to use it in the future. Here’s a simple set of guidelines that I use and that you can follow to find similar success:
1. Define Your Goal.
Is your goal to just build awareness? Do you want people to link back to your page, buy a product or go straight to your website? For businesses just beginning to grow their Facebook presence, a clear goal can be to add new fans to your page.
2. Target Your Campaign.
The power of Facebook is in its targeting. No, you’re not putting in key words that people are searching for to grab their attention and introduce your product or service; you’re targeting your actual customer. So, to start, this means you need to TRULY know who your customers are. You can narrow down who you want your ad to target by their age, geographic region, gender, and education level. If you want to be even more targeted, you can list businesses they may work for, other products they like and other interests that they have keyed in as part of their profile information.
For example, if you are promoting an event that will feature rock music, you can target your ad to reach users that list that type of music as music they enjoy. You can also segment your reach to target fans, friends of current fans, and overall nonfans. This can further align with your overall goal to either reach new people with your ad, or reach people that are already connected to you in some way.
3. Define Your Call to Action.
I don’t like to put up ads just to say “hey, like my fan page” or “buy this product” with a bland logo. That’s boring and cements that no one will click on your ad. Make them WANT to click on the ad or like your page. What’s in it for them? Have a clear, enticing call to action. To do this, I like to conduct ads as part of another promotion.
For example, if I’m having an event, my call to action is to RSVP for the event and then I link them to our page where they can find out more details. Or, I tie in another promotion such as a Facebook poll or quiz where participants have a chance to win a prize (something tangible). But there’s a catch, to view or participate, you have to like the page first. There is a question if people will just like the page first to participate and then leave. Yes, that can happen, but it doesn’t have to. Given my specific customer targeting and my constant list of incentives to engage people in the page, over 99 percent of new fans acquired this way end up staying fans and continue to stay engaged. Which leads me to my next point…
4. Don’t Get To Comfortable – Keep Things Interesting!
Once you get people to like your page (if that’s part of your call to action), don’t just sit there! Keep things interesting. Post new content, photos, quizzes, and continue to engage with and respond to your fans. Make it worthwhile for people to continue to check back with you.
5. Try New Things
Facebook advertising is just like playing around with new key words on Google. You have to try some strategies and fail to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t be scared to try something new! You might be pleasantly surprised.
6. Understand Facebook Ads Don’t Work for Everything
There are cases where Facebook advertising may not make the most sense. Approaching Facebook like you would the classified section in a newspaper simply just isn’t effective. Think about it. When people scan the classifieds for a car, they are more than likely in the market for that item, so those ads speak to potential customers directly. That’s not the case with Facebook. People don’t go there to BUY stuff. People go on Facebook to engage, to communicate with their friends, to pass the time and much more. Therefore, you have to speak to someone who is already in that frame of mind. That’s why more calls to action for say quizzes and sharing stories and photos, are much more successful.
Facebook advertising goes along with your reason for having a Facebook page, it’s about brand building. You have to approach advertising on Facebook as you would a relationship. Many times, it’s your first introduction to your fans on the platform. One of my main goals for conducting Facebook ads is to connect with others that are on the platform and have them engage with our page, so that we can continue to build that relationship. Connectivity, sharing and relationship building is what Facebook is good at and where its success lies, which can be very powerful for brand building. If you’re using Facebook advertising with that focus and to build long lasting, meaningful relationships with your fans, you should find success with it as well.
Those of us with an iPhone 4S have slowly been falling in love, with Siri. For those of you that aren’t aware of what Siri is, it’s a voice activated semi ‘personal assistant’ for owners of the iPhone 4S. She can help you organize information, answer questions, give you directions, send text messages and so much more. She’s fun, witty and dang it, she seems to have all the answers! No longer are we forced to take that extra step and ‘Google’ or tap into our latest app to find the answers to our most pressing questions. We just ask Siri. But yikes, what does that mean for those of us in marketing? Well, essentially it means you have to rethink your SEO strategy.
Now, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is well known in the world of digital marketing to keep your website top of mind in Google, Yahoo and other search engines. It’s a prime way to gain digital traffic by utilizing keywords that your potential customers are using to find information – and if you use it right, you! Siri has its own way of using keywords to find information its users are looking for. Apple has kept the source of Siri’s information somewhat hush-hush, but what we do know is that Siri is using more and more local data to give you the answers you need.
For example, if you’re on the corner of 3rd Avenue & 33rd Street in New York City and you ask “Siri, where can I find some seriously amazing sushi?” Siri will pull up sushi restaurants, likely using yelp and other local sources around you, in your proximity. Your location of course has already been identified via the gps data that’s already registered in your phone. So when Siri says there’s a great sushi place just one block from you on 34th Street – you immediately think she’s a genius and skip onward, happily.
So, this doesn’t mean SEO is on the outs – it just means its evolving. Siri is simply using the additional information provided by your phone data to customize searches for your specific needs. So for marketers, this means we need to start targeting our keywords and strategies to more local mediums when it makes sense, like Facebook, Yelp and Foursquare, to come up during local searches. Also, keep in mind that the phrases people use for web searches will be different compared to what they’re vocalizing through the phone. So slang words and phrases should be considered as well.
There you have it. The world of SEO is constantly evolving but you can stay up-to-date and top of mind. Keep your message consistent, your keywords inclusive, localize your outreach, and keep watching for evolving trends to keep your web and mobile traffic flowing. Good luck!
Your company is launching a new product and there are several types of customers that could benefit from it. You need this product to be a success. It’s important to you, your co-workers, your boss, your board of directors and anyone else associated with your company. So what do you do? You are told to form a committee and so off you go. 3 months later, you find yourself at yet another 2 hour meeting with 30 different committee members, all from different backgrounds and agendas, and not a single theme, message or collateral piece has been agreed upon. You’re frustrated, your boss is annoyed and frankly your dog at home doesn’t like your new attitude.
Look, it makes sense. We want to incorporate everyone in our branding process and it’s important to get feedback from different people. Yet somewhere down the line we become so busy over-thinking what could go wrong and what we could miss, that we over-complicate the process and never end up making any decisions. It’s quite common and something we as marketers are all too familiar with. So what’s a marketer to do? Here are some tips I’ve found helpful to navigate the committee territory.
1. Be Honest
Do you really need a committee for the project you’re working on? Input is always important, but structuring a committee may not be the best way to go about the process. Sometimes it’s best to identify a list of questions or topics from different people and incorporate those points into the overall campaign or project. For a product launch that involves a new business partner or new market, a committee could be extremely helpful. Yet in cases where you’re just repackaging an item, it may not be necessary.
2. Be Selective
Make sure those that are invited to be on the committee will benefit the project. It doesn’t have to be a Who’s Who of the company resources, sometimes less is more. Make sure you have a varied background that can contribute to the overall success of the project, but don’t go overboard.
3. Set Definitive Goals
You have to know what you’re working towards. If you don’t have clear goals, it’ll be hard for your committee to rally around the subject matter. Everyone wants the project to be successful; they just may have different ideas on how to get there. Making goals and objectives as clear as possible (use actual numbers and metrics when possible) will help everyone to focus on the big picture and why you’re all there in the first place.
4. Set an Agenda
Having a clear agenda and sticking to it will help everyone to stay on track to accomplish the goals and tasks at hand. Be sure to recap the main points from previous meetings and have specific take away points from your current committee meeting. Everyone should have a task and a follow-up item to report on for next time. This ensures that progress is happening, which helps to energize everyone and also helps everyone to feel like they are part of the process.
5. Have a Clear Timeline
Make sure your timeline is clear. Give due dates and if you can avoid it, don’t modify the timeline. If there is a loose deadline, it’s much easier for people to mull over items and delay making decisions that need to be made.
6. Listen Up!
There are 7 billion people in the world so chances are there are a lot of great ideas out there (and yes, some of them may not even belong to you!). It can be frustrating to change direction in the middle of a project but if someone brings forward a compelling idea that could enhance the project overall, be open to it. Putting personal agendas to the side will help you to look at things more objectively, which can only help add to your success. If not everyone on your committee is as open as you are, be the example. Sometimes just seeing that someone else is actively listening and open to new ideas makes it ok for others to do the same.
So there you have it. Some simple, straight forward tips that can hopefully help everyone on your committee to feel more effective. Remember there is a value in forming committees when they’re done right. After all, there’s a reason why there are so many committees in the first place, right?
Have another idea or point to share? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to submit your suggestions to email@example.com. I promise I won’t even make you join a committee!