Businesses Need to ‘Get’ Social Media

2 08 2011

 

Alexis Dormandy writes in The Telegraph about businesses still not quite “getting” social media:

Ticketmaster estimates that every time one of their customers posts on Facebook that they’ve bought a ticket, their friends spend an additional $5.30 with the site. When last year’s Google conference was taking place, they tweeted the morning of the conference: “100 tickets left, 550 bucks a piece, use this promotion code”. 11 minutes later they tweeted, “Sold them, thank you.” That’s $55,000 in sales with one tweet in 11 minutes. E-commerce sales are expected to top $1.4 trillion by 2015. And IDC estimates that in five years, 10-15 per cent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook.

Given the overwhelming evidence that social commerce works, why are big businesses so slow to take advantage? Could it be because senior marketing directors don’t understand it and don’t want to admit it?

Your typical 40-year-old marketing director would have left school in 1988. More than likely their last maths lesson was when they were 16, and they were glad to see the back of it. Computers weren’t even available at school then. The brightest graduates interested in marketing studied English, foreign languages, or history.

The fast trackers went into advertising agencies to do planning and account management. Life was a lot of fun and not a computer in sight. I recall being phoned by an account director friend the night before a big pitch asking me to “explain again how a percentage works”. She was an Oxbridge graduate and it had been 9 years since she’d last had to do any maths.

Our 40-year-old marketing director probably spent four years at an agency, before going to work on the client side. They spent the 1990s pulling together billboard campaigns, debating what they could say with the Advertising Standards Authority, agreeing joint promotions with other big businesses, and sponsoring celebrity sportsman. Life was still a lot of fun.

They turned 30, the dot-com bubble came, and a small number of the more enterprising ones became entrepreneurs. Most kept rising up their businesses, learning to take eighteen months to launch a consumer product, and working with retailers to plan their Christmas sales nine months in advance. The really good ones rose to the top and had teams to look after all this stuff for them.

And all the while, those computers and the maths they thought they’d avoided at school were catching up with them.

Ten years ago marketing meant spending millions on a TV campaign that would be seen by 10m people of whom maybe 200,000 bought something.

Then Google came along with Adwords and let you “buy” customers on a cost per click (CPC) basis – you agreed to pay a certain amount per customer, and Google connected you. Marketeers had to learn about search engine optimisation, paid-for-search, and affiliate sales. Most of them didn’t.

Then Facebook came along and transformed things again. Now you only need to target 5,000 people, and they in turn influence 20,000, who influence 200,000.

Marketing has become all about analytics and maths and measurement and making targeted investment decisions on a daily basis. It’s about data – lots of data.

It requires totally different skills than the senior marketing director spent the last twenty years learning. But the guy who didn’t want to do maths is still making the decisions, and he can’t admit that he doesn’t really understand sponsored stories or Open Graph or hashtags.

The limiting factor in the adoption of the internet and social media by businesses is not the technology, it’s the people in charge.

Most large consumer businesses have someone responsible for social media. They are 26 and have a job title like Community or Social Media Manager. Because they are 26 and they work in a large business, it’s difficult for them to change the way things work. They can see that it’s costing four times as much to get a new customer on TV compared to Facebook, that paid-for search isn’t cost effective, and that the marketing agency is clueless online, but they can’t do anything about it.

I’ve got some good news for those Social Media Managers: you may be exasperated today, but you’re about to inherit the earth.





Why Your Business Needs Facebook Fans

26 07 2011

The Single Most Powerful Reason To Get Facebook Fans
By Jon Rognerud (jonrognerud.com)

The number one reason for Facebook Fans Revealed
Lots of materials emerging on Facebook every day now. It’s exciting.

From setting up a new profile, optimization of Facebook for search engines (SEO), adding pictures, videos and how to communicate with your fans and ‘likers’. This also includes basic human (one-to-one) communication strategies, how to elicit better/more responses from your audience, how and where to share personal and business-centric information, tools to help you structure an optimal Facebook experience for yourself and others.

Of course, a profile is only part of the journey to Facebook success (defined broadly) for business success. You must also seriously take a look at how to setup and manage fan pages, including different ways to drive traffic there. That of course include paid advertising as well. It’s not uncommon to get traffic for 1c these days, depending on skill-level and marketplace positioning. Some markets, and in the B2B marketplaces, you may apply more of the ninja-like approach, but it’s still doable. Imagine targeting a specific company and/or officers.

However, everybody is focused on getting fans. That’s good, but do you really know why you need fans? What’s the most important reason to get fans to YOUR Facebook world?

It is clear that that while there are pros already doing well with Facebook, the vast majority does not. Different, valuable training programs are becoming available, but this will not useful if you don’t understand the reasons for doing it.

In a sense, it’s back to basics: have a plan in place, and don’t think of traffic or efforts as a one-time event.

Here are the common reasons for receiving Facebook likes/fans:

1) Social Credibility
If people come to your page, and many others have liked the page before them. They have a reason to do the same. It’s social proof. Testimonials and validation is key. People are real. You can see if your friend is a friend too – it’s like “hey, Bill has been here, I better do it too”…

2) Free Status Messages
When you post a message, it goes across the network of friends – and those impressions are free. You might pay for 20,000 impressions at $10.00 normally, but you get it for no cost (except your time). You can obviously scale this up. You get the idea. That’s exciting, but that’s not all.

3) Viral Marketing
People that get excited to share things on their own accord, and with their messages, URLs and pictures, and can be very compelling from both a Facebook and user experience. Things can move very fast.

These 3 above are great reasons, but still not the most important.

THE number one reason to get Facebook Fans:
When somebody fans your page – you can target them with a specific ad that reminds them that you are in business. Any time! And for a very low cost! They are already in your circle of “trust”, so to speak.

So, you get the benefit of hyper-targeting and the ability to display low cost ads, change messages (on pages) for events, seasons, special promotions, helpful training, etc. Imagine having 15-20,000 ads being shown for less than 10 bucks (marketplace and ninja-skills depending).





Small Businesses and Online Marketing

5 07 2011

American Express Open recently conducted a Small Business Search Marketing Survey for small businesses using online marketing. We found this survey from American Express Open very interesting. Here are some of the results from the survey that were reprinted in this month’s Costco Connection magazine:

More than half of small business owners say they need help with search engine marketing.

Fifty-six percent of small businesses who will spend on search or social media advertising in 2011 indicate they will need help with some aspect of the campaigns, according to the American Express OPEN Small Business Search Marketing Survey, a survey of small business owners utilizing some type of online marketing for their business. Despite their need for assistance, only 25 percent are using search engine marketing (SEM) tools to manage their campaigns.

Search engine campaign management is generally handled internally (73%), with almost half of respondents indicating that they do it themselves (47%). One-in-five (22%) indicated that they have a staff member that handles SEM in addition to other responsibilities.

Three-quarters of small businesses plan to add some form of online marketing in 2011. Roughly three-in-ten will add a company website (36%) or social media strategy (29%). About one-in-five plan to add search engine optimization strategies (23%), mass email campaigns (22%) or search advertising campaigns (16%).

The most common online marketing techniques currently being utilized by small businesses are a company website (86%) followed by social media (44%). One-in-five (21%) small businesses report they are utilizing search advertising.