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Online Marketing

Sometimes “I don’t know” is the right marketing answer

Art-of-Listening Some years ago, I met with a potential marketing client over lunch. It was the president of the company. I had heard from him that he was not pleased with his existing marketing program, so this meeting was an opportunity to listen and learn about his business and talk to him about FocalPoint’s work. I was thrilled to get the appointment and wasn’t sure what to expect.

After talking about his present marketing strategy and how it didn’t seem to result in the sales volume he had hoped for, he asked me a pointed question he knew would put me on the spot.

“What can your company do that will get us where we want to be?”

At first it appeared to be a golden opportunity to plunge in and talk up our firm. But frankly, I didn’t want to give a sales pitch based on platitudes, in fact, I never give sales pitches.

“I honestly don’t know,” I said. There was a stunned moment of silence. I was pretty sure I’d lost the opportunity, but I also knew I didn’t have the background on his business that I needed to provide a qualified answer.

“I don’t want to be presumptive and offer you something that sounds good, but is based on nothing. You know much better than I do about what is going on in your industry and your business. I need to know much more before I could even begin to come up with marketing strategies that might make sense for you.”

I was being brutally honest. I wasn’t ready to talk about specific strategies to market his business. But I wasn’t sure how my answer would be received.

Listen-&-LearnInterestingly, everything about that meeting changed in that moment. Instead of having a typical business meeting, we began to have a real conversation. We both dropped our pretenses and did a lot more listening than posturing or selling.

Although that happened a while ago, it fascinates me how life lessons present themselves in unexpected ways. This one has stayed with me at FocalPoint, and it’s one I share with those I work with. Being frank and open and asking a ton of questions is a big part of the way we handle new business.

So, what can you tell us about your business so that we can begin to work together as a part of your trusted marketing team?

Here’s my card. What can I do to help you? Or feel free to send me an email brien@focalpoint.co

FP_BusinessCard_Brien

Er, what should I say about my business on social media?

What-Should-I-SayHere at Focal Point, we frequently talk to business owners and managers tasked with using social media as a part of their overall marketing plan. Often these folks can pull up their latest Twitter feed, link to YouTube, post on their Facebook page, and download their LinkedIN updates, but just aren’t very sure what to say when it comes to business use.

Staring into that void and pulling back is a fair feeling to have. After all, you want to get it right.

We hear you and we have some good ideas about how to plunge in – and get the tone and the content pitch perfect. This is why we work with our clients to develop strategies and use social media to establish them as subject matter experts in there industry, i.e., what you are great at doing or producing. Then, use that expertise to boost your credibility and value.

The trick is, not to simply tell folks you are an expert. Show them. Prove it by sharing interesting tips and developing relevant content in a journalistic style proving your are the expert in your field.

Anything that makes it easy for people to associate you and your business with excellence and expertise in your field is welcome. And the more interestingly you do this, the better.

What not to do? Boring stuff. Tweeting “Ron made #1 salesperson of the year” is yawn-able. Better is showing him getting that news while on on bike tour in Amsterdam in his dorky helmet and bike shorts…or maybe not, but you get what I mean! It’s more interesting and doesn’t come across as tooting your own horn. Businessman-on-BikeHumor cuts through the fences folks build to keep out advertising. And it helps makes companies like yours approachable, less stodgy, even cool.

One other thing about social media in business. The numbers rarely show direct correlations. And progress doesn’t happen right away. It takes time to build an image, enhance a reputation and create value. Keep the postings coming, invite others in your company to help, and stay open to new ideas.

So – jump off that precipice with your smartphone in hand, your fingers ready to tap, and your video on!

 

Need help understanding how to use social media?  Please contact us today to talk.

Chances are, you’re thinking about social media all wrong

Hitting-your-sweet-spot
Just about everyone is on the social media bandwagon. But chances are good that most folks using social media are misusing it and overlooking its real purpose.

At FocalPoint, we know that social media is about connecting with the people in your sweet spot. In other words, your customers, potential customers, those who are interested in what you do, or people with similar interests. Social media is about building relationships, establishing rapport and networking.

We also know that what social media is not about, is sales. In fact, using social media to sell is a real turnoff to those tuning in to your posts. Social media used correctly, is a gradual, organic development toward building trust in what you have to say. If your blogs and tweets are about sales and laden with calls to action, your followers will soon lose interest.

That said, effective social media will gradually generate more interest in your products and may build business as a result. But there is no direct link. It’s a gradual thing.

Social MediaRemaining active on social media sites is another big plus which is often overlooked. Multiple quality postings will not only increase awareness of your brand (name recognition as well us increasing understanding of who you are and what you do), it will also boost your company’s rank on search engines. But only if you produce regular quality posts. The more you post, the faster your brand will inch up Google’s search engine ladder. (We know because we track this information for our clients.)

Effective social media use will also show that you and your company are viable, contemporary entities that know what’s going on, know your business, and know how to communicate the knowledge to its best advantage.

Got a question about something with social media we didn’t answer? Ask us! Heck, we might even write a post about your question.

 

6 Approaches to Effective Marketing to Millennials

If you’re still marketing your message the same way you always have, chances are good you’re missing out on motivating top potential customers, the Millennials. This is true even if you are taking advantage of new social media forms of communication. You need to make sure you are using them in a way that aligns with how Millennials think and behave.

Millennials The young adult generation born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are rapidly increasing their spendable income. Along with Gen-Xers, they are the future – and they need to be communicated with in a way that resonates well with them.

A marketing message that speaks to the older generation is going to come off tired and boring to Millennials. That said, some marketing truths are still solid.  These truths include telling a compelling story and offering an appealing, honest and humorous take on your product or service.  Allow me to offer up 6 quick things to think about before planning your next online marketing campaign…

6 Things To  Consider Before Spending Your Next Marketing Dollar

  1. Boredom is the kiss of death. Millennials thrive on edgy.
  2. They are multi-taskers, used to balancing many activities. They look for flexibility in hours, products and usage.
  3. Millennials crave individuality and identity. They want to be heard and understood. When you provide a micro-narratives (small unique stories that rely on human experience) rather than meta-narratives (generalizations), you picque their interest.
  4. They research, absorb and analyze new information far more quickly than Boomers.
  5. They love humor in unexpected places (including at your expense).
  6. They want to give back and will seek out organizations that do the same.

That’s asking a lot of your marketing. But the good news is that in today’s market, you can put smaller, more individualized marketing programs together in a variety of different places to target the Millennial market. That’s where we come into the picture.

Focal Point Understands Millennial Marketing

customer service_Focal_PointAt Focal Point, we know Millennials will research the organizations that interest them. We can help you build a solid online presence in a variety of mediums. We’ll make sure you are found in the right places with the right message.

Once you’re found, you will need to be memorable. So, we’ll help create a brand identity that will look good on small screens like cell phones and large screens like High def TV in interesting colors that say something subtle or brash about what you are all about. (Tall order, we know.)

We also consider using humor because it works so well with the Millennial crowd. That is, provided it is self-effacing, or sly, or edgy or pokes fun at something they can relate to.

Lastly, we’ll show you how to talk about your flexibility in a way that is approachable. And share what you’re doing in the community, too. Millennials are not as selfish as advertised. They get that giving back thing. Big time.

Start Marketing To The Millenials Now

If you are getting the idea that Millennials are pretty cool consumers, we couldn’t be more pleased. Now, let’s get this passionate, creative and edgy conversation started!

Using Social Media for Customer Service is Now Mandatory

customer service_Focal_PointDo You Use Social Media for Customer Service?

Utilizing social media for customer service is no longer optional, it’s mandatory.  While many digital marketers have heard stories about large companies who are using social media effectively as a customer support channel, there are a lot of small to medium size businesses who are missing the boat.  Many businesses still see handling customer requests and complaints via social media as a burden rather than the incredible opportunity it really is.  These businesses see it as an area that requires time and resources, instead of an area that can create die-hard brand advocates.  But as I look at the social media marketing landscape as a whole, I see not having an online customer service plan as an Achilles heel.

The reason why I say this confidently is that the two social media giants – Facebook and Twitter have continued to take big steps toward making customer service a priority.  First it was back in April when Twitter allowed direct messages to be sent to users that are not following you.  Then, most recently, Facebook added a feature allowing business pages to manage saved replies making it easier than ever to answer FAQ’s.  Both of these moves indicate to me that there’s more to come and plenty of opportunity for businesses to start taking advantage of these features right now.  Let’s take a closer look…

Direct Messages on Twitter

twitter-direct-message

If you remember, it used to be that in order to direct message someone on Twitter, they first had to be following you.  This created another layer of friction when dealing with customer service online.  Let’s say I had a complaint about a cold cup of coffee I received at a Starbucks.  I would be forced to post that complaint publicly on Twitter as a regular @ reply unless Starbucks was already following me on Twitter (highly unlikely).  Then, in order for them to respond to me via a direct message, I would have to be following their account.  Kind of messy, right?  Not only did it mean more complaints posted publicly, it meant additional steps just to get something resolved.  This often added frustration to these type of communications online.

Now Twitter has done away with these added steps.  On the downside, it means anyone can direct message you which could be a little strange, but on the plus side it means customer service on Twitter is easier and faster than ever.  And when you really stop to think about it, that’s the way it should be.  Customers expect to get response and get them fast using social media.  In fact, often times they’ll use social media when unable to get through to someone using other traditional types of communication such as a phone call or email.  Twitter has made it easier and faster than ever by rolling out this update to make it the preferred social network for customer service.  Why?  Because you are limited to just 140 characters, so you know it’s going to be fast!

Need help using Twitter for customer service?  Please contact us today to talk.

Replies on Facebook

facebook-saved-replies

Facebook is driving more attention than ever to its messages.  Each time a message is received by a brand page, there are additional notifications (beyond the standard number icon) showing how long the average response time is and how many messages have not been responded to.  Facebook is urging brands to respond to all messages as fast as possible.  In fact, if you average less than 5 minutes responding to 90% of your messages, a special green icon and notice can be adding to your Facebook page letting fans know you have extremely fast response times.

Further, Facebook recently made it possible to save replies; even creating pre-populated messages that can be used to answer FAQ’s.  There’s personalization that can be added to the messages such as a greeting which automatically pulls in the Facebook user’s first name and email signature style closings which can even use saved photos and emoticons.  This makes it easy to build up a library of answers which can be reused over and over again further speeding up response time.  I think there’s plenty more to come from Facebook yet in 2015 on the customer service front, but this was a great start.

Need help using Facebook for customer service?  Please contact us today to talk.

Strategic Planning

Moving forward, it’s clear there will be even more of an emphasis on using social media for customer service than ever before.  This gives businesses who “get it” a distinct advantage over those who show up late for the party, or don’t show up at all.  It’s going to be expected more and more that companies of all sizes are staffed and prepared to respond to requests via social media in a timely manner.  That’s just the bottom line.  And those who fail to do so, will risk gaining a poor reputation by getting blasted in online reviews and comments.   It must be a part of any social media marketing strategic plan moving forward.

Need help understanding how to use social media for customer service?  Please contact us today to talk.

Periscope Makes All Marketers Live Broadcasters…Now What?

Periscope

A hot topic lately in the digital marketing/social media space has been some major updates in the way of live mobile streaming.  First we had Meerkat, an app which allows you to stream live video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once.  And then along came Twitter owned Periscope, which many are predicting will make Meerkat quickly obsolete.  While they both essentially allow you to do the same thing, the fact that Periscope is Twitter owned has propelled its success and peaked the interest of marketers everywhere.  But when it comes to online marketing strategy, the big questions with new technology is always – what happens next and does it make sense to jump in?  I’m not sure I have definitive answers to either of those questions at the moment, but here are some things to consider.

Periscope Has Big Potential
Social media, along with the continuing worldwide adoption of smartphones, has essentially given all of us the ability to broadcast news in real time.  It’s no longer uncommon for the traditional morning or nightly news on TV to simply be repeating stories we’ve already seen and heard throughout the day via social media.  Now, with the introduction of Periscope and Meerkat the news game has definitely changed again.

To be able to broadcast live video of events even before or at the same time as traditional media means huge potential to capture an audience…especially if that broadcaster is able to cover that same event better.   Think about it for a minute. Well known sites like TechCrunch that traditionally live blog Apple events via photos, and text will now be fighting with others for the best position for a live broadcast of the event.  While it means more competition, it also means way more potential to interact with viewers live and add some on-air personality to the event.

News Is Important To Every Marketer
Being in the know about news and the first to break big stories isn’t just important for big sites like TechCrunch.  It’s important to the every day marketer as well.  Let’s say you work for an auto dealership and part of your job is attending trade shows where new product announcements are made.  With Periscope, you can essentially become a news reporter broadcasting live to your followers from the event as the announcements are being made.  Now you’re the go-to source, not the other big names/traditional outlets out there.

How Else Is It Being Used?


The biggest advantage Periscope and other live video streaming apps bring to the table for marketers is the ability to get feedback in real time and interact with an audience instantly.  As I was looking through some Periscope feeds, I saw Ellen DeGeneres live streaming on Periscope as she was filming her show.  Using her phone, she was able to go into the audience and interact LIVE while also being recorded.  She was also able to read feedback she was getting in the chat and respond to viewers.

Ready to talk online marketing strategy?  Contact me here!

Who Owns The Content?
A huge question has to do with the ownership of the content being broadcasted…specifically in sporting events.  Here’s what was found in this Huffington Post article

“Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. — Richard A. Denmon ”

As the author of the Huntington Post article, Kevin Siskar, indicates this would suggest that capturing video from your own viewpoint during a sporting event via your iPhone would mean that you own the content.  Fair enough…

But what happens when someone attempts to live stream via Periscope the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight in May when it’s a pay per view ticket going for $90?  Then do the lines get a little blurry?

Mayweather- Pacquia Poster

Also, what happens the first time someone attempts to Periscope a movie live from the theater?  I’m sure that’s already happening as I write this, but what are the consequences these people will face once the need to police it becomes real?

Will The Quality Be Good Enough?

Another huge question/concern when it comes to streaming video is always: will the quality be good enough?  Yes, the app is very new, but there are a lot of things left to be desired when it comes to the quality of some of the video I have seen.  Granted Internet connection and device will always play into this, but the service must prove that it’s reliable if mainstream adoption is going to happen.

What Should You Do Next?

If you are in the online marketing world, you should be keeping an eye on Periscope and Meerkat.  But should you jump in and start using if for yourself?  I’d say unless you have already built a sizeable audience elsewhere and just want to connect on a new level, the answer is no.  Focus on growing your audience other places first before you ask them to adopt someone so new.  Now, if you’ve already got 41 million followers on Twitter like Ellen, then by all means go ahead.  But either way, keep an eye on this trend and keep notes.  The continued live broadcasting breakthroughs aren’t just a fad.

Ready to talk online marketing strategy?  Contact me here!

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3 Quick Ways To Simplify Online Marketing Strategy

Simplify Your Online Marketing Strategy Now

So often as online marketers, we get caught up in the excitement of the “next big thing.”  We set our sights on hitting the online marketing home run or viral campaign.  It’s times like these when we need to simplify our overall online marketing strategy and get back to the basics of what works.  It’s the daily work that paves the way for the big successes.  And it’s getting back to the basics that will help when you’re struggling.

Below are some tips and reminders of basic online marketing and social media strategies that will always work no matter what the latest technology or next big idea might be.

Ask Why & Subtract
Let’s get right to it.  I know you may have read the intro and thought, “oh great, more things to do.”  Well, actually in this first point I am going to ask you to do less.  Stop for a moment to think about all of the different marketing activities you do on a daily basis.  Now, ask yourself why.  Go through each activity one by one and ask yourself why you’re doing it?  Does it tie back to a common purpose, help you accomplish a goal or help move business forward?  If you are unsure on the answer to these questions for any task, stop doing it.  You see, life is a lot like marketing – when things just aren’t adding up that often means it’s time to subtract.

Start Subtracting

Create A Content Plan
Content marketing is a big deal.  By now most digital marketers understand that they need to be producing content as part of an overall online marketing strategy to generate traffic from Google organic search, social media and more.  Yet, many still do not have a plan.

Several big name digital marketers will swear by a content calendar.  I am not going to tell you that you have to do that, because I don’t think it works for everyone.  What I am going to tell you is that you do need to have some sort of plan.  Something that eliminates the guesswork.  Something that makes it easy to answer the question – what are we going to write about today?

Here’s a blog post I wrote about how to create a simple content marketing plan.  It’s based upon the concept of creating themes for each day of the week and writing about those themes/topics on that designated day.  It’s that easy, yet it can be so effective.  Why?  Because it eliminates all of the guesswork and provides a direction in which to move.  And sometimes we just need that direction.

Recycle Your Best Stuff
You’ve created the perfect blog post.  The content is compelling.  The image is stunning.  The call to action is easy to follow.  It’s sure to be a smash hit!  Excited to tell the world all about it you go about your social media marketing by posting a link to it on Facebook, sending out a Tweet and posting the image on Pinterest with a link.  This post is even so good, you send out a new email to your loyal subscribers.  Then you wait…nothing.  A few hours go by and now you have 1 like on Facebook, 2 retweets on Twitter and 2 click thrus on Pinteres and Mailchimp shows a few people are opening the email.  But then the rest of the day goes on and the numbers are still the same.  And a week later, still the same.  While something is better than nothing, this is far from the results you wanted to see.  Frustrated you chalk up the loss and move on.

Unfortunately, this is a scenario I see play out in social media marketing and online marketing in general time after time. It truly is sad, because it’s selling yourself short.  You’ve spent time developing that content.  A designer was even hired to make sure just the right image was created.  This blog post was a big time investment.  Now you just need to understand that as much effort as you put into creating the content, you need to put even MORE effort into promoting it. 

Recycle Content

The simple fact is that people are busy.  A very small percentage of your audience saw that Facebook post and even fewer noticed the Tweet.  It’s also entirely possible that your next big client was out of the office when you sent the email and in an effort to cleanup her inbox just went through deleting emails as fast as possible.  Timing can be everything and sometimes it’s not the right time.  So change the time and try again.  Alter the subject lines or teaser text.  But whatever you do, RECYCLE the best content over again.

Ready to Talk Online Marketing Strategy?
Let’s set up a time to get together soon.  I’d love to help you simplify your online marketing plan, so contact me today!

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3 Incredibly Effective Time-Saving Tips for Online Marketing

If you’re reading this article, odds are you wish there was more time in the day for online marketing.  Well, the good news is that if you’ve spent any time in the past developing any type of content, what you are about to read will be either an incredible reminder or complete game changer in that respect.  Either way, following these 3 simple but often overlooked tips will free up room in the schedule to work on other things…the things you just can’t seem to get to right now.  Furthermore, I also believe strongly that you’ll see increased results by following this advice.

1. Resend Your Best Emails

Email

Stop trying to think of your next email marketing campaign.  Instead, take the time to look back through past email sends.  The past few months, the past few years.  How many of the emails you sent were unopened?  I am willing to bet it’s a significant number. Now do this – export the list of your unopened emails for one of your best emails into a new group.  Now, rework that subject line a bit and resend the email.  Odds are you’re going to see results very similar to the first time you sent the message.

Remember, we’re all busy and someone who might very well be a great prospect could have been having one of those days where they just needed to hit “delete.” Now, you’ve got a second chance to reach that person with one of your most effective messages.  If the first time you sent the email it resulted in 15 sales or 10 leads, odds are it’s going to produce similar results the second time around.

Yes, this does somewhat depend upon the size and quality of your email list.  But even a list of a couple thousand emails deserves to be cultivated better than just one send of each message.  Large, valuable rocks should not be left unturned and giving your best emails a second chance is worth it.

Key Takeaway – Instead of spending hours creating a new design, coming up with the perfect copy and developing a new landing page – go back to your best email from the past (the one with that generated the most leads or had the highest click thru rates) and resend it to the people who missed it the first time.

2. Repurpose Your Best Content

Content marketers spend hours and hours creating great content.  Whether it’s a blog post, infographic, or even a podcast, serious effort goes into producing great stuff.  Yet all too often, I see even seasoned marketers make the mistake of letting this incredibly rich content die a week or two after it was originally published.  This is truly a shame and something that can be easily corrected. 

Start by looking through analytics for the past year.  I am willing to bet that some of the top pieces of content are several months old.  This means that a brand new visitor to your site could miss your best stuff.  It’s time to change that.  Turn that how to post with thousands of views into a quick video.  Create a whitepaper with that post from 7 months ago showcasing your top industry tips and tricks.  It’s never too late to breathe some life into these posts and you’ll be surprised at how they might just take off again.

Key Takeaway – See my post on evergreen content and shelf-life content.  Remember, seasons come and go.  A video or blog post that was a huge hit last winter can be equally as effective this year.  Even if some updates are needed, that can save hours compared to creating something from scratch.

3. Repost Your Social Updates

Social Media

I’ve got news for you.  Unless you are paying to play on social media, the majority of your fans and followers are probably not seeing your updates.  Does this mean you should give up?  Actually, quite the opposite.  What it does mean is that it’s time to rethink and repost your social updates.  Just because a certain update posted at 8:00 AM only reached 132 people doesn’t mean that same updated posted 1 week later at 7:30 PM can’t reach 2,000 people.

If time has been spent to build a good following and time has been spent to create great content, don’t let that time be wasted by only pushing out one tweet or one Facebook update then trying to determine its success.  Instead of trying to come up with the next update – try different times, different days of the week or a different image.  All of these things can make a huge difference and so often I see small companies get discouraged when it comes to social media marketing because a certain message didn’t take off they way the though it might after being posted only one time.

Key Takeaway – Social media is such a moving target.  Perfectly crafted tweets (hey, we all know it’s hard to fit everything in 140 characters or less) and Facebook posts with just the right image shouldn’t go to waste.  Check out this new app called Edgar.  It allows you to categorize your social media updates and put them on a schedule so it’s easy to find the best time and day to post.

What is Smart Marketing?

Smart marketing isn’t coming up with the next great idea.  Smart marketing is taking a good idea and making it better.  These tips are meant to be helpful reminders that serious time can be saved when we slow down, take a look at some of the good things we’ve already done and do them again, only better the next time around.

Ready to talk about your strategic marketing plan?  Get in touch with me here! 

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Hashtags – Lazy or Effective Online Marketing?

Everyone loves a good hashtag…and there have certainly been some good ones (where would we all be without the #selfie).  But do they actually accomplish anything when it comes to a strategic marketing plan?  Does it make sense for a small to medium sized business to develop a hashtag as part of its social media marketing efforts?  I’ve often found myself asking these questions and I have come to a final answer.  Hashtags can be BOTH lazy and effective in online marketing; depending on the context of course.  Let me break it down the way I see it…

Hashtags Are Lazy Online Marketing When…
Hashtags are lazy marketing when there’s no conversation or plan built around the hashtags.  Sadly, I see this all the time.  Even from some huge companies that should know better.  What is the point of using a hashtag if there’s not going to be a specific goal in mind?  Often times hashtags become an afterthought and something that just gets tacked on at the end.  It’s kind of like adding links to all of your social media accounts to an email marketing template just because.  If the purpose of the email is for people to connect with you socially, then add them.  If the purpose is for someone to click back to read your blog post, then they aren’t necessary.  Same with hashtags.  While they may be trendy and cool (kind of like QR codes used to be) they aren’t necessary.

Not only do you need to have a plan for hashtags, but you need to reinforce them at every possible opportunity.  I think some of the Super Bowl commercials this year really dropped the ball on this and can provide an example of what not to do.  One that comes to mind is the Kim Kardashian T-Mobile commercial.  While the concept of the commercial is OK, the hashtag of #kimdatastash just gets lost at the end.  I mean, it’s literally on the screen for around one second.  Let me say that again – one second.  You look down to grab another chip while watching the Super Bowl and it’s gone when you look back up!  Why not keep something like that on screen the entire time?  As an online marketing professional, I have to ask that question.

I was curious about if there was something that I missed here, so I went to search.twitter.com to check it out.  At the time the commercial aired and the day after there were hundreds of tweets using the hashtag.  That’s to be expected.  I mean it is a Super Bowl ad and it is Kim Kardashian (love her or hate her) that we’re talking about.  But what happened after those first couple of days?  Well, sure enough there have been less than 30 Twitter mentions of the hashtag #kimdatastash – less than 30!  We’re talking about one of the most followed people on social media and Super Bowl commercial here.  If you were going to use a hashtag in a commercial been viewed on one of the biggest stages in the world, wouldn’t you want to make sure the conversation continued?  I would have to classify this in the category of lazy hashtag marketing.

Hashtags Are Effective Online Marketing When…
Hashtags are effective online marketing when there’s a conversation or plan centered around them.  I would encourage any online marketing professional to do some research around hashtags in the target market then work backwards.  What is the goal of using the hashtag?  Does it really make sense to create a new one?  If the purpose is to reinforce branding, maybe it does make sense.  Another time when it might make sense is if your company is involved in a specific event and you want to monitor conversation around.  However, if the purpose is solely to increase online visibility, then tapping into existing hashtags could save boat loads of time.  When it comes to online marketing, it’s much easier and takes far less resources to join a conversation that already exists than to create a new one.

One great example of this was the #shareaCoke campaign from Coca-Cola.  Clearly they had an incredible strategy ready to go build around this concept and hashtag.  It reinforced the brand, was very creative, yet a simple and fun way to engage its customers.  This is the perfect use of a hashtag in my opinion.

shareacoke

Want to talk more about online marketing and hasthtags?  Contact me here.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use?
It’s also a good idea to know how many hashtags to use on each of the social channels.  After all, part of using hashtags effectively is including the right amount. For example, Facebook and Twitter posts see the most engagement with 1-2 hashtags while Instagram posts get the most engagement out of a whopping 11 hashtags.  When I think about the number of hashtags, I can’t help but remember this popular skit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon featuring Jimmy & Justin Timberlake.  Take a look…

In all seriousness, I didn’t pull the recommended number of hashtags to use on each social channel out of thin air.  Here’s an extremely helpful infographic from the folks at Quicksprout called The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags that has these numbers plus much more info.  Take a look and use this as a resource to help your posts get seen more and monitor what’s going on in your particular niche.

Want to talk more about online marketing and hasthtags?  Contact me here.

Ultimate-Guide-to-HashTags-How-Many-Which-Ones-and-Where

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Why Every Marketer Should Pay Attention to Twitter Right Now

Twitter is making some series moves and every online marketer should take a moment to pay attention to what’s going on…

Prior to the last couple of weeks, it had been awhile since I could remember the last big Twitter update.  A lot of speculation recently is that Twitter’s CEO is in the hot seat and the company is under pressure to grow its number of active users.   It certainly seems that message has been received as Twitter has decided to make up for lost time with some big announcements.  Here’s a quick recap on what has been going on with this microblogging service giant and what I think it means for online marketers.

Twitter

1. More Tweets Will Soon Show Up in Google Search
A deal has been signed between Twitter and Google to give the search engine giant (Google) access to Twitter’s firehose.  What this means is that Google will be able to tap into Twitter users’ feeds in real time and serve up relevant Tweets as part of its search results instead of just being limited to showing Twitter’s profile information.

Key Takeaway – I see this being huge for marketers especially when it comes to events and trending topics.  Being able to report relevant industry news first on your blog and having a Twitter strategy that goes along with it which is visibly in Google sounds like a great online marketing power play to me.

Need help with your Twitter strategy?  Contact me & we’ll talk tweets. 

2. Twitter Videos Are Live & So Is Group Direct Messaging
Toward the end of last year, I talked about the importance of video heading into 2015 and specifically discussed some of the things Facebook has been doing to encourage marketers to upload videos directly to the site vs. using a 3rd party like YouTube.  Well, Twitter has followed this trend with the roll out of its native video feature.  If you haven’t noticed already, when composing a Tweet, you will now see the capability to add a video.

The length of the videos is 30 seconds which is significantly longer than the 6 second Vine service which is tightly integrated with Twitter and twice the length of Instagram’s 15 second video limit.  30 second videos are a length that advertisers are very familiar with and I anticipate seeing commercial type videos coming from the big brands.

In addition to Twitter video, group direct messaging capabilities were also made a reality.  This means instead of being limited to a one-on-one DM conversation, others can now join the party.  It’s basically like a private little group chat…very similar to something you might see on Facebook messenger.  It’s also worth noting that not all of the Twitter users in the group message need to be following each other.  Hopefully this doesn’t get spammy, as I could see it being a very valuable way to make new connections via a personal Twitter introduction.

Key Takeaway – The key takeaway I see from this news is that brands will now have an even greater potential to re-purpose video content.  By shooting one video and making several different versions, it’s now possible to use that piece of content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.  This means far more people can be reached and in new ways.  A lot marketers are seeing greater engagement from videos posted directly to Facebook as opposed to the video being housed on YouTube and linked to from Facebook.  I imagine similar behavior may start to take place over time on Twitter feeds.

Final Thoughts
YouTube is huge and yes, it’s possible to build up a great following of subscribers there.  But as I look to the future of online marketing as it relates to video, I see a progression of marketers being more keen on promoting their Facebook channel and Twitter channel as more of these huge social media platforms make it possible to host videos on their sites. Video is going to become more essential than ever and brands will/are getting more creative about they way they do it.

Need help making a highly effective video?  Contact me to talk strategy today!

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