Tips for Managing a Successful Facebook Page

From its humble beginnings to becoming the largest social media network, Facebook has taken the world by storm. When it first launched in 2004, it was only available to college students but in just a few short years Facebook became available to everyone. Since then, businesses have been trying to figure out just exactly how to utilize Facebook to reach their target market.

fbpewWhy is Facebook so valuable? Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing tools for companies and marketers to connect with potential customers and it is inexpensive compared to other advertising. Facebook reaches 58% of people 18 and older. Of those people online using Facebook, 70% said they check the site at least once a day and 45% said they log into Facebook multiple times a day (Duggen, 2015).

Brands around the world are jumping on board with social media and typically start by creating a Facebook account. Facebook allows organizations to build a community which will then turn into closed business. A successful page uses a combination of posts highlighting the attractiveness of the products or services, the brand’s personality and customer service. Ultimately, businesses use Facebook as a way to attract new customers and build brand loyalty with current customers.

With so many companies online there are of course thousands of success stories. Most of what we read online revolves around the big brands and focus less on the small businesses. Divas SnowGear is one of these small startup businesses that may have struggled to grow without Facebook’s help.

The company began in 2010 by Wendy Gavinski who was frustrated with the lack of feminine clothes for snowmobiling. She quickly found it difficult to reach her niche market in a cost effective way. With Facebook, Divas SnowGear was able to target women by region who are interested in snowmobiling.

Today, the Facebook page has 84 thousand likes from consumers and industry trade organizations. They have added a Facebook web store to make it easier for consumers to buy their clothing. The posts showcase upcoming sales, contests, photo shoots and share exciting news when the brand is featured by high-profile publications. In addition to Facebook, the company is engaged in a variety of other social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and they even maintain a blog. Clearly, they have fully embraced the power of social media

fbOne of Divas SnowGear’s downfalls is it is being used much like a sales channel only by promoting sales and just showcasing its products. “The key to successful use of Facebook for businesses lies in your ability to engage followers, listen to them and to balance the content you are publishing” (Robshaw-Bryan,2013). Divas SnowGear needs to focus on adding engaging and valuable content for their fans.

Diva SnowGear is not the only business that struggles with developing engaging content for social media use. A few photos, consistent posting, and running contests will not only encourage current fans to participate online but it will bring new people in through social sharing.

References

Duggen, M., Ellison, N., Lampe, C., Lenhart, A., Madden, M. (2015). Social Media Update 2014. Retrieved on May 4, 2015 from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/social-media-update-2014/

Gavinski, W. (2014). Finding the Right Fit For My Business. Retrieved on May 4, 2015 from https://www.facebookstories.com/stories/93535/

Robshaw-Bryan, S. (2013). Facebook: Understanding the Business Benefits. Retrieved on May 4, 2015 from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/facebook-understanding-business-benefits

Brands Are Teaming Up With YouTube “Stars” To Increase Engagement

I recently discussed how visual marketing is becoming the new norm rather than traditional social media efforts for businesses.  As marketing professionals, we should naturally start wondering how we can utilize this trend to engage our audience.  Immediately, YouTube comes to mind as one the leading visual media platforms.  For years, YouTube was used by brands to post their viral videos and advertisements. But as with all emerging media, its uses are constantly evolving and businesses need to evolve as well or risk being left behind.

YouTube is now considered the second largest search engine in the world. Want to learn how to grow veggies or play the guitar or how to train your dog, simply watch a YouTube video. It is estimated that 33% of web activity is spent watching videos and 75% of people that see a video regarding a specific product visit the brands website. “Furthermore, four out of five internet users remember the video ads they watch online and 64 percent are more likely to purchase a product from an ecommerce site after watching a related video” (Edwards, 2015). Clearly, now is the time for businesses to add visual marketing strategies to their mix.

As YouTube evolves, we are seeing an increasing number of “stars” emerge that have almost a celebrity like following.  More than 150 brands have picked up on this trend and are working with these YouTube celebrities to create engaging advertising campaigns. Brands like Toyota, Lionsgate, Proactive, Macy’s and Nissan have all experimented with social media stars and have experienced a successful outcome.

Example of how big brands are using YouTube Stars:

Toyota teamed up with Rhett & Link to film a variety of daredevil stunts using the all-new 2015 Camry. To help spread the viral video, Toyota ran 2 minute YouTube preferred ads to drive additional awareness. Did it work? This strategy increased the Toyota channel’s number of views by 74,000. Rhett & Link also gave the Camry a shout-out in 6 of their daily Good Mythical Morning YouTube show. This resulted in another 10 million views of Toyota’s channel.

More and more stars are popping up on YouTube, so marketers have a variety of people to team up with to help promote their brand. However, it is important to select social media celebrities who share the same audience and their voice aligns with the brand and its mission.  If done correctly, a brand will experience a growth in word of mouth marketing and will increase engagement among their target audience.

Edwards, S. (2015). Successful Brands Use These 4 YouTube Marketing Strategies. Retrieved on April 29, 2015 from http://www.inc.com/samuel-edwards/successful-brands-use-these-4-youtube-marketing-strategies.html

Johnson, L (2015).  How Brands and YouTube Stars Are Hooking Up to Reach Millions of Millennials

5 case studies in marketing with original video content. Retrieved on April 29, 2015 from

http://www.adweek.com/news-gallery/technology/how-brands-and-youtube-stars-are-hooking-reach-millions-millennials-164316

How Big Businesses Are Successfully Using Mobile Marketing

Recently, technology has made quite an impact on how marketers reach their target audience. Traditional channels such as print and television are still relevant but consumers are less engaged with these mediums. So where do consumer spend most of their time gathering information? More people than ever before are using their mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The mobile device is now used to communicate with friends and families, shop, do banking, and so much more.Emerging devices

In 2012, mobile marketing brought businesses over $139 billion in sales and is expected to increase dramatically by 2015 to over $400 billion in sales (Bell, 2013). Retail giant, Macy’s is taking advantage of the new channel looking to reach consumer on all three screens. In 2014, Macy’s was named “Mobile Retail of the Year”. “The honor tops the Mobile Commerce Awards handed out each year for outstanding work that moved the mobile commerce needle for retailers, financial services firms and marketers” (Tode, 2015).

As retail shopping changes and people’s preferences to bricks-and-mortar shopping dwindles, Macy’s had to come up with a marketing strategy that was relevant to these consumers.  In 2014, the company added Bluetooth Beacons, image recognition, digital catalog, mobile payments, and event-driven mobile commerce. “Macy’s mobile strategy reflects the retailer’s understanding that mobile is a must-have for meeting consumers’ growing desire for seamless experiences that integrate physical and digital shopping while bringing added value and convenience wherever they are” (Tode, 2015).

Macy’s efforts seem to have been successful with a 383 percent increase in brand value from 2013 to 2014. Much of the success is due to the brand’s willingness to be the first retailer to market to consumers using more technology and apps. Macy’s is the first retailer to utilize the Apple Pay. The app must be downloaded by the consumer and ultimately simplifies the check-out process by allowing the consumer to pay with their mobile device.  Finding deals while shopping at Macy’s has never been easier. Macy’s partnered with Shopkick, an app that utilizes Bluetooth beacons to provide consumer with specific location discounts, recommendations, rewards, and deals without having to bring a pile of coupons or sifting through emails to find the most recent promotion. Macy’s is the first retailer to truly embrace this new technology by implementing the most iBeacons to date.

With our lives now revolving around our mobile devises, it is nice to see retailers like Macy’s embrace the change. The idea of simple mobile texts for advertising is definitely unappealing, but Macy’s has partnered with leading app developers to create a unique and more personalized shopping experience. Standing at the register digging through your purse in hopes of finding a coupon is now a thing of the past. Shopping made simple. Consumer will view the brand in a different light as well. It isn’t just a clothing retailer; they are instead modern and hip.

 

 

Tode, C. (2015). Macy’s is 2014 Mobile Retailer of The Year. Retrieved on April 20,  2015 from http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/macys-is-2014-mobile-retailer-of-the-year-2

How Starbucks Tweeted Their Way Into The Lives Of Coffee Lovers

In 2007, the world was taken over by another social media giant, Twitter. Since its inception Twitter has become one of the most popular social media sites. There are over 288 million active users, more than 500 million Tweets sent each day by men and women, between the ages of 18-49. So it comes as no surprise why so many businesses, like Starbucks, are turning towards Twitter to ramp up their marketing outreach.

Starbucks, is one of the leading coffee distributers in the United States, with 33 percent of the market share (O’Farrell, n.d.).  Unlike many other coffee shops, Starbucks has created an upscale, desirable brand for both men and women. As the brand grows, so too does its reach among consumers. Coffee isn’t just for hard working adults, in fact, 40% of sales comes from consumers between the ages of 18-24 and 49% from 25-40 year olds. The younger market continues to grow at roughly 4.6% each year (OFarrell, n.d.).

twitter statsReaching this growing demographic of young consumers, Starbucks’ has successfully utilized social media sites like Twitter to engage their target market. Twitter is reaching Starbucks’ desired demographic therefore it only makes sense that Twitter be one of the top social media sites for Starbucks to use to increase brand awareness and engagement. The strategy used by Starbucks is to be active with their followers, listening to their comments, concerns and suggestions. All comments made on the page are actively followed up by Starbucks; the disgruntled customers are not ignored, suggestions are taken to heart, and customer service is essential. Additionally, the company tries to bring the in-store experience online to its Twitter followers. Unlike other businesses, Starbucks treats its fans and followers like their own friends, prompting them to send in pictures with their favorite drink or asking how they spent Valentine’s Day” (Wakefield, 2012).

The posts on Twitter are certainly strategic, promoting new drinks like the mango carrot smoothie, featuring the latest coffee flavors or tips on how to order a drink customized to the consumer’s preferences. Each tweet is followed by thousands of retweets and comments. Starbucks even retweets happy customer’s posts which simply add to the overall pages engagement among current and future customers.

DunkinMistakeHowever, there is a downside to Twitter as Dunkin Donuts, a Starbucks competitor, has discovered. “The food chain, based in Canton, Massachusetts and a sponsor of Liverpool Football Club, tweeted from the company’s official account on Wednesday night with a re-design of the Liverpool crest. Their design used doughnuts and cups of coffee in place of flames that are in memory of 96 fans killed in what’s described as Britain’s worst sporting disaster” (Kim, 2015). The company had to quickly respond with an apology for their insensitivity.

Compared to the messaging used by Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts is far more “marketing” and comes off trying to sell their products rather than build relationships as Starbucks does. Comparing tweets, Starbucks is far more sophisticated, encouraging community services and respect while Dunkin is solely utilizing “cute” marketing tactics like “he shoots, he scores” with an image of a donut being dunked into coffee.

Starbucks has developed a recipe for success with its use of Twitter and social media in general. The brand never loses focus on its identity and continues to seek new ways to engage consumers. Starbucks is looking to not only drive engagement but encourages customers to tweet back. This strategy is no secret, as Twitter spells it out on their website. To drive engagement, the business should create visual and creative content that is funny, inspiring, or newsworthy and embrace the calendar of current events, culture, etc. Increasing the number of responses to a tweet, Twitter recommends having a compelling offer that encourages click through, create a sense of urgency, and ensure each tweet has a call to action. These points seem basic but very few organizations actually follow them and Starbucks is one of those forward thinking businesses.

 References

Kim, S. (2015). Dunkin’ Donuts Apologized for Angering Liverpool Soccer Fans.  Retrieved on April 13, 2015 from http://abcnews.go.com/Business/dunkin-donuts- apologizes-angering-soccer-liverpool-fans/story?id=29242133

O’Farrell, R. (nd). Who is Starbucks Target Audience?Retrieved on April 13, 2015 fromhttp://smallbusiness.chron.com/starbucks-target-audience-10553.html

Twitter (2015). How to create a twitter content stategy. Retrieved on April 13, 2015 from https://business.twitter.com/basics/how-to-create-a-twitter-content-strategy

Wakefield, K. (2012). How Twitter Helps Starbucks Brew Up an Excellent Customer Experience. Retrieved on April 13, 2015 from http://contently.com/strategist/2012/02/23/starbucks-twitter-strategy/

 

Visual Media Taking Over Traditional Social Media

When we think of social media marketing, we tend to zero in on Facebook and Twitter. Youtube, Pinterest, Google + and other sites tend to be less top of mind but they are just as important when it comes to engaging consumers. On the rise are the visual social platforms like Instagram, Snap Chat, and Vine.

There are of course are a variety of reasons people are now gravitating to more visual media rather than traditional social media. One specifically is how we process images vs text.  We know our eyes move rapidly and are constantly processing visuals and text around us. Interestingly, our brain is able to process images 60,000 times faster than text. Add to this, our new and evolving world of technology encouraging people to swipe content away, leading to less engagement with text. Visuals have become a great tool for marketers to break through the clutter and connect with their audience.

What are the other reasons businesses are moving to visual social media? With practically every business on traditional social media sites, businesses are seeking new ways to build a more personal connection with their consumers. Additionally, if a business is targeting consumers between the ages of 18-29, sites these visual sites are a best bet as the chart displays below.

What was once thought to be crafts and tools meant for the uber creative, visual sites have opened up a whole new world for marketers and consumers.  More and more people are joining these sites to share part of the lives and engage with others. Visual media will continue to evolve as more consumers and businesses join. As Mashable’s Jeff Petriello, head of Visual Storytelling states “Like the music industry before it, the world of visual media will become less homogenized, letting individuals curate their own consumption. It’ll be more about the shows, brands and even celebrities that an individual likes, and less about what the industry wants us all to be into” (Brown, 2014).

 

Brown, C. (2014). What does it take to tell a powerful visual story? Retrieved on April 7, 2015 from http://mashable.com/2014/11/20/media-trends-visual-story/

Defining Emerging Media

Technology advances continue to transform marketing and communication and how marketers reach the consumers. Terms like new media and emerging media have been developed to help create a clear distinction from tradition marketing and emerging marketing. So what exactly is emerging media and how is it shaping the way marketers communicate to their audience?

Emerging media is an all-encompassing term referring to engaging communications that can be accessed anytime from anywhere in the world on any device. What is emerging this year may not be new next year but marketers must still have an understanding of how they utilizing these new channels.  Emerging media can include social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp and apps for mobile devices.

It is important that brands engage in emerging media to appear culturally relevant to their constituents. Without engaging in emerging media, brands would be seen as less trustworthy and likely would have to fight for sales.

Emerging media trends continue to evolve; brand and marketers must stay current with each new development to ensure they are effectively communicating with their audience. A survey performed by the Institute for PR found Facebook, the once social media king, is no longer the most frequently accessed site. Other sites like LinkedIn and You Tube were rated third and fourth while Google + continues to struggle. These sites are quickly being challenged by Instagram, Pinterest, and other social sites as they gain popularity among 18-34 year olds.

Where will marketing go? What new technology will reshape the way we communicate with each other?