Tag Archives: Social Media

Two Tips for Saving Time on Social Media

5 Sep

Ask any non-marketing person about social media and he or she will tell you it only takes a couple of minutes a day to maintain business social media accounts. Ask marketers, on the other hand, about social media and they will tell you it takes a big chunk of their day — every day — to do it properly.  What gives?

When done properly, social media connects you with your audience and allows you to engage with them on a regular basis. In order to do that, marketers who are responsible for social media not only need to frequently post items, but they need to answer questions and respond to posts received through social media in a timely manner. Socialbakers, a global social media and digital analytics company, estimates that only 30% of companies are doing social media correctly. Their findings show that 70% of questions received through social media are not responded to, and that the average response time to queries and posts which are answered is 26 hours.

So, assuming that social media is only one of many things you need to stay on top of, how can you more efficiently post and monitor your social media efforts?  Here are two tools which will help.

HootSuite, at hootsuite.com, allows you to simultaneously post to several social media sites. You can select various sites on a per-post basis. Social media choices include Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Linked In. This free handy tool also allows you to schedule posts which means you can load posts for several days all at once.

Now that your exciting and engaging posts are out there, how do you keep track of activity and know when to respond to a post or question? Do you need to log in to each site several times a day? No, thank goodness!

Nutshellmail.com is a convenient piece of software which sends posts from your social media accounts to your email once or twice a day according to the schedule you set up. It is a free software also and you can keep track of Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, CitySearch, FourSquare, YouTube, and Twitter.

Using these tools will help you streamline your social media efforts which means more time for other marketing endeavors. And who doesn’t need more time?

Ten Signs That Direct Mail is a Valid Marketing Tool

3 Nov

When social media began to take the marketing world by storm, many people wondered what would happen to direct mail. It is becoming apparent that direct mail will continue to be a main element in marketing plans. This is good news to those of us in the print and mail industries. Contrary to fears of the younger demographic being interested in only electronic forms of marketing, direct mail is actually more popular with the younger audience now than in previous years. According to the DMA 2011 Statistical Fact Book, more than 18 percent of people between the ages of 22 to 24 say they respond to mail. More importantly, that’s a 12.8% increase over the previous year’s figure.

Direct Mail

Direct Mail

Let’s look at some other facts and figures:

Part of Ideal Marketing Campaign

A recent Pitney Bowes Inc. survey found that 76% of small businesses agreed that the ideal marketing campaign includes a mix of digital and physical communications. (Deliver Magazine, October, 2011)

Boosts ROI

Integrating direct mail into marketing campaigns can boost ROI 20%, according to recent research in the UK. In U.S. dollars, the return increased from an average of $4.17 to $5.03 for every dollar spent. (Royal Mail Group, 2011)

Increases Consumer Awareness

Direct mail catalogs were the second highest ranking marketing effort that sparked a consumer’s awareness and familiarity with a product or service. The highest ranking marketing source was TV Commercials. (Google/Shopper Sciences, 2011)

Accepted Communication Method

A study of multi-channel marketing campaigns showed that direct mail was an effective communication method in the overall marketing mix of an auto dealership. The dealerships’ customers were accepting of more than twice as much direct mail (as compared to emails and phone calls) before spending levels began to decrease. (Journal of Marketing, July, 2011)

Consumers Want Promotional Mail

Recent research by Nielsen, a measurement and information leader, showed that 87% of shoppers say they want to receive sales and promotions via direct mail. (NielsenWire, 2011)

Number of Standard Mail Users Increases

In 2009, 85.9 of merchants sent Standard Mail pieces addressed to specific households. This number is up from 72.1% in 1987. (2011 DMA Statistical Fact Book)

Cost Efficient

Direct mail is cost-efficient. When select media were measured according to a cost per order/lead, catalogs at $47.61 per order/lead were more cost-effective than either email ($53.85) or paid search  ($99.47). (2011 DMA Statistical Fact Book)

Effective for Fund-Raising

The typical non-profit organization receives more than three-quarters of its total gives through direct mail and only 10% of its gifts online. Direct mail acquisition is also responsible for three-quarters of all new donors. (Blackbaud, 2011)

Four Out of Five Households Review Advertising Mail

According to a U.S. Postal Service study, 81% of households read or scan the advertising mail they receive. Almost everyone has used a coupon or flier they’ve received in the mail. (Mail Moves America, 2010)

And last, but not least . . .

Direct Mail Share of Budget

The share of total advertising dollars devoted to direct mail has remained near 12% for much of the past 20 years, even with new media introduced into the mix. (Deliver Magazine, October, 2011)

The Benefits of Social Media Done Right

13 May

Last week we wrote about common misconceptions and difficulties companies face when starting a social media campaign, and if one were to only read that post it might seem like we’re anti-social-media.  We’re actually very pro-social media – as long as it’s done right.

When done correctly, social media can be an extremely effective promotional channel, and it even offers unique uses that reach far beyond the scope of traditional advertising.

(Note: most of the benefits listed below are dependent on the existence of a healthy social community)

Personal Referrals 

Hearing about a great new product from a friend is much more likely to make you go try it out than seeing an ad on TV.  If your fans are actively involved with you, and become invested in your brand, word will get out to their friends.  The end result: you get extremely effective referrals.

In a similar manner, as you build relationships with your audience, YOUR suggestions and promotions can become personal referrals.  As you invest time and effort into getting to know them, your suggestions begin to carry more weight.

Use it, don’t abuse it.  Too much self-promotion will do more than just ruin the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build; it will scare others off and keep them from engaging your brand in the future.

Increase Visibility

Social media posting can increase the online visibility of your brand, through link generation and simply by having another site to promote the brand.  Google includes links shared on Facebook and Twitter to determine their site rankings, which means that posting the occasional link to your website can boost your search engine ranking, and help generate inbound traffic.

Market Research

This is one of the most valuable and commonly overlooked benefits that social media has to offer.  When you have engaged your target audience and formed relationships with your followers, you can conduct free market research simply by asking them questions you’d like to know the answers to.

For example, if you want to see how your new T-shirt design will be received, simply post a picture of it and ask your followers what they think.  They will be excited to be offered such an “insider preview” and will gladly offer their thoughts and opinions.  A great example of this is Mend Mark’s Facebook page (who incidentally was a client of ours!).

Customer Service

As we mentioned last week, people follow brands on social media in a large part because they want to form a relationship with the people behind the brand.  This concept may sound foreign, but it’s actually nothing new.  How many times have you seen someone call a support line and yell “I just want to talk to a real person!” into the phone?

That’s because as human beings, we want to deal with other human beings.

Starbucks Coffee's fantastic customer service in action!

We don’t want an impersonal, automated

response to our problems. Social media allows you to monitor what people are saying about your brand, and respond to them in real time.  An awesome example of this is Starbucks Coffee’s Twitter page. 

4 Hard Lessons About Social Media

6 May

So, you finally made the leap to web 2.0 and created company Facebook and Twitter pages.  After a few weeks of excitement and hard work creating updates, your page has seen almost no action.  What’s going on?
You’re learning some hard lessons:

Hard Lesson #1
Social Media Isn’t The Holy Grail of Marketing.

Many high-priced consultants and self-proclaimed “gurus” love to talk about social media as the be-all and end-all of corporate promotional efforts.  Don’t be fooled.

Social media can be a fantastic marketing tool, as long as:

  1. You’ve researched your target market
  2. They use social media

Think about it: running ads that target multimillionaires inside city buses would be a terrible investment, because most multimillionaires don’t ride the bus. Social media is no exception to this concept.

Before you invest an enormous amount of time creating and maintaining a company Twitter page, make sure that your target audience actually uses Twitter.

Hard Lesson #2
Social Media is Nothing Like Traditional Advertising.

With traditional advertising (e.g. print and TV ads), broadcasting messages of overt self-promotion is expected and normal. People expect that when the commercials come on, you’ll be talking about yourself and how great you are.

This approach absolutely does not work with social media! People respond very differently to overt self-promotion on TV than they do on say, Facebook, because they use TV and Facebook for different purposes:

People tune in to TV shows to get talked at.  They want to sit down, turn their brain off, and let the show entertain them.

People tune in to Facebook to talk with other people. They want to show off their vacation photos, talk to an old friend, and share what’s on their mind.

When they check out your page, they want to interact with the people behind the brand.  They want to know that you are as interested in them as they are in you, and that you’re a real, approachable human being.

Hard Lesson #3
Social Media Takes Time. A Lot Of It.

Many social media newcomers quickly become frustrated with their humble beginnings and give up before ever seeing any substantial results.

When planning your company’s social media strategy, your timeline should be measured in months and years, not days and weeks.  Social media doesn’t spring up overnight!

Social media done right tends to snowball, but keep in mind that snowballs start out tiny.

Hard Lesson #4
You’re Going To Fail.

Starting social media is like freshman year of high school: Learning “the rules” on how to talk, act, and portray yourself is difficult, and you’re going to make mistakes and feel awkward.

The two most important things you can do are:

  1. Experiment
  2. Keep your chin up

If you try one approach and it falls on its face, learn from it and move on.  Don’t sweat the fact that your joke or article was met with silence, because now you know that much more about what your audience doesn’t respond to.