Archive | February 2014

The Components of Social Media

If you are new to online marketing, or trying desperately to understand what is going on, then it’s useful to look at your business as a customer, or prospect, would. The online social world has changed the way that people search and buy. Even if you don’t think that you can make sales from the cyber-world, it is still important to be there, because everyone else is – you never know how powerful an online posting plus word of mouth can be to your business.

This isn’t about the technology on offer such as PCs, laptops, iPods, e-book readers or DVRs. This is about the software that people see on these devices. The devices themselves, however, are offering more and more personal ways to see their world, and the up-to-date advertiser knows that the consumer is being empowered more and more. As a result technology is grooming customers to expect information and opportunities to find them.

So where to you have to be? Most consultants will say ‘Everywhere’, but that isn’t always the case. Just as different styles of social media suit different business models, they also are a different fit for different customers. Always engage in ongoing Customer Management by asking where they heard about you from during an initial phone call or contact, and keep a database on trends, and favourites. This will help you identify where you should be to collect more of your demographic.

Don’t think of the device they are using to find you yet, think of the platform they used. On this way you can interject yourself into their lives, not just when they are thinking of your good or service.

So, make a start by looking at what kid of platforms are available for you, and where you should start looking to connect with prospects, and continue your ongoing conversation with prospects:

1. Social Networks from Facebook to Twitter to Google+ and how they’re connecting to influencers and businesses (note: Can your business offer graphic looks at themselves, like pictures? Don’t forget Pinterest and Instagram.) 

2. Geolocation check-in services such as Foursquare and Facebook location updates. Would this interest your customer age group?

3. Crowdsourced discounts and deals including ‘Groupon’ and ‘LivingSocial’ are great ways to extend your brand – are you doing it?

4. Social commerce services like ‘Shopkick’ and ‘Armadealo’ create personalized experiences that are worth sharing – will this help you?

5. Referral based solutions like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Angie’s List to make informed decisions and how shared experiences can improve your business, products, and services. Do you have personal recommendations? Can you get them?

6. Gamification platforms such as ‘Badgeville’ and ‘Fangager’ – does your business fit?

7. The consumer clickpath based on the platform consumers are using. Are you steering experiences based on the expectations of your customers? If you can see trends in how your website is being navigated, is the right information available in the right sequence for these platforms?

Be prepared to make decisions based on these points for your online business, and you may find that decisions based on real world prospecting also change. Online you can find very large groups of prospects without having to shepherd them  in any way – use this data for all of your prospects, and use what you need online, not just ‘everything’.