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Getting Started With On-line Marketing
Getting Started With On-line Marketing
An Introduction To Linking
To Your Web Site
Table of Contents
Completing The Circle……………….....……………………………………………………..19
This guide is designed to introduce you to the most relevant and popular social media sites in use today and why you need to link them together to complete your online marketing solution. This iIntroduction covers what they are, why you would want to use them as well as how to use them effectively.
Remember over 75% of consumers use social media in some format to learn about products and services and a recent report by the Nielsen Company shows that people who are heavy users of sites like Facebook and Twitter actually use email more than casual social network users do.
Let’s take a look at the 3 most popular social media sites……
Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks, with 190 million users sending 65 million tweets each day, as of June 2010. Twitter is a real-time information network that empowers its users to share and discover interesting content through status updates (or “tweets”). Twitter is often referred to as a micro-blogging service because it limits your status updates to 140 characters. But the brilliance is in its simplicity and brevity. For businesses and organizations, Twitter is one of the quickest ways to get a message out to people who may be interested in your activities, ideas, products, services, or events. You can also use Twitter to get real-time feedback from customers, members, and event attendees. Like Facebook posts, users can share your tweet with the simple click of a button. This is called a “retweet,” and it is the feature that makes Twitter such a great word-of mouth platform that can help your message reach an entirely new group of prospective customers.
Twitter is a public site, which means anyone can view your tweets. However, users can choose to “follow” you on Twitter to keep track of your tweets. The follower relationship is not two-way; you don’t have to follow someone for them to follow you, and vice versa. However, when you follow someone on Twitter, you’ll see his or her tweets in real time on your private Twitter feed, including updates from everyone else you follow. (If you follow many people, this can create a bit of “noise,” especially if those people are heavy users of the site.)
While you can only send private “direct messages” to people who follow you, you do not need to follow a user to send a public message to them; just include the handle (@username) in your tweet and it will show up in that user’s feed. This is called an “@reply” or “mention.”
You may discover that customers are already talking about you on Twitter by indexing your name with the “@” symbol or the “#” symbol. Twitter is a great way to get real time feedback from your customers and to discover what people are saying about you, your competition, industry, or any keyword that is relevant to you. You can see what people are saying about any topic in real time using Twitter’s search tools (http://search.twitter.com).
Check out the TheBoardRoomAdvisors Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/MrBusIT (@MrBusIT is our Twitter “handle”). Or see what people are saying about us on Twitter search at http://search.twitter.com/search?q=MrBusIT. Even without an account, you can use that link to see all our updates. For more information on Twitter, we really love the “Twitter in Plain English” video, created by CommonCraft.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o). In addition, you can use a site like http://listorious.com to discover interesting people to follow on Twitter by category or subject matter. You can also use this site to discover a list of people to follow by category and lets not forget about http://klout.com/ where you can find and engage influencers and they can become evangelists for your brand.
· The Twitter Feed is public, which can help to give your business or organization greater exposure in web search results
· The site is primarily text only — pictures, video, and other multimedia content are shared through links.
· The site is like a public forum, making it easy to build a community of potential customers you don’t personally know.
· It can be challenging to create a meaningful message in only 140 characters
· Customers and potential customers can “follow” you without you having to reciprocate
· Lots of traffic (September 2010 there were 90 million tweets per day). With so many identical looking tweets, it’s hard to make a single one stand out in the crowd.
· It is a quick way to share links to content and help spread your message to a wide audience.
· Tweets are short lived and only 29% actually produce a reaction.
· Twitter Users are very vocal, so if they are happy with your business or organization, they’ll say so and usually let everyone else know as well.
· Users are very vocal, so if they have a problem with something, they’ll say so and you need to be prepared for negative feedback.
Facebook is the largest of the social networks, with more than 500 million active users.
50% of those active users log on to Facebook in any given day. And in total, people spend over 700 billion minutes per month posting, sharing, Liking, commenting, poking, playing games, and interacting with one another as well as the content and applications that define the pervasive social ecosystem.
The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events and creates 90 pieces of content (social objects) each month.
Facebook has become a favorite destination for people, businesses, and organizations to connect and share information because of its easy-to-use interface and interactive features. It’s the most multimedia-friendly of the big three networks as members can post text, pictures, audio, and video, and can share their location too. It also offers tons of applications and widgets that can make your Facebook Page engaging and fun.
Here’s how Facebook works: Users sign up for a free account and then make connections with other users on the service by “Friending” them: When you find someone you know on Facebook, you request to be their “Friend.” If the request is accepted, you can see that person’s profile information, status updates, photos, and more (which is why you may not want to be Friends with someone you don’t actually know).
Users who you accept as a Friend can, in turn, see your profile, status updates, and photos. If you don’t want to share all your information with the public or all your Friends (for example, if you connect with coworkers or family members), there are privacy settings available to limit who can see what information you post or is posted about you by others. Facebook is a great place to connect with your own friends, family, and colleagues, but it has also become an incredibly powerful platform for businesses and organizations to build community, engage with prospects, and encourage customers and members to spread your message to a larger network. Small businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to create a Facebook Page rather than personal profile. A Facebook Page, like a personal profile, provides an information hub that users can choose to “Like.” Liking a Facebook Page is not too different from subscribing to a newsletter. Facebook users will Like a Page to stay updated on events, promotions, and news, or to simply show their appreciation or endorsement. Anyone can build a Page — businesses, associations, actors, musicians, nonprofit organizations, politicians, etc. Some businesses have even built Pages for specific products.
A big advantage to creating a Facebook Page is that you do not have to accept requests for connections; any Facebook user can choose to “Like” your page. When someone Likes your Page, anything you post to your Facebook Page will show up in their newsfeed. This is how the network effect kicks in. If you post something that your fans like, they will share it with their Friends, who may very well decide to connect with you too.
Finally, Facebook Pages are public-facing, meaning they can get picked up in search engines and give you and your organization and its website even more exposure. (TheBoardRoomAdvisors Page can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Guilford-CT/TheBoardRoomAdvisors-LLC/143607514831
Facebook success is defined by our investment of time, resources, energy and creativity. In other words, we get out of it what we put into it.
· The user base is huge, and that means many of your customers and constituents are already there.
· You have limited ability to customize your Page without using 3rd party tools/solutions
· You don’t need a personal profile to set up a Facebook Page for professional use.
· Pages do not have email alerts; you will have to check to see if there is any activity — or you can sign up for NutshellMail by Constant Contact to keep track of the activity on your Page through a single email digest.
· You can post any type of multimedia content, including videos, photos, and links to external content.
· It’s a closed environment — only Facebook users can Like your business or organization. (Nonusers can check out your Facebook Page, but not your personal profile.)
· You can set up your pages to sell you products and/or services directly from Facebook
· Facebook has many privacy and other settings that you need to understand to get the most from this solution
· It’s relatively easy to use.
· Negative information can spread like wildfire across Facebook and causes one to closely monitor their site.
LinkedIn is the most “professional” social network of the Big Three and is most popular with business-to-business users and those looking for jobs. LinkedIn currently has 66.2M users and on average 36.5M people visit LinkedIn.com every month. Individual users’ profiles are tantamount to an online resume (complete with recommendations and endorsements) and, like Facebook, connections between users must be confirmed by both parties. Businesses and organizations can create profile pages that outline the who, what, and where of their operations, and in fact; many businesses use it to recruit (and check references) for new hires. (TheBoardRoomAdvisors LinkedIn page is here: )
Two of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn are the community (“Groups”) and question areas, which tend to be more professional in nature than those found on Facebook or Twitter. (It’s one reason why LinkedIn is most popular with a business-to-business audience, rather than business-to-consumer audiences.) Answering questions in your area of expertise is a great way to establish you and your business or organization as an expert. LinkedIn is highly recommended for promoting a business-to-business event or communication since it is a professionally oriented network.
Some additional interesting facts are that people that visit the website in 62% of the cases are from home (38% at work). Roughly 1% of the LinkedIn addicts are responsible for a staggering 34% of all visits! 62% are passers-by and responsible for 18% of visits. The audience demographics for LinkedIn.com, relative to the general Internet population, looks like this:
· The “six degrees” nature of the site allows you to reach out to new people through your existing connections.
· It’s the smallest of the Big Three social networks, though its user base (more than 70 million users) is growing and active.
· Profiles are straightforward and connections are easy to make.
· Job seekers tend to be more active on the site than those already employed.
· It’s a place where requests for endorsement are both welcome and expected.
· People use the site for purely professional purposes; so marketing messages are not always welcome.
· Allows for Question and Answer inquiries with a professional slant.
· Requires us to be at the mercy of our connections if we use the “free” version. (There are many ways to eliminate the dependency; one is by buying a paid subscription.)
· It’s a great place to look up background information on people before a meeting or phone call.
· LinkedIn paid subscription is quite expensive and may not be affordable to small business owners
Constant Contact is the email solution we recommend as we believe they are a cost effective leader in not only email marketing but in integrating social media with email marketing. Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available for developing customer and client relationships. To do effective and professional email marketing, you’ll need a combination of powerful tools and helpful, free training. Constant Contact offers you both and it only gets better as TheBoardRoomAdvisors is an Expert Partner of Constant Contact.
Many of our customers tried to the standard email system (e.g. Outlook®, Eudora®, Hotmail®, AOL MailSM, Yahoo® etc. to send a BCC text or HTML message to their list but they are not the best tools for the job. Why? Because these standard email systems are not designed for marketing and therefore have significant limitations that can actually undermine, rather than aid in your marketing efforts.
Constant Contact® is a Web-based email marketing service that’s affordable and designed to make professional email marketing simple for the non-technical user. You can avoid common mistakes and get the most out of your email marketing efforts as well as integrate with all the top social media sites.
Here are the top 10 reasons to use Constant Contact and these are also the top ten critical email marketing benefits that you don’t find in standard email systems:
1. Creates Great Looking Emails
· Constant Contact provides professional HTML templates to make great-looking emails easy by eliminating the need for any HTML skill.
· Templates are pre-formatted to help you organize your content.
o They include fonts, colors and placeholders for graphics and company logos that are easily customized to create a look that matches your company’s website or brand.
2. Requires No Technical Skill or Support Staff
· Whether you are using your email system (and going it alone), or using a bulk email software package, you will find that Constant Contact can save you precious time and money.
· The bandwidth, power and flexibility are “built-in.”
o You don’t have to worry about the technology or infrastructure required to send your email campaigns.
· Constant Contact includes HTML templates and a simple, wizard-driven user interface.
· There are no set-up costs
· Constant Contact provides free ongoing support, so that you can focus your dollars on your business, not on the logistics of email marketing.
3. Delivers Measurable Results
· Constant Contact enables you to measure the response of each email campaign.
o Constant Contact reports the number of emails sent, opened, who opened, who clicked through and which links they clicked on.
o Reports also show new subscribes, unsubscribes, bounces and formal spam complaints.
· These reports help you track and measure your success, target more effectively, determine warm leads and improve your results over time.
o By understanding the individual and campaign results, you will know your subscribers better, and build more effective future email campaigns.
· An important note: What you don’t know can hurt you. If you send your email from a standard email systems and it generates spam complaints, you won’t know about them.
· Furthermore, if your email is perceived as spam by ISPs, you run the risk of having your entire corporate email server blocked. Businesses need to go through email service providers, like Constant Contact, that can help them stay on the right side of the ISPs.
4. Gets Higher Email Deliverability
· Constant Contact consistently delivers above 97% of the emails on its client’s behalf into the recipient’s inbox, compared to an industry average of 81%.
· Constant Contact maintains strong permission policies and has an active anti-blocking team working with receiving ISPs on your behalf to ensure that your email is delivered and delivered with proper protocols.
· They have developed relationships with ISPs and are white listed to be sure your permission-based email gets through.
· Constant Contact monitors all outgoing email to ensure that all major ISPs and corporate domains accept your email.
· If you are using your own email client, you may not know if your email is being delivered.
o Often ISPs will just “drop” emails without sending a bounce message.
· With Constant Contact, you will know which emails got delivered and why — or why not.
5. Handles Formatting
· Constant Contact makes sure your emails are delivered to your subscribers in the correct format every time.
· Standard email clients can’t tell which email format each recipient is able to receive — HTML or text.
· If you send HTML from your standard email client, some of your recipients will get gibberish that they can’t read.
· The size of your email may exceed the requirements of the ISP or corporate domain, making it more susceptible to blocking and filtering.
· If you send only plain text, you’ll be missing out on response rates up to 35% higher with HTML.
6. Is an Approved Bulk Mailer
· Many email systems and most ISPs limit the number of emails that you can send at one time.
· Further, most ISPs guard against bulk emailing, as it is often spam.
· Constant Contact is a recognized email marketing service and has strong relationships with ISPs. These relationships make it easy for you to send bulk email.
· While your email address is listed as both the “from”, and “reply to” address, the email is actually being sent by Constant Contact’s server — recognized by the ISPs.
· Today, Constant Contact sends over 650 million emails every month on their customers’ behalf.
7. Follows Professional Mailing Practices
· For those of you using Outlook or another email system, mistakes can happen. Perhaps the most common is exposing your entire list in the “To:” line. This violates all of your list members’ confidentiality and exposes their email addresses.
· Failure to include unsubscribe instructions, an unsubscribe link, or a physical mailing address is now against the law.
· Constant Contact has built in features that help your email marketing efforts work within the letter of the law.
o It provides an automatic and immediate unsubscribe, and requires you to include a physical address in every email.
· Constant Contact gives you continuous education on email marketing best practices through free newsletters, Web seminars, tutorials and in-product guidelines.
· Topics frequently covered include best days to send, how to write a good subject line, and more.
8. Provides List Hosting and Management
· Constant Contact hosts your email list and automatically performs critical list management functions.
· These functions can include:
o Signup for new subscribers
o Editing capabilities so that subscribers can edit their own profiles
o The ability to unsubscribe with one click.
o You are required by law to process an unsubscribe request within 10 days, the unsubscribe functionality alone is critical to successful email marketing.
· Constant Contact handles the bounced emails for you
· Constant Contact will manage bounces, differentiating between reasons for the bounce (including full mailbox, vacation message, nonexistent address or blocked).
· Managing these critical list management functions using your standard email system is time consuming, confusing, and prone to error.
9. Includes Frequent Updates and Enhancements
· Using Constant Contact guarantees you will always have the most current tools available to meet the changing requirements of the industry.
o You don’t get additional updates to install —
· With email marketing, it is critical to keep up with legal compliance and new technology on the spam elimination front.
o Most new technologies employed by ISPs to eliminate SPAM require changes in both how you send email, and what you send.
o Constant Contact provides regular updates and new features to enhance functionality, comply with the law, and optimize email delivery though ISPs.
10. Complies With Email Laws
· As email marketing matures, so do the laws.
· Constant Contact takes a number of steps to keep you and your organization in compliance with U.S. laws.
· For example, the U.S. CAN SPAM law that went into effect in January of 2004 requires that every email campaign include the physical address of the sender, and that unsubscribes be honored within 10 days of the subscriber’s request.
· Because Constant Contact is in tune with these requirements, we have tailored our system to provide you with the tools to stay in compliance at all times.
Constant Contact Costs Less!
· When you add up the costs of your current method of sending email campaigns, you may find that Constant Contact is less costly in terms of resources and time — and in real dollars. If you are trying to format your email for delivery, or handling bounces in your inbox, time may be your biggest savings.
· The technical resources to support in-house email operations can be expensive. Constant Contact allows you to use email marketing without technical resources or an infrastructure to support it.
· Constant Contact charges only a small monthly fee, without set-up or support costs. This keeps your investment small.
Marketers Are Happy With Social Media‘s Influence on Email
Why We Need to Put It all Together!
Now that you have a better understanding of how the various social networks operate, let’s take a look at them in another way. This chart illustrates how the various social networks that we’ve covered here and your email-marketing program relate. As you can see, sites like Facebook and Twitter do require more frequent updating than your blog or email marketing do, but they also often have less compelling content. At the same time, Facebook and Twitter are more viral than a blog or email marketing, but a blog or email marketing creates a deeper customer relationship.
To most effectively strengthen your relationships, it’s best to use social media in tandem with your email marketing efforts.
Social sharing‖ allows email recipients to share email content on popular social networks and other social media sites. It is a rapidly emerging email tactic and according to Marketing Sherpa, eight in 10 marketers agree that social sharing ―extends the reach of email content to new markets‖ and ―increases brand reputation and awareness.‖
Here are some ways to extend the reach of your content and act as a source of new information for your email recipients.
Let the world know: “You and Your Company are on Facebook and Twitter!”
Once your accounts are established, you watched and listened and you’re comfortable using the social media networks, begin telling the world about your new online presence. Add links to your social media accounts to your email newsletter and in your regular email signature. Put the same links on your website and, if you have one, your
Blog, as well, (As a BoardRoomAdvisor client we do this all for you for FREE),
Users of social media networks are always looking for like-minded people and companies to “friend” and follow. If you’re participating in the same networks, there’s a good chance people will become a fan or follow you. The more places you link from, the more likely people will find you on your social networks of choice.
Grow your email contact list
Just as you can use your outgoing emails as a way to advertise your social network accounts, you can use social media to add subscribers to your email contact list.
Here’s a few easy ways to do this:
· Occasionally, ask your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn followers if they want to be on your email list, and provide them with a link to your newsletter signup page. (This should be set up on your web site and/or blog.)
· A good way to entice new signups is to tease an upcoming issue of your newsletter a few days before it’s sent.
· For example, if your monthly newsletter goes out on a Thursday, post a quick headline or synopsis of that month’s main article on Monday or Tuesday, and tell people that if they want the information, they’ll have to sign up by Wednesday night to get this hot content.
· Similarly, you can post a snippet from one of your newsletter articles and tell your fans and followers that if they want to read the rest, they will have to sign up for your newsletter.
· You can also embed a Join My Mailing List signup box on your Facebook Fan page, blog, or just about any other site that allows embeddable HTML code. If you don’t have the time ask TheBoardRoomAdvisors to assist.
Extend the life of your content
· A lot of thought, effort, and time should go into creating and publishing the content for each issue of your newsletter, so why limit distribution to one method?
· If your newsletter content is permanently accessible via a URL (either through an email archive or posted on your website), post that URL to your Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other network where your company has a presence.
· Posting your content to your social networks provides a couple key benefits.
o First, the links back to your website help boost traffic and your search engine rankings (the more links from outside sources, the better), meaning that your business or organization’s website will show up higher in the results when someone goes to look for you on Google or another search site.
o Second, it puts your content in a place where it can be easily shared and passed along.
· That gets it in front of people who are not already on your email list, and can help drive new subscribers.
· If you are worried about cannibalizing your email list by posting content elsewhere, know that you can always delay your social media posts until a few days after the email has gone out — providing a window of exclusivity to newsletter subscribers.
Use social networks as a source for new content
· Social media networks are another way for you to answer customer questions.
· For example, we here at TheBoardRoomAdvisors are always monitoring Twitter for what customers are saying about us or where they may need our assistance.
· Your own customers might be saying or asking similar things about your business, service, or product.
· One of the most common uses of social media is asking common customer service–type questions. Just ask Best Buy.
· Remember when a customer asks a question through one of these social media sites (whether directly or indirectly), you should answer them as promptly and directly as possible.
o For example, on Twitter, you should use the person’s Twitter handle in your reply so it shows up on the person’s Twitter home page. But don’t end the “conversation” there.
o Use the question and your original answer as a newsletter topic to share with the rest of your email newsletter recipients.
o Chances are good the answer will be relevant to more than just the one customer who asked the question.
· One thing you can do in addition is repost the question to your social networks and direct people to your newsletter for the answer
o (Example, “A customer recently asked when we’re getting new merchandise. Check out the next issue of our newsletter for the answer” and then include a link to your website where they can sign up).
o A single question from a social media fan then becomes content for your newsletter and a lure for new subscribers.
· As you’re building your network the number of customers asking questions or specifically commenting about your business or organization is limited. That doesn’t mean the social media content well is dry. Watch the networks for hot topics and trends in your industry.
o Use that information as a source for article content. Talk about the trend, how it affects your customer base, and what you can do to help.
o Mention in your article that you saw people talking about this on Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to put a plug for your own accounts on the services as another means of making your customers aware of your presence on these networks.
Get feedback from your social network circles
· When trying to decide between a couple of good article ideas for your next newsletter, if you are not sure which will appeal more to your customers, you can ask your social networking circle for quick feedback.
· Post the question to your Facebook News Feed or Fan Page.
· Ask your Twitter followers which of the articles they’d like to see. (Remember to do so in 140 characters or less).
o Use the response generated to make the final decision on which article to use. You may even get a few other ideas for future articles along the way.
Continue the cycle
· Chances are good your newsletter content will elicit some comments and feedback from your Facebook and Twitter networks.
o Why not feature them in the next issue of your newsletter?
· In your issue, let readers know that they can share their thoughts on Facebook or Twitter (or wherever you want them to), and that you’ll share the “best” comments in the next issue.
· Encourage reader participation and they will give you content for the next issue that you won’t even have to write.
Blogging for content
While we didn’t specifically cover blogging in our getting started guide they are worth a mention here just so you can see how all the online marketing solutions fit together.
· Blogs may not be the first thing you think of when the term social media is mentioned, but they can play an important part of your overall content strategy.
· It’s important to remember that a blog is merely a publishing platform that makes it easy to get content onto the Web.
· A blog’s content does not have to be just opinion or just news. It can be used to easily share just about any type of content with your audience.
· How does this help you in your email marketing efforts?
o For newsletter authors who find they have a lot of content ideas through the month, but come up blank when it comes time to produce the newsletter, writing a regularly updated blog can be of help. As an idea strikes, capture your thoughts in a blog post. When it comes time to put together your email, the blog becomes a well of usable content that can be copied, pasted, and linked to/from your newsletter.
o This is also a good idea so you want see who actually clicks though on your newsletter to read your blog and may become a new customer with the proper follow-up.
· Alternatively, your blog can act as an archive for your newsletter content.
o Paste your articles into your blog platform as a means of saving and linking from your social media networks.
o With either use case, a regularly updated blog will help with search engine optimization efforts as it provides fresh content for web crawlers and more potential links to your site.
Get your followers to refer you
· Word of mouth mentions of your business are the main tenet of referral marketing.
· As a customer, when someone you deem trustworthy posts a link to something on a social network, chances are good you will click on that link and maybe even share it with your own network of friends and followers.
· Having your loyal customers and members serve as evangelists for your business or organization via social networking is the ultimate in referral marketing.
· Putting out good content is key if you want people to forward and share your posts and links with their circle of friends.
o But sometimes, people need to be told to forward or share your content. Say you own a restaurant that’s offering half-priced appetizers tonight. In your Tweet or Facebook post announcing the special, tell people to spread the word by “Retweeting” (or RT) through Twitter and sharing it on Facebook.
o Just like it’s a good idea to keep the “sign up for my email list please” to a few posts, it’s also good social network etiquette to keep the “please Retweet/share” requests to a minimum.
o Following the 80/20 Rule is a good baseline, with 80% of your messaging educational in nature and only 20% a sales pitch.
Completing THe Circle
This is the key reason we need an integrated online marketing solution, the explosion of social networks, blogs, and other Internet technologies, and the number of ways we can meaningfully interact with our customers is growing exponentially. Customers who use social media networks expect the companies they do business with to have a presence and be active in the same networks. And each method — email marketing, social media, blogs, websites, etc. — feeds the others.
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