On Wednesday, we told you how you could get involved with the conversation surrounding the Presidential Debate. Even we couldn’t know that the most popular trending topic from Wednesday’s debate would be 8 feet tall, yellow, an not even registered to vote.
As anyone that watched the debate remembers, about half an hour into the debate Governor Romney said that he would cut subsidies to certain “nonessential” programs like PBS. “I’m sorry Jim,” the Governor said, addressing moderator Jim Lehrer, “I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m gonna stop other things. I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you, too.”
Before the age of social media, this comment would simply have been gold for pundits and stirred some laughs in the office the next morning. And that would have been that. But thanks to Twitter and the rest of the social media universe, the most memorable part of the first presidential debate is not a comment on an important policy but is instead Sesame Street’s tallest resident.
Within minutes of Romney’s comment, the hashtag #BigBird was trending on Twitter. Some enterprising individual had set up the Twitter handle @FiredBigBird, which had 9,900 followers by 10pm EST on Wednesday. A photo circulated on Facebook with Big Bird sitting on a stoop holding a sign that says “Will Work for Food.” The new Facebook page “Big Bird for President” has over 8,000 likes.
Big Bird Twitter Trending Topic
The flurry of activity on social media did not stay confined to the respective social media sites. Big Bird’s social media popularity proves that social media is not just a trend. It is a new way of communicating and sharing ideas that has changed American discourse. Every news outlet picked up the Big Bird story and ran with it. Big Bird wasn’t just a mention in a story about the debate, he had articles and segments dedicated just to him. Why? Because the people spoke and what they cared about was Governor Romney’s mention of Big Bird. There was no need to rely on a poll to know what the most memorable moment was from Wednesday’s debate. Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the social media realm told the news outlets exactly what people cared about.
What does this mean for American politics and culture in general? Only time will tell. For now, we think it’s safe to say that the social media universe has spoken. Big Bird gets to keep his job.
Looking to take your company to the next level with a custom social media campaign? Contact Incitrio at 858-523-1822 or [email protected] We are a full-service branding, marketing, and graphic design agency specializing in social media and web design in San Diego.
October 5th, 2012
In the current business atmosphere, not adapting to current trends such as social media can make a company look outdated and out of touch. The basic reality is that today’s clients will rely on social media avenues to find your products or services, and will expect your company to make itself available through these avenues. If you are not making yourself available, opportunities can be missed and your competitors will bank on your absence. Additionally, a lack of participation through these mediums will not allow you create the web of information that search engines rely on to provide better results for each search result.
The Relationship of Social Media and Search Engines
For years, the common trend among search engines has been in providing better real-time search results. As a result of the demand for finding the most up to date information, search engines have begun to index websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It is not a stretch to see the forecast in the horizon; social media websites will have a greater impact in allowing your clients to find you first when searching for your product or service on any search engine. Today is the perfect time to begin engaging in the conversations already taking place. Waiting any longer to put together a comprehensive strategy will only empower your competitors.
The Social Media Forecast
According to Forrester Research’s U.S. Online Retail Forecast for 2008 – 2013, online retail sales were expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10% to reach $229 billion by 2013. This huge market highlights the importance of participating in the online marketplace, as it consists of a large number of consumers. As more and more of these consumers continue to adapt to this virtual marketplace, the potential for online sales continue to grow. Additionally, Forrester’s research finds that the typical online consumer is less likely to be negatively affected by the economic climate we are currently experiencing, allowing for more stability for companies who have shifted a significant portion of their marketing and sales efforts to an online platform.
As the recession lingers and consumer confidence remains low, Forrester finds that by 2013, 33% of online users will do more research in order to find the most competitive prices, and points to a large increase in comparison-shopping. The research presented in this report shows that consumers are not just looking for the best deals, but are also doing more targeted shopping, while reducing impulse purchases. Additionally, 54% of offline sales will be influenced by online research. This information makes it very clear that an investment in online marketing is an investment that will allow a company to continue to grow, despite a bad economy.
Facebook alone claims 500 million active members, according to statistics on their website. 100 million members actively use LinkedIn according to their website. By having a presence on these and similar sites and by leveraging them to find and communicate with your target audience, you will begin to position yourself as a modern business, whose market is important enough for you to communicate with.
Communicating on social media sites will require proper strategy to ensure your efforts will be worthwhile and will make sure that each tweet, post, update, and comment fall within your brand guidelines. You will want to make sure that the strategy you employ will place you in the best possible position to grow online, and will help you avoid the pitfalls that can negatively affect your company.
When conducting yourself in a social media setting, make sure to:
Integrate your existing marketing efforts.
By integrating your marketing efforts, you will make sure that your message stays consistent throughout the different sites you participate in. You will also be able to save time by reducing the number of times you must visit each site. An ideal solution will allow you to automatically post to various sites with minimal work.
Remain professional at all times.
The nature of social media encourages an informal setting for communicating. It is important that each employee understands that their online conduct reflects on the company. Employees should enjoy the fact that they are a professional and should conduct themselves in a fun, but professional manner.
Use the social media platform to enhance research and to get insight on the market and on market trends.
With the use of such tools available, including common interest groups, fan pages, and Google Alerts, you can get insight on what people are saying about your industry. Use the information you gather to develop new avenues and solutions in order to be on the forefront of development.
Engage with your audience.
It would make no sense to create these platforms without using them to communicate and engage with your audience. Be sure to assess your resources in order to avoid stretching your resources too thin, and only dedicate your efforts to those sites in which you will be able to routinely participate.
Become an industry leader
Realize that each communication you add to the conversation should be well thought out, and each should put you one step closer to becoming a leader in your field. This will be accomplished by adding quality content, and by being consistent in your positive message.
Don’t give too much away.
Save the most valuable information for your paying clients. If you give away too much information, your connections will no longer need to purchase your service. Additionally, it will be unfair to those who already pay for the information that you may be giving away.
Be sure that a Marketing Director, CEO or other high ranking individual provides oversight. Nobody will understand the company better than a CEO or one who answers directly to the head of the company. Only they can ensure the proper conversation is taking place and that each communication enforces the company’s beliefs, mission statement and policy.
Not all social media strategies are the same. Each one requires custom tailoring depending on the industry and the history of the company. When deciding on beginning or enhancing your social media communications, contact Incitrio at 858.523.1822 to get an honest review of your current efforts and to get brand-specific strategies proven effective in today’s online jungle. We are an award winning, full-service marketing firm focused on client success in Search Engine Optimization, Graphic Design, Online Marketing, Email Marketing and Web Design.
July 5th, 2011
As more businesses begin to realize the significance of online marketing in today’s economy, it becomes increasingly clear that the fast growing social review site, Yelp, cannot be ignored. Yelp can help a small business gain a foothold in a competitive online world by providing business owners direct access to their customers. This marketplace of opinions can help a business gauge customer sentiment and allows a business owner to interact on a one-to-one basis, addressing their customer’s needs and concerns. By using Yelp, a business can find out what customers are saying about their service. Additionally, a business owner can easily track trends, helping them to modify their service to better serve their client base. In order to succeed with Yelp, a business owner must first be willing to routinely spend the time updating, and responding to both good and bad reviews. It’s all a matter of joining the conversation.
Many business owners are hesitant about joining Yelp because they fear that bad reviews can hurt their business. However, one does not need to add their business in order to be featured on Yelp. Virtually anyone can add any business and can begin reviewing it. Chances are that your business might already be featured and several people have already expressed their views about your service. It is absolutely necessary to take the first step and claim your business as the business owner. This will allow you to join the conversation, helping you to quickly address both the bad and good reviews. Being proactive in your approach will allow you some control in what is being said.
Responding to a Bad Yelp Review
It is often difficult for a business owner to separate their personal feelings from business as their business is often regarded to as their “baby;” reading a bad review can hurt. One’s natural inclination is to defend the company. Taking a defensive approach will only hurt your reputation by making you look out of touch, and will likely earn your company additional bad reviews. The only real solution is to be honest and transparent in your online marketing efforts. If you have screwed up, and a passionate reviewer brings it to your attention with a bad review, rather than taking offense, try admitting your mistake. Then, assure the reviewer that you are doing everything possible to prevent the mistake from ever happening again. You will often be surprised by the response. The bad reviewer may see your honesty and may change the bad review, and you may impress future visitors who will be amazed that the owner cares so much by taking the time to participate. Remember to also include those who have sent you good reviews in your response. If a visitor is very happy with your service and writes an extraordinary review, be sure they come back to visit you. For example, consider offering them a group discount on their next visit. This way, you can be sure that they will bring their friends and more potential positive reviews. Also, remember to add them to your friend list in order to populate your account with happy and satisfied customers.
Become an Active Member of the Yelp Community
In order to get more exposure for your company on Yelp, become a valuable community member. Be sure to participate by routinely reviewing other businesses. Be clear and honest in your review without being mean or overly friendly. Be sure each review you post is useful and informative. This will benefit you in the long run when the community begins to see you as an authoritative figure, helping attract visibility to your page and more positive reviews.
Integrate Your Marketing Efforts
In order to get the most momentum with your Yelp account, be sure to integrate your online efforts. Link your social media profiles, like Facebook and Twitter, to Yelp; doing so will make sure each of your posts will get the most visibility. Include a link on your website and email signature and tell your clients about your Yelp page. Focus on those who have had a positive experience with you, but do not solicit a review as Yelp discourages this practice. Yelp will routinely filter reviews that have the telltale signs of having been solicited. This includes glowing reviews by members with incomplete profiles, good reviews from members with little to no history of reviews, and good reviews posted all in a short period of time. For this reason, it is best to first target your clients with existing Yelp accounts. Search for existing clients who are already Yelp members and request to join their friend network. Then, you can send them a friendly message asking them to visit your company profile, while avoiding soliciting directly for a review.
Post Offers and Announcements
Special rates and discounts are a great way to gain attention. Posting special rates and announcements of company anniversaries, press releases, media spots, etc. will also improve your chances of getting found locally, while also improving your chances of being featured locally in Yelp’s monthly newsletter. If you have integrated your social media accounts, each announcement has the potential of being seen by a large number of people.
Developing an entire Yelp or other social media campaign can be beneficial to any company in today’s market. It can help you grow and expand your business in a way that traditional marketing never could. Be sure you are working with a knowledgeable integrated marketing company to ensure that your online efforts pertain to your long-term business goals. A marketing strategy that provides you with greater access to your clients, while focusing on your long-term goals, will ensure that your business continues to grow online, without sacrificing your brand. Call Incitrio today to set up a free consultation about your online marketing efforts. We can help you develop the perfect strategy for online growth.
May 6th, 2011
I keep hearing that old song by David Bowie, or Vanilla Ice for you younger folks. Man, are marketing directors under some serious pressure these days! With all the hype going on around social media, CEOs are pushing harder than ever for marketing departments to implement online marketing strategies. Here’s what I keep hearing: “Everybody’s doing it.” “I just went to a (blank) industry conference and the keynote said it’s critical to my sales growth.” “Let’s make sure we’re not the last one on the bandwagon.” “Just throw something up there.” “I want it done within the month, no excuses.” “I don’t care if it’s a Facebook Group, a corporate Twitter personality or if we start blogging…just get it done!”
The Problem is…
Once again, like website design , email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC or Google Adwords), we have key decision makers and well-meaning marketing managers being pushed into new technology and strategies they don’t completely understand. I mean if Twitter is free and takes less than 5 minutes to setup, why can’t I have my corporate Twitter account within a month? Or, if Facebook is free and I could use the Causes page to raise money for my non-profit, why can’t you get it done right away?
And the Answer is…
You can. You can get it done in 15 minutes or less. But…if you don’t do the work to assess your in-house resources for a disciplined, rigorous maintenance routine or train your staff regarding online etiquette or analyze your customer base to see if they even want (or will use) the dang social media strategy – then, it’s a complete and total WASTE OF TIME.
The Gobbledy-Gook Factor
I know I’m being harsh here, but seriously, you can’t just throw something up and expect it to perform. Think about your corporate brochure, if you just put gobbledy-gook for the content would someone actually call you and hire you? What if you designed a gorgeous tradeshow booth but went to a tradeshow where none of the attendees were interested or had the budget to purchase your product/services? Would that be the best use of your company’s marketing budget and monetary resources? Would it produce the requisite ROI demanded by your CFO? Nope, it would be a complete and total WASTE OF TIME.
What Should You Do?
Well, first of all, pat yourself on the back that your entrepreneurial and cutting edge enough to consider a social media strategy. Way to go, you are a frontrunner and innovator. Seriously, that’s awesome. So, now let’s roll up our sleeves and figure out if social media makes sense for you.
How Do You Know if You’re On the Right Path?
Well, cricket… One: Do you have anything interesting to talk about? Product updates, new technology, new service offerings, demonstrating expertise in an area, resources your competitors don’t have, etc. As in, what makes your organization so darn special? We’re talking Point of Differentiation here. Two: What problem are you trying to solve? Increase customers, increase sales, increase average sale, increase sales from existing customers, establish presence as industry leader, reposition brand, demonstrate expertise, share unique resources, etc. As in, what is your metric for measuring success? It’s all about ROI, baby. Three: Who cares? Your C-suite, your marketing department, your outsourced vendors, your distribution channel, your customers, etc. As in, if you write it will they come? Everyone has to be fully vested or it won’t work, really it can’t be a one man or one woman initiative. (Funny side note: I had a vendor give me a quote for “man hours.” I thanked him and asked him what would the project cost if it was “woman hours?” He said: Oh, a lot more. That was the right response!)
If You Answered Yes, Then Social Media is for You!
Sensei says: Congratulations!! Now, you’re ready to start thinking about People, Objective, Strategy, Technology (POST per the Forrester folks who came up with this great methodology) and your Process, Implementation, Discipline and Measurement (PIDM per me, I made it up but when you think about it really makes sense to ensure successful implementation).
Th-th-that’s All Folks!
Well, that’s all for today. In my next post, we’ll talk about what you need to do next in your never-ending quest for Social Media enlightenment to ensure your efforts are not a complete and total WASTE OF TIME. Be sure to sign up for our RSS feed (top right orange button thingy on our blog), so you can get notified when we post next and stay update with the latest industry content. Good night and good luck.
Visit Incitrio on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Watch on YouTube
July 13th, 2010
One of the best articles that I have read in a long time is on User Generated content and the future of Online Business in the latest Inc. magazine article on Threadless, a user-generated t-shirt company from Chicago. In it they describe a model currently being analyzed by the Harvard Business School as the future of online business and possibly business as a whole.
As the current generation of social media savvy consumers evolves from myspace, facebook and twitter to embrace mobile media and content on-demand, very soon (if you haven’t noticed already) we will begin seeing a major shift in how content is produced and requested by audiences.
While many large corporations have already jumped on the band wagon and started blogging or hiring ad agencies to produce blog worthy videos for viral marketing campaigns via YouTube combined with innovative micro sites, already they have lost major footing and decreased their brand equity by missing one critical component: Truth.
The key to successful user-generated content, will lie in brand alignment and authenticity. Telling the truth with regards to your brand, who created your WOMMA campaign and what your intentions are. No longer, will traditional advertising or corporate entities be allowed to hide behind empty promises as we enter a generation of savvy consumers ready to do the online research, google the product and find out what other consumers are saying.
The truly successful online business that creates a model of flexibility and open source collaboration, while not able to control the process, may end up creating an online thinktank capable of producing results 10x better than a traditional corporate structure. It is entirely possible that in this virtual workforce future, we will all be creators, designers and inventors collaborating with one another to solve commercial and global problems in real-time on a scale never seen before.
Hill is president and owner of Incitrio, a boutique branding agency located in Sorrento Valley.
July 8th, 2008