Category Archives: Online Brand

Getting started with digital online marketing eileen brown amastra

Moving from traditional marketing to digital marketing

Not all businesses are well-suited for online marketing campaigns which often run alongside traditional marketing effort such as TV ads, print magazine inserts, postal mailings, or sponsorship of live events. Awareness of marketing techniques and traditional marketing resources can create an effect that works in both realms.

Businesses have traditionally reached out to their customers to sell their products, using a range of options from free to very high cost.

Free marketing

Word of mouth. A satisfied customer can often be the best advertising.

Favourable mention in a community bulletin, such as church or school newsletter – possibly in relation to a charitable or joint project with those institutions

Community of users  – such as a book club, motorcycle or car club.

Favourable mention in a newspaper or on television and radio as the product is talked about in the news, or the founder of the company is interviewed by the press

Paid marketing

Paid advertisement in a newspaper, radio ad, or television

Paid endorsement by a celebrity or person of status in one of the media channels

Presence in a physical location – a stall at a community Sunday market, space in a consignment shop all the way up to an on-going shop in an expensive location

Transferring these into the online marketplace can vary in success. Sometimes the cost is much less, sometimes there is a lot more work for the digital marketer to do. Theoretically there are no physical limits  online – apart from the user’s attention span.

Online marketing  – Free

Word of mouth. A new customer can hear about your product or service from their friends through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat. This recommendation, can be very effective as the speaker on your behalf already has the potential customer’s trust.

Favourable mention in a community publication. This could be an online forum where like-minded people gather Users are familiar with each other,  trust is high because it is embedded in a topic that the users already care about.

Online community of users can arise around your product or service itself. Fans of your line of gadgetry will be discussing your product with each other. This kind of community lets you offer previews, discounts, and announcements of new products or services they will want to purchase.

Earned media. Sometimes there is a story around a product or service that makes the mention in a media channel fortunate for the business. This can work against the company, if a flaw in a product is discovered, but it is marketing that the company does not have to pay for directly.

Online marketing – Paid

Paid advertising raises awareness, acquires customers, or convert people to a sale. Money has to be spent here, but you can plan your spend ahead of time. Careful planning and monitoring can assist with this.

Paid endorsement or paid influencer recommendations. These require cash, careful management of the relationship, and early assessment of whether the celebrity is the right fit for the target audience for your product.

Digital presence. This can be as simple as ensuring your massage therapy business has a Facebook page and a twitter account or it could be paying a web design firm to create a complex and lush company web site for you, with shopping cart so people can pay for your product. Your digital presence translates to digital channels and locations where your customers can be immersed in your brand and message

The digital marketer needs to take on the challenge of mixing and matching these techniques in a way that best supports their business and gets them more sales. You will need to create your strategy and set goals, consider creating a digital marketing framework and choosing the best channels for effective reach.

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How to become an Influencer

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular, but not all influencers can be considered equal. In most cases celebrity influencers don’t have as much influence over your consumer decisions as you think. A new wave of influencers are equally important. Micro-influencers – like you and me, are just as likely to influence our peers as celebrities.

So how easy is it to become an influencer?  Here are my top tips for becoming recognised as a credible voice in your industry.

Be a consistent  influencer across platforms:.

Whether Facebook or YouTube, Twitter or Instagram, have a consistent voice. Influencers talk about the same topics, use the same hashtag, post similar pictures. You will start to become recognised for your knowledge in that topic. Whether it is icing cakes, fixing phones, or top-notch welding, the same message reinforces that you are the go-to person for that topic.

Use the same hashtags:

You will be able to use analytics tools to measure the success of a particular hashtag, or campaign across all platforms that you use if you use the same hashtag across Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for example.  You will then be able to get a fuller picture of your breadth reach as an influencer you see your hashtag propagate.

Focus on a few credible platforms.

Try to stick to two or three main channels to broadcast. People will tend to follow influencers across two or three platforms. If Instagram and YouTube are the channels of choice, then make sure you add quality content to them on a regular basis. Frantic bursts of activity followed by long periods of silence don’t tend to work well with media followers.

Influencers use followers and fans to deliver their message for them:

92 percent of people trust word of mouth recommendations  so make sure that your existing followers get fabulous content that they would be happy to propagate further to their network.

Be  an authentic influencer:

Authenticity is a really important part of the news we want to receive from our influencer connections. Facebook has recognised this for a long time, and has honed its algorithm to make sure that you get the news that is most relevant to  what you want to see in your life.

Avoid the single point of failure:

Try not to rely on one channel to get the word out. Google stopped focusing on Hangouts, Facebook has throttled organic reach for brands, and there is no longer any guarantee what your fans will see. Try to spread your message across different channels, so that if your message fails to deliver on one site, then it might get through on another

Get your followers to a place that you own.

Point people to your own blog, your own newsletter, encourage signups on your own site. Then if your chosen site disappears, restricts visibility of your posts or goes behind a paywall, then you have a list of loyal followers that you can move to another platform.

Keep at it. over time, your fans will come. If they like what they see, they will stay…

Being happier on social media and make everyone around you feel good

Users take to social media to vent their spleen as soon as a brand stumbles online. There are thousands of examples of complaining users. Last month a blind passenger and his guide dog were removed from a US Airways flight – and the passengers complained across all media channels.

Users took to complain about the behaviour of the restaurant owners at Amys Baking Company’s social media meltdown after appearing on Remsays Kitchen Nightmares TV show.

We seem to complain about anything on social channels – hoping that the brand will listen to us. Angry tweets get retweeted more often. Sina Weibo analysed over 70million posts from 200,000 users and found that anger elicits faster responses from the largest number of people.

But wouldn’t it be be great if we had an opportunity to be nice from time to time? Good news spreads. Happy, funny items are more likely to get shared – especially if they are about ourselves, a study has found.

Social networking site Happier aims to change our attitude to the negative side of life. The site is filled with things to make you smile and make you feel a little bit better about your day.

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Happier is a Boston based company with “a mission to inspire millions of people to be happier in their everyday lives”. Based on research Happier focuses on making people happy. Circuits in our brains light up when we are happy and when we are happy, folks around us become happy too.

Nataly Kogan spent the first 13 years of her life in soviet Russia. The family escaped to Vienna before taking the train to Italy to spend months in a refugee centre. On getting to the US, she tried to “chase the big happy” but found that after 20 years of doing this she wasn’t happy at all. 

Her nirvana moment was realising she was “chasing the non-existent impossible state of happy” and was missing the “small happy moments” that made up her day. Collecting your own positive moments will make you happy.

Stop saying “I’ll be happy when” and start saying “I’m happy now because”.

Focusing on small positive moments have been scientifically proven to make you feel happier. It seems like a really small principle to capture these moments – but you can capture this “emotional bookshelf in your pocket” with an iPhone app that reminds you to collect your small moments every day.

Sometimes a moment can be as simple as enjoying a giggle with a friend – or as simple as “getting to go to the bathroom after needing to go all day” Smile

Smiling releases endorphins and you have the ability to impact others’ happiness. Making someone’s day will make them feel great – and make you feel happier too.

  • People who write down three positive things about their day report feeling happier, less, anxious and more optimistic. People who continued to do that for a period of three weeks reported feeling more optimistic and positive for up to six months afterwards.
  • People who think more positively are 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack, catch a cold or the flu.
  • Functional MRI shows that focusing on a few positive things every day can permanently alter the chemistry of the brain to become more positive.
  • Being happier is contagious: If you have a friend who is positive, you’re 25 percent more likely to be positive.
  • People who express thanks to others feel better about their lives, exercise more, and go to the doctor less.

So what does Happier recommend that we do to become – and stay happier?

If you feel that your Facebook feed is full of people complaining and moaning – then trying to be a little bit happier might be just the tonic you need. Write down some happy moments and share them with yourself – or  your friends. Paying it forward – and sharing your happiness will make everyone around us all feel better today…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Job seekers: 5 tips to protect your online brand

imageYou are at home. You are browsing the web looking for your next role. You are online anyway, so you turn to your social media platforms to update your status.

After all, you now have time to focus on your friends.

But beware of oversharing. You might want to maintain a certain persona online whilst being different offline.

The 2012 annual technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide shows that almost 40% of respondents’ companies check out potential employees’ profiles on social media sites.

The report also says that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.

“The fact that one in five applicants disqualify themselves from an interview because of content in the social media sphere is a warning to job seekers and a true indicator of the digital reality we now live in,” said Mads Christensen, Network Director at Eurocom Worldwide.

There are some hard and fast rules for keeping the right items private.

Your Facebook Profile image is Public. Facebook says that ‘Your name, gender, username, and user ID (account number), along with your profile picture, cover photo, and networks (if you choose to add these) are available to anyone’. Make sure that the image is suitable.

Facebook Public Status updates change the default setting. If you choose Public for a post, your next post will also be Public unless you change this audience when you post.

Don’t Friend colleagues – or your boss.  70 per cent of young professionals on the Cisco Connected World tech report have friended people at their company. This could lead to disciplinary action if you share something you shouldn’t.

Keep your work and personal profiles separate. If you have two Twitter profiles, make sure you never talk about work on your personal profile. Direct any potential employers to your professional profile

Control your syndication settings. Beware of linking Facebook and Twitter together, or using a tool to update LinkedIn. Control what you post, where you post, when you post.

Try to give a positive impression on your online profile, so that when recruiters look for candidates, you are online, active and have a strong positive brand.  There is no need to stay silent if you manage your online activities carefully.

If in doubt – don’t post…

Image Credit: Alex E. Proimos

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Time to create enchanting online content

imageSome blog content is compelling, some falls far short of your expectations. But after you have gone past the title page, how do you find, and more importantly write compelling copy that will keep your readers craving more?

Inspiration time

Look across your social connections.  look for content ideas on Facebook, Twitter and, Google+ and blog posts.  Subscribe to Posterous and Tumblr for content ideas

Take an idea and run with it.  My inspiration for this blog post was ‘Brainstorming’  Content for your blog.  I thought I’d add my own perspectives and create a complementary post. ideas come from anywhere.  Be open to new thoughts and inspiration

Watch some videos on YouTube and write about them. Look at other blog posts for ideas. Have a look at infographics, if you are a visual person and create a blog post.  My infographic the other week on the Pinterest drinking game could easily have turned into a blog post about how Pinterest is evolving behaviours, some good, some bad

Thinking Time

Ideas come from everywhere. Be open to new pieces of news that will spark off a discussion.  Use tools such as one note or evernote to save these snippets so you can consolidate them into a richer article

Think about your audience. Do they have questions that need to be solved? Perhaps a series of how to posts would help them out.

Get together with a friend and chat about things. Ask questions and come up with new ideas. In the office this is called brain storming, in personal life it is just a chat. It can crystallise your thinking time and help you write.

Writing time

Consider the structure of the final article.  How will you write it?  Will it be short and punchy, long and peppered with examples?

Talk about an issue you have had and how you solved it. My posts often talk about issues I have had and how I got round the problem. Others are from emails i receive.

Consider your target audience.  Are they your future customers or people you want to really connect with? Your copy should be targeted at these people.  I no longer write about deep technology.  Over the last few years, my audience has changed so I write to connect with new people. Some of my posts resonate with my old audience, some don’t  Be prepared to be flexible and adapt.

Sharing time

Your carefully crafted pieces should be read by as many people as possible. Consider syndication and sharing buttons.  Try to get your content to as wide an audience as possible.  Encourage your readers to share your content by making it as easy as possible for them to broadcast your content (see the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post).

Think about the best way to express your ideas. Some times it is paragraphs of text, other times, it is a list or set of bullet points

Finding time

Use scheduling features to post content when you don’t have the time on that day.  When you have lots of inspiration, write several posts and stack them up for later.  Good quality content is timeless

In our busy lives it is often easier to send a text than a letter, a tweet than a post. Tweets are transient, as are texts.  Well written blog posts and copy are searchable, linkable and more importantly discoverable years down the line.  Spend the time to create great content, and you will always be able to find it again 

Most of all, don’t give up on great content.  You don’t want to spend the rest of your days communicating in only 140 characters. Our language surely deserves better than that

Image Credit: Orin Zebest

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Are we the same person online and offline?

Heck no.

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I craft my online words to create an impression of me that I want you to see.  I want you to believe that I truly am the person in my tweets, my blog posts, my Facebook and LinkedIn profile.  But is is the real me?

I’m sure I’m a much nicer person online than I am offline.  I’m always cheerful online, helpful, friendly and kind.  I try to write warm witty and wise blog posts – with the emphasis on the warm.  I don’t want you to know when I’m having a bad day.

I don’t want you to know when I’m feeling vulnerable, scared, sad, lonely, insecure or down.  I want you to see ability,  stability, confidence, employability, hireability.

But is it healthy?

Forbes splits this ‘split personality’ behaviour straight down the middle.  Some women are truly authentic online,  such as Penelope Trunk who pours out her life on her blog.   Others are less authentic online. I probably fall into this camp.  I try to use Paretos 80:20 rule for my online activities.  I’m 80% authentic – keeping the 20% for face to face conversations with offline friends.

Some keep their professional lives totally separate from their personal musings on Facebook.  One of my good friends uses Facebook entirely for the business connections it brings her.  She knows she needs to have a Facebook profile, but she doesn’t update it at all, and yet she has thousands of Facebook Friends.

Some use Facebook to keep in touch with colleagues, some with close friends and family.  I’m still connected to lots of my ex Microsoft colleagues on Facebook.  some are friends, some mere acquaintances.  I mix my Facebook conversation from professional to personal musings.  My Facebook Page however, gets only the business relatedor book related updates. My Facebook profile gets the more honest updates.

But event these updates aren’t truly ‘authentic’

The updates are a nicer, better version of me  — the me, I’d like you to see.  The me, perhaps I’d truly like to be.

But are we sharing too much?

Perhaps we don’t want to know what our friends are reading using the frictionless sharing feature on Facebook.  Are we oversharing or peeking into private lives?  Some people think that they are chatting to just one friend when they post updates on Facebook and are not careful what they post.

Perhaps I’ll stick to outpourings of angst, anger and ire when I’m offline.  Where no one can hear my miserable ranting, emotional outbursts and weeping.

Would it make me a better person online if I shared more? Or would reading these ramblings only serve to reduce your opinion of me – or anyone else that overshares their life?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: misteraitch

 

Facebook pages: Really worth the effort?

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These figures from the All Facebook blog, don’t look too good do they?

Companies spend a lot of money creating their Facebook page and are disappointed with the percentage of fans that actually see the page. 

If you’re not actively canvassing likes and comments then your page posts might be disappearing as Facebook scores other pages higher than yours.  The Facebook Edgerank weighting may mean your posts are never seen – even if you have hundreds of fans.

So is it all worth the effort?

Good news, the answer is yes…

If you have a great strategy, you can encourage engagement.  There are ways that you can grow engagement and keep your fans interested. 

  • Post regularly.  Add polls, quizzes and questions to encourage interaction – especially if there is an incentive to answer.
  • Offer a prize for the best answer to the question
  • Encourage creativity, haikus, poems, limericks, tongue twisters
  • Allow posting of user generated content such as photos to the site.
  • Target your audience – encourage people who are more likely to share your page with their friends
  • Celebrate winners.  Fan of the week, etc will encourage further sharing as fans vie for attention

Hardly anyone pays attention to your Facebook posts.  You will miss lots of status updates from your friends, so unless you are really active on your Facebook page, then your fans will miss that activity too.

So if you’re a page administrator, use the page as often as you use your own profile – and keep the engagement going…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.