Archive for the ‘Integrating Social Media’ Category
I read a rather interesting piece on eConsultancy about the world of online dating and how the free sites, such as Plenty of Fish and Mingle2, are likely winning the war of attracting singles to their sites versus their paid counterparts such as Match.com (which just recently paired up with Yahoo Singles), PerfectMatch & EHarmony. With the economy in a downturn and keeping steadily in that range, online users are looking to save money where they can, even when they are looking for love.
Now, throw social networks into the mix. On Facebook a member has the ability to change their relationship status and announce to the world that they are looking for a potential mate. If someone else in their network is also looking, they can get a much better picture of how that person really is, in “real life”, on a social network like Facebook because people are much more willing to share information with their “Friends”, than complete strangers on some dating site.
So what are industries like the online dating industry suppose to do? Especially when all of a sudden your biggest competitor just came out of left field and sucker punched you with their vast amounts of members, and free information about them, plus allowing them to communicate for free? All the stuff that the big paid sites are charging their members to do.
You change, you adapt and you give your audience what they are clamoring for. You need to up the anty and give them more for their money, otherwise, Facebook and your free counterparts who are becoming more and more like a social network, are going to overtake your audience.
Look at how the cable news networks have adapted as opposed to their floundering counterparts, the news papers. Cable news as made their online sites major hubs of interaction. CNN has integrated the “like” or “recommend” feature everywhere on their site. They’ve embraced Twitter and adapted their real time reporting to include iReport, which has become a major hub for citizen journalism. CNN has adapted, CNN has changed, and CNN is flourishing in the online news world where others are merely scratching their heads wondering how in the world they are going to keep treading water.
Even the travel industry has adapted and changed. Notoriously “hands off” with customers before social networks and ratings & reviews came into play, the travel industry had to change due to people not only using ratings and review sites, such as TripAdvisor, to share their experiences but people who actually using those sites to make their decisions whether to stay someone, take a particular airline or other mode of transportation. The travel industry had to adapt to become more social with their audience.
So is social media changing the way your industry is interacting? Has your marketing changed? Has your outlook or your marketing plan changed because of social media and how your customers are sharing their experiences?
Let’s jump into that hot tub time machine for a moment, shall we? Back in the 90′s I use to work for Cellular One. The company I worked for was a franchise sort of like McDonald’s, that eventually sold out to the bigger companies like Vanguard Cellular One who eventually sold to AT&T, who then sold to someone else, and they turned back into AT&T. I know I’m probably dating myself now, but, this is back when a cell phone was a bag phone, or a phone installed in your car. We were just migrating from the infamous brick phone into the Motorola Flip. Hand held cellular phones were pretty “iffy” on the reception back then too. At this point in time the Internet was just starting to grow as well, I was very proud that I upgraded from a 14.4 modem to a 28.8!
Back then, I only dreamed about the cellular phones I sold being able to connect my computer to the internet, let alone it connecting all by itself and allowing me to access my social media communities (back then that was web based chats and forums!).
Here we are, over 15 years later and not only can I access my social media communities from my phone but I can play podcasts, I can not only watch videos, but record and upload them too. I can put applications on my phone that make it easier for me to find places to eat, hotels to stay in and find out what movie is playing at what location that’s closest to me. I get my email to my phone, text messages, I can have my phone function as my alarm clock and even tell me how much of a tip I need to leave the waitress for my dinner.
I use to think I couldn’t live without my computer (I probably still can’t), but now I look at everything I do with my smart phone, and I wonder, “can I live without my Droid”? I’m finding it increasingly difficult to see my life functioning easily without it. I’m not alone either.
I’ve written about how companies need to think beyond the web browsers and how social media communities are constantly trying to make it easier for its members to connect via cell phone applications. I was investigating some statistics and I was really blown away to see just how much society is relying on their cell phones (and that’s just in the U.S. – in Asia, it’s overwhelming).
- Social Networking via applications has grown over 240% in the past year
- 80% of Twitter’s usage is via mobile phone
- More than 65 Million users access Facebook via their cell phones
- In just 1 year the Mobile Social Network Foursquare (primary usage is via smart phones & applications)
- Has acquired over 500k users
- Users have created over 1.4 million venues
- Users have logged over 15.5 million check ins
- If Yelp is any indication of the power the smart phone holds, look at this iPhone applications stats for the site
- Over 27% of the searches were done from the iPhone app
- Over 500,000 calls were made to local businesses directly from the iPhone App, or 1 call being placed every 5 seconds
- Nearly a million people generated point-to-point directions to a local business from their Yelp iPhone App in May 2010
There are dozens of other statistics out there that continually point to the rise of the smart phone as an essential tool in people’s lives. From finding restaurants to keeping up with email, the cellphones with web capabilities are not just a passing fad, they are here, they are evolving and when you pair them with applications that allow people to connect and share in social networks, they are a force that marketers can no longer passively ignore.
Making sure that you are planning for Mobile Marketing as part of your social media marketing strategy is now becoming essential if you want to really reach out and engage with your audiences. Social media marketing doesn’t operate in a vacuum, social media and email, social media and search marketing, social media and offline marketing all need to be taken into account. However, even more important is social media and mobile marketing, people leave home without their computers, but they are rarely leaving home without their mobile phones these days.
There’s a lot of ins and outs when it comes to social media marketing. One of the biggest pieces to success with when you are planning your social media strategy is knowing how to integrate other marketing types in with your social media strategy. Integration with other disciplines further enhances the reach of what each of your chosen tactics is attempting to do. One of the easiest and more successful ways to promote your interactions in social media is via email.
I wrote about Email Can Be Social Media’s Best Friend a few weeks ago on ClickZ, and I still point back to how easy it is for people to share via email the content they find valuable. As much as they are sharing on Twitter and Facebook, people share in emails – probably even more so, as the level of comfort with sending an email is a lot higher due to how its been integrated into our societies. eMarketer has a piece today about integrating social media with email showing the different kinds of tactics companies are planning to do with integrating social media with email, only just under 13% of the companies surveyed aren’t integrating email and social media in some way.
So how can you get a quick start on integrating your existing email list with what your implementing in social media?
5 Quick Tips for Integrating Social Media & Email
Make Special Announcements Early To Your Email List, Then to Your Communities
There’s a reason people sign up for your email lists. They want “in on the ground floor” or they want to be the first to know what’s going on with you, and want to be the first one’s to propagate that information you relate. People who are subscribing willingly, not those people who forget to uncheck the box when they buy something from you, want to know everything that’s going on with you, your company, your brands, your services or products before anyone else, so use that to your advantage. Make special announcements to your email list early and then to your communities a day or two later. If you are consistent with this, you’re fan base is going to notice and catch on and you’ll soon have more additions to your email list if they want the information first.
Use Twitter & Facebook
Its a two way street with Twitter & Facebook, meaning promotion can work for both, in both mediums. On all your email communications, if you have a Twitter Account or a Facebook Fanpage promote it! On your Facebook Fanpage, make it easy for your fans to sign up for your newsletter. When your newest email newsletter goes out to the list, promote it on Twitter, and when it goes live on your site make sure you post the link in your active social media communities. Remember that just because you and your marketing team know you have all these ways to communicate, your audience members and interested fans and customers probably don’t. Let them know!
Offer Sneak Peeks to Email Lists Subscribers
Make your email list feel extra special by offering them limited time “first crack” at a special offer before it goes out to the general public. Make sure they know it too by promoting in ways such as “before we release this to our Facebook Fans or Twitter Community we’d like to give you, our loyal email followers, first crack at our special promotion”. Make sure though that you do place that same promotion out in Facebook, Twitter or the other social media communities after that limited time engagement because your email subscribers are savvy, there’s a very high chance they aren’t just following you with emails, but on your other social media channels as well. Your email subscribers will stand up and take notice and pass around the word that you truly do reward your email community in a special way to their own network of friends.
Turn Your Email Newsletters PDFs and Submit to Scribd
It may sound like a very simple, “no brainer” type of thing to do, but many companies forget that their newsletters that are sent through email can be very valuable content that they can leverage in social media communities. By turning your email newsletters into a PDF and placing it on your website, you get the benefit of the search engines finding and ranking the content, you also get the benefit that your PDF can then be shared across many other social channels. You can also start your own account on Scribd and share your PDF newsletter to that community as well.
Make It Easy to Share Your Email Content
Even within your email newsletters make sure that the content you provide there is easily sharable. Add “retweet”, “share on facebook”, “email to a friend” buttons and graphics to your content. Of course, don’t go overboard and make your email newsletter or content be overtaken by the buttons! Make sure where you are suggesting to share the content makes sense to your own audience. Are they using Twitter? Would Delicious be a better choice? If you’re on the email team, talking to your social media marketing team before randomly selecting buttons would be a better use of your time so you can correctly target where your company wants your content shared.