Marketing Predictions For 2012



Business leaders and employees know when their old ways of doing business must change or their business will die; they need to step out of their old ways of marketing and start to act like an agent of change. For 2012, here are my predictions of what will change in the marketing world. You can either choose to adapt, or die.




1. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile


Throughout 2011, you heard me saying “mobile, mobile, mobile”. In 2012, I predict the mobile wallet will be the next big thing. With more and more online companies like eBay, Amazon, PayPal, using the mobile device as a platform to make instant online purchases, we’re now seeing technology built into smartphones that allows customers to swipe their phones rather than their credit cards at retail outlets. Banks are really taking advantage of this technology and offering their customers a new level of service. This is a space marketers need to not only be aware of, but be involved in.




2. Social – Crowdsourcing vs. Friendsourcing


Crowdsourcing is a cool tool for spot surveys, quick answers, and general engagement, but friendsourcing is about trust: reaching out your most valued advisers — the people you really know — and finding out what they think. These people can be your close friends, colleagues, or mentors. However, they can also be your brand ambassadors–the social media friends and followers you’ve built those relationships of trust with over your social media network.




3. On-Line Qualitative Market Research


2012 will be an exciting year for the research industry. It is clear that the shift to on-line qualitative research has begun and likely to accelerate in the coming year. The need for deeper and richer insights to support making better marketing and business decisions is critical. Companies must be prepared to act fast. This category is rapidly growing and the corporate researchers that make the move will be best positioned to be the winners in this new game. It is a business imperative in my opinion.


By  Jeffrey Hayzlett

























Social Media Marketing is Important ?




Social Media Marketing is important?  Social media is more and more in use by every level. Social media network utilization for various purposes to make Social Media into the  network’s most popular during this period. Social media network that has  a rapid and broad nature, is part of mass communication in the present.  It used to only be obtained through a mass communication medium of  television to reach people rapidly and broad. But with changing times  and technology Social media channels then become popular. Social  media can be utilized for a variety of purposes, both individual  goals and or group / company. One of them utilize social media as a  marketing medium.





Social Media Marketing


Social media marketing is used to promote products and services. It can also do a lot of good if used appropriately to  enhance brand awareness and overall visibility on the Internet. Improve  and maintain the reputation of the business can effectively be done  through social media marketing. Social media marketing is in addition to  personal, small business, corporate, integrated marketing  communications and non-profit organizations. According to ‘the plan.  Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the foundation  Web 2.0 ideology and technology, and which enables the creation and  exchange of user-generated content.”





Social Media Not Only as Tools for Promotion/ Marketing


Social media network is utilized  to promote products and services.  With its rapid, widespread and attractivness, is able to attract the  attention of potential customers / consumers. With Social Media, a  product or service will get consumers who become loyal followers. But  there are things to note, Social media is not just a tool / medium for  promotion / marketing. More than that it’s a network that can build a  business and social relationships. In other words, Social media  marketing is a strategy by using a unified communications system. A system  set up to raise awareness of a product / service. Social media has  become a platform that is easily accessible by anyone with internet  access. Improved communication to the organization grow brand awareness and often improved customer service. In addition,  social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for  organizations to implement marketing campaigns. Social media marketing  is a strategy of strategic methodology to build your reputation or brand,  and influence in society supporters, readers and potential customers.




By bamboo





























Social Media Helping Co’s Boost Productivity: Study



WASHINGTON: Global and competitive businesses are turning to  social media to bridge distances and build relationships with its  customers and employees, a new study has revealed.



Savvy companies, both large and small, have recognized the value social media can bring to their organizations, something that  employees and customers are expecting more and more.



It is totally reshaping the way organizations communicate,” says Andrea Goldberg, an industrial and organizational psychologist with a background in marketing, communications and human resources.


“Increased openness and collaboration are greatly impacting the  workplace and leading to the creation of internal and external  networks and communities.”



“Driving much of this is the relatively new phenomenon of social media, which is also contributing to organizational effectiveness, branding and customer support,” Goldberg said.



A 2010 Burson Marsteller study of Fortune 100 companies found that 66 percent used Twitter; 54 percent had a  Facebook  page and half managed a corporate  YouTube channel.



And, according to another survey, 73 percent of businesses plan to increase their social media presence, while 90 percent of marketers have adopted social media as a valuable tool.



“A new business environment is emerging as many employees have the ability and the desire to use these tools to interact with their colleagues, managers and customers and to accomplish work differently than by traditional methods.”



Goldberg sees organizations transforming and shifting strategies because of the way social media is impacting recruiting and selection, communications, rewards and incentives, defining job roles and leadership and training and development.



She said that some of the positive outcomes stemming from these realities include new marketing and public relations channels; better customer acquisition, service and loyalty; new approaches for branding and communications; collaborative innovations for product development; opportunities for thought leadership; recruitment of hard-to-find skilled candidates and increased employee engagement.


By  The Times of India






























The Difference Between Social Media Marketing And

Social Media Networking



What’s the deal? Is there аny point to drilling dоwn tо the differences bеtwееn social media marketing аnd social media networking?



There moѕt defіnitely iѕ аnd I’ll gеt tо that іn a minute.



First off, lеt’s get a clear definition of each:



Social media marketing means tо syndicate content (take yоur content from yоur blog/website аnd announcing it on social media networking sites).



Social media networking means tо work for the visibility of that content (working with people whо wаnt to do thе sаmе thing).



Pure social media networking will nеvеr lead to sales. Just bесauѕe people are socializing wіth уоu аnd are yоur friends dоеsn’t mean thеу will buy frоm you! You must give thеm а reason to buy through social media marketing.



Social media marketing is іn place tо pick uр the buyers whеn thеу are ready to buy…when thеy arе typing in keywords. In social media networking, people arе loоking to network, not buy. But, еvеrуоne loves tо buy! And social media marketing іs therе ready for them….when they are ready.



You see, people lоoking tо buy are оn search engines. You dоn’t nееd to do sales оr try tо pull people from social media networking іnto yоur sales funnel. Prospects enter your funnel via social media marketing.



The cool thing is thаt you have bettеr relationships wіth people who buy frоm уou because thеу arе mоre invested than just a regular or superficial social media networking relationship. They arе linked to you іn a deeper wау bесausе theу hаvе gіven уou money, time, and energy – mоѕt likеlу bеcauѕе of your social media marketing efforts.



You earned thіѕ invested relationship becаuѕе yоu hаd to earn theіr trust bу showing them that thеу should be а business associate with you оn ѕоme level – using a mix of social media networking аnd social media marketing.



So whаt is thе take-away? You knоw the difference betwееn social media marketing аnd social media networking, but nоw what?



3 Things:

1. Always kеep in mind thаt whеn ѕоmeonе enters your sales funnel (via social media marketing оr аnоther method) thеу have placed trust in you. Out of all the tons of information theу could bе paying attention to, thеу have decided to look at yours. Never downplay that.


2. Treat уour list/prospects like gold! Teach them morе abоut what thеy сame to yоu fоr in thе first place!


3. Speak to their desires and questions. You can find оut whаt уоur prospects wаnt to knоw about by uѕing social media networking. Pay attention tо what whаt content getѕ the mоst comments. Look for questions that people really wаnt answers to…and thеn provide the answer.



By Internet News And Views

































Establishing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy



You must leverage social media if you want to successfully market your business. You will reach a huge amount of customers and prospects worldwide in just a few minutes.



If you are a newbie to social media management, this new way of marketing can be overwhelming.



With the advent of social media, many new communications and content marketing channels are available. Social media creates a new environment for customer conversations. And, just about the time you get comfortable with using a few, another new social media community pops up.



Where do you start and what social networks do you focus on? Many choices are available. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are the most visited social media sites.



Using social media on a regular basis will help you gain valuable customers that are in the know, and like and trust your business. With social media, you let people know what’s going on with your business. This contact and interaction will help your company build relationships; make friends with customers and prospects. With social media, many ways are available to profile and highlight your company.



You should frequently post informative content that lets prospects get to know your company, its expertise, brand messages and offerings. By reaching out and having interaction with your social networks, you are able to touch base with hundreds of people each day.



Social media is particularly critical to reputation management, brand messaging and reaching customers. How you interact with others through social media will have a big impact on how others view your company, its products and services, and maintaining your brand identity.



The information that you put online should enhance the reputation and expertise of your company, and support your brand. You need to make sure that everything you write and put as your content elevates and guards your company reputation, including how your company looks and acts, what it says and how it says it.



Social media pages are designed for content postings that build relationships though content interaction. It is important to make sure that you balance how much marketing you do. Your social contacts will become very tired of your company, if day in and day out you  are making a hard sales pitch.



Your social media content is King. Once you commit to be social online, you must keep your content fresh and valuable to your followers and fans. Informative content will help your company stand out from your competitors online.



You need to use good content marketing with your social media efforts. Informational content generates trust. It provides prospective buyers with the information needed to nurture their interest and push them through the sales cycle. You can even figure out what they are interested in simply by looking at what content they interact with online.



When you first do your social media planning, a huge challenge is to find out what social media venues that your customers are using. After doing your research to find them, you need to analyze and find out what type of content your customers’ are interested in. Knowing their areas of interest will enable your company to become a resource in your product or service arena. You also need to think about how your company can create continuous beneficial and informative content. The key to retaining loyal customers and attracting new buyers is telling valuable, relevant and compelling stories.



You need an ongoing social media strategy and plan to make sure you will reach your goals on an ongoing basis. Social media marketing is only one part of an Internet marketing plan, but it is a very important part. Social media activities are an essential element to capture business online.



By Jennifer Dinehart




























You Still Don’t GET Social Media Marketing



Some businesses, like Starbucks, really GET social media marketing, but most firms seem forever bound in the paradigm of traditional media marketing.  I’m constantly reminded of how different social media marketing is by how inept some companies are in employing it.



And, a recent study of 1000s of users in 60 countries shows they don’t want companies in their social networks.  As reported in Marketing Week, a study by TNS shows a distinct disinterest in connecting with brands in social networks or buying their products.



Does this mean social media marketing is a sham, unable to fulfill the promise offered by billions of connected consumers?



Should businesses close their Facebook pages and return to the security of traditional media?



Of course not. Businesses just need to wake up and realize they’re doing social media marketing WRONG!



Here are some recent examples of failure to understand social media marketing:



You should only talk about yourself



How boring.  Unless you’re a celebrity, no one really cares about you beyond a few family and friends.  And, as a company, I really don’t want you clogging up my newsfeed with inducements to buy your crap.  So, unless you’ve cured cancer or ended world hunger, I REALLY don’t want to hear about your accomplishments.



Tell me something I want to hear.  I may listen to you if you’re going to save me money on the things I need, so offer me coupons or discounts.  And, I’ll listen if you want to show me how to get more from the stuff I already own.



I’m really interested to hear about your support for causes I care about, so tell me about the fundraiser you’re doing to help feed hungry kids at Thanksgiving or how your company is donating Aids drugs to patients who can’t afford to pay for them.



I also like hearing about how I can be more successful.  Teach me how to roast the perfect turkey like in a Normal Rockwell Thanksgiving painting.  Show me how to get stains out of the new blouse I bought from you.  Give me information I can use in my classroom.



Social Media Marketing should be serious



Many companies fail to create a voice instead aiming for bland, de-personalized corporate-speak in an effort to not offend anyone.  Even my students, firmly grounded in social media and strongly tied to their millenial background, are scared by the notion of using their voice when blogging or Tweeting from the corporate account.



Sure, avoiding profanity and off-color or racial jokes is a good idea, but let your hair down and be yourself in social media.  Tell us a little about YOU.  Not what you had for lunch or the funny thing your cat did.  Tell me something that allows me to connect with you as an INDIVIDUAL.  I want to be your friend, not your customer.



Of course, being friends, you should truly CARE about me.  When I have a problem, fix it.  When I ask a question, answer it.  Get to know ME — talk with me not at me.



I can just post every month or so



I hear this a lot and it’s what I call the “Field of Dream” marketing strategy — build it and they will come.  Businesses think they can post every once in a while and expect to get engagement.  Yet, they never go back to respond to comments or questions posted on their wall.



Effective social media marketing strategy should involve DAILY efforts — Tweeting, Facebook updating, blogging.  And that means weekends and evenings, since most folks use social networks when not AT work.  Yet, businesses still engage in social networks during work hours because that’s when THEY’RE working.



I don’t need to know anything about marketing



Sure, I can hire some kid who really knows how to use Twitter, Facebook, and puts up cute YouTube videos and my social media marketing efforts will allow my business to soar.  WRONG.  Social media marketing may use social networks, but the WAY you use them is entirely different when you’re hoping to spread the message about your company, not share drunken photos of your friends.



The kid who’s on Twitter understands the mechanics, but they don’t know anything about marketing and social media marketing IS marketing.





















Social Media: You Can’t Pretend It’s Not Happening



Almost two years ago, our company began the process of integrating social media into our marketing and communication plans.  As the Chief Marketing Officer of the largest national trade association for community banks, I heard daily from the membership that we over communicated and sent too much email.  Many reported they were deleting without reading the material after the third or fourth email of the day.



Our staff on the other hand was irritated that responses were low; coming to the conclusion that our members were not getting the message. Surely with all the important stuff we’ve got to say, they were missing the message; turn up the volume and send it again.  Stuck in the middle I came to only one conclusion:  Let people come and get what they want, save emails for the really important stuff and open a two way dialogue with our membership so we could hear their thoughts.  One problem, this meant change.



After attending several conferences on social media, reading countless articles, books, blogs and connecting with many thought leaders on introducing a communication shift that included social media, I introduced the subject to the organization.  To say I heard crickets is an understatement.  The subject referred to as “that stuff the young people do” by my peers and superiors sounded trendy and fun but would have no traction with our membership.  Our members were traditional they explained, they didn’t get into all the fancy Internet driven hype.  They conducted their business face-to-face with customers who weren’t using these things called Twitter or Facebook, much less Yelp and FourSquare.  Umm, yeah, I had my work cut out for me that’s for sure.



We started by first developing a social media policy for our organization and staff.  We slowly began to evaluate the opportunities and determine how social media outlets would enhance and augment our existing communication strategy.  The trick was to not get too far ahead of our membership, who were definitely not looking for more ways to communicate with us in their already over burdened and as bankers, over regulated lives.



Our process was calculated and deliberately slow but we were moving forward, leading by example. Consistency and persistence were keys to our success.  At every executive staff meeting when asked to give a marketing update I mentioned the increasing numbers of Twitter followers to our corporate account and the multiple “likes” we were seeing from our members on our Facebook page.  After months of reporting I took the next bold step: strategizing the reduction of emails via a new push/pull communication strategy.  We would now encourage our members to subscribe to things they wanted via social media channels and specialized websites with RSS feed subscriptions instead of forcing anyone with an email address to get everything when we decided.



Over time our members have begun to become more engaged and see social media as something they can no longer ignore.  A poll taken in July 2010 indicated that 74% of respondents interacted with a social media outlet in their personal or professional lives.  Proof positive that while traditional, our members were not unlike the rest of the world’s citizens.  Sadly, a subsequent poll in December 2010 indicated that while social media was making inroads, it still had no place in the business of community banking.  A full 87% of respondents used firewalls to prevent employee from gaining access to social media websites.



The ice is however starting to thaw as community banks realize that their reputation risk is fully affected by the very outlet they choose to block in their bank.  Fear of the unknown and a propensity to focus on the potential for negative feedback from a disgruntled customer weigh heavy on the minds of the community banker.  With millions accessed at a moments notice via a mobile device through social media channels, who wouldn’t be fearful. Glass half empty?  Only if you’re the one who’s being complained about we tell our members.  Dissatisfied customers make the best advocates and evangelists when they find a new bank that meets their needs.  I think they’re starting to get it after all this Occupy Wall Street, Move Your Money business….now what to do about my own organization?






























Ready Or Not: Why Your Business Needs Social Media To








While many businesses are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting to jump into social media marketing, social media is becoming a more integral part of customers’ daily lives. Facebook alone has 800 million active users, half of which log on to Facebook on any given day.



In order to stay relevant and top-of-mind with customers, now is the time for business marketers to engage in social media. Here are three of the main reasons why your business needs to leverage social media now.




Eyeballs and Mindshare Are Moving Online
According to eMarketer, in 2010, advertisers spent more money on online marketing than on newspaper ads. In 2011, the budget for online advertising is projected to grow and surpass newspaper advertising by close to $4 billion dollars. This money trail indicates the growing number of eyeballs and mindshare to be captured online. Social media marketing is an inexpensive way for businesses to enter this online advertising environment. Unlike traditional paid ad models, the only real cost of social media marketing is the time required to build and maintain your presence.





Powerful Word-of-Mouth Capabilities
The real power of social media marketing lies in the potential for word-of-mouth online influencers. If a customer has 5,000 followers on Twitter and tweets something positive about your business, then that tweet is like a free online advertisement with a potential audience of 5,000 new customers, plus any Twitter followers of those 5,000 people, and so on. The same kind of thinking is true for Facebook wall posts and LinkedIn questions and answers and group discussions (for business-to-business marketing).





The Rise of Mobile
Not only are more and more customers involved in social media, but these folks are increasingly accessing social sites from their smartphones. According to Nielsen’s Q3 2011 Social Media Report, almost 40 percent of social media users access social sites from their mobile devices.  This means that users are connected to social media sites 24/7.  To start, you can advertise your social media presence from within your brick-and-mortar location and visitors can “friend” your business instantly from their phones. Add cutting-edge mobile marketing tactics like location-based marketing and QR codes to the mix, and the possibilities of mobile and social media marketing are limitless!



By Anchor Wave


































How Social Media Helps Your Small Business



Social media is just one of the tools that can help you build a successful small business, but it is an important one. In the first post of this small business roundup, we look at what a recent survey says about the ability of social media to drive your business. Be sure to check out this and other small business resources and info in our latest small business news update.



Social Trends

How social media can help your small business. If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of social media as a tool for marketing, you will definitely want to read this brief report. The correlation between social media tools and new leads for your business is compelling.





What’s up with your Klout score? Or to be more exact, what does your Klout score really mean? The tool helps measure social influence, but how effective is it when actually measuring your impact. Here are some thoughts from Sherryl Perry. Hope they’re helpful in your efforts.





Boosting your Twitter exposure. Small business owners are well aware of the power of Twitter to reach customers and network with business associates. But how do you expand the exposure of your Twitter account to make sure you get the impact you need?




SEO How-to

Important myths about SEO. Here are some things we think you need to know about getting your small business visible on the Internet. Actually, this post involves tips often repeated about making your small business Website more attractive to search engines that may not always be true.





Dealing with the latest Google updates. There’s been another change at Google. How will it affect your online business? Here are some things you should know about the changes the search engine has implemented and what they mean. Search engine optimization is important to every online business.






What is the answer to unemployment? Joel Libava suggests that it is business ownership, specifically the ownership of a franchise. But let’s face it, whether you’re launching a franchise or some other kind of business, startup can be one option to those who have difficulty re-entering the job market.





What “little bets” are you making? Chances must be taken in every business. The important thing, of course, is to take the right chances, ones that lead to real results. Here are stories of three executives who did.





Investment & Strategy

Winning over angel investors. Small business owners are always looking for ways to fund their startups and expansions. Working with an angel investor is one option depending upon your small business’s needs. Here are some thoughts about how to attract angels for your business.





Cybersquatters threaten online business large and small. Registering of domain names closely resembling established brands can allow squatters to siphon off large amounts of traffic including searchers who might mistype a domain name when searching online. It is a growing problem even for companies the size of Google and Facebook. For smaller companies, it could be an even bigger challenge.





Why you need to define success. Success means different things to different people, obviously, but, when trying to create a business, it’s important to know what success means for you. A successful business will be different for every business owner too. What will your version of success look like?


 By Small Business News 















































How To Delegate Social Media (And Other Things)



From social media to almost every other aspect of your business, tasks can be delegated or outsourced as needed to improve productivity. But when you delegate or outsource your operations, be sure that you keep an eye on quality and that you manage the key components of your business effectively. Delegating responsibility for certain tasks does not mean ignoring your business or letting it be run by someone else.




Thoughts on how to delegate. This post is about delegating social media efforts, but it could be about delegation in almost any part of your business. At some point you will most likely need to get others to handle some of your tasks as your business grows. Make sure they can handle those roles.



With a little help from your friends. Introducing your next product or service and really creating excitement around it can be easier when you harness the support of those who love your brand already, your fans. Here’s how to enlist existing happy fans and customers for your next move.




The key to small business success. Small business success, like success in so many other things, doesn’t mean avoiding mistakes and doing everything right. Instead, the key is to understand that when things go wrong you must not quit. Maintaining momentum is what’s important.



Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Here’s a look at entrepreneurship (including small business ownership) and some of the risks/rewards involved. While there are many positives to living the entrepreneur lifestyle, here are some aspects you will need to cope with too.




Small business lessons learned. In commemoration of the recent holiday, we take a look at scary mistakes experienced by other entrepreneurs and what it has taught them about business. Perhaps by learning from others’ bad experiences, you can avoid some of your own.



How to outsource needed projects. From Website design to research projects, you may need work done for your business that you don’t have time to do yourself.




Promoting from within. Another way to delegate workload is to ask your current employees to take on different roles and perhaps take up more of the slack, but beware. Asking for more work out of existing employees will cost you more, one way or the other.



With a little extra effort. The benefit of outsourcing or delegating some tasks can be seen not only in increased productivity or in moving a certain project forward. It can also help you improve your bottom line by freeing your time for marketing and other activities that can improve profitability.





Getting Started

Building the virtual team. Creating a virtual team is another way to expand your business while delegating responsibility over a larger group. But creating an effective virtual team takes effort. Here are some things to consider.



How to get started. No matter what business you operate, it’s important to understand the basics. You can delegate many aspects of your business and outsource much of the work that needs to be done, so long as you take care of what’s important.



By Small Business News   






























Social Media Called The Final Frontier For Start-Ups




It’s the catchphrase on everyone’s lips. And it just won’t go away.




Experts say social media is the final frontier for startups who are building a brand or established companies that are expanding their reach. And businesses are buying it.




Entrepreneurs are clamoring for more information about online marketing, which is why nonprofit business counseling organization SCORE devoted two seminars and a keynote address by social media consultant Lena West to the topic at Tuesday’s SCORE Palooza.




Some 250 people attended the one-time only event, held at the JW Marriott Resort.




SCORE Palooza coincided with SCORE’s national leadership conference, which drew 364 chapter leaders from around the country for meetings Wednesday and today.




Local SCORE business counselor Bob Cushman said Las Vegas is “worse off” than any other community, which is why businesses need to embrace creative marketing strategies to survive.




“Our problem is simply bigger than the others,” Cushman said. “You’ve got to be a better businessperson in our environment than you do even in Southern California. You need all the help you can get.”




The decline of big business in the construction and gaming industries decimated small businesses, Cushman said.





“The challenge is to come up with a marketing concept, services or products that work in this depressed economy,” he added.




The recession and ensuing high unemployment rates encouraged — or forced — workers all over the country to explore business ownership. SCORE’s visitors increased dramatically and have remained at high levels over the last few years.




The problem, Cushman said, is that many entrepreneurs are not prepared for the difficulties of starting a business. And while SCORE doesn’t discourage people from following their dreams during the organization’s free counseling sessions, Cushman said he does emphasize the need for planning before proceeding with a startup.




According to SCORE, clients who have worked with the nonprofit started 58,637 businesses in 2010. Of those businesses, 91 percent are still going strong.




Cushman continues to meet with business owners after they’re up and running.




“(Successful business owners) keep thinking. They keep pouring money back into the business. They keep rethinking who are their customers,” Cushman said.




Small businesses must continually evaluate their strategies, especially on the marketing front, which is where social media becomes key.




Action Words Entertainment owner Mona Fletcher has worked with SCORE in the past and is establishing her writing and publicity business. She attended SCORE Palooza to learn how to use social media to promote her brand.




“Social media marketing is taking over,” she said.




She brought Denette Braud, owner of the mobile Funnel Cake Cafe, who launched her business five years ago but recently began ratcheting up operations.




The pair sat in on a session about email marketing presented by Constant Contact representative Ron Cates.




Jannhet Pascual also attended the marketing presentation to learn more about positioning her online marketing startup company.




Pascual, who moved to Las Vegas from San Diego, plans to target dentists with her new business. She used SCORE Palooza to meet with counselors, network with other entrepreneurs and learn about business trends — including, of course, social media.










Social media can ‘change the way you work’




Social media can be used as a useful reputation management tool and to help boost customer satisfaction.



According to Erik Qualman, the American author of Socialnomics, a book exploring how social media transforms the way we live and do business, the return on investment of social media is that “your business will still exist in five years”.



That might be a rather sensationalist statement, but there can be no doubt of the rapid popularity of websites like Facebook with 750 million users worldwide and 29.8m in the UK.



Facebook accounted for 12.4% of UK internet visits in January 2011 while 37% of adults claim to use social networking each week.



Perhaps more importantly, 46% of users follow one or more brands through social networks, with 23% saying that they’d like to receive brand information through Facebook.



So, with almost half of the UK’s population on Facebook, can dealers afford to overlook social media as a way of interacting with consumers?



Tim Smith, GForces managing director, told AM: “With people increasingly looking to single sources, such as social networks, for opinion and information, car dealers are well advised to ensure that they maximise their presence.



“At present, while 83% of the nation’s top 200 car dealers now have a Facebook page, very few have been able to translate this social media activity into increased revenues or customer loyalty.



“As such, it is imperative that dealers can offer something more through their social media presence, otherwise the cost of maintaining a page could end up outweighing the benefits.”



Top 30 AM100 dealer Ridgeway Group has used social media across its business for more than three years and has discovered a way to use the medium positively.



When the group first started using it, social media was used as just a sales channel, but it quickly became apparent this wasn’t the way to go.



Philip Deacon, Ridgeway Group communications manager, told AM: “We wanted to educate ourselves about it and understand how we could use it.



“We used the first three months to sit back and analyse what was working and what wasn’t.



“We then developed a strategy which was focused on creating content that makes people come to us.

“Using it as a sales channel provided no interaction with customers.”



As part of the “no sales pressure” attitude, all mentions of monthly payment finance deals and any sales pitches or adverts were removed.



Deacon had to present to the board to justify the time and effort before incorporating social media into the group’s digital strategy.



The dealer group opened brand specific Twitter and Facebook accounts in May 2009 with separate feeds of all its brands including Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Skoda, Smart, used cars, bodyshop and its affinity programme.



On Twitter, Ridgeway’s group feed @RidgewayGroup is then used to repost or “retweet” content from other parts of the business.



Deacon describes the marketing team at Ridgeway as the group’s “on-site roving reporters” that will highlight anything interesting going on throughout the business or with the brands it represents.



Deacon said: “All the information we post is relevant and up-to-date.



“We create interesting links to news, blogs, new car launches, competitions, video content and we can communicate with customers.”



Ridgeway has a central marketing team of three people that takes responsibility for handling social media activity as part of its job role.



Ridgeway uses a piece of American software to help track keywords across its social media activity.



Social media can help dealers to view conversations that are taking place about their business and then get involved in a non-intrusive and helpful way.



Deacon gave an example: “We saw that there was a woman on Twitter wanting to know about the new special edition Smart Fortwo and it just so happened that we had one delivered that day at one of our dealerships.



“I saw the tweet and asked someone at the dealership to take a picture and email it to me.



“The picture was added to Ridgeway’s Smart Twitter feed and the customer got in touch, arranged a test drive and placed an order.”





Social Media: Favorite Venues For Branding


KOCHI: Kerala has been witnessing a new trend in advertising and marketing. Branding through social media, a dynamic and real time way of campaigning, is gradually becoming popular. Realising the potential of the new age media, a couple of companies operating in different sectors have started branding through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.With millions of users from across the globe, tremendous response, an element of interaction with customers and real time feedback make social networks a popular medium of branding. “More than advertising it is a marketing activity. Immediately after a post is made, there is response. Brands are engaging with target audience through networks like Facebook and Twitter. It is a market-oriented approach. The dynamic nature of the medium, real-time response and an element of interaction make it stand out from traditional methods of advertising and marketing. There are many more interested clients. Brands which actually want to handle customer feedback will definitely opt for social media, Andrine said. As a result of social media campaign, sales have gone up, witnessed Ajith Pillai, marketing head of Dhathri. “We began with only 100 members on our Facebook page. In just a month’s time it became 3000. And there is a 100 percentage increase in sales after the social media campaign,” he said. Companies which have campaigned through social media say they have been assessing the response. “We have been getting enquiries from across the globe. After we began campaigning through social media, we are getting lot of leads. It is an online platform to project our activities. Not only Facebook and Twitter, we have extended to other networks also. Now we are trying to collect the online data about the number of people responding to the campaign,” said Jibran Asif, director, Abad group. The concept of ‘Google for information’ has been the basis on which most social media campaigns are running. Consumers searching for info on the net prefers Google first. “Nowadays everyone is online. After Google, it is the Facebook now. Social media campaign helps in identifying and fine-tuning the target audience. The connectivity factor is most important. We target married couples for our infertility treatment.



“ We are getting sufficient response through social media campaigning. When you reach a potential customer through online you are actually reaching to a wider audience. So the target gets multiplied,” pointed out Abhishek Jain, head of sales and marketing, Bourn Hall Infertility Clinic.


By Kochi


5 Ways for B2B Companies to Engage on Facebook



Facebook has more than 500 million reasons for B2B companies to create and foster an interactive, informative community for employees, partners, customers, retailers and distributors. Here’s a starter kit for B2B companies to better engage on Facebook:


1. Original Content and Industry Content
The design principle “Keep it simple, stupid” also applies to content you’re already spending time to create. Have a newsletter, magazine, newsroom or blog? Repurpose that information on Facebook, making sure it’s relevant and interesting to this particular community. Take advantage of the Facebook status update’s 420-character limit, but keep your Twitter hat on and be concise.
Consider these types of posts reflections of your blog and Twitter editorial calendars, and find them in similar ways: Make sure your feed reader is full of relevant industry blogs and sites, and curate helpful Twitter lists and hashtag/keyword searches.


2. Questions
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. There’s a reason many Social Media B2B blog posts end with a question – a call to action is a simple thing that often goes forgotten. Make it a habit to end status updates by asking your followers what think about a particular article, industry trend or new product.
On the lighter side, use questions as a conversation starter. Fun topics such as company or industry “Did you know…?” trivia or even a simple “Good morning! What did you do this weekend?” can go a long way to making your Facebook page a community destination instead of a promotional content dump. People enjoy talking about themselves and their experiences – let them do it on your page and learn from what they tell you.
If you’re asking your Facebook followers for feedback, remember it’s a two-way street. Be sure to check back often to reply to others’ questions and be part of the conversation yourself.


3. Photos and Videos
There are many applications such as TwitPic and TwitVid that facilitate the addition of photos and videos on Twitter updates. Facebook, however, gets a leg up on those tools’ shortened URLs by putting photos and videos straight into Facebook users’ news feeds. Photos and videos are welcome breaks from text-heavy status updates, and let businesses tell their stories with images and sound.
Take advantage of the provided status update space to give background on these types of media, and start dialogue by asking followers their thoughts, reactions and favorites.


4. Behind-the-scenes and VIP Info
People “Like” Facebook pages to have another way to track their favorites brands, products, people and places. Make your company’s Facebook updates stand out by offering up valuable information and interactions they won’t find anywhere else, such as behind-the-scenes photos, sneak-peek product announcements and Facebook-only contests.
Be careful with Facebook promotions, however. Facebook updated its promotions guidelines at the end of 2009 to better regulate contests held and promoted on its site. Here are a few things to keep in mind: You can’t make contest entrants perform any other action on Facebook other than “Liking” your page; be mindful how you frame Facebook and its images in the contest; and, as always, pay attention to local and national promotion rules. See the full guidelines straight from Facebook here, or check out this post on the Inside Facebook blog.


5. Tagging
Similar to Twitter’s “@ mention,” Facebook allows fan pages to tag other people and pages in status updates. This comes in handy when status updates touch on key partners and demographics such as trade media, associations and trade shows. For example, if you post an interview Trade Magazine Weekly did with your company’s CEO, include a short status update intro above the link that mentions the media outlet. This will show up on the outlet’s Facebook page Wall and will be visible to everyone who visits its page.
Similarly, when other people and pages tag your business, it will appear on your page’s wall. These posts break up your page’s usual stream of content, and show that others find your Facebook page (and company) worthy of a mention. Boost these types of mentions by regularly tagging others yourself, and asking employees, partners and followers to tag you in their posts.


How is your B2B company engaging with your Facebook community?
by:  Karlie Justus






Varied Social Media Content Key To Driving Traffic



Varied social media content helps businesses foster consistent contact with fans on social media platforms, CrowdControlHQ said in a release on Thursday.



CrowdControlHQ found businesses struggle to grow when regularly posting the same things to their pages. The web has made it easier to produce and manage content in every form. Failing to take advantage of options can make content marketing and social media marketing campaigns less compelling for potential prospects.



The number of companies turning to social media and other web channels to improve marketing has made the competition for prospects’ attention even greater.



“Varying content is one of the most important aspects of any social media campaign,” James Leavesley, co-founder of CrowdControlHQ, said in a release. “Continuously using the same content will have a negative impact on fan growth and engagement, eventually leading to fewer fans viewing and engaging with a brand’s posts. Fans want to feel like they’re playing a role in an organization’s growth and outreach, so continued interaction with them is essential in bringing them back again and again.”



Engagement that leads to conversion is the goal of social media and content marketing. Missing these opportunities will make it difficult for businesses to see any real ROI from their investment.



Social media websites have raised the stakes for marketers publishing social content in recent weeks by implementing features that allow users to customize and filter the posts they see. Brafton reported on Thursday that Facebook launched its Subscribe button to allow people to control which posts they see, and Google+ users can ignore friends – and perhaps ultimately brands – to limit the content updates they see from “ignored” account holders.


From: www.Brafton