Archive | August, 2013

Creative Promotion: Coca-Cola’s Social Robot

Imagine this: a robot that replaces your appearance when you are unable to join a party. Sounds like one of those science fiction movies? Think again. Here is Coca-Cola’s Social Robot that represented teenagers in Israel who can’t join in the fun of the Coca-Cola Summer Love Festival. They can control the robot  from their computers at home

With Social Robots, teenagers enabled to virtually walk around the festival, meet new friends, enjoy the parties, and have a real conversation with people at the event. Each Social Robot had a screen on the front that streams the users webcam to the face of the robot, allowing the person at home a virtual being at the festival. Pretty solid and unique idea again from Coca-Cola. However, the biggest challenge of this promotion is to maintain a good Internet signal that connect the robot and its controller.

Facebook News: Facebook Have Changed Their Promotion Rules

If you need to use third party apps to run a Facebook promotion in the past, now you no longer need to use them. With the new promotion rules from Facebook, now it’s much easier for business owners to run contests, giveaways and all promotions on their Facebook Page. In their recently released statement, Facebook stated that they have removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook can only be commenced through apps. This might be a good news for any business owners who found the use of apps confusing and difficult to manage. With this new rules, it will certainly make running contests and giveaways by small business owners much easier. There is no more fear of having their Page deleted for not obeying to the Facebook Promotional Guidelines.

In the past there were very strict rules around running contests, giveaways, sweepstakes and all types of promotions. Small business owners struggled with understanding and then implementing these rules. Facebook’s move to ease restrictions around running promotions will be celebrated by many. App developers will now have to become even more creative to entice Facebook users to buy their apps. For now it’s cause for celebration particularly for the small business owner who can feel free to get creative and run giveaways, contests and promotions on Facebook by still maintaining adherence to The Page Guidelines and new Facebook Promotions Guidelines.  However, it is a wise thing to keep a check on Facebooks Page Terms before creating any competition to make sure you are still obeying their rules ad guidelines.

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Social Media Guide for B2B Sales

Nowadays, social media marketing is not just for customer-based services, such as targeting and crowd sourcing. B2B marketers are discovering that they can engage with huge numbers of prospects through the process of “humanising” their brand through popular channels, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. B2B marketers are learning a whole new language as they turn to social media. Customer engagement is replacing the hard sell as the key to successful B2B marketing.

Three Tips On How To Track and Engage Your Content From LinkedIn

Since its launching over ten years ago, LinkedIn has evolved from a simple social network for business to a content powerhouse that makes corporations drool for its demographic data and targeted advertising capabilities.

For marketers, LinkedIn’s growth also means dedicated networks, segmented by industry, hosting expert blog posts, forums (in the form of LinkedIn Groups) and even a dedicated news stream that can drive millions of page views much like the early days of Digg and Reddit.

Today, The Website Marketing Group will share three tips on how to engage with content and track effectively from LinkedIn:

1. Pay Attention to LinkedIn Today


LinkedIn Today was launched over a year and a half ago as a way to use data from 175M+ professionals to surface relevant stories in specific verticals on the LinkedIn platform. If you are just starting out on LinkedIn, it’s the best place to find influencers in your industry that you can follow for best practice according to LinkedIn. Start by picking out around a dozen or so that are specific to your industry and watch the types of content they are sharing, liking and contributing. Chances are if you follow their lead, you are going to strike the right tone with your customers/audience.

2. Use Slideshare

Slideshare is another niche social network built around sharing presentation that was acquired by LinkedIn last year. Here is an example of how one of my presentations on content marketing looks on the Slideshare platform.

Marketers with great content to put in front of their audience should rejoice over the LinkedIn/Slideshare match up, because the first product of their union is a new approach to targeted advertising which combines traditional display ad inventory with presentations you can embed.

This is a win-win solution for both marketers and LinkedIn, because it means more time spent on their platform and a much richer content experience.

3. Track Metrics and Leads from Your LinkedIn Company Page

Company Pages have been on our head of social’s radar for inbounds since they launched late last year. They are obviously great in a B2B context, and expanding quickly in what they can offer brands and companies across a variety of industries.

Your content marketing efforts here should focus on determining which types of offers work best to generate business leads, and it is great that HootSuite recently integrated tracking and targeting from Company Pages including:

  • Snapshot: Page performance analytics. Track the total followers, new follower metrics, impression metrics and engagement metrics of your LinkedIn Company Page.
  • Company Update Engagement: Post performance metrics and comparison. View a granular, side-by-side comparison of post metrics that are not available through native LinkedIn analytics.
  • Targeted Status Updates: When composing an update, you will have the option to target based on geography, company size, job function, seniority and industry.

By working closely with your social media department, defining a few metrics that matter from the outset, and following the tips I’ve outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to a tailored content marketing strategy taking advantage of LinkedIn’s 100M+ users.

The State of Small Business Website Marketing (Infographic)

Social media, content marketing and website optimisation have given more opportunity for many small businesses to win more leaders at a lower cost than their larger competitors. A significant research finding revealed that the amount of content that small businesses produce is increasing. On average, small-business websites now feature 140 pages of content and publish 15 new pages a month. Among other findings: Software and IT Services bring in 25% more monthly conversions online than the next closest industry, Wholesale and Retail Trade. Take a look at this infographic:

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Social Media Tips: How to Organise Your Social Media Accounts

How To Harness The Power Of Social Media?

As we’ve mentioned on our previous post, there are many social networking websites for smaller businesses. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, and SlideShare dominate the top ten social media in the world, while the top bookmarking sites are lead by StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious.

This condition may change in the coming year, but that doesn’t really matter. It is a ton to organise if you have multiple social media profiles for your company, not mentioning your company blog. It is seemingly a full-time job. That’s why business owners become overwhelmed when it comes to organising social media.

Here are some tips on how businesses can manage social media activities: First, it’s better to be fully engaged on one social media profile than spreading yourself too thin, and barely being present on two or more. So don’t create a social media profile if you cannot fulfill its potential. The most resource intensive social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and your company blog. These sites call for continual updating with fresh, quality content — and constant engagement and outreach — to gain traction and increase your following. Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare and social bookmarking sites demand much less attention and upkeep.

What Is Social Media Management?

So, what does it mean to successfully manage your social media profiles? Let’s take a look at these four points.

  1. Create quality, valuable, interesting, compelling content.
  2. Engage sincerely and genuinely with your followers.
  3. Track this engagement.
  4. Measure your results.

1. Create quality, valuable, interesting, compelling content. This is the hardest part. But it’s worth the effort. The secret is “repurpose.” Start by creating a full blog post, whitepaper or success story. That’s your foundation and substance. Then break it up into many smaller digestible bites for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can post these over a week or two or even a month. Turn it into a PowerPoint presentation for SlideShare. Make a quick 2-minute video for YouTube and link it to your blog. Make images for Pinterest. Update links on your social bookmarking sites.

You may have to tweak the content a little to make it more valuable to your target audience on each social media channel. The more you do this — the more you personalize and humanize — the greater your results and reach will be.

2. Engage sincerely and genuinely with your followers. Social media conversations are open, honest, and transparent, not sales pitches or shouting matches. Your followers will respond positively and reward you for this. Check your social sites twice a day to answer and respond to your followers in a timely manner. Don’t harm your business reputation with a Facebook or Twitter page or blog post that contains unanswered questions. Emphasize timely answers and responses. A follower will likely be impressed when visiting your page and seeing how effectively you have responded to comments, questions, or otherwise provided good customer support.

3. Track this engagement. Understand what kind of content is getting the most response, like conversation and dialogue, between you and your followers and between your followers. See what is being shared or retweeted and what resonates with your audience. This is the best way to identify the value of your content, to replicate and repeat it.

4. Measure your results. It’s important to measure the results you are getting so you know if your efforts are worthwhile and where you should be improving. There are many ways to measure. Here a some metrics to consider.

  • Shares and retweets. How many times has your content been shared or retweeted.
  • Links. How many times have your links have been shared.
  • Blog post activity. How many times has your blog posts been shared.
  • Fan and follower counts. Have your fan and followers increased?
  • Mentions. How many times has your company name been mentioned. Google Alerts can help.
  • Traffic. Have your blog visitors increased and are they new or returning visitors?
  • Traffic sources. What are your top traffic sources — referrals — to your website and blog?
  • Search engine optimization. Have your Google organic search results improved due to new and consistent content?
  • Sales. Have your sales increased?

Who Will Manage?

Managing your business’s social media profiles takes much time. You can create a new position for this in your company if you have the budget. If not, delegate responsibilities within your company. An employee that has a talent for writing can create content. Another person can post, manage, track, and measure. Choosing the right person is important. You, as the business owner, can supervise — making sure everything is on track — without taking too much of your time.

You can otherwise outsource to a social media consultant or agency. There are pros and cons to both approaches — in-house vs. outsourcing. It’s worth careful consideration before you decide.

Tools to Manage

There are several good, effective online tools to help you manage multiple social network accounts, from one interface. Here are some good recommendations: HootSuite, TweetDeck, VerticalResponse Social, Sprout Social, CoTweet, and Radian6. They provide a secure place to house multiple passwords and usernames, allow simultaneous posting across platforms, and schedule and automatically post to your different profiles. Some are free and some are paid, depending largely on the number of social media sites and the number of users who manage them. Regardless, these tools save a lot of time.

To illustrate, here is HootSuite’s dashboard, showing activity on a Twitter account. HootSuite, and other tools, accommodate Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and many more social media platforms. HootSuite offers a dashboard to manage and measure your social networks.

Conclusion

Effectively managing your social media sites will produce higher brand recognition, more leads, and more conversions. And that’s what makes it worth the effort.

Small Business and Social Media (Infographic)

Social media marketing is not solely the privilege of big corporates. Many startups or small businesses may take the advantages of these handy little tools once they learned how to do appropriate marketing and promotions with them. Today, The Website Marketing Group will share a nice infographic on how small businesses can take a part of social media campaigns and promotions. It might seem convoluted for the first time, but as you go with the development of your social media accounts, these difficulties will fade away.

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The Growth of Chinese E-Commerce Business

china economy becomes the world's second largest

As the world’s largest populated country, China is often billed as the world’s second-largest economy and e-commerce market as well. However, China is likely to pass the United States to become the world’s largest e-commerce market before the end of 2013.

Shocking fact: China’s market is on pace to reach $296 billion this year, compared to $252 billion for the United States

Chinese e-commerce companies earned $210 billion in revenues in 2012, and the market has been growing at 120 percent annually since 2003, according to a March report from the management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company. E-commerce commands 5 to 6 percent of total retail sales in China, compared to 5 percent of U.S. sales conducted online.

Why China has this huge spike in growth? Here are the three main reasons:

1. Buying Things (Especially Luxuries) Online

Hal Josephson, founder of MediaSense said “China cannot help being the largest e-commerce market on the planet — with over 500 million Internet users and one out of almost five phones on the planet.”

With 242 million online shoppers in 2012, China’s population of e-commerce shoppers will soon exceed the entire population of the United States. As buyers keep getting richer and more sophisticated, they increasingly purchase big-ticket items online. The luxury segment is booming, from Smart Cars to Lamborghinis.

The rise of mobile is also critical. Chinese consumers shop online using gadgets like smartphones and tablets more frequently than their counterparts elsewhere. Some 58 percent of Chinese respondents shop online at least once a week — versus 42 percent of U.S. shoppers — and they’re twice as likely as the global average to shop using mobile devices.

2. Unique Shopping Habits

90 percent of Chinese electronic retailing occurs on virtual marketplaces—sprawling e-commerce platforms where manufacturers, large and small retailers, and individuals offer products and services to consumers through online storefronts on large e-commerce sites like eBay or Amazon Marketplace. A large and growing network of third-party service providers offer sellers marketing and site-design services, payment fulfillment, delivery and logistics, customer service and IT support.

That means companies like Alibaba, which owns Taobao and Tmall, wields enormous influence on Chinese e-commerce. The Economist says those two sites handled more sales than Amazon and eBay combined. Vendors must learn to work with these marketplaces to negotiate the market’s complex logistics especially in second– and third–tier cities.

Other differences include a much higher percentage of consumer-to-consumer sales — 77 percent to roughly 20 percent, per Sapient Nitro. Chinese e-commerce customers also communicate differently. Most customers in China do their online shopping during working hours and most tend to use online chat for customer support.

There’s one more critical difference: payment. Debit cards, not credit cards, are the dominant payment method in China. Cash-on-delivery is still widely used and online orders are generated before payment information is entered.

3. Evolving Market

Most observers see the pace of Chinese e-commerce only increasing, along with the opportunity to find profits in the market. Understanding and exploiting Chinese e-purchasers will prove to be the most strategic market positioning any company can strive to achieve. Possible challenges include competition-driven price drops that could erode the healthy profit margins currently enjoyed by many Chinese e-commerce vendors. (Chinese e-commerce customers are heavily motivated by deals.) China is also said to be drafting laws to more closely regulate the e-commerce sector.

However,the biggest unknown is how long the large online marketplaces will continue to dominate the market. As the Chinese retail and payment infrastructure continues to improve and physical retail chains expand nationally, there could be a move toward a more decentralized approach to e-commerce in the country. Such a transition could open up opportunities for new players, but bring additional uncertainty to vendors now working with the large marketplaces.

Creative Promotion: A Mind Reader Beer Machine

Another beer vending machine promotion? Yeah, but how about a “mind reading” beer vending machine? Created by Castle Lite, the ‘Extra Cold Mind Reader’ installation challenges people to think about how cold they want their beer, the colder their thought process, the more beer the mind reading machine pours. The game is simple: all you have to do is just put a helmet with sensors and think about “cold beer”. The machine will “read” your mind and interpret it with pouring a glass of wine for you. Very entertaining and creative, indeed!

Internet World in One Minute (Infographic)

Recent research reveals that one hour video is uploaded on YouTube every second. It was a bracing reminder of just how many people are spending their time online simultaneously. Of course, there are other ways to test the endurance of bandwidth, and a new infographic reveals statistics on most of them. This infographic shows online activities that takes place every single minute. The amount of YouTube videos uploaded has already increased from January 2012’s 60 hours per minute to 72. Additionally, over 1.8 million things are liked on Facebook. Without further ado, take a look at this infographic:

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