Tag Archives: social media

Effective Social Media Advertising

Social media is perhaps the most vibrant facet of online advertising and promotion.  To professional marketers it is an opportunity to move messages and influence targeted market segments with extreme efficiency.  Here’s a few guidelines that seem to work for our clients at “R.”

Socialmedia

Hawaiian Accessories is a retailer of authentic Island gifts and jewelry.  They have a fledgling online operation that was doing alright, but nowhere near its potential.  We suggested that we build them an online community based on popular social media like Facebook.  Our strategy was two-fold: first, to build up our followers through page “likes,” allowing us to grow a fan base that we could communicate with regularly. Almost how you would use a proprietary email list.  The second was to push specific advertising messages onto our followers timelines (Facebook home pages) that then produced click-throughs to our transactional site.

We looked at Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, but focused our efforts on Facebook for two reasons.  The Hawaiian Accessories product line appealed to an older demographic that had not yet bolted to Instagram, and continues to grow on Facebook.  Secondly, we were in a hurry to establish as large a base as possible by the retail Christmas season, and the advertising options with Facebook allowed us to get those results more rapidly.

Building an online community

Hawaiian Accessories was easy to get people to notice because their products are so visual, and don’t require much of an explanation.  We were able to attract a very high rate of “likes” by simply making an ad “button” featuring one of their signature items, a koa fishhook necklace.  This single item told people a lot about the nature of the entire line and they were either interested or they were not…right away.  Perfect bait for a spontaneous “like.” Our Facebook page had enough content to fill out the picture once they landed on it, and their strong retention rate seemed to indicate the more Hawaiian Accessories they saw the more they liked.  We also got considerable interaction with comments and questions flying around and robust viral sharing of our posts. Another aspect of Internet advertising is that your potential customer can be anywhere in the world.  Realistically, people knowledgable about Hawaiian culture were our best prospects, and there are also now large Polynesian enclaves in Las Vegas, San Diego and West Coast, not just Hawaii.  Facebook allows very precise targeting over all geographic and demographic profiles, so we could be very effective when testing new markets. With steady, albeit humble, monthly advertising budget we grew the base to over 3,000 in time for our Holiday blitz.

Subtle advertising strategies

Specific product advertising and promotions were part of our effort from the beginning, and became progressively more effective as our fan base grew. We ran some Mother’s Day specials and did promotions for other traditional retail gift-giving periods.  The ads were designed to be simple and bold (Facebook only allows 20% of the image on advertised posts to contain copy), and we usually featured only one product.  The image was linked directly to the transactional page on our e-commerce site, so that our customer was always one click away from our shopping cart while they were on Facebook.

Facebook2ecom

All online activities, including social media, are designed to move the customer ever closer to the transaction.

Talk about stimulating impulse buying.  This worked pretty well, and was easily tracked in terms of click-throughs and actual transactions.  The new Facebook ad option called “boosting” also proved effective.  The Facebook administrator is presented with a pull down menu directly on the post, that allows “boosting,” which is a mini ad buy were a set budget and targeting are selected right from within the pull-down menu.  Now it is Facebook that is shopping the impulse buy, but it works fine.  The performance of the ad is easily tracked and the decision to “boost again” after your initial budget has run out is usually pretty easy to make.

FacebookPostAd

One key to success with social media advertising is balance.  You don’t want to be overbearing or intrusive to the point that people consider you an unwelcome spammer.  They like your merchandise, but don’t want to be beat over the head everyday.  The pacing that seems to work was one post every other day, with an emphasis on a low-key editorial approach to the layout as opposed to a “hair-on-fire” screamer. You want to be welcome in their online social world, not an annoying distraction.

Like all social media the expense of the paid advertising component is minimal compared to the time expended by the social media administrator.  The effectiveness of these campaigns can be very impressive, if the social media manager is building the right visuals and messages and maintaining the “human” component within their cyber community.  By that I mean employing the basics of interaction so that the fans are responded to, their compliments acknowledged, their questions answered and their experience as personalized as possible. If you think in terms of rewarding them for being there…they will generally stay and be receptive.

Building successful relationship with your online customers can be very similar to bricks and mortar customer experience when it’s done right.  Social media can be one of the integral communication tools, and one of the most cost efficient,  in the customer acquisition and customer relationship phase of marketing.

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I Built It And They Didn’t Come

Many fledgling Web authors are discouraged when they discover that few people are visiting their new site. But, the reality of the Internet, with its millions upon millions of Websites, is how can anybody find you even if they wanted to. Building an audience for your Web product is a complex marketing and communications task…the good news is that you aren’t the first to try to solve it.

Over the short life of the Internet many ways to generate visitor traffic have been tried. Some succeed, some have gone by the wayside, but there is currently a large arsenal of markeing options to choose from. Here’s just few that we use regularly:

Social Media

This is a hot subject now because it is so pervasive. Everyone knows about established channels like Twitter and Facebook and most regular Internet users maintain their own accounts in both. To reach this large portion of the market you have to get involved and open accounts and pages for your business ventures. There are many ways to build a following and lure people to your site, but the best is simply to put out interesting and useable information on a regular basis.

Tchotchkes (CHACH-keys)

One of the original marketing concepts and still one of the best is to simply imprint your URL on novel little dohickies and give them away to people you think would make a reasonably good prostpect. Every trade show is infested with these little items, and since all you are attempting to do is reinforce your brand and get them to visit your site, your logo and URL is all you need to print on your little “bribe.” There are new items created daily, but some of the old tried-and-true tchotchkes, like pens, sticky pads and keychains, still get snapped up. My current favorite is minature solar-powered LED flashlight key chain. And, after your expensive magazine ad is dead and buried my keychains will still be out there creating an impression.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The big search engines like Yahoo and Google let your buy key words. You literally bid your way up when it comes to “sponsored” results. When the Internet searcher types in “real estate in (your city)” wouldn’t it be nice (if you’re a realtor) to be on the first page? This isn’t cheap, but built in analytical tracking software let’s you figure out if it’s paying off, and it can be very precisely targeted for select demographics and geographical areas.

Social medias like Facebook also sell little targed ads that pull people to your pages. When you have your social media humming along why not invite the rest of the world?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the “organic’ way to slug your way up the search engine results and requires a more sophisticated knowledge about how these systems work. The short take is that certain modifications to your code and content make it more likely that search engine “agents,” the spiders and crawlers that sniff around on all Internet content, will like what they see. This goes beyond simple meta tags and other obvious strategies.

For instance, content volume for images is far smaller than that of regular HTML pages, so search engines can “find” and list images faster and rate them higher than regular Web content. So, if you name your images properly and embed the right tags and links you can get noticed quick.

Banners

One of the “grand daddies” of online advertising, banners have gone through many pricing and popularity ups and downs. The trick here is to do something that really triggers the “interactive” instinct. Rember, if they don’t click it you don’t get a hit. Remember the old Flash putting game banner…or the ubiquitous  “hit the monkey?”  Who could resist those little gems.

The other part of buying banners intelligently is to pay for “click throughs” not impressions, and placing them in a quality environment where you will get a reasonable match to your targeted customer profile.

Viral Articles

You are currently reading a viral article.

By writing original, informative content for your blogs and social media you are creating “sticky” value. People like good information and will pass it along, stick in directories and tweet it to their friends. This is the “viral” part…you want the Internet to do the work and should design your content to be virus friendly.

CMS (content management systems) like WordPress have a lot of built in pass-around value, but you can go futher and subscribe to syndication networks and hypercharge your distribution. Articles with the proper tagging embed in the search engines and continue to pop up in related word searches and kick back to your parent Web site.”

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R Capabilities

We can help you acquire new clients and keep regular customers happy. In this time of tight budgets and increased competition, shouldn’t you be investigating more efficient ways of doing things?

R Strategic Communications is focused on cutting-edge, technology-driven communications solutions.  We can help you take advantage of the new efficiencies brought about by social media and sophisticated, Internet-based customer relationship management. There is a wide array of inexpensive, effective and measurable strategies that can run circles around conventional business-as-usual.

Traditional approaches to marketing, advertising and public relations are becoming obsolete…so, are big, over-priced, slow-moving agencies.  Our technology-dominated world is moving at the speed of light, and unless your marketing strategies are in alignment with the new paradigm you could be left in your competitor’s dust.

We can help you avoid that fate with an arsenal of good ideas and crisp execution. Here’s what we do:

WEBOLOGY

• Website Design • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing) • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) •  CMS (Content Management System) Development • Open Source and Cloud Computing Solutions • Organizational & Collaborative Online Environments

BRANDING

• Logo Design • Corporate Identity Integration • Brand Management • Collateral

EARNED MEDIA

• Media Relations • Press Kits & Releases • Feature Stories and Article Placement • Podcasts • Social Media Networks • Viral Strategies

PERSUASION

• Print and Broadcast Advertising Creative & Production • Infographics • Copy writing • Media Planning & Buying • Direct Mail


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