All Good Things Must Come to an End…

As Digimark 2.3 comes to an end, I find myself excited yet longing for more! Excited because I am proud of everything I have learned but also wishing there was more time… I have learned more in this class than any other class I have taken at Western and I can honestly say I enjoyed every bit of it. For a woman in her young 20’s that is supposedly born knowledgeable about the digital world, I have learned there is a never ending path to learning when it comes to digital marketing and unless you are willing to keep up with the times, no matter your age, you will become digitally irrelevant. My favorite topics that were covered are content, social media, coding, AB testing, and Database marketing. I loved learning about the benefits of different aspects of marketing such as great content and how it really can effect your marketing efforts or how every marketer needs to understand the basics of coding even if you have an IT team to generate the code for you– Having a rounded knowledge of what it takes to create all aspects of marketing is key to being a great marketer.

I truly loved learning about social media and its assistance to the digital world. Social media is here to stay and is constantly changing. It’s awesome how easily you can gain quantitative and qualitative measurements from views and interactions with your social media platforms. And how social media create a casual environment for companies to connect with its users.

A/B Testing was another interesting topic to me. I honestly wonder why more companies don’t use it. It seems like a great technique to perfect your website and your consumers digital experience!

Overall, I can’t pick a favorite topic. Every topic we learned about was interesting and relevant to today’s digital world. And I can’t wait to continue learning on my own, by finding blogs about the most current digital trends and checking mark’s twitter every once in awhile for the really cool advances in the digital world.


 One of the best aspects of digimark 2.3 was the constant blogging. I’m not much of a writer but blogging twice a week has been an amazing experience and truly brought the topics we covered in class to life. While this was my first adventure with a blog-I am sure it will not be my last! From my first post back in April, I have written 10,170 words and I feel as though my reach, so far, has been pretty good!

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And to top of all the amazing things I have learned this quarter, I have accomplished two certifications!

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hootsuite

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A New Source of Value

Co-creation:

The idea of engaging customers directly in the production or distribution of products is genius! So many products hit the market and they aren’t really what the customers want, so why not let the consumers help design what they’re buying. By allowing customers to be partners in the creation of products the value of the item widens the horizons for companies possibilities.

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It is so imperative that customers value the products they buy. Value can be understood in three variables:

  • Specific customer needs
  • The attributes of a product or service
  • Overall cost

These are key because they derive demand. By allowing consumers to design products, it is the perfect situation to make sure that the product is market oriented and not product oriented.

 

There are obvious risks attributed to allowing customers to participate in the process… some of those being:

  • Privacy issues
  • Legal
  • Brand
  • Goal divergence
  • Effort
  • Equity of returns
  • Define objectives
  • Select the right co-creators
  • Be clear about rights and expectations
  • Control the channels
  • Outsource co-creation
  • Provide capabilities for co-creation
  • Manage incentives

 

The effectiveness of co-creation depends on how much value is created for the customers and producers. For a company, being aware of the risks but still taking the chance of co-creation can exponentially increase the value consumers perceive in the products they by from the company. Co-creation leads to the customer believing that the company is on their side and wants to make the products they desire.

 

Quirky: a company of co-creation

Quirky is a great example for reinventing invention. Quirky has made great ideas into real products with the help of their inventors aka consumers. They have 5,000 ideas submitted each week with 73,345 total sent to them, to date. As a company, Quirky does not have a large R&D component but that is due to their acceptance of inventors and their drive to make products their consumers want. Quirky ships products to 35 countries and the items they product are sold in 35,000 retail locations. Quirky is paving the way for other companies that want to start enabling co-creation.

Mobile: The Future of Money

Imaging a world without wallets is kind of a crazy concept but an encroaching reality. More than 20% of payments are already being conducted with mobile devices using various applications. Right now there are three big players for mobile payment:

  • Square
  • LevelUp
  • Google Wallet

 

The Square is used with your mobile device-you swipe a card through the square and it takes payment just as easy as a register. You can also send money by app or email with the square.

SquareUp

 

LevelUp has a QR bar that is connected to your credit cards so merchants can scan your phone for payment.

LevelUp

 

Google Wallet can be used as a form of payment by connecting your credit cards to it and when you are checking out you tap your phone to a register that has the ability to connect to the Google Wallet feature and payment is taken just like swiping a credit card.

GoogleWallet

 

If you think life without a wallet is strange… this will really blow your mind

Along with the top three, there is another cyber payment but instead of connecting to your credit card or bank account it is another form of currency itself. Bitcoin, created by the Winklevoss Twins, is a digital currency where you can go to an ATM (one just opened up in Vancouver) and it will convert paper money into Bitcoin currency. It works like email to send and receive money but you need to get a different address every time you use it. A lot of companies turning to this form of currency for transactions across seas and is increasingly being accepted by legitimate businesses around the world. Bitcoin is not associated with a bank or institution therefore regulation for Bitcoin is inevitable if this fad continues.

Bitcoin

 

Mobile Payment is about to be the next big thing… but can we really trust that our information is safe in the cyber world? Starbucks recently discovered that the usernames, passwords, and other personal information used for the payment app was coded in plain text so if anyone got a hold of someone’s phone then it could have been easily hacked into for that information. How do we know that a situation like that wouldn’t leave the mass of the population bankrupt? Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter and the Square, wants to focus on making commerce as easy as possible—the Square aims to have “one, end-to-end, great, frictionless experience.” He also stated that he wants to give time back to the sellers and customers to let them build their business’s up and mobile commerce will aid in that. I think that Dorsey’s plan is a great one but there are a lot of hoops to jump over before one device becomes the choice for mobile commerce.

 

So who is going to lead this evolution of mobile payment? Will it be Jack Dorsey’s Square, LevelUp or maybe Apple’s next project will be a mobile payment feature? Some people say that it will be popular companies such as Starbucks that will decide what form will be used because they will determine what their customers will use and it will expand from there.

 

Personally, I’m not too sure about using mobile payment options. I’ve used the square a couple times in paying for certain things and I am fine with that… but losing my wallet all together and having all of my information for payment in my phone makes me a little weary. I think for this technological evolution I’ll sit on the sidelines and wait awhile before I jump on the bandwagon.

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Make it Mobile

Mobile– it has become the way of the world. It is not just big companies that get to use the advantage of mobile marketing—mobile marketing is expanding to all different sizes and types of companies.

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 Every company should have mobile marketing at the top of their to do list. I mean, let’s be serious, an average person keeps their device, at the most, a foot away from them 24/7, according to Mobile Advertising, so why wouldn’t mobile be the priority? Mobile can increase connectivity with customer relationships, provide more ways to segment their consumers, and be customized for the individual. But really, the main reason companies should be focusing on mobile is that mobile searches are increasing every day and if you aren’t available through mobile, you are soon to be non-existent.

 

Here are 50 more reasons you should care about your mobile platforms:

Mobile Search Stats– Why you should care

 

So the real question is: Why are companies waiting to join this mobile evolution when it is so apparent that mobile is where their customers are?

 Mobile Marketing is somewhat of a new thing—but that really is no excuse, marketing is constantly changing with the growth of technology. Therefore, it needs to be a priority for companies to stay on top of the best tools for their content–right now mobile marketing is one of those tools. By 2017 it is predicted that $41.9 billion dollars will be spent on mobile ads. This growth is due to the improvement of market conditions such as consolidation, measurement standardization and new targeting technologies. But in my opinion, if a company is aware of the amount of spending that will take place in 2017 with mobile, why not start perfecting your mobile platforms now to be ahead of the game.

Mobile is the future and it is time for it to stop being ignored.

 

6 tips for Great Mobile Marketing:

  • Mobile isn’t just a smaller version on your website-make it a different experience but at the same time, make it consistent with your brand
  • Make sure you plan marketing into your App
  • Mobile website IS NOT THE SAME AS an App
  • Make sure there is a reason for your viewer to come back to your app or mobile website such as customer loyalty clubs or interactive features
  • Make sure to pay attention to your customer database from your mobile app or website
  • Use DIY tools to make mobile marketing a little cheaper for your company

 

Overall, mobile devices are being used for searches, social networking, and many other things–currently, mobile marketing isn’t performed all that well, thus an untapped platform of possibilities. As marketers we need to take advantage of mobile marketing and perfect its abilities to spread awareness and knowledge within a device that people are using 24/7.

The Digital Language

SQL is the standard coding language that is used to communicate with databases. You can interact with the databases and extract the information you want. You can query, manipulate and communicate with your database using SQL. Knowing SQL is beneficial because you can execute queries against a database, retrieve data, insert records, update records, delete records, create new databases, create new tables, create stored procedures, create views, and set permissions on tables, procedures and views with the data you have or have gathered-Understanding that knowledge would make the aspect of marketing research or overall data analysis that much easier.

 

I also feel like because we are a digital world it is necessary to be educated in the language. If you didn’t know anything about SQL and have a marketing position right out of college, it would be like going to Paris without knowing even a few simple words of French-You would feel completely alone and lost. So don’t be that person that just doesn’t understand

 

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Companies that are using SQL:

  • Comcast-Comcast is the largest mass media and communications company in the world therefore they needed a fast, scalable database for their real-time intelligence. They use MemSQL’s simple database, which allows for them to aggregate stats across their entire database while executing complex analysis at the same time.
  • Shutter Stock– A photography agency that has a library of 30 million photos, graphics, illustrations and video clips. They use MemSQL to fix their inability to support full real-time dashboards and comparisons against historical data for the globally distributed operations platform. By using SQL, Shutter Stock can ingest and query billions of data points and provide immediate insight into their platforms making it relative to their customers.
  • Zynga– A company that develops social games such as the ones seen on FaceBook (Farmville) or Apps (Words with Friends). Zynga had too much data to analyze and not enough resources but by using MemSQL, Zynga can provide better in-game personalization and customer satisfaction.
  • Zappos– The shoe company everyone knows about uses MySQL for their enterprise-level database. They use their database to help them target customers and help them in providing their incredible customer service.
  • Adobe– By using MySQL Adobe can implement the workgroup productivity features in Adobe Creative Suite so their users can be more productive and get the help they need.

 


 

 

According to Jamie Steven from MOZ, Every Marketer Should be Technical, it isn’t just SQL that you should be learning, though. Technical Skills are not about being everything for your company; it’s about providing value to your firm and developing breadth and depth in your skills.

 

Here are the skills that you should develop:

 

  • Databases and SQL

o   Pull your own data and understand how databases work and create your own

  • Web Development

o   Build web pages and emails. Use JavaScript to add functionality

  • Web Technology

o   Understand how HTTP and web servers work.

  • Web design and UX

o   Pick up some design skills

  • Copywriting

o   Learn to write from the web, email, and social marketing channels

  • Analytics

o   Know how you’re doing

  • Forecasting and Statistics

o   Predict the future

  • Excel

o   Become an Excel expert

  • Technical SEO

o   Become a SEO-friendly web developer

  • Content platforms and Hosting

o   Know how to publish your wonderful words and codes

  • Email technology

o   Learn how to send email effectively

  • E-commerce tech

o   Learn to accept money graciously

Sciene of Marketing 101: A/B Testing

A/B testing:

Testing two versions of an element at the same time to discover which receives better results. One of the versions must be the original version because it is the controlled variable and the other version is the new design. The two versions can be divided up to traffic in three ways: the versions are then split in two, server side randomization and client side selection. Both versions are studied and at different intervals, results are recorded to conclude which is the optimal version.

 Suggestions for the best Results:

o   Don’t come to a conclusion too fast, gather data for a decided upon amount of time that will provide enough results

o   Only new visitors should be tested, otherwise you may get responses due to primacy and newness

o   Jut feelings are not data

o   Decide a length of time for the study

o   Consistency is necessary

o   Run lots of tests- When used continuously it eventually optimizes all aspects of a website-streamlining it to perfection

 A/B testing allows for you to know what is preventing a purchase or a membership. The decision can be influenced by anything…


 

Color can make a difference:

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The Layout:

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Headline placement:

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Image placement:

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Call to action:

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For more A/B tests with Results-A/B Testing and Results

Limitations to A/B Testing

o   Quantitative metrics but no explanations

o   Short term vs long term effects

o   Primacy and newness effect-you like to stay the same or you like something new

o   Features must be implemented

o   Consistency

o   Parallel experiments-need to be done at the same time

 


 

My opinion:

A/B testing products optimal results at a relatively budget friendly cost. By detecting new trends in customer behavior it eventually optimizes the whole website. Marketers can understand and expand their customer base more effectively using A/B testing, decisions are evidence based and have weight behind the choice. I think that A/B testing should be performed on every landing page, why would you not want to learn what is and isn’t working on your webpage. However, if you do not choose to use the results the testing would be pointless.

 

With digital marketing it is so easy to test out two different versions of a landing page or know what color will attract more customers. Traditional marketing is still important to a business plan, but it is undeniable how impactful digital marketing is to understanding the consumer. Using A/B testing with some SEO tactics to receive traffic would be the perfect combination to make a great website.

 

For more on A/B testings:

If you’re going to read one article on A/B testing, Read this one

ABC’s of A/B Testing

 

Images found at:

Google Images

Codecademy!

           Working with codecademy.com was awesome and made writing code seem so easy. I chose to work on “A website all about you.” As well as marketing, I have a strong passion for graphic design and photography, and I decided I wanted to make a website that was a basic display of my portfolio pieces. I have been applying for a lot of positions that include advertising/marketing and many companies want a URL to access a portfolio. By using this feature of codecademy.com I could actually provide a website of the pieces I have created.

            While I was working on the first 20 steps I realized that the reason writing code seems so difficult because all of the styles, fonts, and set up need to be decided upon before you start or it could become a messed up jumble. After I completed the first 20 basic steps teaching you how to write code, I then was able to customize my website with my pieces.  I used Imgur to upload my photos so I had a compatible URL for each piece. It was a useful tool but became tedious. Each piece had to be less than 2 MB when uploaded so I had to go through and edit each picture and decrease the image size.

            After uploading the pictures on Imgur and placing them on my website, I was proud of what I had created but I wished that there was a way to adjust the size of each picture within the code. I also wanted to find a better background than plain black, which accented the pieces, but I wished I could have spiced it up a little bit.

            I can’t wait to play around more with codecademy. I think it is a great tool.

Beginning Code:

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End Result:

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Growth and Evolution of Media

Paid, Owned, and Earned media have been the base of marketing for years and some may say that these ideas are evolving. But before we get into that, lets define each media type:

Paid Media: Refers to traditional advertising that the placement is paid for

Earned Media: Gained through promotional efforts other than advertising, this is generally the most trusted form of media

Owned Media: Communication channels that are within our control like Websites, blogs, and profiles

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It has been said that these tactics are best when applied together but all three types of media are changing as the digital world continues to grow. But according to Paid, Earned, And Owned: A Content Paradigm Whose Time Has Passed there are now only two types of media, owned and earned. Paid media is now owned media because you are controlling the visibility of your media and everything else is earned because it is shared and overall that is what you want, you want your content to be shared.

An important concept that has emerged is to allow your consumers to interact with your media. This approach turns visitors into brand fans. It is not an easy task but if you can manage the content and allow your consumers to participate, those consumers will feel as though they are apart of the brand, generating brand loyalty. Many consumers already feel attached to the brands they believe in, why not use that authentic perspective as a tool for great content. The expectation of engaging with a brand in rising and too many marketers are using outdated strategies of promotions; tactics must be revolutionized-the consumers are as much the brand as the marketers are and promotion should be replaced with engaging.

 


 

Adjusting the effectiveness of Paid Media

Along with engaging consumers in media, other tactics are arising such as programmatic. Programmatic buying (a form of paid media) helps companies buying ads for a specific target market. By using analyzed data, programmatic advertising can decide what ads to buy, making advertising itself smart.

 

“Programmatic is a catchall term that many people are using to categorize everything from behavioral and intent-based targeting to real-time bidding and exchange-based buying of inventory,” says Peter Naylor, former evp at NBCUniversal. “Programmatic is advertising’s newer, better mousetrap.”

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Overall, programmatic buying is meant to improve advertising but it faces many challenges. Programmatic buying needs to be able to work across multiple devices. Along with working with different landscapes, our society is growing more and more protective over their privacy and if Cookies were disabled, it would cause for complete failure of programmatic buying-without knowing the tendencies and previous searches, targeting a consumer through this tactic would be impossible.

 


 

Privacy issues of Cookies

Opting out of cookies is a real threat to digital marketing. In 2012 the UK created the option to opt out of cookies. Losing cookies results in losing data. It would be much harder to improve products and services if the data provided by cookies was no longer available.

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Other methods

Native advertising has become a way for advertising to become more natural within the content of the site. This is done with collaborative content that goes with the main content of the page. The point is to make the paid advertising feel less intrusive and increase the likelihood of clicking on the ad.

 

Contextual advertising is like targeted advertising. The advertisements are selected by automated systems based on the content the user sees. Contextual advertising is done by searching for the keywords within the content and then returning an advertisement that is related to those keywords.

 

It’s a Google world

Google+ may just be another social network but with it’s abilities ranging as a cross between LinkedIn and Facebook; its future looks promising. Google+ began as an invite only social network and has growing popularity within the network world. As of 10/23/13 Google+ had 300 million monthly active users. Google+ integrates with other Google applications making its uses undeniable. Google+ profiles are different than other social media profiles because your profile is searchable within generic search engines whereas other social networks only allow searches within their network. By using different social media platforms your reach will increase as long as you are taking the right steps, but Google loves Google therefore using Google+ and pairing it with great content- your organic search rankings are bound to go up.

G+ Profile Optimization by Stephan Hovnanian

In a world where everyone shops online, making yourself known and trustworthy on social networks such as Google+, it is key to increase your reach and visibility; you don’t want to miss out of those opportunities.

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To makes the most out of your Google+ profile you must be visible, start a community, set up Google authorship, share content from many sources, improve the images you post either with a program you have or Snapseed, and stand for something. And most of all use the information on your profile to get the attention of others so they want to follow you.

 


 

Uses

  • The Google+ bar allows the user to share content easily from other Google applications onto your Google+ page.
  • Snapseed is integrated into Google+ and allows you to edit pictures and create better imagery content with features such as

o   Basic edits

o   Touch ups

o   Effects

o   Décor

o   Text

  • Circles provide you the ability to create communities others with your similar interests
  • Google Events-like Facebook events you can plan and communicate with others attending the same function
  • Business Pages are a huge benefit to companies. With great content they are highly indexed within search engines and allow for other businesses to discover your brand and what you have to offer
  • Insights of Google+ provide data about your click through rate, engagement, and overall what consumers are doing within your profile
  • Google Places allows for your company to be reached within Google searches for local businesses
  • Email others that have a gmail and Google+ profile without knowing their email address

 


 

Jargon

  • Profile: landing page
  • Page-like profile
  • +1 button- acts as a “like” button
  • Share-a button that allows you to share content
  • Comment-people comment on your content
  • Hashtags- ties various social media posts together and relates them to a topic
  • Tag-attaching an individual or business to your content
  • Google Plus Streams-Stream of content from others in your circle
  • Circles-categories you create to organize who you follow
  • Extended circles-People that aren’t in your circles that may see your content
  • Local- Attaches you to local business searches
  • Hangout- video chat
  • Hangout on Air-Broadcasted video so you can watch live or at a later time
  • Communities- Created by brands or individuals to create conversations and share info
  • Google Plus Bar-Navigation bar that allows you to share content from other Google applications to your Google plus page

 


 

Email Issues:

Google+’s growth of popularity has also led to new advances within the application, one of those being able to email anyone that has Gmail and a Google+ account without having their email address. This has raised some concerns that the amount of unwanted mail will increase. There is the ability to opt out of the feature, it is a quick and easy process, but many are still uncomfortable with this new feature. In order to use this feature you must follow the recipient on Google+, but unless you have strict privacy settings, you do not have any control over who follows you. On the other hand, it is very beneficial to those that are connected with people but have not had the chance to exchange emails yet. And the contact-er will not see the recipient’s email unless they choose to reply. Overall, this could be an awesome improvement to digital communication as long as it does not enable spamming to take advantage of it.

 


 

My thoughts:

Currently, I do not have a Google+ account but if I worked for a small company or was running a business I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to participate in Google+. It is a great networking device and you can learn a lot about companies that you’d like to work with and companies can learn about you. It’s a great way to earn trust and at the same time supply another platform of great content that will increase your reach to those potential customers. Building communities/circles around what you believe in will benefit your brand’s image and allow for others to interact with you. And though some may find the emailing abilities uncomfortable, I feel as thought it will make connecting with the companies or people you value, much easier. Google+ would be a great choice as a social network platform for anyone or any company. I might just have to join the party.

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#be social

Social Media

What it does

It isn’t a fad; Social media is here to stay. Social media has created a way for people to communicate and interact online. Online interactions have changed from one-to-many to many-to-many with all the different types of social media. From a business aspect, social media has created interactive communication between customers and a company. Businesses can now communicate with their customers easily and can receive feedback almost instantly. As stated before in my previous posts, the buying experience has changed- companies should be online with their customers.

Importance

Social media is changing every day; new portals are created or features within a current platform change. It is hard to keep up but the world of business and marketing have evolved and if you don’t keep up, you and your company will be left in the dust. By not utilizing social media platforms, you have a much lower chance of reaching that potential customer and making a sale.

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Uses

A company can use its social media platforms for many things. You can real your customers in with great content and the use of SEO techniques. You can gain loyalty by responding to customers and using the platform as another customer service contact. In general, social media is a great way to build relationships, but that will be discussed a little later. Social media can also provide your business with very useful information. You can easily gain quantitative and qualitative measures from the view and interactions with your platforms. The quantitative data comes from followers/fans, the engagement with your platform, the timing, and the click through rate. The qualitative data comes from influences, the tone of responses, conversations about your company and so on. Think of all the insights a company could gain just by paying attention to the data supplied from their social media platforms- You would know what customers like and don’t like quickly without spending a ton of money and you can change your methods accordingly. Social media has a plethora of possibilities for your company; why not take advantage of them.

 

Just a few of the social media options:

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

LinkedIn

YouTube

Pintrest

Blogs

And more…

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No one can tell you what social media forms you should or shouldn’t use. That is up to you to decide which ones fit your brand.

 


 

 

Building the Content and Community

Gaining loyalty

The content that you are posting is going to determine your ability to foster and engage with your potential customers. It is important to stay relevant to your audience and your business. For more on building good content, view my previous blog. Responding to posts and giving advice that makes your customer’s lives easier will build loyalty and a community around your company. You want to create a reputation for yourself with your social media portals. You can do this by using MOZ’s The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media 7 simple steps:

o   Show up-just being there helps your relevance

o   Be off topic-Don’t just be about business, have fun

o   Be human-Make mistakes

o   Add value-Give advice, random interesting facts, anything that makes viewers lives better

o   Don’t be exclusionary-Branch out

o   Practice etiquette- Many companies have gone wrong with social media, so don’t forget it is just another voice of your brand

o   Be aware of current events-Stay up to date, figure out what is important to your customers
 

Once you have a reputation and good content it will be easier to gain advocacy from those consumers that really believe in you. Relating to your consumers will make your relationships transition from like, to love, and then to them defending your company.

 

Warning

Relating and interacting with your customers is all very important but you must also make sure that you are consistent across all platforms. If you have a different voice and values through different portals, your potential or current customer won’t know what you stand for and will lose faith in you. Being consistent is very important to your brand and success of your company. You need to have one voice- just broadcast it in many places.

 


 

 

Helpful Applications:

Hootsuite is an application that can link all of your social media portals into one place. You can post to your platforms all at once, set up a time for your post to be sent out, and have an organized space for your social media. I highly recommend using Hootsuite!

http://learn.hootsuite.com/ video Hoot 100: Setting up your dashboard

More Information

 To learn more on Social Media use MOZ’s The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media and read the 12 chapters. They are fascinating and really provide the information you need to understand Social media.