Posts Tagged ‘social media’
July 9th, 2010
Whoever thought we’d be able to measure our branding efforts by tweets and posts? Well, the social media revolution is upon us and it’s the biggest change in the way our world communicates, connects and works since the industrial revolution. And I feel it’s an opportunity to measure the effectiveness of a brand via social media statistics.
Before the Internet, if a customer in New York raved about your company, a customer in Los Angeles would never know. Now, thanks to social media sites like Twitter.com, if a customer in New York enjoys your product they can “tweet” and the world will know – in five minutes. Just think of how this instant word-of-mouth advertising can boost your business.
There’s no doubt that social media has become the new tool for effective business marketing and sales. Between Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and many others, the world is instantaneously connected. Traditional advertising models are diminishing as word of mouth becomes as easy as a click. The reason is that people naturally trust someone without a bias rather than a company seeking money. Sure, you might think your product is fantastic, but if three people tweet about how much they dislike it — you’ve got a problem. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you get your company involved, social media can do wonders for your business.
Using social media gives your company an identity beyond the capabilities of traditional advertising. In a way, it brings back the nostalgia of wandering into a shop and being greeted by the smiling owner instead of some faceless clerk. Social media allows you to put a face to your company again, which in turn builds customer trust. If a customer trusts you, they’ll do business with you. And now you can easily measure that trust, with numbers.
The old advertising model was to broadcast a signal over and over until it was firmly implanted in the customer’s mind. Social media embraces ever-changing, two-way interaction. Find out what they’re looking for. Engage with them. Effective social media requires that you stop thinking about your customers as wallets and start thinking about them as friends. Or, as we say, HAUS guests.
In my 21 years of experience, I have always struggled with how branding can be measured in a way that advertising methods are measured. I think social media is now our solution for measuring the success of a brand. The stats you can track and chart are truly amazing and our word-of-mouth can now be documented – which in turn builds business.
The social media revolution is here in full force with more than 400 million active users on Facebook alone. Almost every corporation (big and small) has joined in and set up accounts to converse with customers. If you stick with the traditional method of advertising, you find yourself left behind.
Joining the revolution will increase your company’s visibility and ensure that you’re around for the long haul. So, start making friends now, because no one can ever have too many friends.
January 25th, 2010
Recently, IMAGEHAUS stepped out of our every day routine and challenged ourselves to become even better at what we do. The result was the creation of Hi-Industries, a new company that will develop products focusing on elevating a moment into a memory. Our primary goals in this initiative were to provide us frontline insight into the obstacles clients deal with everyday and to learn about the power of social media. This real-life experience of what it is like to walk in our clients’ shoes has already made us smarter. Our first product is Toast-its, wraps for wine bottles that replace ordinary wine bags and greeting cards. IMAGEHAUS created 25 designs (available at toast-its.com ) that uncork your compliments, letting your gift of wine speak to any occasion.
Through much discovery, research and gut, we realized Toast-its would be popular if we could reach the desired audience. Additionally, we knew the product had a good balance between Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Experience (ROE). After all, it is not a new idea, but a smart improvement of an old stand-by—giving the gift of wine.
Strategically, we decided that we would use only social media to reach the target audience. The day after we launched the site, I posted a message about Toast-its including a link on my personal Facebook page and the entire team at IMAGEHAUS followed suit—driving all of our friends and family to the site. That same day, we started to receive orders. Our next step was to launch a campaign of Facebook Ads. This is where having a simple niche product proved to have a ton of value as it was easy to identify the potential Toast-its audience. We started by targeting fans of wine publications and home entertainment. Later that week we released an eBlast to our IMAGEHAUS contact list. At this point we have spent next to zero dollars and, in the first two weeks after launch, we achieved an average daily spend of $46.00 from a product with a unit retail price of $3.99.
Since our launch one month ago, these efforts, small as they may be, generated the following results: featured on 19 design/lifestyle blogs; found by and featured on Jasmere.com (a site dedicated to gaining national exposure for lesser-known specialty items); and listed on The Dieline as number 1 package design for the week ending 1/15/2010. Lastly, will be featured this Thursday, 1/28/2010, on Daily Candy, the leading trusted resource for the best new products and activities that reaches over 3 million subscribers.
The biggest insight I got from this experience is, when it comes to effective online social media marketing, you will have the most success if you make sure you are talking with your audience, not at them. It is not about selling, but more about sharing. Sharing a good idea, a solution to everyday problems. By making an impact on someone’s life. Which brings us back to the word of mouth being one of the most powerful and cost effective ways to increase brand awareness. It makes ROE as important, if not more important, as ROI.
January 21st, 2010
When it comes to change, the online world is often the first to adapt.
As a matter of comparison, look at the progression of traditional businesses over the last century. The physical store model still exists, big box retailers are still using the same basic store design, and distribution networks, while significantly more efficient, still run using the same basic principles.
Then look at the online world. In the space of ten years, the entire landscape of online business has changed. In 1999, the most powerful online properties were owned by major software companies and those that had a head start in the online world. Today, Google, a company that is not even fifteen years old, is the biggest brand in the world. As a microcosm of commerce, the online world moves much more rapidly than any offline industry.
With the recent move towards open social media platforms, marketers are left with a new question: where will the next turn be? For years, internet marketing was about banner ads and pop-up commercials. This was a version of the traditional, outbound marketing model. Inbound marketing is the next step in the evolution. It is about connecting with users directly and building communities. Social media is not yet fully developed and the next few years will bring many changes and developments. I feel these four changes could stand apart from the others.
Social media will make marketers more accountable.
There is a certain risk that comes with giving everyone the power to broadcast their thoughts and feelings about you, your business, or your product. For great companies, it’s something to embrace—they have people marketing for them, a dedicated following, and a long-term solution. For marketers that get by on deception, it is certainly not good. If social media changes one thing, it will be accountability. When anyone can publicly post their opinion of your business, priorities change. It is no longer about the short-term profit but about long-term perception and greater customer satisfaction.
Consumers will gain more power, and smart companies will embrace it.
The power dynamic is rapidly shifting between company and customer. Twenty years ago, the only way to get a message out was to invest in direct advertising and mass media. Now, all it takes is a post on a message board and a public message on Twitter by your customer. Smart companies are embracing the low cost of communications and are encouraging their customers to talk about them whenever possible.
The truly remarkable will outlast the big and standard.
Mass media allowed large companies to bully the small into compliance. Without a big advertising budget, it was impossible to communicate, and without that communication, the market leaders set the terms. Now, a more important currency than size is remarkableness. Businesses that attract attention naturally can coast by on free exposure, while large companies lacking innovation are at a permanent cost disadvantage.
Viral will take on a new meaning.
Today, viral means something that spreads throughout a few million people quickly, allowing a company to piggyback on exposure and generate free marketing. 20,000,000 views isn’t viral. Not for long. Social media is spreading wider, and, as more people become connected, the value of a great viral marketing campaign will swell exponentially.
We all know that the oldest form of advertising is word of mouth. What I find most interesting is how we as a society have found a way to come full circle, albeit much faster and on a much larger scale. I say it is time to embrace it, and start getting back to our authentic selves.