Marketing mediums that shine during the holidays

It is every retailer’s favorite time of the year – the beloved holiday season. And as we wind down what has now become Black Friday “weekend,” there are some mediums that I feel are helpful in keeping consumers in-the-know about sales and such at the most appropriate times.

Radio
That’s right, I said it. Radio, which many marketers feel is a waste of budget, is helpful during the busy holiday season. People are in their cars, in and out of the stores, with making purchases on the brain. They want to get the scoop on where they need to be to get the best deals. For larger companies, radio ads during peak travel hours can be a good way to reinforce the TV spots and circulars that you’ve been pushing out. For smaller businesses, a radio spot during the holidays can be a great investment to call attention to the great items that you have to offer, along with any promotions that you have.

Online – SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
The internet has become a HUGE resource for the holidays. From gift ideas, to hunting down gifts, to pricing them out, people are using the internet like never before. Increasing your website’s visibility in search results can mean the difference between a consumer turning to you or a consumer turning to your competitor.

Online – Social Media
Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow marketers to promote posts so that they appear in consumers’ feeds. This presents a great opportunity to meet your consumers where they already are so that you can let them know how you can help them with their holiday shopping.

MobileSMS and MMS (Short Message Service and Multimedia Message Service)
While I personally struggle with the intrusiveness of mobile marketing, I cannot deny that it is a great opportunity to reach consumers and deliver relevant, location- and time-appropriate messages through a medium that is more times than not guaranteed to get the message through. For the holidays, I’d focus particularly on SMS and MMS with concise, hard-hitting messages that get the point across. Tell the consumer what he or she wants to hear, for example – “Save 50% on the entire store Thursday – Sunday at all North Carolina locations.” I would also provide users with the opportunity to “unsubscribe” to text messages to avoid the risk of running off those who are uncomfortable being reached via their mobile device.

Television
This time of the year brings millions in front of their TV screens with prime time TV shows well into their seasons, holiday specials, and countless NBA, NFL, NCAA Basketball AND NCAA Football games showing all day and night. TV ads, of course, are very expensive; however, if this is a medium you can afford, this is definitely the time of year to use it. Be smart in your media buying and select programs that will reach your target audience and deliver quality content.

What mediums do you think are most effective for marketing during the holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments!

To auto DM on Twitter or not to auto DM? That is the question.

Twitter offers a helpful tool that allows you to automatically send new followers a DM. Most people use this service as an opportunity to say “Hello” and “Thanks for following” and others use it as a chance to enlighten people about other platforms on which they are present like Facebook or a website. And then there are others who use the auto DM as a chance to make you get, do or buy something. It is this last use of auto DMs that I find to be counterproductive for the opportunity that Twitter presents to engage with your consumers.

Many people question whether or not you should even send auto DMs to new followers. Some find it impersonal and annoying, while others see it as a great way to start a conversation, and as a common courtesy. I agree with both sides; however, so long as you’re not using it to MAKE people do something, I don’t see too much harm in it. So, I won’t say yes, send auto-DMs and I won’t say, no, don’t send them. It could always be something that your brand tests for a while to see if it has an impact one way or another. If you do choose to send them, here are some things to consider.

Set goals for what you want your DM to accomplish
You only have 140 characters to say what you have to say, so decide before you start crafting your message, what it is that you want to accomplish.

Be conversational
Twitter is a laid-back, social atmosphere and your message should be crafted in a way that fits that atmosphere.

Be grateful and reciprocate
That new follower did not have to follow you. Let them know you appreciate the opportunity to engage with them. And if you follow back all of your followers, let them know that it will be an info exchange and not just you pushing tweets out AT them; moreover, let them know that you’re excited to hear what they’ve got to say.

Be subtle
If one of the goals of your DM is to get users to like your Facebook page as well, don’t force it on them. Make a subtle suggestion or help them out by letting them know that they can also join the conversation on Facebook.  Do not make your brand sound gimmicky or make the person immediately regret following you by trying to get a sale or by sounding too pushy. Remember, social marketing is not push-push-sell; it is an opportunity for true relationship building.

Don’t be redundant
Again, you only have 140 characters for this touch point. Don’t repeat information that the follower can find in your bio. If your website is already in your bio, then let them know that they can also feel free to join you on Facebook, YouTube, or wherever else you have a presence. Don’t say, “We love rainbows and want to share pictures of them with you” if your bio says, “Lover of rainbows.” People already know that Twitter is for sharing. Make sure you’re making the most out of this opportunity.

At the moment, I don’t send auto DMs on behalf of my blog. Ironically, I find them to be impersonal and at the moment, I don’t have any other information to provide in a DM. I choose to say “thank you” to my new followers via one general tweet after I’ve accumulated a few.

Do you send an auto DM to new users? Do you think they’re helpful at all?

Are people just scrolling over your social media content?

Image via Firing Squad

So you’ve got the message, social media is important, and if you aren’t tweeting, posting, pinning, blogging, etc, then you may very well be failing your brand. With so much hype around the importance of social media, it’s easy to be an eager beaver and dive right in without stopping to think about what you’re actually doing. Consider the following when reviewing your social media practices.

1. What benefit does it serve the reader/engager? Is your social media content serving a purpose? Remember quality over quantity! Don’t put stuff out there just for the sake of doing it! This is something that is crucial to go over with your social media team/department if you have one. Don’t just tell your team that they need to post twice a day and tweet five times a day and leave it at that. True, your content needs to be consistent, but it needs to be appealing and relevant, too. Consider some questions.

  • Will it teach my audience something new?
  • Will it be a helpful reminder?
  • Will it save my audience money?
  • Will it make my audience laugh?
  • Will it make my audience think?
  • Will it provide something that my audience has been asking for? Or something they’d appreciate?
  • Will it solve a problem?
  • Will it shed light on something else that will teach, remind, entertain, etc, etc.
  • Is it a means to an end? (teasers, part of a larger campaign goal, etc)

2.    Will the reader/engager understand it?
People spend their entire day working and thinking, your social media content should not present them with yet another “task” that the have to figure out.

3.    Are the cows coming home?
Are you saying something that you’ve said over and over and over and over and…? Well, you get the point. I know, you have a story to tell and you have messages to convey, but are you presenting those stories and messages the exact same way or are you keeping them new and interesting? Are you translating those messages in different terms that your consumer will not only find new and interesting, but also in a way that they will be able to understand and relate to?

4.    Does it make sense for your brand?
I know, social media is supposed to be the “hip” new thing and so you want to make sure that your content matches the channel. Don’t get me wrong, this is important; however, it is important to find a balance between making sure your content is relevant to the channel it’s presented through and SIMULTANEOUSLY relevant to your brand and what people expect from it. Sure, everyone loves a little shock value every now and then, but don’t reach too far. Be able to reel things in to a common factor that makes sense.

5.    Don’t sign up if you don’t qualify
There are social media networks popping up left and right, and these new ‘next-big-things’ are accompanied by articles and blog posts about why you should be using them all. Maybe you have a brand that should, in fact, be represented on all of these sites – but maybe you don’t. Think about whether or not a presence on a specific site makes sense for your brand and what you offer before signing up and devoting the manpower and money.

6.    Is it a repost, retweet, share, or quote – again?
It’s definitely okay to repost, retweet, share, quote, etc. But make sure that’s not all you’re doing. You have to provide some original content.

7.    Are you begging?
If you are, stop it. Please. No, seriously. We all want followers. We do, I do, too. But begging people to share your content all day, everyday is just not okay. It’s okay to encourage people to share your content every now and then, but when you start to sound like a broken record, your brand can come off as a little desperate. Do you want a larger following? Ok, well, what’s your incentive? Are you running a contest? Are you pushing out content that deserves a larger following? Remember, patience is important. If your content is good, keep putting it out there and be patient. People will catch on.

 

 

11 reasons a 23-year-old should run your social media

After reading “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media,” I just couldn’t resist coming back with 11 reasons a 23-year-old should run your social media. It just so happens that I was brought on as a social media coordinator for a company at the age of 21 and in that time, I planned and executed over 3 successful campaigns that significantly increased the brands’ (yes, I managed the social media for multiple brands) following. So I really felt the need to explain the upperhand that a college grad has when it comes to managing social media. I’ll jump right into my reasons and make some other points geared toward the author’s points in the article at the end. So here goes.

1. They don’t over-think it. From the minute I entered the “real world,” I was amazed at how complicated executives make marketing, especially social media. For people that have been in business for decades, social media can seem to be something new and foreign that needs extensive research and analytics and forecasts for ROI to determine if and how it should be approached. This is not the case for the college grad that has been using social media for years to not only socialize, but to follow their favorite brands, companies and celebrities. Social media isn’t something to over think. It’s just a way of life.

2. They’re millenials. Millenials are increasingly being recognized as a force to be reckoned with. Their buying power, knowledge and outright restructure of consumer behavior is realized everyday. How can you market to and engage with this group, without the voice of a member of this group (it’s the same thing with marketing to minorities, but that’s another story for a another post).

3. They’re more likely to take risks. Seasoned businessmen and women can be afraid to take risks. They have a trusted system and they don’t like change. Social media has to change, you have to push the envelope in order to avoid getting lost in the shuffle. EVERYONE is (or at least should be) active in the online social scene, what will your company do to stand out? Recent college grads are going to be more likely to contribute the edge that your company needs to stay relevant. Risks can lead to failure – true, but  you’ll never know what will work and what won’t work if you don’t try.

4. They’re the future. I’m guessing, you’d like to grow your company, right? Well that means, that you’ll have to keep hiring new people to keep the business going, right?. What better way to start molding and developing new talent, than to bring them into an area where they are comfortable and where they can really get a handle of the voice of not only the company, but of the consumers that are so engaged with your brand that they even follow it on social media. That knowledge and that experience can grow the individual and help prepare them for other roles in the company. This is an opportunity to contribute largely to the future of your business.

5. Conversation will come more natural to them. People don’t like to be talked AT anymore. They want to engage in a conversation. This will be easier for someone with limited experience of talking AT people.

6. They haven’t been brainwashed with push-push-sell! This is an extension of #5. Many business people are having to be reprogrammed to get away from push! push! push! It’s a new day, and consumers are in control now. It will be easier for a newcomer to the business to come along and get onboard with a new direction. People, companies, brands, etc resist change – this is just human nature. We’re in the age of a new consumer and these 20-something-year-olds ARE the new-age consumer.

7. They’re hungry. Recent college grads are still in “learn-mode”. They’re eager to get their feet wet, absorb as much information as possible and they want to prove themselves capable. I can’t help but to address the other article here, because I think it completely ignores the fact that if a company brings in a 23-year-old to do their social media, that more than likely, they have interviewed, called references, looked at writing samples, etc. to ensure that this person is responsible enough to represent their brand. It has nothing to do with age. If a person is driven and ready to impress, then more than likely, they will give it all they have. Many seasoned or mid-level individuals are comfortable, and given the fact that social media still doesn’t receive the serious acknowledgement that it should among companies, bringing on someone who is hungry for a gold star and growth and putting them in an area that they already take seriously could spark something magical.

8. They tend to be more social, period.

9. They’ll have the time. It’s likely that older, more experienced employees will want to do more than post and tweet. And it’s also likely, that if they’re more experienced that you will need them in other areas or that you may find them more effective in other areas. You have to be dedicated to social media. Why not bring in a person who has nothing to do, but soak up information and learn and rock out in the role you put them in?

10. They can think of the ideas that you never would have thought of.

11. Times are tough in the job market, people are paying tons of money to go to school, only to finish, apply to jobs and be rejected because they don’t have experience. It’s pretty hard to get experience if no one will give you a chance.

The other article made some interesting points. However, I think that for the most part, the only way that the points that it made would be valid would be if:

1. The 23-year-old didn’t go through the same interview process that everyone else goes through
2. The 23-year-old didn’t receive the same orientation/introduction to the company as everyone else
3. The 23-year-old wasn’t told and shown the standard that they would be held to (like everyone else)
4. The employer of the 23-year-old isn’t smart enough to review writing samples and call references and give a person who will be speaking on behalf of the company the proper orientation and training (that would be necessary for anyone else doing the job)

Here are some tips for the employer who is afraid to bring on a young, recent college grad to man their social media

  • Loosen up! I know it’s scary, but trust your HR team and your intuition, just as you would for any other position or person
  • Make sure that you hire someone with good writing skills (ask for writing samples, blog posts, etc.)
  • Give top three potential hires assignments to develop posts to gauge their writing ability for social media
  • Train the new-hire on the goals, philosophy, promise and identity of the brand. Maybe even consider letting them work alongside seasoned marketing professionals in the company for a week before turning them loose
  • Use scheduling system and review posts before they go live. Everything shouldn’t be scheduled in social media, but this may help you feel more comfortable and allow do’s and don’ts to be established
  • Provide your new worker with a list of the things that you hope for your social media efforts to achieve
  • Have the new-hire create a company profile from which they manage the page (this keeps #4 on the other article from happening)

Signed,

A 24-year-old who has run social media for companies since the age of 21

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