2712, 2014

Don’t Make These Marketing Mistakes

Customer Loyalty, email marketing, Facebook, Marketing Advice, Other, Sales and Marketing, Small Business Advice, Small Business Selling Tips, Social Media Tips, Tips and Tricks for Bike Shops|Comments Off on Don’t Make These Marketing Mistakes

There are a few glaring marketing faux pas that crop up everywhere, from newsletters to email campaigns, over and over again. But what could seem like a small social media offense to you could actually be costing your business thousands of dollars — a price most early-stage startups can't afford to pay.

To find out which marketing mistakes are truly embarrassing, I asked a panel of entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for major marketing don'ts. Their answers are below:

1. Using a hashtag for everything

There's been a lot of hashtag blacklash (hash-lash?) that I've seen on the marketing end of either established brands or emerging startups. Try to make sure your hashtags aren't already being used, and try not to overcrowd your messages with hashes — it'll seem like you're a teenage girl tweeting out to the world. You wanna appear professional, yet engaging. So be strategic with your social media choices. - Rob Fulton, Exponential Black

2. Not engaging with your customers on social media

It drives me nuts when brands post so many things about themselves yet don't respond in the comments when people ask for more information. If you have time to write the post, talk to your people. As clichéd as it is, social media is all about connections. Your page should be entertaining, educational and a resource of inspiration with your own unique brand voice. The benefit of doing this right is creating the perceived value of your company. Having a high perceived value is a great recruiting tool.   - Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations

3. Buying followers to boost credibility

It's a sad paradox really. You create a Twitter profile for your startup, but have no following to start with. Not good for social proof right? So, you do what you've heard some brands are doing: You go out shopping and buy 1,000 to 10,000 Twitter followers for a few bucks. Problem solved! How's that for instant credibility! But wait, is there a catch? Of course there is. The followers you just bought are not real. If they are, chances are they are not in your target audience. But you know the worst part? What do you think happens to your credibility when people find out you've cheated your way to "social media stardom?" Or Twitter suddenly filters out the fake followers? Take this lesson to heart: Build real relationships from the start. You'll be glad you did. - Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media

4. B2C incongruence

I saw one local restaurant come and go because it catered to a younger demographic with graffiti-style art and over-the-top innuendos on its menu. Although the food was top notch, that avant-garde environment was inconsistent with the demographics of the area. - Daniel Wesley, DebtConsolidation.com

5. Waiting to "go viral"

Web traffic, video views and RTs do not all come organically. First, marketers need to create compelling content. Second, they need to promote it to a highly targeted audience that may begin snowballing by word-of-mouth. Startups do not always realize that engagement is earned, and that there's a lot of marketing that goes into even the most innocent of viral videos. If you want anything to start getting traction, make sure you do your part in making people aware that your content even exists. - Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

6. Looking to a PR firm for a quick media fix

PR firms are way too expensive for most startups and you do not get enough bang for your buck. Back in the day when media was centralized, I could understand how a PR firm could be useful. But now? Don't think you should go with a PR firm because "they can get you in Tech Crunch." Focus and build relationships on your vertical. Provide value to the community when you can. An industry-specific blog with 2,000 daily readers can be more valuable than a widely read broad website. Focus on these things and be your own cheerleader (even create a pseudonym if you'd like). - Adam Stillman, SparkReel

7. Worrying too much about imitators

Being the new kid on the block is never easy, but as you start to do things right, the bigger guys will inevitably start to “borrow” from your playbook. And while imitation is the biggest form of flattery, it can be challenging to stand by and watch your brand value become confused in the market. Trust that your audience will support you and your brand and focus on continuing to be one step ahead. - Jess Levin, Carats & Cake

8. Using Facebook ads

I have spent a lot of money on Facebook ads for hundreds of companies. Seventy percent of the companies out there will not benefit at all from Facebook ads while 10% will thrive on them. You do have to find out which one you are. Twenty percent of companies basically break even. I recommend setting aside a $500-$1000 budget for Facebook ads. Test several ads and targeting audiences for a couple different landing pages. Spend the money evenly throughout the week. You will find out if it works within seven days. Run it every day of the week. You may find it works on certain days and not on others. Test to see if it works but don't bet the farm on Facebook Ads, as it doesn't work for most of the startups I've worked with. - John Rampton, Host

9. Advertising without testing

Most marketing requires a component of paid marketing in the form of ads, but it is vital that you focus on getting a positive ROI from those ads. We made the mistake of running an online ad campaign right after launch without ever analyzing and testing our early user flows. We found that our campaign was an utter failure because nobody converted. We then focused heavily on improving conversions, retention and monetization, which led to our next campaign being a resounding success. Don't waste money on ads without making sure they will work first. - James Simpson, GoldFire Studios
Thanks Mashable!
2102, 2014

Most of Your Fans Don’t See Your Posts: Here’s Why

Blogging, Small Business Selling Tips, Social Media Tips|Comments Off on Most of Your Fans Don’t See Your Posts: Here’s Why

How long has your business had an active presence on Facebook? Were you one of the early adopters, have you been on it for a few months, or are you a total newbie?  No matter when you started, as Facebook grows and brings on new users, one question will come up time and time again: How do I stand out and make sure my voice is being heard? (i.e., are my posts actually seen by the people who have liked my page?) Did you know, most of your fans will NEVER go back to your Facebook page after they have liked it? This means, the only way to reach your fans is through your status updates in the news feed! And right now, the average Facebook user has 125 Friends and page likes. It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one competing for their attention! Enter EdgeRank, the holy grail of Facebook marketing. Master this one thing, and you’ll be sitting prettier than a kid in a candy store, guaranteed! EdgeRank is the name of Facebook’s algorithm that determines which posts users (your fans!) will see in their newsfeeds. Facebook uses three factors (explained below) that result in a score for your post. The higher your score for the post, the more likely your post will appear in your fans’s news feeds. The 3 Parts of EdgeRank Affinity: How often your fans have interacted with your posts in the past. Weight: How much “action” is your current post getting? Likes, comments, and shares all raise your score and more fans see your post. Decay: Basically, the time the post has been up. The longer it’s been up, the less likely it is to stick around for your fans to see. The more you think about it, the more this type of algorithm makes sense. The brains at Facebook want to keep users on their site as long as possible and they know that the best way to do this is to display the most relevant and interesting updates from friends and pages. These factors are important for all of us crazy Facebook marketers to remember! 5 Quick Tips on Improving Your EdgeRank 1. Post at the right time of day. Use your page’s insights within Facebook and start paying attention to what time of day your fans are engaging with your posts. Remember, the longer your post is up, the less likely it is to be seen by your fans, so it’s paramount that you figure out your business’s ideal posting time. 2. Use crystal clear CTAs (calls to action). You’ve probably noticed some companies say things like, “comment below” or “share this with your friends” or maybe “like if you agree”.  As annoying as these tactics may seem, they can be very effective. Experiment with this a little by posting with and without CTAs then see if you notice a difference in engagement. Another great CTA is a fill-in-the-blank post. For example: “If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I would be in _____.” --or something to that effect. 3. Photos are king! Another way to get more action for your posts is to include a photo of some sort. In most cases, the best photos are funny, compelling, or out of the ordinary.  Whatever you post, make sure it’s relevant to your industry and consistent with your brand message. Photos stand out in the homepage feed and almost always generate more interest than just a text-based update 4. Keep it current and relevant! Post about holidays, special events, noteworthy birthdays, and current events that apply to your industry. Keep a calendar of these dates and events handy so you can be prepared to post when they come up. 5. Less is more. The simpler your posts, the better.  Most studies show that posts with 80 characters or less are the most effective. It’s okay to do a long post every now and then but for the most part, remember that less is more! This short list should give you a few ideas to get started. Most importantly, do what works for your business and fans. Keep track of your posts, see which ones perform the best, and repeat the process!