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Posts in category Social Conversations

The Inbound Marketing Maze

the inbound marketing mazeWhere should you spend your time trying to target and interact in the millions of conversations going on? There’s no simple answer to that question and it varies on dozens of factors. Factors that I’m still trying to figure out. Keyword searches is an easy way to determine where you need to be communicating and sharing content. So you find hundreds of places where you can could comment, share, or optimize to get the right people to start listening and responding to you. Again, now what?

Now you need to pick no more than five places where you should start to engage and share content. Your web site would be one of those places and SEO is the way to optimize it. The other places vary from company to company. Another place that every business should be part of is either Facebook and/or LinkedIn depending on it’s industry and if it’s a B2C or B2B company.

Other places can include blogs, photo sharing web sites, micro-blogging sites, directories, location-based sites, mobile platforms, the thousands of other places. I started with LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and a small amount of Facebook. I actually deleted my Facebook account after college and boycotted it until I started learning about inbound marketing and how it has changed marketing. I only use it for personal reasons and when I do, I primarily use it to send someone a quick message, share something I like or share one of my blog posts.

My favorite out of those four is definitely blogs because they can have so many different personalities. Twitter helps me find the blogs and LinkedIn helps answer my questions and connect me with people and groups. Those are some of the most common places to start engaging and sharing. How did you start engaging with social media platforms?

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What Marketers Can Learn From Apple

What Marketers Can Learn From Apple

Photo by: Pierre Lesage

Social Media, Storytelling and the Great Wind

Social Media, Storytelling and the Great WindStorytelling is one of the best ways a marketer can communicate their message. If you want to capture the attention and interest of your audience you must tell stories. This past Friday we had a very violent rain and windstorm that hit all of New England. Usually at this time of year we would be talking about a blizzard with people digging out for days. Not this time. Instead we got two to as much as seven inches of rain and hurricane-force winds. Northern New England, especially New Hampshire (NH) my home state, got hit very hard. In 2008 we got hit with an ice storm that knocked out power to more than 400,000 people in NH. Some people didn’t have power for weeks and everyone learned a lot from the great ice storm.

This time it was a wind, and that wind took down thousands of trees on power lines, cars, houses and whatever else was in their path. The power at my house, which is on the seacoast, went out around 10 PM Thursday. I woke up and still had no power. I went to work, wondering when we would get it back. On my way to work I saw dozens of trees on the roads and sidewalks. There was no power until I got into Massachusetts.

Throughout the day and during the weekend I followed the coverage on Twitter, something I didn’t do during the ice storm. I was intrigued to follow the conversations going on about the storm. PSNH has a Twitter account and was activity supplying information about restoration efforts and redirecting people back to their web site. People in communities throughout NH were reporting damage, uploading pictures and giving PSNH precise locations of power line damage. They were letting others what gas stations were open, where the local shelters were being set up and even where to take a hot shower. Even now, as a write this, conversations are taking place about towns still without power and the cleanup that will take weeks.

All of these people are telling stories and they’re doing it in 140 characters or less. It’s exactly what marketers must do when trying to convey a value proposition, a call-to-action, a blog post, web site content; they all must convey an underlying story that grabs the attention of the reader. It must relate to them and trigger an action in their mind to do something. Become a great storyteller and you’ll be a terrific marketer.

Mark K.

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Organize your Social Conversations and Patterns will Appear

Information overload is a very big problem. There are so many social conversations happening so fast that you can’t keep track of them in your mind or on a piece of paper. You need to start organizing and creating silos of information you think have some value. This is one of the hardest parts of listening, deciding how to organize the information.

Social Conversations

The first place you go on the Internet is Google so the easiest thing you can do is create folders of web site bookmarks. Categories should be very specific so you can easily locate information when trying to create an inbound marketing strategy. I have more than two dozen folders ranging from SEO principles to sales intelligence blogs. I reference them every day. If you’re in more than two locations and you’re trying to keep them organize you could try Google Bookmarks, which has a nice add-on for Firefox. Think of bookmarks as a collection of books you would not have if the Internet did not exist. But, it’s much more. It’s what the customer is thinking or saying what should be improved or what they would like to have. You have a mind reading tool at your fingertips.

Gathering and organizing web sites is a critical component of online listening. However, you must listen to other channels of information. One of the most recognizable is Twitter. You’ll most likely come across Twitter when doing searches and collecting web sites. Twitter has even more information, coming at you at a more rapid rate then search engines. Search engine results can change from search to search but the maority of their content stays the same over the course of a few days or even longer.  Twitter updates every second with new content, and you must use a tool to manage and keep track of all the discussions. Using a tool like Hootsuite or TweetDeck can keep the flow information in a logical, understandable format. Listen and organize what you hear, and you’ll be on your way to creating a strategic inbound marketing plan.

Mark K.

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a TV Commercial for our Social Conversations

Social ConversationsOver the past few posts I have discussed social conversations, listening, reading, and planning. I watched the Super Bowl last night and was excited to see the Colts and Saints play, but more excited to see the TV commercials. Not because I wanted to laugh or figure out which one was the most clever, but rather to see what companies really get how to integrate traditional, interruption-based marketing with our online social conversations.

After watching a lot of the first and and second period I was not impressed with what I was seeing. Yes, some commercials had a landing page or a YouTube or Facebook link, but nothing really integrated with our social conversations. A more valuable use of a few million dollars would have been to announce that you have solved a problem for your customers. The problem was solved by listening, engaging and asking questions with them, using the Internet as catalyst for creativity. I know that sounds like a lot to fit into a 30 or 60 second commercial, but if you have the attention of almost your entire target audience, it’s a no brainer.

The reason I know it can be done is because of Google’s commercial they created for the Super Bowl. It conveyed a life story in 60 seconds. It’s a great example how you can bring social conversations through the television. All Google did was take screen shots of their search engine to answer his questions. It demonstrated how Google was the place to get your questions answered. The underlining messages for businesses: you better get be or get on Google if you want your prospects or customers to find you. It’s the same message I told you a few days ago. Go to Google, do some keyword searches, find your prospects and customers, listen, do your homework and start planning. Maybe one day you’ll need a Super Bowl.

Mark K.

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the Virtual World of Social Conversations

The Virtual World

Conversations now take place in a virtual, always on, environment. Recommendations that used to be said word-of-mouth are now talked about on blogs or twitter. Complaints, that if heard, were filed through a returns or customer service department. Communication has changed and us, as a society tune out most of the other messages through some form of technology. You know what I mean, think about what’s in your living room or in your car.

I found a great blog article yesterday discussing the change of the conversation. It has two great quotes, “Facebook’s Mr Zuckerberg, for example, describes the greater openness he believes his firm and others like it are bringing to human interactions as “probably the greatest transformative force in our generation, absent a major war.” Mr Stone, for his part, reckons Twitter “is something important that has the potential to change the world, though we have a long way to go.” Those are very bold statements, from some extremely influential people that have enabled the conversation to be moved.

The computer is the point of contact with this virtual world we call the Internet. In the last 10 years computers have become so fast, yet so affordable and small, that it has changed how we communicate. You can now have conversations with people you never could have before. The marketing messages that used to work don’t or do not make sense financially. Your target customer is on the Internet. If you can’t find it on the Internet then you must have a very original product or idea. So knowing that they’re on the Internet, using a computer or smartphone, you have to have a presence.

What that presence is depends greatly on where they’re located. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different ways your target could be communicating on the Internet. They could be doing research, trying to buy something, looking for a phone number, address, leaving a blog comment, rating a product, you get the picture. There’s a lot of information out there that we all need and want to get, but how can you listen to all of these conversations and then begin a conversation with them. You first have to find your customer and the easiest way to do this is to go to Google or Bing and search phrases that describe your product or service. You will instantly see who your competitors are, what people are talking about and start to learn where they’re talking. This is the first of many steps you need to take to change the way you market to your customers and prospects.

Mark K.

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