Tag Archives: social media

Using Contests to Boost Your Small Business Buzz

For any small business, gaining more attention for your brand is always going to be of the utmost importance. There are numerous PR tactics you can use to get your name out there, but one of the most popular and proven methods is to hold a contest.

Truth be told, the prize offered really isn’t what is of interest to most people that will enter. If the contest is set up to be fun and entertaining, you may even have people enter that have no real interest in the prize at all.

As an example, we can look to the Royal Society of Chemistry. They held a contest to see if anyone would be able to solve the ending to the 1969 film The Italian Job. The contest received more than 2,000 entries and best of all, the public and the media loved the idea and the way the contest was set up. A contest like this not only gets you immediate public attention, but the resulting buzz over it can lead to free publicity for up to 4-6 months.

If you are thinking of holding your own contest, there are a few basic rules you might want to stick to when putting it all together.

  • Make sure your prize is relevant to the times. More than that, make sure it is somehow tied to your industry, even if it is nothing more than a discount on your products or services.
  • Use social media as well as traditional print outlets to get the word out. Mixing up your approach here will increase the number of entrants as well as the amount of exposure you’ll get.
  • Try to make it interactive. Social media is great for this. People can feed off of one another’s comments in Facebook to really generate conversation over your idea.

Whatever sort of contest you choose, make sure you stay involved with it until the planned deadline. Make sure you already have the prizes to give away well in advance of the deadline and enjoy the exposure of it all. Along the way, take notes as to how the process could be improved in the event you hold another contest in the future.


What Did the Instagram Debacle Teach Us…If Anything?



If you’re like over half of the social media population, you probably just zoned out when you heard about the debacle over Instagram these last few weeks. If you are among that group, we now bring you the Cliffs Notes version of the drama.

People got up in arms due to an amendment set forth in Instagrams’ updated terms. The amendment in question states that it now has a:

non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service’s Privacy Policy

A reality of social networking, particularly with Facebook and Instagram, is that many users are basically expecting to a third party to have access to a great deal of their information. Of course, there is a certain level of consent that those users have to allow.  Recent events have proven that users do have a voice.

For instance, when it was basically implied that Instagram would also have the right to essentially sell your photos to advertisers without their consent, the resulting backlash had them backtracking and reneging. As a matter of fact, despite the fact that Instagram pulled away from such terms, the damage had already been done. Studies within the days that followed showed that a large number of Instagram users started looking into other photo-sharing apps. Chief among these was Pheed; this is an app that allows users to monetize their pictures.

Essentially, Pheed was doing what Instagram was threatening to do…only Instagram hadn’t planned on paying anyone.

The fact that Instagram is now owned by Facebook—a company that has had its own share of privacy issues—has many people looking very closely at the terms and conditions of their other social networking go-tos. It’s never been a huge secret that advertisers have access to some of our information, namely our interactions and interests.

But at what point does an invasion of privacy and rights become a real issue? What is the breaking point, if there is one at all?




A Successful Social Media Approach, Part 2

In the first part of this article, the process of creating a successful social media approach focused mostly on an introspective look at your business and how you can leverage what you have to connect with the community of people looking who can benefit from what you offer.  While it may be easy to define your product or service when discussing it internally, it can be somewhat tricky to create a clear and precise vision that the average consumer will connect with.  The reason for this is that when you work on something every day, your perception of that particular subject transforms to the point where you no longer focus on the fundamentals.  It is critical to understand the viewpoint of the average consumer when defining your company message so that in connects with everybody, not just industry insiders.

A great place to start to help you understand your own company is to define and understand your competitors.  Let’s face it, if you don’t know what your competition is up to, you won’t be able to make intelligent decisions that will help you keep the customers you do have, let alone gain new ones.    This concept is known as competitive intelligence.  Below I have outlined a few steps to understand your competition and help define your own social media approach for your company.

Before you start analyzing your competition, you need to identify who you are actually competing against.  This requires at least some understanding of your own company’s goals, products or services.  Take what you know about your own company and start a Google search using keywords that define your own business.  From here you should have access to company blogs, websites and social media accounts where you can gain valuable insights about your industry.

Once you have identified your competition and start going through their social media campaigns you should try to identify their strategy.  Most company’s social media accounts contain a wealth of information that will help you identify their approach.   Whenever possible, be sure to observe customer feedback about your competitors.  This will help you understand if their strategy is working, if they are having any issues that you may not have addressed.

Once you have spent some time analyzing your competition, you can begin to formulate how you should differentiate and position yourself within your market segment and understand your own social media strategy from the perspective of your audience.

A Successful Social Media Approach, Part 1

These days there is no shortage of statistics that show social media  outlets are the place to be when it comes to marketing your brand.  There is no question that services like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr are viable platforms to get your message out there, but that being said, there is still a lot of debate on how to successfully transmit that message.  A successful social media approach uses humanization to influence how a company is perceived.  While this may seem like a simple concept, humanization requires a lot of planning and calculation to get the desired message across.   In order to help get you started in the right direction, I have outlined several steps you should take before you ever start a conversation.

Your first step should be to define and hone your message.  You should ask yourself: What are we trying to achieve?  By asking yourself this question you should be able to develop a set of goals you are trying to reach.  This is an important first step because it gives yourself a chance to measure your success later on.

To help you define the goals mentioned above, it is essential to know what people know about your brand.  This requires listening and observing of what people are saying about you.  This step requires a lot of research, but it is well worth it.  It will help you to not only understand your brand image, but also where people are talking about your brand, who is talking about it and why. This brings value beyond marketing your brand in that it will help you improve your product or service.

Once you understand what is being said and you have outlined your goals, you should work to define your target audience.  Is your target audience the same group that is already talking about your brand or are you trying to reach a new demographic?  By asking yourself these types of questions you will begin to understand where you should be holding conversations about your brand.

At this point you should be ready to start generating content to share with your audience.  In order to make sure your message stands out from the crowd you need to define your angle.  For example, Apple presents itself as an innovative force where as Volvo prides itself on being one of the safest car manufactures in the world.  This point is absolutely critical because if your message does not stand out then you nobody will take notice and your time will have been wasted.

Finally, you need to continually  analyze what worked.  Whether it be awareness, increased sales, loyalty or some other desired result, you should be able to measure any changes.  This will help you to refine your process and message to reach your final goal of increased revenue.



Facebook is The King of Social Media

According to research firm eMarketer, more than half of adult internet users in the US logged into Facebook at least once per month last year. They project an increase of 13.4% this year, meaning Facebook will reach 9 in 10 social network users.

Just as impressive, ad spending on Facebook will rise to $2.19 billion in the United States this year, and around $4 billion worldwide, doubling numbers from last year.

These stats confirm that Facebook is the place to be when it comes to building your online marketing presence.  Will these trends continue or will Facebook be overtaken by another platform like Myspace before it?