ANY business can benefit from social media marketing. Here’s how… (Plus 4 BONUS tips!)

You may or may not be sold on the “power of social media marketing”, but I’m here today to clear the air and tell you HOW to benefit from social media as a business entity.

So, it’s possible that you’ve been investing time and resources with Facebook or Twitter or (insert popular social network here) and you’ve gained a few fans and followers, but you haven’t seen significant results from your efforts. I understand, it’s frustrating. And Facebook isn’t helping as it continues to update it’s algorithm to give brands even less exposure than seen in previous months or years.

Forget about it!

For some (most) of you, your focus should be on creating a simple digital platform for people to find you and research you in a familiar environment. You should focus on creating the highest quality social media “landing page” for your prospects. Keep that comment in mind as we continue…

Think about the nature of Facebook or Twitter. Everyone’s profile or page is essentially the same with different images and copy. It’s that simple. Make yours stand out. Spend time perfecting the copy and the images, just like you did with your website.

It’s easy for audiences to navigate the social network, and the details of your business because of this. Your website, although your own private entity, is not the same as everyone else’s website and thus it is harder for visitors to navigate because they are not familiar with it. Your website may be beautiful and wonderful, but it’s useless if your customers don’t spend time navigating it and converting to customers. Period.

Your potential customers have the attention span of a goldfish. Sorry, customers, but you’re everyone, myself included. Blame the digital age.

Think about it like this: your potential customers are like fish swimming in a large lake (Facebook) waiting to find food (your digital content) so they can eat (enjoy it). They are not waiting for you to share how awesome your newest product or service is, but they are looking for something to easily digest and enjoy and possibly share it with their friends via a comment, like, or share. They are looking for your amazing content that tells a story or teaches them something or helps them make a decision about what to buy in the future, but most likely not today at this very moment. Essentially, (billions of) people participating in social media have the power to tell all the other fish how awesome your bait (brand) is and then the fishing gets much better.

A good day fishing

Fish where the fish are.

 

Keep in mind, your content must be AMAZING to achieve social media success. It takes time to figure out what your audience is going to react to.

You must try and try again… Try. And. Try. Again.

Eventually you'll catch the fish.

Eventually you’ll catch the fish.

One way to drive traffic to your website is to begin to build relationships on social networks with prospective customers. To do this, you need to create amazing content that makes your audience want to come back for seconds. Simply posting what you think is cool probably isn’t  going to work. It’s up to your audience to decide what is cool. You need to look at your results (ahem, Facebook insights) and prepare future content based on what worked (what your audience engaged with). This is how you should plan your social media content calendar, and how you should look at social media in general. Start creating “templates” for effective content and then you’ll start seeing results. It’s not rocket science, but some serious thought is required to produce results. It. Takes. Time.

The game has changed. Facebook is no longer free to play. You need to start allocating some of your marketing budget to Facebook ads and potentially Twitter ads. They work. If you make them right and for the right reason.

I challenge anyone who hasn’t experienced a drop in Facebook reach to refute my previous comment. I’ll gladly yield…

You don’t need to spend your vacation fund on Facebook ads. Start with a very small budget including multiple ads with limited variables and see what happens. Compare the results to your other advertising initiatives and call me in the morning!

VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t expect purchase behavior to occur as a result of your social media ads. People aren’t on social media to buy stuff. They’re on Facebook or Twitter to be entertained, connect with friends and family, learn something, hang-out, kill time, etc. I repeat, they are NOT there to buy stuff. Your Facebook/Twitter ads should be intended to engage not sell. 

So why even advertise on social media if it’s not going to translate into sales? Because you’re fishing where the fish are. You’re introducing your brand to new customers and/or reinforcing how awesome your product or service really is. You’re inviting people into your sales funnel and saving them for later. You’re collecting prospects and email addresses and opportunities. You’re creating the foundation for the future of your company. You’re keeping up with the next generation. You’re spreading the good word and work and culture of your organization. You’re building relationships. You’re telling your story.

Here are a few final tips to help you maximize your social media marketing initiatives:

  1. Quality over Quantity: if you have 10,000 fans or followers and only 100 of them are prospective customers, you’re absolutely wasting your time. Make sure that you’re focusing on acquiring qualified likes on your page. Getting cheap likes from foreign countries isn’t going to produce any results for your organization unless you are able to market your wares to those people in foreign countries. The ONLY benefit of “cheap likes” is the “power of persuasion.”
  2. The Power of Persuasion: A business page with less than 1,000 likes isn’t taken too seriously. Think about it… If you want to sell big, you have to act big. Spend some time and resources building your qualified likes so when other prospects come to your page they see that a significant amount of people like your page and then they want to learn more. People trust other people. Having more likes/followers communicates that you’re likable. Just make sure the likes are important.
  3. Follow the Leaders: Find other pages that have good engagement and a large following and study them. What are they doing that makes their audience hit the like or share button or comment or reply? Try to emulate what they are doing in your own way and see what happens. Call me in the morning…
  4. Don’t forget about Forums: (Reddit. Is. Amazing.) No matter what your industry, there’s probably a community representing it on on a forum somewhere. Get involved! Be tactful about how your promote your business on the forums, but try to engage the members with casual conversations and you’ll learn a ton about what makes your (potential) customers click. The best part is that this is an absolutely free way to engage your target market and learn more about what makes them tick.

In closing, social media is a platform to help your organization grow. It’s not the absolute solution for profitability, but it can definitely help you find more profitability if you’re in it for the long haul.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you need help with your digital marketing outreach or social media efforts, please contact me by leaving a comment below or send me an email. I’m currently taking on new clients and I’d love to help!

Email: terenceklein (@) yahoo (.) com

 

Advertisements

GMO vs. Hybrid: an important distinction

Let me start by saying that I am not a scientist, nor do I have all the answers regarding this topic. I am, however, a passionate follower of the GMO debate, and I have been exposed to both sides of the debate regarding both GMOs and Hybrids. That said, I urge you to review this post for informational purposes only. Please do your own research if this topic interests you. 

5584738597_30c05e38b1

photo source: tabor-roeder via flickr

There has been much debate regarding the safety of GMOs over the last few years, and for good reason. GMOs are a relatively new scientific discovery. GMOs are also now very abundant in our food supply. GMOs are not the same as hybridized plants and animals, and it is important to understand and distinguish the difference between the two.

Let me explain…

In its simplest definition, a Hybrid  is “an offspring of two animals or plants of different races, breeds, varieties, species, or genera.” A good example of a Hybrid is a mule, which is the offspring of male donkey and female horse. It has been claimed that mules are more patient, sure-footed, hardy and long-lived than horses, and they are considered less obstinate, faster, and more intelligent than donkeys.

A GMO or Genetically Modified Organism, on the other hand, is defined as “an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish, and mammals.”  A good example of a GMO is AquAdvantage Salmon which  “is the trade name for a genetically modified Atlantic salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies. A growth hormone-regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook and a promoter from an ocean pout were added to the Atlantic’s 40,000 genes. These genes enable it to grow year-round instead of only during spring and summer.”  AquAdvantage salmon is currently the first GMO animal proposed to be introduced as a food for human consumption. Now you know…

This begs the question – What is Genetic Engineering?

Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, “is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. New DNA may be inserted in the host genome by first isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using molecular cloning methods to generate a DNA sequence, or by synthesizing the DNA, and then inserting this construct into the host organism. Genes may be removed, or ‘knocked out’, using a nuclease. Gene targeting is a different technique that uses homologous recombination to change an endogenous gene, and can be used to delete a gene, remove exons, add a gene, or introduce point mutations.”

OK…Now that we have the details out of the way, let’s break it down, shall we?

Simply put, Hybrids are created by means of natural reproduction guided by low-tech human intervention, while GMOs are are high-tech organisms created in a lab which would have virtually no chance of occurring in nature.

So, why are Hybrids and GMOs so popular? The answer is simple – They both allow humans to promote desired traits in both plants and animals. They are substantially different means to an end though.

The commercialization and mass distribution of Hybrids as food started around the 1920’s – almost 100 years ago. Personally, I feel that’s enough time to evaluate the safety and integrity of such a technology. We’ve been eating hybrid plants and animals for a few generations now and we haven’t seen any tangible reason to question their affect on our general health. Although, I’m not proposing this is enough information to gauge the safety of Hybrids, it is a good start. To support any theory like this, long -term scientific studies must accompany the theory, otherwise it’s just a ‘hunch’.

GMOs, on the other hand, were first introduced to our commercial food supply in the late 1970’s. Since then, they have quickly become common products in the U.S. food supply. This is not the case in the European Union. The EU has been much more cautious and strategic about the adoption of GMOs for human consumption. Personally, I prefer the EU approach here.

I think it’s very important to weigh the great opportunities associated with GMO science against the potential threats that they pose to our ecosystem and general health.

One of the most important considerations is how relatively new GMOs are as a food source. Time will tell how much impact GMOs will have on the health and well-being of both the ecosystem and human/animal populations of the world. In reality, we’re altering the DNA of the natural world without truly understanding how it might effect us in the future. We’re going back to the ‘hunch’ mentality here. No long-term studies (that I know of) have been done on GMOs to measure their impact on health, etc.

The second consideration I’d like to propose is much different. This consideration has to do with corporate profit vs. security of our food supply. There have been many recent examples of small farmers being sued by large chemical companies who develop, manufacture, patent, and sell GMO seeds. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail here, but this is the controversial topic that inspired my passion about GMOs in general. Although this is a very important topic, it’s a (very detailed) topic for another blog post. For now, all I will say is this…There are some serious moral and ethical dilemmas to consider when seed/chemical companies start creating a monopoly of the food supply and making it very difficult for farmers to buy seeds, fertilizers and pesticides from any other source. For the future stability of our food supply, we must, as a society, maintain control of our seeds. It is my unwavering opinion that the marketing and sale of living organisims with associated patents is a dangerous game to play, and we must consider all possible outcomes.  Allowing the majority of our food supply to be owned and managed by a handful of very large companies is a very unstable solution for the problem which is this: how do we feed 7 billion+ people???

I urge you to do your research on GMOs and Hybrids in general, because the more you know, the more you’ll be able to make informed decisions on your attitude towards GMOs and Hybrids. The point of this article is not necessarily to sway your opinion, but to get you thinking about the food industry and what you eat.

If you’d like to try to avoid GMOs for whatever reason, start by informing yourself. Do some research. Buy more organic products. Support your local organic farmers. Every dollar you spend is an informal vote for the types of products you want for the future. This is how the world works, folks. Consumers dictate demand, at least for now. Look for the “Non-GMO Project” logo on products at the grocery store and hope that manufactures get the message – that the safety and integrity of our food supply is of the utmost importance.

Non-GMO.Project_logo

What do you think about GMOs and Hybrids? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_(biology)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mule

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AquAdvantage_salmon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_engineering

http://www.ehow.com/about_6196835_history-hybrid-seed-corn.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_genetically_modified_organisms_in_the_European_Union

http://www.pbs.org/pov/hybrid/getinvolved_article.php

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/hybrid-seeds-vs-gmos-zb0z1301zsor.aspx

http://www.livestrong.com/article/139536-hybrid-vegetable-vs-genetically-modified/

http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/309/ge-fish/aquadvantage-salmon#

 

 

 

Success Doesn’t Just Happen

Success takes initiative, determination, perseverance, and the willingness to fail. Without any of those absolutes, success is only repeating what you already know you can do.

Success is really trying something new. Success is learning from mistakes. Success is trying again. Success is getting after it.

Failure is not doing any of those things.

parachutists-306620_640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding a new career is a lot like fishing

“Once upon a time, I had a great job with a great company. I spent my time loving what I do and doing it well. I had the passion, confidence, drive and determination to get the job done. Then, one day it all came crashing down…that was the day I was terminated.”

Does this sound familiar?

It does to me. A couple weeks ago, this was my story. Since then, I’ve found some time to regroup and rethink my future. I’ve also had a lot of time to go fishing, which I did.

During the last two weeks, I’ve also found that searching for a new career and fishing are actually very similar. So, in a sense, fishing is good training for the job hunt.

Let me explain…

When you decide to go fishing, you think about your options. Proximity, size of the lake or river, type of bait or tackle to use, type of rod and reel to use, etc.

So how does this relate to a job search? Well, when you are looking for a new job, you must consider proximity. Do you want to stay where you are or are you prepared to move to the job for better opportunity (and bigger fish)? Do you want to move to a larger or different city (lake), or are you satisfied with the opportunities in your current town (pond). When you apply for your new job, do you rely on tried and true methods like submitting resumes everywhere (tackle)? Or do you prefer to reach out to your network and solicit your associates for help in your search (bait)? Finally, do you go it alone (trout rod and reel setup) or do you enlist the help of a recruiter (charter a fishing boat and hunt for 500 lb Marlin)?

Are you still with me? If you’re into fishing, then I suspect that you are following all this. If you’re not into fishing, then contact me and let’s go!

Now, let’s briefly talk about the act of fishing. You can go boat fishing or shore fishing. Your methods can be active fishing, like “trolling” and “casting”, or passive fishing, like “plunking” and “bottom fishing”. Also, You have to realize that you can’t force the fish to bite, but with a little practice, you can maximize your chances. No matter what, you must be patient.

So let’s relate this to the job hunt. If you already have a job (boat) , then your chances are better at landing a new job because because it eliminates some of the risk. You can also be very active (trolling) in your job hunt by submitting resumes everywhere all the time, or more passive (plunking) by being very selective with the jobs you apply to. Passive job hunting and fishing usually require more patience. Finally, the more you fish and job hunt, the better you’ll get. You can use the internet to search fort things like “how to write a great cover letter” or “enlist a recruiter”. You can also search for “ways to rig your fishing setup” for a particular fish and “how to properly cast your rod”.

When you are in the final stages of the fishing process and job hunt, you are essentially reeling in your catch. You must do so with poise and finesse. You must keep your rod tip (head) up and
the fishing line (your demeanor and personality) tight and maintain the structural integrity as much as possible. Finally, if you did all the right things, you’ll probably bring your fish (new job) home to a happy family.

So, what do you think? Do you want to go fishing? I do, because I’m currently looking for a new career and I could use the practice.

Terence Klein is a social media marketing expert – which means he’s always learning more about social media. Terence is also a skilled project manager and well-versed in digital promotions, PR, digital communications and integrated teamwork.

For job opportunities, please contact Terence at TerenceKlein@yahoo.com.

20140530-193347-70427732.jpg

Social Media Marketing: Best Practices

Photo credit: x-ray delta one via Flickr

Photo credit: x-ray delta one via Flickr

Are You Listening to the Great Conversation???

#SMWCC

If you were in the “Social Media Marketing: Best Practices, session 1” class at Whatcom Community College on October 19th, 2011, Then the previous Twitter hashtag has relevance to you. Have you posted a social media question using that hashtag yet? Let’s start the conversation on Twitter!

If you attended the class, I hope that you 1) enjoyed the content and 2) learned a few tips and tricks that will help you on your social media journey. If you did not attend the session, don’t fret…You’re still invited to read on and share your thoughts. Everyone’s welcome here! 😉

During “session 1” we discussed the following topics:

  • How and where to find and curate content on a regular basis for your social media business pages/profiles.
  • The importance of creating a stunning and unique social media business pages/profiles.
  • What the “big brands” are doing with social media, and how we can learn from their successes and mistakes.
  • How a local business (Village Books) successfully approaches social media and uses it to listen to their customers,  promote local events, share company culture, and ultimately, build long-lasting relationships and gain sales.
  • The importance of listing your local business online to help improve your website and business’s  SEO, website traffic, visibility and encourage (hopefully) good reviews.

Click the following link for a good list of places to list your business: Where to list…

We also briefly discussed a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis and it’s importance for ANY business to understand and employ on a regular basis. Although a SWOT diagram does require some critical thinking, it is one of best tools to help you understand where your business excels and where improvements can be made.

"SWOT Analysis" credit: cdedbdme via Flickr

If you would like to review any parts of the Prezi.com presentation from the class, here is the link for the presentation: Social Media Marketing Presentation, 10/19/11.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For the next two sessions, we will cover the following topics:

  • Blogging best practices.
  • Social media Page/Profile design (Lujure, etc).
  • Twitter as a second language. #whatdoesitallmean?
  • “Link shortners”.
  • How and why to create a social media “plan”.
  • Ways to increase social media productivity using tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Seesmic, etc.
  • How to integrate a social media plan into your marketing plan.

So, If you would like to add any topics or have a brief question before the next session, I’m going to ask you to NOT leave a blog comment or send me an email.  I double dare you to use Twitter and post your question or comment by adding #SMWCC at the end of your Twitter post. Fair enough? The best way to understand Twitter is to use it. I promise! 🙂

In the meantime…Be well and have FUN!

-TK

I live in a cloud now…

I now spend much of my time in the cloud, and no I’m not daydreaming. Web 2.0 has changed everything. Welcome to the digital existence, everyone! By the way, it’s not so bad up here. 😉

Here are a couple tools that I use (and recommend) to navigate the new digital lifestyle…

Evernote (My new digital memory)
Alltop (My new library)
Spotify (My new music library)
Facebook (My new digital treehouse)
LinkedIn (My new digital resume and Rolodex)

More on all this later…Until then, be well!

-TK

Social Media Marketing: Getting Started

This evening at 6pm, I will be teaching my second social media marketing session at Whatcom Community College. For this session, we will walk through the processes of creating business profiles and pages on the “Big Three” social media sites; Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If time permits, we will also look into creating a YouTube channel and a Google + profile. There is still time to register, so if you or someone you know would be interested in kick starting your social media plan for your business or organization, then please click on the following link to register in person or via the LiveStream option. (With the LiveStream option, you can register to watch the presentation remotely from your computer).

Enroll HERE

Best,

TK

Social Media Marketing: An Introduction

I’ll keep this post short and sweet…It is dedicated to my very first “Social Media Marketing: An Introduction” class at Whatcom Community College.  The sole purpose here is to share the class presentation link for the benefit of the attendees. So without further adieu, here is the link: http://prezi.com/4jdqwx-zyp_g/introduction-to-social-media-marketing/

I truly hope you enjoy(ed) the presentation. Your questions and/or comments are always welcome!

Best,

TK

5 Gum Ice Fly Promotion: I have been sold…

It’s Friday evening.  I’m weary from the work week. All I want to do is relax, so I open Rolling Stone Magazine, issue 1140, (John Stewart’s on the cover) and start turning the pages…I stop around page 16 to find an ad by 5 Gum with a small QR code at the bottom left.  Next to the QR code is a tiny bug looking creature and the following text: “PLAY THE GAME, EXPLORE THE WORLD”.  I am intrigued so I scan the code…WOW.  This is by far the very best use of a QR code based marketing plan that I have EVER seen.

Five Gum Ad in Rolling Stone issue1140, page 16

Here is where the QR code took me…  

 WHA…WHAT?! IT’S LOCKE FROM LOST!!!  As you can see, 5 gum is REALLY trying to get you to log onto their survivalcode.com page on your desktop computer.  The previous video was as far as I could get on my smartphone; I couldn’t get to the main site on my Android.  Sneaky. After a slight bout of anxious bullheadedness, I decided to follow their directions and typed in www.survivalcode.com on my pc.  double WOW! Their marketing team has officially blown my mind, and all I can say is this…For the first time in a LONG time, I am sold on a consumer product based solely on their brand’s marketing efforts.  I have been thoroughly entertained and I feel that I owe 5 Gum a purchase because it is much cheaper than a movie and was much more fun.  I highly recommend checking out www.survivalcode.com because hopefully, (and especially if you are a “Lost” addict), it will blow your mind too. I’d love to hear what you think…If this blog post helped entertain you, please leave a comment, SHARE it,  and enjoy the ride!  Best,-TK