Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Some aspects of marketing may seem like they’re too tried-and-true to give up, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be subject to some skillful reinvention. Just look at Nintendo’s recent decision to eschew a traditional press conference at E3 (arguably the biggest industry event for videogames in the world) in favor of sharing news with fans through social media. Nintendo’s decision to abstain from putting together a big presentation may have been considered suicide in the past, but that’s not necessarily true in an age where so many of the interactions between customers and the companies they love are happening online.
Instead of relying on one keynote address to summarize upcoming releases, Nintendo decided to use social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to roll out information directly to fans. It’s a shrewd move that pulls the focus away from creating a one-off event that’s built to impress reporters on the showroom floor and moves the conversation online. It also lets them add depth to their presentations by featuring video interviews with game developers that otherwise may not have been able to share stage time.
The approach means that users don’t need a plane ticket, special badge or press credentials to be first seat for news. It’s a case study in how to be open, transparent and engaged with lots of followers at once, without having to rely on traditional media outlets to relay information. It also collapses the wall between the conversations that are happening at the event and the ones that are happening online. In the past, users were used to commenting on impressions from journalists reporting from the floor. Now, they don’t have to wait for a slow trickle of information to react to--they can experience it in real time. Here is Regie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo America, explaining more about Nintendo’s unconventional choice.
What do you think about Nintendo’s decision? One thing's for sure, their use of social media instead of a press conference certainly got tongues wagging and became a story in and of itself!
It might feel like there are far too many social media platforms in the virtual world. Here's a list of the top websites and why they might benefit you.
Facebook is approaching 1 billion users (although that number was recently challenged due to the number of fake and/or inactive profiles). Those with a Facebook profile generally leave their browser open for many hours a day, but most are there to connect with friends and socialize. With so many users, this platform can be helpful in both B2B and B2C marketing. Make sure you understand the difference between profiles, fan pages and groups.
Twitter receives approximately 144 million unique visitors each month. Reportedly, Twitter users are multi-taskers who are easily distracted. This platform is more open, which can be overwhelming but useful when searching keywords. Hashtags can help you be part of a larger conversation about topics.
Google+ will reportedly have 400 million users by the end of 2012. Sixty percent of their users are web developers or software engineers. Seventy-five to 85% are men, and the most popular age range is 25-34. Google+ is definitely rising in the ranks and may certainly take over the top spot someday if Facebook continues to frustrate users with format changes.
LinkedIn has over 100 million users, the majority of which are there for professional reasons. Over one million are high-ranking executives with decision making authority. LinkedIn is best used for B2B marketing.
Reddit receives millions of visitors. It is a social site that allows users to submit links, and then allows other users to vote those submissions "up" or "down," so that popular posts are more easily found. The site can be useful to help create viral ad campaigns and cause awareness.
StumbleUpon calls itself a "discovery engine" that finds web content for its users. It recently surpassed Facebook as the highest traffic referrer of any website. To catch the StumbleUpon user's attention, use flashy photos and catchy headlines.
YouTube reportedly has a brand value of $18.099 billion. As the internet replaces the yellow pages, television and radio in the advertising department, YouTube can provide you with a format for releasing visual content.
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. It relies heavily upon photos and videos, which are the most popular posts for business fan pages on Facebook. Women between the ages of 25 and 44 make up 59% of its membership.
Tumblr is a very simple blog site and, like Pinterest, is photo/image-based (well over half of the content uploaded are images). Tumblr offers seven options for posting content: Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio, Video. Users can then "like" your post or "re-blog" it. Tumblr had over 15 billion page views in January 2012.
The top two social networking sites remain Facebook and Twitter. However, there are many other sites out there. Ask your customers where they spend their time and consider spending some time there yourself. Which sites do you use to promote your business?
Search Engine Optimization. SEO. You may have heard those "buzz letters," but what do they mean? SEO "is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural," or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic"), search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users." (Via Wikipedia.)
Basically, SEO is what helps people find you faster. How do you raise your SEO and help your customers find you in a sea of competitors? Some of it is simple -- things you may already doing:
- Add a blog to your website
- Add Google Analytics to every page of your website
- Don't use excessive code
- Make every single page unique
- Use meta tags
- Don't use repetitive wording
- Include footer links on every page
- Create separate pages for each keyword
- Use keyword rich title tags on each page of your website.
However, recently it was revealed that Google's new algorithms also include social media in the SEO-raising criteria. Updates can also determine when websites are trying to trick the algorithms into raising their ranking. Therefore, you not only need a great website, you need to be a social media conversationalist.
What else should you be doing to stay relevant in the online world? We hate to sound like a broken record, but...
Maintain your Facebook page: Post interesting content (photos, links, etc.) and respond to questions or comments. It is truly important to have a conversation on Facebook.
Share tweets about your industry, not just your brand. And share interesting links and information so that others will be compelled to re-tweet and respond to your posts.
Upload videos to YouTube (which is owned by Google). Include a link to your website somewhere in the description. An interesting video can go viral and give your brand a boost. The goal is to create content that others want to share.
If you are on Pinterest, pin or re-pin interesting visuals. Don't just pin photos with links back to your website.
On LinkedIn, you should join groups and participate in conversations: answer questions and post your company updates. Although it doesn't necessarily raise your SEO, it contributes to brand recognition.
Since Google obviously owns Google+, it is certainly a place that you may want to consider spending time if you are looking to raise SEO. It may not weigh heavily now, but as Google+ gains momentum, it may matter more in the future for those trying to raise awareness of their brand online.
As you work to build your brand, your ranking in any search engine should organically rise as well. Which sites are you using to build your brand and optimize your search engine ranking?
According to a survey by Forrester.com, even though 92% of those polled agree that social media has "fundamentally changed how consumers engage with brands," only 49% of marketers have "fully integrated" social media into their marketing strategy. Have you included social media in your marketing plan?
Here are four tips for successfully including social media in your marketing plan:
Choose Your Platform Wisely
There are so many social media sites. Choose yours wisely. We have discussed various popular sites in many of our blog posts and recently touched upon some smaller sites HERE. The big sites for many businesses are Facebook and Twitter. Other possible sites are YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr or Google+ (among others), depending upon your customer base. Don't waste time on all of these sites, however. Choose one at a time and test the waters slowly.
Utilize E-mail Newsletters
It is essential to include links to your website, Facebook fan page, Twitter profile and other social media pages in your newsletter. You can also highlight upcoming specials and events. Newsletters are great because e-mails can be saved and read when your customer has a few minutes. Often posts on social media sites can get lost in a busy news feed, so reiterating certain posts in a newsletter is important.
If you missed our previous post on e-mail newsletters, you can read it HERE.
Create Events on Facebook
Do you have an open house or other special event coming up? Create an event on Facebook! It is a fast, easy and FREE way to invite your fans to your store (make sure you include the Facebook event link in your newsletter). You can store photos, websites, or other information important for the event all in one location. You can also encourage fans to invite their friends (perhaps you can offer a discount or special for those guests who arrive first).
Read our previous post about fundraising events using social media sites HERE.
Content is Key
Whether we are talking about your website, your social media profiles or your newsletter, content is key. If you are not posting interesting and engaging information, your customers are not going to read your posts. Remember to engage your customer in a conversation rather than selling to them. Your content should add value for your audience, and should not overtly sell anything, which makes people want to share it with their network as well. You can read our previous post about the disconnect between brands and consumers HERE.
Keep in mind that building your brand using social media is a process. Have you officially implemented social media into your marketing plan? Tell us about it here!
YouTube (along with Facebook and Twitter) was named one of the
top-valued social media sites, according to a global study carried out
brand value rating agency BV4, in cooperation with the Department of
Social Media Management of the HWZ University of Applied Sciences in
Business Administration Zurich. Facebook has an estimated brand value
of $29.115 billion, followed by YouTube with a brand value of $18.099
billion, and Twitter with $13.309 billion.
How can you use YouTube (or other video sharing websites) to further your brand?
Even if you can't afford an expensive camera crew to film a commercial for you, with just a simple Flip camera, you can easily video, edit and publish your own message on YouTube. There are many programs such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie that allow you to edit videos on your own.
After you have created your video and uploaded it to YouTube, we suggest that you share it on other social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, etc. Where ever you interact with your customers, you should share the link to your video. If you send newsletters or write blogs, you can include the link (or embed it into the document).
Here is a video, which explains how to leverage YouTube with other social media sites: http://rismedia.com/2012-02-20/weekly-video-tip-leveraging-youtube-with-social-media/
At Social Sonar, we agree that using video to help spread your message is a great idea. If you missed our video, you can view it below: