Social Media and the Redundancy of Excessive Advertising – II

Advertisers today have to be – and to an extent are – an extremely creative lot. Without creativity, the ads won’t be good enough to capture even momentary attention. Not only will they have to dump all black-hat practices, they will also have to take white-hat ones to new levels of innovation and creativity.

Recently (mid-March 2012), Google cracked down upon 800,000 advertisers and pulled off 130 million ads from the Google network. David Baker, head of ads policy engineering at Google, declared that Google has a vested interest in creating the least intrusive and the best ad experience for its users. Google ensures that user-friendly experience through the following:

  • Monitoring ad and landing page content to detect scams, malware, and the like
  • Manual reviews of ads flagged by an algorithm (these latter are feared and respected around the world, by the way)
  • User-generated spam reports

Television in particular, and other media in general, have been guilty of in-the-face advertorials. Too much of advertising is a bad thing. It can Social Media Marketing also backfire. People can choose to mute or turn off their television or ignore the newspaper page with ads. They can do that with social media as well. Where the ads are placed strategically, they can even move on to some other nondescript platform with a smaller user base but more relative peace.

Social Media Marketing Platform
Social Media Marketing

A thorough lack of maturity among the sponsors and providers of advertorial material has resulted in a climate where commercials are completely shunned by viewers or readers who are looking for the headlines that interest them. Today’s social media platforms are even participative, so they can simply choose to interact with other users. One cannot escape the feeling that all that investment in commercials is only serving to relieve startups and mighty corporations of their precious cash.

That feeling will be more pronounced in the days to come, when consumer awareness and providers’ responsiveness will be at all-time highs. Then, perhaps, you and I will not be bombarded by commercials coming from all directions. Until recently, Facebook was a platform where you could interact in peace with your ‘friends’.

If a given platform goes overboard with its advertisements, it will meet the same fate as television ads. It will be shunned and shut out by the millions of its current users, in the same way as they did with television commercials – first recording their favorite programs, then fast forwarding through the commercials. Those 8 minutes of recording at significant cost to the company go down the drain.

Repetition of the same ad even erases all recognition of the brand. What people tend to remember of the ad is the particular model or locale or anecdote used. They do not watch an ad and want to go flying out the door to buy the product.

A great and welcome ad is one that makes them.

Audience Engagement Through Social Media Platforms

Using social media platforms for enhanced audience engagement has become quite the norm, with practically every business – small or large – offering a corporate page for users to interact with the company. The ever-increasing numbers of online subscribers to one or more of these channels has made it almost mandatory for businesses to have presence on the social media channels that a maximum number of potential and existing clients have subscribed to.

Social Media Service
Social Media Audience Engagement

Thus far, Facebook and Twitter have managed to capture the lion’s share of global subscribers. These two platforms also have formats, apps, and functionality that make them very popular indeed in the eyes of the global masses. Hence, it is these two that are of the greatest importance to businesses everywhere.

Social media platforms offer easy accessibility both ways. Marketing of the future is all set to become a science in itself. As is online shopping.

It is no doubt a major blessing for those with a stake in either the operation of the social networks or their use for shopping. But it is not as if the mere existence of either usage guarantees commercial benefits. Online content is the actual interface between shopper and seller. It is that that requires careful construction and ongoing scrutiny.

All the laws of profitable interaction apply to online interaction, in the natural scheme of things. It is a subject in itself to observe how the most insignificant of online and offline actions influence and foreconclude commercial upshots.

So what would be general rules of thumb for businesses to observe to ensure higher levels of interaction and commercial headway? Here are some:

  • None of your communiqués should, in the least, provoke the impression that the privacy and/or security of the addressee is compromised. The new rules of engagement dictate that marketing professional do NOT behave in their traditional manner to arouse to wrath of the customer.
  • Messages should be composed in such a manner as to directly inform the prospect. In fact, they should be sent only once and thereafter appear so inviting as to incite the consumer to solicit more.
  • The social network presence should NEVER push advertorial material to the consumer. As mentioned earlier, it should be so positioned as to make prospects request it.
  • Every single element of the content and design on the social network presence should conform to laws of simplicity and facility. Even a relative minor should find it quite a cinch to place an online order. Ease of use, visual clarity, simple navigation, and crystal-clear content are the new bastions of commercial competence.

When your social media presence is thus fortified, your business should start seeing a steady inflow of curious window-shoppers who will then proceed to becoming loyal customers. Amen to that.

The Increasing Importance of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing primarily comprises content (blogs, videos, white papers, and ebooks), the social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs and now, Google Plus), and search engine optimization (on-page, off-page, link building, keyword analysis). Inbound marketing has become more relevant in our times thanks to it being a far more effective alternative for earmarking marketing resources than those afforded by traditional marketing.

For one, it costs less – creating quality content and talking about it requires some serious consideration but are more affordable than anything done by way of traditional marketing. Accounts on social platforms are always free of cost. The return on investment in inbound marketing is also significantly higher.

Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing

However, what is critically important in the entire concept of inbound marketing is that the question of reaching out randomly to the audience just does not arise here. Instead, you just allow the horse to come to the water. How does that happen? Sweeten the water? Yes. Make your propositions, your content, and your offerings so tempting as to naturally attract the consumer who is already looking for something like that.

Ensuring organic optimization for your site means that you do not have to worry (or pay) for the custom (what an irony!). Let the power of the Internet take over after you have done enough by the way of creating compelling, inbound marketing content – and the sales will almost automatically take care of themselves.

Instead of tugging and pulling in futility, just concentrate on how to attract clientele. What can you do and what sort of inbound marketing can you employ to ensure that the customers come calling?

Remember, they will come not because you are no longer doing anything to provoke them into not coming. Sounds complicated? Just focus on delivering value. There’s a perennial market for that.

The Relevance of Social Media to E-commerce

The potential of the social media platforms has captured the imagination of businesses worldwide. Practically every ecommerce business seems to have a presence on at least one or more of the multifarious, multifaceted platforms that make selling and shopping such a unique experience!

The use of social media has doubled since the concepts began gaining popularity way back in 2009. Facebook and Twitter visitors to your pages are 51% and 67% more likely to purchase than otherwise. This is an online revolution of sorts, which has corporate think tanks on their toes.

The promise of social media platforms is quite genuine owing to the fact that these are the collective creations of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is a promise that can infuse fresh dollops of democratic commerce into markets that are riddled with sycophancy and sleaze.

The following are a few reasons why business owners are turning social:

  • Social media offer a cost-effective way to establish genuine relationships with customers.
  • Social media serve as an authentic source of open feedback and competitor intelligence.
  • Fans/followers of social media pages belonging to individual brands are more inclined to buy direct from that company and recommend its products to others.

Here is a cursory look at the ecommerce benefits brought by some of the most popular channels:

Social Media to E-commerce
Social Media to E-commerce
  1. Blog: This is the primary outlet for creating and sharing content. It is ideal for SEO purposes and caters to niche ecommerce audiences worldwide.
  2. Facebook: This powerful platform allows you to take your brand to where your ecommerce customers are. It enables you to share your personality and content, provide an insider’s view of your company, and get fans to exchange notes about your brand and related issues.
  3. Twitter: This is a circumspect way of spreading the word on your brand. It keeps you in touch with your potential clients and others who will promote your brand. This is a place for deploying brief content. It also allows you to stay tuned in to who is saying what about your brand.
  4. LinkedIn: This is a great way to join ecommerce and industry groups and establish a professional reputation. It is a great place to get in touch with the creamy layer of top industry professionals.
  5. YouTube: This is the best place to reach out to consumers who prefer video content to verbal info. Videos can cover product info, comparisons, debates, and practically everything relevant to ecommerce that can be captured on a video camera.

Before you jump onto the social media bandwagon, remember that it is critically important to plan your foray and ensure that the overall message that you send to your ecommerce customers is carefully engineered for the maximum benefit to your organization.

Wish you happy socializing and ecommerce success!

How Should You Use Social Media for Business?

When businesses were set up back in time not too long ago, what promotion methods were being used? What social media sites were available? What websites were created by those businesses that became neighborhood buzzwords before they went on to become the craze of entire nations? Where was internet marketing when words became products and products became words?

Persons my age and residing in the United States should easily be able to recall every instance of a product or service that went on to grab the national headlines on every conceivable marketing platform, whether social or not. They will also recall those that, for some reason, did not make it despite being genuinely big in their time. And there will be variations in between too. What was common to all was that there was no social media advertising.

Social Media Platforms
Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter are relatively recent. Yet one often forgets that there is something even better hidden in the principles on which these platforms work. Many of us are so completely bamboozled by new thingumajigs that we neglect the core concepts that actually get the job done. Likewise with social media platforms.

The question, therefore, is not ‘how should you use social media…?’ but ‘how do social media work…?’.

Internet Marketing (SEO)
Internet Marketing (SEO)

Brands that went on to become household names were built even long before social media were anything like what they are today. Imagine a burger brand starting out on a modest budget and going on to be a global chain. Now imagine this: you are catching up with a colleague at the office and he or she mentions this snazzy little joint that has come up just the other day. While your friend rambles on about the delicacies that were sampled, you cannot but pay attention. Bingo! The very next day you are waxing eloquent on the same topic to some other poor soul who hasn’t had the sense dawn as yet. That’s how social media work – by being infectious.

Who gets it done just right? Well, definitely not your regular ‘in the face’ marketing professional. It has to be someone with people sense, someone who is relevant, someone close. Then on, the effect that the words and the offering have on you can only be experienced first hand!

So okay, social media and all…but HOW EXACTLY? How do social media work for YOUR business? Well, no simple answers, really. I’ll have to get back to you later.

Meanwhile, have a good scratch and let me know if you have something that wiggles!