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Business Marketing

Does Size Matter?

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How Big is Your…

…following?

Is it more important to have a lot of people following you on Facebook or Twitter, or a smaller group with whom you interact more frequently? This seems to be the new debate of the social media world. With a lot of interest in Social Media as a potential source of business, some really traditional behavior has entered this untraditional venue.

People that used to assemble huge mailing lists now assemble huge numbers of followers using different techniques or APIs rather than building relationships. Auto DMs on Twitter that say “Thanks for following I look forward to exchanging much valuable information” seems to have taken the place of actually seeing if you have something in common with the people in your community.

On Facebook, you have people asking to be your friend that have nothing in common with you, or whom you have no relationship to. And then sending you information on their services and products in a space that is really not designed for that. Twitter has numerous APIs that offer to find people to follow you, and social media gurus who suggest manipulating the Twitter system to increase the number of people in your distribution chain.

Me, I find that offensive and I have lately been terminating the relationship if it seems to be completely commercial. I want the social network to be social. I want to choose my trusted advisors rather than have them thrust information on me at their convenience.

Are You All Hat and No Cattle?

We have all heard that you need to “sell the sizzle not the steak”, but are you all sizzle and no steak?  Do you have lots and lots of followers and very little dialogue? Is there anything in your interaction that brings value to your community?

If the effective part of social networking is gaining the trust of your community so that they are predisposed to do business with you when they are ready, then the size of your following should be substantially less important than the quality of your interaction and the focus of the community’s needs.

If you contribute to the conversation, provide content and information for your community members, and become an influencer in that community, I would submit that you have a more effective grasp of the benefits of social media than the person who has a huge number of people following them that don’t react to their posts and tweets.

Grow Organically

We see large important social media influencers with large groups of followers and confuse the form with the substance. The audience came because they were important, they didn’t become important because they got an audience.

They got that huge audience because they had things to share that people wanted to hear. They had knowledge about topics that people wanted to learn about. They generated interest because of the way they spoke or the way they wrote, or who they were in real life.

So connect with the people you know, or the community where you live, and particpate in the conversations they are interested in. You need to overwhelm them with what you know not who you know.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. teresa boardman

    March 25, 2009 at 7:15 am

    when it comes to camera lenses size really does matter.

    This is a wonderful post Bill. I won’t say ‘great job’ but I am thinking it.

  2. Paula Henry

    March 25, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Bill – I have been on Twitter less lately and really do despise the auto generated respnses, especially from people I already know through other sites. It’s impersonal!

    I prefer a small group of people and am including more local people into my sphere of online friends.

  3. Kelly

    March 25, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    ha ha @Paula, I agree the auto responses that my friends have when I follow that say, “thanks and make sure to check out my site” make me mad. I don’t think you should follow me if you don’t have the time to visit my site beforehand and ask a question about my website or have some type of feedback. Same goes for me, if I’m interested in following you, I should send you a dm or @ to tell you why you’re interesting to me.

  4. Bill Lublin

    March 25, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    @T Thanks so much

    @Paula This is a DM from my robot- but thanks

    @Kelly You are the community that you want to be – and I appreciate your being part of this one.

  5. Danilo Bogdanovic

    March 25, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Social media reminds me a lot of high school.

    Some kids kept to themselves and had a small core of really good, loyal and quality friends that stuck with them and were there for them through thick and thin.

    Other kids were “popular” and “friends” with everyone. But, when $^&! hit the fan, they found themselves fending for themselves while their “friends” were nowhere to be found.

  6. Elaine Reese

    March 25, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve only been on Twitter maybe 3 wks. I prefer to keep it a small select group. I do really like it for the local & nat’l news feeds.

    I do the same with LinkedIN, preferring to link with former corporate friends and clients.

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    March 25, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Bill,

    I long for the early days of twitter when it seemed we all had less than 50 friends or so. A matter of fact, if you recall early on we gave each other sub-titles like “e-Twit” if you reached 100 followers?

    Gone are those days and I miss them.

    There’s a benefit to large networks. When I ask for help with a project or advice, all I had to do it twitter it and without fail there are plenty of folks to help…

    Having said that i remember a few years ago at church, while greeting and welcoming a “new” couple; having them turn around and say “We’ve been coming here a year thank you..” That is when I realized that bigger is not always better. But that large church can certainly do much more than a small one, because of the enormous resources available to it – it all comes down to where you want to be.

  8. Kathy Stilwell

    March 25, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Thank you for your post. I completely agree with you and this statement..

    “You need to overwhelm them with what you know not who you know.”

    I believe in the quality over quantity theory
    Developing the relationships is what matters.

  9. Bill Lublin

    March 26, 2009 at 3:11 am

    @Danilo I agree with you that in life our acqualntances are not always the friends we title them as –

    Your analogy is really apt – When I first got on twitter I was watching @sarahstelmock, @bryanpenman and @drewfristoe talk on twitter while they were in a class – I tweeted “so twitter is liking passing notes in class” and got the response “twitter is totally liking passing notes in class!”

  10. Bill Lublin

    March 26, 2009 at 3:13 am

    @Elaine I think you find the size that works for you- I like to get my twitter news too! 😉

    @Matthew – I agree that quantity and quality do not need to be mutually exclusive – I just think we shouldn;t sacrafice one for the other!

    @Kathy Thank Yew veddy much – You must be really smart – you agree with me
    😉

  11. Jim Gatos

    March 26, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Bill, size DOES matter. Don’t you watch the late night informercials? LOL, I do!

    Just kidding… however, I’ve gone through my Twitter and Facebook and ended my relationships with so many.. I don’t need THAT many friends!

    Jim

  12. Charles McDonald

    March 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Excellent and a good reminder for all of us. I agree with the above… SM reminds me of High School…

    you have made me rethink the value of these different medias…

    thank you

  13. Marilyn Urso

    March 26, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I too agree with your comments. I have only been on Twitter for about a month, more learning & listening and not Tweeting very much yet.
    I am very involved with GREEN – the NAR designation, Certified EcoBroker and all other forms of it, so I have been following a lot of GREEN participants and learning from what they post.
    There is so much content here, learning how to use it and become an active participant adding value, not just another advertiser, is the key.

  14. Missy Caulk

    March 26, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    yea Twitter has gotten “noisy”…I still like it. I had to set up a folder in Mail with a rule to deal with the emails.

    I try and follow interesting people but it has gotten out of hand, now I am more selective.

    In the Tipping Point, Malcolm says acquaintances are important and I agree. They can turn into friends and make good Connectors.

  15. Ken Jansen

    March 27, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Excellent post. Thank you. Very insightful and well presented. I like the all hat not cattle phrase.

    I agree on the camera lenses comment too. hah.

    Thanks again!

    Ken Jansen Realtor Overland Park KS

  16. George Hitz

    April 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Bill, like all new forms of communication, it takes time before it becomes an effective tool. Think of a newborn baby. They make a lot of noise but very little useful back and forth ideas. Perhaps in the not too distant future this form of chatter will become a valuable source. In the meantime, its just noise

  17. Linsey

    April 20, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I have different feelings about different platforms.

    I really want to know the people that I’m friends with in Facebook. I hate to say – I’ve ignored a few friend requests there. In that specific medium, I think that less is more in terms of friends. I can interact much more easily with my friends because I really do know them. The fan pages may be the place to fill that gap.

    Twitter is a little different. But I will say if someone I am following feels too spammy and there’s no authentic interaction – I cut them off.

    Do I seem a little cold hearted?

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.

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offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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