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The next big trend in social media marketing is something you already do

(MARKETING) All signs point to the next big trend in social media marketing being something you’re naturally adept at doing, but are you doing it well?

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We’ve had our finger firmly on the pulse of social media marketing since before it was even called social media.

We were excited to read “Why personalization is the next big trend in social media marketing” recently, detailing how the next must-have strategy for businesses is to focus on tailoring their messaging to their clients. The author provides a lot of great advice for how to go about doing this, but the sentiment behind this “emerging” trend may sound familiar – customers are more likely to engage with a brand that they feel values and remembers them (my words, not theirs).

This idea, of placing the user’s experience and needs, is a foundation not only of solid marketing but a cornerstone of excellent customer service in any industry, across the ages.

During high school, I worked at my small town’s public library. This was at the beginning of the 2000s, at the transition point between the old-school card catalogue and digital circulation systems. In this “analog” world, whenever someone came to the desk to check out their stack of books, we still ruffled through a cabinet to find their library card and could see a list of titles that they had taken home before.

We didn’t use the terms “user data” or even “database” back then, though that’s essentially what our record system was. Each patron’s file was almost a haiku of their interests in Dewey decimal. You could look over the card and discern whether someone was a fan of detective novels or gardening guides, but that intel wasn’t seen as marketing, we were just doing our job.

Over the year or two that I spent stacking shelves and checking out books to the families and friends that came through the doors, I got to know the various tastes of each patron. Knowing these interests allowed me and the other library workers to provide personalized recommendations. It was pretty reasonable to assume that if someone was into the Harry Potter series, they’d probably enjoy an author whose stories also involved teenagers, special powers, and faraway schools like Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic books.

As a bookish girl (and let’s face it, I’m still a bookish woman), providing these individual suggestions was not only a professional service, but also an excellent retention technique. Generally, if you were able to get someone who liked reading to continue to reading (and feel excited about telling the person behind the circulation desk what they liked or didn’t like about the story), you could count on them coming back in a few weeks, thrilled to see what other adventures they could find among the stack. It was an effective, and touching, sales technique.

Our COO Lani Rosales had a similar experience as a teen, working at her family’s independent bookstore. Instead of having a patron’s book record to peruse, she independently kept track of customers’ preferences, birthdays, and other information they told her, using post-its. She tells me that she would even send handwritten thank you cards to customers, and these personal touches led to lasting relationships with customers who felt special, recognized, and known by the business.

The tools that we now use to keep track of this consumer data have grown more sophisticated, just as surely as the digital circulation system has replaced the card catalogue, but the basic concept remains true: people appreciate when others take the time to get to know them.

In an increasingly complicated and technical world, it’s surprisingly easy to forget that paying attention to your customer allows you the opportunity to be agile and provide the best products and services for them. But before the CRMs and apps that you may be employing to collect this data, before you even drafted your business plan and thought about how to design your logo, I would hazard a guess that you were already paying attention.

You’re smart, so you were able to see that there was a need or desire that wasn’t being addressed properly and then you had the drive to go out and fill that market. Keep listening, keep learning. Your customers will continue to love you if you do.

AprilJo Murphy is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. She is a writer, editor, and sometimes teacher based in Austin, TX who enjoys getting outdoors with her handsome dog, Roan.

Real Estate Marketing

Top reasons people unsubscribe from emails

(MARKETING NEWS) Sometimes promotional emails can cause us to purge our inboxes due to over-inundation. New data examines specific reasons customers unsubscribe from mailing listings.

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I recently registered my work email with a company that shall not be named in an effort to receive a 20 percent off coupon. While I received the coupon, I also found myself receiving somewhere around 10 emails per week from this company.

After a few weeks, I had no choice but to unsubscribe from this email listing. Though it did give me the option to minimize email settings, the overwhelming amount I already received was such a turn off that I unsubscribed completely.

This has happened time and again with countless other mail listings, and I know that I’m not the only one burdened with email after email. Apparently this is such a common occurrence that eMarketer was able to conduct a survey that complied the top reasons why people tend to unsubscribe from email lists.

The major reasons were broken down into 13 categories.

26 percent of people stated that they get too many emails in general as the top reason for unsubscribing. Click To Tweet

The additional reasons were as follows: 21 percent report that the emails were not relevant to them; 19 percent received too many emails from a specific company; 19 percent complained that the emails were always trying to sell something; 17 percent stated the content of the emails were boring, repetitive, and not interesting to them.

Sixteen percent unsubscribed because they do not have the time to read the emails; 13 percent stated they receive the same ads and promotions in the email that they receive in print mail (through direct mail, print magazines, newspapers, etc.)

Eleven percent stated that some emails can be too focused on the company’s needs and not enough on the customer’s needs; 10 percent felt that certain emails seemed geared towards other people’s needs and not their own. Another 10 percent did not like the appearance of certain emails, stating that they were too cluttered and sloppy.

An additional 10 percent didn’t trust the email to provide all of the information necessary to make purchasing decisions. Finally, one percent claimed “other” reasoning as the main cause.

Fully 7.0 percent unsubscribed from certain email listings because they said emails did not look good on their smartphones. This is important for marketers to keep in the back of their minds.

Assess your email marketing strategy to ensure you’re fitting the needs of consumers, not just your own personal preferences. Data doesn’t lie.

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Real Estate Marketing

Non-profit employs at-risk-youth and veterans to transform prisons into sustainable farms

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Restorative justice can be a hard concept to understand. To see it working in real life, look no further than Growing Change in Scotland County, NC.

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Throughout the summer, we’ve been having honest and urgent discussions about systemic disenfranchisement, policing, and punishment in our society. These issues affect nearly everybody and everything, even down to what we eat. Grocery stores, for example, are a rarity in lots of impoverished or densely urban areas. Places like this, without accessible sources of affordable and nutritious food, are called “food deserts”.

Multiple studies have indicated that without proper nutrition, children have more difficulty in school. Poor performance in school, in turn, is widely considered by juvenile courts to be a predictor of future criminal behavior, which influences the severity of the punishments that are handed down to young offenders. In other words, statistically speaking, growing up in a food desert may have a negative impact on the rest of a child’s life.

Since these problems are fundamentally related, the solutions could be tied together, too. That’s one of the ideas behind Growing Change, a non-profit farm and educational center located in Scotland County, North Carolina. Scotland is one of North Carolina’s poorest counties, with the highest rates of unemployment and food insecurity in the state.

Growing Change simultaneously addresses these problems and more, targeting food injustice in the Scotland County area while educating at-risk youth about sustainable farming practices, and connecting them with mentorship from wounded veterans returning from deployment. Their goal is to “flip” abandoned prisons across the state, turning Brownfield sites into clean, green farms while providing entrepreneurial opportunities for youth and vets.

In a statement from 2015, they explain that “North Carolina is one of the last two states in which youth are adjudicated as adults for all charges at age 16. By the time some 16 year-olds arrive in the courts they are permanently limited in their employment due to their ‘adult’ criminal record. We will help break this cycle by offering the courts, schools and communities ways of diverting youth from the criminal justice system.”

And they get results, too: Their unique Clinical Pilot Program in 2011 showed 92% efficacy in preventing recidivism among participants.

Skill building and personal development is instrumental, not just for teens and young adults, but for anyone to avoid or remove themselves from the dire life circumstances that drive crime rates. I have personally witnessed the power of this model – my former employer, YR Media, teaches classes in multimedia literacy and production skills to achieve the same ends in Oakland, California. When we help people to grow outside of negative roles and situations, more often than not, they happily do.

Growing Change began just under ten years ago, yet their mission is especially relevant now. The pandemic has only amplified the systemic injustices our country has been facing, long before George Floyd’s death transformed the world.

Effective solutions become almost an afterthought in debates about over imprisonment in the US, even though global statistics speak for themselves: The United States accounts for only 4% of the global population, yet is responsible for roughly 20% of the world’s prisoners.

Restorative justice can be a hard concept to understand due to our cultural notions about crime, and it’s impossible to have a full understanding without concrete examples of how these concepts work in real life. This non-profit is demonstrating a clear, creative vision for how we might build connections that nourish us all, from the ground up.

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Real Estate Marketing

Twitter considers adding paid “premium” subscription

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) In a bid for relevance, Twitter announces their intent to pursue exclusive, paid “premium” features.

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Most people would probably agree that paying for social media isn’t a choice they would make, but Twitter makes a compelling case with their announcement regarding premium accounts.

Twitter, a social media platform with a pretty tumultuous history, is considering implementing a paid premium access feature–and, while premium access wouldn’t be required in order to continue using the platform, it seems that Twitter has packaged quite a few desirable upgrades into that “premium” tier.

Whether or not Twitter plans to add premium accounts in the near future is still unknown, but some users have encountered a survey that asks for feedback regarding paid features. Among those features are custom background colors and fonts, an “undo send” option, the ability to upload longer videos, and even an option to see fewer ads.

Many of these features are cosmetic–for example, freedom to add a Twitter-curated badge that identifies you or your company–but some of them do serve the purpose of making premium account owners more powerful on the platform. Being able to upload longer videos is clearly an impactful upgrade, and Twitter’s survey even mentions a tweak wherein business members would be able to access a premium member’s account in a limited, secure manner.

Another aspect of premium accounts could include a “menu” of responses that companies could choose from, making customer service and outreach that much easier.

With the addition of these latter three features, premium accounts could become prime real estate for small businesses and online-based firms–something that has traditionally been more of Facebook’s forte.

It’s prudent to note that nothing is confirmed as of now, and the features listed in the survey may not appear in the final iteration of premium accounts even if premium access is added to Twitter in the future. However, it does seem inevitable that Twitter will roll out some form of premium subscription given that they both hired a team specifically for a similar feature, and mentioned their intention to move forward with subscription options to investors.

Twitter hasn’t exactly been a cash cow as of late, and with many of the social media platform’s initiatives falling flat in the past, no one has been expecting much in the way of growth from the irreverent bird app. A premium subscription for even a handful of users might be the push Twitter needs to become relevant again, both to users and advertisers.

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