Embracing social media involves a massive change in a small business and this is not easy. Social media is not about adapting some technology and using it to market the same way with shiny new toys. Social media is a paradigm shift in the way consumers interact with businesses and this requires a much deeper and substantial change in the culture of the business. Social
media is an entirely new way of relating to consumers and prospect while increasing business.
Now most small businesses don’t have the resources to build a social media command center in order to listen to what customers and prospects are saying on social networks, but there are a number of ways even the smallest of companies can leverage social and mobile technologies to create opportunities to more meaningfully connect with customers. But in many ways the technology is not the main determining factor of how successful companies will be utilizing social media to build better relationships with customers. No, tools are very user friendly and free to use, but the real issue is the culture of the business itself.
Customers have changed in a number of ways in a relatively short period of time. Mobile devices, social networks, and ubiquitous broadband access has empowered them to communicate with thousands of people in the blink of an eye. They can create and share information with a few clicks. So technology has changed our behavior, our activities and our expectations in basically all aspects of life – including our role as customers. And customers expect a lot more from people they do business with in this new socially engaged world.
Those business that opt for a strategic approach to leveraging social media must take a more holistic view of how it can impact business, internal collaboration, and relationships with their customers. These business must have a cultural transformation that embraces technology and social media as the new way of doing business in the Web2.0 connected world of the 21st Century. Let’s take a quick look at some of the functions a strategic social media plan has for the small business.
Your Business: Is anyone talking about your business? If so, what are they saying? If people are not talking about your business online what does that say about your brand awareness? If they are, you’ll want to know if it’s positive, negative , or neutral, as all of those things will frame your approach implementing a social media strategy.
Your Industry: Unveil the general industry conversations for your organization. It’s not
about you, but how you fit into the larger profile of your industry on the social web.
Your Competitors: The social web has opened up a wealth of competitive data. For your
known competition, see if they have an established presence in social media. Observe
the campaigns and promotions they’re doing and how the audience is responding. Having
your competitors beating you to the starting line can be a powerful motivator to get started
yourself, or show your colleagues why now is the time to start listening and putting together a plan.
Competitor Intelligence: Are people are talking online about your competition. Who they are hiring, who has recently left and where the competition is missing the boat – which presents all sorts of opportunities for you. Social can pinpoint emerging crises or buzz that you might want to be aware of for your own purposes.
Business Takeaway: the same unfiltered, fast-moving and open information that’s out there about your competitors, is out there about your business. the days when your company controlled its brand are over. The Internet has shifted the balance of power to the consumer. You can’t prevent anyone from talking about your brand publicly, but your business can choose to join the conversation.
Over the last one hundred eighty-five years some of the most motivated and talented Black editors, publishers, writers, and media entrepreneurs have developed the Black Press to fill a market niche that has been ignored by traditional media outlets. Some of the wealthiest Black Americans have traveled this path to influence and riches while providing a much needed Black prospective for news and entertainment. Black newspapers became the medium for Black people to share community news and events from their own unique perspective.
The Black Press has a long and glorious past, but as Web 2.0 digital communication technology continues to assume a larger role in the way information is disseminated in the 21st Century the Black Press must increase its adoption of this new technology, or the once stalwart industry of the Black community, risks becoming irrelevant. Web 2.0 digital communication technology is extremely cost effective for businesses and the research demonstrates the Black consumer market is accessing the Internet at a high rate.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 71% of African-Americans use social networking sites and Black people are accessing the Internet from mobile phone, laptops, and other mobile devices at a rate higher than the US population in general, which is creating demand for niche news. The Black Press has a tremendous opportunity to develop a unique relationship to its Black readership and to thrive in the 21 century digital ecosystem by embracing Web 2.0 digital communication technology as its main media format.
Web 2.0 technology ushered in a completely new information paradigm that provides an avenue for dialogue that has never existed in the history of humankind. The development and innovation of social sharing has spawned a revolution more significant and inclusive than the American Industrial Revolution. This new participatory approach to media is a game changer for the news industry because it provides access to an unlimited number of perspectives and the development of relationships that COULD NEVER have existed in a non-connected world.
Web 2.0 technology is the platform that allows social media to exist and the “app economy” empowers this platform to innovate rapidly, so what does this have to do with the Black Press in the 21st Century. Historically, the Black Press gave a voice to the voiceless with a strong penchant for social responsibility, civic engagement, and advocacy to ensure its readers knew and understood the value of participation in their communities. This is still very much the same responsibility of the Black Press today, but what has changed is the breadth and reach of the community.
The Black Press MUST focus on providing up-to-date highly relevant local news while integrating social sharing platforms to extend their reach to a global community that is connected 24/7. The Black Press must upgrade its understanding and application of Web 2.0 technology to serve its publics and create viable 21st Century business models. There is an unprecedented opportunity for the Black Press to be THE catalysts for the development of a digitally connected and highly informed community that supports its businesses and engages it political leaders to ensure 21st Century relevance and growth.
Social media fundraising is becoming more popular as a valued resource for nonprofits organizations. Whether this shift is because of the success other organizations are having in the field or because of the attention it is getting for political fundraising pertaining to the upcoming presidential election is anyone’s guess. The fact remains unchanged that more charities are turning to online fundraising and the numbers of participants and fundraising dollars are higher than ever before.
Charity Dynamics, an online marketing and consulting firm, conducted the 2012 Digital Marketing Survey which involved 70 of their clients. They found that, “73 percent of respondents indicated that their organizations plan to address social media strategies in 2012. This is up significantly from the previous year when 51 percent felt social media was a top priority. Additionally, 62 percent of those surveyed indicated that converting one-time donors into repeat donors is a key priority for 2012. This also is up significantly from the previous year when only 36 percent indicated repeat donor conversions was a key area of focus.
Furthermore nearly 98% of the organizations surveyed replied that they are using social media and 90% said that they are actively seeking out resources to use this technology better in order to reach their nonprofit’s goals.
In addition to the expected forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and e-mailing, the survey found that, “the mobile channel is expected to grow sharply in 2012, with 51 percent of non-mobile users indicating that they plan to implement a mobile strategy in the coming year. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed indicated that their organizations used mobile technology in 2011 to support their fundraising and marketing activities–up from 27 percent last year.
There are many different ways that nonprofits can implement social media into their fundraising strategies. From weekly updates on Facebook to e-newsletters to a link to receive donations on their website, there are countless ways to open the line of communication with donors. The most important goal with using online resources is to build a strong relationship with your supporters.
This is a short overview of the power of social media for nonprofits when implemented with a sound strategy. It is imperative to understand social media is not the end all magic bullet that will draw donors and volunteers to your organization, but it is as very strong multi-channel online communication strategy that provides an almost unlimited ability measure its effectiveness in real time. Please feel free to post any questions or comments. If you found this post helpful and informative please share it with your network.
Social media is the new kid on the block, but in a very short period of time social media has ingrained itself into the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Social media has swelled like the wave of a tsunami over the lives of consumers, so what is the big deal about social media for businesses?
Social media has become a ubiquitous mainstay in the lives of consumers. Popular platforms have rapidly grown to hundreds of millions of users, and the adoption of social media platforms has no end in sight. This social media “revolution” has transformed the traditional advertising monologue into a two-way dialogue where customers and prospects and have impacted the business world like nothing since television. Social media marketing differs from traditional marketing in many ways, but the goals are the same - to connect and engage with prospects and turn them into customers.
Social Media goes about its duty in a much different manner than the traditional marketing techniques. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful form of advertising for brands, because consumers are much more likely to believe the word of a friend or associate than the hard charging campaign of the marketing machines that were created over the years to influence the masses to purchase good and services.
What this means for businesses is, it is the time to embrace social media channels to reach customers and prospects is now. And while social media marketing and communications is no small task to undertake there are some core issues that social media lends itself to for the promotions of brands.
The first and most important issue to examine is the the incredible reach of social media. This reach is the number one reason social media is such an attractive target for marketing investment for small businesses as well as large corporate entities. Customers and prospects, that enter the social media sales funnel offers access to millions of people with an unclassified relationship to the brand. This funnel includes every social media user across all social media platforms which have staggering breadth and reach.
- REACH - Building branding awareness is centered around reaching more people. One of the strengths of social media is the wide reach, and employing the use of these social media channels has the potential to tremendously increase the reach of your brand.
- TRAFFIC GENERATION - Developing and implementing a social media strategy has the demonstrated ability to drive multi-channel traffic to your website, the hub of your online marketing campaign. These strategies can also drive business to your brick and mortar business.
- NEW AUDIENCES - Social media provides an unparalleled platform to grow your audience and enhance these relationship in a way never before possible in human history. Consumers and brands have the ability to interact in one-on-one relationships, and these newly connected and engaged consumers have the ability to share your content with their friends and associates to grow your audience exponentially.
- EXPERTISE - Social media provides an excellent platform to demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership by allowing you to share, educate, and provide relevant information to your prospects and clients, while building a public profile with helpful information that highlights your expertise in your industry whileincreasing your social searchability.
This is a short overview of the power of social media when implemented with a sound strategy. It is imperative to understand social media is not the end all magic bullet that will draw customers to your business, but it is as very strong multi-channel online marketing strategy that provides an almost unlimited ability measure its effectiveness in real time. Please feel free to post any questions or comments. If you found this post helpful and informative please share it with your network.
Google Places claims the largest number of registered business locations in the World and that is a world class clam. Here are some of the stats for Google Places these numbers are staggering:
- With 8 million Places signups Google has the largest direct relation with SMBS of any local service
- This amounts to 16% of all business locations worldwide
- The growth during 2010 was ~2 million,
- Business were claiming their listing at a rate of 167,000 per month
- Google added 2 million more businesses in 2011
- The growth rate in March 2011 was 250,000 new claimants per month
I think Google will integrate Google Plus deeper into its services Places, Gmail, YouTube, search, etc., and they will have more than enough shared information to create a “social layer” for users’ entire online experience. In fact, Google Plus results are already changing users’ search results based on new social search results.
I think the inevitable integration of Google’s Plus and Places products, which has been very obvious since day one of Google+, is finally upon us. We’ve seen several signals from Google in the last couple of months that this integration may be coming sooner rather than later:
Google completed a major back-end infrastructure update this Spring, presumably in preparation for the near-real-time activity that a Google + business page provides to businesses. Google is now focused heavily on increasing business adoption of Google Plus in addition to Places. Google’s new search plus your world has increased the value of social search for users of Google + and with the largest share of small and medium sized businesses in the world being registered through Google Places the integration of Places and Plus would take the business of local search for businesses to another level.
This will provide Google with the ability to associate your business Places page with your Google+ business page, so Google Search will to be able to associate your website with your Place Page, which indicate to Google that all three are related. The Google Search will strongly index your providing a highly tangible benefit derived from associating Plus accounts with Places, namely getting Places managed by a trusted Google account to surface when searching Place information within Plus. It sure looks like we’re getting much closer to the day where Places and Plus become tightly integrated, both in terms of backend infrastructure and what the searcher sees in his Universal Search-Plus-Your-World results.
From the business owner’s perspective streamlining two products into one means one fewer digital marketing products to think about, and this is an advancement in the true sense of the word. And although Google’s track record around Places prior to last year hardly inspires confidence, the flurry of activity we’ve seen from them since April 2011 makes me think they’re going to nail this integration.
Hello, H2 Blog readers. My name is Bill Huston and I am the content development specialist for H2 Communications. I blog about inbound marketing five days a week, but today I am going to talk about a project H2 is launching called the Digital Literacy Project. The mission of this project is to provide information and training to Black businesses and political campaigns about the Web 2.0 digital ecosystem where we operate in 2012.
By Bill Huston
Politics and business have gone viral. The Internet now represents an important medium for business marketing and political discourse and information. Politicians, entrepreneurs, news organizations, and government agencies have grasped this concept and are now Internet and digitally savvy. They have quality access, presence, and navigational expertise that has enabled them,to effectively engage and pierce every issue and reach every demographic around the world. Americans’ collective Internet use is in step. Yet, African Americans still lag behind in the political a business uses of digital technology.