Tag Archives: Branding

internet_marketing_strategies

Where Does SMM Fit In A Marketing Strategy?

internet_marketing_strategies
FindYourSearch / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Throughout this summer, multiple marketers I follow have been having issues with organic reaches when it comes to their Facebook pages, and as a manager of some pages myself, I’ve also noticed a decline in organic reaches depending on the subject and audience base. The question being raised by many is whether we’re jumping the gun on social media marketing, and maybe we should place some more realistic expectations on this modern marketing and advertising platform. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute, where does SMM fit in a marketing strategy, and should it be in the driver’s seat, riding shotgun, or should be in the backseat with the occasional question “are we there yet”?

To put it bluntly, social media marketing is great for brand awareness as it can promote products, and the users behind the social media platforms can post important information, pictures, and any other content that is relevant to the audience in which they’re marketing to. However, is it converting into sales? For some businesses social media is indirectly making them rich, but for others, there is a need for face-to-face marketing, a website, and maybe even YouTube videos to capture potential customers’ attention. Depending on the industry, all social media is a reminder that you didn’t forget your kids at the last rest stop because you still hear their voices, but what they’re saying may not be relevant to those in front seats as they’ve already heard the same stories multiple times.

There are limits to what social media can do for businesses and there has to be other elements tied together to help social media marketing reach it’s full potential. When you follow your favorite store, product, or sports team, what do these accounts usually post? Pictures are always the first to come to mind, but more importantly, they’re posting links from websites, blogs, and online stores. All social media platforms really are is an extended arm that reaches customers where they chat with friends and occasionally search for something such as a product they want, but usually don’t buy in that very instant.

Websites and email marketing are still the best ways to convert sales, and social media is what keeps current customers up to date on products or news concerning the company that is operating the fan pages and social media accounts. Don’t get me wrong, SMM is still a great marketing and advertising tool, but it shouldn’t be the center of a market strategy for small or larger businesses, and be more of a brand awareness technique that gets potential customers interested in finding out more about the product and company.

At the end of the day, consumers are still buying the same way they did 10 years ago, whether that be shopping at brick and mortar stores or online. To say that customers shop on social media right now, we’d be lying to ourselves. Until people start buying exclusively on social media, SEO and other forms of internet and email marketing will continue being the conventional route to driving customers to businesses’ brick and mortar and online stores. For the time being, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms will have to wait because the only way shopping has been revolutionized is through Amazon and eBay. Social media’s day may come, but it’s not right now.

Brand

Social Media Matters: SMM Gives Your Business the Brand Awareness It Needs

Brand
loop_oh / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Prior to social media’s existence, what was one of the problems small businesses had to face? Brand awareness. After getting into the yellow pages, local newspapers, and creating a website, that still wasn’t enough to grow the business into something bigger. As with any form of marketing, getting customers to walk through your storefront doors or having online shoppers buy products off your online store is the number one priority. But the question really is how? Social media allows you to promote your business and brand on a regional and even a global scale.

There are many small businesses these days that don’t put a lot of emphasis on their websites, and instead have the main focus on Facebook and Twitter. The reason for this is that updates can be posted with a click of a button, photos of products can be shared, and a connection between the business and the customer are much easier established. Even before they click on the business’s website link for more information, or walk into that store, the customers already get a feel for how they’re going to be treated and know exactly what to expect when they step in the door.

Sharing pictures of what you sell, and exposing your company’s logo on social media helps spread the word throughout the social media platforms you’re marketing and advertising on. By posting what products are in your store, informing your customers that your store is having a sale, or showing what services your business provides all helps spread brand awareness to current and future customers and clientele.

Years ago, television ads and even YouTube were the more viral route to travel to expose a company’s brand. But with Instagram, a short fifteen second video with the right hashtags can have the same affect, and you didn’t waste time and money on production. Using all of the major social media platforms is the best way to get the full effect of social media marketing. Facebook can be used as a micro blog, Twitter can be the site that connects your business with current and future customers, Instagram is where photo’s and videos can be shared, and Pinterest allows you to post pictures of what you sell and direct the viewers to your online store or website.

The best part of social media however, is the fact that you can connect all social media platforms together, creating a web that all leads to your website or online store. That’s where social media in itself becomes a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, but it’s your search engine, the one you built and created.

Until Facebook and Twitter become e-commerce sites, which has been discussed, social media should be primarily used as a brand awareness tool and marketing outlet that drives traffic to your site. Social media marketing indirectly boosts sales, as you’re informing the customer about what your business does along each social media platform. Don’t hesitate now, get started and promote your brand on social media. You’ve got to reach out to the customer and meet them at the halfway point to guide them to your business and online store.

Vintage stuff at Shine Gallery: Pennants

Marketing Matters: Are College Students Prepared for the Business World?

Vintage stuff at Shine Gallery: Pennants
litlnemo / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

Some may ask, “How does college students’ preparation for what comes after their graduation have anything to do with business and marketing”? As students and people, we all must remember our personal image, brand, and how we carry ourselves on a daily basis. This isn’t just about appearance, but also skills in the business world and the office. Are college students prepared for careers in fields that they’ve studied for the past 4 years? Business professionals say no.

According to a survey taken by Bentley University in Waltham Massachusetts, hiring managers don’t think college graduates have sufficient skills both in communication and the jobs that they’re applying for. Lack of interpersonal and writing skills are of major concern, adding onto the already mentioned issues managers are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. All the blame can’t be put on one or two factors, but why are college students not ready for careers, especially in the business sector? Are the colleges not teaching these students real skills that the business world requires, or are these 20 somethings not paying attention during classes and lectures? Maybe it’s both.

Ask a handful of college aged adults how school is going, the usual answers range from, the classes are hard to the parties are great. Not many seem excited to learn or want to gain as much knowledge as possible in the career fields they’re pursuing. For a hiring manager, this is the mentality they’re seeing from the millennial generation, even before these prospects walk into an interview. Very few students prepare themselves for the job they want, and lack the commitment and seriousness that is necessary to acquiring a position at a company or business.

All that ties into their personal brand and how they market themselves. Marketing isn’t just selling a product; as college students we’re constantly selling ourselves. When we meet new people in the dining hall we want to present ourselves as friendly as possible, or on a first date we want to show the other person we are worth their time and affection. But why doesn’t this translate to the business world? There seems to be a disconnect somewhere along the line, and whether that has anything to do with lack of preparation or not, college graduates aren’t impressing those already in the workforce.

Being a third party in conversations, college graduates still talk on a student level, displaying that they’re not fully ready to hold a meaningful discussion with employees both in minimal and high ranking positions. By now, graduates should be presenting themselves as if they belong in the corporate world and not at the fraternity or sorority house. This willingness to not let go of the college lifestyle isn’t helping, and for those who are moving on and preparing for what lies ahead, they are more likely to impress at an interview or in a casual conversation during a pickup basketball game.

The small details matter. Dressing as a professional, talking as a professional, and showing that you’re ready for the next chapter in your life is what makes you stand out. Adults don’t forget those who are serious and have a passion to succeed in life. That same seriousness might just land you a job, as you’re constantly making a first impression, and it can happen anywhere. However, this isn’t common among graduates, despite their endless talk of “I need a job” or “It’s difficult to find work”. Instead of waiting for an opportunity as if they’re waiting for a text from a friend, going out and pursuing is the best way to find a job, even if the economy is struggling.

Managers want serious and professional young talent, but they’re having a difficult time discovering them as there are not many to be found. Branding is extremely important, and it’s a must for every college student to make sure they’re valuable to a hiring manager. In their shoes, seeing an endless amount of college graduates presenting themselves the same way as their peers, lacking in necessary skills, and not possessing the passion for working in a career path they studied for aren’t characteristics worth hiring. You must stand out, if your peers aren’t prepared but you are, you’ll succeed. Hard work does pay off, and while others slack, you must show the business world what you can bring. It could be the difference between sitting on your coach saying “I want a job” and getting paid and prospering.

Marketing Matters: The Importance of Building Your Own Personal Brand

handshake isolated on business background
SalFalko / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

 

When it comes to business, whether it’s the customer, owner, or CEO, everyone knows how important maintaining a respected brand is and how it intertwines with reputation and perception. Far too often people forget that there is another brand in business, the personal brand. We forget that we’re not just marketing our product or services, we’re also marketing ourselves, and this isn’t exclusive to business either. Marketing goes beyond the realm of the corporate world, and it starts with our image and actions on a personal level.

Before a small business can bloom into something larger, the owner is always meeting with clients, distributors, and customers. In those conversations and interactions, it’s the first impressions that can make all the difference. Just because they’re entrepreneurs and small business owners, they’re not excluded from interviews, in fact, they’re constantly seeking out clients and consumers, forcing them to hold a respectable image daily. The way they carry themselves is usually an indicator of how their business is run, and that can be either beneficial or detrimental. Perception is important in business, and whether the old saying is true “Never judge a book by it’s cover”, most people make their decisions based on first impressions.

It’s not just in business meetings or day-to-day interactions with customers and clients that are important to your personal brand. What you say on your Twitter or Facebook account, the pictures you post, or even the things you “Like” or the accounts you follow are all part of your image. When it comes to potential clients, they’ll seek you out, they’ll search for you or your business on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and if they’re not too fond of what they’re reading or seeing, your reputation is already slipping. The way you carry yourself on a daily basis has to coincide with who you are when you’re with family or friends. Business partners and associates want sincerity and realness from who they’re working and making business decisions with, and whether you show it or not, they’ll know the real you sooner or later.

Present yourself as a professional, dress like a professional, be professional everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college student, business owner, or employee; the people around you will draw their own conclusions of who you are without even getting to know you. It isn’t right, but the image you’re portraying will ultimately make the decisions on how others perceive you to be.

Your brand has to be friendly, open, professional, and real. Just as we are when meeting new people outside the office, the same has to be applied in the business world. Especially for students, this is a time when your brand needs to take shape. You can’t say, “I want to be successful” or “I want a job” while being lazy and acting in a completely non-professional or immature way that everyone can see. Have some self-respect, work hard, stand out from your peers; you’ll get noticed. The same for small businesses. You’ll get noticed by who you are and your identity; if it’s open, unique, friendly, and professional, you’ll attract customers that reflect what your business sells.

Personal branding is so important, but so easily forgotten. Start now, get ahead of your peers or competition in the business world, and show the clients, business partners, and customers who you really are. Make that a part of your marketing strategy. As a business owner you’re the marketer and advertiser, and you’re the best representer of your business and how it’s constructed. Good marketing is a vital part of the company’s success, but without a respected and honorable brand, your business will never reach it’s full potential.