Posts Categorized: Social Media

Xmas Ducks in a Row

Posted in Marketing, Social Media.

quickbrownfox christmasWith only 3 weekends to Christmas, it’s time to get a few of your ducks in a row if you haven’t done so already. Here’s a few things that might help in getting December off to a great start…

  • The festive season is not just for retailers
    Even if you don’t sell retail products, you can still promote to and engage your audience at this time of year. What about creating an offer you can tailor to the season? Or ask your database to share the cheer and give you suggestions for new services or products? You could ask your customers to upload a picture of their team in festive outfits using your product or service to your social media pages. Or perhaps find a way to count down the 12 days of Christmas? It doesn’t just have to be for the department store sales – you too can connect with your customers and followers.
  • Santa uses his branding well, so should you
    This time of year is a great time to thank your client base (and your key suppliers and staff), be that with a card or perhaps a personalised gift. And it’s a perfect opportunity to let your brand come to life for them. Get your cards made with your branding strong and proud (digital printing is really affordable now) and if you’re buying a gift, find ways to link this with your branding (for example, rather than a pen, you could do a branded cup cake). Get clever, your audience will appreciate your effort.
  • Being social takes planning
    With January only weeks away, you need to have your next round of blog posts decided and planned out, along with your posting strategy for your social media accounts. Take the time to review the stats and find out when is the best time to post to each for you and what seems to get the best reactions and tailor next year’s posts accordingly. Even writing 3 months of content in advance can take a huge amount of pressure off – and will allow you to look and feel more strategic about things. With many folks away in the few weeks over Christmas and New Year, it’s a great time to get ahead of the pack.

Hopefully you’ll get some time off to reflect on a great year and look forward to an even better one in 2015. Enjoy.

Is it a bad thing to use a stock image?

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Social Media.
Marketing brisbane

There’s so many for and against arguments it’s hard to take a side on this one, but it is a question that comes up a lot within marketing circles – is it a bad thing to use a stock image?

Well, as usual, the answer is, it depends.

The case for:

  • if your budget is tight and if you have a specialised product or service where the chances of anyone else using the same stock image to promote their similar service is minimal, then sometimes stock images can suit your purpose (see my cute fox stock images as an example)
  • if you’re preparing a presentation and it needs some life added but you don’t own enough images, stock shots can play a good part here
  • your facebook posts will always do better if there’s an image involved, and now that they’re giving you free access to Shutterstock images for that precise purpose, there’s a great reason to keep your info fresh using stock imagery (see the quickbrownfox facebook page post on this for more detail)
  • it’s also true for other social media like LinkedIn and blogs – imagery can really bring these to life, so adding stock imagery can be a good way to achieve this without breaking the bank

The case against:

  • at the end of the day we’re talking about your brand image. So using someone else’s interpretation of that might be at odds with your purpose. In the quickbrownfox case, we are unlikely to be able to get a suitable fox to provide an appropriate facial expression at an achievable cost, so in this instance it falls into the ‘case for’. But generally your brand will need to showcase a skill, a mood, your people or give an insight into your brand’s personality which should come from within, not from an image library trying to hit multiple marks
  • photography is not as expensive as you think. At minimum, you need a hero image (or 2) and some support shots that help bring your brand to life so we’re not talking a 5 day shoot here necessarily. You will have invested in getting your logo, website design, copy writing, and collateral materials right – don’t let it all down with a stock image of ‘people shaking hands’ or ‘happy smiling corporate people’
  • you will own these images and no one else can use them without your permission. So you won’t find your competitors using exactly the same shot to promote their (perhaps inferior) product offer
  • imagery is emotive – it’s supposed to be. So make sure you don’t compromise on the emotion you evoke with your consumer – they’ll see right through it

At the end of the day it will come down to a combination of budget and intent. If you can, you should always aim to take and own your own shots. But for the right purpose and in the right circumstance, a stock shot might just do the trick.

Pinterest(ing)

Posted in Social Media.

New social website Pinterest:  New kid on the block, Pinterest, is causing a bit of a stir, and for good reason. The site lets you simply post images of things of interest to you and others. For brands, this is a terrific forum to share your product line and things that inspire your work (think florists, photographers, interior designers, web designers – anybody with anything creative to share).

From a demographic point of view, it skews high to females, but that’s because it’s early days. For now, my advice to those of you who don’t have a ‘widget’ or ‘widget style service’ to sell on line and are not from a creative industry, I’d hold tight. But, I would get on and have a look at what is happening on this site as soon there may come a time when it is right for you to be there so you should get a feel for it.

On a personal note, you might find this site interesting nonetheless. Recipes, sports, funnies, gardening, travel, pets – you name it, it’s on there (yes, even porn which is causing an even bigger stir in the market right now!). So, while you might not be interested from a business point of view, this might tickle your own personal creative fancy in the interim.

To get in, you need to go to http://pinterest.com/ and request an invite. Or, just have a sniff about their site and see what interests you.

What have we done at quickbrownfox? Well, we joined to secure a user name so no-one else could take it. And, we’re sniffing about on the site to get a feel for how it works so we can share that info with you. Soon, we’ll have our own site up live as much of the content we post on facebook and twitter fits perfectly with this style of site (mainly the ‘what were they thinking” style of ads). Whatever you decide to do, make it (pin)interesting for others to view or you’ll be posting for no outcome.

If you are interested in setting up a pinterest page for your business, here’s some handy tips to make the most out of it. Hubspot have published a sensational free ebook on the subject. So if you’d like a copy just download from here. Big thanks to the folks at Hubspot for providing this (note, I’m not affiliated with them nor do I endorse their work, but this ebook has great advice and is definitely worth the read if you’re interested in making the most of your business site).

how to use Pinterest for business_Hubspot Feb12

Happy pinning!

Is automating your social media account a sin?

Posted in Social Media.

Some businesses are reaping the efficiency rewards of using automation programs (like Hootsuite and SocialOomph) to pre-load their status updates for facebook,Twitter and for their blog posts.

But is this the right way to use the platforms and what will their followers think?

Well, not to sit on the fence, but your success in using automation depends on how you manage it.

As it is in any form of communication you use to engage with your target market (in this case ‘followers’ and ‘community’), it’s important that you don’t find yourself talking at them but rather speaking with them.

It’s really no different to any communication strategy. It’s just like a brand or product owner devising a series of print or TV ads (each with a different message and building on the last ad) and pre-booking them into magazines and TV programs throughout the year to guarantee their ‘spots’. Every message is tailored to the environment in which it’s being booked (well, at least it’s supposed to be) and, despite many companies constantly breaking the ‘rules’, you won’t get the results if you put 20 lines of copy up on a billboard (don’t even start me on this topic!), So the same goes for social media – don’t use print media or ‘sales flyer’ language if you want to get results.

So in this sense, using auto-post programs can be considered a smart way to create efficiencies for your business – but you do need to stick to the ‘rules’.

How does it work?
Once you’ve written your marketing strategy and know what you want to say and to whom, you can create a number of topic categories you want to share with your audience and then write the content for those – right out to 12 months if you wish. For example, a quickbrownfoxclient (a band called the Electric 80s Show ) has just implemented an automated system to keep their fans engaged and involved with their brand. We wrote 12 months worth of updates for their facebook and Twitter accounts under topic categories such as 80s Facts, 80s Lyrics, funny band riders, and a special ‘flashback friday’ post with a classic 80s YouTube link for a little 80s reminiscing. All stuff their audience are interested in and want to hear about.

Rather than having someone from the band sit down every day, research, type and post these updates, it’s all been pre-done and is now sitting happily in an automated system where it posts out on the schedule we’ve set without them having to lift a finger. Nice.

The system will send out these ‘love bites’ to your audience to keep your brand in their mindset and to build rapport. Sooth-sayers in the industry suggest it takes 7 interactions with your brand before your target is prepared to buy. This is one way to build your credibility in your area of expertise and create an environment that encourages interaction.

These systems can also offer ‘friend finder’ searches, send automatic ‘thanks for following us’ DMs, and allow bulk uploads (which I’ve used and rate BIG time).

What it doesn’t do
Now that you’ve got this rapport-building strategy in place, it’s not like you actually just walk away. You do still need to monitor the account. As your audience responds to your posts, you need to be engaging right on back. A one-way conversation doesn’t last long and soon you’ll find you’re just talking to yourself. This is where a monitoring platform is good to be able to keep track of what is being said and how you can then better engage with the community to again keep you as efficient as possible.

You still need to reply to posts, retweet where you think it’s relevant and post current topical information along the way. But the automation program will take care of the main job of building rapport.

Which one should you use?
Well, without gushing, I’ve reviewed many of the automation programs out there and I’ve decided (as have many others) that there are two main contenders.

For the automation and bulk uploads, my recommendation is SocialOomph Pro for it’s ease of use and uber cool functionality (having used it for a while now, I feel like my inner-geek has been released!). Their homepage is tough to make sense of and looks very busy, but having now used it extensively, I can’t go past it. The key winning features are the bulk upload to list ‘reservoirs’ that are pre-scheduled to time and date (you simply upload a plain text file of all your updates and it schedules them…this is a GREAT feature); friend finder (including followers ‘with clout’); and the ability to easily manage a range of pre-ordained posts. It lets you schedule posts to a range of social platforms including Twitter, facebook as well as a blog feed.

Then, to monitor and do some ‘along the way’ posts to your platforms, I’m finding HootSuite to be easier to use than other platforms (I moved across from Tweetdeck and I’m happy with the switch). You can list and review your Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, foursquare and some blog platforms in an easy to view page as well as do some minor scheduling of posts. They also allow you to geographically search for hashtags and keywords. It’s really a terrific way to keep track of what’s being said and letting you easily interact.

Using them in conjunction means you can schedule and then manage your campaign without fuss and within limited time frames.

So, I would suggest that automating some of your messages is indeed not a sin. It’s a smart way to efficiently manage your marketing strategy. As long as you’re wily about it!