Monthly Archives: August 2012

Link Friday: The Blogger Edition

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 by Alan

As you browse the web, you’ve probably noticed many company homepages have a blog about their recent musings (like this one!). According to Forbes, 65% of companies have blogs; a figure that’s continuously increasing.  So why do we blog here at Pilch & Barnet? This Link Friday will show you the benefits of business blogging.

  • Considering writing a blog for your company? Here are five reasons that might convince you.
  • Small businesses that blog experience 55% more visitors to their website than non-blogging companies.
  • Want to learn more? Go here for more resources and articles on business blogging.

Blog on, bloggers!

Turning Facebook Fans into Brand Advocates

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by Kate

In life, there are different kinds of friends. There are the ones who’ve got your back all the time, who sing your praises and defend your mistakes.  Then there are the ones with whom you’re friendly but don’t get too deeply involved.  And lastly, there are the “friends” you nod hello to, but don’t talk with much: your acquaintances. It’s the same for brand pages on Facebook.

Social media firm Wildfire Interactive tracked 10,000 social media campaigns and found users basically fall into three categories. Your Facebook acquaintances are called “joiners.” They’re about 80% of your fan base. They like the page but don’t really interact with it much.  Then there are “sharers”:  They make up about 15% of your fans and while they like to repost your content, they don’t get too involved otherwise.

But your Facebook fan BFFs are called “advocates.” These are the folks who will go to the mat for you. They’ll convince their friends to like your page, even get them to buy your products, and they’ll shout about how great you are from the proverbial rooftops of social media. They’re an exclusive group, probably only 1-2% of your fan base, but they’re also your greatest asset.

So how do you get more Facebook “advocates” and fewer “joiners”?  Give your fans a variety of ways to engage with you.  That way, they’ll be more inclined to stay longer on the page, as well as come back more often. First, provide engaging content.  If you’re a visually-oriented business, post bright, eye-catching photos and short, lively videos. You can ask for likes, but also ask for comments and captions.

Running different kinds of campaigns will boost your page’s engagement as well.  Fans love contests, giveaways, quizzes and trivia questions. But remember, while coupons, giveaways and sweepstakes will bring in the most entries, they are rarely “shared” among friends.  But research shows 82% of Facebook users who clicked on a friend’s News Feed post about a quiz went on to take the quiz themselves.

Remember, it’s important to know your audience as well.  Stay in touch with current events that might be relevant to your fans and post about them.  Treat your fans like VIPs, offering them a behind-the-scenes look at your company or product and give them a heads up on promos and sales. They’ll start talking. But then you need to be listening.  If they ask questions, respond to them.  Comment on their comments.  Be part of the conversation.  And whenever you post, try to accomplish at least one of these two major goals: nurture the fans you already have or get them to share your content with their own friends.

Keep all that in mind and soon you’ll have fewer Facebook fan acquaintances and a whole lot more BFFs.

Christmas is Coming?

Posted on Monday, August 13, 2012 by Tyler

When it comes to marketing your business, spur-of-the-moment decisions should be a rarity. Planning ahead saves time, money, headaches and lost opportunities. Planning ahead also provides you with more choices and gives you far better bargaining power when buying ad space.

In marketing, on-the-fly decision making is the equivalent of playing defense—necessary at times, but what we really want to be doing is playing offense. Planning helps to overcome the human tendency to overemphasize the importance of what’s happening right now and allows us to focus on making decisions that can have the best possible effect on your bottom line.

So, how far ahead should you plan? In terms of your overall marketing strategy, every business, large or small, should also have a year-long marketing strategy. And in terms of ad placement, you should have your advertising schedule set up at least one season ahead.

That means as you’re reading this, your fall advertising should have been placed several weeks ago and ready to roll. And right now, you should now be lining up your pre-Christmas marketing schedule.

Many business owners like the freedom of marketing on-the-fly. The problem is that decisions made on-the-fly often diverge from the overall marketing strategy. And last-minute decisions are often not really decisions at all, but reactions. These reactions are greatly influenced by emotions, highly-pressured ad salespeople, last-minute advertising “bargains” and other inducements that don’t necessarily promote rationality.

If you’ve been in business more than a year, you know when your busiest seasons occur and what parts of the year will be slow. For example, for many retail businesses, summer is slow and Christmas is a blur of activity.

It just makes sense for a retailer to take advantage of the slower paces of the summer months to create the best pre-Christmas marketing plan possible. By the same token, a business owner might want to spend the doldrums of late-winter/early-spring designing ways to boost the traditionally slow summer months.

Living for today is a wonderful attitude to have in life. But, in business, proper planning is crucial. Not making your ad buys at least a season ahead is like cramming for a final exam—it rarely works in school and it really doesn’t work in marketing.

Look ahead. Have a strategy. Be proactive. They are simple things, but all involve action. And that’s the bottom line—take more action and spend less time reacting. Christmas is coming—don’t let it surprise you.

Link Friday: Back to School Edition

Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012 by Alan

It’s mid-August, and that means if you’re a parent, you’re being hassled about back-to-school shopping. According to the National Retail Foundation, the back-to-school sales period comes in as the second-highest sales event after holidays. So how does this affect the marketing industry?

  •  For marketers, that means it’s time to take advantage of families’ willingness to buy! Here’s how.
  • How early is too early to market to the back-to-school crowds? For incoming college freshmen, the conversation begins in March!
  • The market for school preparation is huge. Nearly $70 billion is spent each year. More stats here.
  • And for all the Moms and Dads out there, here are five ways to save on back-to-school shopping.

Good luck weathering the back-to-school madness!

A Social Media Vacation: Taboo or Tolerable?

Posted on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 by Alan

Technology and social media have an ever-growing presence in today’s world. Whether you see the role of social media growing in worldwide events like the Olympics, our national political coverage, or your day-to-day life, it is changing the way we communicate.

When we make the decision to disconnect from our lives for a while, in the glorious time we call vacation, many of us still stay connected through social media. Admit it, technology makes traveling easier through apps, mobility, and access to information. However, the pressing urge to continue creating and sharing content doesn’t allow us to fully relax. This is especially true for those who manage social media accounts for brands and business.

For a brand, taking a vacation from social media can be unacceptable to fans. Many people, like author Mark Schafer, have experienced lost followers and lower Klout when they return from a vacation. Self-made businesspeople, like Andrew Zimmern of the Food Network and Eva Chen of Teen Vogue, choose not to disconnect with social media and sometimes even share more while they’re vacationing. Andrew Zimmern’s Twitter account shares personal activities and feelings (ex: “Heaven. Vacation at the Cabin. Midwest at its finest”) in addition to professional-related opinions and musings. Small businesses like New York’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck felt the need to inform customers that they would be on a social media hiatus during their vacation and still continued to post about their store. In the Wall Street Journal, co-founder Douglas Quint responded, “We need to appear active. We want to appear in people’s Twitter feeds once or twice a day”.

The pressure to stay connected is taking time and resources from small businesses. There are even new programs for small businesses to manage social media accounts more easily, especially when the campaign manager is away. At the same time, it is necessary to be reliable and consistent to your followers and fans.

Should taking a social media break be unacceptable for brands or is a temporary disconnect okay? What do you think?

Look who joined the team!

Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012 by Tyler
Tyler Warhurst

Mr. Warhurst is a builder of websites, both large and small. He has a versatile mind, one that can think in both visual design and computer code. Mr. Warhurst loves portraying unique places through the websites he creates, using the enticing images to move people to experience these destinations for themselves.

Link Friday: The Olympic Media Edition

Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 by Alan

With the first “Social Olympics” in full swing, we’ve tracked the response to the new changes in the Olympic atmosphere. Controversies surrounding advertising, marketing and social media rules as well as media coverage are running rampant. A quick Google or Twitter search of #NBCFail or #Rule40 will bring you tons of opinions from viewers around the world.

Hopefully you’ll keep watching the Summer Games and make your mind up on your own. Go U.S.A.!