Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First Thing, Make Sure Your Team Knows What 'Social Media' Means

LM Comment: Everywhere we hear the buzz about 'social media' yet it often seems that everyone's definition is different. This article suggests some things to consider as you seek to get your marketing team aligned.

March 11, 2009: summarized from vator.tv -- Ready to dip your toes into the expanding pool of social media applications? The space is moving fast, and there are a number of elements to consider.

Make sure you and your team fully understands what social media means. Don't assume you already know everything. I summarize social media as digital communities in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author; it provides a platform for interaction, communication and sharing amongst users with common interests.

Consider alternative metrics. While it's specific to the client objective and function of the application, examples include time spent, invites sent, icons installed, views, posts and traffic spikes during partnerships. Again social media isn't like buying banners on massive reach content sites, so each opportunity is unique and, therefore, each buy will be unique.

Don't view social media only as buying Facebook or MySpace -- the two largest social networking properties in the world. Consider that you are buying an audience, not a social network. It doesn't make sense if you buy social media just because it's social media. If that planner was buying moms, for example, he or she could buy advertising around Circle of Moms, the largest community of moms on Facebook with a membership of 2.2 million. Yes, it's built on Facebook, and therefore it has all of the social and engagement components you'd want. However, at the end of the day, your interest still lies with the moms and what you can talk to them about, not the platform they are communicating on.

If you are considering building a social community and you can't answer these questions don't do it: Do I have great content to provide the user base? Do I have media support to drive traffic? Is there a pre-existing community to partner with that is aligned with my marketing goals? Can this campaign live far longer than my banner campaign for flight dates closer to 90-120 days? If I get an engaged user base, what will I say to them and will I re-market to them if they give me info? Will my traffic and app installs be transparent so I know who my audience is?

Test, test, test. If you have considered buying a sponsorship on a popular iPhone application -- go for it! The clients who get in now will be the first movers and gain the most knowledge, not the ones on the sideline. If you get stuck on the sideline watching your competition zoom by, what do you gain? Can you ever discover alternative ad offerings if you don't test?
Ask your sales rep for help. If you are having trouble selling a concept, an idea or the belief that these new social media platforms are the way to go, look to your sales rep for guidance -- they are there to support you, but they can't help if you don't give them access to a client or your boss.

In 2009, social networking sites will exceed even the loftiest of expectations as it relates to user adoption, traffic, and page views. Don't find yourself wondering "what if?" or "I really wish I could have..." Act now!

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cqubzh

Be It Twittering or Blogging, It's All About Marketing

LM Comment -- Still trying to understand Twitter along with other social networking channels and the role they might eventually play in your marketing mix? Then read on ...

March 12, 2009: summarized from The New York Times -- Passionate New York Jets fan. Keen Knicks fan. Spends hours a day on the social networking sites Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Imbued of an entrepreneurial spirit - he even dreams of owning the Jets someday. Gary Vaynerchuk may sound like an all-American boy, but at 33 he is a successful, grown-up businessman who has put his enthusiasms - and his penchant for publicity - to work in achieving 15-fold sales growth in his family's wine business in the last decade, to $60 million.

He rebranded the shop, which was founded by his father, Sasha Vaynerchuk, a Russian immigrant, in Springfield, N.J., as the Wine Library and began online sales in 1997, when he was still in college. Since then he has steadily advanced his Internet-based marketing skills. His sites are tv.winelibrary.com, where his daily webcast, "The Thunder Show," has won a wide following, and garyvaynerchuk.com.

Last December, seeking to enhance sales, he offered free shipping and promoted it three ways. As a result, he said, a direct marketing mailing cost $15,000 and brought in 200 new customers; a billboard ad cost $7,500 and won 300 new customers; and tweeting the promotion on Twitter attracted 1,800 new customers. No wonder he loves the online approach and is in demand as a consultant by businesses as large as Disney and as small as neighborhood hardware stores.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/coqhap

Harness The Power Of Twitter For Local Marketing

LM Comment: Yes another article on Twitter, but this one is relevant because it references Luxor's use of this service.

March 9, 2009, summarized from Search Engine Land -- The Twitter social networking and micro-blogging service was launched only two years ago, but it's rocketing up in usage numbers quickly, and it seems likely to turn red-hot. Many companies are rapidly cluing into the promotional value, but smaller businesses appear slow to hop on the bandwagon. Here are a few tips on leveraging Twitter to help your locally-oriented business.

As oft pointed-out among search marketers, Twitter links do not pass "link juice"-that is, they don't transfer PageRank value from Twitter to linked-to sites. Even though links in Twitter are not followed, there still could be some small value in real ranking terms, according to the theory that "citations" or "references" appear to sometimes help improve rankings in local search. So, at the very least, it's a good idea to claim a profile in Twitter and link back to your business site. But, the larger value of Twitter to your company may be in terms of audience engagement and as a communication vehicle, if you learn to use Twitter effectively.

If your business is something people seek out frequently, like an entertainment venue or restaurant, then consider monitoring Twitter mentions containing apropos keyword phrases and send replies recommending your place to them. Use Twitter Search for this.

Also, keep a pulse on how many of your types of business are in Twitter. If a user gets inundated with dozens of recommendations from businesses for such a query, they're likely to get irritated.
Here are some tips I have for ways that you might be able to use Twitter to find and engage with customers:

- Send instant coupons. Empty restaurant? Tweet out a small discount offer for the next hour and fill the place up!

- How about Tweet coupons based upon the customer showing you that they've retweeted the offer out to their list of followers? ("Retweeting" = "forwarding" to other Tweeters). This encourages a viral behavior.

- Entertainment venues-tweet out the week's events!

Not to be outdone, the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is tweeting entertainment tix and lodging promo codes. Perhaps they're just slightly edgy/risky in the icon they use for their Twitter profile, though - could it be an actual picture of Brandie, their "Interactive Marketing Ninja," in that revealing bikini?

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cueqvy

Social Networking and the Slot Player

LM Comment: Good article in this month's edition of Slot Manager ... especially worth keeping an eye on are the initiatives by slot manufacturers to weave at-home social networking directly with the in-casino game-play experience.

March 1, 2009: summarized from Slot Manager Magazine -- WMS keeps close tabs on what's happening in the social networking space as part of its ongoing research, said Rob Bone, vice president of marketing. WMS' research shows that 70 percent of the gaming demographic has access to the internet, and 90 percent of those people have access to broadband. "Casino people are already online. They're a lot more capable and a lot more knowledgeable about the internet than the average population." The very nature of gaming is changing. While gaming traditionally has been a private, solitary experience, players are embracing new experiences. "Gaming has become more communal, and it's become more social, and it's being enhanced," Bone said. He likened it to the experience at an exciting table game. "The experience is still whether you win or lose, but it's drastically enhanced by the people you meet, and the experiences you share." Social networking is "a way to identify what's important to you and what type of experiences you want to have." One thing Bone stressed was that WMS' goal with its Web strategies is not to compete with customers. "We're trying to give a solution that enhances their brand and extends their brand. We're trying to enhance their ability to connect with their players." Over the next 12 to 24 months, Bone said, the industry will see WMS deliver more games and strategies to help casinos leverage the player experience.

Bally Technologies also is paying close attention to social networking, said Bryan Kelly, Bally vice president of technology. "Clearly Bally is interested in how we can communicate directly to the casino to drive new players to casinos or retain players," Kelly said. "We are interested in that market and how we could help link those sites and those experiences to hopefully drive some new consumers to the floor. As a systems provider to the casino industry we could enable the linking of those sites and those technologies to our CMS, our player tracking system, to help create those bonds," he said. Like Bone, Kelly cited the advent of community-style games. "As the casino industry moves toward community-based gaming, we are working on that effort," he said. Tournaments are a natural for community-style events that are more customized to the players. "The consumer may want to create his own community. I might bring my buddies to the casino and want them to play with me in these community-type events," Kelly said. "Clearly this is happening in the portal-based gaming world, [and] will migrate into the casino gaming world."

Full story at: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=bnpl4ycab.0.0.o7uw4wcab.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fdc3y9c&id=preview