• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on January 22, 2015

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • MCohen
    Marcy Cohen on January 21, 2015

    Could a Pair of Bedazzled Bowling Shoes Lead to Social Good?

    What if 2015 became the year when the collaborative model didn’t just make it easier to buy groceries but helped emerging economies on their path to inclusive growth? What if it could be a force for social good?
  • How many at last year’s Super Bowl party gave more attention to the ads than to the game? And how many marketers wondered if it was worth the megabucks being charged for a few seconds of glory during the hype surrounding one football game?

    How many at last year’s Super Bowl party gave more attention to the ads than to the game? And how many marketers wondered if it was worth the megabucks being charged for a few seconds of glory during the hype surrounding one football game?

    A conversation over at the Marketo blog caught my eye because it was about that very topic. There is definitely change happening with Super Bowl ads, and the mass-marketing blasts of the past have been joined by digital, targeted outreach that tends to be a good bit easier to track. But is that digital marketing actually better than the megabucks mass marketing we see on television?

    Who Are You Already Talking To?

    I think that it probably is better to have a smaller audience that wants to hear what you have to say and is able to interact. When you have interaction, they have already entered the sales funnel because they have opted into the conversation.

    If there is any reason at all to suspect your targeted audience will be watching the Super Bowl, the biggest return on your marketing investment will probably be some sort of social media outreach because the connections you have already made can be enhanced.

    This “hyper-personalization” is something we probably will see more often because it’s possible with today’s technology. People who spend a lot of time online are accustomed to being tracked and targeted with ads that are frequently ignored. But people who are part of a social media conversation have opted into the discussion and are strengthening relationships.

    Even though you may never meet a customer face-to-face, sharing the Big Game somehow will make them feel like they are watching with friends. There’s an element of trust in friendship, and trust is essential in business/customer relations, too.

    Photo Credit: Super Bowl Ads/shutterstock

    He pushed his way up towards the stage. I had just finished presenting the keynote at Driving Sales, an automotive dealers conference. He thrust out his hand and eagerly shook mine; saying “thanks … blah blah blah…. “ And then I heard him clearly “…too often I am obsessed with pushing customers through sales and I’m not helping them buy!”

    He pushed his way up towards the stage. I had just finished presenting the keynote at Driving Sales, an automotive dealers conference. He thrust out his hand and eagerly shook mine; saying “thanks … blah blah blah…. “ And then I heard him clearly “…too often I am obsessed with pushing customers through sales and I’m not helping them buy!” Really!?! That forced me to pay attention. I hope that he didn’t notice me picking my jaw up from the floor. It isn’t everyday that a car salesman genuinely expresses deep concern for a customer. Most of us would rather have a no anesthesia root canal than be escorted to the manager’s office in a car dealership.

    He followed up with me during lunch. After introducing me to his wife and business partner, they told me that they were excited to make changes. My jaw still hurt but I had to pinch myself.  I was impressed. During my keynote I had challenged the auto dealers by telling a Buyer Legend story of a completely different car buying experience. In that Buyer Legend the dealership creates a play space, like IKEA has, where kids can be safe and have fun while Mom and Dad are kicking tires. The dealer and his wife connected to the story, empathized, and decided it was a great idea to create a play space. I understand the science yet I’m always fascinated by how stories connect even when an avalanche of facts don’t.

    The facts are overwhelming. There is little doubt that car buyers aren’t loving car dealers. Traditionally car buying has been a male dominant purchase, but recent trends shows that this is changing.  Now more than ever, women are the ones buying cars.  There is no doubt that the auto industry needs to make some radical reforms in their selling processes. Still, I have hope for dealers like this one. Even if it was based on the story I told, they were benefiting from the Buyer Legends process. It helped them to understand what the customer needs in order to buy rather than emphasizing a sales quota.

    This doesn’t just apply to car dealers, it applies to you and me. Truly it applies to all of us.

    In the book “The Everything Store”author Brad Stone quotes CEO Jeff Bezos on his selling philosophy  “Amazon is not in the business of selling books, we are in the business of helping people buy books.”  That is similar to what I wrote in this column back in 2001, “…conversion rate is a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take. It’s a reflection of your effectiveness and customer satisfaction. For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.

    There is a fundamental difference between working to sell more and helping customers buy more. When you focus first on selling that road veers towards shouting your message louder, increasing pressure to buy, overcoming objections, increasing exposure, in-your-face product placement, and online marketing devices like squeeze pages. Nobody likes to be sold, so please make it stop.

    There is good news. Everybody loves to buy.

    When you are helping customers buy what you sell you end up creating systems and features that benefit your customers, and that benefit fuels word of mouth and repeat business.  One only has to think about Amazon’s one-click ordering, it’s sophisticated wish lists, fast shipping, easy returns, (the list goes on and on), to realize that these types of initiatives are part of a larger narrative that Amazon is always working harder to make buying easier. This approach sells more long term, even more compelling is that this approach is long term sustainable.

    The biggest difference between selling and helping people buy is the degree of empathy the marketer feels for the customer. Empathy demands that you to think about how the customer goes about the process of buying and that you find ways to make it easier. Empathy begs you to help them make a more confident decision, remove their fears, and ultimately to allow them to make the decision that is best for them, not just for you. It doesn’t matter if you sell books, cars, diamonds, or a complex B2B enterprise solution when you become an advocate for your customers you win hard earned trust, and even if they don’t buy from you today that trust becomes currency in this increasingly transparent word-of-mouth marketplace. It’s hard to find a downside to this approach.

    So where is your focus? Are you overly busy selling or are trying to help people get what they already want from you?

    Even empathetic marketers can get sidetracked by their efforts to sell more. We recently wrote up a case study about how a simple process like Buyer Legends helped a well-known senior Social Media marketer get into an empathetic mindset. It’s worth reading for what you’ll learn about how you too can focus on helping your customers’ buy.

    I’m hopeful that you and your business can be more empathetic than a used car salesman. It’s not so hard to make your customer the hero of your Buyer Legends. It’s simple to do and doesn’t require more than a couple of hours. Try it and you’ll be handsomely rewarded.

    The post What A Used Car Salesman Can Teach You About Empathy appeared first on Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg.

    Photo Credit: Salesman and Empathy/shutterstock

    Something as innocuous as your Facebook Likes could in fact determine your personality type? The research certainly seems to suggest there is substantial and quantitative evidence that it is quite possible. Considering the level of activity, engagement and usage nothing can be ruled out.

    Facebook remained a powerful force in social media in 2014 and contributed job growth to the global economy. It is probably not unheard of nowadays that most people have an account with the platform and use it for professional or personal reasons.

    Whatever the scenario may be Facebook is a social channel that is gathering data from its billions of users to advance its efforts. A new paper published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States through the use of a computer model can predict your personality type from your Facebook Likes.

    Something as innocuous as your Facebook Likes could in fact determine your personality type? The research certainly seems to suggest there is substantial and quantitative evidence that it is quite possible. Considering the level of activity, engagement and usage nothing can be ruled out.

    To arrive at this model three researchers (Wu Youyou, Michael Kosinski and David Stillwell) explained that in order to measure the model’s accuracy they compared its verdicts to the subjects’ ratings of their own personalities, according to a New York Times blog.

    So the result was that the inclusion of Likes computers are far better at assessing human personality by the likes of an average co-worker, the average friend and even the average spouse, according to researchers.

    What the study did take into careful consideration was the conception of personality and the researchers utilized a five-factor model that examines traits like extroversion and neuroticism.

    Facebook has been known to prowl unethically around the use of privacy data from its users and is always subject to scrutiny. There is a tendency by some of trying to game social media metrics and specifically by purchasing Facebook Likes. Considering these practices are condemned and discouraged thankfully there are enough ways to determine when engagement is organic and authentic.

     So the use of this research and data could be meaningful in a number of areas. It could be used in some employment scenarios like matching a candidate’s personality type with a specific job position. The heart of the matter is it is still early to say if this will become a norm and a requirement.

    A couple of years there was plenty of controversy when some employers where requesting prospective employees for access to their Facebook accounts. This prompted legislative action in several states to ban the practice and give him or her the ability to refuse handing over such information.

    So the study may not seem harmful in determining your personality from just measuring the pages you Like. However, the issue at hand is of course is the right to privacy and factoring in your social media profile for an eligible job position is far from a done deal. This has to be further developed and include more additional research before putting into practice.  There are still a number of people who may not have a Facebook account and may just have the right qualifications-not to mention the personality type that meets the demands of the job. 

    The marketing world is filled with buzzwords, and it can be tricky to tell which tactics are the real deal and which are passing trends. Inbound Marketing has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. However, inbound techniques have been around long enough that they are unlikely to be replaced by the next big thing in the near future.

    The marketing world is filled with buzzwords, and it can be tricky to tell which tactics are the real deal and which are passing trends. Inbound Marketing has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. However, inbound techniques have been around long enough that they are unlikely to be replaced by the next big thing in the near future.

    Not convinced about the strength of Inbound Marketing? It's getting more difficult to succeed with straightforward search engine optimization, but Inbound Marketing can improve your rankings, according to Business 2 Community.

    Inbound Marketing: more leads and best SEO

    89 percent of people conduct online research before making any purchase, which highlights the importance of optimized landing pages. Blogging is one of the most basic forms of inbound marketing, and this is one of the easiest ways to increase page rank because blogs bring more traffic to your website.

    Web pages that utilize reliable inbound marketing tactics get more traffic. These companies are also able to generate more leads. In fact, going from 10 to 15 landing pages can result in 55 percent more leads, the article said.

    The greater number of high converting landing pages you maintain, the more leads you can attract. For example, websites with 51 to 100 landing pages are able to gain 48 percent more traffic than sites with 1 to 50 pages. If you have the right content and forms to convert visitors, this can translate to a significant uptick in qualified leads.

    It's important to remember that not all leads will become customers, but providing high-quality content and a good user experience has a strong influence on visitors. If content is targeted for your audience, you can increase the number of qualified leads you gain from your website.

    Content vs. Inbound Marketing

    Inbound Marketing has become synonymous with content, and some people in the industry worry that inbound will lose out because content marketing is a slightly newer concept.

    Both concepts are similar, but there are subtle differences, and they may be worth paying attention if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your website as a lead-generation tool.

    Inbound marketing emerged as consumers and business buyers migrated to the Internet to research different product offerings. Companies wanted a way to stand out, especially as the Web became more saturated with competing sites. Because Inbound Marketing improves online visibility, this tactic only exists on the Internet.

    Content Marketing, on the other hand, can apply to offline materials. Good content focuses on the needs, challenges and goals of a particular target audience. Many brands often utilize different forms of Content Marketing at various stages of the sales cycle to build the relationship with potential customers.

    While inbound marketing can boost SEO results, you need to be aware that Google's nearly constant updates pose a threat to inbound marketing if it's used alone. When people do a quick search, Google has started displaying a snippet of the answer at the top of the page above all other links. In some cases, this may answer the user's question, which means he or she doesn't have to click to the website. However, high-quality content will make people want to gain more in-depth knowledge and, more importantly, return to your website in the future.

    You shouldn't see content and inbound marketing as working against each other, but rather as two techniques that work in conjunction to bring traffic to your landing pages, help you attract qualified leads and gain more customers.

    Do you think Inbound or Content Marketing is more important?

    In the world of messaging, content creation and postings, we forget that taking a minute to listen can help steer us in the appropriate direction.

    Something in every marketing blog, whitepaper or case study is being where your audience is and then dominating the space so they interact with you. This works, in a forceful, not too friendly, kind of way.

    Or, you could listen for a while and find things you never knew existed.

    For instance, a previous project involved managing the social media outlets for a building code company. They created all of the building codes for the U.S. and a few other countries. They had several legacy organizations combined into one giant memberships organization. They also had an idea of where and what their members liked and listened to, LinkedIn, Facebook, a newsletter, an online membership magazine and their website.

    So, posting content began by putting it throughout their various social media outlets. Some items here, some items there, a little bit everywhere. Coverage mostly pertained to the big three social media channels at the time, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

    Twitter was one of the outlets where the content posted was not increasing growth and connections.

    Content from all sectors of the business were posted to the Twitter account; building code hearing schedules, releases of new products, other announcements and news items. However, posting all the various amounts of content was not the issue.

    We took a step back and began to monitor the conversations occurring with their followers and also monitored the followers and their content, something surprising occurred.

    This organization with legacy members, who (more often than not) liked things the way they were and were not open to a lot of quick changes, were totally digging content about green and sustainability building codes. At this time, green and sustainability building codes were fairly forward thinking for their audience.

    Upon further digging, we found more surprising information. The users who were engaging with the green and sustainability content weren’t their regular legacy members. They were architects or younger industry professionals. A whole new audience had appeared who was not necessarily being reached through the other communication outlets.

    The lesson learned was not be to frustrated by a lack of growth of outlets but to make sure, that with monitoring and listening to the outlets we were offering content our users were wanting.

    The communication strategy changed to accommodate the new audience and they posted green and sustainable content mostly through Twitter while leveraging their various other outlets for other news, updates or notifications for a successful integrated communication strategy.