Is Social Media Valuable?

Still not sure about the power of social media?  Below is a series of posts that came from my personal Facebook newsfeed.  The names and identifying information have been obscured for privacy reasons.

Value-of-Social-Media

So what does this tell you?  People use social media to get information.  The person who posted the query is obviously a fan of getting information online.  She has been given two options Dr. ABC and Dr. XYZ.

The next logical step 

Rather than guess at what her next step would be, I called her and asked her what she did.  She was already online so she googled both names and looked for more information about both doctors.  She scanned (her words) their websites and read a few reviews and then chose on of those two doctors.  In essence she used social media to get an answer to a question and then “shopped” the answers all without leaving home.

Was this a scientific study, of course not, just a casual observation.  If you own a business particularly if you rely on the patronage of the “locals”, you need to be involved in social media.  Get a Facebook account and  a Twitter account if for no other reason than to stay in the loop.  Every so often, google your name and the name of your company, see what pops up.  You may be surprised at what you find.

How to Set Better Content Goals and Achieve Them

When I’m writing blogs every week, I learn new things all the time. While looking for an idea to write about this week, I stumbled upon a great article by Copyblogger about wide versus deep content. I’ve read a lot about creating content, but this article made me think about content in a whole new way. When you’re writing content, there should be many goals attached to it. Usually, you want to inform the reader about the topic you’re writing on, but what else are you trying to achieve? Gain your readers’ trust? Attract new readers? There are many things you can achieve when you create content. So how can wide or deep content help, and when should you use them? The following is a bit of Copyblogger’s article discussing these questions.

“Creating effective content is hard. I don’t want to deter you from crafting content for your business, but you need to set goals for everything you create.
Whether you produce content that is timely or evergreen, audio or text, knowing your goals will ensure you maximize the return on your time and resources invested in content marketing.
Each piece of content needs to be placed into one of two categories: wide or deep.
And each category has one specific goal:
• Wide content attracts new audience members.
• Deep content strengthens relationships with your existing audience members.
An effective content marketing strategy uses both wide and deep content, but an individual piece of content shouldn’t try to meet both goals.
Let’s explore each type of content goal.

Going Wide with your Content

When you create a piece of wide content, you attempt to reach the most readers, listeners, and customers as possible. In short, going wide is how to use content to find customers.
Wide content is not about immediate results. Instead, it positions your net to continually find new people who fill the top of your funnel.
You will notice a pattern with wide content: it’s perfect for repurposing. With a little planning and forethought, you will be able to repurpose wide content into different formats to reach a broader audience.

SEO Helps you Go Wide

The foundation of all wide content is built upon SEO, and Google is a top source of new traffic and visitors to websites.
Because of this, we need to consistently create useful and relevant content for our website visitors. It’s an excellent first step for all wide content pieces.
Our net spreads even further when people link to and share remarkable wide content.

Wide Content and Podcasting

With the recent rise in popularity of podcasting, content creators should utilize the reach of audio. Think of iTunes the same way you think of Google: it’s a massive search engine that helps your audience find you.
Starting a podcast does not have to be a daunting task. You just need the right platform.
In fact, podcasting is an excellent way to repurpose popular content from your website. If an article has been popular as a written piece, with minor alterations to the text, you may be sitting on a great podcast episode or two.
Cast your proven content far and wide, and craft audio content as you would any other content you publish on your website:
• Write engaging headlines for titles.
• Provide keyword-rich show notes.
• Keep a consistent publishing schedule.

Going Deep with your Content

When creating wide content, your goal is to reach as many potential readers, listeners, and customers as possible — but you shouldn’t try to reach everyone.
Always keep your focus on your perfect customer.
Going deep with your content nourishes and strengthens your relationships with those people you attracted with your wide content.
Deep content moves people from cold audience members to warm audience members, and then to customers. It’s like the second date and beyond with your audience.

How to Use Email to Go Deep

For years, people have been touting the death of email. Yet, to this day, email is the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal as content marketers.
There is no better way to deepen our relationships with our audience members than through access to their inboxes.
Email content, when done right, is powerful value exchange. You’re able to provide multiple points of value to your audience in exchange for their attention.
You could:
• Write a newsletter.
• Curate content your audience will love.
• Craft a useful email autoresponder series.
All deep content marketing strategies need to include email marketing.

Is your email marketing lacking? Here’s the easiest way to optimize your email marketing campaigns.

Can Social Media be Deep?

Social media is often viewed as a wide content vehicle, but when you think about it this way, you overlook its deepest value.
For example, think about why you follow someone on Twitter. Are you there to see an endless stream of promotion, or are you looking for a behind-the-scenes view?
Of course, social media can and should be used to promote your content, but without interesting personal insights mixed into it, your social media presence will flounder rather than flourish.

Clarify your Content Goals by Going Wide or Deep

As with everything in your business, crafting content without specific goals will diminish both the short-term and long-term benefits of the work you are putting in today.
As a bonus, there is often an overlap between content created to go wide and content created to go deep.
For example, your goal may be to go deep, but the same content may also help you find new audience members. Remember that this is a side benefit and shouldn’t be confused with your original goal.
Always focus on one type of goal for each piece of content you create.
Your goal is to either find new audience members or form deeper connections with existing audience members.”

4 Myths About Marketing to Baby Boomers Debunked

By the end of 2015, Americans 50 and older will represent 45% of the population and control approximately 70% of the wealth. But only 10% of marketing and 5% of advertising dollars are aimed at this sector. As marketers, we are missing out on a vital, untapped marketing that has the time, interest, and money to really make an impact on a company’s bottom line. But there are common myths that still persist about these elusive baby boomer creatures, which keep marketers away. We’ve identified the top four most common myths, debunked them for you, and provided you with tips to successfully market to baby boomers.

Myth #1: Boomers are all the same.

Just because they’re all in the same age range and have mostly gone through the same milestones, doesn’t mean they all have the same wants and needs. While many baby boomers worry about money & health, others are excited about their newfound freedom, encore careers, and having grandchildren.

Marketing Tip: Understand that not all boomers are alike. Target those most likely to purchase your product or service and identify which communication channels will most effectively reach them.

Myth #2: Boomers are technologically challenged.

Truth is, boomers are the fastest growing technology sector! 89% of baby boomers have cell phone, 70% of boomers are on Facebook, 66% buy from online retailers, and 31% are on Twitter. We may make a lot of jokes about helping our parents or grandparents with new technological crazes like SnapChat and Instagram , but baby boomers are a lot more adept with technology and social media than we give them credit for. This gives marketers many digital channels to connect with boomers.

Marketing Tip: Create holistic strategies with SEO, social media, mobile, engagement, and powerful images of baby boomers. Make your online sales process easier and more secure. Make it easy for boomers to find what they need on your site and purchase it with just a few clicks, while letting them know that their credit card and personal information is safe and secure.

Not sure if marketing to baby boomers are social media is smart? Read our blog all about why you should be marketing to boomers on social media!

Myth #3: Boomers are brand loyal.

It is true that baby boomers stick with what is tried and true, which is what most of us do once we find a product or service proven to produce results. But boomers are willing to jump ship if something better comes along, but convincing them to make the leap is harder than younger generations. New product adoption typically only comes with hard facts, data, testimonials, and referrals. They have questions about new products and services that they want answered directly. If a product or service catches their eye, they are willing to do thorough research before the purchase but they are also willing to spend their money in new places.

Marketing Tip: Skip the hard sell. Boomers don’t want to feel like they’re being sold, they like to do their research before making an informed decision. They also want to ask questions and get answers, so make it clear you are available to answer any questions they have. Lastly, build a referral program. Boomers are much more likely to come from a referral. Do a great job for your customers and ask them to spread the word through their personal networks. Make it easy to share your product or service via email and through social media. You can also consider rewarding customers for referrals.

Myth #4: Boomers are captured with mainstream advertising.

Data actually shows that 66% of baby boomers believe that ads have gotten cruder in recent years. Another 67% report being less likely to purchase a product if the advertising is perceived as offensive. Using the same marketing gimmicks or strategies for boomers as you do millennials just won’t cut it.

Marketing Tip: Boomers are smart, know what they want, and are willing to pay for it. Focus on the benefits of your product or services, not just the features or specs. Focus your messaging on how what you’re offering solves a problem. Tell the story of how your product or service makes life easier, better or more enjoyable.

Is it a Good Idea to Market to Baby Boomers on Social Media?

Are you unsure if spending your limited marketing dollars targeting baby boomers on social media is a smart choice? Baby boomers are a huge target that marketers are constantly trying to reach. With conflicting information about how widely and often they use social media platforms, it can be difficult to decide whether you should waste your resources on such a group. We say not only SHOULD you target baby boomers on social media, you NEED to. Here are our four main reasons why marketing to people aged 50-65 on social media is a worthy investment.

1. Baby Boomers Have The Money

Teens and young adults are still planning for their futures while baby boomers are already wealthy. According to Nielsen, by 2020, close to 50% of the U.S. adult population will be 50 and older and they will control 70% of the country’s disposable income. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Boomers and seniors have a net worth 3x greater than that of younger generations, as Boomers’ median household income is 61% greater than pre-Boomers.

Not only do boomers have the money, they spend it. They account for nearly 50% of all retail sales and outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services, according to a U.S. Government Consumer Expenditure Survey. As a business owner, you want to go where the money is now, and it’s with the baby boomers.

2. Baby Boomers Aren’t THAT Old!

You need to remember that baby boomers were the first to experience the beginnings of the internet. They did not use stone tablets, in fact, they’re using smart tablets to shop! From a study by eMarketer, 49% of Boomer tablet users and 40% of smartphone users made at least one purchase within the last year after gathering information on their mobile device. Baby boomers are fully utilizing social platforms and mobile technology.

3. Baby Boomers are Active & Available on Social Media

Boomers on social media are growing faster than young Americans. By 2050, it is estimated that the Baby Boomers population will more than double to 161 million people (Nielsen). This makes them prime targets for concentrated marketing. Right now, baby boomers can be mostly found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, according to a study by DMN3. According to Pew Research, the average user on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter is middle aged.

Ever wonder how different generations consume content? We explain here!

4. Baby Boomers Love to Shop Online

Boomers are prolific online shoppers. According to Nielsen, a third of them shop online and the 50+ segment spends almost $7 billion in ecommerce. It’s not surprising that Forrester Research found that 72% of adults aged 55-to-63 shop online, and Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 each year.

Baby boomers are a prime market to target on social media. They are active on social media, have the most disposable income, and love to shop online. If boomers on social media are not already a part of your marketing plan, you need to pencil them in.

Unsure where to start when marketing to baby boomers? This blog can help.

Baby Boomers and Social Media

Adults born between 1946 and 1964, known as Baby Boomers represent one-third of all social media users. And, they wield a huge amount of online purchasing power. If social media is not a part of your current advertising and marketing strategy, you’re missing the boat. 

“As the baby boomers like me are retiring and getting ready to retire, they will spend whatever it takes – and they’re the wealthiest generation in our country – to make themselves live an enjoyable life in their retirement years.” –David Rubenstein

 From Anna Bassham, besides the fact that there are 77 million of them (that’s roughly 25% of the U.S. population), Baby Boomers have money and want to spend it. They control 70% of disposable income ($7 trillion) and spend more money per-person than any other age group. In fact, Baby Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis.

By 2050, it is estimated that the Baby Boomers population will more than double to 161 million people. This is a large, growing, wealthy and winnable demographic.

Boomers Demand Excellent Customer Service

Members of this demographic grew up in the age of consumerism. Their sheer size helped define brands, and they’re used to influencing the products and services they use. Brands who are fast to respond to questions, comments, and concerns will win their trust and business.

Boomers Are Tech-Savvy

Throw out the belief that Baby Boomers are not comfortable with social media, online shopping or mobile apps. 27 million people over the age of 55 use social networking. Over one third of all tablet owners in the U.S. are over the age of 45.  Approximately 66% of U.S. adults over the age of 50 regularly buy from online retailers.

Keep Things Easy

Engage Baby Boomers with a social media campaign that requires little effort. They are less likely to take part in complicated contests or crowd-sourced campaigns. They prefer taking polls, rating, ranking and voting items, and providing user feedback.

Don’t wait to factor Baby Boomers into your social media strategy, because their numbers keep on rising. The number of baby boomers on social media has tripled in the past four years.  By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, and by 2050 it will grow to 86.7 million people, according to the U.S. Census.  Baby Boomers are using social media and if you aren’t, plain and simply you’re losing out on business.

Social Media is Not New

You can always learn from history.  Some people hated history class in high school, I loved it. I found it both comforting and strangely compelling that nothing much ever really changes, concepts are just repackaged every few generations and resold as “new” and “improved”.

Social media is a perfect example of a “repackaged” product.  Maybe the delivery system is newer, but it could be argued that even that’s been around for almost 50 years.  Almost 50 years ago Ernest Dichter, the father of motivation research, did a large study of word of mouth persuasion that revealed secrets about how to use social media to build brands and businesses. People have wanted to reach out and communicate with other people since the first caveman met the second caveman.  And this got me thinking.

What are 5 things we can learn about Social Media from Cavemen?

1.  Clan Communes are Still Important.

The earliest “civilizations” were organized into “clan communes”.  These clans relied on the collective sharing of information and efforts to survive.

Need a good pediatrician?  Ask your facebook clan for a recommendation.

2.  Art was Important.

Your ancestors had virtually no time to do much more than survive.  With the limited amount of free time they did have they created art to share with others.

Want to redo your living room?  Head over to Pinterest.

3.  Hunt .

If you’re just sitting around waiting for something to happen…you’re bound to get eaten.

Promote your business and yourself on LinkedIn.  It’s a great to connect to other professionals in your industry.

4.  Story Telling.

Maybe you aren’t going to share a story around a campfire, but we still have stories we want to tell to anyone who will listen.  We tell stories about our kids, and our relationships.  We spin stories (fish stories count) about our successes and our failures, both personally and professionally.

Blogs are a great way to tell a story.

5.  They Hunted in Packs to Take Down Bigger Animals

Not happy with the antics of a large corporate entity?

Tweet away.

I don’t mean to imply that we haven’t evolved in thousands of years, we have. But every so often I find it comforting that the basic threads of humanity; sharing and community, will always find ways to succeed.

Top 10 Myths of Marketing Your Business Online

Let’s get right to the point.

 

The Top 10 Myths in Marketing Your Business Online

A social media ‘presence’ is great advertising.

To do social media right, you need to be, for lack of a better word ‘social’.  Which means you need to encourage conversations and conversations go in both directions, from you to someone and from that someone to you.

An elaborately designed website is better than clean and simple.

Not.  An overly complex business website is typically more difficult to read making it harder for your audience to get to the point. Too many colours, too many fonts, hard to read fonts, fancy animations and poor contrast will only serve to distract the potential customer from the actual message.

More traffic translates to increased profits.

The only result that more traffic to your website guarantees you is an increase in the bandwidth used by your web host. There are no easy answers to success on the internet.

You have to be on every social network.

Focus your efforts. You need to make sure you’re where your demographic is. Do some research, if you have a very visual product, opt for sites that are heavy on photos, for example Pinterest or Instagram are great choices depending the parameters of your demographic.

My target market is older, so why bother with social media?

According to a late 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 52% of online boomers and 32% of online seniors are using social networking sites, the most popular being Facebook at 57% and 35% respectively. Your target market is older, not dead.

A mobile website isn’t necessary for small businesses.

More people are using their mobile phones and tablets than their desktops and laptops. Responsive websites enable small businesses to deploy one website that responds to all devices, whether your visitor is on a browser, smartphone or tablet. If your website doesn’t support a mobile visitor, you will lose opportunities.

All links are good links.

If you’re exchanging links with websites that have absolutely nothing in common with your site, your efforts are going to be futile because that traffic is not going to convert. All links are not created equally, quality and relevance matters

A social media ‘presence’ is great advertising.

To do social media right, you need to be, for lack of a better word ‘social’.  Which means you need to encourage conversations and content that is designed to be shared.

Search engine marketing is all about meta tags.

Meta tags are the bits of code that offer search engines information about your page contents. Ensuring that these tags contain your important keywords and phrases is a small part of the mix since some search engines factor them into the equation when providing result.  Google is not one of those search engines that does.

I’m at the top of the search engines. I win.

This isn’t a race, there is no finish line. Or maybe a better way to put it is that it is a race but there is no finish line just the need to stay in front of the pack. Keeping a high listing position means constantly staying on top of things, adding content to your site, posting in places that will give good back links, updating, adding blogs and so on. It’s a never ending task.

A History of Social Media

I’m going to let you in on a well-kept secret: there’s nothing new about “social media.”

Further, most online social sharing still happens outside of social networks. The Internet and the valuable content it distributes, have always been social.  From the very first email sent by researchers in Switzerland in 1971, to modern sites like Google+ Local and Pinterest. The purpose of the Internet (every blog, website and virtual gathering place within it) is to let people connect, communicate, and collaborate.

So the concept behind Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking tools isn’t new. These sites just give us new, sexy, and easy-to use ways to do what we’ve always wanted to do online — exchange ideas and information. The Internet has always been social, and it always will be. Still not convinced?

Here’s a handy timeline that might dispel any further historical myths about the true nature of the Internet, and where we’re all going with it, together …

From copyblogger

history_of_social_media

What is Social Media?

We throw the term, social media around to cover a variety of things.

Webopedia defines social media as:

“A term used to describe a variety of Web-based platforms, applications and technologies that enable people to socially interact with one another online. Some examples of social media sites and applications include Facebook, YouTube, Del.icio.us, Twitter, Digg, blogs and other sites that have content based on user participation and user-generated content.”

How do we use social media?

On a day to day basis people use social media in many different ways:

  • Providing instantaneous access to and the ability to comment on “news stories”, for example Twitter.
  • Sharing photos with friends and family for example via Facebook or Google+.
  • Providing insight via online reviews about:
    • Where to go
    • What to do
    • What to buy
    • Who to buy it from

In a nutshell “social media” is an umbrella term used to describe the conversations people have online.

Why you should “join” social media

Purchasing decisions are never spur of the moment.  Although the final decision may be made in the “spur of the moment”, there is typically a period of time leading up the actual purchase when the consumer is in the process of gathering information.

social_media_graph

As evidenced by the graph above, social media is being used by all demographics.  And many of those people are accumulating (both consciously and subconsciously) information about future purchasing decisions.

For many in your demographic social media is their means of communicating with the world.  You understand how newspapers, magazines and TV work.  Social media is just another medium for disseminating information that (for businesses) potential consumers will gather on their path to a purchasing decision.

If you’re a little nervous about going down the social media path with your business, then start a personal Facebook and Twitter page.  Both are relatively easy to set up and will allow you to explore the world of “social media”.

On a final note…

Social media isn’t a fad that’s going to go away in a few months.  Social media is here to stay.  The players may change but the concept has been embraced by too many and for too long.  The ability to connect and share stories has been around since the age of cavemen.  I don’t think it’s going to go away anytime soon.