Apothecary

Curing your marketing ills

Best Practices for Brands and Facebook & Twitter

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How are you using Social Network Marketing to interact with your customers and prospective customers

Mashable which bills itself as The Social Media Guide (and I have to say it really sort of is) has several really great lists that should be looked at to see how business are using social network mediums in really customer-centric ways. 

 The article Killer Facebook Fan Pages shows examples from Pringles, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Adidas and Red Bull.  The common trait from these examples is that the businesses are wholeheartedly dedicated to interacting with the fans of their brands.  Each has made Facebook their own, Pringles using comedy videos. Coca-Cola uses pictures of showing off the product, workers at the company, photos of Coke fans, pictures of Coke products from all around the world, and pictures of old Coke nostalgia.  Starbucks provides a wide-range of interesting content.  Addidas uses their Facebook page for exclusive contests and to promote their other social media.  Meanwhile, Red Bull offers great interaction in the form of their applications section (must be seen!).  The conclusion the author offers is a great takeaway “The key takeaways are that you have to know your audience, you have to provide quality, regular content, you need to encourage discussion and engagement, and you must not take yourself too seriously.”

 Mashable also offers up a really great overview of Twitter Best Practices for Brands.  Have you utilized any of these on your branded Twitter account?

  • Do your research before engaging your customers
  • Determine Twitter goals
  • Use a branded profile
  • Build your Twitter equity and credibility
  • Track metrics and conversation trends
  • Don’t go overboard; less structure is better
  • Listen and observe before engaging
  • Be authentic & believable
  • Track, measure, and iterate
  •  Don’t just strategize: execute!
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2009/07/08 at 2:17 pm

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Customer Service, Marketing and Employees

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Customer service and marketing are tied together in that you can run thousands of dollars of advertising and if you have poor customer service, the word of mouth that comes from that negates any advertising money spent.

 

Earlier today, I was reading an article about customer service and how it relates to how employees are treated here .  At one of my former advertising agencies, I had a boss who lived by the motto that employees are the first customers.  If you treat your employees well, they will treat your business well.  The article I referenced above points out that first and foremost if you treat your employees with dignity and respect, your employees will in turn treat your business and the customers of your business with respect.  In another article pertaining to customer service and employees located here  indicates several ways to provide respect you employees including:

  • Be fair to all your employees, but be flexible
  • Empower your employees to solve complaints
  • Ask your employees for advice about running the business
  • provide additional recognition and rewards to those who perform above and beyond the call of duty, in single instances, and especially consistently throughout the year
  • Inject fun into your work place.

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2009/07/07 at 3:06 pm

Cooperative Advertising

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Co-op advertising dollars.  Now there’s a fun topic for a Monday…

 Cooperative advertising is an agreement between a manufacturer and a merchant in which the manufacturer will compensate the merchant in part or in full for advertising dollar output.   A terrific overview of how cooperative advertising works can be found at the Business Owners Toolkit .  Generally speaking, cooperative advertising will pay for portion of approved advertising based upon a percentage of orders previously placed with a manufacturer.  Many different forms of advertising can apply towards cooperative advertising budgets; ranging from Yellow Page and print advertising ads to television commercials to signage.

 I have noticed recently, in local advertising, that there appears to be decreased product advertising for brands, and therefore, I imagine, less coop advertising being used.  When it comes to getting the most for your advertising monies, co-op advertising can be a great opportunity.  Have you researched the cooperative dollars your vpartners offer?  Is the intimidation of the perceived scale of this project too much?  Do you NOT want to touch your potential customers frequently?

Any time one can take, or hire another person to take, to research the cooperative advertising dollars available is to the advantage of the retailer.  It will provide your business with extra money to advertise and to advertise more frequently (and in a down economy, this is to your business’ benefit,  as some studies are showing that it is taking up to 25% -50% more advertising impressions to get a sale in this economic environment).

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2009/07/06 at 11:34 pm

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Another diatribe about blogs

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I saw Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist speak on Monday at the monthly Madison Advertising Federation lunch.  Overall I liked her, she has an awesome snarky attitude.  However, I was reading through her blog and a post caught my attention that I thoroughly disagree with.  The post was about how bloggers should not have to divelge conflict of interest.  I couldn’t disagree with this statement more.  If I am reading a blog for expertise in a subject matter, and the blogger is being paid,either in product or money, I expect to be informed of this.  One of Penelope’s arguments is that her readers should expect that she is only going to recommend good companies paid or not.  True, however, with the blogs that have a larger audience it is expected that these bloggers are closer to the integrity of a journalist – not the salesperson in the ad department of the publication. ProBlogger worded it best “…the end of the day, trust is the only real currency in the blogosphere, and people who read blogs have the expectation that they’re getting at the truth — in whatever form the truth is to them.

I still recommend working with bloggers wholeheartedly, particularly as newspaper and publication readership is down, however request transparency.  Forrester Research, Inc. , a publicly traded,  independent research company that provides  advice to leaders in business and technology, recommends the following when working with bloggers as part of your marketing plan:

Know FTC rules about sponsored dialog  and educate everyone involved.

Mandate absolute disclosure and transparency.

Ensure authenticity.

Be relevant and provide value.

Don’t talk and walk away.

Choose your partners wisely.

Start small.

Read Forrester Research’s complete article about Sponsored Conversation here.

 

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2009/06/24 at 2:10 pm

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PR and Mommy Bloggers

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In recently had a conversation with the owner of a local store about Mommy Bloggers.  Her initial take on these women was not necessarily positive.  I have been watching from afar to see how this group of women works and I do find it fascinating.  It is taking Public Relations to an international level.

How can these women be used to the advantage of your business?  Like any niche, these women have a die-hard following that will look at their blogs, their tweets and their Facebook pages every day and take the recommendation of the mommy bloggers very serious.  Large businesses that have used this group of bloggers include Johnson & Johnson, Nintendo, P&G and Sony. 

Small businesses can take advantage of mommy bloggers as well.  WebSavyPR.comprovides an excellent overview of how to work with mom bloggers, as does Business Week.  The most basic interaction is to invite local bloggers (and blog moms) to your company to interact with your product or service.  Be honest with the bloggers on what your expectations are and be certain to find out what their expectations are.  Some bloggers work on a pro-rated basis, others will blog in exchange for product.  Be aware positive or negative, bloggers will be forthright in their opinion – positive or negative.

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2009/06/18 at 3:55 pm

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Is your business purpose driven?

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How does having a purpose driven company mash up with advertising you ask?  Hiring employees that are in agreement with your values and the purpose of your business are going to open the doors to word of mouth about your business.  A great overview article on purpose driven business’ can be seen here.

Tina Olivero – CEO of Transformational Training Studio, asks the following questions to create structures in your workplace that will support people being on purpose, so that work has special meaning and connection:

  • The place we are today, how did I create this? How can we create connection, peace and purpose?
  • The place I want to work, becomes a place of personal expression and purpose, what structures do I need to create this?
  • When I look back on my working career I want it to be meaningful. What do I need to do to create that?
  • How can I develop creativity, imagination, and vision within myself and my people that will make a difference and have us in alignment with our mission?
  • How can I foster, courage, persistence, and passion in pursuit of the goals and missions of our people, teams and outcomes?
  • Written by apothecarycomm

    2009/06/16 at 2:18 pm

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    Social Networks AND Marketing

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    Like every marketer I have been spending a good deal of my time this year working with businesses on their social network marketing plans.  Social networking sites are attractive to marketers due to the direct connection that can be had with consumers.  I have found a great article that points out how to create a SUCCESSFUL social network marketing campaign.  What makes a Successful Marketing Campaign on Social Networks? Be sure to read the comments left be readers as well.  A very good and educational read.

    Written by apothecarycomm

    2009/06/10 at 9:33 am