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The Sheer Power of Mobile – Watch this Space

“If your plans don’t include mobile, then your plans are not finished” – So warned Coca Cola’s VP of Integrated Marketing earlier this year.
How many times in the past few years have you been told “next year will be a big year for mobile”? Year after year we’ve heard people say this. Even yesterday someone told me that next year is when mobile will really take off. Mobile IS here, and has been growing for some time now.

Little by little people of all ages are finding it less appealing to turn on a laptop or PC and are instead turning to their smartphone for easy access to the internet. It has got to the point where I sometimes think that if I was Mr.Dell Computers, I’d be as nervous about my future as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Remember cassettes? Remember CDs? Me either….

But what is it that makes mobile so popular amongst consumers AND such a powerful tool for marketers? Smartphones provide consumers with a large amount of PC functionality in the palm of their hand; they can check emails, watch video and browse the web. Recent studies have shown that almost 40% of people now access the internet through their phones at least once a month.

From a marketer’s point of view, one can target and instantly reach consumers on-the-go. Some fear that mobile along with online will have a negative impact on traditional media such as print. Unlike online however, mobile provides marketers with an opportunity to integrate traditional media with new technology. Smartphones have eyes; they can use their cameras to read and recognise information e.g. the url within a QR code. Newspapers for example, can place a QR code at the end of a news story which will allow the reader to access additional content that is relevant to the story- perhaps a video on Youtube or a podcast, hence enhancing the reader’s experience.

Similarly, a smartphone has the ability to locate itself geographically through GPS. Again, marketers can provide consumers with useful items such as discounts and deals when they ‘check-in’ to a certain location using a location-based app e.g. Foursquare. While this is all well and good, the marketer is solely relying on the consumer to make the first move.

However, a step on from this is where companies are now providing marketers with a ‘Geo-fence’ service around a certain geographical area. Marketers can send very targeted and relevant text messages to consumers who are within this area e.g. a street, a shopping centre, an airport etc. This service allows marketers to go to the consumer, instead of waiting for the consumer to come to them by ‘checking-in’. Retailers such as K-Mart are already using this type of service to great effect by sending special offers to consumers (via text message) as they enter the store.

Going forward, marketers must realise that traditional mediums such as print, online, billboards and TV are not competing with mobile but instead can all act as a point of interaction for a consumer and their smartphone. We as marketers should be taking the view that mobile exists to make traditional media better, since it is enhancing the user’s experience. Marketers can use mobile to instantly communicate with consumers on-the-go, and by using technology such as geo-fencing they can deliver targeted, relevant and useful marketing messages which are more likely to trigger a direct response.

Author:Paul Healy @paul_healy

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Social Media Policies for Employees

I was involved in a discussion with a group of employees during the week regarding guess what “social media”. But it was the more sober line of best practice and especially when working within the confines of the company walls or cyber walls if you are lucky enough to work from home. I said I would write a little piece to put it in some kind of context.

Social Media Policy is a must for every organisation. There can be different types of policies – certain policies describe the representation of the company by social media marketers, while others are about how employees of company should conduct their social media lives. For many companies, the latter is more important – that is, giving their employees some guidelines as to how they can best represent their companies in their social media sites. This topic is quite controversial – after all, where is the line between professional and personal life drawn?

As a boss or a business owner, you need to be careful when walking this line. However, at the bare minimum,  the personal responsibility of the employee should cover the following.:

  • Employees are accountable for content published on social media platforms, (such as Twitter, Wikis, Blogs, YouTube, plus other user generated media forms) when they clearly identify themselves with your company – such as listing you as their employee your  Facebook Page
  • The updates, photos, videos, links etc. they publish when it pertains directly to your company or proprietary information.

Management should be most concerned about employees blabbing about comprising company gossip, confidential pictures and client information. Personal pictures and comments, however inappropriate, enters a gray area – if your employees are posting pictures of themselves getting drunk at parties or giving their opinion on an controversial issue – these should be dealt with on a case-to-case basis. Of course, without having to say it, hateful, discriminatory comments and criminal activity should definitely raise red flags and be dealt with immediately.

The idea of having social media policies, is that  employees symbolize your company at all times by affiliation, whether they are on clock or not. With the growing social media benefits for using as a means for marketing and believing that social media has been a consistent factor in several employee’s private lives, it’s essential that companies need to have policies for managing and monitoring what is being published and how this reflects the company’s image.  With a policy in position, if workers violate it, your business would be legally in a position to respond. Many companies invest lots of time, money and energy to build and promote their brands,  and these policies play a significant part in protecting it.

Social media can prove to be a positive force for the business. One could make use of diverse social media sites for marketing, using free avenues for letting the public recognise your company and your services or products. One could build unique offers for their products via sites such as, Groupon or Yelp or else his or hers website and Facebook page. A company could monitor tweets concerning his business sent by annoyed customers and rapidly respond, making an annoyed customer  a pleased one.

However, you wouldn’t want your workers to tweet about their unhappy relations with the supervisor or client. Also, you wouldn’t want employees to spend hours looking at YouTube and then share it with everyone else using email. To protect your business, you must have certain policies in position for employees,  that must be followed. You should ensure that employees aren’t saying something slanderous regarding the company on social media sites. You must make sure that nobody violates the copyright and trademark and more importantly, ensure that they don’t post confidential information.

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Class of 2011 if Social Media were a High School

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Blog SEO

Your Website and Blog is a Two Way Conversation

You know you need to have one, but where should you put it? That question comes up frequently in the SEO Chat forums as well. There’s really only three possible places: directly on your company’s website, hosted on a subdomain, or set up on an external blogging platform such as Blogger or WordPress.

Of these three options, the last one is the worst, from an SEO standpoint. You’re trying to attract people to your website. Visitors follow content. Good content encourages linking, which makes you more visible in the search engines. A properly-maintained blog is a goldmine of regularly-updated niche content. You want that content working directly for your own website and building link juice by being ON the site itself. Either of the first two options will do that. Anything else just multiplies the amount of work you need to do.

 

So now that you have a blog, you need to promote it. There’s a number of ways to do this, but they all start with doing your homework. And by homework, I mean keyword research. Pick the long-tail keywords you want to target. Now do some more homework, so that the posts you write for your blog are the ultimate resources online for your niche topics.
But it doesn’t stop there. Who wants to have a one-way conversation? When visitors comment on your posts, be sure to comment back. Encourage thoughtful conversation. Please feel free to go further than that. You’re probably not the only person blogging on your topic. Find your niche’s well-respected bloggers and engage them in a good, useful discussion online – on their blog, on your blog, wherever it makes sense.
And don’t forget to take advantage of social media tools – not just Twitter and Facebook, but YouTube and others that might be specific to your field. Make it easy for your readers to share your content, too, with RSS feeds, email subscriptions, and “Tweet this” and other buttons that let them tell their circle of friends that your posts are worth a look.

Lorcs over and out!!

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