The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Social media explodes. Here's how to take advantage of the heat.

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Internet Exploded!By now it shouldn't be any surprise that the internet "explodes" on a regular basis. Social media is ablaze with discussions and opinions about every kind of issue you can imagine. When I think of explosive topics, Rob Ford's challenges as mayor of Toronto come to mind, as do the recent allegations about Jian Ghomeshi.

The explosion of opinion online isn't surprising when you understand why people use social media. There's a lot going on in people's minds. As a business owner or someone who's responsible for marketing a business, having some knowledge of how and why social media explodes can be useful as you look at ways to better market yourself through these channels.

Here are some of the reasons people use social media.

  • Being social
  • Passing time
  • Entertainment
  • Relaxation
  • Gossip
  • Learning about other people

I've listed these six first, without comment, because I think they're fairly self-explanatory. I also think they are less important to most businesses. I'm not suggesting they're unimportant, but they're less important than these next two factors.

Social signalling

A post, tweet or status update says a lot about the writer. Every message is an opportunity for people to learn more about what is important to the writer and what the writer stands for. These messages are signals from the writer to the world that gives the reader an idea what the writer is all about. You can find out a lot about people by reading their social media posts. Information about a person's political beliefs, spiritual perspectives, parenting styles, fitness levels, financial status, lifestyle practices and more are all either on display or can be inferred from a person's post.

Imagine you were to see two posts from first-time Facebook users. One person posts a message in support of David Suzuki. The other posts a message in support of Stephen Harper. Most Canadians would, on the basis of ONE POST, be able to infer many characteristics about each of those writers. For many people, this is the point of social media. They want to let the world know what they think is important, and in turn, demonstrate what kind of person they are, or how they want the world to see them.

How do you want the world to see you and your business? What and how you post influences how clients and prospects see you. Keep this in mind as you post because you can use social signalling to your advantage. When you post messages that resonate with people's values and beliefs, you will be more successful in getting your message across.

Building communityBuilding Community

Humans are social creatures. We desire community. Creating community is a challenge, but social media platforms have given people the tools that make creating online communities easier.

Whatever social media platform you use, you have the ability to create a community. It makes sense to do this. Tie into people's existing interests by sharing information that pertains to their important issues. Discuss those issues. If you are able to create a hub of knowledge and experience for people, your social media impact will be much greater.

The challenge, of course, is to find out what your clients and prospects feel their important issues are. It's a challenge, but it's part of the marketing process. It's called research and testing.

These are only two ways social media's appeal can be used to advantage by your business. There are many more. What has been your biggest social media success? I invite you to share your experiences and leave a comment.

 

 

3 Marketing Words to Remember

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Online marketing is not a Sisphyean taskFeeling overwhelmed?

When I talk to people about their online marketing, I hear this all the time.

"I don't know where to start."

"Which is the best platform?"

"I don't have time to create content."

I get it. It's not easy. The idea that the internet levels the playing field between big and small companies is a myth because big companies have more resources than small ones. Marketing takes time, and that's often in short supply for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

My advice: stop worrying about doing things perfectly. Lists of "best practices" are interesting but they may not be best practices for you. One of my favourite marketing mantras is "Ready. Fire. Aim." This is how marketing works in my opinion. You ready your content or campaign, release it, then measure how successful it was and adjust accordingly.

READY

Getting ready means knowing who your audience is and preparing appropriate content for them. Content doesn't need to be writing. It can be pictures or videos, quizzes and contests. It doesn't need to be a major effort. Be creative! Content ideas are all around you, every moment of the day.

FIRE

Stop obsessing about your choice of platform to distribute to. Pick a popular platform and run with it to the best of your ability. Do you like Facebook? Fine. Use Facebook - as effectively as you can. Think Twitter's the thing? Great. Use Twitter - as effectively as you can at this particular moment.

Do you use software that can blast your update to twenty-five of the top social media platforms plus add it to your blog? Superb! Just get on with it already.

AIM

Save some time to see how your content fared online. What were the results? Did you get any likes or shares? Retweets or views? If you did, that's great. Figure out why and do it again. Were your results below your hopes? Figure out why and DON'T do it again.

People who are good at marketing didn't get that way overnight. Improvement only comes with effort. Just getting started is an effort, but once you're going, you have momentum. Keep on moving, keep on learning, keep on improving.

I wish you the best. Please share your stories of success!

How's that strategy working out for you?

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chess - all about strategyStrategy can be defined as "a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim."

How is your online marketing strategy doing for you? This is a question you should ask yourself regularly. Things change quickly online and what may have been a great idea a year ago may not be so hot now.

Four points to consider:

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not dead. Doing it well can take time, especially if you are trying to achieve top rankings for a competitive term (think "Niagara Falls"). However, if you've determined what the appropriate keywords are for your business to target, it can be well worth the effort.

  2. Email marketing is still effective. For those of you who do not regularly put out an email communication to your clients and prospects, this may be an area you want to reconsider.

  3. Social media is not a replacement for SEO, nor does it particularly help your SEO efforts in and of itself. Social media is about engaging with people. It requires as much time (or more) as SEO but it can also work well when done properly.

  4. Whatever you're doing with SEO, email marketing or social media, remember to track your website's performance. If the site has a high bounce rate or does not convert visitors to inquiries or sales very well, you're ultimately wasting your marketing efforts. If you don't know how to measure your bounce rate or your conversion rate, take the time to learn or seek professional help.

Our business slogan used to be "Making the internet WORK for business". That can be read two ways - to make it more effective or to make it more work. It reflected the reality that to get results there is an investment required. Either you invest your time or your money, but if you do nothing, that's generally what you'll get.

What could you gain from a one-on-one with a web specialist?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, November 01, 2013

If you had an hour (or perhaps two) to ask someone with a heap of experience building websites and marketing online, would you have any questions for them?

What would you ask? Any ideas?

If you have questions, here's your chance. Just share, like or comment on any of my recent blog posts to enter a draw for breakfast or lunch with me :)

You can ask whatever you like - and even better, breakfast or lunch is my treat!

I hope to be answering your questions in person soon!

Wake Up!!

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The only thing I generally like scrambled during my day are my eggs. And even then, I prefer them over-easy. Here's my tip on not having to scramble to get your online marketing done: wake up earlier.

Really Mark? Yes, really reader :)

Wake up a bit earlier. Say 1/2 hour. I've been tracking how long it takes me to think of an idea, write and edit a post, source an image and do a bit of cross-linking to social media sites that don't automatically pick up my blog. 1/2 hour seems to be about right.

If you're not a "morning person", my suggestion could be a challenge. Here's another: stop watching 1/2 hour of television per day. I'm not talking about the commercials either. You need unbroken time to concentrate on your task. Once you get good at it, you'll likely be able to create a quality post in 15 minutes or less.

Most people can find 1/2 hour of unproductive time during their day. Turn that time into online marketing gold by sharing your expertise and perspectives with your online visitors. Fulfill the promise you made when you created your website and social media accounts. See the benefits instead of the challenges and get cracking!

Doing good for everyone

Mark Kawabe - Friday, October 18, 2013

This might sound a bit hokey to you, but I believe it to be true.

When you do something good for yourself online, you often benefit others as well.

In this online world, most business owners have a sense they should be doing "more" online. They know they should be posting in social media, writing articles, blogging - doing "more". That elusive "more" is supposed to be something that benefits their business in some way. The hope for most is that their efforts will result in more readership, followers, exposure and ultimately, more business.

And yet, they don't do it.

This leads to much disappointment for everyone.

Yes. Everyone.

The reality is that if you put up a blog and ask people to read it, some people will read it. Some will even subscribe for updates. They have an expectation there will be more for them to read. Then they wait, and wait, and eventually they forget they signed up for your newsletter, blog, Facebook page etc. They are disappointed because they had an expectation you would provide them more. After all, you wouldn't have asked people to like your Facebook page if you weren't going to provide them with more value, would you? Of course not.

When you disappoint, you cause harm. You harm your brand. You harm your reputation. You tarnish or destroy the perceptions you've worked so hard to build up among your clients and your prospective clients. You make it less likely people will want to do business with you in the long run. All because you didn't do what you said you would do by choosing to set up a website, a blog, a social media account. Your inactivity in these areas can lead to inactivity in others.

The good news of course is that it's relatively easy to do something positive online. Share a great idea. Praise a client. Do something that will show you are active and engaged. When you demonstrate your engagement and dedication to your online presence, you are showing you care about yourself AND your current and prospective clients.

That's good for everyone : )