All posts by Jan Wong

Decision Making for Startups

Like it or not, decision making is part of life. We make decisions everyday, whether it’s to decide what’s for lunch, when’s a good time to get out of bed or the seemingly bigger ones like a choosing an investor or hiring a new talent – you get the drift.

Why is it that we can’t make decisions?

1. It’s people. As decisions sometimes affects others, it can be rather complex. It involves managing all the information going around, the emotions of the people involved and expectations of someone else.

2. It’s you. The fear of disappointing someone, failing, insecurities or simply just lacking knowledge and experience in the subject matter.

“No one makes perfect decisions. The idea is to choose to move ahead.”

Because of these fears, people tend to hold back, keep quiet, and wish for someone to say something.. or to look wise by saying “let’s think about it”.

The problem with thinking about it is that nothing gets done. Nothing. The problem is still there and you’re merely putting it off! More often than not, people get distracted by other priorities and eventually leads to not thinking about it – until it’s time to make a decision again.

Reality is also such that you don’t only make one decision per day. In fact, you make tons of them daily and by putting them off, you’re brewing a recipe for disaster as decisions piles up, and sometimes even snowballs from something harmless to something apocalyptic. And when it haunts you, you are cornered into deciding on whatever that helps, leaving little room for mistakes and time to rectify them.

Bad stuff.

What can you do to make decisions easier?

#1: Stop taking in information

The more you take in, the more you’re going to confuse yourself. Do your research, consult others, listen, but put a limit to the amount of information you’re taking in.

#2: Talk to yourself

Play out a conversation with yourself and be your own devil’s advocate. There’s magic in speaking out loud and you’ll be surprised at how you can land on an answer just like that.

#3: The 60-second rule

When it comes down to it, instead of saying “let’s think about it”, make a decision in 60 seconds. Sometimes, that won’t be the final decision, but it triggers a response from others and that brings you a step closer to what needs to be done.

#4: Vote

This isn’t my favourite but in a group of opinionated people, voting can weed out less popular ideas and get to the end quicker. However, note that the majority isn’t always right.

#5: Prioritize, divide, and conquer

In a situation where there are tons of decisions to be made, start with the easier ones (e.g. with smaller impact). You and your team strives on wins, getting smaller decisions out of the way generates the energy and synergy for the more critical ones.

#6: Build the “T”

In short, weigh the pros and cons by splitting them into each side of a “T”. List down all the possibilities that you can think of and make a decision out of them.

#7: Map your thoughts

This is my favourite. Like a mind map, start by placing your problem at the center and draw out questions like: Why is this a problem, what is the impact of this decision, who are the stakeholders, what are their goals, what are the potential solutions, what if I do otherwise, and the list goes on. Keep going until you’ve exhausted your thoughts and have sufficient information in front of you to proceed.

Stop thinking and decide!

Check out the presentation slides on SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/janwong/decision-making-for-entrepreneurs

3 Modern SEO Basics for Your Brand: Technical Relevancy [Part 3]

What should I look out for in modern day SEO?

Search engine optimisation, or SEO in short has much relevance with the technical aspects with your website. Sure, content still plays an important role to your brand’s ranking on search engines but implementing good technical structure can help give it a boost too!

The below will walk you through the technical concepts of SEO that you should know about.

Part 3: Technical Relevance in SEO

SSL Certificate

In the era of web and data security, SSL certificates have become very common on transactional or eCommerce websites – but that does not mean it does not concern you. Investing in a SSL certificate can indicate to search engines that your website considers data security and therefore, more credible compared to other websites.

Key takeaway: There are a ton of inexpensive SSL Certificates that you can invest in. Go for the basic ones as those are enough if you are not working with sensitive customer data. It’s the easiest and the least you can do for your website.

Site Structure

Having a clear and straight forward website structure helps search engines index your website more effectively. Do not have hidden pages or complex links especially between your main pages. If it is confusing to search engines, it can indicate that your website isn’t friendly to readers. Creating an XML sitemap can help too!

Key takeaway: Keep your website’s structure as straight forward as possible. Minimize the need of hidden pages (why do you even need them?) and make sure they are well linked and accessible across the website.

User Interface

While this does not directly affect searchability on search engines, having good user interface contributes to good user experience and in return, potentially reducing bounce rates which is an added bonus to contextual relevance on SEO.

Key takeaway: Having good user interface is never a bad thing. This includes a clear navigation scheme, related links, social sharing icons and even placing of textual content from page to page.

No 404

This is the dreaded error code when a page cannot be displayed or found with a given URL. In short, your website should not consist of broken links. Not only it annoys human readers, but search engines will consider your website as incomplete, therefore affecting your website’s ranking on search engines.

Key takeaway: Sometimes, it is inevitable for a website to have 404 pages (especially if you have huge amount of content over time). The least you can do is to ensure that your 404 pages are not left as ‘default’. It helps to have a customised 404 page that allows users to navigate to other content instead of hitting the ‘back’ button on the browser.

Mobile Support

Mobile compatibility has been a rising consideration by search engines. Websites that caters to mobile generally fares better compared to one that is unreadable on mobile. It’s good practice to ensure key content and navigation is easily readable on both desktop and mobile devices.

Key takeaway: Your website has to be at least mobile responsive to pass this requirement. If you are unsure, simply visit your website via your mobile and see if the content fits well on screen with no side scrolling required.

Loading Speed

This is an important factor as slow page load time can cause search engine crawlers to ‘give up’. Elements that can cause slower loading times include image size, animations,

Key takeaway: Never assume that your website is okay even if it loads quick on your PC. There are a number of free tools that provides a more realistic analysis on page load time, including a breakdown of the areas causing it to be slow.

See: Part 1 or Part 2

3 Modern SEO Basics for Your Brand: Context Relevancy [Part 2]

One of the biggest difference in modern day SEO as compared to what it was before is how intelligent search engines have become. What was deemed as ‘SEO friendly’ back then was heavily influenced by content relevance, such as optimising keywords and meta data as described here on content relevance.

It is important to note that search engines are always finding ways to further optimise its results to searchers so you should have a balanced approach instead of focusing on beating the search algorithms. Today, search engines are known to be able to read contextual information beyond the content provided as a gauge of your brand’s credibility through your website.

Part 2: Context Relevance in modern day SEO

Localisation

It is important to know that modern search engines now display results based on the searcher’s location. This means you need to take advantage of that (you can do so on local.google.com for Google Search) and help search engines to recognise where are you based at, especially if your target audience is local.

Key takeaway: In most situations, being well positioned on local search results also yields pretty good ranking on international results; which is a plus to your brand.

Post-click Activity

It is for the longest time brands like you have been trying to lower the bounce rate on your website, and here’s another reason for you to do so – especially if you haven’t been doing anything about it. Search engines now track if searchers are bouncing off your website and returning to the search results. If that happens, Google will learn that your website probably did not address the search term provided and you drop in relevance.

Key takeaway: Make sure your keywords matches what you have to offer, and offer it good! Always aim to satisfy the readers when they discover your content and you will do fine.

Shareability

Social is not a new comer to search engines. In fact, Google Plus was created to help bridge search and social though it didn’t really pick up over the years. However, having your content shared (and linked) back to you on social media platforms do give you added points on SEO as it builds added credibility to your website.

Key takeaway: Make it easy for readers to share your content. Also, be sure to have your images and content excerpts ready so it shows up nice and pretty on social media channels to encourage more shares.

External Links

Also widely known as back links, i.e. websites that are linking back to yours. Imagine it as testimonials or recommendations other websites are giving you. The more credible links you receive, search engines will perceive your website as one that is equally credible and therefore deserves attention on search results.

Key takeaway: Not all links coming in are good – especially if they are from spammy sources. Your goal is to create meaningful links back to your website from reputable websites.

Internal Links

Having a similar concept as external or back links, internal links are links between the web pages within your website. Being able to deep link your content, shows search engines that your website remains within context and that you have some authority within the keyword’s domain.

Key takeaway: Over the years, both external and internal links have declined in significance to SEO. However, it is still good practice to have them in place as it is also beneficial to your readers in navigating around related content.

 

See: Part 1 or Part 3

3 Modern SEO Basics for Your Brand: Content Relevancy [Part 1]

Today’s search engine requirements are unlike before and much has changed just within the span of three years. Since then, we have seen brands falling out of search results as they were unable to keep up with search engine’s ever changing search algorithms.

What is the problem with changing search algorithms?

A change in search algorithm can mean better search (and optimised) results for consumers but it also means havoc for your brand, especially if you capitalised heavily on specific SEO requirements.

Should I capitalise on specific SEO requirements?

It is almost never a good idea to focus on specific requirements as these requirements change from time to time as part of a search optimisation process by search engines. A good example is keyword spamming – a very popular way of getting to the top back then which is heavily penalised today.

What should I look out for in modern day SEO?

There are three (3) main areas to look out for when it comes to search engine optimisation today: content relevance, context relevance and technical relevance. These areas will be covered in detail over three blog posts that will be published over a couple of days.

Part 1 of 3: Content Relevance in SEO

Content relevance are one of the key areas related to the content of your website as most search engines do take content very seriously. For example, duplicated content are frown upon while unique and original content thrives on search engines.

The below are some areas related to content relevance for your brand when it comes to search engine optimisation.

Article Text and Image

Text has always been a major part of SEO since its early days and remains true today. It is important for your written article content to contain the desired keywords for search engines to pick it up at ease but you do not want to spam them across the screen!

Images (and even videos) are also a growing influence on SEO. With the help of image and video search on popular search engines such as Google, you would definitely want your photos to show up in the results and you can do that by optimising the title tag and file name of your image.

Key takeaway: Not all text are made equal in SEO. Header text (or <h1>, if you’re familiar with basic HTML) are more significant than say, a <h2> or paragraph text. As such, you want to place your keywords wisely for maximum results. Text in images don’t count either.

Word Relevance

This is an interesting one. Modern search engines have become more intelligent where it does not read content word for word. It has evolved to also understand words that are relevant to keywords. For example, an article with the keyword ‘fishing’ will have relevance to ‘sea’, ‘boat’ or ‘fish'; and you can use them without fearing that you will lose out on SEO relevancy.

Key takeaway: This is a great way to score on SEO without having to spam your keywords throughout an article. There are various keyword analysis tools out there that you can use to find out what are the relevant words to your keywords.

Article Length

There are many debates on this one but from experience, lengthier articles do better as they are presumed to have more context, depth and relevance. It is said through research that the ‘optimum’ length for search engines are between 1,000 to 1,200 words.

Key takeaway: Let’s face it, 1,200 words is too much to take in for human readers. Have a mix of content length between articles to have that balance for your readers. Shorter and snappier articles also makes it good for social sharing which also helps in search engine optimisation (we’ll cover that later!).

Meta Data

Without the technical jargons, meta data are simply descriptions of your website that includes a title, short description and keywords that helps search engines in understanding your website’s content at a glance. These meta data are typically written in basic HTML tags such as <title>, <meta name>, <meta property>, <link rel> and more!

Key takeaway: While the significance of meta data is on a decline, it is still a relevant point to take note of as it ultimately used to describe your website whether as a snippet on search engine results or on an embedded link unto social media platforms.

Domain Name

Your website’s domain name, or URL, helps your consumers, readers or search engines identify you on the web. It also means that instead of having a domain name like www.yourbrand.com, one like www.searchterm.com can potentially perform better on search results. This can be particularly helpful if your brand is lesser known.

Key takeaway: It’s not compulsory to have a domain name with your keywords but it does help you get there especially when combined with all other factors discussed.

Voice Compatibility

Voice search is slowly becoming a norm especially with the introduction of smart watches and other portable computing devices – especially among mobile consumers. Having your content easily readable by voice readers will get you a better shot in appearing on voice search results.

Key takeaway: Not all brands will benefit from voice search today but if you are one that thrives on mobile, having your content in conversational languages will definitely help!

 

See: Part 2 or Part 3

Malaysia’s Online Shopping Scene in 2012 [INFOGRAPHIC]

The eCommerce scene in Malaysia has seen growth over the last couple of years, especially with the participation of international players such as eBay and PayPal. We knew that there will definitely be growth of online spending and eCommerce-driven activities but what we had to find out though, is how much progress have we made in Malaysia when it comes to eCommerce among urban consumers. And this became the basis of our research. An online survey was conducted with more than 300 participants, randomly sampled and residing in the city of Kuala Lumpur; to find out how receptive are they towards eCommerce and what influences them in making a purchase decision.

Here are some key findings to the research:

1. 65% of them do shop online 2. While both genders are similar in number, the males seem to be more inclined towards online shopping 3. Most people do not mind spending between the range of MYR100 to MYR300 in a single purchase 4. The common payment method are still credit cards, contrary to popular belief of bank transfers 5. Group buying is still huge in Malaysia 6. The biggest gripe of buying online is not being able to view the product physically (this is a big one in Malaysia!) 7. Which is no wonder why that Malaysians are more inclined to make a purchase for products with detailed information 8. Mobile purchasing is still relatively new here To cut the long story short, here’s an infographic we put together for your viewing pleasure (click for larger view): Online Shopping Scene in Malaysia 2012

The Fuss About SoLoMo And How It Affects Your Small Business

When businesses and brands around the world are getting accustomed to social media networks, a new buzz word came to town – SoLoMo, “Social”, “Local” and “Mobile”.

Isn’t “Social” enough? Why “Local” and “Mobile” too?

Social media networks are a blessing to today’s business organizations and communities. Not only it has introduced a new way of communication, but also an access to a global network instantaneously – something not achievable in traditional mediums. While the benefits are virtually endless, here comes one of the biggest problems for small businesses on social media networks – global networks are irrelevant. This is because most small businesses are not ready for global businesses to begin with. Take a local sandwich maker for example, would a global audience be beneficial to his business? Definitely. But would it generate the revenue he needs to sustain his business? Maybe not. You may not be a sandwich maker but if you really think about it, your business may have fallen into the very same category as you either have a niche local product, a service that is geographically bound (a laundry or a cafe) or it is because the industry you are in is simply too competitive elsewhere.

Is Your Business Relevant to Your Audience?

One of the best advantages of a small business is that you can afford to provide niche content or services within a local context, positioning yourself as the local king (or queen), a big fish in the pond, a blue ocean strategy, or whatever you’d like to call it. The thing is this, consumers today are looking out for what is relevant to them. This could mean cultural preferences, friends’ recommendations or merely convenience within where they live, work or play. If you’re finding this tough, larger businesses have it tougher. You already have the advantage since you’re already part of the community.

What Does it Take to Be SoLoMo?

Lo

Let’s start with ‘Local’ first. Don’t be fooled, SoLoMo is by no means a new technology or social network. All it takes is for you to take some time off to see what makes your community tick. Some questions to ask yourself: – Is there are running trend, culture or preference in communication in your community? – Are there any local knowledge that you know of that others don’t?

So

Got that down? Good! Now see how you can include the ‘social’ component to it. Some questions to ask yourself: – Is there something that you can personalize or customize for individual customers? – How can you get customers to tell their friends and family members about you? – Could it be photos, testimonials or check-ins? Or maybe it’s just great customer service even online?

Mo

Lastly, mobile. This is where most small businesses get stuck. Most would think this means having a customized smart phone application but no, not at all. Let’s start with your website. Some questions to ask yourself: – Is your website mobile compatible? (This means your website is viewable comfortably within the screen of a mobile device with minimal scrolling AND navigate-able!) – Are you on location based apps such as Facebook Places and FourSquare?

Closing Thoughts

That wasn’t too difficult, was it? Truth is, SoLoMo is nothing but a business concept which allows small businesses to be a whole lot more focused on what they can do best instead of being scatterbrained.

If you’re already implementing the SoLoMo concept, how’s it going for you? If you haven’t, do try it out and let us know your thoughts!

5 Types of Facebook Fans and How to Win Them

Have you ever wondered what are the types of fans that have liked you on Facebook, beyond the given demographics? The thing is this – it is impossible to please every single one of them with a single update and at the same time, bombarding your fans with updates of different nature will drive them away too.

The trick: Talk to them, not at them.

Truth be told, there isn’t a need to engage every single one of your fans all the time simply because not all of them can be reached at one go. Instead of trying to please everyone, try identifying the types of fans you have and understanding the 5 different types of Facebook fans will help you engage them better, at their pace.

#1: The Friend

These are the people you know and maybe you’ve invited them to like your page and they did. Many pages started with this to get a head start in the number of fans (and it is absolutely fine) but that also poses a challenge – to keep them engaged or ‘entertained’. I say it’s a challenge because they may not actually like what you have to offer, but did it as a mere form of support.

What to do?

While they are a challenge, they can work to your advantage as you (should) have a better idea on their preferences. Try breaking them into smaller groups based on their interest (e.g. sports / cooking / gaming) and ask yourself, “What would they like to see?” and try creating content in that area.

They make great sounding boards too! Ask them for opinions to see how are you doing thus far – are your updates too frequent? Are they relevant? Are they eye-catching enough? These are great people to receive honest feedback from. Occasionally, consider getting them to promote your updates / content for you.

#2: The Observer

This group of fans may have liked your page for various reasons – whether its because a friend did the same, something you posted caught their attention or they liked you by accident (it happens). Regardless of how they liked your page, these are fans that prefers consuming content instead of participating.

What to do?

This is a tough one and there’s no one way to do it. Experiment. And keep experimenting. You’ll need to be able to sniff out what content sells and what does not. Are your fans more receptive to photos, quotes, videos, product updates, event updates or polls?

Note: most observers are reluctant to post a comment but they may be good ‘likers’. Use that as an initial indication to determine which content type works and see if you can push it further the next time by initiating a simple call-to-action.

#3: The Customer

It is common for brands to think that this is the most important group of fans – but they aren’t (we’ll come to that soon). These are fans that your brand has come in contact with in one way or another – through a roadshow, a past purchase, a flyer that has created an interest in them or fans that are saying “Let’s see what you’ve got”.

What to do?

Don’t sell. Instead, provide value. Consider providing them social exclusives. Show them how you are improving and how mindful you are to meet their needs and expectations and always look out for opportunities to reward their support. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese went as far as producing a ‘Likeapella’ to say ‘Thank You’ to 4,800 fans that Liked them on their Facebook page. Now that’s one special way to say thank you!

#4: The Advocate

Nope, these aren’t the most important group of fans either. These fans are awesome to have for every business (who doesn’t want their customers talking about them anyway?) and will actively ‘Like’, ‘Share’, comment and even reply to other fans on your behalf.

What to do?

Don’t smile to yourself and leave them be. Acknowledge their support, contribution and help by simple rewards and recognition. Tools like Crowdbooster are great (and free!) to identify which are the most engaging fans on your page. Mashable went to the extend of putting up a wallpaper of all their Facebook fans in their office.

#5: The Haters

These fans are what brands fear the most. In fact, this is the reason why many brands do not want to have an online presence – the fear of negative comments and bashing from the fans. However, this group of fans is in fact the most important of them all for one reason: a chance to show them (and the other fans) your dedication and sincerity to them.

What to do?

Address them and address them quick. Negative comments spread like wildfire over social platforms and it is up to you to reply them almost as soon as you spot them, but tactfully. Do not, ever, delete or hide their complaints for whatever reasons or to defend yourself. Instead, apologize first and seek whatever clarifications you would require and always offer to compensate.

In most cases, your Advocates will step in to defend against your plight and this is the perfect opportunity to show them that you indeed care and value your fans and to turn haters into lovers.

Everyone is a Potential Customer

By now you should have noticed that regardless of the type of fan they are, every fan is a potential (repeating) customer. Take some time to understand, to experiment and to converse at their own pace and you will be seeing results soon.

What type of fans do you have and how have you been engaging them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

3 Simple Ways to Build Your Net Worth With Social Media

The term ‘net worth’ is commonly used as a reference to monetary value – through accumulating of assets. However, building your net worth the same way by accumulating huge number of social media accounts, fans or followers isn’t exactly it.

The thing is, many companies, businesses and individuals are going about accumulating fans and followers thinking that it is a volume game. Sure, creating an audience is a part of the process but is that really your net worth? So, you may have 100,000 fans or followers to date but how much value are you to them? Are you credible?

Value and Credibility. That is net worth.

I’m referring to your value to your customers, fans and followers; your credibility in the industry and among your competitors. How do you stand out from them? Or rather, how can you stand out from them? Thankfully, we have a myriad of social media platforms to our disposal and here’s how you can use them.

#1: Create Your Own Content

Create Relevant Content

The type of content you generate defines who you are on social media. The moment someone opens up your Facebook page or Twitter profile, your status updates and tweets creates that first impression – so use that to your advantage.

Create content that are relevant to your interest and expertise. This way, you are subtly positioning yourself as an expert in that domain and people will recognize you for what you have been posting  – whether they are videos, articles, photos or soundtracks.

#2: Share Content from Others

Share Relevant Content

In the midst of creating your own content, spend time sharing relevant content from others too! Not only will this build your network, it extends your credibility and net worth by demonstrating your resourcefulness and passion towards the industry.

This will also work great for you that may not be inclined to create your own content. If this is you, share, share and SHARE content that you’re passionate about.

#3: Connect With Likeminded People

Connect With Likeminded People

Now that you’ve generated content (whether by creating or sharing them) that is relevant to you,  it’s time to get connected to people of similar interests to grow your network.

When I say ‘connect’, I don’t mean just adding them as a ‘friend’. Actively connect with them by genuinely getting to know them. Participate in tweetchats, try contributing ideas on other people’s content by leaving a comment or by sharing their content. Take genuine interest in what they are doing and you’ll be off in building a great relationship.

Now what?

The thing about building your net worth is that it takes a lot of time and commitment, and there is no one fixed formula in making it happen. However through this, your credibility in the industry will be established over time.

Now head over to your social profiles if you haven’t already and take a look at whether you’re sending out the right message to the public. If you aren’t, start today!

Post header photo credit: Stephen Chukumba

Social Only Exclusives

Exclusivity is not a new marketing strategy. It has always been a friend of both marketers and consumers. Whether it is a service or a product, exclusivity has the ability to make one feel special, appreciated and belonged. With the increasing importance of having an online social presence, marketers have been asking this question:
“How do I invoke that very same feeling online?”

5 Ideas for Creating Social Only Exclusives

Leneys Facebook Page

click for larger image

Idea #1: Facebook Fan Gates

This is perhaps one of the most popular ways business and brands are capitalizing on Facebook today and it’s a great way to grow your presence online – but it isn’t as simple as just placing a welcome message (where most do). Consider describing the benefits of “Liking” your page, what can followers expect and a call to action. Even better, place a Facebook widget to show friends that have already “Liked” the page (it gives them another reason to “Like” you). Source of example: Leneys    

Idea #2: FourSquare

While this location based app may not seem like a popular choice for businesses out there (especially in Malaysia), FourSquare do offer great promotional functions for both product or service related businesses. How about a free dessert for every new check-in? Or a free basket of fries for those who check-in with 5 friends? Or a complimentary cold drink on a hot day? A free hair cut on the 5th check-in?

Types of Foursquare Specials - source of example: Optify

There is really no limit to what you can offer so be creative! Consumers love getting rewarded so do that and earn yourselves in their good books and positive reviews. Note: FourSquare also allows users to leave tips and share their location with their friends so that’s free publicity!

Idea #3: Special Fan Features on Facebook

Oreo Fan Feature

No, this is not a new Facebook functionality but it is surely a great way to get your customers involved. Oreo allows its fans to submit pictures of themselves with Oreos to be randomly featured on Oreo’s Facebook page. This not only gets your customers involved but that feeling to be featured on a brand’s profile photo, it’s definitely something to shout about.

Idea #4: Digital Vouchers / Coupons

McDonalds Malaysia Mid Month Giveaway Vouchers are a great way to drive online visits into offline sales. On top of that, online vouchers saves you the cost of printing AND physical distribution with a higher potential reach and conversion rate. Think about it, excited customers may be sharing the digital voucher with their friends across platforms – that’s free publicity, something printed vouchers may not be able to achieve. McDonalds Malaysia did gave out a whole bunch of digital vouchers in 2011, giving away Double Cheeseburgers to Mc Chickens on a Buy 1 Free 1 campaign. The result?

Customers queuing up for the offer around this outlet

While at it, sometimes it is also good to consider having something in return for the vouchers – it may be a simple database collection system to create your own email list or even a forced sharing mechanism (see #5 below).

Pizza Hut - share with your friendsIdea #5: Facebook Sharing

One of the biggest advantages of social networks is that it allows you to tap into the networks of others – and that can be done through sharing. Not only this can bring about visibility, it also promotes greater interaction and participation as sharing is essentially word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. Pizza Hut launched a campaign on Facebook allowing fans to share 5 other spots on their new product. When all spots are filled, all 6 takes home free cinnamon sticks upon a specified purchase. Use sharing with caution though – it may turn your customers off. You do not want to make it too complicated just so they can redeem a free drink or a 10% off at your outlet. On the other hand, you do not want to leave yourself without benefit too so find the balance between the procedures and the freebie.

Have you come across a unique marketing campaign on social media? We would love to hear them!

Are You Integrating Your Social Media Marketing Efforts?

With the adoption and acceptance of social media among businesses and consumers continue to grow, it is likely that your business already has a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, a YouTube channel or a Google+ page. That isn’t bad at all but let’s face the fact – it is getting a little crowded on social networking platforms, yes? Your competitors are on it and perhaps your small business seems to be on the losing end when compared to your larger counterparts. Alternatively, maybe you’re raking in the “Likes” or the “Follows” and you’re thinking that you’ve succeeded in becoming social. Either way, you thought wrong and here’s why:

Social media is not just a game for the large in size.

Unlike certain sports such as American football where physique does matter, social media is a fair game. It also favors small businesses a lot. And by that I really mean, a LOT. Sure, your competitors may be a digit away in the number of ‘Likes’ compared to you but that doesn’t mean they’re doing it right simply because: 1. likes / followers can be bought (very affordable too!), 2. their fans aren’t responding to them (no conversations), 3. their page is deprived of updates (a ghost town), or worse, 4. their page is populated with updates that aren’t theirs (spam) So, are they successful now? Probably not. The thing is, you as a business owner or a marketer should be looking out for opportunities to integrate the power of social media into existing promotional avenues, or to create new ones.

Here are three (3) integration points of social media to get you thinking on your next marketing campaign:

wallmart facebook receipt

Social Media Attribute #1: Networks

What value do social media networks have if you cannot build your own networks on them? Your marketing campaign should incorporate ways that can assist you in growing your networks whether it is on Facebook or Twitter, it is always good to have an established network BUT, don’t stop there. Take it a step further to build your database by understanding your followers by collecting more information such as their email address to create an audience profile or just to keep in touch with them. Interestingly, research shows that consumers that follow your page / profile DO intend to hear more from you so use this privilege to your advantage. Don’t abuse (spam) them! Integration ideas: current e-newsletters, in-store promotional standees, press advertisements, roadshows / exhibitions, opt-in registrations, seminars / talks / workshops, pre-releases, product launches and etc.

Social Media Attribute #2: Conversations

Building your own network on social media platforms organically can be tough, and it is an on-going process. One of the key drivers of social media is that it allows you (or your business) to be social, and that means be conversational. Many businesses out there think their job ends at amassing “Likes” but the question is: “What’s next?”. Get conversations going with your followers. Ask questions, brainstorm for ideas, leave wishes on their profiles, share photos with them… and the list goes on. The trick is to be human and talk as a human, not a corporate figure. Integration ideas: FAQ page, website / blog (via comments), festive greetings, follow-up content (from other advertising sources), polls for consumer feedback and etc.

Social Media Attribute #3: Sharing

Your next marketing campaign should be something that has the ability to tap into the existing networks of your fans (or personal friends if you just got started) to get them to reach into their own networks. It can be something that they can easily share or actively participate.  It could be a simple contest, a video, fun facts or even some behind the scenes action behind your business. However, before going into the idea of creating something viral – let me also say that you cannot create something viral. Because viral just happens. It cannot be created on purpose. Most creators of viral content (including videos and games) often say that they did not expect it to become viral. Integration ideas: in-store promotions, website / blog, roadshows / exhibitions, mini games, videos, contests, seminars / talks / workshops, pre-releases, product launches and etc.

Are you ready to kick start your next marketing campaign with social media?

Keep the above in mind and you should be getting on right track in your marketing plans.
Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards. – Jay Baer, Convince & Convert