Welcome to the Club: Creating a social brand ambassadors club can give your marketing a boost

Posted by Clayton Smith on September 26, 2012

Marketing is a tricky job. You spend hours upon hours pouring your heart and imagination into the most creative and effective ways to showcase your company’s product, all within the confines of your job, usually within the much more physical confines of your office. What you do at your desk has a direct impact on people outside your building, and no matter how closely you connect with your target market, there’s always some level of disconnect. Because after all the meetings and design work and media buys and product placement and guerrilla marketing and word of mouth and social media strategies and giveaways and contests, there’s still a whole world of marketing opportunity outside your office walls that you just can’t take advantage of, because there aren’t enough hours in the day, and because hey, you’re just one person.

So why haven’t you created a social brand ambassadors club yet?

Of course, you probably already have brand ambassadors, those faithful customers who use your product and tell all their friends about how much they love it. But what if you could organize and direct that ambassadorship so that the good word spread by these fans fell upon thousands of new ears?

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Topics: 101, brand, Business, business, campaign, dashboard, education, facebook, Foursquare, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, instagram, Marketing, media, social, social media, strategy, twitter

Which Network Works? Finding the social media network that's best for your business

Posted by Clayton Smith on December 6, 2011

According to research company Experian, approximately 91% of online American adults log on to a social network every single month. That percentage represents about 129 million Americans. That’s 129 million potential consumers your company has the ability to reach on at least a monthly basis.

Goodness. That’s a lot of people.

And that’s just in America, and just people aged 18 and over. If you’re a company with the ability to ship your product all over the world, that number rockets upward. And if your product is targeted toward teenagers as well as adults, bump that number up even higher. Frankly, it’s getting to the point where very few companies can afford to ignore the social media revolution.

You may or may not be surprised to learn that there are thousands upon thousands of social networks out there. Sure, we’re all pretty familiar with Facebook and Twitter. But how many of you are on hi5? Or Disaspora*? How about Heello? No? Then what about Bebo? Maybe Orkut?

The number of networks is growing at an almost daily rate, which is in direct opposition to the growth of resources in many companies’ marketing departments. While social networking options are seemingly infinite, marketers have extremely finite resources at their disposal. We can’t be on every social network all the time, so instead we have to strategically select which channels to use for our digital marketing messages. But which social networks are right for your company?

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Topics: Business, business, discount, facebook, Foursquare, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, myspace, recommendation, ROI, social media, twitter

The Path to Glory: How to channel your social media fans through to your website

Posted by Clayton Smith on November 21, 2011

Why do you work so hard to increase your social media following? Have you ever really thought about it? I mean, really, really thought about it? When it comes down to brass tacks, what’s the actual benefit of having half a million Facebook fans? Sure, it means more potential eyes on your marketing message, but what’s the point of that? Your social media strategies aren’t living up to their full potential if your fans are just watching your social media accounts and aren’t making purchases.

Many companies don’t have the capability to sell their products directly through Facebook like Delta Airlines does, and even for those that do, there’s a drawback: Offering product sales through third-party sites necessarily results in a loss of control. While social media networks are wonderful as marketing channels, you still need to move your fans to your website to really close the deal, whether you sell your product online or not.

Your website is perhaps your greatest marketing tool. In the digital universe, your website is the sun, and your social media networks are the orbiting planets. Some people have predicted the imminent demise of the website because of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but I’m not buying it, at least not yet. Not only is a website a space where many companies make their sales (or, in the case of services, a space where would-be customers can find direct communications channels and submit requests for proposals), but it is completely under control of the company that owns it. Having a Facebook page is important, but it’s also limiting. Facebook offers a pretty rigid structure from which it’s difficult to deviate. If you have the money to burn, you can hire a firm to create a Facebook tab for you that sort of resembles a real website, but no matter what you do to spruce up your page, it’s still going to take second billing to the Facebook brand.

That's why your social media isn’t working to its full potential if it’s not driving traffic to your website. Here are a few ways to help your fans and followers make that digital journey.

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Topics: Business, business, education, facebook, Foursquare, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, ROI, social media, Social Media for Small Business, twitter

Social Media 101: Klout

Posted by Clayton Smith on November 1, 2011

“Social Media 101” is a series for social media beginners where we discuss the basics of social media marketing. Today, we explore the social media influence measurement tool Klout.

Klout is a program that analyzes and scores a person’s online influence through social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Klout uses a secret algorithm in order to determine the strength of each person’s sphere of influence on a scale of 0-100. A low Klout score means a lower level of influence; a higher score means a higher influential impact. Klout arrives at its score by measuring True Reach (how many people you influence), Amplification (how much you influence those people), and Network Impact (the influence of your network). The more active and responsive you are on social networks, the higher your Klout score is likely to climb.

Klout is currently able to draw social media influence variables from 12 networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and YouTube. The more networks a person links to his personal Klout page, the more accurate the Klout score becomes.

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Topics: 101, facebook, Foursquare, google+, google plus, gremln, klout, linkedin, Marketing, ROI, social media, Social Media Education, twitter

Social Media Time! (A Very Special Gremln Survey)

Posted by Clayton Smith on September 22, 2011

When it comes to social media marketing, timing is everything. After all, 2am might not be the best time for Olive Garden to share its lunch specials, but it's probably a great time to market some Lunesta. Your social media strategies are going to be most successful if they're hitting your target audience at the perfect time, and unless you've just installed a flux capacitor in your DeLorean, there's not a whole lot of margin for error.

What if you knew when the biggest portion of your target audience would be focusing its attention on Facebook? What if you could schedule your tweets to go out every day at exactly the right time to reach the most potential customers? What if you could predict the future behavior of your target market?

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Topics: business, facebook, Foursquare, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, Gremln News, linkedin, Marketing, ROI, social media, survey, twitter

Digital Disappointment: Four reasons businesses flop on social media

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 4, 2011

A landscaper once told me that he found social media to be a useless marketing tool. His attempts to expand his customer base by way of social networking consistently fell flat, and his time investment gave him little, if any, return. He wanted to know why he should spend so much time cultivating his Facebook page if it wasn’t going to help his business.

It's a question that a lot of business owners have. There’s a never-ending stream of buzz lauding the terrific marketing powers of social media, but let’s face it. It’s not working for everyone. The aforementioned landscaper’s Facebook page currently has about 20 fans, despite being created more than three months ago. He’s right, social media clearly isn’t working for him. So what gives?

The simple fact is, he was promised too much. All too often, small business owners buy wholeheartedly into a few fallacies of social media marketing that are showered down upon them by their friends, family, and news media, only to find that social networking doesn’t live up to their expectations. When this happens, it’s easy to become disillusioned with the idea of social media marketing in an extremely short period of time.

In order to help curb such negative experiences, here’s a look at a few of those misconceptions and the corresponding truths about social media marketing.

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Topics: Business, business, facebook, Foursquare, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, ROI, social media, twitter

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