There is Value in Fun: An observation from SXSW

Posted by Clayton Smith on March 16, 2012

There’s a lot to love about South by Southwest, the 10-day music, film, and interactive conference and festival held every year in Austin, TX. The live music, the keynote speakers, the panel discussions, the post-conference parties, and the sheer energy generated by thousands of social networkers converging to celebrate new app launches and long-established social successes alike; it’s all pretty overwhelming, and it can be difficult for any one aspect to really stand out.

SXSW is generally lauded as the conference for launching exciting new social products. After all, it’s where Foursquare debuted in 2009, and though it wasn’t exactly the network’s official launch, Twitter really started gaining attention at SXSW 2007. New apps and services are unveiled in Austin every year, and marketers spend big bucks to make sure their booths and launch parties stand out from all the rest. But the conference can also be a good reminder that marketing promotion doesn’t always have to be expensive or flashy to add value to your product. Sometimes, all you need is a little fun.

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, education, facebook, fun, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, media, network, ROI, skype, social, south by southwest, strategy, sxsw, twitter

Piquing Your Pinterest -- How to use the hottest new social network to market your business

Posted by Clayton Smith on March 7, 2012

The concept behind Pinterest is pretty simple; see something you like online, tack it to a virtual bulletin board for all your friends to see. The site design is clean, direct, and easy to use. By all accounts, Pinterest is the simplest social network since Twitter. But for such a simple social site (try saying that five times fast!), Pinterest has generated an incredible amount of buzz in an extremely short amount of time.

The site already has well over 10 million users, and in fact, according to marketing company Lemon.ly, they were the fastest independent site in history to hit 10 million unique page visitors. They got there faster than Facebook, faster than Twitter, even faster than Google+. Clearly, there’s something to love about Pinterest.

If you haven’t used Pinterest yet, it’s definitely worth checking out. You can request an invite, or, if you want access a little more quickly, just find a friend who has an account, and she can send you an invite instantly. Once you’re in, the process is simple; create boards; pin things to boards; repeat. You can find things to pin on pretty much any website, or, if you want, you can search through the items already pinned by other users, then just repin the picture onto your page. Do you like the Muppets? A quick search on Pinterest will bring up thousands (and then some) images of Muppets for you to browse through, enjoy, like, and repin.

It’s a great network for quickly and easily sharing images with your friends, and it’s also useful if you want to keep an online collection of ideas and inspiration. Thinking of redecorating your living room? Start a board called “New Living Room” and pin every piece of furniture, every paint scheme, and every set of drapes you find that you think you might like. Getting ready for some spring landscaping? Create a board called “Landscape Ideas” and pin all your favorite landscape shots from around the Web.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

But how can Pinterest help you market your business?

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Topics: Business, business, campaign, dashboard, education, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, pinterest, ROI, social, Social Media News, strategy, twitter

Click-Happy: How many clicks does it take to make your social media strategy a success?

Posted by Clayton Smith on February 28, 2012

One of the best and simplest ways to get an idea of your social media ROI is by tracking the number of people who click the links you post to your social networks. Tools like Brev.is make it easy to track your social media links and determine
precisely how many people have clicked
through to your main content.

This number of click-throughs not only tells you how many people thought your link was worth clicking, but it also helps you discover the best time(s) of day to publish posts, what sort of teasers are best for your links, and what sort of content really interests your fans and followers. Heck, with Gremln’s Target Pages tool, you can even track link clicks from your tweet all the way to the actual sale. ROI measurement doesn’t get much better than that.

But the number of clicks can only take you so far. At some point, you’re going to need to sit down and answer the question, “How many clicks is enough?” How many times does your adoring public need to click on a link before you can call your tweet a success?

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Topics: analytics, brev.is, Business, business, click, education, gremlin, gremln, link, Marketing, media, ROI, social, strategy, success

Go, Team! Setting up your department for social media team management

Posted by Clayton Smith on February 23, 2012

Social media is growing up. What began as an amusing method of occasional interaction is now a mass media and marketing communications force to be reckoned with. Today’s social networks boast users from all demographics, and the net is ever widening.

Social media play huge roles in today’s marketing plan, spurred on not only by the widespread appeal of networks like Facebook and Twitter, but also by the relative inexpensiveness of using them as marketing tools. The number of employment positions dedicated solely to social media marketing and content production is surging. A company’s Twitter feed used to be an intern project. Now, in many cases, social media marketing is a team effort.

While this is an exciting shift in the marketing dynamic, it also presents its own unique set of challenges. When you’ve got a few cooks in the social media kitchen, it’s easy to step on each other’s toes, and team management becomes incredibly important. As the leader of a social media team, it becomes all too easy for other members to post content that you feel is inappropriate, inaccurate, or in some other way not in lock-step with your brand. There can be some confusion as to who should respond (or who has already responded) to which Twitter question or Facebook issue, and we’ve all heard the horror stories of company employees accidentally posting their personal tweets to their business accounts. So how do you run a tight social ship?

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, facebook, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, moderate, network, plan, ROI, social, strategy, team management, twitter

Branded: The Importance of Being Self-Aware

Posted by Clayton Smith on February 8, 2012

Every year, companies sink huge amounts of money into their marketing campaigns in an effort to solidify brand awareness and recognition in the minds of the average consumer. From logos and colors to spokespeople and taglines, marketers dedicate a lot of resources toward the end goal of getting customers to favorably connect brand to business.

Brand awareness – we know it, we love it, and our customers need to have it. We have very concrete ideas about what our brand should be, and we want to make sure our customers do too.

But how often do we promote our own brand self-awareness? As marketers, it can be pretty easy to focus so much on how we want our customers to view us that we forget to take stock of how they actually do. McDonald’s recently provided us with a great example of why it’s important to understand not only the brand you want people to see, but also the brand you actually have.

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Topics: brand, Business, business, campaign, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, hashtag, marketings, ROI, social media, strategy, twitter

5 Social Media Analytics You Can't Live Without

Posted by Clayton Smith on January 15, 2012

When it comes to social media marketing, analytics are king. Knowing the details about who’s interacting with which messages (and to what extent) is priceless when it comes to building marketing strategies. But let’s face it; it’s easy to get lost in a sea of charts and tables and graphs that delve deep into details about the demographics behind followers, fans, likes, unlikes, tweets, retweets, mentions, clicks, views, shares, check-ins, posts, comments, impressions…the list goes on and on. It’s all great information, but it can get overwhelming, especially for smaller companies that just don't have the time.

Sometimes you just need to quickly grab the most important snippets of social information. When you’re short on time, there are a handful of key analytics you can use to get a clear, bird’s-eye view of how you’re doing in the social space. Here are five essentials:

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Topics: analytics, brev.is, Business, business, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, link shorten, linkedin, Marketing, measurement, metrics, ROI, sentiment.al, sentiment analysis, social media, twitter

5 Resolutions for a Successfully Social 2012

Posted by Clayton Smith on December 27, 2011

As the New Year begins to peek over the horizon, so too does the infamous New Year’s Resolution. We often design these annual edicts to help make ourselves better people. Just ask the U.S. Government; they’ve compiled some of the country's most popular recurring resolutions, which include the decision to save money, stop smoking, and lose weight.

You’ll notice that “be a better social media marketer” didn’t make the list. Even so, I think there are a lot of committed marketers out there hoping to make 2012 the most successfully social year ever. For those of you determined to make the most of your social media strategies in the coming year, here are a few resolutions to live by:

1. Be Open
Social media represents a pretty significant shift from the traditional marketing dynamic. It brings us from a one-way, hard-sell communication to a back-and-forth, community-building dialogue. In addition to changing the way we view marketing, social media itself can change pretty quickly. In 2012, resolve to be open to change. Try new networks, experiment with different strategies, and learn as much as you can about what’s new in the social media world and how you can use it to your advantage.

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Topics: 2012, Business, business, facebook, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, network, new year's, resolution, ROI, social media, strategy, twitter

Staying Social at the Holidays -- 4 ways Gremln can help keep your marketing message strong over the holiday break

Posted by Clayton Smith on December 20, 2011

We're nearing the end of December, which means that many offices are about to hit Ghost Town status for a week or two. Between holiday time off and the last-minute usage of leftover vacation days that won't carry over into the next year, the time between Christmas and New Year's is a time of relaxation for many people.

This can be tricky for marketing departments, especially in small businesses, because the same surge of vacation time that's allowing marketers to stay home over the holidays is also giving millions of potential customers the chance to spend some quality time browsing around on social media. Many companies have strict policies about social networking, so their employees are likely to experience a little digital release from home over the end-of-year break. With so many potential customers surfing the Web, it's a prime time for marketers to shine. Here are a few ways you can keep your campaigns and promotions running, even if there's no one in the office:

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Topics: Business, business, christmas, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, holiday, linkedin, Marketing, ROI, small business, social media, tips, twitter

A Gift for Marketers -- The link between social media and holiday spending

Posted by Clayton Smith on December 15, 2011

I came across this infographic today (from Mr. Youth, via Mashable), which illustrates the link between holiday purchases and social media. The graphic suggests there is indeed a strong correlation between social media communication and product purchases, offering evidence from two sides of the social media coin; the social side, where you interact with family and friends, and the marketing side, where you interact with businesses and brands.

According to Mashable, Mr. Youth "polled about 4,500 adults and found that social media is a key driver of holiday gift purchases this year." Here are a few of the statistical highlights:

93% of social media users made or received purchase recommendations on Facebook.
It's a reliable piece of industry knowledge that word-of-mouth is a marketer's best tool when it comes to generating sales. Social media is, at its core, word-of-mouth amplified; instead of one-to-one personal communication, social platforms allow for one-to-many communication. Facebook is by far the largest social network out there, and if it's worth saying, then it's probably worth saying on Facebook. The importance of digital word-of-mouth just can't be overstated, so neither can the importance of social media brand representation.

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Topics: Business, crm, facebook, gremlin, gremln, holiday, Marketing, ROI, sales, social media, strategy

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

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