Staying Afloat in a Sea of Likes - 5 ways to stay relevant on Facebook

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 23, 2011

Just five years ago, Facebook was a virtual corporate wasteland. Business leaders weren’t really taking the social network seriously as a marketing outlet yet, and Facebook wasn’t trying very hard to convince them otherwise. Pages hadn’t yet been introduced, and any company wanting a Facebook presence had to create either a group or an entirely new account under a fake name, like Mr. Radio Shack, a 35-year-old male from Fort Worth, Texas whose interests included batteries, transmitters, and R/C racers.

Facebook was piling on new users faster than anyone believed possible, but despite the growing pool of worldwide consumers using the service, businesses shied away.

That’s all changed, of course. Facebook is no longer a subject of skepticism, and we’re now faced with the opposite problem; there are millions of businesses on Facebook. When you’re competing with 1.5 million other businesses for the public’s attention, you need to do a few things to stand out.

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Topics: Business, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, like, Marketing, ROI, social media

Background Check – Making the most of your company’s Twitter background

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 17, 2011

When’s the last time you checked out another business’s Twitter page? I don’t mean when’s the last time you saw one of their tweets. I mean, when’s the last time you clicked through to view that company’s full Twitter profile and saw its Twitter background design? I’m betting it’s been a while. For most of us, any Twitter profile other than our own is out of sight and definitely out of mind.

But sooner or later, we all find ourselves exploring someone else’s Twitter profile. It usually happens when we’re searching around for new tweeters to follow. Sometimes it happens because we want to scroll back through all the person’s recent tweets. Every once in a while it happens because we’re just bored out of our gourds and have nothing better to do than surf through random Twitter usernames. (You thought you were the only one who did that, didn’t you?)

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Topics: Business, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, ROI, social, social media, 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

Opening the Floodgates: How like-gating impacts the social media marketing dynamic

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 1, 2011

Last week, for our Social Media 101 series, I wrote on the topic of like-gating. Today, we’ll look a little more closely at the concept and its impact on the business-consumer relationship.

A quick refresher: Like-gating is when a company requires a Facebook user to like its Facebook page before accessing exclusive content. The benefit of this strategy for the company is easy to see. People want exclusive content, so they like the page on Facebook, thus increasing the overall number of page fans and expanding the company’s digital audience.

Every time a person likes a company on Facebook, the company’s posts flow through the person’s Facebook news feed. The more people who see the post, the more the marketing message spreads, and the higher the company’s potential ROI on its social media marketing becomes. Because of this, likes have become a serious social currency. Like-gating is one way to leverage the phenomenon—but what impact is like-gating having on the business-consumer relationship?

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Topics: Business, business, facebook, gremlin, gremln, like, like-gate, Marketing, ROI, social media, tips

Social Media 101: Like-gating

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 28, 2011

“Social Media 101” is a series for social media beginners where we discuss the basics of social media marketing. Today, we define the term “like-gating.”

Like-gating is when a company requires Facebook users to “like” its Facebook page before allowing them to access exclusive content. This is usually done by way of a welcome tab that a visitor sees upon his first visit to the Facebook page, but the like-gate can be any tab on the page and is not limited to just the welcome tab.

The term comes from the fact that the “like” button acts as a gateway to the exclusive content, hence a like-gate. However, this “like” button barrier is sometimes also referred to as a “fangate” because clicking the “like” button makes you a “fan” of the Facebook page.

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Topics: 101, business, facebook, gremlin, like, like-gate, like-gating, Marketing, ROI, social media, Social Media Education

Embracing the Next Social Network (or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Google+”)

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 25, 2011

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there's this new social network called Google+.

I know, I know, that’s a bit of an understatement. Currently, the social network has more than 20 million users. That’s twice as many users as Foursquare has, and Foursquare has been around for two years. Google+ blew past them in two weeks.

Google+ may still be quite a way off from Facebook’s impressive 800 million-ish users, but here’s something else to keep in mind: Google+ is still invite-only. It’s obliterating records as the fastest growing online social network in history, and it isn’t even open to the public yet.

Generally speaking, the instant success of Google’s latest project has elicited one of two responses from my own social circles; either “Yes, finally, an alternative to Facebook!” or, more often than not, the much less enthusiastic, “Ugh. Another social network?”

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Topics: business, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, network, ROI, social, social media, Social Media Education

5 Lessons Social Media Marketers Can Learn From Angry Birds

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 21, 2011

If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re taking a break from playing the multi-platform breakout hit game Angry Birds. (I’ll try to keep this short so you can get back to beating Mine and Dine.)

Angry Birds, which was created by Rovio Mobile, was initially released for the iPhone in December 2009. Now, a year and a half later, Angry Birds is everywhere; iPads, iPods, android devices, PC browsers, Google Chrome, and even the PlayStation Portable. Wherever you are, there, too, are the birds. The game has been downloaded more than 250 million times.

There are several lessons social media marketers can learn from Angry Birds’ seemingly boundless success. Here are the five biggest:

1. Your campaign doesn’t have to be complex to be successful

Angry Birds is a simple concept. Launch the bird, hit the pigs. It’s an easy game to play, which means it’s an easy game to learn. Virtually anyone can pick it up and start playing in a matter of seconds, which makes it broadly appealing. When designing a far-reaching marketing strategy, keep in mind that simpler is often better.

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Topics: angry birds, Business, business, facebook, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, network, ROI, social, social media, tips, twitter

Insights and Impressions - What are your social media analytics telling you?

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 18, 2011

You’re brilliant. You know you’re brilliant. You have a fantastic new Facebook marketing campaign for your product, and it’s the most brilliant thing you’ve ever come up with. It just shines with brilliance. So you launch the campaign, and you wait for the rampant success that should always come with this high level of brilliance.

But how will you know if the public thinks it’s brilliant? How will you know if your campaign really is destined to become that rampant success? Ideally, of course, you should see an increase in sales. After all, what is your hard work for if not to increase your company’s bottom line? But it can take time for your marketing message to translate into a customer purchase, and before that money starts flowing, it’s helpful to know how many people are actually seeing your message. Enter Facebook impressions.

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Topics: analytics, Business, facebook, gremlin, gremln, klout, linkedin, Marketing, media, ROI, social, social media, twitter

Social Media 101: The Tweetup

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 13, 2011

Gremln's “Social Media 101” is a series for social media beginners where we discuss the basics of social media marketing. Today, we define the tweetup.

A tweetup is a social gathering of Twitter users that is organized mainly or exclusively through the social network. The name is a mash-up of “tweet” and “meetup,” or “meet-up.” Tweetups usually focus on a common cause or theme. For this reason, tweetups often serve as networking events whereby attendees meet new people with similar interests.

A tweetup isn’t always restricted to a gathering of Twitter users. Although this was initially the case, over time the word “tweetup” has become ubiquitous across all social media platforms. Today’s tweetups are often composed of people who learned about the event through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, email, etc.

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Topics: Business, gremlin, gremln, ROI, social media, tweetup, twitter, twitter business, twitter marketing

The Missing Link -- Can LinkedIn be a viable social media marketing tool?

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 5, 2011

LinkedIn. It’s the king of digital business-to-business connections. Unlike other popular social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is more about networking than socializing. It tends to be seen as a networking tool for the businessman rather than the everyman. Does this white-collar stigma leave any room for business owners to use LinkedIn to connect with potential customers?

Marketing vs. CRM
From a business standpoint, it’s easy to think of Facebook and Twitter as marketing tools. That’s because as a consumer, all I need to receive Nike’s marketing message is an internet connection, a Facebook account, and the ability to click “Like.” That’s it.

But LinkedIn isn’t so easy. Sure, I can follow Nike on LinkedIn, but that basically sends me links to their blogs, tweets, and other non-LinkedIn information that I’ve already found on my own anyway. If I want to use LinkedIn to its full potential, as a peer-to-peer communications tool to really connect with the company, I need to know someone on the inside. I need to be a colleague of, or have done business with, or have gone to school with, or be a friend of, or have the email address of a Nike employee.

But I don’t know anyone at Nike.  I’m just a potential customer interested in their products.

This poses a bit of a puzzle for Nike (and every company on LinkedIn). How are they going to market to me if I can’t connect directly with them? LinkedIn is booming in popularity, thanks in part to its recent IPO, and it currently boasts more than 100 million users. That’s a large pool of potential for any company that can successfully tap into it. But doing so means finding a way to break the connection barrier.

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Topics: Business, crm, facebook, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, ROI, social media, social media marketing, twitter

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