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Local Business Marketing: Social media is the new bare minimum to sell to Generation Y

September 21st, 2012
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Let’s face it: Marketing used to be easier, especially for entrepreneurs running small, localized businesses. You once needed nothing more than a Yellow Pages ad to secure a steady stream of business as, let’s say, a local tire shop.

Then came the Internet, and it was still just a matter of having a webpage with your address and contact information. A minor inconvenience, but worth it for those businesses whose customer segments dictated taking extraordinary measures to reach the most tech-savvy people.

Next came Web 2.0, and suddenly it wasn’t enough to just have an online presence anymore. The Web was becoming social. Also, as the bell curve of innovation adoption for the Internet shifted toward mainstream acceptance, it became necessary to engage a wider range of age groups in digital format.

 

Can potential customers easily research your company and product?

Generation Y has proven itself to be savvy beyond belief in terms of product research, and discriminating to a fault against those brands that don’t make themselves available for online investigation.

A recent study by Lim Ying San and his colleagues from the Multimedia University in Malaysia indicates that a positive significant relationship exists between access and customers’ perceived online retail service quality. Online consumers often want to access a variety of informative sources to obtain up-to-date and useful information for making informed purchasing decisions.

Those sources may include social media, Google and other search engines, and online shopping resources, such as Amazon, as means of price comparison.

In other words, the bare minimum for online marketing and social media for small businesses has changed.

 

You have no choice

Increasingly, if you can’t be found on the first two pages of a Google search, you don’t exist. If young consumers cannot easily interact with your brand on Facebook, Twitter and, for some companies, even Pinterest, you are worse than out of sight. You are out of mind.

In my house, as I suspect is the case in many Generation Y abodes, we use phone books to hold up the broken coffee table where the leg used to be. Even if I wanted to look at the Yellow Pages, it would only result in spilled coffee. If you want to talk to me about your brand, you need to do the following:

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Social Media Metrics: Three touchy-feely numbers to help you benchmark and improve

September 14th, 2012
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It’s no gigantic secret that marketing has taken a turn decidedly toward the more empathetic, conversationally oriented initiatives in the last decade. The days of corporate marketing czars sitting high atop the hill of commerce, and sipping Scotch while devising cleaver ways to manipulate consumers, have come and gone.

If you want to play the game in this new social marketing environment, you’ve got to learn how to engage people in meaningful conversations.

Given a Facebook page, the average marketer figures he or she is more social than a hipster with a smartphone. They’ve checked the social “box,” and now it’s time to return to the magical land of value propositions and conversion rates because, when measured within the context of the traditional marketing paradigm, there isn’t much return on the effort of being “social.”

Of course, we know social media marketing is valuable. For example, according to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Inbound Marketing Handbook, 85% of marketers surveyed said social media is increasing in importance as a lead source, while most marketers found tactics like telemarketing, direct mail and trade shows to be decreasing in importance over the last 12 months.

 

Social media metrics

The problem lies in the metrics we use to measure that value. The traditional “how many, how much” metrics of historical Web analytics simple won’t do. And, while the goal of any marketing program is ROI-based metrics that truly show impact on the bottom line, many social media marketers struggle with making the transaction all the way from a top-of-the-funnel activity, like social media marketing, to revenue recognition.

So, don’t overlook the touchy-feely metrics of the social sphere to help you understand where you are and what you can do to improve. Social media isn’t paid media advertising. It isn’t a one-way conversation. Here are three metrics to get you started evaluating if you’re taking advantage of the social nature of social media:

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