Tag Archives: Social Media

Twitter Decoded: Marketing on Twitter

Marketing on TwitterFor some reason that I don’t understand, people tell me Twitter is like a black hole. Or that Twitter is difficult. Or that Twitter is easy for personal accounts, but using Twitter for business doesn’t make sense.

Trust me, folks. Marketing on Twitter isn’t a big mystery.

In our second article in the Twitter Decoded series, I’ll teach you how to:

  • identify your target market
  • engage your target market
  • build a relationship with your target market
  • turn your target market into clients

I’ve used Twitter since 2010 when I established this blog. I’ve learned many things since then and want to pass what I’ve learned to you.

Setting Up Your Twitter Account

When you’re setting up an account on Twitter, remember that this account is for your business. If you’ve got a personal Twitter account, don’t use it for your business. Use your business name for your Twitter account (i.e., @biggreyhorse). This builds your brand and makes it easier for others to recognize your business.

Finding Your Target Market

Once your account is set up, you’ll want to follow others. My advice is do not go crazy and follow hundreds of accounts. You can get your Twitter account banned for what’s termed “aggressive following” and “aggressive follow churn.”

This means follow accounts that are meaningful to you. If you’ve got 50 accounts that you want to follow, by all means, go for it. The hope is those accounts will follow you back.

I’ve had good success on Twitter with my target market following back. What’s surprising is when someone influential from outside of your target market follows your account, and then some of their followers become interested, too.

Big Grey Horse Media’s target market is Texas. I’ve followed wineries, companies I like, restaurants, people, businesses and individuals that compliment what we do, etc. It was easy to find accounts to follow because I simply did a search for “Austin.” Or “Texas winery.” Or a person’s name. See how easy that is?

For your target market, you want to follow the businesses or individuals who are your customers. It really doesn’t matter if your business is set up as B2B or B2C. Twitter makes it easy to find people who will be interested in what you are doing.

There’s a search function in Twitter. Go to it, type in the name of your target or a search string that will help you find your target. Hit “search” and boom! There’s a handy list of accounts related to your search.

Remember that your target market is businesses and/or consumers who buy your product or service. While it’s fine to follow others who will never be your customers, it’s more important to follow accounts that might need your product/service than it is to follow your friends or your mom.

Engaging Your Target Market

There are two methods I’ve used to market Big Grey Horse Media on Twitter. The first is to simply be honest and state what you do and how you can help. There’s nothing wrong with this method, but I’d use it with caution.

The reason I caution you to market yourself honestly on Twitter is you don’t want to spam others. I also haven’t had anyone choose Big Grey Horse Media simply because I offered our services via a Twitter DM (direct message) or a tweet. While some people do this and secure new gigs, I would be very careful. It’s a fine balance between doing a little marketing and spamming someone who doesn’t know you.

My ideal way to engage Big Grey Horse Media’s target market is to follow accounts (whether you initiate the follow or are following someone back) and listen to what they say.

As you listen to the tweets, look for patterns. What is your target market talking about? Who do they follow? Who do they interact with?

Sometimes you have to follow the chain to get the complete picture. I guarantee, however, that when you begin investigating you will find a way you can help with your products/services. But you have to listen and be patient.

There’s two ways I’ve had great success with Twitter:

1) Obtaining interviews

2) Developing relationships

Both of which can lead to greater things down the road. You gotta pick the low-hanging fruit first, though.

Building Relationships

Marketing on Twitter is all about relationships. Unless you are already doing business with someone and decide to follow them on Twitter, you have a cold relationship. Having someone follow you, or following them, doesn’t mean the plate’s hot.

Take your time. As I mentioned before, listen to what the business or person is saying on Twitter. What do they talk about? Who is their target market? Who do they follow?

Over time, you can develop awesome relationships that will spread to your other social media channels. If you have folks following you across the board, that’s great! You’re definitely taking the right approach.

I’d caution to take your time and allow things to happen naturally. I would not stalk other Twitter accounts or try to engage them in ways that aren’t natural. I also would NOT push my business on anyone. That’s not Twitter’s purpose.

Another way you’ll build relationships on Twitter is to tweet your blog posts, announcements, PR, etc. Make sure you do this so folks know what’s going on, but never use your Twitter account simply to toot your horn.

Social media’s about relationships. Say it again. Social media’s about relationships. Burn this into your brain.

No one wants to know every thought that you have, as you have it. Unless that’s your purpose and you have a large following who digs your humor, make Twitter be about others, too.

Re-tweet things that catch your eye. Things that your followers will enjoy.

Send a tweet when someone you admire wins an award or receives positive PR. Spread the love.

Favorite tweets you dig.

Turning Your Target Market Into Clients

If you do all that I’ve suggested so far, you’re building credibility and trust with your target market. Only you can say when the time is right to approach with a deal, but if you’ve warmed your targets up, they will begin to come to you. Marketing on Twitter 2

The best way to get business, and the only way to get business, is to solve someone’s problem. If you’re doing your job right on Twitter, you’ll solve problems and earn the position of an authoritative source. Once you’re seen as credible,  you’ll have no problem closing the sale.

Bottom line: Twitter’s a blast. I’ve learned so much over the years and the fun continues. I’d say the biggest mistake people make is going full steam ahead with a Twitter business account and then petering out in a few weeks or months. If you decide Twitter isn’t for you, the best thing you can do is close your account. Nothing smacks unprofessional more than a Twitter business account with zero followers and one or two tweets.

If you’re still scratching your head and confused about how to make Twitter work, reach out. I’m happy to help you grow your online presence.

Fast and Easy Ways to Get Facebook Likes for Your Fan Page

Facebook Like
Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

You set up a Facebook fan page for your business. You want it grow. But nothing happens. If you’re baffled because no one came except friends and family (who don’t buy from you anyway), it’s okay. Facebook isn’t that difficult to figure out. Once you do, you’ll get Facebook likes without a problem.

We grew Big Grey Horse Media’s fan page from zero to 112 fans in less than three months. While that number may seem small, it gigantic in terms of growth with very little exposure or advertising.

However, you can grow your Facebook fan page to even larger numbers of fans. Through targeted advertising and promotion, you’ll easily surpass what we’ve done with our Facebook fan page.

Best of all, you’re doing this legally. You never want to put your web property in jeopardy by succumbing to black hat methods like buying traffic. Never. Ever. Ever.

Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts with your business. The internet is vast and it can take awhile to conquer your part of the web. Frustration about traffic means you need more promotion. And most of that promotion takes effort and time.

The fastest and easiest way we’ve found to gain Facebook fans – and quality fans, at that – is through advertising. The first promotion I did was deliberately broad, and we only picked up a few handfuls of new fans. It was a good experiment, however, because I found that across the U.S., there’s not much interest in a Texas destination blog. The other thing I could have done to increase our fan base was to run more than one ad. I remain pleased with the first campaign because it taught me where my real fans are.

It was money well spent. How much did I spend? $35.

For our second advertising campaign, I bought three ads at $5 per day with a $35 cap. I then targeted those ads to Texans, and further targeted those three ads based upon what I know about our fans. There’s a high population of mobile users, our fans like animals, many like horses, and they’re foodies. Based upon this knowledge, we gained 75 fans in seven days.

The advertising was cheap and well worth it.

Best of all? These are real people. This is real traffic. While our fan page is brand new, more people are engaging as time goes on, and we’re not losing fans.

That’s been my objective from the get-go with Big Grey Horse Media. Whether it’s the blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or our Google+ page, I want traffic that matters. I’m interested in people who want to get sticky and engage.

With quality content spread across these channels, we’ve done just that. Our growth across the board in less than six months is phenomenal! You, too, can have this.

What I love about social media is most of it’s free. Gone are the days of paying for traditional advertising methods. Those ways have their place, but know that you don’t necessarily have to use them. In fact, many companies will never need a television ad or a print ad in a magazine.

The money you pay for online advertising is cheap! Compare the cost of my two Facebook advertising tests to what I’d pay for an ad in Texas Monthly.

See what I mean? It’s exciting, the results are measurable, and most of all, social media is FUN.

Facebook has strict rules about how you advertise. Of course, the methods of advertising are self-serving, but hey, we’re all in business, right? It’s fair enough to say I appreciate what Facebook’s doing even if it’s costing the pages more to gain fans. If you’re not clear about the rules, Facebook’s advertising guidelines are here.

Our clients should look at long-term campaigns on Facebook. Growing a new page, or an existing page that needs love, isn’t a short-term strategy or an overnight fix. Social media and content marketing campaigns are planned, targeted, and implemented over the long haul. These campaigns are also a way of life for your brand.

Do you need a social media manager forever? (That sounds scary, doesn’t it? Especially if you have a small marketing budget.) My answer is this: If you don’t know how to work through social media, hire a social media manager. Get started, grow your brand online, and when you’re ready, get trained to do it yourself. You can’t afford to not be online. Seriously.

If you spend $10,000 for a small campaign, and that $10,000 yields $350,000 worth of new business, would you say that $10,000 was worth it?

That’s how social media works.

If you will never have the time for social media, either hire an agency like us to do it for you, or hire someone in-house. Either way, you’ll need someone to take care of your brand or it will die on the vine.

Getting Facebook fans is easy. And fast. Invest the money in your campaigns. We’d love to help you! Click here.

 

Twitter Decoded: What Does #FF Mean?

TwitterIf you use Twitter (and who doesn’t – except my mom) you’ve seen it: the #FF hashtag. But what does #FF mean? Do you know how to use it properly? I’ll explain some Twitter mysteries and etiquette in our Twitter Decoded series.

#FF means “Follow Friday.”

How to Choose

How do you choose who’s worthy of tweeting about and following?

  • New Twitter accounts that only have a small group of followers but are HOT and need to be noticed.
  • Brands that you love and want to share.
  • Individuals or brands that you want to shout out about simply because those people and businesses are awesome.

How do you use #FF?

Use #FF on Fridays. Write a tweet and include #FF in the message.

Here’s some examples:

Check out @BigGreyHorse for Texas eatery reviews! #FF

#FF My recommended list of cool friends @MaryeAudet, @PinOakHouston, @KarinHernandez3, @UncleBillys.

When your followers see your #FF tweets, hopefully they, too, will follow the folks you recommend. It’s exposure, PR, and a personal recommendation neatly wrapped up in 140 characters or less.

Twitter Etiquette

Twitter etiquette dictates that you send a “thank you” tweet if you are recommended via #FF.

How do you thank someone properly? You send a tweet back saying “Thanks.”

Here’s an example of the right way to do it:

Thanks @BigGreyHorse for the #FF!

Do NOT thank someone for a #FF by sending the entire message back.

Here’s an example of the wrong way to do it:

Thanks @BigGreyHorse! #FF My recommended list of cool friends @MaryeAudet, @PinOakHouston, @KarinHernandez3, @UncleBillys.

Never send back the exact tweet you were mentioned in. It’s lazy and laziness isn’t professional or thankful.

Another thing to remember is clarity. Twitter moves at lightning speed. I recommend not mentioning more than four of your tweeps in #FF lists. Some people say that #FF tweets shouldn’t have more than one individual or business mentioned. That isn’t a bad way to go, but you can list up to four names. (Some folks recommend a list of up to five names.)

Twitter isn’t hard to understand. Once you get on board and play with your account a bit, Twitter becomes easier to understand. The help section is informative, too.

Need help maneuvering through the Twittersphere? We can help. Contact us for more information. We LOVE socializing Texas style!

 

Check Out the Brand, Spankin’ New Big Grey Horse Media Facebook Page

We now have a Big Grey Horse Media Facebook page. Click and visit!

You’ll find things on the Facebook page that you won’t see on the blog. Things like:

  • tips for Texans visiting restaurants, hotels, events, and more
  • upcoming blog posts on Big Grey Horse Media
  • cool Facebook shares
  • important news
  • you’ll have to visit to see what else we have in store for you!

Big Grey Horse Media Facebook Page

Stop by and see us. Comment on our posts and start your own! We love hearing from you.

Thanks for being a great audience – we couldn’t do it without you.

Building Your Brand: Customer Service and Client Relations

Are you building your brand? The answer is always “Yes!” Every step you take while operating a business brands you in a positive or negative way. Whether you are a sole proprietor or employ thousands of people, customer service and client relations should be foremost on your mind.

How are you representing your company? How do you treat prospective clients, and do you maintain positive relationships with the clients you have?

Quite a bit of what I do at Big Grey Horse Media involves marketing. Not only for my business, but for others’ businesses. I grew up in an entrepreneurial, small business environment so I learned early on to treat your customers right.

I’ve had disappointing experiences this year not only with interviews for blog pieces, but actual customer service experiences with companies I wanted to do business with.

A photographer I wanted to buy pictures from didn’t take photos of my horse. That’s cool, as I learned after the fact that the guy runs from ring to ring and is a one man operation. I offered feedback that the majority of the photos he took during the show were of kids and ponies, and to remember that the amateur adults and professional riders were the folks with purchasing power. This photographer was offended by my statement. He set me straight, so to speak, by saying that he did horse shows for free (which I knew), and if I wanted him to photograph my horse, I would have to pay him to do so (which I didn’t know).

In the long run, he missed the boat because paying him was exactly my intention. And no harm was meant when I said adult riders wanted to see photos of their horses, too. Here’s the kicker: “Adults rarely buy from me, and the pony riders’ parents do.” So in this instance, and in this photographer’s mind, kids and ponies win.

Truth is, as long as the shots were good, I would have bought every photo taken of my horse. Heck, I was interested in purchasing photos of my barn mates and their horses, too! And with those fabulous, professional photos of my horse in hand, I would have spread the word. We’re a Texas blog and we thoroughly enjoy endorsing stellar individuals and companies.

This is powerful stuff, people: word of mouth marketing.

Now I will use this experience to portray what happens when you’re rude to a potential client: You lose the sale. Further, your company can go viral in a negative way if someone chooses to call you out.

My take? The show’s prize list indicated this photographer would be at the show. Nothing was said about him being a one-man operation, just that the company would be ringside. Nothing was said on the photographer’s business cards (which were at the concession stand) that you had to ask to have photos taken or that you had to pay him in order to get his attention. Had I known prior, I would certainly have asked him to be ringside while my horse was going.

I felt that I offered this company invaluable insight into a prospective client’s mind. I also think it was a super opportunity for said company to salvage, through excellent customer service and client relations, future sales (the horse world is tiny and I’m sure I will run into this photographer again).

Building your brand is easy. Take good care of the people who come your way. Take good care of the clients you have. Forge bonds with everyone, even if you think they’re not your target market. Relationships drive sales.

 

Is Word of Mouth Marketing On the Way Out?

With the recent acquisition of several marketing agencies by large corporations, there is speculation regarding the viability of word of mouth marketing and face-to-face conversations. Brand advocates, used by companies and marketing agencies, are in demand. Word of mouth marketing used to be just that: You talk with friends and family about the products and services you use or are given to try out. What brand advocates have to say about those products is crucial. Great products and their buzz will spread like wildfire, increasing the chances of more consumers spending money on that particular item or brand. However, now companies are pushing brand advocates to use social media to get the buzz going. Is word of mouth marketing on its way out?

As a media company, we’re interested in how people have conversations. How do folks find out about events, goods, and services? How do people know what’s going on in the world? What brands are the best, and which companies should we support? While we posit that word of mouth marketing and “old-fashioned” face-to-face conversations are here to stay, it seems that big retailers, marketing agencies, and advertising companies are pushing hard to expand their presence into the social media realm – on the backs of consumers. We definitely have mixed feelings about this.

That said, we agree that social media is a great way to communicate. The efficiency of reaching your target market through social media is unparalleled in terms of cost, speed, and utility. I recall the pre-internet days and how hard we, as marketing teams, worked to get the word out. How did we do it? We talked to our prospects and clients, schmoozed in person (a lot), and used snail mail for direct mail campaigns and pushes.

Today, companies are born on shoestring budgets. One of the things technology has done is level the playing field. Marketing can be done at a low cost, and social media programs are free. As long as your target market can be found online, you’ve got an eager audience.

Marketing agencies and companies are smart. Why not have those loyal brand advocates do the work? It’s FREE. Especially when consumers are using their social media accounts and blogs to spread the word. At the end of the day, it’s a great thing to have a large group purchasing everything you have to offer and speaking positively about your brand. And if those brand advocates choose to blog, “like” you on Facebook, and follow your Twitter account, all the better. Everyone is happy!

The flip side? What I hate seeing is companies pushing brand advocates (who are rewarded by special programs) to use online media to reach more customers. Reading others’ reviews about products used to be a way to measure the success of a brand. In the last two years, we have been extremely wary about what we read online, and take many reviews with a grain of salt. Although the government insists on disclosure from brand advocates, we know those advocates aren’t always honest, even when they disclosure they received a product to review. We also know that many are reviewing products and not disclosing their relationships with companies. False, paid reviews are all too common in the writing world, unfortunately.

We’re afforded luxuries with social media. Let’s not get too caught up in the moment, however. If marketing companies push their brand advocates, forcing them to use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets for marketing, rewarding only the “best” brand advocates, where does that leave the rest of us? What kind of marketing buzz is this creating, and isn’t this simply a case of dealing with a new kind of advertising? Something that may look trustworthy, but at the bottom of it all, is really nothing more than paid advertising? An online infomercial?

What is a brand advocate? Is a brand advocate someone who talks about the services and products they’ve tried, but gets nothing in return? Or is a brand advocate someone who’s connected to a marketing agency or corporation…someone who receives free products and services to use and talk about? This brand advocate gets a lot in return – free swag, points through a marketing system, etc. Is this really someone you can trust to tell the truth, knowing the brand advocate gets freebies plus company rewards for talking about their experiences?

Will the good, old brand advocates who aren’t rewarded with samples and points still communicate their preferences face-to- face? We think so. And we also think that those who talk about the brands they love, the folks who readily give their hard-earned cash for products and services they believe in, will always be the kind of brand advocates other consumers will trust, and the kind of brand advocates smart companies will want on their side.

Just for the record: I’m biased because I am not a freebie grabber or someone who yearns for free things to try out simply to have swag. If I like a product/service, you know I like it because it works for me. I’m proud to pay for the brands I dig! Retail prices don’t scare me. If I like a product, I’ll continue to buy it. If not, I’ll stop. No strings attached.

What do you think?