Category Archives: Social Media

“I’m here…now what?”: Location Based Services For Business

Location Based Service…?

“…is an information and entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device [1] [2] [3]. LBS services can be used in a variety of contexts, such as health, work, personal life, etc. [4]. LBS services include services to identify a location of a person or object, such as discovering the nearest banking cash machine or the whereabouts of a friend or employee…They include personalized weather services and even location-based games. They are an example of telecommunication convergence.” (Wikipedia)

In an earlier post, Who Cares What You’re Doing?, I talked about people and their interaction with social media.  People are naturally curious and it applies to Location Based Services (LBSes) like Foursquare.  One would ask, why would I ever tell people where I am by checking into Foursquare?!  I suggest reading Meredith Eaton’s article Top 10 Reasons People Check-In to Foursquare.  You’ll understand why people are doing it; now let’s focus on her #10 point, growing your business.

In general, what has social media done for the brand of a business?  It has brought back brand loyalty, local and word-of-mouth marketing.  Big name brands are actively engaging their fans and followers, and small businesses are close behind them.

Take a look at Gap.  They recently had a “Foursquare friends, Saturday only” promotion that they simultaneously promoted on Twitter and Facebook.  Check-in, get a very consumer friendly discount.  Read the article here, Gap Uses Foursquare For Unique One-Day-Only 25% Off Check-In Offer.  With check-ins on Foursquare posted to Facebook walls and Twitter streams (with the users permission, of course), imagine the reach of all those viral messages during that Saturday.

Evaluate your business, be it consumer driven or B2B, and ask yourself, what can I offer those that check-in on Foursquare?  What’s something special I can give the Mayor while here?  You see, Foursquare is simply a game that people enjoy playing.  Be ahead of your competition and use this game to your advantage.  Give them something for playing and showing loyalty towards your business.

Stay Social,


Race to 1,000,000…

Wouldn’t we all like our businesses to hit 1,000,000 followers, fans, or subscribers, quickly? You’ve seen all sorts of promotions both online and offline to get to 1MM fans for different businesses. Whether it’s getting a free Bloomin’ Onion or joining something bigger than yourself, companies and organizations have been successful getting their fan base built, quickly.

As social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube level the playing field for the little guys, able to compete with the big guys, its easy to build your fan base quickly.

But let me rattle the cages a bit…
Do I really need 1,000,000 fans and followers?

When I help people with their social marketing strategy (online or offline, folks), I am always sensitive to the audience that they are trying to reach.  Just as with direct marketing, our social media tactics should be targeted, deliberate, and consistent.  I would rather have 1,000 community members than 1,000,000 fans.  As marketers, we always have to be in the customer’s shoes and assume they ask–what’s in it for me?  Well, I say to you, it’s not a one way street.  As an organization, you should be asking–what does my fan base do for me?  Note: that answer doesn’t necessarily have to do with top-line revenue either. 

So with that said remeber this:  you’re not building a fan base, you’re building a community.

Stay Social,

Who Cares About What You’re Doing?!

I recently sat down at a meeting with a veteran colleague of mine–ok, he was old but I’m trying to be polite–who asked me the question, “Who cares about what you’re doing?!” on the social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Despite all the hype about the obvious benefits that social media brings to businesses and personal brands of all kinds, I could understand the frustration I heard in his voice.  This is a question that a lot of people have and I’m going to answer it now.

It’s not about ‘what you are doing’ but ‘what you are doing that could benefit me.’  People do care about what you are doing, particularly when the information you are providing is relevant to them.  Humans are naturally curious creatures.  We just want to know!

Social Networking is a way to take word of mouth marketing to the web and make your message viral.  Just as going to a trade show, attending a networking event, or having lunch with business colleagues is a way to exchange business information and leads, online networking is doing just that. 

I often tell people that they shouldn’t expect to close a $50,000 deal from tweeting (at least not yet), but expect to engage in your network with material such as: industry content, trouble shooting, customer service, event promotion, crisis management, product launch announcements, industry opinions,etc, etc.  You add value.

Any way we can add value to our network by providing content that people can use, is how we leverage our social networks and boost our brand.

So I say YES! people do care what you are doing, as long as it adds value to them and their network.

Stay Social,

Getting the ‘Buy-in’ For Social Media In Your Organization

What a great video I came across from Bret L. Simmons (check out his blog at  I feel very strongly about speaking with your superiors in your business or executives from other businesses and industries about the benefits of social media and how it transforms your overall marketing plan, not conforms to it.  You won’t ‘get it’ unless you get in it. 

Very well said Bret!

Stay Social,

direct mail to communicate…dead?!

There’s one thing that we all can agree on, direct mail is not what it is used to be.  But ‘dead’ it is not. 

What is true is how we use direct mail in our marketing efforts and how it integrates with our other traditional and progressive marketing techniques.  Believe it or not, consumers are pretty smart, and can see right through the advertiser.  There is no need to try to trick them or play with their head.  Just talk to them.  You’ll be better off for it.

So how can we talk to all of our customers and prospects all at once?  That seems pretty daunting, right?  Not true.

Marketing was always thought to be a game of numbers, and many will argue that it still is.  Or is it; I’ll let you decide.  We must engage this smart consumer or business executive in a way that speaks to them, engages them in the solution that you are offering and hits a nerve that keeps them up at night.  Your whole campaign must be targeted to your audience.  They key is the database.  Whether you have a house list or a purchased list, be sure the leverage the information that you have.  If you buy a list, talk to your list provider about your campaign and who you are looking to attract (a good list broker should ask you too).  Many providers have access to different selections when it comes to lists whehter it’s age, income level, or the type of credit card they use.  Leverage that information!

Let’s take savings and investments, as an example.  Sam is a Financial Advisor and is looking to build his database of prospects and bring on 10 new clients this year.  In the past, he’s spent long hours cold calling, attending trade shows, begging for referrals, and sending 1,000’s of direct mail letters/cards (the ‘spray n’ pray’ method).  He’s been able to stay afloat but feels that he is working harder than he needs to get the same results.  He’s getting ready for a new DM campaign and looks to buy a list of 1,000 people within a 1 mile radius of his office with a message helping people to save for retirement.  STOP.  Let’s think.

  • Who is in this list?
    1. singles,
    2. young married couples,
    3. middle market with school age children, or
    4. near retired empty-nesters
  • What are there needs?
    1. Start to save for the future
    2. Establish a base for your spouse and soon-to-be family
    3. Save for your kids’ college fund
    4. Ensure that you will be taken care of in retirement

What I see here is not a list of 1,000 people who should receive 1 message, but 4 segments to receive 4 very different marketing messages that Sam needs to get across.  Don’t talk about starting a plan for retirement to the 3rd and 4th market above.  That message is not relevant.  Moreover, each call to action should be different as well as the means to connect back with Sam.  The first three markets may be heavy on utilizing the web to connect (social media, personalized website response channel, etc.); the last demographic may prefer to connect via phone call, snail mail, or even email. 

Direct Mail as we know it is changing.  Consumers and business solution providers need to collaborate and discuss the changes of how we market the brand.  Gone are the days of spraying and praying, we need to think about our prospects and clients as people not a record on a list.  Talk TO them, and they just might talk back…

Market Smart,
– {AP}

What Your 3rd Grade Teacher Taught You about Social Media Marketing

In my travels, I speak to a variety of people about the in’s and out’s of social media marketing.  There’s a good mix of people that understand how to engage in social media: what to post and how to engage in conversation. 

But then there are those folks who simply do not have a clue what to do with their new Twitter accounts or Facebook company pages.  For this group I shout to you, please read below!

Your 3rd grade teacher taught you 3 critical points about social media marketing, and you probably didn’t even know it:

  1. “If you have something to say, and it has nothing to do with the class’s discussion, tell me on your own time.”
    When you see engaging, thought-provoking commentary going on in LinkedIn’s Q&A section, for example, don’t leave a post about your latest and greatest gadget and how the only way anyone will succeed is if they buy it from you.  Instead, offer a valuable response and solution to the question; people will see you as a valuable resource and an expert in your field.  If you feel you can answer this person’s question with a solution utilizing your product or service, send them a direct message and engage them outside of the group discussion.
  2. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
    I may say to Ms. A., I agree and disagree.  I agree, if you feel you have a vendetta against others in your network, business or industry, or you feel that someone is out to get you, so you strike first, don’t.  Let it go.  With the power of viral marketing, word (true or untrue) spreads very quickly.  However, I also disagree.  Using social media to voice a concern or offer constructive criticism can work in your favor.  Many companies are using microblogs like Twitter to capture, resolve and execute solutions to consumers’ issues.  Doing so provides a whole new level of customer service, of which you will benefit.
  3. “Respect each other as you wish to be respected.  I will have no tolerance for bullies in my classroom.”
    This goes without saying.  Just because you’re online hiding behind your smartphone or computer, does not mean you can be a jerk.  Just as you would in a physical social scene, you want to be cordial to other “party-goers” so that people treat you with the respect that you wish to receive.  Who knows, you may even find that a kind marketer gets his/her word spread quicker and is more credible…

Stay Social,