December 27, 2013 by Blair Stover
Changes in your business tactics, strategies and business models may be on the verge. Blair Stover brings to your attention changes occurring in the face of retail. First off, people are desiring purpose beyond profits. The youth of today are expecting corporations to not only generate raw profits, but to serve a greater purpose.
Also, sharing has become a new business model over consumption. Services are emerging that allow people to rent, borrow, get and gift goods from peers rather than buying them new.
New opportunities are enabled by local neighborhoods. New business models are taking the popup stores to a new level. Physical goods are ‘forward deployed’ in communities to be obtained on demand. In addition to this, on-demand delivery is sending products directly to homes. Products are being delivered to homes within hours with delivery network models. Local merchants are able to compete with Amazon.
Customized products are affecting supply chains. With 3D printing increasing in popularity, retailers will be experimenting in using this new technology along with online services. Also, marketplace models are extending their brand further than core value propositions, extending to the social morals of makers around them.
Brand and customer relationships take a turn. We are all familiar with the empowerment of the customer to rate companies and products. Now, companies are prompting their customers to encourage good service in exchange for positive behavior. Another trend up and coming is alternative currency bringing new transaction opportunities. Decentralized currency platforms have emerged.
Crowd funding is done by big brands, not because the brand needs to do it, but because it offers the highest form of shared destiny and loyalty. Through crowd funding, a brand can identify product demand and allow prepayment. Along with this, crowd-created products bring endless innovation. People are able to produce their own goods through the Maker Movement. They can then offer their goods to their community at online marketplaces.
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Category Marketing, Social Marketing | Tags: business,digital marketing,entrepreneur,small business,social marketing,Social Media,social retailer | No Comments
October 25, 2013 by Blair Stover
English: Google+ wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most professionals and companies are already familiar with social media marketing. But there are some who still do not know what the best use Google Plus is when it comes to marketing purposes.
Google Plus, like any other marketing outlet, isn’t for everyone. But for many it’s a way to help with not only SEO efforts but create a genuine and engaging online presence as well. Here are some suggestions on how Google Plus can help increase the number of marketing benefits, provided by Blair Stover.
- Engage with active users (professionals). Google Plus has a balanced mix between influential people and those who are just eager to learn. Many users have their own blogs, websites or brands with pages on Google Plus. By using Google Plus, you can find people who are active in your area and influence them to share their content. A company should try to get more involved with these types of users.
- Create new communities. If you cannot find a community on Google Plus that is related to your interests, you can always start your own. The creation of a new community is extremely simple. Influence authorship and invite people in your community to post.
- Use Google hashtags. By using these, you can actually call out specific people within posts.
- Engagement and responses appear on your newsfeed. Organizing your circles based on the news you want to see is a huge time saving feature.
- Recommended Communities Feature. This is the best feature for marketing professionals. Any type of content can be found on the Google Plus public community feature.
Google Plus was never seen as a threat to Facebook (at first). Now, the tables have turned because of new tools and features that make this social media site rapidly gaining in the social media world. Are you on Google Plus already?
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Category Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media | Tags: business,digital marketing,Google Plus,google+,marketing,small business,Social Media | No Comments
September 25, 2013 by Blair Stover
New to social media? Blair Stover offer tips on how to execute your social media campaign, whether you’re a small business or a single entrepreneur.
English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Begin by spending time each day executing your social media strategy. Make yourself a deal to invest a minimum of 25% of your day (or a valued employee’s day) to execute your marketing strategy in social media. This is required to get the results you expect. The manager of your social media must be responding, analyzing, posting, communicating, and measuring your company’s social media marketing each day.
Next, develop an editorial calendar that spans three months. Plan how you will get your content and message to your target audience over a three month period. Your content calendar should be developed alongside your editorial calendar. Execute the three month plan each day.
Follow the 10-4-1 rule. The 10-4-1 formula will help you optimize your social media postings. In this rule, for every 15 social media posts, only one should link to your landing pages, 4 should be links that go to your blog posts and 10 come from helpful content from other sources.
Do not forget to involve your sales team on your social media marketing plan. The sales and management teams should amplify your efforts along with their personal accounts. For instance, when you are sharing a new article on your company’s blog, encourage your sales team to share the product on their personal LinkedIn accounts. Your content should assist them in the generation of new leads. In addition, your company will be building a reputation of leadership and thoughtfulness.
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Category Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media | Tags: business,digital marketing,facebook,local business,local marketing,marketing,online marketing,small business,Social Media,social media marketing | No Comments
September 9, 2013 by Blair Stover
Blair Stover believes that brand recommendation is an invaluable component of any marketing plan, and that knowing why and how consumers use brand recommendations will lead to the creation of more effective marketing campaigns.
According to Nielsen research, consumers report that word of mouth, search engine ads and banner ads as influencing factors in their purchasing decisions, most notably word of mouth. In fact, Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers report that word of mouth and recommendations from people they know are the leading influence in making a purchase. Therefore, it’s extremely important to tap into that power of recommendation when promoting a product or brand, or your company as a whole.
Many companies utilize a Net Promoter Score (NPS), which illustrates how likely one is to recommend a specific brand, product or company. Brand recommendations from friends can come in the form of YouTube video reviews, positive product reviews and friends’ “liked” Facebook pages, as well as such offline sources as family members and friends. Personal recommendations happen on a constant, daily basis, and companies must realize how essential these recommendations are from an overall marketing standpoint, and how essential it is for customers to make such recommendations to their peers, friends and family members.
Therefore, companies must make an effort in finding their customers and making sure they want to recommend a product or brand. An effort that will kick start a word-of-mouth recommendation process and hopefully lead to increased product recognition and purchase.
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Category Marketing | Tags: branding,digital marketing,marketing,personal recommendations,word of mouth | No Comments
August 20, 2013 by Blair Stover
Today we ask the age-old question…hashtags: to use or not to use? Hashtags are everywhere today, first started by Twitter then used by Google+ and Facebook. American Express even allows their customers to make purchases using hashtags. What’s the fuss with these hashtags? Are they really necessary – or just potentially irritating? Blair Stover says – #necessary. And #effective!
Hashtag-FB (Photo credit: melenita2012)
It may be surprising that businesses can actually use hashtags to their advantage. People take notice of hashtags and they can help people share your contests, news, advertising and other thoughts, taking the work out of your hands and to others who share via your hashtag.
People share hashtags to join a conversation or make themselves visible. In this vein, it’s a great idea to use hashtags to attract new patrons, hold a contest, or inform patrons who share a hashtag thought that they will receive an incentive or be entered in a drawing. It’s simple to see who has participated, as all a business has to do is look up that particular hashtag to see a list of people who have shared it.
Hashtags navigate a variety of networks, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Make your hashtag known by introducing it to as many networks as possible, and watch your idea grow as you expose it to more people.
Furthermore, a company who uses hashtags will be used as modern, innovative and concerned with attracting a widespread audience, as well as one who likes to build a community of patrons who share common thoughts and ways of sharing and circulating those thoughts.
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Category Marketing, Social Media | Tags: @hashtags,business,digital marketing,facebook,google+,marketing,small business,Social Media,social media marketing,twitter | No Comments
August 6, 2013 by Blair Stover
Heard the latest when it comes to Facebook? This social media giant is always changing, and has recently made updates to its “Nearby” tool, which can be accessed through the social media site’s Android and iOS mobile apps. Blair Stover has more on this story below.
Image via CrunchBase
Not only will this feature help people find friends easier, local businesses will be located faster as well thanks to feedback from friends and other Facebook users. This feedback is collected from recommendations (consisting of a star rating system that rates a company from a single star up to five) and through “likes.” Unlike a number of other review apps, a person will have to “check into” businesses before rating them.
The purpose of the update could help local businesses, which already have a somewhat decent presence on Facebook. Users can use this tool when searching for specific categories or businesses like coffee shops or restaurants. The “Nearby” tool can also get as specific as clothing or brunch. The more people and their friends recommend, check into and rate, the more personalized the list will become.
Here is a small list of things that a company can do when trying to become more visible on Facebook’s social media sites.
- Update your page. Once you have set up your business Facebook page, ensure that everything is completely filled out to the best of your abilities. This includes your store address, phone number, store hours and any minor or major details about your business.
- Update your category. Make sure your company is in the right category, which allows you to show up in the right place when people look up for your type of business.
- Talk to the Consumer. Ratings and feedback mean a lot of things, so that means you should encourage them to “like” or rate you.
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Category Marketing, Social Media | Tags: business,digital marketing,facebook,local business,local marketing,marketing,Online Communities,online marketing,small business,Social Media,social media marketing,Social network | No Comments
July 3, 2013 by Blair Stover
The way that Blair Stover sees it, who better to consult when honing your marketing plan than your very own customers? Leading customer support solution provider Freshdesk recently analyzed data gathered from 6,000 customers to see what customers really think about marketing techniques.
twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)
What did Freshdesk find? It turns out that customers prefer to be contacted via email rather than customer support social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook. Many businesses offer dedicated customer support pages on Facebook and Twitter accounts. While customers prefer personal conversations to email conversations, email is a more preferred channel than social media outlets when dealing with customers.
When it comes to Twitter versus Facebook, it seems that most customers prefer dealing with Twitter for customer support issues, as Twitter offers an expansive search function. What’s more, customers are more likely to tweet about product problems or issues than post their grievances on Facebook. Twitter collates all tweets related to a specific issue and displays those results on one page, which enables businesses to quickly gauge brand image, move forward with appropriate marketing, and respond to complaints, all from one place.
It’s no secret that businesses want to have more control over shaping the public’s conception of a brand or product. Customer support is often the best way to shape public perception, so many companies set up social media pages as dedicated support channels. Freshdesk found that companies are generally twice as fast to respond to customer support requests on social media pages as compared to email requests or questions.
In hopes of avoiding those dreaded long call wait times, customers are looking for new places for support. Many companies are taking advantage of social media channels and pages to post solutions to common problems, so customers can hopefully find solutions in a quicker and easier manner. As the reports suggest, however, email may also be a vital place to consider placing your customer support team as well.
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Category Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media | Tags: business,Customer service,Customer support,digital marketing,facebook,Freshdesk,marketing,online marketing,small business,Social Media,Technical support,twitter | No Comments
June 20, 2013 by Blair Stover
Here at Blair Stover, we strongly agree that marketing on Facebook is an essential component of any overall marketing plan. Marketing on Facebook should be an integral part of the plan, not a marketing practice that lives outside of your overall plan. Furthermore, if you don’t have a goal-oriented strategy for your Facebook marketing plan, you’ll never know if you’re getting results or realizing benefits from your social media presence.
Image via CrunchBase
Before making Facebook marketing a part of your overall marketing plan, you must be sure that your company’s Facebook page is effective and attractive. While you’re at it, make sure that your company website is also professional, easy to navigate, and effective. Be sure your overall business model makes sense, so you know how you’re making money, how much you’re making, and how much can be allocated for marketing.
When you’re ready to start marketing on Facebook, start out by setting some specific goals. Know what results you want to see from Facebook marketing and track progress towards those goals. Goals can include creating a loyal friend-base, showcasing new products or services, or increasing overall exposure. You can drive traffic to your Facebook page by posting monthly giveaways, freebies, or other enticing services or products. What’s more, you can use Facebook as a lead generator by tying in an email opt-in.
Stay informed and up to date with your research. Know your audience and how they spend their time, online and offline. Know your competition and what they’re up to on Facebook. Keep up with Facebook trends and new features to stay current.
Work towards your goals. Have a plan in place so you know how your Facebook activity is leading towards achieving your goals. Consider setting up a calendar of Facebook posts, promotions, and more.
Measure your progress. Facebook Insights helps you track how certain posts are working for you and your goals. You can view who is viewing and acting upon your content. Don’t forget to adapt and change your plan along the way! Social media is a fluid thing, after all, and your marketing plan should reflect this to an extent as well.
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Category Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media | Tags: business,facebook,marketing,Marketing and Advertising,Marketing plan,online marketing,small business,Social Media,social media marketing | No Comments
June 6, 2013 by Blair Stover
All too often, businesses pretend that they are self-sufficient machines, running without any human aid or touch. What’s the point in that? Why can’t businesses be more human in their approach, particularly in their marketing, and appeal to their customers on a more human-to-human, person-to-person level?
It is our idea here at Blair Stover that businesses can earn their customers’ trust by taking a more human approach to marketing, which can invoke feelings of trustworthiness, honesty, and just plain old person-to-person touch. Social media outlets, such as Facebook, can help businesses appear more human, accessible, and trustworthy to their clients. Connect with friends and fans on special accomplishments and celebrate with them. If your business is about to celebrate its one-year anniversary, be sure to get customers in on the celebration. Post honestly about the trials and tribulations that have defined the past year, but end with by thanking loyal customers (and soon to be customers) with perhaps an invite to an anniversary bash, a coupon, or other strategy.
Letting customers know there’s a human behind your business, and that you have faced trials and tribulations in your first year, is an honest reflection on your business, and one that others will relate to. They’ll want to celebrate your success, and thereby further your success, even more.
Keep the conversation going on Facebook or other social media outlets. Let customers feel like they’re a part of the business; listen to them, celebrate their contributions, and keep that involvement constant. Advertise new promotions, products, or more within your social media page, and draw in more business.
Through it all, be personal, and remind readers that the people behind the business truly do exist – and want to interact. A little outreach and honesty can go a long way, after all.
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Category Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media | Tags: business,customer appreciation,marketing,Marketing and Advertising,online marketing,outreach,promotions,small business,social media marketing | No Comments
December 30, 2012 by blairstover
Facebook and Twitter are becoming indispensable in the field of online marketing. More and more companies are using the “share and follow” principle and are integrating social media in marketing, public relations and other areas. Blair Stover has the story below.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, businessman, professional or freelancer who has networks of their own, online marketing is something you must dip your head into because your customers or clients already do and they exchange information online about their experiences. In fact, information about your business is probably on review sites, forums and blogs already.
Companies can no longer afford to deny themselves the knowledge of online marketing. There are webmasters and website owners who have their own page on a social network but do not have a firm grip on online marketing. With the many types of effective marketing solutions out there, you bring your business together with interested social media users and thus make your service, your product and your social media site known in a simple and effective manner.
You can increase the effective reach of your customer base and spread your messages on all social networks through the use of online marketing. However, you need to ensure that you know your target audience first and you target people who are active daily on Facebook and Twitter. Configure these two sites to your individual needs and select those customers who really fit the target audience of your business. Depending on your needs you can define the country of origin, language, age and gender of your fans. Extensive real-time statistics and various tools can customize existing campaigns with just a few clicks, and thus optimize your profit.
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Category Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media | Tags: business,facebook,internet marketing,marketing,Marketing and Advertising,online marketing,Social Media,social media marketing,Social network,twitter | No Comments