Girl Scout Cookies Are Here - Image

Last weekend, I was on my way home from the “polar bear plunge” in Wildwood, NJ when I stopped at a local convenience store for a bottle of water for the 2-hour drive home.

As I approached the store, I saw a mother and her daughter selling Girl Scout cookies by the entrance.

“I haven’t bought a box yet this year,” I thought to myself. “If I don’t get one now, I might have to wait until next year!” I reached for my wallet, pulled out a $5 bill, and handed it to the young girl in exchange for a box of Lemonades.

As I got back into my car with my bottled water and my brand new box of cookies, I started to think about how simple yet effective the Girl Scout cookie program’s marketing campaign is. After all, it took me approximately 15 seconds to decide to make a purchase.

As a social media marketer, I instantly started thinking of the ways businesses can learn from the cookie program’s campaign. Here are my conclusions:

  1. Make it scarce. Everyone knows you can only get delicious Girl Scout cookies for a few weeks out of the year. So, when they finally go on sale, people jump at the chance to make their purchase. If you don’t have a product or service that is only available for a limited time, why not run a promotion to urge customers to act fast? This is not a new tactic or a novel idea, but the Girl Scouts seem to have perfected it.
  2. Have a cause. For the Girl Scouts organization, selling cookies helps young girls develop essential life skills including money management, goal setting, and people skills. I know I felt good about helping the young girl in Wildwood try to attain her sales goal. Try to give customers a warm, fuzzy feeling about buying your product and it might just pay off. For example, if you sell pet products, why not donate a small percentage of your proceeds to an organization that benefits animals? Determine your passion or what makes the most sense for your business and stand for something!
  3. Know what you do best – and focus on that. Recently I read an Inc.com article about how 37signals is refocusing their business on a single product: Basecamp. The article described the way that the company’s co-founder came to the decision to change the business’s name and focus on only one product. This is what the Girl Scouts organization has done and it’s a lesson that many businesses can learn from. The Girl Scouts don’t try to do cookies and cupcakes and pies; they stick to cookies because they’re good at selling cookies and now most people associate the Girl Scouts with cookies. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, businesses should figure out what they do best and focus on that.

You might be thinking to yourself, “What does a marketing agency have to do with the Big Game or drunk driving?”

A lot, actually.

The WebiMax Social Media Marketing Department manages the social media profiles of the State of New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety. We help the Division spread their message of safe passage on NJ roadways by writing posts for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram and managing the accounts.

Through the use of custom images, community building tactics, and social media advertising, we’ve been able to help broaden the reach of state-wide traffic safety programs.

According to the Division of Highway traffic safety and the New Jersey State Police, traffic fatalities in New Jersey are declining. Last year, traffic deaths dropped 4.2% compared to 2012. “High visibility campaigns that focus on cracking down on drunk drivers helps,” says Zach Hosseini, our contact and spokesperson for the Division. “That includes our social media marketing campaign.”

Because the Big Game is taking place in New Jersey this year, Zach and his team are determined to keep NJ’s roadways safe from drunk drivers. This Monday, January 27th, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is holding a press conference at 10 a.m. at Heckemian Conference Center at Hackensack University Medical Center to announce ways that state and local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on drinking & driving during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

WebiMax will be attending the press event to send live updates to the public through the Division’s social media channels and through our own Twitter and Facebook pages.

This is a campaign that is especially important to WebiMax founder & CEO, Ken Wisnefski. “Most of our employees live and travel in New Jersey every day. I’m proud to be working together with the State of NJ on this project to keep my family and my employees and their families safe during Big Game.”

For live updates from the press conference and for safe driving tips, follow the Division of Highway Traffic Safety:

And no matter which team you’re rooting for on February 2nd, remember:

Image of Ollie the dog

My dog Ollie is a great companion and through him I’ve learned a lot about the virtue of unconditional love. Recently I realized that the lessons he’s taught me about life can also be applied to work. Here are three social media marketing tips we can all learn from Ollie:

Don’t beg!

Ollie has learned that if he really wants to get what he wants, he won’t whine or jump for it. The quickest way to earn that extra treat is through persistence and patience. The same lesson applies to a successful social media marketing campaign – some companies use Facebook or Twitter to beg for business but that’s the wrong approach. Rather than writing posts or tweets that are overly promotional or hard-selling, try focusing on providing relevant content to your audience. By exercising persistence and patience, your audience will feel like you are more focused on their needs than your own. In the end, you will be rewarded with an extra “treat” – in this case, a sale, lead, or some other form of conversion.

Share your toys.

When I first got Ollie, he was very territorial with his food and toys. I’ve had to teach him to share and now we can have his friends over to play because he doesn’t guard his things as closely. When it comes to social media marketing, it’s important to be involved with online communities that can help you learn about new tactics and tools. Sharing your experiences with other marketers will help you be more successful with your own campaigns. Subscribing to blogs and joining groups on LinkedIn are two ways you can become more social (that’s the goal, isn’t it?) and better at sharing your “toys” – or in this case, social media tips and tricks.

Here are some of my go-tos:

Be loyal.

Innately, dogs are extremely loyal – and your social media marketing campaign should be, too. Remain loyal to your customers by providing them with content they expect from you. If you promise to be a reliable source of information for them, it’s important to follow through. If your social media channels are an extension of your customer service efforts, make sure you are responsive and helpful. If I promise Ollie a treat, you better believe he is circling my feet until I deliver. The secondary lesson here: don’t promise anything to your customers unless you are prepared to follow through.

SEO 101 - WebiMax.com

In the early days of the Internet, text was the predominant medium through which information was shared with the masses.  In a time before broadband connections, HD videos and even Facebook, the Web was more about functionality than style.  While these technical limitations made for a lackluster user experience, they did create a solid blueprint for today’s Internet.

When the Web was ruled by text and rudimentary HTML code, pages had to be coded very efficiently in order to load quickly and images and videos were simply out of the question.  Although text still plays a crucial role in the modern Internet, technological advancements have placed multimedia and rich content front-and-center.

NCS Mosaic vs. Google Chrome - WebiMax.com
A Tale of Two Browsers: From Mosaic to Chrome – The Evolution of Digital Content

A Changing of the Guard
As YouTube, Pinterest and other popular sites geared toward images and videos continue to grow, the focus has begun to shift away from text as the primary form of content on the Internet.  Today, virtually every website utilizes extensive imagery or video content to engage audiences.  Social networks are certainly no exception.

In fact, social media posts or tweets containing images or videos are more likely to be shared or “liked” than those exclusively comprised of text.  The bottom line is – rich content is the key to a more effective Social Media marketing strategy.

How to Engage Your Audience with Photos & Videos
Though I specifically cited YouTube and Pinterest as “media-focused” networks, other social profiles can equally benefit from rich content.  Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn have all recently added enhanced video and photo integration capabilities for user and business profiles.  This functionality allows users to more easily display rich and engaging content.

However, it is always important to consider your audience.  When creating new rich content, first ask yourself if your consumers would find it helpful or intriguing.  Originality, creativity and even humor are all elements of successful content.  Keep it relevant, fun and informative.  Developing infographics, instructional videos, customer testimonials and new or upcoming product photos are all engaging ways to reach your social following.

Every successful Social Media Optimization and Marketing campaign begins with delivering quality content to your followers.  By offering up unique, captivating videos and images as part of your content strategy, you’re well on your way to Social Media success!


Want to learn how to get even more from your Social Media marketing campaign?  Ask our Experts or share your thoughts in the comments below!

Does Your Business Have Facebook Covered?

The Facebook Cover Photo –prime real estate for you to visually represent what your company is all about.  Are you adhering to the latest guidelines?  Is your cover photo compelling enough to draw user engagement?

Facebook has proven to a valuable asset for many businesses over the last several years and has helped many companies expand their online presence considerably.  From “mom-and-pop shops” to some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands, Facebook has been targeted as one of the top marketing and advertising platforms on the Web.

In fact, Facebook is second only to Google in terms of unique visitors per month and this nearly unparalleled visibility gives the network a considerable audience (currently over 1 billion active users worldwide) and provides businesses an opportunity to have their products and services showcased around the world.

However, like all marketing and advertising zones, Facebook maintains guidelines which all of its users, including businesses, must adhere to.  Following Facebook’s gradual deployment of the controversial Timeline feature last year, many companies attempted to capitalize on new functionality such as the Cover Photo.  The large banner which spans the upper third of all Facebook profiles and business pages is, ostensibly, prime real estate for advertisers and marketers.  Facebook understood this and created a set of guidelines strictly pertaining to the new Timeline layout.

The latest and arguably most important revision to these guidelines: Cover photos must now be primarily imagery and only as much as 20% of the photo itself can be composed of text.

This update is aimed at businesses which utilize the cover photo as an advertising tool rather than a branding resource.  With imagery now playing a larger role than ever before, Facebook marketers and advertisers will need to utilize more captivating and engaging photos to gain exposure and increase brand awareness.

Going “Under Cover”
Facebook cover photos are still an integral part of the network and businesses should continue to recognize them as such, but while these photos are expected to be lighter on text in the months ahead, there are still several areas where text content is essential to create an effective Facebook marketing strategy.  Profile/About fields, Timeline posts and image captions are more than just informational – they’re valuable!

WebiMax Facebook

These should be used to include links back to your site and critical information about your business, as they each represent possible conversion opportunities and can provide more relevant site traffic.

Optimal Imagery
Like Search Engine Optimization & Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires a balance of skill, research, knowledge and data collection.  Over the next several months, many businesses will undoubtedly unveil new Facebook cover photos in order to abide by the new guidelines and a new form of “Visual Social Marketing” will emerge as brands try to create more effective imagery.  With popular networks such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr at the forefront of an online “image revolution,” businesses will need to adapt in order to provide a more visually-enhanced user experience to remain successful in the highly competitive social media marketplace.

What images visually represent your company’s mission and values?

5WaysTwitterIMG NEW

From celebrities to grandmas, everyone is using Twitter to share content and links. As one of the most popular social networking sites in the world, Twitter boasts a huge following. By increasing social influence on Twitter, businesses and individuals can reach a huge amount of people with little effort. Here are five ways anyone can gain Twitter followers fast!

1.         Search for Keywords

Let’s say you have a business that sells picture frames online. By searching for keywords that other Twitter users post, for example the keyword “photo frames,” you can find Twitter users that might follow your account if you post about related content. Instead of simply typing “photo frames” into the search in Twitter, search for entire phrases that include your keywords or search for similar words like “picture frames” in order to have a more specific search result. Include words like “want” and “need’ photo frames to view who is interested in wanting your product in real time. After finding your targeted audience, reach out to them on Twitter and begin interacting with them by first following their account. Favorite their tweet and let them know what you offer, without overly self-promoting. Take it a step further and reply to them in a comedic way – they will appreciate it :)

Want Photo Frames

Here’s a perfect example of this idea in action:

James Candy Twitter Profile

2.         Analyze using Followerwonk’s Bio Cloud

By using Twitter analytics, you can find out more about followers and recognize trending data to gain more followers. The analytics app Followerwonk includes a bio cloud search tool that analyzes the bios of your current followers and displays the keywords most used. This feature will help you not only find other users to follow, but will map out and graph the demographics–age, gender, location and data related to your audience–so you can tailor your posts and interactions based on their Twitter activity.

 

PhotoFrames Bio Word

 

3.         Compare users with Followerwonk

By searching for information about your competition, you can strategize about how to grow your audience based on what other people in your industry are doing right. Using Followerwonk’s compare users feature, you can type in three Twitter handles of people or companies that are similar to you, whether they’re in your industry or sell the same type of products as you. The “compare users” search feature will show you which users follow two or three of the accounts. You should follow these users since they are obviously interested in the same product or niche that you are connected to.

Compare Users

4.         Suck Up to People & Ask Questions!

Tracking users, following them, and engaging in a conversation with them usually results in them following you back. You can praise people by tagging them with their Twitter handle, favoriting their Tweets, and asking questions based on their expertise. This starts a conversation in which the user thinks positively about you right away and will consider following you. To sum it up, people like to be recognized. Hopefully, after they follow you, they will retweet or reply to your post, which will have your handle appear on their Twitter feed, and will result in their followers follow you.

Here are examples of conversations I started with Twitter uses about picture frames:

Nick Twitter Blog 1

Nick Twitter Blog 2

5.         Use Twitter’s Advanced Search

Some users forget it even exists, but Twitter’s advanced search can be a valuable tool in finding more users to follow and be followed by as well as narrowing down exactly what you want to search for. This feature allows users to find Twitter handles, exact phrases, posts containing either or both search keywords, tweets sent to and from handles, keywords related to or near locations, tweets sent by a certain date, posts with links, and more.

Through user interaction and analysis, you will gain more followers and help increase your social media influence on Twitter. What tactics do you use in order to gain Twitter followers?