When it comes to organic and paid search there is an ideal application for each. Paid search has a more focused purpose than organic due to the financial risk at stake. Strong organic rankings can pay dividends to a business doing business online. We will look to analyze these two methods and pinpoint ideal use cases for each.

 

First off, it is important to understand the differences between the two search methods. Hubspot is one of the leaders in online marketing and they verbalize it perfectly;

“Organic search is based on unpaid, natural rankings determined by search engine algorithms, and can be optimized with various SEO practices. In contrast, paid search allows you to pay to have your website displayed on the search engine results page when someone types in specific keywords or phrases. The fee you pay is based on either clicks or views of your ads.” (Hubspot, n.d.)

Great organic results will never hurt, as a matter of fact “higher organic search visibility creates more business.” (Scott, 2011) The purpose of search is to drive more traffic to a website and increase conversions which leads to higher sales. Organic results are more trusted and often more relevant than paid search due to the rigorous competition for real estate on the first page of search engines. This means that the results are highly relevant to the search conducted by the user and the probability of the results being what the user is looking for is higher. This ranking is earned over time as web crawlers comb their way through the internet placing websites where they belong using ever changing algorithms. An great use case is when a brand wishes to position themselves as a thought leader in a specific area. They will put a lot of quality content on their site which pertains to their particular industry so when people seek out information pertaining to their business they are directed to their site.

 

Paid search is an interesting animal in itself. It serves as a great compliment to organic search while serving a few other purposes. Studies actually show that pairing paid search results with high ranking organic results has a positive correlation. (Yang, 2012) Ways paid search really pays off is when a company wishes to appear on page one in search fairly quickly. A great example here is during black friday/ cyber monday one may buy terms like “Black Friday Sales Shoes,” in order to steer people searching for shoe sales during that short period to their web pages. It wouldn’t make sense for these terms to be part of an overall organic search plan due to the short period of time they are used which is where paid search comes in. Paid search can also serve as a way to fill gaps in organic search if they exist. Sometimes, not matter what a marketer does they may not be able to place high on all the terms they wish to, paid search serves a quick fix for this as they work out their issues on the organic side.

 

“Search results are vitally important to your business since 80% of website traffic is directed to your site via search engines.” (“Organic vs. Paid Search Kit,” n.d.) It is important that companies are intelligently integrating a strategy behind organic and paid search to remain competitive in the online arena. Technology will only continue to evolve the way people communicate and consume and search is the connective tissue which joins users with the information they seek on the web.

 

References

Organic vs. Paid Search Kit. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://offers.hubspot.com/organic-vs-paid-search

Paid vs. organic – the winning search strategy. (2014, April 17). Retrieved January 8, 2015, from http://www.prontomarketing.com/2014/04/paid-vs-organic-the-winning-search-strategy/

SCOTT, T. (2011). What is New in Organic Searches?. Franchising World, 43(11), 14-16.

Yang, S., & Ghose, A. (2012). Analyzing the relationship between organic and sponsored search advertising: Positive, negative or zero interdependence?. Rochester: Social Science Research Network. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1491315

 

As time progresses, social media is becoming a more integral part of marketing as a whole. With the explosion in adoption it would be silly for companies not to take advantage of this innovative way to communicate with their customers. With the mass adoption of technology and social media, human behavior and expectations have changed and companies must adapt to these changes to remain competitive.

The internet as a whole has forever changed how people communicate, interact and access information. Due to the fact that just about any piece of knowledge, any unanswered question, or any cat video can be accessed within seconds, people now expect companies to respond to them faster. Whether they are trying to contact the business by phone, email or tweet, people want their answers and they want them fast. When crafting a social media initiative you must ensure that you have resources and tools available to identify and answer social mentions within a timely fashion to ensure your customers are satisfied. As a matter of fact, Hubspot did a study on this and they found that “72% of people that complain on social media expect a response within an hour!” Now, I would recommend answering more than just complaints, even a regular brand mention warrants the occasional response to make that person feel special. This is also a great way for large companies to create special experiences with their customers that hadn’t really been historically available. Just look at how this could positively impact your business:

Taken from Hubspot, click to view post

Another thing for companies to consider is the growth and decline of certain networks. Over the past 10 years or so we have seen many social networks fail and succeed and companies must be aware of the trends before throwing all their eggs in one basket. A strategy that spreads a few of the top social networks is better than investing all your resources into one. If you decide to tackle them one at a time, make sure the network is here to stay, you would hate to be that guy who dumped all your resources into marketing via Myspace back in 2006. The safe bet in this case is to do your research before rolling out a strategy and try to incorporate a few of the top networks first before diving into some of the smaller ones. A great place to start is Facebook and Twitter.

One last thing to remember is that when it comes to technology, the only constant is change. The space is ever changing and a social media initiative must keep this in mind. You must account for the strategy to constantly be changing and evolving in order to succeed. Just a few years ago there were only a couple major social media platforms to worry about incorporating into a social media strategy. Now, I have over 10 of social networking apps on my cell phone alone. Not only are the social networks evolving but the way people consume the networks are. Incorporating all these variables into a holistic marketing strategy that ensures a flawless transition from screen to screen, network to network and device to device is a must at this day in age.

 

There is no exact recipe to make a certain marketing effort go viral. With that being said, there are certain characteristics that help foster the virality of these efforts. The internet is full of people trying to create viral posts and most of them are unsuccessful. In this post we will look at 5 of the top viral marketing characteristics that successful viral marketing initiatives possess.

1. Be relevant and timely. No one wants a Christmas post in April or a campaign about how your vehicle handles well in the snow in Florida. Plan your marketing initiatives and be strategic. Holidays and seasons happen at the same time every year so take advantage of it! One great example of a company that has a firm grasp on this concept is Westjet. Most people saw what they did last year during the holidays, if not you can check out my post here or just watch the video below.

This effort took a lot of planning and resources but was orchestrated perfectly delivering the miracle of Christmas to random individuals. This video boasts over 36 million views and puts a positive connotation in everyones mind about their brand.

2. Be easily shareable & easily accessible. In order for things to go viral people must share them. If it is difficult to do so, or difficult to find the posts, a marketing initiatives virality is doomed from the start. There are plenty of social media outlets to choose from just make sure you do so strategically and have a plan. There is no need to create a video about your brand and host it on your site when Youtube is one of the largest search engines in the world and they specialize in video. Just make sure when this is done, your brand is prevalent within the post and it is easy to navigate back to your website from the outlet you choose by adding links.

3. Connect on emotional level. Studies done by Buffer app and Fractl show that connecting with your audience on an emotional level is crucial to a viral post. Every demographic has different emotional responses to different stimuli so be sure to know your target market. (Libert, 2014) All the marketing folks out there already know that though! The post above from Westjet triggers many positive emotional responses which can be attributed to its success. One trend I have been noticing is utilizing the element of surprise as a tactic and has been proven to be successful. Many of the Old Spice ads use it with constantly changing and intense video ads but one of my favorites was done by TNT. The ad was called A Dramatic Surprise on A Quiet Square and its purpose was to inform residents of Belgium that TNT was being added to their cable lineup. With over 51 million views this ad successfully did that and then some. It brings the viewer through a roller coaster of emotions which plays to TNT’s brand which is Drama and is an excellent example of a successful viral campaign.

4. Type of content – text, video or images? People love video, especially if it keeps them engaged. Marketers must be cognisant of the length but video is proving to be a more and more successful medium of content creation. When sharing posts over social media a study by Huffington posts show that long form content (articles/ blog posts with more words) is more likely to be shared than short form. (Kagan, 2014) Also, when these articles get shared over the major networks, MAKE SURE TO ADD AN IMAGE. This is crucial and could mean the difference between a viral posts and it being overlooked.

5. Make posts that people want to share. People will only share things socially that is going to make them look and feel good. A thought provoking post is a great thing for thought leaders to share and a everyone likes a funny post because come on, who doesn’t want to make their friends laugh. A post that is boring or negative is not likely to be shared. Taking pieces from all the above tips and molding your initiative to connect with your market, is a great place to start.

These are just a few of the variables that can set a viral initiative up for success. They do not guarantee a viral video but a combination of a couple of these mixed with great content is a great place to get started!

 

References
Kagan, N. (2014, June 13). Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noah-kagan/why-content-goes-viral-wh_b_5492767.html
Libert, K. (2014, July 15). The Science of Viral Content: Which Emotions Make Us Share? Retrieved October 29, 2014, from http://blog.bufferapp.com/viral-content-emotions-ages-genders
Libert, K. (2014, June 3). 13 Lessons From Upworthy & BuzzFeed: Viral Content’s Secret Sauce. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/viral-content-lessons-buzzfeed-upworthy

I know its been a while since I’ve updated this thing but, have no fear, I am back and hope to share some more marketing and social media goodness with you. In this post we will take a look at a couple companies in the same industry utilizing social media to effectively differentiate themselves from the rest. The industry is airline and the companies are JetBlue and Southwest. Jetblue was really the first mover in the industry to fully adopt social media and set the standards for best practices. I chose Southwest because I follow them on a few social networks and think they do a great job as well.

 

JetBlue’s early social media success came as a result of a public relations catastrophe that left thousands of people stranded on Valentines Day back in 2007. This was back when social media was still in its infancy but JetBlue saw the value early and jumped on this opportunity to turn things around. They market themselves as “bringing humanity to air travel” and social media is a great medium to act this out. JetBlue is extremely transparent with their social communications which is aScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 8.56.28 PM large reason they are successful. They have created human like elements to a brand via social media that people trust and interact with. I have personally interacted with this brand (see image) on a couple occasions. In the one pictured, they actually reached out to me simply because I mentioned them in my post. Communicating them was like communicating with another person, as it should be. They took their initiative of “bringing humanity to air travel” and supported it with their social media usage. They also joke around and are playful with their postings, similar to that of a normal Twitter user. You can actually see both the brands interacting with each other sometimes as if they were friends.

Now to discuss Southwest. Although JetBlue does great on all social networks, personally, I think their strongest presence is on Twitter from and engagement standpoint. Don’t get me wrong, they have a TON of Facebook likes as well but from my perspective, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.16.55 PMSouthwest does a little better on Facebook. They have significantly more likes than JetBlue and they really utilize Facebook to push out everything. From new commercials to travel deals. They constantly promote $69 travel deals on Facebook which have me looking to where I can get away to for a weekend. They pride themselves on delivering the most value to their consumers and often times having the lowest fares. Whenever they have sales or just extra, low cost flights, they aggregate them onto a landing page full of links to purchase the flights and post it on Facebook. It looks a little something like this (see image) and I know every time I see this, I click on the link and explore.

 

Here is a couple companies in a historically boring industry spicing things up and leveraging social media to their advantage. Not only are they great examples within their industry, they are great examples for all companies to follow. They keep customers engaged through their social channels in  different ways with different networks but they have realized how powerful of a tool social media can be.

Remarketing is an integral part to any company online selling products to remain competitive. With so much competition on the internet it is important to re-establish a connection with your customers once they leave your site. It helps direct more people back to your site as well as convert more visitors into paying customers. This is a quickly growing form of marketing with 30% more of the top 1,000 e-retailers using cart abandonment emails in 2012 than compared to 2011. (“Transactional Emails,” 2013)

In order to develop and analyze great key performance indicators (KPI’s)  companies must benchmark their current marketing ROI to get a baseline. First and most important would be to figure out what kind of revenue your current marketing programs are driving to the business prior to implementing a re-marketing strategy. Other important figures to know is unique and returning visitors, number of customers and cost per customer. Once you have this data, it would be a good time to begin drafting up a remarketing strategy.

One of the best parts of online marketing is all the data that comes along with it. It makes it very simple to fine tune your marketing techniques to be as efficient as possible. Because of this data, developing KPI’s is simple and easily measurable. A few KPI’s that businesses engaging with remarketing would be; conversion rates, engagement rates, revenue per message and unique/ returning visitors. Remarketing should in theory drive up conversion rates due to that fact its pulling shoppers back to the site and if they do not increase, it would be a good sign that your remarketing program is not working.

Email engagement rates should go up within the remarketing messages. “Experian Cheetahmail indicates that on average, cart abandonment emails result in 20 times the transaction rates and revenue per email than standard bulk emails.” (Experian, n.d.) If your remarketing messages aren’t seeing dramatically higher engagement rates, you should revise your email content strategy. Lastly, remarketing messages should result in dramatically higher, about 24 times, revenue per message than your standard bulk mailings. This is another simple way to monitor your remarketing strategy’s success.

Since we live in the era of big data and real time monitoring, it is very simple to measure the success of online marketing campaigns almost immediately. It is important to ensure that your marketing strategy is working and using industry stats as baseline KPI’s for remarketing along with comparing this data with your business’ benchmarks prior to implementing a remarketing program should set you on the path to success.

References

The Remarketing Report (PDF). (2010, January). Retrieved May 12, 2014, from Experian Marketing Services website:http://www.experian.com/assets/marketing-services/white-papers/EMS_remarketing_WP.pdf

Transactional Emails. (2013). Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.emailstatcenter.com/Transactional.html

Email marketing is a crucial part to any online marketing strategy. It is an inexpensive and effective way of communicating with customers and nurturing prospects. In order for this channel to be effective marketers must build up their database. There are a few key ways to do so and it is extremely important to the success of a company’s email marketing strategy.

Buying or building lists by scraping the web for peoples emails is frowned upon and even regulated due to the Can-Spam act. In short the Can-Spam act is “a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.” (Federal Trade Commission, 2009) It protects users from getting bombarded by unwanted and irrelevant emails. It is because of this companies must be strategic with how they build their database. These databases ideally are very large and consist of a company’s target market and customers.

The first and simplest way to build your list is to place a newsletter sign up widget on your site. This can be done very simply through Mailchimp or Constant Contact by setting up how you want your form to look, then copy and pasting the HTML code into your site. It gives users the ability to add themselves to your email database.

This next form of marketing has a few different names, some call it inbound marketing, some call it content marketing but at the end of the day its just another way to generate leads to build your list and fill your sales funnel. This is a relatively new concept and companies like Hubspot and Marketo are very successful due to the fact that their software automates this process. The way people do this is by developing content that speaks to their audience. The content strategy is key! Some examples of content are blog posts, social media Posts, web pages, etc. (Hubspot, n.d.) Once you get visitors to your site from these you generate offers and put more in depth content behind a form on a landing page. Once a stranger fills out the form, they are then part of your database! You can then nurture these people via email marketing until they are ready to buy.

Another way of building your list is a very controversial one. Many people are very much against it, others have whole affiliate marketing programs in place to handle it. It is called media buying or affiliate marketing. According to Brick Marketing Affiliate Marketing is “a technique where other publishers and websites will promote your business. Basically the way it works is that an affiliate is rewarded every time a visitor, customer or sale for your business is generated through an advertisement on their web site.” (Brick Marketing, n.d.) We use this form of marketing where I work because we have gotten to the point that in order to scale the company at the rate we want to, we need to build the database faster than we would be able to without utilizing this strategy. Just to clarify, this is very different than buying a list! Publishers host our content on their websites and when people download this content, we are charged a small fee and we acquire that persons contact information. A list buy is just when you buy a random list of names and blast them with emails when they have never interacted with your company.

The last way is to make sure all your customers are in your database. When people buy from you, you can either add to the terms of service that you’re allowed to email them or put a check box within the checkout process that asks if they would like to receive email notifications. Your customers should be the most engaged part of your database. When we send out emails to our customer base we see upwards of a 35% open rate whereas when we send to prospects we see around 20%. Email marketing is a great way to keep your customers in the loop, communicate sales and inform them when you release new products. They already have shown interest in your company so there is a much higher chance they will buy from you again!

These are the few top ways of acquiring emails to build your database which will in turn help drive more revenue to your online business. When it comes to list building you should be thinking quality over quantity. Companies can waste a lot of money blasting millions of emails out to an disengaged group which will , in turn, negatively affect their sender reputation and cause their emails to go to spam. Once your emails start going to spam, your ROI on your email marketing strategy goes down the drain!

References

Brick Marketing. (n.d.). What Is Affiliate Marketing? Retrieved May 3, 2014, from http://www.brickmarketing.com/what-is-affiliate-marketing.htm

Federal Trade Commission. (2009, September). CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business. Retrieved May 1, 2014, fromhttp://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

Hubspot. (n.d.). Inbound Methodology. Retrieved May 1, 2014, from http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing

This is some thing I have been observing over the past couple years and after reading some materials for one of my marketing classes it confirmed it. Traditional forms of direct marketing where you email blast, cold call, buy leads, or direct mail huge amounts of people to fill the top of the funnel are changing. The vast majority of buyers no longer rely on companies for information which is why there has been a shift to inbound marketing. Because of the Groundswell movement, they are doing their own research and finding all the information on their own rather than relying on companies and institutions to do so.  Now with that said, you cannot completely discard these direct marketing techniques. I think they are still important to generate awareness and get the ball rolling. The key is to guide people’s research process in the direction of your products.

The major change from the past is, sales people would prospect, generate interest and after a few meetings, sell the product or wait for people to contact their company. A trend I have been noticing now is, once the awareness is generated, people wait to talk to sales until they are completely ready to buy. The amount of time buyers are discussing with sales people has be decreased dramatically. Essentially sales people are only there to discuss pricing and close the deal rather than do a whole lot of selling. This is because there is an abundance of information on the internet for people to do their own research. This coupled with peoples widespread trust issues with salespeople leads to a change in the way sales organizations operate. Because of this, the lead funnel looks more like this:

New Lead Funnel

New Lead Funnel

This is why you see such a shift to inbound marketing which is what I spend my day-to-day doing. With all that being said, there are ways your company can help combat this change and make sure your sales people are using their time more efficiently, because lets face it, they are never going to listen to that voicemail you left them.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This is probably the most important. When people take to the internet to do their research, they will not spend hours fishing through the hundreds of pages of Google results. In fact according to Search Engine Journal 75% of users don’t scroll past the first page. This means it is paramount for your business to rank within the top results.

Content

To aid with search engine optimization you must create content. The more stuff your site has pertaining to your offerings, the more Google will find when it crawls the web and the higher you rank. You must also be clever about how you curate this content to make sure its set up to capture leads. Landing pages with forms in front of whitepapers and other assets are a great way of doing this. This helps get people into your awkwardly shaped funnel.

Re-targetting

This is a great thing to add to your inbound marketing strategy. The way it works in a nutshell is; say a person visits your site while in the process of researching a certain solution then they leave without doing anything. When they go to your site, a cookie (small piece of magical internet data) get stored in their browser. Now when they visit sites with display ad space, you can advertise whitepapers, offers, and other information pertaining to what they were looking at on your site. Again, you would want to put a landing page with a form in front of this content to capture them and poof they are in your funnel.

Now for you sales guys that thought you were off the hook, its your turn to step in and seer the convo. Us inbound makers look to get rid of the need to cold call people and spend time prospecting. We generate and warm up the leads so you can call or email them once they are in the funnel to move them along. Offer help and statistics to aid in their research efforts because at the end of the day, the information they gather will ultimately lead to their purchase decision.

With all that said, there are still companies that prefer the traditional buying process. I have noticed a lot of the bigger companies, and fortune 500’s go through this process because they have trained buyers on their staff to help evaluate these decisions and have the bandwidth to talk to hear every prospective vendors pitch. The majority of companies don’t have the luxury of having seasoned buyers on their staff so thats when these inbound marketing tips really pay off!

There are many different “best practices” out there for blogging, whether it be for a personal blog, the b2b audience or the b2c audience. The one constant spelled out in the book Groudswell that is consistent across all these audiences is that

“The prerequisite for starting a blog is to want to engage in dialogue with your customers.”

I think this rings true across all social communications as well. Too many companies take to social media and blogging solely to push their products and brands. You wouldn’t follow or friend someone who constantly talks about how awesome they are all the time…right? Blogging for a business should be the same.

 

Blogging is growing like wildfire across all industries. Its an integral part of our marketing strategy at my company and it appears as though it is across many other companies in my industry as well. The glory about the tech industry is that it is very easy to connect with customers via the internet. They are all tech savvy, connected and are not shy about engaging with brands. I’ve noticed a few best practices that I thought I would share to help you on the quest of taking over the blogsphere!

1. Be Genuine & Honest

This should be a no brainer but its important to be noted. In order for customers to want to engage with your blog and subsequently your company they must be able to trust the information you give them. It can be easy to exaggerate and tell white lies when writing blog posts. It is important to keep these in check because at the end of the day transparency is key. The more information you can share with your audience the better, it will make them feel like they are well informed and keep them coming back.

2. Relate To Current Events

One major benefit to blogs is that they contribute to the SEO rankings of websites. The more relevant content the better it will rank. One way to tip these scales is to connect current events or things people are searching the internet for at the time to your company. Dyn does this all the time, most recently was our Olympic post. Now you may be saying, what does a Tech company and the Olympics have in common? Truth is not a whole lot but this is where you get to be creative and make connections that may not be obvious.

3. Update Often

There is a fine line between too many updates and just the right amount. Most companies in the tech industry update it a few times a week which is a safe bet. Too many posts and your content gets lost in the noise, not enough, and you lose that connection with your customers. When people come to your site to do research and notice your blog hasn’t been updated in a while, they can lose trust in a brand. Truth is, it all depends on what you are looking to accomplish, About.com outlines this pretty well in their Blog Post Frequency Overview.

 

4. It’s Not All About You

Like I said earlier, blogs shouldn’t only be about your company and your products. No one wants to read a blog full of product sheets! For higher engagement, focus on industry topics, market education and helpful topics that will be beneficial to your customers. Once your doing all these things, then go ahead and mix in product and press releases as well as business cases surrounding your products. blogs can also be a great way for companies to showcase their company culture. This helps in two ways; people like doing business with companies they like and this can help them decide whether they like them and it can help get talent in the door to fill job positions. Check out the variety over at my company’s blog.

5. Sharing Is Caring

Blogging is social and should be easily spread over social channels. Be sure to add social share links to all your posts to make it simple for your readers to share your post. The more shares the more eyes on your site and thats what we started this whole blogging thing in the first place, right?!? It is also important for your readers to be able to easily connect with the author of the blog itself. Adding a little blurb like the one pictured below helps foster that connection and make it easy for readers to ask the author directly.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 6.19.21 AM

I hope these points can help you in your Blogging endeavors. Remember blogging is to communicate with your customers, not to boast about your achievements like that conceited jock in high school. Don’t be that guy! It’s a two way conversation, talk about things people want and need and don’t forget to join the conversation if they leave comments.

Gunelius, S. (n.d.). Http://weblogs.about.com/od/startingablog/qt/BlogPostingFreq.htm. About.com Blogging. Retrieved March 2, 2014, from http://weblogs.about.com/od/startingablog/qt/BlogPostingFreq.htm
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

I think since so many companies are having success with social media the decision of whether or not to take a brand social has gotten easier and easier. In the tech industry, personally, I think its a no brainer but thats not to say that there isn’t any risk involved. In this post I will discuss some of the rewards and pitfalls of adopting social media in my industry.

You will often hear me refer to my industry as the tech industry. For those who don’t know what it is, its simply the technology sector. Investopedia defines the technology sector as:

“A category of companies relating to the research, development and/or distribution of technologically based goods and services. This sector contains businesses revolving around the manufacturing of electronics, creation of software, computers or products and services relating to information technology.”

The cool thing about the tech industry is that its full of socially connected gen y-ers. This makes the decision to go social a no brainer. In order for marketers to connect with their audience they must go to where their audience is, luckily for tech marketers, their audience is already well adapted to social media technology. Seeing as how all the major social sites are free, the monetary risk is very low however if executed wrong, the risk of damaging your brand is high. The glory of the internet and social media is that it connects the world faster than ever before, the bad side to this is negative publicity can spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, people tend to pay more attention to the negatives than the positive things brands do.

One example of a tech brand struggling with poor social media choices is the cooking site Epicurious, which is a cooking website.  Following the Boston Marathon bombings they tried to capitalize and push their brand with a couple tweets. (Feloni, 2013)

After a major tragedy like that is not the right time to push your brand and Epicurious paid for it with a lot of negative responses. Social media marketers must have a good grasp on common sense and know their audience very well so they can predict how people will interpret and react to their social media communications

When done  correctly, social media can do wonders for brand awareness. One of my favorite campaigns was beautifully executed by a Belgian television company called Telenet . They launched a Youtube campaign back in 2012 to promote a new station they were offering simply titled “A dramatic surprise on a quiet square.”

This video quickly went viral and now has just under 50 million views on Youtube. Its hilarious, disruptive and conveys their message that TNT is coming and bringing drama to their network. Typically the rule of thumb with video’s is 30 seconds or less because people’s attention fades after that but this video is so outrageous, they are able to push that to almost 5 times the recommended length. This is a very elaborate example of social media success and isn’t necessary for all companies. Video is huge now a days in the social sphere and they don’t need to be as elaborate as this one to be successful. My company launched a series we call DynEdu which are short bits about general concepts in our industry of internet performance. They are simple to make and quick to execute. They do wonders for market education and really help us establish ourselves as though leaders in our space. Here’s one for example:

As you can see there are many different ways you should go social. Notice how I said “you should go social,” this is because in the tech industry it shouldn’t even be a debate. Your audience is highly connected with social media and its free. There is enough information out there for the newbies to read and learn what to post and what not to post. For the more seasoned marketers, it offers them a platform to be creative and connect with their customers on a more personal level. If you haven’t yet, give it a try! Start small, measure success and grow from there. And remember, the most important trait of a social media marketer is common sense, the more you have, the less risk is involved!

Feloni, R. (2013, November 21). The 10 Biggest Social Media Marketing Fails Of 2013 Read more: Http://www.businessinsider.com/10-worst-social-media-marketing-fails-of-2013-2013-11?op=1#ixzz2tvDfxd2X [Web log post]. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/10-worst-social-media-marketing-fails-of-2013-2013-11?op=1
Moth, D. (2012, December 3). 10 of the best social media campaigns from 2012 [Web log post]. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://econsultancy.com/blog/11244-10-of-the-best-social-media-campaigns-from-2012
Technology Sector. (n.d.). Investopedia. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/technology_sector.asp

So it’s no secret I work for Dyn, one of the biggest DNS companies in the world. Companies that make money off their websites pay us to ensure their website is always available and fast. Ok, so it may be a little more complicated than that but that’s it in a nutshell. When you look across our industry of internet infrastructure/ performance providers, you will notice a lot of trends when it comes to social media marketing.  I’ll dive into the 4 major trends I have noticed.

Product Support

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 10.12.35 PM

Many companies are using social media to communicate with customers. I know my company encourages it. People reach out to us via Twitter all the time whether they are happy, mad or just have a questions about our products. Our social media team does a great job at assisting people when they have questions. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned a social media tool called Tweetdeck which is a great tool to use when trying to monitor this. Not all people know your companies’ Twitter handle or they will use a hashtag instead of an @ sign. This helps pick up the stragglers. 

Updates/ Outages

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 10.13.09 PM

I think that Twitter is great for product updates, especially in the internet space. When DNS or Hosting companies have outages, it is very difficult for them to send updates out to their customers. Without working DNS you cannot reach a website or send an email in most cases, so companies will take to social media to update their customers. Since we are in the internet infrastructure industry, if we or similar companies have outages, then our customers’ websites would be offline as well. Because of this, it is  imperative that you notify people as soon as possible. As you can see to the right, Cloudflare has created a Twitter account specifically for communicating these updates. 

Product Releases

Since most of our customers and prospects are active on social media, it makes it a great place to announce new product releases. We find that when people are shopping around in our space they will follow all the major players like Dyn, DNS Made Easy, Neustar Ultra DNS, Cloudflare, etc to get a feel for their companies. As you can see in the picture below, DNS Made Easy just released a new feature that is in high demand due to recent web security issues.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 10.14.17 PM

This is a great example of how to communicate product releases and it would be a great candidate for a promoted/ paid Tweet as well. A promoted Tweet would help get this info out to non followers. It would be wise to target the followers of their competition (like us) because they are one of the few to offer this in their consumer level products.

Events

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 10.15.18 PMOne last trend I’ve noticed over social media is event marketing. In a world where most communication is done over the internet, it adds a whole new dynamic to actually meet the person that is interested in your products and talk face to face. At the end of the day, whether your marketing b2b or b2c at the end of the day you are selling to another human. Face to face interaction helps push this process forward creating  higher close rates and shorter sales cycles. This is why events are so important. In order to succeed at events companies must inform people that they will be there, where to find them and get them to stop by and talk. Social Media is a great way of doing so. In an effort to create social media buzz for our presence at SXSW, which is a huge music and technology festival in Austin, we created a contest which the winner will win a free trip.

There are certainly many more uses for social media in the business world but in the internet industry these are the trends I have noticed. It will be interesting to see where these trends go as social media evolves.