Archive for category marketing

HootSuite Extends Google+ Pages to All Users


This is a big deal for anyone that manages multiple pages across several social media platforms.  Up until now, adding content to your client’s Google Plus pages was an large extra step.  You couldn’t schedule them, so you had to use your calendar to remind you to update a campaign post.  Well that all changes now!

HootSuite Extends Google+ Pages to All Users

gplus header 600x300

HootSuite is pleased to announce that Google+ Pages is now available to nearly 5 million users worldwide!

Whether you’re on a Free, a Pro or an Enterprise plan, you’ll be able to efficiently manage Google+ Pages alongside other social channels, providing brands a better way to capitalize on the social power of this rapidly expanding social network.

To add Google+ Pages: Access your Profile from the side menu, then select + Add a Social Networkunder My Social Networks.

I know the HootSuite Pro account had this already, but it’s a nice add for the smaller companies still using the Free version of the tool.    Good Job HootSuite!

Good Hunting!

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HootSuite Adds More Awesome to Hootlet with AutoSchedule – HootSuite Social Media Management


HootSuite / Hootlet has become one of my favorite tools to manage twitter accounts and my Facebook account and Facebook pages for myself and my clients.  I’ve tried many but this web based service seems to have the best of both words and I have come to expect it on all the machines I work on.

HootSuite Adds More Awesome to Hootlet with AutoSchedule

Post is in the News & Events Parent Category July 17, 2012 by Andy Au0

HootSuite adds more awesome to Hootlet with new features including AutoSchedule – a powerful new link share tool that determines the optimal time to schedule social media messaging. Now you can automatically queue messages throughout the day to maintain a consistent social media presence.

via HootSuite Adds More Awesome to Hootlet with AutoSchedule – HootSuite Social Media Management.

Hootlet – Time Saver

This Chrome extension is one of the first I add to any machine I work on.  It has saved me countless hours.  One of the new time savers is Auto-schedule feature.    When I’m pushing content to my to biggest twitter accounts try and space it out.  So you can imaging when you are pushing 20 updates the time management can get a bit tricky.  Now this is taken care of.   I have used it today and like it thus far.

Schedule Still Works

Now, if I’m managing a campaign for a client, I still manage the schedule manually.  I can release the updates to Twitter and Facebook based on the campaign we have designed.  This still remains so you don’t lose anything there.

Possible Improvements

Here are some ideas I would love to see in this new capability:

  • Load Balancing – As you put more updates in, they auto-adjust to spread out over time, maybe a range you give them.  9 to 5 or 7 to 7, don’t know.
  • More Automation – Since HootSuite is already watching, they should build in auto-responder capability.  That would be awesome.
  • 7 Drip Logic – Have a singe post/update  set for distribution X number of times.  The logic here is that a message doesn’t really sink in until it’s heard 7 times by the consumer.

So what do you think of the tool?  What other suggestions would you recommend to HootSuite.

Good Hunting!

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foursquare Social Media Ignorance


Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

So tell me what’s wrong with this picture.  I got this email today:

Hi Tim,

If you’ve opened up foursquare in the last couple weeks you’ve probably noticed that we made a ton of changes. We re-imagined the entire app, Extreme Makeover style, to make it even easier for you and your friends to share and save your experiences and find new places to go. We also gave it plenty of design love and under-the-hood tweaks, so it’s not only prettier but faster than ever – hurrah!

Usage Ignorance

Anyone who has me as a friend in foursquare or see’s my Facebook stream knows I use foursquare a lot.  The question is, why doesn’t foursquare know this?  How can I get an email making it seem like I need to be reminded that the screens have changed, the navigation is different, more map features added, and more?  So why is a social media company incapable of using their own data to enhance my relationship?  Why not make me feel special rather then a member of their junk mail list?

Lessons for  Small Business

Even the big boys don’t get it right.  So don’t ever think that you should not try because some major player in your space can always do it better and faster then you.  Often, small business has more chances to beat the larger players at their own game because small business can be more nimble.

So my advice, don’t count out social media in your marketing plan!

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5 Ways You Should Be Using Your Smartphone to Create Fresh Content


Excellent Post Above! I like the image of the speaker stopping to allow live blogging / tweeting. I would go so far as to put up a QR Code which would hold a pithy quote, recommended hashtag,  and a link to your hosted content on that specific topic of your presentation (including call to actions)  for them to link to from their live-blogging event post.

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Competition and the Consumer’s Mind


HappLand!

Formulas, Goals, and the Battlefield

I usually agree with Seth Godin on most things, but this one is a bit too far out for me.  I’ve included the entire post on his blog below, it short, and also a link to his blog if you want to read any of the comments there.  So take a quick read and I’ll continue below:

Compared to magical

The easiest way to sell yourself short is to compare your work to the competition. To say that you are 5% cheaper or have one or two features that stand out–this is a formula for slightly better mediocrity.

The goal ought to be to compare yourself not to the best your peers or the competition has managed to get through a committee or down on paper, but to an unattainable, magical unicorn.

Compared to that, how are you doing?

– Seth Godin

Formula: Short Sale

I do agree with Godin that many companies sell themselves short.  Always trying to lower the bar in the hope of gaining a few customers.    Where I disagree with Godin on this is that it’s not because of the comparison to competitors, but rather a poor strategy for taking consumers away from those competitors based on the tactics that are short sighted.

Goal: Long Term Relationship

The tactics you use should be based on the principle that your company is seen as the better choice.  There are many areas a consumer could focus to answer this question.  It is your job to make the answer self-evident when it come to comparing your company to your competitors.

The Battlefield

We fight on the battlefield of the consumer’s mind.  It’s one of the smallest battlefield you will ever find yourself on, about 6 inches.   You should create campaigns that, hopefully, take up territory.  And if you do it well, you should hold more ground then your competitors.  The strategy is different for each company.  It is based on the position of your product in the market place and how our competitors currently stand.  We recommend following the “Marketing Warfare” strategies laid out by Ries and Trout.  So make sure your strategy fits your goals.

Because the last time I checked … your consumers aren’t looking to buy Magical Unicorns … and I’m fairly certain you haven’t hired anyone with unicorn making skills recently.

Good Hunting and would love to read your comments on this topic.

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Google+ Local: Taking over Places?


English: Google+ wordmark

Mobile + Social Saturation

Here are some key things to remember when thinking about this topic.  The saturation level for smart phones is on the rise is all areas of the world.  In many parts of the word, people own more smart phones then PC’s in their households.  Phone books are becoming museum pieces (and catalogs are not far to follow).  I believe there is a big push in the industry to move consumers to tablet computing, making the desktop and laptop less dominant is the purchasing process.  Now with all that said, let’s look at the new shifts that are right in front of us.

Leverage Equals Change

Companies are working hard to get their data in the hands of mobile users.  Google consolidation or leveraging of applications and data into the Google+ platform is no different.  Right now Google+ is also providing mobile apps to access this information.  In my opinion, Google+ has been doing a better job then Facebook in this area.  It is yet to be seen if this latest change can be classified as an improvement, but Google’s actions are consistent with their past performance in removing older apps in place of newer ones.  For instance, we are seeing similar work being done to fold the Orkut users (still a large user base in Latin American countries)  into the Google+ platform so another app could be retired.

Lessons Learned

So what can we learn from this turmoil and churn in the social media and mobile space?  Below I have some thoughts for you to consider.  They all focus on the fact that life cycle of applications and the data of those applications are extremely volatile and need to treated as such.

Stay Flexible

Let’s face the facts, we are not talking about Yellow Page ads were we talk to a sales rep once a year and then mark in our calendars to review the purchase plan 11 months out.  We have to take a Guerrilla Marketing approach to this area of our marketing plans.  Be willing to invest in something, and leave it alone and move on if the situation changes.  Never holding on to something more then is absolutely necessarily.  Always attacking the mind of the consumer where ever it is found, and when gone, move on.  There is a reason why we are talking about Facebook and Google+ right now, and not MySpace, AOL, or Prodigy.

Be Vigilant

Stay on top of the trends.  Notice where your battle field (the mind of the consumer) is.  If the consumer moves to a new area, be aware of the change.  Stay on top of your stats.  If you start seeing a drop, find out why.  Never stop reading about what is happening in the mobile space.  Pay attention to the mobile app scene.  If this seems to much, then hire someone to do it for you.  Find an agency that will keep you in the right place so you can keep attacking the mind of the consumer.

Act Quickly

Back to the Guerrilla Marketing theme,  move into the space quickly.  Move out just as quickly.  Take over the areas you can master as fast as you can so you reap the rewards of being first, when the benefits begin to lose to the increasing costs, evaluate your position and consider making changes quickly.  Are you sensing the quick theme here.

The enemy advances, we retreat.  The enemy camps, we harass.  The enemy tires, we attack.  The enemy retreats, we pursue. – Mao Tse-Tung

Wrap Up

So for right now, you should be using both Google Places and Google+ Local (i.e. Pages) to drive people to your business or service.  Google is using both in search engine results, and I have evidence they are giving preferential scoring to them.

Would love to read your thoughts on this.  Please leave a comment.

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Facebook Timeline Ads: A Gift to Google+


Well this morning I checked my Facebook Timeline to see if my latest social apps are still working.  I don’t want to recommend my clients use these features then only to find out that they are not working. So we test … test … test.  In this morning’s testing I find I have new intruders, dare I say interlopers, in my Timeline stream.

Exhibit One – The Interloping Ads!

Facebook Timeline Ads

Ads Are My Friends

I know this sounds strange coming from a person who counsels small and medium sized companies on how to use internet advertising to their advantage, but putting things in MY STREAM seems like a violation to me.  I fully understand the left or right hand side of the page (depending on which Facebook page you are looking at) will hold their ads.  And i want those ads to be relevant, or contextual, to the content that is on that page.  Actually, I’m counting on it.

I and admire Facebook for allowing me to turn off the setting which shows my name under ads.  Even though I may have liked a product, if I’m not getting paid to promote it, why give them that for free.

What does bother me is showing ads in my stream.  The ads so far have been nothing about me.  Nothing about the story i am trying to tell about me.  So why does Facebook now think it’s going to make me want to use their product more to continue to build that story?

In Walks Google+

I see Google+ as walking away with a win on this.  I think this violation will cause many to search out alternate solutions to telling their story.

What do you think?

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Continuous Learning: New Podcast List


The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

Image via Wikipedia

So if you are anything like me, you are in submission to the fact that there is more to learn in this world then you currently know.  The truly wise among us acknowledge that our current knowledge placed on the scale of all the knowledge will always find us wanting for the remainder of our days.

The trick is to stay on the cutting edge of information that helps us achieve our goals.  One of the ways I have tried to stay sharp on specific topics is by using podcasts.  I currently use iTunes (most convenient at this time)  and my Android phone, with the help of iSync.    There are a host of podcasts, mostly free but some cost nominal amounts, on iTunes that cover a wide range of topics.

New Updates on my Listening List

So here are latest additions to my listening list:

  • BeanCast – deep dive into marketing topics
  • EntreLeadership – Dave Ramsey‘s leadership and business podcast
  • Let’s Make Mistakes – design but irreverent with some foul language.
  • Marketing Over Coffee – quick ‘on they way to work drive’ worth of internet marketing news
  • Social Triggers Insiders – on of the authors I follow on Google+
  • This Is Your Life – leadership podcast

Dropped from my Listening List

  • No More Weak Days – Daily prayer and Bible reading.  Great concept but had a hard time struggling with the KJ and Message format in their reading plan. “1 Year Daily Audio Bible” is still my preferred choice for daily scripture reading (listening).

Lesson’s Learned

The important thing is to keep learning!  Don’t stop.  If you are starting a new project, search out a podcast and listen to it while driving or exercising.

I would love to hear about podcasts you have found helpful in your daily routine.  Share them in the comments.

Good Hunting.

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Make it Easy for Customers


The other day I was helping a new client plan out marketing materials for an upcoming event and asked if he was using QR Codes on all of his materials.  I explained that many people are now scanning them and then using them to do research or deal with retention issues associated with information overload.

The items in your QR Code should be:

  1. Direct link to the landing page for the event or product promoted at that event so the visitor doesn’t have to hunt down what they were interested in.
  2. Your phone number
  3. Your Email Address
  4. other pertinent information that you wanted stored in their contact list
    1. hours of operation
    2. Your name
    3. Your Address
    4. Other web sites you want them to know about (blogs, product micro sites, etc.)

Oh, and if the back of your business card isn’t already in use, put a QR Code there.  It shows you respect their time by having them avoid manually typing the data into their contact database.

Is It Important?

Well if  you don’t think this is important enough to add to your marketing material, maybe this article might change your mind:

Half of U.S. shoppers rely on phones for in-store research

Good Hunting!

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Google: Learning, Growing, and Attacking Itself


Google Plus logo

Image by Bruce Clay, Inc via Flickr

One of the guys I follow in my Reader , Gerrit Eicker, had this post “Google’s Graveyard III” (a potion of the text provided below) and it got me to thinking about another post I shared recently “6 of Apples Greatest Mistakes“, in which I suggest that mistakes are only mistakes unless we learn from them.

Marketing Warfare

I want to throw on top of these thoughts another possible activity that is going on: Google is ATTACKING ITSELF to keep it’s leader position.  My contention is that they are following the marketing principles laid out in Al Ries and Jack Trout‘s “Marketing Warfare” text, and specifically “Defensive Warfare”.

Defensive Warfare as laid out in the text is as follows:

  • Only the market leader should consider playing defense.
  • The best defensive strategy is the courage to attack yourself.
  • Strong competitive move should always be blocked.

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to layout two assumptions here: 1) Google is the leader in the industry for cloud solutions, 2) through the use of acquisitions the are ‘blocking strong competitive moves’.  These two point could be posts in themselves so I just want to state them and move on, if you wish to comment on these assumptions, fine, but this post wishes to focus on the act of attacking yourself as a form of marketing strategy.

Focusing on Google+: Obsolete Your Old Products

One of the principles in Marketing Warfare is that you need the courage to attack yourself.  In this case by introducing new products which cause old products to become obsolete.  In this way, you are creating a moving target for those that are trying to overtake you or one of the products you have created.

Now through on top of this the ability to absorb obsolete product capabilities into the new product, and all the new capabilities already in the new product, and you have the ability to keep your advisaries constantly trying to play catch up.

And as an added bonus, you can take the lessons learned from the previous product (in this case Google Buzz let’s say) and use them to refine your approach to market, or customer service, logistics, or whatever the lesson provides, to the new product.

A fall sweep

10/14/2011 10:03:00 AM

We aspire to build great products that really change people’s lives, products they use two or three times a day. To succeed you need real focus and thought—thought about what you work on and, just as important, what you don’t work on. It’s why we recently decided to shut down some products, and turn others into features of existing products.

Here’s the latest update on what’s happening:

  • Code Search, which was designed to help people search for open source code all over the web, will be shut down along with the Code Search API on January 15, 2012.
  • In a few weeks we’ll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+. While people obviously won’t be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it usingGoogle Takeout.
  • Jaiku, a product we acquired in 2007 that let users send updates to friends, will shut down on January 15, 2012. We’ll be working to enable users to export their data from Jaiku.
  • Several years ago, we gave people the ability to interact socially on iGoogle. With our new focus on Google+, we will remove iGoogle’s social features on January 15, 2012. iGoogle itself, and non-social iGoogle applications, will stay as they are.
  • The University Research Program for Google Search, which provides API access to our search results for a small number of approved academic researchers, will close on January 15, 2012.
In addition, later today the Google Labs site will shut down, and as previously announced, Boutiques.com and the former Like.com websites will be replaced by Google Product Search.Changing the world takes focus on the future, and honesty about the past. We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+. Our users expect great things from us; today’s announcements let us focus even more on giving them something truly awesome.Posted by Bradley Horowitz, Vice President, Product

Share with me your thoughts or any other examples of companies using the same Defensive Marketing as Leaders in their industry.

Good Hunting

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  • Reading Goal

    2012 Reading Challenge

    2012 Reading Challenge
    Tim has read 7 books toward his goal of 24 books.
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