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The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.


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NEW RULES FOR MARKETING

ImageThe marketing mix, known as the 4P’s of product, price, placement, and promotion, is changing. A simple Google search for the 4P’s of marketing brings up 4P’s, 5P’s, 7P’s, and 4C’s. The Harvard Review suggests SAVE – solutions, access, value, and education. This approach reflects a market where services are gaining more of the market share, technology is knocking down walls, and the focus is on the customer. ImageI have also seen the 4C’s of Social Media (different than the 4C’s of Marketing) listed as content, conversations, community, connections. Or is it content, context, conversations, and connections? ImageOr content, conversations, community, and conversions?? ImageWhat the heck??? How do we decide which one to follow?

The good news is that having so many choices out there, at least one should fit your purpose. And when they are reviewed, they have the same basic principles. The 4P’s, it appears, have become a bit dated with the growth of a rising service- and online-based economy. Change is inevitable.

Advertising and press coverage are no longer the only way to get attention. People now want information-based “advertising.” They don’t want a hard sell; they want somewhere to get answers to their questions and on their timeframe. Social media allows companies to communicate directly with their consumers. It is now possible for small businesses to succeed alongside, or without the help of, large corporations. If you are unique or have something people want, you can now get noticed with minimal investment. People can self-publish, set up online stores, and create their own niche market with minimal resources. Amazon, EBay, and Etsy, among others, allow people to market their products directly to their customers.

Newspapers, radio, and television are no longer the only source for information. Up to the minute reports are often broadcast by new media and are able to quickly provide a human aspect to the story – the Arab Spring and the Boston Marathon bombings are prime examples. Bloggers are now accepted as part of the press corps and are often responsible for breaking stories overlooked by corporate, traditional media. Reaching out to and including alternative media sources is a viable option to getting your story told.

To successfully communicate with your audience, use an authentic voice; business casual and conversational. Tell your story or the stories of your clients, but remember that people don’t want spin or propaganda; they want information and facts with which to make their own, informed decisions. You also want to make yourself available in order to create the human interaction and personal responses people are looking for.

The rules of marketing matter. New media has not replaced the old rules, but requires additional rules that fit with the differences in the way information is communicated. New rules, new media, new connections.

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TO POST OR NOT TO POST

How do we add value to our posts? How do we stay relevant and in the minds of our followers without going overboard? If we post too much we get ignored; post too little and we are forgotten. Put yourself in the position of the recipient. What do they care about? What would motivate them to act?

Choosing the right content is paramount to success on social media. Remember that your posts are about your business or brand, not about you. Never post anything that is not directly related to your company, mission, or message. Make your posts something you would be proud to have your name on, represents your company well, and that you would share with others if YOU were to receive it.

Keep in mind that people are looking for information and to be included in the conversation. Produce quality, impactful content; be succinct and intentional with your posts. A post is worthless if others cannot interpret it or find its meaning or relevance. You never want to post just to post. Posting without a clear purpose will lead to people not reading your posts and could even lead to losing your followers. However, you don’t need to always generate your own content. You can repost or “share” the content of others as long as it is relevant, you credit the source, and you include your own thoughts to focus attention on the issues or areas you wish to highlight.

ImageIn order to maximize impact, your posts should include links to your other channels. When sending press releases, remember to immediately post on your website and send announcements and links via your social media channels. It is a fast, cheap, and easy to spread the word on important issues and keep you in the minds of your followers.  Make it easy to find you. More information should always be just a click away!

Include an action or question in your conclusion. Give people a reason to interact and be part of the conversation. I hope you have found this information useful. I believe that following these simple tips will provide good start to success on social media.  What additional tips would you include?


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People use the Internet and social media to find information – provide it! If it is difficult for people to easily find information, they will quickly move on to another option. A web presence has become a necessity for businesses to succeed. Today, the first thing we do to find information is not to go to the Yellow pages or the encyclopedia, but to search the Internet. If you ask a friend for a recommendation, you are likely to ask via social media and, when given a recommendation, you will be told to “check out their website.”

I know some people will disagree, but I firmly believe that if you don’t have a presence on the web, you lose credibility. Before you start engaging on other social media, make sure you have a website up and running and that it contains the information that people will look for – in a user-friendly format. Have a restaurant or café? Make sure there is at least a sample menu. People want to know (depending on the sort of business) about the company, your mission, hours, directions, contact information, prices, specials, happy hours, special events, community involvement, links to partners, where to go for help, staff, management, board members, FAQs, interesting facts, how to get involved, press releases, etc. What questions are you asked on a regular basis? What information is most requested? Unless there is a privacy concern, consider putting this info on your website.

Once you have your key information source available (your website), take your business to applicable social medias. Do your homework to determine the best options for reaching your particular audience and then add one or two channels at a time. This will allow you to keep your media responsibilities manageable. Make sure your website and media sites link to each other, making the search for information as seamless as possible. Keep your information up-to-date and post regularly.

The Internet and social media have made it possible to be almost anywhere and everywhere. Make sure your potential and current customers, clients, supporters, and fans can find you quickly and easily by using these available and affordable communication tools.


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WHERE TO START

Each of these is, of course, dependent on the type of business, organization, or mission.

  • What are you looking to achieve on social media?
  • Look at what channels are being used by similar businesses.
  • Create an account, then sit back and “listen”. Search for relevant keywords and follow the conversations. Get a feel for the channel before posting or commenting.
  • Decide on what “voice” you wish to use for your posts. Even if you have multiple people making posts, they should all be following the same format, goals, and tone.
  • Develop questions that support your goals and objectives.
  • Ask friends, relatives, and regular, recognizable customers for their thoughts and preferences.
  • Survey your current followers for thoughts and ideas of what they would like to see. What channels do they prefer? What are their likes and dislikes?
  • Use focus groups.
  • Listen to the responses. Each answer provides insight and can bring new perspectives.


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A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Keeping in touch is hard. For anyone. Time passes and life gets away from you. Email made things a bit faster and easier, but unless you are sending a form letter or mass update, it was still difficult to keep in touch. Then Facebook came along.

As someone who has lived and worked in many different places and has friends scattered across the country, it has been difficult to keep in touch with everyone. How do I keep in touch with people in New York, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Sacramento, the Bay Area as well as those who have moved to Florida, North Carolina, DC, as well as family across the world and, let’s face it, in Minnesota? Social media has allowed me to keep up with different world views through an Iranian friend in Berkeley and a cousin in Dubai, learn more about new connections, and watch the Oscars with people who love pop culture as much as I do – even though we have never met. I can tell who’s watching what game or television show. It has also made it possible for my second cousin in Sacramento, who was a very large part of my life for the 12 years I was in California, to be part of my sister’s wedding planning.

Social media enables me to learn more about those I know and those I have never met (like the pop culture people or the cousin in Dubai). It enables people to connect even after years of absence, and gives hope to finding and reconnecting with people who have played a huge part in making me who I am today.

Why is this important? In just my microcosm, it shows how interconnected we all are. It is possible for one person’s actions or opinions to influence others around the world. Take it to a business or cause level, and it would seem nothing is truly impossible.


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Credit Repair – Troy Clark Part 2 Contact Creditors #clarkt

After you have pulled all three Credit Bureaus, next you must compare all three credit reports to create a master list of all of your creditors. List all of your creditors by name, address, phone number, dollar amount owed, and date of origin for the debt. Your creditors may be listed slightly different on each credit report so you must examine each debt listed to ensure that your master list does not have any duplication of creditors.
Once you feel confident that you do not have any duplications on your creditors list, the next step in your process is to send a “certified letter” to each creditor requesting a “verification of debt”. Your letter should only disclose your current contact information (if you can afford a P.O. Box I would highly recommend it) and inform the creditor that “pursuant to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act),” they have “30 days to respond to your letter in writing or you will demand the three major credit bureaus consider these debts invalid and remove them from your credit report.” Make sure you send this letter ”certified mail” so you have a third party verification that you sent the letter. Check your mail daily and document the date each of your verification letters come back. Place each verification letter you receive in your corresponding file folder.
Once thirty days has expired from the day you mailed your letters, you will need to review all the “verification of debt” letters you have received and update your creditors list to reflect an exact dollar amount for each creditor listed. Now take each of the dollar figures you have for each creditor and multiply the dollar owed amount it by 15%, this will be the settlement-in-full figure you will use when making an oral offer of repayment.

 

If you have further questions of require assistance, contact Troy Clark @ 763-390-9144 or provestor2005@yahoo.com

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World’s Greatest Skyline

I had to write a brief piece on a skyline worth doing whatever’s necessary to be literally there to truly appreciate it. In Chicago (on a summer night) there’s a ton of reason to visit, spend a few bucks, get some of the best eats, play with social media, and witness this thing of beauty called it’s “skyline.” In some ways this could be generic euphoria. You’d understand if you could truly sit back and just embrace those (probably rare) moments. It’s hard to just go to the beach on Lake Michigan, sit in the sand and just tag photos and take in that breath-taking scene. There’s a lot people of diverse backgrounds can do in a city like Chicago. One thing’s universal, a minute or two to appreciate the world’s greatest skyline on a warm summer night. And when it’s over, you’ll WANT to put social media to some quality use! HP

Oh, here’s an example below of what I’m talking about. Almost forgot! 

http://hpeppers.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6&action=edit