A Refresher Course: Digital Marketing Basics

strategyAfter reading an article by Mashable “Does Your Business Need a Full-Time Social Media Team?”, I was once again reminded how complex and time consuming creating a digital marketing strategy can be. After all, there is an entire industry dedicated to the social media marketing of businesses and corporations. And as part of a digital marketing team, I thought it would be a good idea to reiterate the basics of developing a successful digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing strategies rely on incorporating traditional public relations principles with current social media trends. But to be successful, it’s important to find the right strategy. Specifically, this means researching your audience, choosing the appropriate social media, and creating measurable goals all in an effort to engage and build with your audience.

So when developing a digital marketing strategy for a class project, internship, or at a job, here are some key things to keep in mind:

Know your audience.

It’s simple, the more you know about your target audience, the better your strategy will be. However, knowing your audience means you must do a significant amount of research to fully understand your audience and their expectations.

Identify where your audience goes on the web for information, paying special attention to “pain points.” Pain points are problems or weaknesses apparent in the current marketing strategy. These pain points aren’t currently adequately (or perhaps not even at all) the audience’s needs and expectations. Think like your audience. Pain points can help you identify opportunities that allow you to better connect with the audience. Understanding how your audience currently interacts with the product or company will help you market to them more effectively.

Choose social media platforms based on audience and audience research.

It’s easy to become over zealous when adding social media into your strategy. At first, you might feel pressured to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and every other social media platforms into your strategy, but take a step back and really look at your research and audience. Ask yourself, “Is my audience active on Twitter?” “Do they really use Instagram?” Questions like these will help you focus on where your audience is actively participating on the web. From there, you can peruse and take notes on the types of content your audience most frequently interacts with.

The key to successfully using social media as part of your strategy is not to stretch your brand. It is always better to be sincerely engaged with your audience on one or two platforms than just to have a presence on seven or eight platforms. Successful social media management requires a fresh supply of relevant content and daily maintenance. Actively participate in your chosen social media outlets and don’t worry about the rest.

Set realistic, measurable goals.

It’s easy to become overly ambitious when setting your marketing strategy goals. It is extremely important to set goals that are attainable and measurable. So, how do you do that?

Firstly, understand that marketing strategies take time. Strategies do not work overnight, and receiving substantial feedback on your strategy often takes weeks and months. Develop an overarching goal to your strategy, but make sure to create smaller goals throughout your timeline in order to track your progress. Smaller, more refined goals will allow you to make adjustments to your strategy along the way.

Secondly, a marketing goal should be measurable. Measuring your strategy means being able to compare metrics according to a set timeframe.

Not an analyst? Don’t worry. There are hundreds of free online analytics tools available on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Facebook even has their own analytics tool, called Facebook Insights, and they’re getting better all the time. Facebook’s Insight tool now helps you benchmark your marketing strategy, see when your audience is online, and better visualize Page Likes growth through new graphs.

Like every company, every strategy is different. At the most basic level, digital marketing strategies strive for research-rich audience data, relevant and appropriate use of social media, and measurable and attainable goals to be successful.

Hope this is a helpful resource for your digital marketing endeavors!

Join the Party. Be an Eco-Friendly Intern.

The summer 2013 Eco-Friendly Internship Crew. Join their ranks!

The summer 2013 Eco-Friendly Internship crew.

We’re looking for a few good interns – Eco-Friendly Interns, to be precise. Want to get real-world digital marketing job experience while learning from some of the best in the business? Apply now!

There’re five tracks to choose from, all of which come with their own unique fun:

  1. Project Management – Get an inside look into leading initiatives and projects for clients!
  2. Web Development – Design websites! Make cool things online!
  3. Graphic Design – Make pretty things that work for clients!
  4. Content / Social – Write everything! Work with photos and videos! Tell digital stories!
  5. Analyst / SEO – Get your math and research on!

The internship starts September 9, so polish up your resume and head over to the digital marketing internship page, where you can get all the details about each internship track and fill out the internship questionnaire. Then, send your cover letter and resume to jobs@ingenexdigital.com.

We want you on our team – get your applications in today.

Facebook and Skype Editing Tricks

Today, I am going to share with you some editing “secrets” that you might not know about on Facebook and Skype. These editing tips not only allows you to fix typos, but also customize the right message you want your users to read.

Facebook Post Editing

If you are adding a link to your status update you have the ability to change the thumbnail image as well as the title and description that appears, once Facebook pulls up the original information.

Once you add the link into the blank status field, you will be able to edit any of the areas pointed by the arrows. The green arrows shows where you can click and see other options of thumbnails images. If you don’t like any of the thumbnails suggestions follow the purple arrow. By clicking on “Upload Image” you will be able to pick an image from your drive.

The yellow arrow is showing the title of the blog in bold letters. Once you click on it you will be write any calling to action message. The red arrow enables you to edit the description of the title. You can change it completely or just make any adjustments.

Once you are done, feel free to remove the URL you pasted and write your status post! These changes are very helpful when you are developing the right copy and when you are trying share the right message. Remember, you do not want to include everything on the status messages because they are suppose to be brief and concise.

Skype Message Editing

Skype users might not know, but you can actually edit the messages you send on a chat. It’s very common for people to make more mistakes writing on a chat window compared to an e-mail because your primary intention is to just keep the conversation going in a faster pace.

If you hover your mouse next to the time, you will see a drop down arrow. Once you click on it a the drop down will allow you to copy, quote, edit, remove and jump back in the history of the conversation you had with the other user.

Once you click “Edit Message” a screen will pop up and you can make the changes right there and then. See image below:

After you click “Save” you are all set! The other user will know however that you edit the message by the indication of the little pencil next to the time.

This handy feature is great especially if you don’t want any misinterpretation in a conversation, and Skype has been used more and more often by digital marketing agencies to communicate with its clients.

I hope you find these tips useful!

 

Building Your Customer Network

Business action and conduct are purposive: to solve problems (customer problems) and provide services, of course in a profitable way.  The sense of mystery regarding the future has always been a bother and slight annoyance for everyone, especially businesses.  Nobody knows if customers will suddenly drop in the near future or if the economy will suddenly go into recession.  Now with the existence of digital communications (content, media, behavior, and expectations), digital marketing has been created.  People now use multiple devices (all digital) such as smartphones, PCs, tablets, mp3, etc. to communicate contents such as apps, files, photos, music, and videos.  People are pursuing a digital lifestyle these days, thus businesses can tap into the psychology of their clients through digital marketing.  The future can be predicted due to the ability of tracking consumer-making decisions.  Due to this growth of a digital lifestyle, people leave behind their digital footprint that businesses follow to track and predict their behavior.  In order to track statistics related to consumer behavior, there must be a relationship between customers and businesses.  Through digital marketing, not only does a relationship form, but so does an interdependency between enterprise and consumer develop.  Marketers must study the customer decision journey, which has become increasingly digital.  Once businesses can see how consumers include certain brands and ditch others, they can adjust their company’s image to the liking of their customers.

Photo by thetaxhaven: thetaxhaven.posterous.com

The relationship between a business and its customer is no longer solely about the transaction; now customers become attached to their favorite brands and they try to advocate for them because they know there will be something in it for them ultimately.  When customers develop emotional and rational attachments to a brand, they become bonded and advocate, support, and protect that brand.  They know that they can score special deals, free offers, and even money for promoting their favorite brand.  They are also aware that if they keep their brands going then prices will be kept low.  Companies are obviously dependent on their clients, so they try very hard to keep their customers and to constantly attract more people who are similar to their steadfast clients.  There is most definitely a correlation between customer behavior and digital marketing efforts such as fantastic websites, personalized email campaigns, visually appealing graphics, social networking, photos/videos that give outsiders an inside look on what goes on behind the scenes.  The more energy businesses put into digital marketing, the more consumers will get excited and respond to the attention.

You should interview, say, at least 30 of your clients and find out how they feel about your company and it’s services.  Customers want to help you improve so that the products they receive from you are better.  Discover the fallacies about your company from your clients and others and then try to correct them.

Accumulate publicly attainable data on search activity of your company’s field and traffic patterns.  Use standard Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, Crazy Egg, Lyris HQ Agency Edition, WebTrends, SiteCatalyst.  You should track the number of people who use your site, comparing the number of visitors on each page, the number of visits by different users to see whether the same people keep returning to your site or if lots of people only visit once or twice.  It is also important to track your visitors with factors such as the country, state, city they’re from and what pages they look at while visiting your site.  Discover the keywords or phrases people typed into search engines like Google or Mozilla Firefox.  If that doesn’t give you enough information, buy additional data.

Ultimately, brands must find where their customers have discussions in order to learn what they think of the brand’s products.  Answer your customers’ questions and help them get what they need.  Listen to their suggestions and adjust accordingly in order to gain more advocates of your brand.

-Ariana Sauber

 

Correlation Between Traveling and Happiness via Twitter

Researchers at the University of Vermont have been studying the relationship between the happiness level of people on Twitter compared to how far they have traveled from their primary locations.

With continued advancement in technology and the amount of personal and emotional information people share via online mediums today, experts can now study human behavior by looking at the sentiment that is expressed via social media. Not only are people providing information about how they are currently feeling, but their location in the world are almost always given as well. Putting all of this together allows researchers to come to a conclusion on how people feel based on where they are.

Photo Credit: epSos.de

Photo Credit: epSos.de

“Expressed happiness increases logarithmically with distance from an individual’s average location,” was the ultimate result of the study done by these experts. The research found concluded that people tweet most often from work and home and when they are further away from these locations, most often traveling, they are happier in their tweets.

While this may be a stretch and might not be the most accurate way to measure how happy people are, it is an interesting subject to consider. Are people happier when they are traveling? Do they express their true happiness on social media or do they just want to seem this way to their follows? Its hard to tell but most of us can agree, traveling to the beach compared to sitting in a cubicle would make the average person happier, even on Twitter.

Reference: Mashable: Twitter Happiness Soars as People Travel Further From Home

 

Politics of the Future: Digital and Social Media

What if President Obama held press conferences not in the White House, but on Google Hangout? What if he answered questions asked by the American people, rather than the news correspondents? Earlier this month India’s Finance Minister P Chidambaram did just that. The minister participated in a live video conference that lasted hour, but the conference sparked conversations that lasted quite longer (e.g. #askthefm).

“People have been calling this era of computers, the Internet, and telecommunications the ‘information age’ … What we’re really in now is the empowerment age…This power is shifting…to a new paradigm of power that is democratically distributed and shared by all of us.” - Joe Trippi, author of Revolution Will Not be Televised

President Obama's current Facebook banner.

President Obama’s current Facebook banner.

Today everyone and everything is going social. Barack Obama and Fançois Hollande are on Facebook, and even The White House, the WTO, and the United Nations tweet.Digital media has become a new form of infrastructure. The United Kingdom offers virtual tours of Parliament buildings. The EU website has an Audiovisual Newsroom. Online presence is a public expectation.

The virtual world has a very real influence.The last two years proved digital and social media’s power to mobilize entire nations (i.e. revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria). Minister Chidambaram’s conference is further evidence of a growing desire to not only pay attention to the man (or woman) behind the curtain, but to eliminate the curtain altogether.

 

Talk Nerdy To Me – Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor’s newest event aims to bring together two of the greatest things about growing up: feeling comfortable in your own skin and the ability to legally enjoy an after-work drink, in moderation. Nerd Nite is a growing global phenomenon that brings together self-proclaimed nerds in a relaxed bar setting where they can share interesting informational nerdy presentations.

3D Printing Example at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Photo by ashlieforchione

I had the opportunity to get involved in Nerd Nite Ann Arbor in its early stages. My sister, a developer/nerd, and some of her friends made it their mission to organize the first ever Nerd Nite in Ann Arbor. I went at first to support her; while they had invited nerds they knew, the ‘Bosses’ (Nerd Nite organizers) weren’t sure how many people would actually show. One invited nerd even digitally muttered their uncertainty about the event – there would be girls there, and alcohol. How nerdy could it be?

How very nerdy, indeed. At least 20 people had to be turned away at the door – all the extra standing room only spots were taken well before the first presentation on Nanotechnology. Though some nerds waited in another area of the bar, hoping to catch a glimpse of the next two presentations on 3D Printing (see above photo) and Data Visualization, it was to no avail. No one even left the presentation area for fear of losing their spot.

At the end of the first night, I knew Nerd Night Ann Arbor would be bigger than my sister ever hoped. So, I did what any good sister-nerd with digital marketing know-how would do. I offered to help manage their social media outreach, and get my digital-nerd on. See, while digital and social marketing is a job field I’m pursuing, it is also a passion of mine. Something to get ‘nerdy’ about, as any good-fitting job should be. The facebook page and twitter are already exploding. I’m geeked to see what we can do for the next event this February.

If this post has got you feeling nerdy, geeked out, or put you in touch with your inner poindexter, check out Nerd Nite Ann Arbor or just talk nerdy to me.

Peter Gabriel Remakes “Sledgehammer”… via Facebook

Peter Gabriel’s video for his hit song “Sledgehammer” came out in 1986, but to this date, MTV says it is the most-played video on the station, and was awarded the #4 slot in their list of “100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time”, in addition to winning tons of other awards and accolades.

Now, Peter Gabriel is remaking it – this time, with the help of Facebook. A tab on Gabriel’s Facebook fan page allows users to choose a scene, upload a video, or vote on existing entries. The idea is rather fascinating, especially given how big this video was (and is, I suppose!).

The contest is called “Grab Your Sledgehammer”, and is being done to celebrate the release of the 25th anniversary edition of Gabriel’s So album.

Personally, I love when artists allow for this kind of fan engagement, much with Ellie Goulding’s G+ Hangout album signing. This not only allows for artists to interact with fans easily, but will also introduce a younger generation of fans to artists like Peter Gabriel (and Genesis, by extension). Plus, it’s fun! It allows your fans to show their creativity and encourages them to interact with an entity or brand. These are the kind of campaigns that social media marketing companies should be striving to build! They’re interactive and fun to do, and people seem to get a lot out of the ability to be creative.

 

Red Bull Stratos Breaks Records, Including A YouTube One

I don’t know if you watched Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking freefall to Earth this weekend, but I did, and what an incredible achievement. If you really didn’t know what happened, he jumped out of a capsule 24 miles above Roswell, NM, broke the sound barrier, and free-fell for 9 minutes before landing on his feet safely in the New Mexico desert. The jump itself is an incredible achievement that broke three world records, but there’s one record he broke that had almost nothing to do with the flight and fall itself: Most Simultaenous YouTube viewers.

The entire event was live-streamed on YouTube, and notably, did not have a television broadcast in the United States. The livestream broke YouTube records, attracting 8 million viewers and a record number of comments. I know I watched live on YouTube.

The magnitude of this event is huge in the world of social media. With this event, it seems like YouTube has been able to completely unseat television. I know my grandparents were glued to their television during the moon landing just as I was glued to YouTube 43 years later. The implication is huge: Our social media sites are starting to replace traditional pathways of consuming media. For instance, I don’t remember the last time I watched anything on cable, but I’ve been watching Modern Family regularly on Hulu+.

I think this means that in the very near future, the advertising firm you see in a show like Mad Men will be completely replaced by social media marketing companies. Magazine ads and TV commercials are being gradually replaced by Tweets and YouTube commercials. It’s been happening gradually and consistently over the past few years, but the realization that Red Bull eschewed a TV broadcast (at least in the US) to go for YouTube exclusivity was a glimpse at a very-near future, and it was astounding.

Social Media, Politics, and You

Many researchers and journalists, such as Matthew Fraser and David Carr, believe that social media was the factor that pushed President Obama past John McCain in the 2008 election. But this presidential election is a little bit different: social media has been around longer, everyone is more used to it, and more people are using it.  So how exactly has social media changed the game of politics and the 2012 presidential election?

Must Have a Presence
Candidates, local and national, have to have a social media presence in order to win an election. This is how today’s society connects with each other, and is the easiest and most effective way for a candidate to build a relationship with voters. Right now Romney and Obama are both using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and blogs to connect with the public.

Long Term Memory
Not only will comments made by the candidates through social networks never really disappear from the Internet, every comment they make through any medium, good or bad, will never completely go away. They will always be able to be found through social media; the Internet never forgets.

Instantaneous Reactions
Also, because of our ability to tweet, retweet, share, and post content all over social networks, everything moves much faster. Campaigns can respond to negative advertisements and comments made by opposition immediately through their networks. On the other side of that, if a candidate or someone within their party makes an offensive comment that can also go viral in a matter of moments.

As the campaign has already shown social media can both help and hinder candidates. Who do you think is winning the digital campaign?