2014: The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media

As the new year starts to unfold, we see a multitude of articles offering up predictions for the 2014.  From fashion, to music, to the economy and of course, social media. What’s funny about these predictions, is, well they are predictable.  Some of them foretell the death of Facebook (not going to happen) while others predict that Google+ will be the king of social networks this year (Want to know a secret?  Google+ isn’t a social network the way most define it).  So, what do you believe?  What predictions are on the mark and what predictions are just plain silly?  Look at the history or experience of the people making the predictions and use common sense!

With all of that being said, I can confidently state: 2014 will be The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media.

6355836713_7ea15f733f_b

In December, TechCrunch published an article, Facebook: Brands Will Have to Work Harder (Or Buy Ads) For Your Attention – But Fans Still Matter.  The post highlighted what Facebook finally admitted – and brand managers suspected – organic, or non-paid reach for business pages had been decreasing.  Why?  Mainly because Facebook is not showing that content in the newsfeed.  According to Facebook their Billion plus users are sharing so much content that a business breaking through that noise is unlikely just by sharing content organically.  The solution? Promoted Posts and paying to advertise your page. If you have a business page on Facebook, you have probably noticed your reach decreasing and, if you want to reverse that trend, you will have to pay.

So, on Facebook, it is definitely Pay to Play for businesses. What about the other platforms?  Google+ is testing ads that will show up in their newsfeed, promoted accounts and Tweets have been part of Twitter for years, plus you can pay to monetize your Video’s on YouTube.  In other words, pay to play isn’t new, it’s just becoming more apparent and necessary.

One of the fallacies of social media over the years has been it’s free or low-cost. Thankfully that is not true or I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. Social media is a tool, or a set of tools just like direct mail, advertising, PR and everything else that you can fit under the umbrella term of marketing. However, it is not free. Never has been. Never will be. Especially now.  Business owners, marketing professionals, social media consultants, et.al, must face the fact that to cut through the clutter of these various social platforms will require advertising. In addition to advertising, it will require a well planned strategy that includes using and utilizing the social platforms that fit into the niche or target demographics of the  business.

Paying to Play on Social Media also highlights the importance of a business optimizing their own website, but more on that later.

No matter what social platform or platforms you decide to hang your business hat on, get ready to pay; in 2014 and beyond. Those are my thoughts; what are yours?  Will you pay to play?

STOP the Social Media Insanity!

Do you remember the Stop the Insanity weight loss program from Susan Powter?   In the 90’s, you couldn’t turn on television without hearing her infomercial with that famous catch phrase, “Stop the Insanity!”

insanity

Do you ever feel the need to scream, STOP the Social Media Insanity?  Websites, Blogs, RSS feeds, Emails, Email newsletters, Facbook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, FourSquare, Yelp, and on, and on, and on!  Do you get overwhelmed as you try to keep up with reading information, posting or joining various social platforms for yourself or your business? If so, I have a few suggestions that may help you stop your own insanity.

[Read more…]

Own and Protect Your Content!

Other than the devastating news out of Oklahoma, the digital world is buzzing this week over the news that Yahoo has purchased blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Or as some are now referring to it: Yumblr.  It is too early in this process to know what plans Yahoo has for Tumblr, but one thing is for sure: Tumblr will change. Tumblr subscribers will either embrace the changes or they will leave. In droves.

images

Image Courtesy of Slate

 

In March 2012, the headline was Twitter Buys Posterous. Many people speculated that Posterous would stay around; that Twitter only wanted the owners/management team but would leave the product alone.  Alas, that was not the case. Posterous shut down May 31, 2013.

[Read more…]

Ford’s Interview Style Commercials

I must admit, I have been a fan of Ford motor company for years. Over the years I have owned two Ford’s and my family has been loyal to the Ford brand for many years.  It didn’t hurt that my uncle, Bob Ripley worked for a local Ford Dealership for several decades.  Anyone familar with southern West Virginia will recognize the name Dodson-Hager Ford.

Thinking of the cars Ford has produced over the years brings back great memories.  Come on, the Ford Mustang?  How great was and is that car?  Well, with the exception of the Mustang II during the 1970’s, but we can overlook that period in time. 

The current line up of Ford products seem to further the quality of the brand. I do not own a Ford currently, but their trucks, SUV’s and some of their cars are worth the look in my opinion.

The current line up Ford commercials, at leeast the interveiew style commercials, stink in my opinion!

If you haven’t seen them; here is one:

Recently these commercials have underwent a makevover of sorts, shifting the interview to outside, on the steps of a building in impromptu press conference styel format.  Complete with someone, portraying a photographer, running up to snap pictures of the interviewee. So, what is my problem with the commercials?  They are old school and expect the viewers to believe that these Ford owners are surprised to be interviewed.  They show “reporters” writing down answers and sticking microphones in the faces of the owners.  And, they have NO reference to social media whatsover! Even at the end of the commercial, no website link, Twitter image, Facebook logo or YouTube brand page link.  I guess what makes me shake my head is that Ford has a strong online and social presence, so why hide it?  Click over to Facebook; they have MULTIPLE pages; one for each model!  It’s like these commercials are produced by a complete different marketing department; and they seem so fake! They are not attempting to connect or build a community at all with these commercials. 

Do shoppers turn to social to research cars prior to purchasing?  Yes, check out this post from Splash Media:  Social Media Marketing CAN Fuel Auto Sales – If Done Right.  Cars.com has done it for years, so can all other brands. 

Those are my thoughts, and a bit of a rant I suppose. But what do you think? Do you like the commercials? Are they effective? 

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Target Market

Images

 

What is Your Target Market?

Simply defined, a Target Market is the specific set of customers whose needs you are trying to meet. Another way to think about it: this is the audience, out of all those who might hear your message, for whom you design your marketing program.

Instead of trying to sell your product or service to everyone in the market, you should aim your message toward those who have the greatest potential need or desire for your product or service. Ask yourself this question, “Who are your customers? Who will buy your product?” I am often surprised that otherwise savvy small business people either have no idea who will buy from them, or they assume that “everyone” will. Assumptions like this can lead to wrong decisions, wrong pricing, wrong marketing strategy – and ultimately, business failure.

The most successful small businesses understand that only a limited number of people will buy their product or service. The task then becomes determining, as closely as possible, exactly who those people are, then “targeting” the business’s marketing efforts and dollars toward them. Businesses can build a better, stronger business, by identifying and serving a particular customer group – your target market.

One of the first things you should do is to refine your product or service so that you are NOT trying to be “all things to all people.” Become a specialist! Another thought is to find out where your target market hangs out.  Are they online?  Chances are, they do. Are they on Twitter or Facebook?  Has your target market embraced social media or is your target market offline?  Does your target market use referral marketing?  You need to find out! Review your customers, do the research, or hire someone to do it, and then focus your marketing efforts! 

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.