Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

March 29, 2010

Nearly 20% of Marketing Dollars Will Go to Social Marketing in 5 Years

Social media networks are a marketers dream. With over 500 million active users on Facebook today, there’s no doubt that Facebook is a social media powerhouse. And although Facebook is a social networking favorite, it’s not alone.

Marketers are actively taking note of many different social media opportunities and beginning to implement new strategic social initiatives at a higher rate than ever before. Here are 3 new studies that show social media is on the rise. As a business you cannot afford NOT to participate:

#1: Small Business Doubles Social Media Adoption

At least one positive result from the economic downturn is the rapid growth of social media marketing.

A recent study, “The State of Small Business Report,” sponsored by Network Solutions, LLC and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, points to economic difficulties as the catalyst for social media’s rapid popularity.

The study results show that social media usage by small business owners increased from 12% to 24% in just the last year, and almost 1 out of 5 actively uses social media as part of his or her marketing strategy.

Here’s a breakdown of what the small businesses reported as the main uses of social media marketing:

* 75% have a company page on a social networking site
* 69% post status updates or articles of interest on social media sites
* 57% build a network through a site such as LinkedIn
* 54% monitor feedback about the business
* 39% maintain a blog
* 26% tweet about areas of expertise
* 16% use Twitter as a service channel

According to the study, different industries are adopting social media marketing at different rates, and while many industries have started using social media marketing in their efforts to reach more customers, many still have not positioned it as their top priority.

According to the survey, “Professional services firms, real estate businesses and entertainment/food/lodging businesses rely more on email marketing than other types of small businesses. Firms in the education/health/social services sector rely more on social media marketing and direct mail. Not surprisingly, retailers depend more on print and broadcast advertising.” Those slow to adopt to the new way of communicating via social media may remain in the backwoods for years and may simply be unable to catch up with their more aggressive and savvy competitors

The report also measured small businesses’ expectations of social media. While 58% feel that social media “met expectations,” 12% feel it has “exceeded expectations,” while 25% feel social media has “fallen short of expectations.”

Some of the reasons given for social media’s shortfalls were:

* 50% feel it has used up more time than expected
* 19% believe social media has lost them money
* 17% feel social media has allowed people to criticize their business

Overall, social media use by small business is a major growth area. The report says it best: “This dire environment has not stifled innovation. The most successful small businesses are competing by offering superior service and creativity and small businesses are rapidly embracing social media as a way for keeping engaged with customers and tapping knowledge resources.”

#2: Nearly 20% of Marketing Dollars Will Go to Social Marketing in 5 Years

In just the last 6 months, marketers have shifted their attitudes toward social media marketing spending. This was recently affirmed in the new study, “The CMO Survey”, from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association. A key finding: Social media marketing budgets continue to rise. According to the results, businesses currently allocate 6% of their marketing budgets to social media, an allotment they expect to increase to 10% during the next year and 18% over the next 5 years.

Back in August 2009, marketers had already planned on devoting more money to social media. However, in February 2010, marketers reported that they plan to allocate one-fifth of their marketing budgets to social media marketing in the next 5 years. This is a definite increase from the 2009 projections. The study features the following comparison from August 2009 to February 2010:

Current marketing budget spending on social media:

August 2009: 3.5%

February 2010: 5.6%

Marketing budget spending on social media in the next 12 months:

August 2009: 6.1%

February 2010: 9.9%

Marketing budget spending on social media in the next 5 years:

August 2009: 13.7%

February 2010: 17.7%

According to the director of the survey, Fuqua Professor Christine Moorman, “Even though many are still experimenting and learning how best to use social media tools, these results indicate that marketers think social media marketing is here to stay and will play an increasingly important role in their work in acquiring and retaining customers in the future.”

#3: Mastering Social Media: A Top Goal for Marketers

Anderson Analytics and Marketing Executives Networking Group recently released a report titled “Marketing Trends 2010” with some interesting insight into the minds of marketing executives.

Marketing executives were asked to choose the most important trends and buzzwords to pay attention to in 2010, marketing ROI (getting a good return on marketing efforts) was number one, with 58% saying it was the most important trend to keep an eye on. But what’s even more interesting is that social media made the top 10 list, with 42% choosing it as one of the top trends to watch. In addition, 72% said they work for companies that are planning social media initiatives in 2010.

The study also explored social media presence and reported interesting findings when comparing personal social media use among marketing executives and their company’s social media use.Individual executives are most likely to use networking tools like Facebook and LinkedIn, while companies are more likely to keep a blog than individual executives.

Equally interesting is the consensus on how to carry out the social media initiatives. Marketers turn to internal employees, social media consultants and interactive agencies for support and are less likely to use PR and ad agencies. The growth is certainly in social media marketing agencies.

When selecting a supplier for social media initiatives, marketing executives focus on the influence over a target market and the extent of a consultant’s network as major deciding factors.

These three surveys are great indicators that we will continue to see social media marketing rise and perhaps over time see less of the traditional marketing strategies. Social media is here to stay so for those still working within organisations where it is a low priority your challenge is to show how linear marketing is no longer the norm. Your customers hear about your products from many, many different sources.

Have you seen a major shift to social marketing initiatives in your company? Is there still a hesitancy to make a substantial leap to this new way of marketing or has the shift been an easy transition?

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March 27, 2010

Tips for creating great Blog content

I often get asked how do we keep our blog interesting and topical. Often the solution is simly a matter of brainstorming with your team. You will be surprised by the stories that abound within your organsiation that will indeed interest your audiences, customers and add focus to your business. Here are some tips.

1. Industry News – whats happening this week, this month

2. Industry Trends – where is the industry going, what are the emerging hot segments

3. Customers Pain Points – Write posts that provide solutions for your customers

4. Customers successes – Write up a case study about a clients successful project,
they will often let you publish their name

5. What not to do – highlighting where something hasn’t worked (the names shall
remain anonymous of course)

6. Create a video blog post by interviewing a successful client – this can a
powerful providing authentic evidence of authority and credibility for both you
and the client

7. Write articles for the different types of customers that are relevant for each
of your vertical markets

8. Brainstorm blog post topics with colleagues and management and create a list for
future reference and planning

9. Subscribe to the top industry blogs in your market, both company blogs and
personal blogs for ideas

10. Look through your latest news releases for ideas

11. Sign up other staff to write on topics in your industry or market that they are
passionate about

12. Develop a series of how to blog posts

13. Turn the “how to” blog posts into short videos

14. When you have a great idea, go straight to your “add new” button and write the
headline and save it as a draft or write it down before you forget it.

15. Include a great iconic image at the start of the blog that catches the eye

16. Case Studies are always popular to write about and not just your own

17. Place Powerpoint presentations on your blog by posting and then embedding links
from Slideshare

18. Run polls and surveys on your blog

19. Create great headlines that catch people attention and makes them want to read
the rest of the article

20. Add credbility banners such as how many subscribers, number of hits, blog grade
and any awards

21. Provide “share this” buttons to Facebook and Twitter as a minimum

22. Implement “subscribe” buttons via RSS and Email

23. Write in bite size chunks and use bullet points so readers can quickly and easy

24. Break up large blocks of text with iconic and interesting images

25. Take screen shots to place in your post using Software like Snagit to highlight
points .. a picture is worth a 1000 words

26. Be yourself even if it is a company blog.. be authentic.

27. Optimize your blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

28. Promote and distribute your posts on to other social media platforms such as
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

29. Make the blog easy to find on your company’s web page with a large bannner or

30. Finally, have fun, mix up the types of posts and add some humour occasionally

What makes your blog hum? Look forward to hearing your suggestions

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How are you as CEO using Social Media

A Harvard University study “Society For New Communications Research” (SNCR) in November 2009, is a great insight into the rise of social media and usages by CEO's

I thought that a summary of their findings would be a great backdrop and insight into how the CEO and major decison makers are using social media, particularly as CEO's now have to consider themselves personal brands as well.

In the survey they asked questions like

* Are professional networks being utilized by decision-makers in business?
* Is social media typically regarded as a trustworthy source of information for
* In what ways do professionals rely on social networks to support business
* Will social media change the business and practice of enterprise-level

The survey was administered online to 356 participants via online survey with close to a quarter (23%) are CEO of their organization, 50% are “Director” or “Manager”.

Company size ranged from less than 100 to over 50,000 full-time employees and age was well distributed with the greatest proportion in the 36-45 range, 25 countries were represented, with 58% of respondents living in the US and all respondents were either the decision makers or influenced the decision process.

So what were the “30 Key Findings”

1. Professional decision-making is becoming more social, traditional influence cycles are being disrupted by Social Media as decision makers utilize social networks to inform and validate decisions.

2. Professionals want to be collaborative in the decision-cycle but not be marketed or sold to online, however online marketing is a preferred activity by companies.

3. The big three have emerged as leading professional networks: LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter.

4. The average professional belongs to 3-5 online networks for business use, and LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are among the top used.

5. The convergence of Internet, mobile, and social media has taken significant shape as professionals rely on anywhere access to information, relationships and networks.

6. Professional networks are emerging as decision-support tools.

7. Decision-makers are broadening reach to gather information especially among active users.

8. Professionals trust online information almost as much as information gotten from in-person.

9. Information obtained from offline networks still have highest levels of trust with slight advantage over online (offline: 92% – combined strongly/somewhat trust; online: 83% combined strongly/somewhat trust).

10. Reliance on web-based professional networks and online communities has increased significantly over the past 3 years.

11. Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support business decisions with reliance increasing essentially for all respondents over the past three years.

12. Social Media use patterns are not pre-determined by age or organizational affiliation with younger (20-35) and older professionals (55+) are more active users of social tools than middle aged professionals.

14. There are more people collaborating outside their company wall than within their organizational intranet.

15. Professionals tend to belong to “Multiple Social Networks” for business with

* Half of respondents report participating in 3 to 5 online professional networks
* Another three in ten participate in 6 or more professional networks
* More than 7% used more than 10 professional networks

16. The Big Three Social Networks Have Emerged as Professional Networks, so popular social networks are now being used frequently as professional communities with

* More than nine in ten respondents indicated that they use LinkedIn (91%)
* Half reported using Facebook (51%)
* Twitter followed closely with (41%)

Note: The closest next channel only scored 13%. Blogs were frequently listed as ‘professional networks’

17. Mobile Is Emerging as a Frequent Professional Networking Access Point with 94% using a PC and 44% using a Mobile.

18. Usage Of Professional Networks Is Increasing

* Three quarters of respondents visit their social networks at least daily
* Four in ten visit many times each day
* All indicated that their usage has increased over the past three years
* Those who belong to more online professional networks are more likely to
visit many times per day
* Small companies are more likely to indicate that they have increased their use

19. Professional Networks Are An Increasingly Essential Decision-Support Tool

* Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support
business decisions
* Reliance has increased for essentially all respondents over the past three

20. High Levels of Trust Exist in Information Obtained From Online Networks

* Offline is strengthened by online engagement – to extend relationships and
* Information obtained from offline networks still have highest levels of trust
with slight advantage over online (offline: 92% – combined strongly/somewhat
trust; online: 83% combined strongly/somewhat trust)

21. Connecting And Collaborating Are Key Drivers For Professional Use of Social Media.

22. More than half of respondents expect that in 1-2 years their company will increase social media use to share more content.

23. Over half the respondents will increase social media use to do more company-wide communications.

24. Changes in Company External Use of Social Media with More than half of respondents foresee more marketing programs and content distribution in the next one to two years.

25. Social Media is supplementing the traditional professional decision-making cycle with great affect.

26. The era of Social Media Peer Group (SMPG) has arrived and information will travel at a business velocity that has never been seen before enabled by the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies.

27. Challenges are facing marketers who endeavor to mange or control social media network content.

28. Traditional cycles of decision-making are being disrupted by Social Media Peer Group (SMPG) .. I like this new acronym!

29. Managing and influencing professional decision-making will be the major challenge as professionals often do not seek the information that marketers want to share online.

30. The greatest opportunity business has is to engage collaborative influence – via immediacy of impact through social channel.

So how are you as CEO using social media?

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Social Media Strategy - The Basics

Social Media Marketing has the presented the marketer with so many choices in the last few years.

* What platforms should I be using to promote my blog or company?
* How many channels will I select to achieve my goals?
* Should I stick with what I know or what should I push the boundaries and
test something new?
* What channels should I use to to communicate to my target markets?
* What are the messages I should send out?
* What listening tools should I use?
* What apps should I use to increase my effeciency?
* What analytics tools are the best for our situation?

So where do you start?

First: Define your audience – get very clear on who you are communicating to (eg Is it Gen Y, Gen X or Baby Boomers?)

Second: Set the goals (they don’t necessarily need to be all financial in nature) – Leads, brand awareness,quality of leads, increase in dollar value of the sale and number of sales

Third: Develop your social media marketing strategy

Fourth: Then the tactical level of selecting the different social media platforms that are appropriate for your audience .. where do they hang out? Facebook, YouTube or other channels? You then can calculate what resources you need such as financial, tools and people.

Fifth: Optimize and Integrate Your Social Media Channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as Optimizing your website and blog for search and don’t forget the PR. Many companies are now cranking up their PR efforts as this skillset has probably a better understanding of social media than most.

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March 01, 2010

What makes a good communication trailer for social change

There is only so much marketing copy you can write about your cause before you have saturated your target audience. But in one minute or less you can tap into the visual, auditory and emotional senses of your potential supporters with a trailer. Like its cousin the movie trailer, a social change trailer is designed to get the buzz going and drive sales, or at least more interest.

What makes for a social change trailer?

* Make it brief: Getting and keeping a viewer is essential, so respect their time and their attention span and keep it under three minutes. Consider that most television commercials only last for 30 seconds and even that can feel too long.
* Keep it real: Make sure your message is authentic to your overall brand. The tone and feel of the video should reflect your content.
* Make the connection: It should be fairly transparent how the trailer ties into the cause content. No explanation should be needed for your viewer to "get it".
* Maintain balance: Your images, text and audio should all flow well together and not feel like they are separate pieces being pasted together.
* Create good pace: A trailer that consists of a slide show with still images and music scan be effective, but the pace has to be just right. It needs to allow the viewer time to read any caption but not put them to sleep or make them anxious.
* Tap into emotions: Make sure you remember that the essence of any video is to entertain the audience as well as inform. Earning a laugh or a tear makes for a powerful message.
* Name drop: If you have strong, recognizable endorsements, don't be shy about dropping the testimonial into your piece.
* Manage the money: When deciding on a budget for your social change trailer, you don't have to think box-office smash to get results. With the right images and editing, you can produce a quality trailer that does not look like it came out of Warner Brothers studios or your garage.
* Soften the sell: It is fairly understood that the intent of the trailer is to illicit a sale and call to action, but it does not have to be a strong call to action to ignite interest. The desired result is to get the viewer interested, either in offering support or in finding out more.
* Finish strong: As simple as this may seem, you would be surprised at how many people forget the minor (rather major) detail of ending with an image of the cause and convenient hwo to suport or join instructions.

YouTube has played a huge role in the viral brand expansion for many social causes and social change campaigns and it is well worth the time to develop an engaging piece.

You may remember this trailer as it created a viral explosion. Different versions of the video were forwarded to so many in-boxes around the world that it had more than 30 million views on YouTube. It is a homemade video telling the story of Christian the Lion, a pet lion released into the wild and his reunion with his "parents". Within it's 1:18 running time, it spurred so much interest for the 1972 non fiction book entitled A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall that it was the sixth most wanted out-of-print book of 2008.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNTdWbVBgc Enjoy!

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