Thursday, November 22, 2012

Brian Solis in Australia

Brian Solis 

The Daily Telegraph brings us an article about a visit to Australia by online marketing expert Brian Solis. Here's a guy that really does know his stuff and doesn't sugarcoat the truth, nor sensationalise his topic.
"Brian Solis, principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm in the US, is in Australia for the Telstra Digital Summit in Melbourne and said more businesses needed to sit up and pay attention to the rapid evolution of social networking or they'll be left behind.
"I still get into conversations where executives at organisations don't see the value of any of this technology because it's just a fad,'' he said.
"Consumers' expectations are changing simply because technology is empowering them to get information when they want it and how they want it.

"Businesses are going to have to pay attention to that.''
Mr Solis described Australia as a "hyper-connected society'' and said the nation had adapted quickly to new technologies, including social media platforms and their use of sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Australians do embrace technology faster than others,'' he said.

"You find ways to implement it in terms of personal relationships, productivity and connectivity faster than others.'' "

You can find the full article here

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shopping Time In The 21st Century

Shopping Time In The Hunter

NBN TV presented a "news" piece on retail shopping, in the wake of the Click Frenzy technology problem.

They began with saying:

"In the wake of the last night’s Click Frenzy flop, retailers are reminding shoppers there’s plenty of pros when it comes to ‘face to face sales’.  While online may be the latest trend, there are those who say nothing can beat the full retail experience."

That the video accompanying this statement was less a news item than something that would earn a place on Media Watch, it is an interesting link. It shows that the traditional media, much as many local retailers, and even bigger players just still don't get this whole paradigm shift.

Online shopping isn't a case of internet Vs local business. Local businesses should be using the internet and making their merchandise available easily for those people who can't or prefer not to go to the store.

The move to online shopping isn't a fad. We aren't going to wake up next Monday and have bakers wearing aprons and corner stores in every neighbourhood or Mrs Smith running out to pick up the milk bottles from the front door.

The whole Click Frenzy thing struck me as highly odd - given that I hate crowds and shopping anyway, so translating the Christmas shopping madness to online is no thrilling idea to me, but it was also going to test the competencies of those running the show. As is not really surprising, they failed to provide adequate resources so that the technology was capable of doing the thing it was meant to do. That's not a failure of the concept of online shopping, it is a failure of humans to manage the business end. This is a good example of how business underestimates the spend required to resource this new sales channel, and the investment they need to make in understanding the online business sector.

There is a tendency it seems, for some to treat online experiences, including social media marketing, or as it really should be called (since it is) Inbound Marketing, as a fad or a game. It is neither. It is a business issue. Not a game issue.

Strangely, some might think, it is not even something new. It is the old chat in the pub, learning about stuff from friends and gossiping over the back fence coupled with social proof and peer influence.

If you're approaching business online as a game you'll fail. If you think getting your teen to set up a Facebook page is social marketing, you've missed the point.

If you want to be in the group of people whose businesses are growing then you'll be in the section where real attention and resources are going into developing this additional channel for additional sales and magnifying in store sales by means of online engagement and uplift.

Here's a blog that speaks to some of this issue, from Paul Wallbank on findings contained within "The Advantages of Digital Maturity", a paper recently released by researchers at the MIT Sloan School of Management, looked at how different businesses adopted technology and the effect this had on their profits.

Finding 'Gardo', the movie

What has happened to shopping in Newcastle over the past 30 years, why are big shopping centres offering 'experiences' in addition to staples such as bread, milk, socks and jocks, and what are the smaller town centres doing to adapt to this change?

Take a look back at how shopping has already changed in Newcastle. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Social Media Traps For Business

Many businesses are starting to head online with social media without a clear strategy, poor education about the platforms and very little thought given to what they will do when they are in the firing line for some feedback they were not expecting. 

Like the home builder whose Facebook page is swamped with complaints from customers. 

Or the lawyer posting competitions to Facebook that contravene the Terms of Service. 

Or the retailer, like Target recently, with their Facebook page taken over with a barrage of political comments over the style of the children's wear that the company was promoting. 

Your online presence is just like opening a shop on Main Street, except more easily visible to people other than the usual suspects who might visit. 

How well constructed is your social media strategy and what decisions have you made about how you will handle issues that may come up in the future? 

Here are some questions, the answers to which you should already know ... 

How well do you understand the Terms of Service of the platforms that you are using? 

What search terms are people using to find you online and are these the key terms for which you most want to be found?

Who makes the decisions about the topics that you will post about online? What's your criterion?

What are the boundaries between what you post and what you won't post about online?

How do you treat complaints that are made online?

How do you monitor the web for complaints or criticisms that are made online but not on your pages?

What exactly is the reason why you need a blog and what to do with it to make it useful in promoting your business?

What's your backup plan when your Facebook page is deleted without notice?

How do you make the most of Twitter to communicate with your customers and new prospects?

How will you measure the effectiveness of your employees who are in charge of your online marketing?

What's your process for ensuring good quality images to share online?

Why is it important to be using images effectively online?

What's the critical factor in maintaining your own website and blog, for your social marketing?

How well is your blog updated regularly enough and what purpose does it serve?

How have you made the most of the opportunities presented by Linkedin for you professionally and for your business?

What is your procedure to ensure that you are not spamming your contacts?

What steps you taking to educate yourself on the Anti-Spam regulations and to keep within the terms of service on the various social platforms?

What methods do you have in place to encourage new connections online, from your shop or business premises offline?

How did you go? 
Did you know all the answers? 
Importantly, do your employees in charge of maintaining your business presence on social media understand these too? 

Your inbound marketing efforts - and that's what social media is about, needs a formal strategy that covers all of these issues and more.  Social media is not about Facebook, or Twitter, it is about presenting your business and marketing effectively. It is a business issue, not a game. 

How's your strategy looking?

Lindy Asimus 
0403 365 855

Friday, November 2, 2012

Show Us Your Business

We customers want to see who we are dealing with. We'll buy online but you need to put your best face on so we can feel like we know you and predict what kind of service we'll get from you.

For a local business this means you need good photographs, a story to tell and online places to show off your business so people can see you. That's where social media marketing can help to connect customers, with your great business offers. That's Inbound Marketing and you should be all over that!

Like to know more on how you can do that? Give me a call.
Lindy Asimus 0403 365 855