[By Sarah Faglio]
The Internet has turned into the place to go for answers, advice and research. With all this information scattered on the web, it is nice to have a centralized place to talk about a shared interest in a blogging or forum community. However, this is a great oppportunity for companies to reach out to their target audience directly to share valuable information that may be useful in solving their problems.
If you haven't already, your company should start a blog on your website. New entries should be created about 2-3 times a week and should consist of valuable content that is both useful to your audience (target market, clients etc.). It is important to note that your entries should NOT solely be about your company, but instead your industry as well as relative news, updates or helpful tips.
After publishing a blog post, it is important to get the word out about your new update and spread it to as many interested readers as possible. First, it is very important that your blog updates (or any website or news updates for that matter) are shared on your social media accounts. Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular social media platforms you can use to establish your company by setting up a profile. Use these networking sites to your advantage by encouraging users to "like" or "follow" your pages for important company and industry updates. Be sure to like social media groups or organizations that are relative to your cause or industry. This not only provides you with newsworthy topics to retweet or share on your own profile, but gives you the opportunity to be found and followed/liked by them as well.
Another way to share your blog entries with an interested audience, is to provide links to them directly. You'll need to do research online first to develop a list of respectable blogs or online forums that are relative to your industry. Then, you should follow their social media profiles, in addition to using a social media monitoring dashboard to view all of their updates. However, in order to avoid being spammy, you need to make sure you do this correctly. Do not expect to be welcomed in with open arms to an online forum or blog if you do not respect them. Grazing by and just putting your link in a comment response is likely to get deleted, and rightfully so. Inbound marketing is about drawing in an interested audience, helping them find you. It does not involve random commenting and pushing your links in their faces with the hopes of getting more traffic.
Before commenting on an industry blog or forum, make sure you read the article or forum post subject before you provide feedback. When commenting, commend them on parts of their article that you liked as well as express your agreement with points they made. As a helpful addition to their article, provide your own blog entry and coincides, backs up or adds to their topic of discussion. The point of commenting is to provide helpful, useful information to them and their readers, not to spam them with unnecessary information that they do not care about.
The takeover of Smartphones over the last five years has created new ways for businesses to expand their marketing strategies. Like everyone else, companies must adapt to the progression of technology in today’s world. One of the newest ways to market your business to Smartphone users is the use of QR codes. A QR Code or Quick Response Code is a two-dimensional matrix bar code that is used to identify products. It allows companies to share information with a customer by simply having a customer take a picture of the code. This gives your business a new inbound marketing strategy by controlling exactly what the customer will go to once they take that picture. The real beauty of the QR Code is the fact that there is no limit on how much you can share. Since it’s a two dimensional bar code it is capable of containing a ton of information. Just by taking the picture of the code a customer can see videos on your company, read articles, or get promotions - the options are really endless. Essentially, QR Codes are landing page that you can put anywhere. They are the link between the real world and the internet.
How QR Codes Can Help
Every business is looking for the newest way to pitch their company to potential customers and QR Codes are the answer. By creating QR Codes, you can link the customer to as much information about your company as you would like. For example, you can link the codes to coupons or allow a customer to enter a promotional contest with your business just by taking the picture. You can even link the code to your company’s website, Facebook page or Twitter account and give the customer a call to action such as, “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter”. This gives your business an edge because you can now you can advertise those Social Media outlets or offer promotions without someone being on the computer. QR Codes allow your company to enhance their SEO and SMO because the codes are now providing more information about your company. The more information you are giving the people the better chance customers are going to stumble upon it. Lastly, QR Codes offer the customers easy access to your company’s service. For example, many sports teams and airlines now allow you to use QR codes as your tickets to enter. All you have to do is flash your QR Code past the scanner and you’re on your flight or in your seat to watch the game.
After seeing how QR Codes can help your business, now you have to realize where you should actually use them and how to maximize the use of them.
When placing a QR Code, you want to make sure it is in practical places where many people will see them. For example:
Overall, the use of QR Codes is one of the more trending fads when trying to advertise your products. It allows your business to have a medium between the web and the real world. If used correctly it can really enhance your business.
[By Sarah Faglio]
In our technologically advanced society, it is surprising to see that not all companies are taking advantage of how the Internet could have a significant impact on their marketing campaigns. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, have changed the way we market products or services to our target audience. Blogging has also become a new social media trend that can draw in attention from qualified leads to a company's websites. With a higher ROI than traditional marketing methods, inbound marketing has shown to be a true asset to companies looking to make the most out of their marketing campaigns.
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, released survey results in "Marketing in Today's Economy" paper. The survey was completed by over 100 marketing executives in North America and focused on their use of email, mobile marketing and social media to build their brands, gain leads and improve customer support. Results showed a gap between attitudes toward social media and investment in social media. About 90% of the marketing executives admit to using social media marketing and 75% believe that it has a positive impact on their businesses. However, about 54.5% said that their company's marketing team spends less than 10 hours per week investing in social media, in addition to 35% admitted to only spending between 1-5 hours a week on social media marketing.
This research shows that social media has becoming a widely used marketing tool. However, many feel that it is not helping their business which may be due to the fact that they are not dedicating the necessary resources to get the results they want from social media marketing. Setting up company pages on social media platforms is not enough to see results from the tool. In order to make use of these strategies effectively, companies need to be active users and spend more time investing in these communication tools.
Social media marketing shows to have a lot of benefits to those companies that use them effectively to draw in their target audience and qualified leads. It helps companies develop an online presence, which contributes to them being found online through search engines and social media platforms. However, setting up a company page is not enough to generate interest in your company online. When marketing departments use social media to share valuable information on a consistent basis, they are using social media to its potential. Therefore, it is important for your company to stay active in social media communities to be able to see the valuable outcomes of these inbound marketing strategies. Social media is a valuable marketing resource for companies only when it is used efficiently through sufficient investment of time and energy put into developing content to share.