Friday, January 25, 2013

Why Nostalgia WORKS

Who doesn't love an ad or product that "takes you back", makes you remember, and makes you reflect on the times that were?  

Nostalgia marketing is not a new concept; many companies have been successfully using nostalgia marketing for years: Pepsi Throwback series, McDonald's McRib sandwich, bringing back Furbies in 2012, NFL and MLB, apparel, Coca-Cola glass bottles, cars, Nintendo...

There are many reasons why nostalgia marketing works:  
  • This kind of marketing does a fantastic job of bringing back memories for the older crowd but also appeals to a younger generation because retro is cool.
  • Nostalgia commonly brings up positive memories of better times.
  • It is very cost effective-you have already done the creative once before and you know what works!
  • It does not have to be product specific; a company can use nostalgia purely to grab attention whether or not it has anything to do with the product (check out Microsoft's new campaign).
  • A company can use successful past campaigns, hand picking the ones that worked the best!
  • Many times a company will not have to market the product very hard.  Friends and fans will share, post, and re-post about the product, completing most of the work!
  • You can play "hard to get" and customers will wait for your product to re-appear.
Nostalgia plays off of a customer's emotions and memories.  Emotions create strong branding and brand recognition; emotional attachment is a huge plus and will ultimately increase sales and create life time customers.

Which nostalgia campaigns are your favorite?  Why do these campaigns appeal to you? Please share below!



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Professional, (but not too professional) Business Writing

This is a little bit of a boring topic, but a very important one in the business world.  Have you ever thought about how you communicate with your clients?  Yes you send them emails and you write posts on your social media, but what kind of message are you sending?

Let's start with plain and simple.  Do you write your business emails in the font Comic Sans?  Please don't, and let's start over.  No matter what the business, you should avoid unprofessional fonts at all costs.  Using such fonts makes it seem like you are not serious about your business and that you would rather be sitting on the beach sipping a mai-tai.  You want something that is easy to read and professional, but more exciting than Times New Roman.  

Once you pick the font for the body of your email, make sure you have a great signature to go with it.  If your signature is so long that you get bored reading it, let's fix that!  An email signature needs to include your name, phone number, and email and a very minimum.  Generally it should also include your title(s).  I personally do not think you need the physical address of your business in your signature-odds are they will be e-mailing you back, not snail-mailing.  Some nice personal touches are links to your company's Facebook and Twitter.  (It is an easy and free way to get your social media numbers up!)  Check out this blog for a tip on inserting these into your signature in a classy way!

Now comes the tricky part.  You want to sound professional but not stuffy. You want to sound serious but not angry.  This is something you need to balance out as a small business owner and adjust based on your industry. Something I like to do is write the email as if I am speaking it.  Then I go back and fix all the imperfections; clean up conjunctions, fix spelling errors, delete extra words, and replace words like "the super awesome cool thing" with "the ultimate part of your experience".  A good test is to pretend you are reading it to your grandmother-she will not understand slang and does not want to hear swear words. 

Emoticons have a place in life: text messages.  That is all.

And for the love of all things on this earth please use spell check and proof read.  Know that spell check does not find everything.  Spell check will not check the subject line of an email.  It will also not catch if you use the wrong "two", "to", and "too", among others.   It will not know how to spell many names.  It does not catch all punctuation errors.  If you have a history of making these kinds of mistakes, first type up your emails in Microsoft Word and then copy and paste into your email.  Word will catch more grammatical errors!  

As with all of my blogs, you need to find what works for you and your business. Please share what kind of email language and format works for your business!  

Until next time! 

"Authenticity, honesty, and personal voice underlie much of what's successful on the web" 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Really, Seriously, when is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

This question is so very elusive that even Facebook itself refuses to answer it.  Google has 3,690,000 results.  Bing has 964,000,000 results.  So to make things a bit easier for you, I looked at ten of the first search results on Google and Bing when I typed in "What is the Best Time to Post on Facebook".  

I made a chart of what each person or company said and finally came up got it, lots of different answers!  I focused on: best day to post, worst day to post, best time to post, and best overall best day and time to post.  I found many inconsistencies along with some similarities. 

The biggest similarity in these articles and posts was that the highest traffic time on Facebook is Wednesdays at 3 pm ET.  4/10 links listed this as the single highest traffic hour on Facebook.  The whole point of posting on Facebook is so that your fans and customers actually see your content, so use this information to your advantage!  

I found pretty high consistency that between posting in the hours of 1:00pm-4:00pm, the 3:00 hour, and between 8:00pm-7:00am.  Generally it was said that these hours yield high visibility and reach.  8:00am was a close runner-up.  Honestly, the best time to post was incredibly inconsistent between the articles and it was difficult to make a concise conclusion.

There was also a high level of inconsistency with the best and worst day to post.  I have listed them below as it was extremely confusing and didn't really give me much of an answer.  I figure you can look at the source and pick which one you want to believe!

Daniel Decker
-Best Day: Wednesday
-Worst Day: Sunday

Marketing Spot
-Best Day: Sunday
-Worst Day: Thursday

-Best Day: N/A
-Worst Day: N/A

Black Box Social Media
-Best Day: Thursday and Friday
-Worst Day: N/A

Matt Southern
-Best Day: N/A
-Worst Day: N/A

Web Pro News
-Best Day: Saturday
-Worst Day: N/A

-Best Day: N/A
-Worst Day: Thursday

Huffington Post
-Best Day: Saturday and Sunday
-Worst Day: Wednesday

I Strategy Conference
-Best Day: Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Friday
-Worst Day: N/A

Media Bistro
-Best Day: N/A
-Worst Day: N/A

So, in conclusion...well, I do not really have much of one.  My advice is to look at your industry and your customer base to try to decide which days are best and worst to post.  For example, if you are a bar, you probably want to post the most Fridays and Saturdays.  Use your best judgement and experiment!

The same goes with the best time to post.  You can measure traffic all you want, but your type of traffic might happen to browse your page or see your post at odd hours or only on certain days.  Gauge your audience and evaluate your target market to get the most out of your Facebook page.  And there is no harm in experimenting!  Keep track of when you are putting up your posts and do an evaluation about a week later; how many people saw your post, liked it, commented on it, and shared it.  Keep in mind that that is not a foolproof way to evaluating your site as content has a huge effect on engagement.  

I hope I saved you time and also provided you with some answers by evaluating several blogs, posts, and articles about the topic.  Unfortunately there is no true right or wrong and the social media market is constantly changing, so it really is hard to answer this question completely.

What has and has not worked for your business?  What times and days work best for you?  Please share below!

'Till next time ~Melissa

"There is no black magic to successfully attracting customers via the web" ~Rand Fishkin, SEOMOZ

Here are the links to the blogs and websites I used for research, feel free to explore:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is Google+ worth the effort?

With the beginning of 2013, I'm sure many companies are starting to think about how to manage their social media marketing.  There are so many social media sites that a business owner may choose to cut out some of them to make more time for the others.  Is Google+ on your list?

Many believe the largest benefit of having a Google+ account is for search results.  It's a Google product so that equals better search results right?  Not necessarily.   Google+ plus has a small following compared to many of the other social media sites-just 170 million users, or 8% of the total social media usage in February 2012.  Odds are pretty high that your customers do not have a Google+ account and therefore will not be searching for it through that social media site, plus it is hard to search within Google+.  However, like I said before, it's a Google product!  The search engine displays +pages in their search.  On top of that, the more people that add you into your circle increases the searchabilty on its own. Google is Google and always will be-they are the most used search engine and it really cannot hurt to have a page within their platform.  I do not thinking having a page is too much to ask and really can have great benefits.

Now, having a page and truly using it are two different things.  I personally do not believe it is important to go out of your way to post on your Google+ page.  Add your page to your HootSuite and double up your posts from your Facebook or another social network to simplify this process.  You may ask why I say this?  As a Google+ user, I maybe scroll down my news feed once every two weeks.  My thinking is I can get way more updates from Facebook and I happen to like the format better.  Daina Middleton, author of Marketing in the Participation Age, puts it well, "The reality is Google+ is not very exciting to use and lacks participation as a consequence". Google+ Does have some cool features like Hangouts and their mobile app is much approved, so they are getting there but it is hard to know if it will truly take off and gain the massive followings of Twitter and Facebook. 

All that being said, Google+ does have an easy to use format and is making improvements to become a more interactive social media platform.  Once users or businesses set up a page, it is easy to navigate and read.  I think it needs improvement on their search feature so it takes you to pages instead of posts that mention the words you search for and actually helps you find what you are looking for.  Honestly their search function is quite useless unless you know the name of what you are looking for.  I think Google could also skip automatically adding people and pages into your circles when you set up a page. They are a pain to remove once you add them.

As Google+ evolves and gains more followers it will be interesting to see how it takes off and the changes they will make.  How will they really distinguish themselves from Facebook?  How can they make themselves so user-friendly that people absolutely cannot live without it?  How can they benefit businesses more?  

If Google+ really tries, maybe they can be of more use to businesses as Facebook pushes business further and further away by limiting the number of fans and charging to promote posts....but that is another topic for another day!

What is your business's experience with Google+?  Do you have an account?  How often do you use it?  Please share below!


Ps. Add me to your circle on Google+ if you have one for new blogs almost every week!  

"Effective engagement is inspired by the empathy that develops simply by being human." ~ Brian Solis

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