Marketing Your Personal Life on Facebook? Don’t.

In an apparent effort to raise advertising revenues, Facebook is now encouraging individuals to develop a marketing plan for their personal lives by advertising “important news” to their friends and family. Find that hard to believe? It happened to me just yesterday, when I shared the news I’m expecting. Here’s the picture proof (personal details removed):

Marketing your personal life on Facebook. Don't.

If you’re wondering, Facebook wanted to charge me $7.00 to pester my friends and family with advertising.

What a terrible idea. My friends don’t want me to target them with a marketing campaign. And I’ll probably unfriend the first person to advertise to me.

I’ve always advocated thinking of customers as individuals and real people instead of “target audiences.” Facebook seems to be trying to do the opposite – turning friendships into impersonal marketing strategies.

Marketing Podcast: Pinterest and Pilates

In this marketing podcast, Dave asks if a Pilates studio could use Pinterest in their small business marketing plan. I use this example to demonstrate how Pinterest could work for small businesses– and which businesses should just forget this social network altogether.

Download or listen below:

Pinterest and Pilates

Marketing Podcast: Pinterest and Pilates (6.4 MB)

This segment first aired during “Getting Down to Business” on Alaska’s Fox News Talk 1020.

The Pinterest Marketing Checklist

With 14.9 million users as of July 2012, Pinterest is certainly a growing social network. But should it be part of your marketing plan? If you answer “yes” to the questions in my Pinterest Marketing Checklist, a Pinterest marketing campaign should probably be in your future.

  • Are a significant portion of your customers or influencers women?
  • Is your brand related to fashion, art, crafting, event-planning, cooking, travel or something similar?
  • Can your brand tell a story with pictures? Do pictures of your products, services or location impress?
If you answered “no” to these questions, you can dismiss Pinterest from your mind and stop reading this article. I like to make life easier for my readers. Those answering in the affirmative should read on.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest LogoPinterest is all about organizing and sharing pictures of things you like. These pictures are collected in groupings, called “pin-boards.” Users see pictures that friends and brands “pin,” and they “repin” the content if they like it. Pinterest users want to display their style and personality, along with using Pinterest to help them plan events and store ideas.

The overwhelming majority of active Pinterest users are female. There’s some controversy in the media about the truth of this statement, but anyone who has ever visited Pinterest sees the obvious truth of it.

Brands must be careful about marketing on Pinterest– promoting oneself too obviously will ensure your “pins” are ignored. Engage users with stories and environments that subtly include products and services.

Pinterest Marketing Success Story

Fashion brand Anthropologie has made a concerted effort with their Pinterest marketing the last few months. Visitors to the Anthropologie website can pin any product, sharing it with their friends. Importantly, the brand encourages customers to spread the word on Pinterest for them, creating a more authentic, populist campaign (and relinquishing control over what products actually become popular).

Pinterest Marketing on Anthropologie

Anthropologie took the Pinterest marketing offline, as well. Pages in their catalogues cheekily display collections of pins, with copy, “From oodles of brooches to the pull of Pinterest.”

Pinterest Marketing from Anthropologie

If you’ve decided to give Pinterest marketing a try, use this Anthropologie example as a start, or contact me for more ideas – amanda@zooinajungle.com. For readers who will be in Alaska on October 4, 2012, learn more about social media marketing during my presentation at the Getting Down to Business Sales & Customer Service Conference. Click here to learn more.

Why Facebook Marketing Still Matters

Facebook’s stock price plummeted on the news that 83 million of its user accounts are fake– either duplicates, spambots or (most interestingly) pet accounts. That’s 8.7% of Facebook’s 955 million monthly active users.

Despite the market’s reaction to this news, Facebook marketing still matters. Why? Because Facebook marketing still works– if businesses do it right.

If you’re reading my small business marketing blog, it probably doesn’t matter to you if Facebook has 955 million users or 872 million users. You’re never going to need that many customers. Facebook marketing still gives businesses the opportunity to connect with people who are interested in their brands, products and services. For many of my clients, Facebook is still one of the most effective marketing tools in our toolbox.

To learn more about effective Facebook marketing, read my article, “Facebook Marketing Tips,” which gives the following four tips:

  1. Post interesting content to Facebook
  2. Motivate your customers to interact on your Facebook page
  3. Respond to your customers’ questions
  4. Be subtle with your sales

Marketing Podcast: Top Social Media Networks

Russell Ball guest-hosted “Getting Down to Business” when we discussed today’s top social media networks and how they fit into your small business marketing plan. Listen for specific marketing advice on Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

Download or listen below:

Top Social Media Networks

Marketing Podcast: Top Social Media Networks (3.2 MB)

This segment first aired during “Getting Down to Business” on Alaska’s Fox News Talk 1020.

Facebook Marketing Fills the Movie Theatre

Saturday morning, Cincinnati’s Esquire Theatre introduced little-known movie Moonrise Kingdom on Facebook. Saturday evening, from my observation, both showings of Moonrise Kingdom appeared to sell out. As my husband and I, who aren’t particularly ardent film buffs, took our seats in the crowded theatre, we discussed how glad we were that the Esquire’s Facebook page alerted us to this movie we were sure to love (and which we did!). For the Esquire, these sold out shows represented a huge Facebook marketing success.

Kathy Parsanko, PR Director for the Esquire, Mariemont, and Kenwood Theatres, agrees that Facebook marketing played a role in the film’s success:

“We don’t often sell out, so Moonrise Kingdom‘s performance was impressive. I believe its success came from a combination of factors, including our Facebook promotion, trailers playing before our other films, really great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and word-of-mouth. Many of our Facebook fans responded to the posts with shares, likes and comments.”

For casual film fans, Facebook might have been the only way to learn about the first showings of this movie. If you weren’t at the theatre to see the preview and don’t often check Rotten Tomatoes, a smaller movie like this might pass you by. Without these casual fans, Moonrise Kingdom probably wouldn’t have sold out.

When I ask Kathy what methods she used to get the word out on Facebook, she says:

“I used the ‘Promote This’ feature for this Facebook post. It was a reasonable cost, and many Facebook fans responded. We received 49 Shares for this post– which was extremely unusual.”

Here’s the moral of this story. Facebook marketing of interesting content like this:

Description of Moonrise Kingdom at the Esquire

Can help businesses achieve results like this:

Sold-out crowd at the Esquire

Today’s Top Social Media Networks

As a marketing consultant, businesses often ask me which social media networks they should include in their marketing plans. The number of social media networks is skyrocketing beyond yesterday’s trifecta of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (although those are still the top three!). It can be dizzying to learn about these networks, let alone to decide if they make marketing sense for your business.

Based on my experience, here’s a quick primer on today’s top social media networks (and if they might fit into your social media marketing).

Facebook

Brand with personality and loyal customers, like locally-owned shops, thrive on Facebook, where showing your friends you ‘like’ a brand is part of your online persona. Engage fans with quick polls, contests, pictures, videos and the occasional special deal. If you invest in Facebook advertising, also invest the time to make your Facebook Page a “hangout” for customers. For some ideas, here’s a podcast with Facebook Marketing Tips.

Twitter 

Most apparently, people who know things find their home sharing that knowledge on Twitter– speakers, authors, scientists, journalists, software engineers and other subject-area experts. Brands connect with these influential customers to grow loyalty and get publicity, like Morton’s Steakhouse did in their famous airport delivery to a Twitter follower. Learn some Twitter lingo with this article, “Should I be on Twitter?

LinkedIn 

Professionals mull around LinkedIn, connecting with friends and colleagues while seeking new clients, new jobs or endorsements. Many companies successfully use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool.

Pinterest 

With a user-base that is overwhelmingly female, Pinterest is a visual site for collecting virtual pin-boards of things that interest you. Brands must carefully join these conversations– promoting oneself too obviously will ensure your “pins” are ignored. If Pinterest users sound like your customer base, engage them with stories and environments that subtly include products and services.

YouTube 

Although this video-sharing site doesn’t fit the conventional definition of “social media,” it can be crucial for hosting and sharing videos of interest to your network. Now, these videos can also be repurposed with Google AdWords. For businesses with interesting, funny or informative content, such as veterinarians or resorts, video can be a powerful marketing tool.

Yelp

Restaurants and, increasingly, other local service businesses definitely belong on Yelp. This review site’s diligent work in building a community of reviewers and users paid off– Yelp will power Microsoft’s Bing local results, and this fall it will become part of Apple’s Maps application on the iPhone and iPad. For a more detailed look, see my article, “Yelp for Small Business Marketing.”

TripAdvisor

If you are in the travel business, have you looked up your TripAdvisor reviews? If your reviews aren’t stellar, you can partner with TripAdvisor through their business listings– and even if they are, you may want to offer special offers or appear at the top of search results.

Instagram

This picture-sharing network was recently purchased by Facebook, but it’s still a force in its own right. Users subscribe to others’ photo streams, including brands they like or find interesting. Instagram has an interesting look at how some brands are using their network.

On October 5 in Anchorage, I’ll be joining some of Alaska’s top small business leaders for the Getting Down to Business® Conference. In my “Marketing Matters: Social Media” workshop, we’ll discuss the top social media networks, which ones should have a place in your marketing plan and how to tell if they are profitable. I’ll make the complex and diverse world of social media clear with straightforward explanations and common-sense examples. If you’re a small business in Alaska, you’ll want to stay-tuned for conference details.

Groupoff: Why Groupon is Usually a Bad Marketing Idea

Groupon is the group coupon website that features daily deals– if enough customers want to buy the deal, they get a coupon for a 50-90% discount. Otherwise, the deal is canceled. But since the discounts are hefty, and Groupon itself receives a commission, does this medium make sense for most small business marketing plans?

Here’s what Groupon asserts:

  • 91% of Groupon businesses report getting new customers as part of their promotion
  • 9 in 10 Groupon customers spend more than the face value of their coupon
  • 87% of Groupon business owners say their promotion increased their awareness in the community

Notice that Groupon doesn’t say anything about promotions being profitable or resulting in loyal customers who come back to pay full price. I suspect Groupon customers largely fit a profile of the adventurous consumer who likes to try new things at a discount– not exactly the audience to become regulars at your business.

The bottom line? If you have high margins and your main marketing goal is to get bodies in the door, then Groupon (or competitors like LivingSocial) can be effective at that. But if you’re seeking to build a loyal customer base of raving fans, you will achieve better results with other web marketing media.

Why Isn’t Every Business Using Yelp for Customer Service?

My husband and I had a great experience dining at Jimmy G’s, so I wrote them a five-star review on Yelp.

Positive review of Jimmy G's on Yelp

Less than an hour later, I received an email from Ross, the manager, thanking me for reviewing the restaurant. At first I thought, “What courtesy! How kind! How unusual!”

But then I thought… “Why isn’t every consumer business doing this?” Ross’s simple message turned me into a raving fan. I’m even giving them publicity on my blog. And it only took five minutes of his time.

How long would it take you to write a short thank-you message on Yelp to each of your reviewers?

Beyond thanking positive reviewers, what if you could repair customer relationships that resulted in negative reviews? Usually, it wouldn’t take more than an apology and a token of your sincerity.

Wouldn’t that be valuable to your business?

Marketing Podcast: Facebook Timeline for Business

In this small business marketing podcast, learn some tips for marketing with the new Facebook Timeline and why I believe it’s a good marketing tool. For instance, businesses should change their cover image to match current marketing campaigns.

Listen or download below:

Facebook Timeline for Business

Marketing Podcast: Facebook Timeline for Business (3.1MB)

This segment first aired during “Getting Down to Business” on Alaska’s Fox News Talk 1020.