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Social Media’s Cup Runneth Over and Businesses Feel the Hit

Social Media platforms are changing at a fast clip therefore making it a true challenge to conquer for private users and businesses. Bad news….more changes are looming.

What to Expect

Social Media Expectations Should Change
Cisco’s leadership at the Corporate Social Media Summit laid out dozens of reasons why larger corporations may wish to start creating their own internal social media platforms. Why in the world would businesses do this?

Individuals born 1970 or later are completely familiar with and driven by social media interaction. They are checking into their favorite burger place using location-based social networking sites. Plus social media savvy audiences are sharing their lives with others on these platforms, and since 2010 business sharing has also increased.

Also in the news: Many businesses may not be receiving as much feedback on Facebook, because of Facebook Page operational changes. At the summit, experts discussed solutions for businesses in the ever-changing environment of social media.

Future of Work is in Social Media Communities
Andrew Warden the Head of Strategy for Emerging Markets Services at Cisco Systems has announced that intra rather than inter-net based social media platforms are the wave of the future.

Warden reported at the Corporate Social Media Summit held in New York City June 21-22, 2011 that using internal social media communication will allow employees to collaborate quicker and will create a more production savvy atmosphere for companies.

“The focus of social media so far as been on external branding — communicating your vision and values to your customers. But what about your employees? Do they understand the company’s vision? Do they share it?

Summary of Warden’s speech by Jesse Stanchak of SocialBlog on Social Media.

Work places will most likely reduce social media page blocking at work since the younger employment sector uses location-based social network sites to check into work which also in turn promotes the business. For example, I checked into DREAMFly Marketing today on FourSquare, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Places, Google Places, GoWalla and Yelp reminding people about the business in addition to the special sales we run on FourSquare. More on this later.

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Facebook Decreases Business Page Communication
In February 2011, Facebook made changes that businesses continue to complain about in blogs. Some of the changes have created better user interaction. Facebook has removed most Facebook Business Pages from the main news feeds to individual accounts.

Facebook Page status updates primarily appear in users’ updates section which most of them are not checking. The Facebook Developer’s Blog wrote on June 24, 2011, “We encourage you to proactively review user posts and make sure that they provide engaging and welcome content.”

What does this mean for you?
You could be reported as SPAM and not actually be a SPAMMER!
Facebook is slowly moving away from a business focus and returning to its original purpose to connect former classmates, friends and family. It is still a fantastic way to promote your business and establish yourself as an industry expert, but anticipated, further changes will alter Facebook usage requiring businesses to look outside of the social media giant to communicate with consumers.

Location-based websites will become the key along with mobile marketing.

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The Changing Social Media Horizon

Yelp, DREAMFly Marketing, location-based social media

Snapshot of DREAMFly Marketing on Yelp

There are so many location-based social media sites now for people to use as “check-in” options that many users are beginning to complain there are too many choices.

To check into one business one person would choose to use: Facebook Places, Twitter status update, GoWalla, Yelp, FourSquare, Google Places, Google Latitude and many more.

So which location-based site should you use? It depends on what site your friends are using most, but the best is Yelp which hosts primarily reviews of businesses and FourSquare which allows businesses to give you coupons as you check into a location.

Do you find yourself wondering what is next?
With increased SPAM filters on Facebook, while it remains King for the time being, businesses will need to expand their strategy beyond Facebook using location-based social media networking sites as mentioned above.

The key is to use only the tools you or your staff are able to truly manage with a good strategy. It does some good to create, for example, a business location listing on FourSquare, but you will receive better ROI (return-on-investment of time) if you also post a coupon for individuals who check-in to your business.

To create a business listing on any location-based social media networking site, you simply need to create a free, private account and list the business. To manage the business however and edit its information, most sites such as FourSquare and Yelp require a business account, which is also free and allows you to create deals, coupons and a business profile.

With change happening every day and Google moving into social media, it’s anybody’s guess what is next…except that social media will continue to grow and businesses must focus on their external and internal marketing goals and use the quickest and easiest tools rather than diluting their efforts and failing.

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Affordable Marketing: Promotional Products to Leave an Impression

Make marketing your business affordable and effective.

In this DREAMFly Marketing Magnetics article, you will learn the third tool in boosting affordable marketing while still increasing business.

How Do Promotional Items Help?
Promotional products or swag are customizable products that leaves a lasting impression with customers new and old, because it reminds the customer about your business.

Promotional products send business your way. Empower existing customers to feel good about the decision they’ve made in choosing your business.

Fun and Affordable Promotional Products
With millions of promotional products to choose from the options are endless for affordably branding your business. Here are some favorite ideas we use for clients that fit every budget. We used Proforma to search for promotional products, a Naples, Florida promotional product company.

promotional products by Proforma and Naples marketing firm DREAMFly Marketing

A Creative Take on Note Pads

Being creative doesn’t mean spending all of your money. Note pads are always popular, because how many of us need a sticky note when we can’t find one? But instead of customzing a regular sticky note or note pad, incorporate a creative shape. This is most affordable when ordered with 150 sheets per note pad.

Dozens of shapes are available such as an apple, dollar bill, tooth, smile, house, signage, van, car, star and heart. Lowest cost we found is 95 cents per pad.

Bentcil and Norwood promotional pens, naples marketing firm DREAMFly Marketing

Pens Packing a Punch!

Pen-sational! Pens are fantastic for two reasons. There are always creative designs and they are always on sale!

Use fun shapes, as pictured left, to be pump up your promotions for special occasions. For child focused businesses these are great, but for traditional companies these are also a hit, especially the billboard pens, because they capture your customer’s attention.

When purchasing pens, we recommend finding a local promotional products dealer, because it gives you the opportunity to test out the pens you are interested in to make sure the pen writes as well as it looks.
Pens shown left range between 99 cents and $1.68 each.

My two favorite traditional pen dealers are Norwood which boasts free setup and Bullet which guarantees a 24-hour turn around.

Naples marketing firm promotional products, customizable lip balm, tumblers, chip clips

Customizable Fun Products: Lip Balm, Tumblers, Glowing Ice Cubes & Chip Clips in Shapes

Colorful Options. Lightable ice cubes, glowing coozies to keep drinks cool, Tumblers and lip balm are a just a few of the promotional product options you have to spend less and still deliver your company’s slogan or advertising message.

Products shown begin at 70 cents per piece and go up to $1.48 per piece.

Creative ways to use promotional products:

  1. Incorporate promotional swag such as a magnetic business card
  2. Customize products to fit your specialty (dentistry, marketing, teaching, fitness etc.)
  3. Promotional products should not replace advertising but should compliment it
  4. Share the cost of promo items with nearby business neighbors

Counting the Cents Makes Sense
1,000 pens costs as little as $250 and those pens are 1,000 brand enforcers with customers. People love freebies and ROI (Return-On-Investment) on promotional swag is countless.

Saving cents makes complete sense. Promotional swag is more than a trend it’s a necessary marketing solution that will always weather any economic climate.

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3 Affordable Marketing Methods to Promote Business

Naples marketing firm DREAMFly Marketing brings 3 ways to market your business for free or lower costs. Kick your competition to the side with effective and affordable marketing!

Get your business published in the news. Follow the steps in this second part of our 3-Part Affordable Marketing Series.

Learn 3 affordable or free marketing methods to increase business in this Affordable Marketing Series.

Public Relations That Delivers News Stories

Naples marketing firm, press release, affordable marketing, business news
The most important tool you have is your business’s news, its happenings, its deals for customers and your general promotions.

Failing to promote your news through public relations to the media in addition to direct consumer marketing reduces your company’s exposure.

Press releases deliver company news and can be written to reflect current market trends. For example, you might consider including unemployment information in a release related to expanding your own company’s job opportunities.

Quick steps to kicking up your company’s image using free media coverage:

  • Press releases should offer unique news – brainstorm for news ideas about your company
  • Submit your company news to your local newspapers’ business section editor
    Often, this is the easiest way for publishing news of promotions, awards, grants and things of this nature.
  • For events, create news opportunities by bringing on event sponsors and have those sponsors send out press releases about your event as well.
  • Send story pitches to media members who specifically cover the type of news you have
    For example, if your business has a staff member returning from overseas Military, you might want to contact a reporter that has covered other Military stories, not necessarily a business reporter.
  • Download our FREE Press Release Template
    Click the link above and scroll down to the free press release template. It outlines what to write, how to write and how to capture the media’s attention.

Make Your Business News Pay

The best and most affordable marketing tool you have, like we mentioned before, is your own business news. Send it out in press releases. Post your news online. Post your news on your social media accounts and your company website.

Never assume that if you send a press release out to the media that your customers have access to it. In the older days, you would send a press release and the media would publish most news. Now, there are so many more marketing savvy businesses, like yours, that the media is able to pick and choose what they want to cover – so make sure your news is truly news.

Learn what news is newsworthy in our Making Business News Newsworthy Blog.

For major news, again you might consider hiring a marketing firm to spread the news of your business. Not every business has news of national interest, but a DREAMFly client that ran a fitness competition recently had inquiries all the way from the UK, because we sent the press release out internationally – so you never know!

Maximize your marketing by making it affordable for your budget. This is part 2 of a 3 part Affordable Marketing Series.
Read Part 1: Networking Your Business Up.

Have Questions?
Get in touch with DREAMFly by clicking here.

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3 Affordable Marketing Methods to Promote Business

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Naples marketing firm DREAMFly Marketing brings 3 ways to market your business for free or lower costs. Kick your competition to the side with effective and affordable marketing!

In this three-part Affordable Marketing Series, learn 3 affordable or free marketing methods to increase business.

Network Your Business Up
What’s That Mean?

affordable networking, naples marketing firm, free marketing

Get out of your circle and expand who you are selling to by networking!

Sitting in an office and rarely attending local business events will do more harm than good to your business. The days of opening a business and your friends flooding your doors with clients are over.

Now, networking is what often takes a small business and establishes it as the Mecca in its local industry. Let’s face it networking can feel uncomfortable, because you’re business developing with people you have possibly never met previously.

Like mobile games are slowing down the sales of traditional gaming machines, so too is networking ending the traditional “build it and they will come” business operation. The most effective and affordable marketing tool is networking making it an obvious #1 in our three-part Affordable Marketing Series.

Overcoming the Fears of Networking:

  • Listening to others brag about themselves can be a drag
    - Learn that your story is just as important as others and tell it!
  • Clinging to people you know is easier than meeting new connections
    - Make a deal with yourself to talk more than 5 minutes to at least 5 people at each networking event. You’ll begin to see a difference in the awareness about you and your business.
  • Getting out of the house or office and being on the move
    Find yourself wanting to sit comfortably in your office? Snap out of it and get on the move and start networking.
  • Talking to People you don’t know
    Walking up to someone and introducing yourself, even if you have an outgoing personality, can be unnerving. The best way to get over it is to have your business cards in hand, walk right up and introduce yourself by asking what the person’s business is and saying you would like to learn about their business. This opens up a positive conversation.

If we’re telling the truth about networking, the bottom line is expert networkers know how to make others feel like their talk was really valued by the other person. How do you do this? Network just like you marketing your business, delivering a consistent and positive message selling your services without sounding like a salesperson.

No one likes to listen to others talk non-stop about themselves, so the trick to networking is to take the extra step and introduce your new found networking buddies to each other and connect other business people.

Where to Network:

  • Local Chamber events
  • Local public relations or marketing organization events such as Southwest Florida’s American Marketing Association, Florida Public Relations Association and Public Relations Association of Collier County to name just a few marketing groups in Naples, Fla.
  • Get involved with business groups such as Lee-Collier Business Women or business oriented groups in your area.
    Expanding networking to business professionals outside of your business’s industry will exponentially grow the awareness about your company and increase referrals more quickly.
  • Now you know where to go and how to break your fears – get out there and talk about your business! You are your best salesperson.

    The most affordable marketing tool is networking. Instead of trying to land a bigger job, look at networking as the opportunity to triple your business with bigger sales and to help other business owners as well.

    You can help others and help yourself. It’s just that simple.

    Next in this series, a fantastic outline of promotional products you can customize to hand out and leave lasting impressions with existing and potentially new customers. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

    For additional information about this article’s subject, contact DREAMFly Marketing.

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Making Email Magic

Questions you may be scratching your head to find the answers to for your business or perhaps even your personal emails:

Best Time to Send Emails
This is a little sticky. DREAMFly Marketing conducted two different surveys on two different Facebook accounts.

The results? Mixed.

Facebook, emailing, email marketing

In our survey with the fewest responses, the majority answered they check emails at night! But in the survey with the most answers the majority said they check emails throughout the day.

Based on the overwhelming majority answer, this means if you send throughout the day as late as 7 p.m. people are most likely reading your email. Only 20% of respondents stated they check personal email in the afternoon or evenings.

Email Marketing – When to Send Emails:
Send marketing emails 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. or 3-6 p.m. These time periods serve two purposes – read on.

The 7:30-9:30 a.m. time period puts you near the top of their long email list and they will likely read the email. Email marketing requires you connect with your connections. The 3-6 p.m. email marketing time period increases potential responses to your email as they start to relax from the day.

We have generally sent our blogs out via email at 8 or 9 a.m. to ensure it is read, but if we need to improve comment responses then DREAMFly will issue the blog as mentioned later in the day. The morning hours are fantastic if you are sending out “product sale” emails, because businesses will most likely read it and call you about the sale. Choose the time that fits your purpose.

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Writing Email Subjects That Matter
If you want people to respond to your email, for example if it is a product sale, include a clear “call to action.”

Spam filters analyze incoming emails for subjects to determine if they have two or more “spam” words in them. Choose solid words and connect using “you” in your call to action. Email marketing is over flooded with people just like you who want to reach consumers, so make your subject unique.

Great email subject examples

  • Learn how to improve website performance
    Generic without specific call to action except for the person to make their own life easier. Create a “general” call to help themselves in yours.

  • Save 50% on (product X)
    Rather than saying 50% off right now for a product, direct the person to save money, which in turn tells them to shop!

  • Subjects for blogs must include something readers will recognize so most blogs use: DREAMFly Marketing Magnetics Blog: (enter blog headline with a call to action)
    This is done because with blogs and newsletters if you always have a different email subject, the reader might mistakes you for SPAM.

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Email Tone Matters
A tone of an email can be easily misunderstood. This section is the most brief for this blog, because it’s simple.

Keep emails in a positive tone. Avoid accusing tones such as “you should have” and always make sure you use something at the beginning or end like what I like to use, “I hope this meets you with a smile.”

This allows people to connect with you as a human being even though you are not in front of them and it enables them to read the tone of the email. Too course without a happy tone can come off rude, whereas smiley faces constantly might come off too casual.

Choose the tone that is appropriate for what you are emailing out.

Remember send email when it’s well accepted, choose a great tone for your message and make your subject zing off the computer and into your reader’s hearts – Happy emailing!

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What is the BIG DEAL about selling?

I hear it all the time in the network marketing industry, “We are not selling.” People in the selling business try to convince people, and we don’t convince anyone. We “refer,” or “help” others.

I am not against using the word helping instead of the word selling, especially when doing so as a means of assisting you psychologically with how you approach prospects for your network marketing business. But, the fact remains, we are still selling.

What is all the fuss about?

Make no mistake about it! Network Marketing is a form of selling. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Now before you get excited, let me explain. I agree that network marketers are not traditional sales people. Being a “salesperson” involves a great deal convincing others to purchase a product or service. It is a very hard-driven, commissioned-based industry. Chances are, if you don’t make the sale, you go home, figuratively speaking.

In the network marketing industry, we are definitely not trying to convince anyone to become involved with our business. Because if you have to convince them to join your business, you will most definitely have to convince them to work. And who has time for that?

The network marketing industry is a referral business. Let’s be clear about it. When we are referring a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) business opportunity or products/services to others, we are attempting to influence their decision. And anytime we try to influence the decision of someone else, then we are selling.

Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success magazine said recently,
“Selling really isn’t as complicated or mysterious as we make it out to be. Selling is simply about influencing an outcome.”

Some of you may have some issues with the term, “influencing.” Instead, think about it this way. When you are referring your MLM business to prospects, do you not tell them about all the great attributes of the business?

Do you not talk about the financial freedom that is possible; the free time you could possibly have; the fine people you will meet; the improvement of your personal development? Of course you are!

You are most certainly not telling your prospects about the negative aspects of the network marketing industry. So by advising people of all the positive aspects of the industry, you are attempting to influence their decision to become involved, and in doing so, you are selling.

There is nothing wrong with that!

There seems to be such a negative connotation to the word “selling” when it’s associated with the network marketing/MLM industry. We sell every day of our lives in so many different aspects. Let me give you some examples:

  • When you are trying to get that big raise from your boss, you are selling.
  • When you are trying to convince your spouse as to why the household needs a 75″ big screen TV, you are selling.
  • When you are trying to convince your children that a trip to the museum is far more exciting than one to the amusement park, you are selling.

We have all become so adept at selling ourselves, our stance, our opinions, beliefs etc, that we don’t even look at it as selling. We do it all as second nature. But I am certain that you would have no qualms about referring to these situations as selling. But place a MLM business behind your comments and then no way is it selling.

We all have to stop being so defensive when anyone refers to the network marketing as selling. Remember, the governing bodies of network marketing companies in Canada and the USA are called the Direct Sellers Association and the Direct Selling Association respectively.

Do not hide behind the euphemism’s that many in the network marketing industry use when they are asked by a prospect, “Do I have to sell anything?”

Be proud of what you do! Be proud of being a member of the Direct Selling industry! I am proud of what I do, and if you have enjoyed this post, please fell free to share it with others.

Wishing you great success! – Vince A. Giorno

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