Wednesday, January 4, 2012

TransMedia Digital Tipping Point for Small Business Owners.. NOW.

We have arrived at a TRANSMEDIA DIGITAL TIPPING POINT (*) (***),   I love that phrase.   
(i) Business owners are ready, (ii) clients are ready, and (iii) technologies are ready.  These three important elements have aligned allowing for this Tipping Point! Our imaginations will make or break us.   Much of what we're about to do in 2012 will be through uncharted territory, but, the smart business team will test new online methods while using traditional ROIs to determine how they should be spending their time and money.  

The technologies/elements which have aligned to enable this Transmedia Digital Tipping Point include: 
  • bandwidth
  • geo-location technology
  • RFID (radio frequency identification)
  • social commerce
  • smart phones
  • online databases
  • measurement & management tools
  • search engines
  • stable social media platforms
  • continual creation of new Apps (combining the above)
I worked at Bell Canada back in the 80s,when digital technology was first introduced to large businesses.  Once video conferencing was available, in the 90s, it cost $100,000 to implement in each location, now we can use Skype, for FREE, to achieve the same outcome!  Without the overhead of specialized facilities and highly technical full-time staff to run this technology we are able to achieve more at this Digital Tipping Point! 
The technology is now not only aligned, but even as important, it’s affordable to small business owners.  
Another key point, is that Social Media efforts are now measurable & manageable.  Being an engineer, I don't suggest doing anything which can't be  measured.   With new and improved social media measures & management in place now, (including tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Grader, combined with Analytic tools), you can indeed manage and see the IMPACT of your efforts and continue only those which actually have the outcome you desire.  .

You must be able to manage and measure what is important to your business.  Look at this brilliant photo to see what happens every 60 seconds on the web (*****).  If you cannot manage or measure what's important, you WILL be sucked up by the noise!

Affordable Geo-location applications, like Foursquare, when used effectively,  help both retain and attract new clients.  Imagine that you are a company whose target market is male. So, lets say you are a Sports Bar.   Your Sports Bar can set up an account, with various Foursquare partner software tools, to "watch" who checks into venues you decide to monitor in your local area.  You might choose to monitor the local Hockey Arena.  The exciting part is that these tools help convert their clients into YOUR clients! HOW? These tools can be set up to send those who are checking into the Hockey Arena coupons from YOUR Sports Bar.  Very effective.  As always, you have to be careful NOT to spam, but to actually send out value to your target clients.  (The question of privacy and opting-in arise here, but, that's for another blog.)


The link below you to an excellent website, sharing how RFID and media are currently being used on ski hills; capturing individuals' runs, times, and photos, distributing them through Social Media.   It's an exciting and powerful example I urge you to check out.  Click on the short video on this website to see their example.  http://www.epicmix.com/en.aspx 

If you would like to brand your own Facebook Landing Page, easily and inexpensively, there are APPs for that!  As a part of this Digital Tipping Point, new Apps have and will continue to hit the market for small business owners. Involver and Faceitpages are excellent examples of tools to use to create your Facebook Landing Page Apps.   Apps give you the control to change your content yourself as needed, simply and without expensive fees.  More important than a static Landing Page, is adding something to your Facebook Page which will encourage people to interact with your Page.   Some excellent Facebook APPs  include Video and Photo contests.  Why are these good ideas?  Every-time someone enters your contest you get more content for your Facebook Page, and all of the friends of those who enter your contest might see that they've entered your contest, which in turn helps you extend your reach out to all of their friends.  "World of Mouth!" Software programs exist to create, manage and brand your own contests, these include the two mentioned earlier as well as Wildfire.   The key is to extend your current marketing distribution plan to creatively include these Social Media applications.  Indeed, a marketing plan which integrates Social Media to strengthen your current business model.  

Last year we found out that just creating a really nice Facebook Landing Page or a Twitter Background could be a big waste of money, if that's all you did! WHY!?  Only 12% of those who LIKE your Facebook Page or Follow you on Twitter EVER go back to your actual Facebook Landing Page or your Twitter Landing Page.  So, be warned, just because you've paid hundreds of dollars to brand your social media landing pages, doesn't mean anyone will see it or your Posts.  Build it, and they will come, is NOT how it works, instead seek to get your audience to interact with your Posts by asking them click on Like, Share or ReTweet.  
It's all about engagement. 
Most people who LIKE or Follow your businesses are as of a result of someone they already trust engaging with your Post or Tweet.  It’s like a YAWN, it’s catchy! They see their Friends YAWNing, or in this case LIKing or Retweeting one of your Posts, it becomes 78% more likely that they’ll pay attention to your Post vs an unsolicited ad.  Getting attention alone is fine, but, what you really want is for them to click on a LINK you’ve provided with the intent of converting followers  into clients, that’s the KEY! That term "WORLD OF MOUTH" is so important here.  Note: They LIKE or FOLLOW you because of something they have seen their friends Liking or Retweeting, or one of your offers, or your website. They rarely set out to find your Facebook Page or your Twitter Profile; so, paying BIG bucks to have your Facebook  Landing Page designed, especially before you've figured out what it is that your target market wants to hear from you is just a cash grab from web designers.   This year it's all about getting people to LIKE or RETWEET your information so all their friends will see it.  Then it’s up to you to have engaging sincere links to hook your new followers or clients! Make it COUNT!

    On a closing note, we cannot ignore business models like Groupon.  Groupon,  is in the category of Social Commerce,  also defined as online collective buying power These models  are becoming very effective  at attracting new clients.  Very exciting, but, please use with caution , make sure whatever collective discount you are offering does not bankrupt you!



    BACKGROUND...
    Small business owners are ready to integrate Social Media into their daily business processes and take it to the next level; mainly to GROW their businesses through Social Media marketing efforts focused on retaining and attracting new clients.

    Although I believe in saving the planet (after all, we do drive and camp in a VW Bus when we can), and I believe in helping those less fortunate than ourselves; we know that the majority of  business owners are focused on growing  their businesses  and supporting their families.    Social Media is not just "a nice to have" anymore, it's a "must have" to succeed in keeping existing and attracting new clients.

    Over the past few years, small business owners were not jumping on the Social Media band wagon.  Instead, they were smart enough to wait and see if Social Media was indeed here to stay.  The outcome has been that only  33%(****) of small business owners have set it up or tried taking advantage of Social Media's power.  I've pointed people to this short funny video to help share this point Social Media Intern.

    Resources:

    3 comments:

    1. Sofie you are amazing. The way you can clearly lay out what to many seems like a foreign language in such a simple, straight-forward and easy to understand manner. I was unaware of a few of these insights myself and want to thank you for sharing.

      I WILL be back for more!

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    2. Thank you Kenda! That means alot! Stay well!

      ReplyDelete