Thursday, July 28, 2011

What about Buyer 2.0?

Buyer 2.0 - Always connected.
The goal of all your marketing campaigns and any promotional efforts is to have your effective message (whether your ad or creative piece) been delivered in a positive way to your prospects, or those people you consider your prospects.

The problem is, if you don’t know who your prospect is, ¿how can you find out the best way to have your message been delivered to them? ¿which is the venue that will allow you to effectively reach this prospect, that now we have nicknamed "Buyer 2.0"?

With Web’s evolution toward the 2.0 environment, a new buyer was born; we shared in a previous post.  It is him who has become the target of all your promotional and marketing efforts not only because he is your customer today, but will continue to be your customer in the future.

The question that you should be asking yourself at this time is: And what about this Buyer 2.0?  What did he do to get that funny title?

The concept of Buyer 2.0 refers to a well informed person, that doesn’t have time to waste, and if he does waste it, it is for something that he is really interested on. He is quite immune to the traditional and obvious publicity, always searching for prominent, innovative information, and likes to live new and different experiences.

You don’t have to freak out about all of this because, after all, just like his ancestor, the Buyer 2.0 also reads the newspaper, what happens now is that he probably reads the paper online, or on his mobile phone while he travels to work.

Simply put, the tools are different although the habits continue being the same!

Here we want to share with you some fundamental trails in regards to Buyer 2.0.

Communication: On top of everything, Buyer 2.0 talks a new language, which he has learned based on his relationships with his equals on the Internet. You must have realized already how new web users make use of happy faces, trim words down, use "nicknames" and abbreviations while chatting with friends.

And not only that, Buyer 2.0 each day uses his cell phone, social networks, iPods, SMS, Instant Messages, digital cameras, etc. Our buyer is already a communications expert, and has also turned himself into a content generator (UGC) through Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, among other tools.

Portability:  They are hyper-connected!  They have access to an Internet connection at all times, whether in their own portable computer, or mobile phones, videogame controllers, television, in public places, restaurants… ¡everywhere!

Out of all these platforms, the one that we must emphasize on is the mobile phone. The new Buyers 2.0 are connected permanently, they have greater power to make decisions, more options to chose from and are more eager to receive information than ever.

Shared Intimacy: The Buyer 2.0 belongs and lives on social networks, he comments about his life, about things that happen to him, about what he enjoys and about what he doesn’t enjoy so much. Shares and chats with friends, acquaintances and relatives in a light environment, free!

The concept of privacy, as it is understood by older generations, doesn’t worry him a lot, although is not a rule for everybody.

Multitasking: They are used to carrying out more than one thing at the same time and not losing their concentration because of that.  It is normal to find this character connected on the Wii while at the same time downloads his e-mails on his mobile phone and chats with a friend in Facebook on his portable.

This Buyer 2.0 is integrated with technology in such a way that is unthinkable for many.

Immediacy:  The Buyer 2.0 consumes the contents when he is willing to, ready to. He no longer needs to be at home to be connected to the Web.

If you want to get a picture of it, imagine you are driving your car and, five minutes before arriving downtown, you are checking on the Internet or with a friend, where and at what price can you buy that book you have been searching for, or even changing your mind on the last minute because a nearby friend published a very significant criticism about the product that your wanted to buy.

This is very important: Buyer 2.0 doesn’t depend on traditional venues to receive or produce contents. At all times he is in full capacity of generating / interacting with relevant content through multiple platforms.

Two-ways communication: They are individuals who need to relate, interact with others, with both parties actively involved in the communication process.  By no means, he likes one-side-only communications, which were so normal in passed times.

Buyer 2.0’s communication power is clearly shown on the Internet and all the different communication tools that are available, including blogs, forums, virtual communities, prices-checkers, etc.

Continuous search of relevant content: It is a habit for Buyer 2.0! He is always on the look for interesting content to enjoy it, and then share it with his friends and contacts. That is what we call (you might have heard about it already) "Buzz": the potential embedded in any content to be spread out through the network, by word of mouth, in an uncontrollable and unpredictable way.

Keep in mind this when planning the content you are going to generate for your clients or users.  If the content is really prominent, interesting and unique, you have the possibility to have it spread in a spectacular way and get “viral” or generate a huge “marketing buzz” around it.

Which is the magic formula?  Make sure your content is relevant, prominent, interesting and unique according to your user’s eyes, not yours.

Wants to be listened: Realizing that he has got such a powerful voice on the Web, Buyer 2.0 needs to be listened to. He feels his opinions are important, even if only for a few people, but important anyway.  There is where you have your best business opportunity, whether you are a businessman, or an online marketing professional: Your potential client simply wants to be listened to, but truly, authentically.  Not like you did before. He wants you to listen to him seriously. 

In the new environment, the Buyer 2.0 is involved a lot more in the purchasing process. No longer is he a buyer simply "eating what the business want to feed him with" but seeks to fulfill and satisfy his own information needs through innumerable resources.

It is here where the real difference between Buyer 1.0 and 2.0 is, to make it simple. And it is here where the opportunity for your business or brand is found!

If you are able to develop an active listening relationship and from there, by listening, you get to really know who your prospect or current client is, your promotional campaigns and marketing efforts will be extraordinarily effective.

Are you really listening to your prospects? Have you got to know your clients as you do know your friends?

Monday, July 18, 2011

(Part III) 15 Most Common Errors in Social Media Campaigns.

Thanks for coming back. It is appreciated!

This is the final post on the “15 Most Common Errors in Social Media Campaigns”  we have put together for you so to that you can have it as a reference when planning your own social media strategy, or even while you are right on the middle of your campaign.

DON’T LOSE THE HORIZON: Don’t be more concerned about making the sale than about establishing the relationship. The sale will be the last one and will never be under your control. If you concentrate your efforts in developing a mutually beneficial relationship, the sale will come by itself, it will simply happen.

If you try to sell your product or brand in every content you share, you are bound to lose, for sure. People don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches neither conversations on the same direction. Quite the opposite, users will pay more attention to content that is relevant for them, not for you.

Concentrate on making the connection first, and then win their confidence. If it’s done this way, finally your followers will actively listen to you consistently. From that moment on, sales come in a natural way. 

DON’T BECOME AN EXTREMIST: Don’t mix your personal and professional lives. They don’t mix together. Even when you want to give yourself, or your company a “social” kind of touch, don’t become a “showman” who is all friendly with everybody, just because you want them to like you. This is why you have to study your audience first and then plan ahead your goals, objective and the path you’re going to follow to achieve them. Don’t become an extremist: neither too social nor too corporate. Find the proper balance.

DON’T LOSE YOUR IMAGE:  Keep in mind your presence in social media should be an extension of your own image, or that of your business or brand. They must be connected, and never dissociated. Make sure you understand this is a “creating-brand-loyalty” process therefore it is all connected, both your image online and off-line.

NOT BEING FLEXIBLE: If at any moment during your campaign, you realize you aren’t going where you should be going to, and that results are not what they were supposed to be, pull your brakes and hold for a bit. Analyze what you are doing, how, and what venues did you chose to work with. Make decisions and be flexible enough as to recognize your error and start all over. It will be different and make you fell better.

DON’T STAY AWAY FROM THE REST OF THE TEAM:  A social media campaign doesn’t sell itself. It needs your continuous support; needs to be completely understood by all company’s employees or business partners, and on top of everything, needs to be a complement of global marketing campaign already implemented.

The social media campaign shouldn’t be perceived as a remote, isolated entity. Instead, it should be engaging to all your coworkers, business’ officers and whoever is willing to participate and commit to it.

It is a wonderful, interesting thing to develop a social media presence for your company or brand, even for you. That is definitely right, for sure it is.

Nevertheless, it is better to take a small step back, and look at things from the outside and learn from the errors others have committed before, so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Part II. 15 most common errors in Social Media strategies

Hi, again. Thanks for coming back! We continue sharing with you, this list of what you should not do when developing your social media campaign.

NOT GENERATING YOUR OWN CONTENT:  Don’t turn into a simple "repeater" of information developed by others; neither publish several times the same content in different places. You will simply be working double and wasting not only your time but that of others. Plan ahead what you are going to do and where, so that there are not misunderstandings. 

Generate your own content focusing on your readers or clients; offer them a benefit, something that is really good for them. Your content will then become more interesting and you will receive positive feedback… always! 

DO NOT SPAM:  Using “spam” techniques to obtain friends or fans is definitely a "no-no". Keep in mind the fundamental element in social networks is the user and his/her privacy, freedom, the control that the user has to decide what he really likes and recommends.  If you try to invade his space on an intrusive way, your failure is guaranteed. The user you want to talk to, will simply ignore you. 
DON’T PUSH THE SALE:  Just like the spamming, pushing your sales through your social networks is going to generate, sooner or later, your messages being ignored.  Do not want to sell through your social networks.  Develop relationships first, with mutual benefits on a win-win situation. The sale will be a consequence of your user being loyal to your brand or company, engaged with your content. By doing so, you will make them aware enough about your brand as to generate the sale.

Obviously if your presence in social networks is for business only, at any point in time you will have to open up and ask for the business, make a call to action and show what you offer. Try to take a different approach and base your offer on the relationship you have already established and nurtured. If from the very beginning it is clear you are going for the business, then you will be ignored, and that would be it!

DON’T BE EGOCENTRIC:  Don’t develop your campaign based on your own feelings, but on your customer’s feelings or those of the people you are willing to approach to. If you love Facebook but your clients don’t, should you be there? Do not invest your limited time in places that are only appealing to you. Look for those your customers enjoy and are fans of, places that mean something valuable for them and that will allow you to reach your goals at the same time.

Social networks are not about you, neither about your product. They are about your users, your clients, your prospects.  You belong to them and you are there because of them. Make sure to generate quality content oriented to your target audience. It will guarantee you get their attention and, little by little, you will win over their confidence.

DON’T LOSE IT: Social networks are not an overnight process.  It’s like any another relationship in life:  It takes time to cultivate and develop it, but if it is done properly, it will yield extraordinary fruits.  Don’t expect to get results by doing nothing. Be patient.

If you don’t commit yourself, nothing will happen.  If you don’t invest your time, nothing will happen. If you don’t get actively involved, same thing.  Be patient and concentrate on doing your job with enthusiasm, dedication and a lot of energy. The results will eventually come up, as it has been in most successful cases.

Take a moment to think about what we have recommended you here and see if you are making the same mistakes on your strategy, or just some of them. We have mentioned to you before that the good thing about realizing you have made a mistake, is that you have an opportunity to take a different direction. So do it now!

Would you like to share with us your own experience?  Leave your comments. It is all about you and your participation!

In the next delivery, the last five things you shouldn’t do in your social media strategy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

15 most common mistakes in Social Media strategies (Part I)

There are dozens of errors committed day after day by those in charge of developing social media marketing campaigns that can serve as a reference for you of the things that should not be done so that, at least, you take them into consideration.

Here we give you the first 5 out of 15 most common ones.

NOT HAVING A STRATEGY:  No strategy, no campaign.  Do not get started on social media, if you don’t know where you are going to.  It is not good if after driving for a long way, you arrive at the wrong place.  Establish concrete objectives and analyze your performance regularly, making use of all the available tools to check whether you are going on the right direction.

If it is not going good, you always have time to steer the wheel and redefine your goals.  If you don’t have a strategy neither measure your performance, you are wasting both your time online, and that of your users.

NOT BEING INVOLVED:  You wanted to participate in social media, without being involved on social media?  It is like if you wanted to learn how to fly an airplane just by using a simulator.  If you don’t get involved and live social media in your own life, it would be worth not to consider it as promotional venue.

The secret is in to stay put.  It isn’t about just participating for, well, participating just like that. It is about developing an active, continuous listening habit, but showing real interest and contributing with positive elements to each discussion in which you participate. 

NOT BEING PERSISTENT:  If you do not want to invest your time in social media, it might not be worth for you to even try it.  You have to be consistent both in quality and how often you share contents. Do not begin if you can’t finish, or if you are simply going to give up half way down when realizing it takes a lot of effort. 

Even if you want to give up, you should try to put yourself together again and continue. If you just disappear after a few try outs, it will be perceived as failure, and will be even harder for you to recover from the negative buzz. If you cannot be persistent, think about hiring a professional that could.  Trying to manage your social media online presence, just 10 minutes per day, is like wanting to lose weight doing diet only once a week.

NOT BEING AUTHENTIC:  Don’t you use false identities to secretly promote your company or brand.  Sooner or later, the truth can come up to the surface and you will get yourself on trouble while having to manage such a big crisis. Transparency is fundamental and it is more valuable the authentic, positive comment generated by a user who is pleased and satisfied, than thousand of tainted recommendations that can do your through false identities.

In social networks any person can approach your business or brands, in many different ways.  If when they approach you, you are not honest, direct, and clear you have then closed the door to the relationship and, besides, generated a negative reputation for your business or business. If you cannot be transparent, then probably social media is not for you.

NOT TO LISTEN:  It is not a matter of flooding the network with your messages, twits and posts, and even less if they have a "commercially oriented" feeling. You are going to be ignored.  You have to listen to what community users saying and act consequently.   

Make sure you listen to what they are saying about your brand, the industry, about the city, competitors, and else. If you make a good job listening and paying real attention to what they say, you will be able to make decisions. Focus yourself on generating good, appealing content and on a regular basis. 

Users like to get involved in dynamic communities, active, that offer them interesting content which invites them to participate on conversations and share their comments. Make sure you offer them what they are looking for.

And we leave it here for today. In part II we will put in your hands the next 5 things you should not do in social media.

We look forward to listening from you and receiving your comments.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Should we support Google+?

My answer is a big YES!

From all points of view, if you join and participate to develop your presence in the new proposed social network by Google is, by all means, positive.

From the user point of view, you will be able to have access to an endless number of applications that are already integrated in Google’s platform and with which you are familiarized.  For Google, at least in theory,  it should be a lot more simple to put in your hands all its tools inside its own social network, instead of having to do it through Facebook or any another social network.

From a marketing point of view, your participation in Google + will serve to create competition, something that, in any text book, is recommended as positive and necessary for the growth and the democratization of any business sector.

You probably might have already realized that, at least in Facebook’s  case, their growth has almost turned them into a monopolistic structure, and by that I mean, they can decide at anytime what is done and what not inside its platform.  If Facebook decides, for instance, to eliminate any application, it will simply be done and that is that. Be aware, that is not bad!  They have the right to do so as owners of the mark.

In any case, the presence of a strong competitor, like Google +, gives you the possibility to choose to work with the one that offers you the most extensive array of tools, resources, applications, and that is good. 
If competing, Google +and Facebook will have to evaluate if the decisions they make will invite you to leave their house and go with their competitor, and that is also good for you as the user. 

At the end, it is not a matter of one being better than the other, because it is clearly shown that Facebook, with its + 500 million users, is here and will stay for a good while. Instead it is a matter of recognizing something that goes in your benefit:  If the two giants compete for winning your loyalty and trust, is good for you. 

After all, in social networks what is important is you and how committed and engaged you can feel with brands, either one of them.

What about you? What do you think?  Would you invite me to be your friend in Google +?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Are you listening? But... really?

Many specialists say it is one of the most serious errors (and often repeated) that occur in social media campaigns. And it seems to be, likewise, one of the most common out of the social media too.

Which could be the reason?  Many business owners simply listen to what they want to listen to, what agrees with them, what is suitable for them, although when a non-happy customer complains, feels not comfortable, disappointed and that is increasingly angry represents for your business a unique and unrepeatable opportunity to improve in many ways! 

Yes!  You listened... or better yet, read it well:  An opportunity to improve! 

  • Your relation with him:  A client that complains has not abandoned you yet to be gone with your competitors. He is there, expecting to be attended, for his problem to be solved; he is willing to confirm he was right when choosing to do business with you from the very beginning. Isn’t this great?
  • Your product:  What happens if the client is complaining and he is completely right?  What happens if your product has a real, visible and important defect, which you did not notice? It could be the opportunity to identify such failure and... give your customer a solution creating a better product!
  • Your reputation:  Well it is known that the negative comments spread like wildfire and they are more destructive than any another thing.  How many times have you heard that is easier to lose 100 clients than to get a new one? 

Can you see the difference?  Upon listening to this client, you have the opportunity of providing him with a solution to its problem, to improve your product and, at the same time, to generate positive word-of-mouth for your business or brand.

This client will surely share good comments about your business with his friends!  How much money would you have that to pay in advertising to generate such an effective message? Is very important to listen to your customers...  But truly! 

Not only listen to feel proud of your work and how well you have done it, but also listen for what people don’t like about your products, what is not positive, because is really there where there are opportunities for your business to grow and become stronger. 

It is surely unpleasant to listen to the client that we all know is going to complain about your product simply because he likes to do so, because his nature is such as to be complaining about anything.  But still in a situation like this, there can be something to learn... Who knows?

Follow this advice not only because we think you should but also because many specialists in various media are recommending you to do so.  If you listen for a while, you will see many things become clear to you. By actively listening, many opportunities could arise and, perhaps the most important one will be knowing what you really have to do to service your customers effectively, with no guessing.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Did you put all your eggs into only one basket?

Did you get all carried away with all the buzz about Facebook, Twitter, and that modern social media phenomenon and networks that promised you heaven and earth, and the disappearance of all your worries?

That is so normal!  You will be neither the first nor the last one that makes the same mistake. But not all is evil!

To the contrary, it is a good moment to recall that Facebook, Twitter and so many other professional and social networks, as well as the diverse communities that you can find on the Internet are extraordinary marketing tools, but just that... TOOLS!

Even in our days, with the impressive advance of the technology, traditional marketing strategies continue functioning and they are able, in many cases, combined with the new available tools to create powerful promotional campaigns, and therefore, to generate more sales for your business, or to increase brand recognition, or customer's loyalty, or better yet, in a word, to generate positive results...  Very positive!

What is important is not to lose the focus.  Still today, the basic concepts continue to work the same way, and you can gain a lot of understanding if you start by asking yourself the following questions: 

¿Do you really know your product? ... But, really, with honesty, accepting that it can have bad things and good things, what people call "fortresses" and "weaknesses"? 

¿Do you really know who your client is? ...  Do you really know who he is, what his likes are, the reason he buys from you, what he likes about your product, what he reads, what he watches on the television, what his habits are? ....  Did you even ask yourself if your client had Internet before launching your efforts to reach him on the social networks?

And your competitors? ¿do you know them as well?

The answers to these questions are extraordinarily important because they allow you to make wise decisions, to choose wise vehicles, to invest the necessary money and, the most important, ¡to be able to have better results!

We are not trying to say social networks are not good.  Quite the opposite, they are very good, and they are even better if you can find your clients on the other side of the monitor.

Nowadays, within all the excitement, it looks like people forgot how important the "face to face" encounter is, the shaking hands, the phone conversation, the sponsorship of an important event, the traditional media, etc.  Each one has its own function, moment and effectiveness, and it all depends on the knowledge that you have of the three questions that we presented to you above: product, client and competitors.

If you put all your eggs in a single basket, you can rest assure all of it is not lost.  If there is something good about "planning" is that it is always flexible. ... Very flexible, and allows us to change course when achieved results are not what we expected them to be.

It works, put it all back together again move on. You will win!