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Anise Smith Marketing

Social Media Professor | Digital Marketing Technologist | Mobile Web | Digital Webinar Developer | Analytics

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Web 2.0

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD
Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

I grew up in an era that was not technology focused; there were no computers, mobile devices, or Internet when I was in high school. My generation did not even grow up with cable. In fact I remember when cable initially hit the scene, when MTV actually played music and the HUGE campaign “I want My MTV” which was used to push MTV to mainstream. Oh, those were the days. A lot has happened with the growth of technology since my high school years. If you have been able to adapt and embrace this super fast growth of technology, that is fantastic. However, if you have not you could be a little screwed now and a lotta’ screwed later. This, is especially the case if you are trying to run a business based on philosophies and an organizational structure from the 1980’s, MTV Era. The biggest mistake in taking that path is that this audience is dead or on life support.

Think about this, we are reaching an age when we have augmented reality and your business cards can talk. We are moving toward the Semantic Web, closer to an era when ALL of the computers mechanisms in our devices will be able to communicate with each other. Do you seriously THINK that people are in touch with old school methods? NO one is looking backward, or I should say consumers aren’t looking backward. This means that your organization is being left behind,  if you are not forward thinking.

Companies that have not embraced our new social oriented culture and the growing mobile market, are  whistling in the wind. Those companies are targeting a dwindling population. Just visualize it as a numbers game. Think about the target markets that are NOT online and those that are NOT mobile, this number is growing smaller and smaller as more people embrace the digital marketing space. So companies should NOT be gearing  their primary marketing campaigns toward a demographic that is shrinking. It’s really common sense. Companies should be looking to always GROW their audience NOT focus on the shrinking audiences.

Social-Media-Stats-of-2013
Social-Media-Stats-of-2013

In essence, in choosing NOT to adapt to newer technologies companies are choosing to throw in the towel on their businesses whether they realize it or not. Companies MUST go where their audiences are, that’s the only way in which they will continue to grow. In fact Seth Godin wrote a post “What do you think of my brochure? ” 7 YEARS ago, about the total reliance on brochures as a way to reach an audience. That piece was applicable in 2006 and is even more so now.

The Internet is the 2nd most widely utilized channel for news. If people go to the Internet and social media channels for something as valuable and important as news, they will also go there for other information as well. So, every business SHOULD make it a priority to have a strong social media and mobile presence. The old saying, “If we build it, they will come.” definitely applies to a strong digital footprint. On the other hand, if we build it and it’s geared toward a dwindling demographic, they may NOT come. As business owners we should be interested in substantially shifting those odds in our favor by going where our customers are.

Where America Turns To For News  via Gallup.com
Where America Turns To For News via Gallup.com

Ultimately if companies are not tapping a new more social and mobile oriented market with content geared for this demographic, they are taping a dead audience. Take a look at the video below to see exactly HOW much social and mobile is ingrained in who we are, as a culture now.

People are on the go, we now live in a super fast paced world, and people are looking for content that they can access easily and quickly on their mobile device. They DO not want to read a companies long-winded prepackaged full-page ad in whatever magazine that’s lying about in an office or waiting room. They want quick access by way of mobile while they are on the go. So as business owners we must be willing to supply them with this information or they will go to competitors that will.

The take away, while your organization is spewing their prepackaged printed message, other more innovative companies are going where their audiences are and moving past that 1980’s strategy. The time to step it up was a few years ago and companies that have not done so may be living a “STUFF” got real nightmare if they select to continue on this path.

I am not saying that companies should roll over and die, I am trying to subtly nudge those living in a time warp to adapt or die.

As usual, I welcome all comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I welcome dialogue even if we don’t agree, so follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and lets start a conversation.

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It’s A Brand New World, It’s Mobile And Is Your Organization Ready?

Mobile
Just a few years ago people were feeling a sense of urgency to get a very basic web presence up and running. Now companies that panicked in creating that very basic website now have bigger issues if they have not moved beyond updating that website.

 

Organizations not only have to keep up with all of the changes with web creation vs content management systems, they now have to integrate mobile into the mix. With the integration of mobile platforms, organizations must be able to adapt marketing strategies for mobile while keeping up with the many changes that go along with those platforms.

 

It is a brand new world, that world is fast moving, powerful and can literally fit in your pocket. We are living in a world driven by mobile technology and users that need to have an ongoing source of information all the time and at their fingertips drive this. This is GREAT for people like me that are driven by technology, that have embraced this super quick moving technology but for businesses it can be tough keeping up. Especially if your organization is NOT technology focused.

 

So, not only do organizations have to adapt to mobile technology they MUST see that the dynamic that pushed the change are the people that are utilizing these technologies. PEOPLE are the driving force behind the change, they consume information differently, and they NEED to have information at their fingertips. So since organization MUST adapt their business strategy to incorporate mobile technology they must also understand that people have also changed. This understanding will help in visualizing the future sales and marketing strategies of their organizations.

 

At one time people were fine with consuming content by way of traditional sources such as newspapers,  radio, television and other printed materials. NOW there’s a wave of people that have limited interest in those forms of media. These are the people that are driving the super quick change and this is a huge demographic that organizations must adapt their content for and recognize that these people are the population that are driving the change.

 

Mobile technologies are growing at a quicker rate than any technology in history. Take a look at the infographic below to give you the what, when, how and why of this growth and what you need to do to adapt your organizational structure to capitalize from this growth.

 

 

Infographic Source:  InternetService.net Infographic Source:  InternetService.net  

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Digital Marketers: Your Digital Footprint Is NOW Your Resume

Digital Footprint

 

I admit it!  I am a bit of a Social Media Guru basher, only because the self proclaimed gurus place themselves in a position to be ridiculed by giving themselves a silly little title like Guru.  As if the title Marketer, consultant or similar title is just NOT good enough. The title Social Media Guru minimizes the importance of the Digital Marketers role in this new digital driven world.  Social Media Gurus…Silly Rabbits.

 

The title of guru not only, will not improve your credibility but it also will not give you the skills needed to succeed in this increasingly digital driven world if you are in fact one of those gurus that have not stepped their game up beyond just playing on Facebook.  I’ve said before,  2013 will make or break the people in the digital marketing space and expose those that are just playing from those that are really on their game. There are increasing numbers of organizations that are looking to take their marketing strategy to the next level. These organizations are  looking for people that are ON their game not those that are playing games, social media guru games.

 

One of the biggest things that 2012 displayed was that more skills were needed in this space beyond just playing on Facebook. The Digital Marketing space is maturing and with its maturity so is the growing expectations of more, from companies that are looking for skill sets beyond just social media. Companies need cutting edge strategies created by cutting edge marketers that are on their game because now is the time for some companies to utilize these newer marketing strategies to pull ahead of their competition. So for businesses, it’s All About The Benjamin’s and NOT about the gurus.

 

Additionally, as organizations realize the importance of adding digital marketing to their strategy, some are realizing the need to have more control over the content that is being released to represent their brands. This is starting a trend of organizations hiring internal digital marketing staff to handle their marketing strategies as opposed to outsourcing. Stuff just got real!

 

So, when companies select to hire staff to work onsite it creates a more opportunities ( and more competition) for the Digital Marketers that are on their game. In an increasingly competitive space that is separating Digital Marketer from Social Media Guru, it’s time to be on your game. That is if you’d like to out-compete the social media gurus of the world.  One of the things that i’ve noticed that separates the legitimate Digital Marketers and the Gurus are the impressive digital footprint of the digital marketer, and lack there of for the guru.  THIS will be the  game changer in this industry in 2013.

 

A marketers digital footprint or online presences will be what allows them to stand head and shoulders above their guru counter parts, when competing within the digital marketing space.  It is NOT an option it is a requirement if you want to excel as a Digital Marketer, it really is your resume because it displays to the world YOUR presence.   If a person does NOT have a noticable if not exceptional digital footprint wouldn’t that be an indication of the effectiveness or lack there of, in regard to their digital marketing strategy?  If I were in search of a Digital Marketer to create a campaign strategy for my organization, the first thing I would do is to check out their digital footprint by Googling them.   It they have an impressive presence on Google this would be an indication that they could theoretically create an effective presence on Google for my organization. If they didn’t, um well I’d think, YUP Guru and keep it moving.

 

I’m not saying that there’s no hope for our friendly neighborhood social media guru, I’m just saying that NOW is the time for the gurus to step their game up.  Get your skills in order, learn some new things, learn a bit of web design, maybe even graphic design and more to compliment what you know. Step your game up! We are at an amazing time in history, a time of change from traditional to digital and its a great time to be in this industry.

 

So, if you are pursuing a career as a digital marketer or if you want to move your game beyond the social media guru status the thing that you should do AFTER you step your skill level up is the following:

 

  • Work on creating a brand for yourself, because after all you are marketing YOU. If you want to be taken serious as a digital marketer make sure your brand is tight! Be consistent with the look of all of your online presences and websites. 
  • Creation of a great Social Media Strategy to market YOURSELF.  When marketing oneself you MUST think of yourself as the BRAND,  you really want to step beyond your competition and surpass them. So creation of a successful social media strategy for yourself is ESSENTIAL. If your social media strategy is weak that’s what will be displayed for all to see.  Be the Digital Marketer that YOU would want to hire.
  • Not all Social Media Channels are right for your brand so take a look at the channels that are out there and utilize those that best fits your needs.
  • Create a blog if you don’t have one because a blog is a GREAT way to get the word out about what you have to offer and to display that you are on your game.
  • If you have a blog, focus on creating great content.  Go for creating a content rich presence for yourself, after all you are branding YOU. Content is King does apply and probably always will so you should always think about providing great content. 
  • Great content by way of original material, curation and content sharing are terrific ways to provide great content.
  • Build followers! If you have great content people will follow you. It is just that simple, there is no magic bullet.  If you provide content that can be of use to people that follow you in the very busy world, people will depend on you to provide informational that is beneficial to their lives. Again, they will follow you.

 

We are at such a pivotal period in the growth of online technologies now and it we are in a time when companies and organization recognize how essential an online presence is and the importance of having digital marketers as a part of their marketing team.  It is time for the Digital Marketers to stand above the rest and that starts with having an impressive digital footprint because YOUR Digital Footprint IS YOUR Resume in the Digital Marketing space.

 

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Social Media Gurus -vs- Digital Marketers: Gurus Your Days Are Numbered!

Gurus vs Digital Marketers
It has been a few years now of companies venturing into the social media marketing space by way of different online channels. The past few years have been a huge transition by individuals and companies from utilizing traditional marketing almost exclusively, to venturing into the online marketing space.  This transition has been filled with growing pains i’m sure and although the transition has not been seamless, it is progressing.

At one time It seemed as if companies just didn’t get it, that they really didn’t understand the importance of the online presence. The transition from what was once was exlusively traditional marketing to mostly digital and now a bit of a fusion between the two is lending itself to a willingness by organizations, to embrace this new era of marketing.

Two years ago there was a huge avenue for people to present themselves as SOCIAL MEDIA GURUS to the unsuspecting organization that felt a bit of urgency to run head first into the online marketing space. Now that some have done that and are experiencing it, they are now realizing that working with a Social Media Guru is just not enough. This is primarily because it’s NOT just about social media, it is about Digital Marketing which is a much more diverse combination of Internet strategies.  Exclusively utilizing JUST social media is like using only print catalogs in traditional marketing, it is just NOT enough.  This is the same philosophy that has to be embraced when thinking of Digital Marketing, utilizing JUST social media is just not enough.

At one time it was ok to utilize some traditional marketing and have a website.  Now a fusion of those strategies mixed with social media is making way for the Digital Marketer, which utilizes a combination of these strategies and more to create a total online /offline fusion that will move brands beyond the single dimension of just traditional marketing or just social media.

In 2013 the Digital Marketer will be more in demand that ever, because progressive companies have realized the importance of having marketers that skill sets embrace all digital strategies not just certain aspects of an online presence. Some tradition web design purist haven’t embraced social media integration  and are stuck in what they have learned in a traditional sense. Additionally some social media gurus have not moved past just posting information to social media channels.  However, there are some web designers and social media marketers that HAVE embraced both and those are the Digital Marketer that will be in demand in 2013 and beyond.

Ultimately the goal as a Digital Marketer is to bring value to your clients, customers and employers. This will not be done by any of the following:

  • Tagging 100+ people on Facebook everyday to boost your Klout score. Your employer, client and or potential client/employer probably could give a rats you know what about your score. Most employers or clients don’t even know what Klout is or what is involved with the scoring process.  Do you even know?
  • Connecting to random influencers and NOT becoming an influencer yourself. Your influencer is an influencer for a reason. You will make out better trying to analyze what they are doing right and emulate them.
  • Posting 1000 pictures every day of random things. Although these photos may be beautiful, if this is ALL you do, how can that contribute to the value of your potential employer, client or customer? Or put you in a position to gain customers, clients or find employment in  the Digital Marketing Space?

The goal in this increasingly savvy digital marketing space, should be to provide services of value to potential and current employers and clients to increase their brand exposure, place them in a position to interact with THEIR current clients/potential clients and increase their chances of increasing revenue. This will involve YOU doing NONE of  the above bulleted points but WILL involve you creating custom strategies for potential employers and clients in which to accomplish these goals. The lack of ability to do this WILL separate the Gurus from the Digital Marketers, that are really on their game.

As we move forward in the Digital Marketing space we have to be willing to continue to grow and embrace new technologies that provide added value to clients, potential clients and employers. It has been an amazing few years in this space that is continuing to grow at an amazing rate of speed. 2013 will be the the year of many exciting changes to the people that are on their Digital Marketing game and challenges to those that are not on their game. Either way, get ready because I have a feeling its going to be a helluva ride!

If you have comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent I can be contacted by subscribing to my Facebook public updates or finding me on Twitter!  I shall see you soon, I’m sure!

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Higher Education Going Tech? Are You Ready For A Peek Of Higher Education in 2020? [Infographic]

TheFutureOfHigherEducation
By now we are ALL aware of how Digital Marketing has taken the world by storm.  We really don’t think about it because it was a process that happened so gradually. One minute we were flipping through the Fall Preview Guide of the TV Guide to see all of the next seasons shows and the next thing we know, we are viewing that edition ONLINE.

 

I was recently having a discussing about things and I mentioned to the person about the changes that have occured and how quickly. They gave me a puzzled look until I used the TV Guide Analogy.  We have really quite literally been taken over by Digital Media.  We use mobile phones for conversations, taking pictures, interacting with people and occasionally even talking on it. 😛  Although I prefer traditional paper books, the sales of traditionally books have been on a steady decline due to the increasing popularity of book readers like Nook, Kindle and iPad.   We have come a long way baby!

 

There will be NO industry left untouched by this historical growth of technology.  One of the industries that I would love to be enveloped, altered and changed for the better by this amazing Digital Technology boom is Education! I just had a conversation that started with politics and ended with education that detailed how education needs to be pulled from the manufacturing era into the technology era. Well, due to the growth of this technology era,  I believe it’s a possibility and I would LOVE to see how things could evolve.

 

Take a look at the infographic below that displays how education could benefit from a strong boost of the digital era.

Please include attribution to TheBestColleges.org with this graphic.

The Future of Higher Education

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Why You Should Consider Learning A Little Code [Infographic]

Coder

I think it is inevitable that we’ll ALL HAVE learn a little code whether we want to or not, if only to be competitive in the evergrowing digital marketing space. I have found that every job that I’ve performed I’ve had to know basic code in order to offer employers and clients the best possible service.

It seems that that may be the norm sooner rather than later. As a world that is going more and more toward digital technologies it may be in ALL of our best interest to venture into the world of coding.

I am feeling like I may need to venture into this field a little bit more. Take a look at the infographic below to give you an idea of the importance that coding will play in our lives in the not so distant future.

Please Include Attribution to OnlineCollege.org With This Graphic Programming Infographic

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Why You MUST Ignore Your Social Media Scores

Social Media Scoring

Social Media as we know it is still in its infancy and has a lot more growth in the works.  We are still learning and growing in the digital marketing space because the industry is still evolving.  The scoring of social media creates an almost old school atmosphere due to its push to GRADE the quality of our engagement.

There are a few different social media platforms that I am involved with that actively score content based on the companies preformatted algorithm. Klout, Empire Avenue and Kred all have some form of ranking, grading, or number placed upon YOUR social media activity. I am not saying that any of these algorithms are wrong in general but should we base OUR engagement and or activity on ranking higher with any of these platforms? Shouldn’t we instead focus upon providing content that is of interest to our friends and followers?

Like I said, I am involved with these platforms but I do not base ANY of my online activity on increasing any of these scores, ANYMORE. It is very easy to allow your own competitive nature to dictate the types of content that you promote from your brand based on increasing your score.  I have been down that road and it really is not a good path to be on. This is primarily because it diminishes the purpose of social media to a degree and cheapens the value of your content because the focus becomes about increasing your score instead of providing content of value.

I’ve notice that due to a change in whatever algorithm Klout is using these days, people have begun to “game” the system with mass Facebook photo tagging.  I’m not speaking of an occasional tag from a friend that you interact with on a regular basis, I am speaking of mass tagging, everyday from acquaintances whom you have little or no interaction with on a regular basis. I just had to block a person that tagged me on 6 photos all within 3 minutes and the kicker is that I very seldom had any interaction with this person.  It was so bad that I couldn’t find my own content or content that was shared by legitimate engaging friends and followers.

I am NOT speaking about friends or people that I engage with, I am talking about random acquaintances that tag you on multiple photos on a daily basis. I love getting tagged on genuine content that is of interest, that’s engaging or friends think that I would like.  This post is not really about that, but more about the person that specifically tags with the purpose of a score boost.

How does this kind of behavior increase your social media engagement, legitimately?  The score gamers, post content and tag you on the content, so the person tagged either feels that they shouldn’t be rude by not responding or they automatically “answer when called” as we innately do. So does this increase your ability to produce engaging content that has the ability to speak to people, touch their heart or is though provoking? Umm NO! However they did increase their Klout score because they tagged the same 45 people that they tag every day and the people that were tagged responded, which creates dialog on the post.  So, since there were a high percentage of people to comment to the post, they get a Klout score bump. Oh yay!  This, to me displays that the person creating the tags do not have a firm grasp on what social media is about and the purpose of creating content. I will even venture to say that it is a n00b move for the so called social media gurus.

As a Digital Marketer that is listed on Klout, Kred and a player of Empire Avenue I am aware of my scores on all platforms but I am not driven to perform any action to increase my numbers. It simply takes away from the genuine ability to engage and create content that I believe people are looking for when they follow me on my social media channels.  Additionally, it takes away from the enjoyment of social media when it becomes a game to get the highest score at all costs.

I am not a hater of any of these platforms because they do have value in the social media arena. However, I would like to see less gamed content with the exclusive goal of chasing a score and more genuine sharing of content that is of value to readers.

The take away:

Simply, provide great content and people will respond.

What are your thoughts? Am I on point?  Am I off  base? Or Meh? I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, good, bad ugly or indifferent.

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#SocialMedia Time Management: Automation vs Scheduling

SchedulingSocialMedia

One of the things that I learned FIRST about Social Media was that it is NOT an automated process. I CAN’T stress this enough, you can NOT set it and forget it. That is the makings of a lame marketer that is NOT in touch or engaged with their followers  and this could mean a lot of missed opportunities for a business. More importantly, it could make the efforts that you are making toward social media null and void . This is especially so if you are not effectively reaching your target market because you are not posting at the proper time and/or auto posting to the wrong channel. You could really be missing the opportunity to engage your audience.  This is one of the biggest flaws of automating your social media efforts.   When I say Automation, this should not be confused with scheduling.

I am not a fan of automation because it defeats the purpose of social media and that is the social aspect of it. One of the goals of social media is to reach out to people, engage and get in touch with your audience.  Social Media creates an avenue in which business can reach out and get in touch with their clients, past, present and future. Also actively engaging on social media channels allows businesses to provide unparalleled customer service to current clients.   Many companies are using social media as a channel in which to reach customers that may be having challenges and handle them before the can escalate.

Scheduling social media, on the other hand is just the smart thing to do if your social media usage has reach the stage beyond recreational usage. As your social media and digital marketing responsibilities increase it is insane to think that you will not have to implement some form of scheduling as a way to manage your time more effectively in order to minimize the likelihood of social media burnout. If you are handling more than one social media brand it is almost imperative that some form of scheduling is in order.

I must say that the extremely fast transition away from the primary use of traditional media and move toward digital marketing has really taken a lot of people by surprise. The quick growth of digital marketing channels as a huge part of a businessess marketing strategy has happend so fast that people in the digital media and social media industry have to be on their A game to keep up. So it is totally understandable that those that spend the majority of their time running their business are reeling from the quick transition so some of the tool that are available to help effectively manage workflow could be overlooked.

Since most successful business owners are so busy running their business, that the time needed for digital marketing and social media can appear like an overwhelming task to undertake.   So it is essential to utilize some of the tools available to manage the time needed for social media and digital marketing.  One of the best tools that I have found to help with scheduling is Buffer

Remember, scheduling NOT automation is the key to allowing you to manage social media task while taking advantage of all of the benefits of being more social in your marketing efforts.

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Asking For A Persons #Facebook Password IS NOT A Good Adoption Of An Effective #SocialMedia Policy

Internet Privacy

 

Social Media is new and has honestly throw a monkey wrench into how we all operate and live. Organizations I believe were caught unaware more than most because of the quick adoption rate of social media by all. Now with Social Media quickly advancing into how we think and live it is now pushing its way into how organizations operate.

 

Some organizations have barely adapted to the NEED for computers in the workplace, now there has to be an adoption of social media into the mix. Needless to say, this changes the workplace game substantially.  The growth of mobile devices are making it that much harder to adapt to the usage of social media by the organizational masses.  Technology has literally outpaced the ability for the law, people and organizations to adapt policies and procedures at a quick enough pace.

 

There has been lots of discussion about demands for passwords of social media channels which is a violation of most social media channels terms of service.  In most cases it is against terms of service to disclose personal passwords at any time for any reason.  Additionally one must ask, is this really an adoption of an effective social media policy?

 

Social Media is not going anywhere soon so it would probably be a good idea to seriously look into the creation of effective and realistic social media policy.   Some steps that can be taken to move in the right direction:

 

  • Read a good Internet Law book. Keep in mind that by the time an Internet Law Book is published the laws are already old and may be obsolete. However this will give you a great background on what your rights are.
  • Create a Social Media Committee, this will allow you to compare notes with people and brainstorm.
  • Open the lines of communication, this allows the ability to find out how people are using social media.
  • Consult with an Internet Law Professor or attorney because they are usually very familiar with the latest laws.
  • Write a reasonable social media policy and enforce it accordingly.

 

We should all keep in mind that technology has grown at such a quick rate of speed that Laws have not been able to keep up with its growth. I don’t anticipate the rate of technology growth slowing down anytime soon so I can’t visualize laws catching up any time soon. So I would suggest when thinking about social media and your demands that you be realistic and exercise some common sense.

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