Social Media Marketers: Will they stay or will they go now?

I’m BACK!

Sorry for the blog hiatus, as I was working on a few different projects and wanted to concentrate on the growth of those. Since my last post I also moved out on my own, and learned to be much more inspired to work harder. Naturally I become inspired and motivated by social media related growth, but then I question this growth as well? Is social media, and especially social media jobs, a fad?

Recently I went on a good two week streak of job searching, resulting in nothing more than a few good contacts and one great lead. I focused on two areas, one being social media and one being hospitality. I would love to be able to focus strongly on social media, and I try to do this, but in the back of my head I keep thinking, will these jobs last? Hence why I keep hospitality in mind as well, everyone is going to need a hotel!Image

Marketing itself has been around for a donkeys age, with Gutenberg and the printing press making mass media more accessible. Businesses saw they could get their name out, and since then it hasn’t stopped growing. Many different versions of marketing are out there, and social media is the most recent. The difference between social media and what the professionals call “traditional” mediums, is that social media is much more accessible to the general public. Almost everyone has access to Facebook or Twitter, and therefore could take part in social media marketing. Not everyone has access to traditional forms of marketing like radio, television or print advertisements.  Herein lies my confusion as to if social media marketing as a profession, will last. I of course wouldn’t write a blog on social media unless I believed that it will last. I tend to second guess it every once in a while though, but in the long run, social media marketing is just another form of marketing.

Admen have talents in certain areas, and social media marketers have a talent to market in a certain way. Marketing and social media have to work seamlessly in order to have the most impact, and the social media marketer does this. Social media loses its appeal when marketing becomes to apparent, and selling takes precedence over the act of being social. Therefore, some people have the special talent of creating campaigns and ads that are directly social media related, where engaging the audience, in turn, creates a buzz about a product or company. This is different than the graphic artist or ad exec that has a talent for words and can create a slogan for a car commercial. Social media engages audiences while most marketing speaks to the audience, and each involves a different talent. Therefore, social media marketing I believe is a talent that some do have, and a profession that I believe will continue to grow!

 

I hope….

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To tweet or not to tweet

As I was sitting in our staff room today eating lunch, someone said “I don’t know anyone else on Twitter except Matt”. First thought was that’s rude, I like twitter. My second thought, you clearly don’t understand the implications that it has had on society since it’s inception. The people that use Twitter to post about what they eat and the cute dog they saw at the park are one thing. I use the social media platform for a whole other level.

I’ve connected with celebrities, learned about news first hand before news channels, connected with local companies, and promoted my own job and career. Oh and landed a job interview from a direct message! Let’s see your TV and rotary dial phone do that!

My rant is just that I don’t get why people bash something they don’t know anything about or understand? Especially when it’s something so vast as Twitter, where mentions of it are everywhere!

Social media is a growing medium, that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Twitters upcoming IPO was thought to be released today, sending “Tweeter” stock up 1000% today because people thought it was Twitters IPO! Clearly the demand is there, so get on the band wagon or get left behind!

Rant over

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The new way to travel

I’m back! I know everyone missed my updates on iPhone and iOS 7. I’m sure you’ve all read and experienced everything and me talking about my experience would be useless. Therefore, I’m going to talk about a thought I had while on vacation in the beautiful Canadian Rockies.

While traveling, you’ll come in contact with lots of different companies providing services, from airlines to hotels to restaurants. In the olden days, one would go to a travel agent who would plan an entire itinerary for their clients. Once the internet exploded, clients became their own travel agents, and now with social media, that process is so much easier. Followed is a list of a few examples of my own experiences during our latest trip to Banff, Alberta.

Booking our flight seemed easy, straight through the WestJet website right? Yes…but then it crashed half way through. I called the 1800 number, and they helped me out. It just took a very very veryyyyy long time, with a few rude people during that time. I thought, I’ll reach out to their twitter account to express my frustration. They were very good in replying, much faster than a formal e-mail, and I instantly felt like I had a personal connection. This to me is very important, and the reason I like social media so much. Although Westjet is a big corporation, a tweet back from them made it a personal connection between business and consumer. They replied to me instantly, showing they wanted to help me out. They quickly made up for the short comings during the booking process, and they helped me regain my confidence in their airline.

After settling my airline booking, I set up our hotel room booking. Being a concierge, I had some connections and that was a breeze. Not wanting to bother my colleagues at the hotel, I reached out through twitter, to ask about different things. I could have e-mailed them, but I found that a quick tweet sums up things quickly, and it makes things easy. I feel when writing an e-mail, it has to be formal, and directed to a specific person. I also searched through TripAdvisor to read up on others experiences. TripAdvisor is another form of social media that makes the travel experience a more personal one. You can read personal details on others trips to that place. This is different than reading reviews that are carefully selected and placed in travel magazines, or quotes placed on the company website. 

Once we were on our trip and taking in all the scenes, we tended to get hungry a lot from all the hiking. We then of course had to research restaurants. Where’d we turn to? Social media of course! Yelp! helped out when we needed something to eat, and learned what others thought of the place. Just like TripAdvisor but for the restaurant industry specifically. After our meal or if we needed a quick response to when they were open until, Facebook or Twitter solved those problems.

Overall, on our way home from an amazing vacation, I thought to myself how much the travel industry has hanged thanks to social media. It creates a personal connection between business and consumer, that differs from the travel industry magazines and company websites. Social media also offers information and access to smaller lesser known restaurants and companies that don’t have the marketing potential of those larger companies. This allows for a level playing field where consumers can discover hidden gems in terms of restaurants, tour companies and hotels.

I’ll leave my readers with one question. Now that you see how social media has impacted my travel experience, how has it impacted the way you travel and experience new things?

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How to become a social media wizard…without the wand

How do I become successful when starting out in social media? How do I gain more followers on twitter? Why can’t I get more likes on Facebook? These are the age-old questions…kind of. Social media is pretty new to the marketing scene and can’t quite yet be claimed as “age-old” but you get the point. The idea is that people want to gain followers, likes, retweets, comments, anything so they can measure they’re success. The answer to all that is audience. You have to know you’re viewers, likers, commenters, followers, and what they want to learn about.

I run a social media & technology blog for example, therefore I would think those that follow me have an interest in social media and technology. My blog posts are all related to these topics, and therefore those that follow me will hopefully become engaged and comment and share my thoughts and ideas. We may even exchange ideas, and keep the conversation going. I always love to learn new things, and maybe someone reading a post has some insight into the post, I would hope they would share that with me and those that also read it. Each of my followers share a common interest with me, and I like to keep my posts specific to these interests. If I started jumping around on topics, posting about Justin Bieber and his naked photo in front of his grandma, I’d maybe get a few likes, but I’m not getting the engagement out of my audience that I want. In order for you to gain AND retain(yes I ryhmed) followers and likers, you have to stick to your topics you know. Your followers will come to expect posts, and will keep coming back for more. You have to keep your content fresh, but also relevant. Once again, Justin Bieber naked in front of his grandma, creepy, weird and clearly not relevant to my blog, I’d assume I would lose some of my followers and gain some negative feedback from that.

I also would like to mention that I am interested in social media and tech myself, I am knowledgable about it and study it. I don’t study the science behind pop star PR stunts, and therefore won’t write about them, although that probably would be fascinating. To be successful, one must have a vested interest in the topics they write about, or the ideas and posts won’t come about properly and your mass following will never come to fruition.

If you follow these simple rule of consistency and interest, you’ll be on the path to mass followings! Happy blogging everyone!

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Red Bull-The pinnacle of social media marketing

If you’re looking to start promoting your company online, and need some advice or need some inspiration, look at Red Bull’s Youtube channel!

Now yes they’re a massive multi-million dollar corporation that has their own production company, but they still have to promote it. I have probably watched 3/4 of the videos on the channel, and each one is inspiring and awesome. The videos all follow famous athletes in their respected fields as they go about their careers. You’ll just see the dueling bulls in the background in every other shot just so you don’t forget what they’re trying to sell. The point is, RedBull has used the YouTube medium to it’s fullest extent. They understand that a drink on it’s own is kinda boring, but when combining they’re name with any extreme sport that must be seen to understand, is a winning combination.

The company has become synonymous with extreme sports, and has taken a very visual social media marketing medium, to enhance it’s image. This is probably the best use of a social media medium for a company in my opinion.

Take a look, watch some videos, and tell me what you think?

Want more followers?

About five years ago if someone asked me what social media was…well I would know because I studied it in school. That’s not the point though, as most wouldn’t be familiar with Twitter, Instagram didn’t exist and Facebook was meant for stalking your high-school crush. These mediums are now instrumental in any company’s marketing strategy as they know how important they are to reaching the hoi polloi today.  They are important in two ways;

1) They get the message across to their audience

2) The barrier between business and consumer is broken down, and a two way interaction has been created

This second point is the focus of my blog post. Social Media is not just another way to sell a pair of shoes or advertise your hotel. It’s a voice to your consumer and allows for interaction. For example, if you look at some of the biggest companies on Twitter you can see they know what they’re doing. Starbucks has over four million followers, Jet Blue has close to 1.8 million followers. What these companies also have in common is that they follow close to 100,000 accounts as well! Which means they’re not only speaking to the audience, they’re also listening! This is my mind is the most important part, to be successful in social media, you have to BE SOCIAL! Interact with your followers, reply to them, don’t just speak at them! These companies mentioned above, interact with their followers and therefore are successful in the realm of social media. To show you the other side of this, look at Samsung Mobile. They have over four millions followers as well, yet they follow less than 300 hundred accounts. This to me says they’re not taking part in the real idea of social media, instead using Twitter as a tool to sell not interact.
When I took over my twitter account for my hotel chain from the previous person, they said to me, in order to grow you must do more than just tweet, you must be social. They also explained that I can’t become a follow bot. I can’t just follow anyone I see in order to get them to follow back. Maybe I can gain followers that way, but I’m not getting the right followers! Its very important to follow those that influence you, take part in conversations, and be active in order to grow your online presence. If you become a follow bot, and gain a ton of followers, you look good on paper. What happens when you send out a tweet about something specific you like or a new product your company is announcing. You’re speaking to an audience that is not engaged, your audience isn’t interested in your product, they like the big numbers they see on twitter instead. Therefore, since your audience isn’t engaged, you’re not going to create conversation, and therefore failing in the overall goal of being on social media in the first place!

Remember to be active, engaging, fun, and creative and you’ll become the next Lady Gaga of Twitter! (39 million followers-and she follows me!)

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