2013: A Content Odyssey

If 2012 has left you slightly baffled about your marketing strategy and how social media fits in, then you’re not alone. Many small businesses will need to take stock and look at how they move forward in 2013 and where their time and efforts are best spent. However scary the modern marketing world may seem, if you break it down, these new elements are all simply channels through which you can, more easily than ever before, reach your target customers. Email was new once, remember? The difficult bit is creating the right content to put through these channels which will engage your targets and ultimately get them to spend their money with you.

For websites, content is always important and with developments in search engine technologies, such as Google Panda which lowers the rank of both low-quality sites and big user-contributed sites (e.g. eHow.com), quality content is a top priority. Job roles that didn’t exist two years ago will become commonplace, such as Content Developers/Editors, Web Copywriters, Community Managers and Brand Journalists. Small businesses should look to engage these skills from the creative services community to help them ride this next wave of marketing activity. There’s no need to employ an entire agency when one great freelancer will do.

Going mobile is also proving its worth as a business model. Whether this means optimising your current website and applications for mobile devices; enabling your workforce to work from anywhere; or indeed if your business model could work in its entirety as a mobile operation, is worth pondering over a pint. Perhaps a mobile application itself offers a better opportunity to expand your reach, either through app development, sponsorship or purchase. Consumers are app-crazy, downloading everything from apps that let users play games or read the news to those that enable mobile shopping or access to how-to advice. The key is to build apps consumers would be interested in or find enjoyable and market them appropriately. The existing and forecast statistics about mobile application downloads, revenue and developer take home figures make for eye-opening reading. So, where will 2013 and beyond take you and your company’s marketing strategy?

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Most popular tweet ever: The Obama Hug-o-Rama

Yes that’s right people, as of 8:20 GMT this morning, politicians are officially more popular that popstars. According to The Telegraph, newly re-elected US President Barack Obama’s tweet (pictured below) had 507,745 retweets and had been favourited 173,028 times, making it the most popular tweet ever, topping a message from singer Justin Bieber (who?). As you can see when I captured the image, these numbers have increased again. My questions are: How high will these numbers get? Will social media be credited as winning the entire presidential campaign for Obama? If more people voted in this election, will this be put down to the accessibility and persuasive nature of social media? I don’t have the answers, but I bet I will have them in about 48 hours! Gotta love the speed!

mo and bo

The Obama Hug-o-Rama

Endorse my boxes!

I’m starting to enjoy LinkedIn again. I know it’s vital and a fantastic tool, but sometimes I get bored and want to play on something else. Why am I getting back into it? Well, just maybe it’s drawing me in again thanks to the quick and easy endorsement tick-boxes that LinkedIn has introduced. I’m not convinced it’s the right thing to do for the professional platform in the long term, but what it has done is made me open LinkedIn nearly everyday, whereas previously I’ve been a bit sporadic.

Despite my reservations, the feature gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when someone who knows I can perform these skills pats me on the back virtually. I then in turn want to pass this feeling on to others. It’s a bit like ‘poke’ of ye olde Facebook days in its fun approach to what can be a daunting task if you’re not a great writer or gushing recommender. Maybe you know someone can do the task and do it well and you want to commend them for it, but you may never have employed their services.

Perhaps the endorsement feature’s value lies more in the personal relationship side of LinkedIn rather than in providing new business support which is what you get from a professionally written recommendation. I’m sitting on the fence at the moment as to whether it will truly devalue the more traditional recommendation and I’ll continue to endorse those that I know can do things well until such times as LinkedIn changes. So for now, here’s to sharing the warm and fuzzy feeling and thanks to those who bring a smile to my face whenever anyone endorses my boxes!

Wooaaahhhhhh Bodyform…

It’s a fine line between getting social media right and oh so terribly wrong. I think that Bodyform’s marketing team got the tone, approach and medium absolutely spot on with it’s response to a disillusioned male Facebooker. Bodyform could’ve responded in writing, but to get the humourous tone across in exactly the right way so as not to appear negative or nasty, it had to be done with video (and a good actress). With 135,000 plus views in just one day and a joke that will stand the test of time, I’m pretty sure Bodyform will more get more than a penny’s worth from this social media triumph.

The Prezi Virgin: update

My post as TigerSteph on the TigerNash site about the presentation I gave on 19 September can be found here. I won’t repeat myself, but I did have a great time and would love the chance to do it again. What I do want to say is how I got on with using Prezi.com, following my post that I was going to trial it.

Firstly, I’ve come to the horrific realisation that I’ve hit ‘that age’ where technology has annoyed me because I didn’t get the hang of it staight away, so I thought it was a waste of time and headed back to my Microsoft safe haven of PowerPoint. A week or so later, I came to my second realisation that I am older, wiser and there is more in my brain, hence it takes longer to learn things and having kids is my excuse for less active cells anyway, so I should give it another go.

I would love to say that I enjoyed the experience, but honestly I much prefer being shown how to use things in person rather than learning online, that’s just how I am. The video tutorials for Prezi were really good though and if I had the time, I reckon I could get the hang of it and make some pretty nice presentations. Depending on the type of account you create with Prezi, it allows you to store, share, edit and publish your canvas creations.

Considering I’m a PC rather than a Mac chick (I think Mac users will feel a more natural affinity with Prezi), I did manage to import my existing PowerPoint presentation and make it a little more funky than your average bear (yey me!), but given more time I would like to create something from scratch in Prezi. So for those who would like to see my first attempt, have a butcher’s here and if you want to make your own, then set aside some time, take a deep breath and give it a go!

  

Fastest Formula One Tweet Removed

This weekend’s Spa Grand Prix saw some awesome racing as well as huge frustration, penalties and pain. Against the backdrop of Jensen Button’s immense pole lap and race winning pace, McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton seems to have swept the headlines with his Twitter antics again.

Lewis got into hot water after tweeting confidential information with a picture of his team’s telemetry data from qualifying. Cue the media frenzy, speculation about Lewis’ employability as he’s yet to sign a contract for next year, and McLaren’s PR machine hitting overdrive. The tweeted pic was quickly taken down by Lewis under instruction from McLaren, but he also adjusted some earlier tweets that were a little beyond the corporate barrier with reference to bad language and team issues.

As a motor racer’s daughter, I understand how important telemetry data is and, even at club racing level, we keep a good veil of mystery in the pits and paddock to ensure fun and fair competition. I cannot condone Lewis’ actions in sharing team data with the world, but I can understand his ‘human’ side and wanting to be honest and share his feelings with his fans and followers: he is, before anything else, a racing driver. I appreciate people who are passionate about their jobs. Surely we’d all like to be like that?

Any brand worth their salt will have a strong Social Media Policy in place and will work hard to ensure all staff adhere to it to maintain and improve the company’s reputation. On the flip side, Twitter works because it’s about being human and engaging with others. Therein lies the rub. If you’re representing a brand or corporate identity where big monies are at stake, then you need to tow the line with what you can and cannot say. Don’t you…?

 

A little Prezi…

Last month, I blogged about this amazing iPad presentation and I’ve watch the video for inspiration about three more times since then. I love it and, as I’ve got a presentation to do in a few weeks, I wondered how I could pep it up with just me and not an iPad in sight. So, I’ve turned my attentions to the zoomable canvas Prezi for a more visually captivating approach.

Now, I’ve only had a quick look at the tutorials as yet, but feel pretty confident of being able to make something out of my normal PowerPoint presentation. I’ll get back to you in a week or so with my progress.