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By Daniel Hunter
53% of companies currently use social media as a marketing tool, but half of these are being ad hoc in their approach conceding they don’t have asocial media strategy at all, according to a new report released today (Wednesday).
The report, ‘Channel Vision,’ put together by design, print and marketing specialists Catalogues 4 Business, questioned 123 organisations within the UK, asking them a number of questions around their current and future business and marketing plans.
Looking ahead at the next 12 months, many of the companies interviewed will be introducing a number of new tools to their marketing mix, with social media and digital marketing topping the list. Just over a third (36%) are adding it to their marketing activities this year, with a fifth (19%) looking to add a website with e-commerce functionality for the first time.
“It’s great to see so many companies embracing social media and digital marketing,” Ian Simpson, Managing Director at Catalogues4Business commented.
“It can be a very powerful tool, but as with most marketing activities, there must be a strategy in place, and some joined up thinking. This will ensure each marketing activity is working with each other and working to the max. Otherwise you can quickly find you’ve wasted a lot of time, and money, and not got much to show for it.”
When asked what delivers sales at the moment, the companies interviewed said their top three sale driving tools were their e-commerce website, email marketing, and their catalogue. However 13% said they don’t have a catalogue because their customers prefer using the net.
“It’s strange to hear companies say they don’t need a catalogue, because their customers only shop online,” Simpson added.
“Yet it is clearly a powerful sales tool, making the top three of sales drivers listed
by those interviewed. If a business has products or services that it sells online it is likely to be able to deploy a catalogue. Consumers are driven to websites via catalogues and direct mail. It’s about integrating the two, offline and online tactics, so that consumers are reached through all mediums and channels.
“As the web has grown, competition for a place within it has become ferocious. Ad word and affiliate programs have developed into an industry in their own right and, combined with all the other e-based marketing activity, represent a potential significant marketing spend, yet still the single biggest thing businesses can do to drive traffic to their web site is targeted direct marketing, through mailing catalogues.
“Without doubt, many saw the relentless rise of the web and internet marketing as the death knell for paper catalogues and other mailings. In truth, they should lie as uneasy bedfellows — they are at opposite ends of the technological scale; the old dependable versus the wiz kid! But it is clear they each have their place and they can learn from each other.”
The interviewees from the report were drawn from businesses, both consumer and business-facing, in a real mix of sectors. Many of those interviewed were small and medium-sized enterprises, but the report also captured the views of some of the most significant players. One in ten had a £50 million plus turnover and 6% have annual sales exceeding £100 million.
But the presence of strategy still correlates to a lot of positives, including satisfaction. Relationship between social media results and strategy for Des Moines organizations. So, let’s hear from you: Do you think expectations are …
Social media success requires strategy?
Let’s say you have a new product or service. Let’s also say that you’ve seen competitors enjoy success using social media to launch a similar product or service. You know yours is better, so you know that social media (used properly) would further see you outshine your competitors. So, easy, right? You just set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account, maybe a video sharing channel and off you go.
Stop. Back up a little. Have you asked yourself the right questions before you start?
- Have you thought strategy?
- Have you carried out a social media audit?
- Have you set measurements in place?
- Have you determined where you’ll be and who’ll be there for you?
- Have you set aside the right budget?
- Will you be using internal expertise or outsourcing?
- Do you have to build anything?
These are just some of the immediate questions you need to be asking before even starting. Getting the answers is going to take man hours. Lots of man hours. Multiply that by the payscale of the person/people doing that research and your costs are already starting.
Restaurants Are Hungry for Your Business; Social Media is Their Platter
Posted by Sacramento Press
Let’s face it; those of us that use social networking sites are pretty much addicted. Whether you are connected through Facebook or Twitter—or both—you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on around town. Businesses that have been paying attention for the past two plus years are aware of this phenomenon and have leveraged social media to broaden their reach to potential customers. Restaurateurs are no different.
On Tuesday, the Social Media Club, Sacramento (@SMCSac) hosted the “Dining Social: Restaurants & Social Media” at The Urban Hive in midtown to discuss how local restaurants are using social media and the impact it has had on their business. Ashlee Gadd (@AshleeGadd), PR Manager for The Citizen Hotel and Grange, moderated the panel which included local restaurateurs, social media managers, and a representative from Yelp,
The discussion got off to a speedy start exploring which platforms each panelist mostly used, and the consensus was without surprise, Twitter and Facebook. The major differences panelists found in using these two social networks is that with Facebook, most fans have actually been to the restaurant and show more of a true consumer following, while many Twitter followers have never been to the restaurant but may be interested in upcoming events or specials. Karyn Wong, owner of Chick-fil-A in Arden Fair (@cfaArdenFair) mentioned that they have had a positive reaction by using deals on Foursquare. Although not every restaurant uses the deals, many of the panelists agreed that Foursquare has had a positive impact on their business.
When the topic of half off/daily deals arose, Andrea Lepore, co-owner of Hot Italian (@HotItalianPizza) was quick to point out that they have never used a daily deal, and don’t plan to. Some feel it devalues the image of the restaurant while others feel it gets the word out about the business. When addressing how social media played a role in each company’s overall marketing strategy, Gina Funk Nelson, Social Media Manager for Selland Group, which includes Selland’s Market-Cafe, Ella Dining & Bar and The Kitchen Restaurant (@SellandFamily), said they have pulled back on radio advertisements and other traditional marketing strategies due to the long term outreach and engagement strategy of social media. Other panelists have done the same. While balance is still needed between multiple channels, social media may seem to have the upper hand.
While not everyone may use Yelp to rate and review their dining experience, there are many Sacramentans that use it on a regular basis. Mike Costello, owner of the recently closed Brew It Up (@brewitup_sacto) noted that reviews appeared to only be written by those who had an extreme positive or negative experience, but not those in between. Alex Lane, Sacramento Community Manager for Yelp (@yelpsacramento), said that 83% of reviews are positive and the negative reviews are a reflection of overselling and bad experiences. A way to combat those negative reviews is for the restaurants to respond and examine the situation to see if it can be resolved and maybe even turn out a new positive review. While it’s difficult to imagine a restaurant could only have one type of review, most of the panelists agreed that every review should be used as potentially constructive criticism, and not be taken personally. Whether that’s actually done, is up to the restaurant.
Mona Romero, Social Media Director of The Sacramento Press (@SacramentoPress) said that Facebook ads have proved beneficial for the restaurants she works with. She recommends paying the minimum ad fee in the beginning and see where it gets you adjusting, if needed. She suggested using Google Alerts and the Twitter search bar to see what consumers are saying about your restaurant.
There is no doubt that operating a restaurant in a down economy can be difficult—and quite frustrating. What these local Sacramento restaurateurs have taught us is that connecting with the community through social media can not only increase sales, but it can build relationships as well. Social media is not an exact science and it does take time and finesse to really leverage it, but it can be extremely beneficial nonetheless.
In the traditional Social Media Club Sacramento fashion, panelists and attendees continued the conversation after the moderated discussion ended, enjoying food and wine from local businesses. David Cole from James David Cellars (@jamesdavidwine) poured wine and Chick-Fil-A and Hot Italian supplied the appetizers.
The next Social Media Club event will be on September 13th discussing LinkedIn for Business held at Drexel University.
If you would like to learn more about social media and its impact on various topics and industries, visit the Sacramento Social Media Club on Facebook or Twitter.
Why chefs should start loving “apps”
posted by Chefs Collaborative
AUGUST 17TH, 2011, 10:20 AM
Lynne Viera, founder of Rival Marketing and how2heroes, recently wrote about the importance of going beyond a website on Zester Daily. “The digital world offers restaurants a golden opportunity to build their brand and differentiate themselves,” she says. “They can make us feel like an integral part of the equation, instead of just another paying customer.”
These days, people expect to be able to “like” their favorite restaurant on Facebook or “check-in” during their lunch break. And what’s more—they want to do it all from their cellphones.
Marcus Samuelsson recently featured an article on his site, “How Social Media is Changing the Food World,” by Liz McCarthy. “I can take a snapshot of what I’m eating using my iPhone, upload it instantly using the Twitter app, and maybe add a hashtag (#tacos and #beer, anyone?) to guide the rest of Twitterverse to my Tweet,” she wrote.
And she isn’t the only one. Viera wrote, “Chef Brian Poe of Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake in Boston says Twitter followers helped him develop the restaurant’s signature Cinnamon Sugar Infused Vanilla Homemade Ice Cream.”
Chef Michael Leviton of Area Four takes full advantage of social media tools. He recently posted on Facebook about a “Shark Week” themed cocktail, adding a picture and an enticing description. Chef Leviton also posted the news on Twitter, reaching a second audience of followers. By using Twitter as another medium, he was able to contribute to the “Shark Week” trend. The cocktail’s pop culture relevance was a great way to advertise a hot menu item and reel in the customers.
Jumping feet first into Twitterverse can be overwhelming; but chefs now have so many options when it comes to reaching out to their clientele. Articles like Viera’s offer user-friendly tips, and self-proclaimed social media experts provide open forums for advice and information. Chris Tompkins, creator of The Social Media Chef, is a fantastic resource for chefs looking to improve (or initiate) their communication skills.
So why exactly should you jump on the media band wagon? It may be a new-age approach, but the goal is the same as it ever was: More exposure leads to more butts in seats, so use the tools at your disposal.
To get you started, here are some basic guidelines:
- To make the most out of social media, it’s important to use a combination of channels. Creating a Twitter account, linking your Facebook page to your restaurant’s website, and starting a blog are all ways to maximize the opportunities given by social media tools.
- Customers need to feel connected to your business, so capitalize on the free publicity as a way to build on that connection.
- Update regularly. It is essential to not only use these tools, but to update them on a consistent basis.
- Whether it’s a funny photo from the restaurant, a new recipe or product, or an invitation to join you for dinner, diners want remain “in the know.”
- Social media a good way to maintain a loyal customer base while catching the attention of first-timers.
Latest in Small Business Social Media Trends
The latest in small business social media trends shows moves that will transform the way we all market our businesses and network in the small business community. How do you use social media to market your small business and how do you see that evolving in the future? Leave your comments below:
Social Media Rules
Are you using social media etiquette? You know that social media is important to your small business, but are you engaging correctly with others in social communities? Remember that failing to show etiquette when engaging with others via social media can damage your business and your brand. FamousBloggers
What can social media truly teach us about customers? We all know that one of the benefits of social media is learning about our customers and their reaction to our business, good and bad. But how much can we truly learn about the sentiments of others from Twitter and Facebook? Small Business Trends contributor Pierre DeBois has a reality check. AllAnalytics.com
Peer marketing may change social media forever. It may change the way that businesses market in just about every other channel, too. For a long time, marketers have known the importance of peer influence on customers. But a peer influence model focuses on harnessing these forces as never before including in the world of social media. gigaom
Google Plus gets games. The announcement that the search engine giant is adding games to its new social network, spawned a response from arch rival Facebook which plans an upgrade to its own gaming features. The question for serious business users on both social media platforms: How does this impact the use of these channels for marketing, networking and communications? What do you think? WSJ
News & Issues
Are the big social sites a danger for your privacy? Just because your a small business owner using social media for marketing and networking purposes doesn’t mean you’ve given up your right to privacy. Concerns over privacy issues connected to Facebook are nothing new but recently another social network has been under fire and one with even closer ties to the business community. WSJ
Criticisms of social media unfounded. Another place social media has unfortunately been in the spotlight lately is in discussions over its role in recent riots in the UK. But such discussions, and the suggestion that social channels should actually be shut down during periods of unrest, ignore all the good social media has made possible and its importance to small businesses in these communities as they struggle to rebuild. CNN
Want to know the ROI of social media? It’s a common question these days. Businesses are beginning to understand the importance of social media in developing a strong brand message. But social media takes time and effort meaning, even if the Websites themselves are free, there is cost to implementation. Wahine Media
How to get started. So you’ve made the decision to move ahead with a social media campaign for your business. But where do you begin? Social media marketing, like everything in your business, should be implemented systematically. Here are some suggestions about how to get started on a social media campaign and how to implement the proper steps. Search Engine Optimization Journal
A primer on social media spam. Though social media is certainly a great way of marketing your small business online, the method you use in promoting your brand is extremely important. As we shared near the beginning of this roundup, there is an etiquette to this form of communication and one of the major taboos is spamming. The Marketing M8 Blog
Getting real about social media. Probably the biggest problem with social media is the perpetuation of myths about it, some of them generated by those with a vested interest in the field. While many of the tips you may hear for getting started with social media might have their merit, few are absolutes. It’s important to separate fact from myth here. Forbes