Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Integrating Mobile and Social Media Efforts

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

There is no doubt that mobile devices and social networks are changing the way people communicate. The shift is happening fast… and it continues to grow. When it comes to marketing your business, are you taking steps to adjust to that shift?

Mobile + Social Integration

Your audience is using their mobile devices. A lot. And many of them are using those mobile devices to update their social networking profiles.

They are using their phones to Tweet, post photos on their Facebook page, scroll through LinkedIn status updates, check-in to locations, and more. That means they are using social media on the go. And if you’re not paying attention to those actions with mobile marketing efforts of your own, you’re missing out.

If you’ve heard me speak before, you know that I always say this — marketing success starts with a plan.

Your mobile marketing action plan should certainly integrate your social media efforts. But it’s easy to overdo it – or perhaps even “under-do” it and lose out on creating some great impact with your brand.

Identify Your Target Audience

The first thing you need to figure out is who you are sending your messages to. Is your audience the typical mobile device user? Whether your audience is male, female, or both, you’re pretty well covered, as the gender split between mobile web users is almost 50-50.

But are they using social media? If your audience resides somewhere in the range of 18-44 years old, then you’re golden. More than half of mobile device users who use social media fall into that age range.

Determine Your Content Posting Schedule

It’s imperative you don’t get obnoxious with your social media and mobile marketing activities.

I love social media! If you’ve ever seen my Twitter page, you know that I tweet a lot. But the frequency that I post may not be ideal for you to do on your Twitter profile — or more importantly, it might be too much for your target audience. It’s vital to frequently measure your social media efforts.

Are  you seeing a drop-off in followers? Are you seeing in a drop-off in click-throughs on your links or Retweets on your posts? If so, then that means it’s certainly time to reconsider the details inside of your social media posting strategy.

Also, as the number of people using mobile devices to browse social networks continues to rise, we must recognize that we nay even have less time than before to catch someone’s attention with our posts. This may mean that we have to work even harder to find, create, and share content that is relevant and attention-grabbing.

Share Content to Build Relationships

Every single marketing action your company takes should be well thought out and planned for, but it certainly shouldn’t scream: Warning – marketing tactic ahead!

One of the ideas behind social media is relationship building. At some point in your life, it’s likely you’ve heard the phrase, “sharing is caring.” And that’s sort of how you should think of your social media endeavors. You are sharing information. You’re not selling with every tweet, post, or status update.

Social media done right is about building relationships with your current customers and attracting new ones. And you can’t do that if your social media is all about you and what you sell.

Using Location-Based Efforts with Mobile

Don’t forget to think about how you can leverage location-based social media with your mobile marketing efforts.

Does it make sense to encourage your audience to check-in with something like Foursquare or Facebook when they visit your business? To encourage people to do that, think of ways to reward some of those interactions with a special discount or coupon.

If it’s a fit for your company, location check-ins can be a great way to generate word-of-mouth marketing and awareness of your business.

Finding the Right Balance

Just as with many things in life, your social media marketing and mobile marketing efforts should strike a nice balance. A QR code may point to your Facebook page or even a specific Facebook post. Perhaps it encourages the mobile user to upload and post a photo to Facebook.

Think outside the box about how you can be a presence via social media, while not becoming a nuisance to those mobile users. Keep the frequency in check, and keep the messages from being too strong or blatant in terms of a sales pitch.

That way, you can deliver an effective message across two of the hottest channels in the marketing world today.

Opportunities for Service Providers: A Few Observations from DMA 2011

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Recently, I had the chance to spend some time at the DMA 2011 conference in Boston. While I absolutely enjoyed my time at Graph Expo, I was excited to attend a show that primarily consisted of marketing agencies and in-house marketers. I was looking forward to seeing what topics were trending, what challenges were being hotly discussed, and what technologies and channels were being debated.

It’s certainly very important for all of us that are associated to the printing industry to understand what marketers are thinking and talking about. Thus, I’d like to share some of my observations from DMA 2011. I hope that you find them helpful!

1. Marketers are absolutely in need of integrated solutions:

One theme that seemed to exist in many of the conference sessions was the need to break down silos and to integrate marketing efforts. As more and more marketers move to reach their customers and prospects through multiple channels, many of them have fallen into the trouble of storing and managing multiple databases. Those databases might store conflicting or simply varying bits of information about their contacts. This harms a marketer’s need to try to communicate with their audience in real-time. It also prevents a marketer from truly delivering one-to-one and relevant messages.

Thus, service providers (especially those that are committed to offering marketing services through multiple channels as opposed to only print, mail, or fulfillment) have a tremendous opportunity to promote and offer solutions of that nature to their customers to help them solve those challenges.

2. The Primary Discussion was Digital — But Print Still Has a Place in the Marketing Mix!:

I won’t lie – many of the discussions at DMA 2011 centered around online marketing and other digital marketing initiatives. But there were still a number of great case studies shared that involved print and direct mail components. Some of the main reasons why I heard marketers share why they still chose print as a channel included:

  • It is tangible.
  • It can be personalized.
  • It can create a deeper emotional impact.
  • It can be a very effective way to drive people to online content.

3. When it comes to social networks, businesses have a lot to learn:

Judging by the attendance of various sessions, many companies are still striving to learn how to effectively use social networks in the B-to-B space. Here were a few of the tips that I heard that I’d like to share:

  • Twitter’s search features can be one of the most powerful websites for companies to utilize. It enables us to really listen to what’s on the minds of customers and prospects.
  • Facebook’s dominance in the social networking space is truly astounding — thus, we most likely all need to invest more resources there. They have 800 million users! Nearly half of them log in each day.  30 billion pieces of content are shared there each month! Those numbers clearly dwarf the activity that other social networks can share. With that much volume, it’s certain that some of the content being shared and discussed has to do with companies and products. In order to capitalize on the opportunities there, business of all shapes and sizes must be on Facebook too.
  • People love video. It’s true. Video is being used more and more by marketing agencies and other companies to tell their stories. I truly think that many service providers can utilize video to do the same thing

4. Mobile and QR Codes Were Huge… and Growing:

There were a ton of QR Codes at the conference. They were on posters, signs, collateral, and clothes. While that is a good sign to me when it comes to printing, I also noticed that most of the QR Codes were not used 100% properly.

  • Primarily, most of them seemed to point to non-mobile websites. I truly think that there is a tremendous opportunity for service providers to grow their business by doing more than just providing or printing the QR Code; but rather, to also offer the building and hosting of the mobile website or mobile landing page.

Part VIII: Social Networking’s Role

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Note: This is Part 8 of a 9-Part series based on the book “Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry”

Social networking is certainly one of my favorite passions. I truly believe that it can help print, mail, fulfillment, and marketing services providers in many different areas — including marketing, sales, customer support, and HR. However, many companies still primarily view channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as ways to simply distribute press releases.

While there certainly is a place for using social networking channels for distributing news, they can absolutely help companies in other areas.

Here are 3 ways that your company may be able to find success through social networks:

  • To Provide Customer Support:We have probably all done it by now. Maybe it was to an airline or a restaurant. Perhaps it was to a manufacturer or retail store. For one reason or another, the company treated us in a way that we didn’t appreciate. Thus, we turned to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter to express our complaint to others. While it might simply feel good to let out some steam, don’t we feel much better if the company does something to react to our public grievance?The same thing could be happening to your business right now. Someone could be displeased with a print job, the time it takes to get a call back from a sales rep, or the lack of information on your website. If those folks complain on social networks, you certainly may cringe. But at least you’ll have the opportunity to know about the complaint and then address it!

    How can you know if someone’s complaining about your business online? There are absolutely tools and services that can help you.  For example, you could use Google Alerts to set up notifications for your company name. You could use Twitter’s search feature. Or you could partner with a 3rd-party.

    No matter what the case, social networks give you the ability to listen to what people are saying and then quickly take action to provide some sort of customer support to them.

    Of course, social networks also allow you to proactively provide customer support. Through your social networking accounts, you could provide links to how-to-guides that provide suggestions and best practices for ordering a print job. You could provide links to other resources and case studies that may inspire a customer or prospect to do more business with you.

    If your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, then you should absolutely be there to provide support when they need it.


  • For Finding Leads:This one may sound obvious, but I do not believe that companies are using social networks enough to actively find and connect with leads.One way that this can be done is to search Twitter for terms and phrases that may indicate that someone needs help with a print job. While you certainly could search for variations of the word “print”, you also could look at companies that are exhibiting at upcoming trade shows or hosting seminars. No doubt, they may have printing needs. Social networks may allow you to quickly connect with them.

    Also, LinkedIn offers plenty of opportunities for sales reps to engage with potential prospects across the verticals that they may sell to. If you take the initiative to join and contribute to the Groups that your target audience participates in, you may increase the chances that they’ll turn to you when they need your services.

  • For Finding & Recruiting New Employees: When a printer is transforming their business to offer additional marketing services, they may recognize the need to find and invest in employees that may have slightly different skill-sets than they’ve looked for in the past. You may need someone that has website design skills, that can write prolifically, or that has a passion for social networking! One way to find these people is via social networks.It’s fairly easy to search for students or recent graduates from schools that traditionally produce people that are interested in the graphic arts and printing communities. Once you find them, you may be able to find out what other passions or talents they may have, and then you’ll have the opportunity to engage them in possible employment discussions.

These are just a few of the ways that companies could use social networking to improve their business. If you’ve had any success with these, I’d love to hear about it!

To learn more about my book, “Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry”, visit  my book’s website.

First Impressions of Google+

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

At the end of June, search giant Google unveiled its new social networking site, Google+ (phonetically pronounced “Google Plus”). Google+ is the company’s attempt, albeit not its first, to create a social network that rivals dominant services like Facebook and Twitter. Google is trying to differentiate itself from those networks by providing robust tools for managing friends & followers and the type of content that you can share with them. This control is accomplished through a mechanism called Circles, where contacts can be categorized as “Friends”, “Acquaintances”, and whatever other custom categories you’d like to create. When you post messages or share content like photos, links, and videos, you can choose which Circles can view that content.

There are two other primary functions of Google+ that are new: Hangouts and Sparks. Hangouts is a group video chat tool that allows up to ten people at a time to have a conversation. We tried it out at the InfoTrends office last week and it is indeed a pretty cool experience. Also, if you don’t have a webcam handy (like myself), you can still participate in a Hangout via audio. Just one week after Google+ was announced, Facebook announced a partnership with Skype that enabled one-on-one video chat within the Facebook network. The general reaction has been that Google has a leg up due to the group functionality (which can only be enabled in Skype through a paid “Premium” subscription). Sparks is essentially a news feed you can add to Google+ based on your interests. If you find an interesting piece of news or content in your feed, you can instantly share it with your Google+ friends. It has been rumored that Google will integrate and rebrand its blogging service, Blogger, and its photo hosting/sharing service, Picasa, into Google+ in the near future.

Previously, Google launched a network called orkut, which is still in operation and is popular in India and Brazil. In addition, the company tried its luck with social collaboration and messaging through its Google Wave tool, but failed to gain widespread traction. The launch of Google Buzz in February 2010 was marred with privacy concerns when the company opened up Google users’ account information without warning or permission. Did Google learn from its past experiences with its new foray into the lucrative world of social networking?

For the most part, I think it has, and here’s why:

  • Testing and Feedback: When Google+ launched, it was made available to Google employees and a very limited amount of journalists and analysts, with the intent of ensuring that proper, controlled testing was conducted before rolling it out to the masses. Over the past few weeks, the company has opened up invites for longer periods of time, enabling it to quickly amass over 10 million users, which speaks to the exponential inertia of the social Web.
  • Content Control: Google+ is certainly not the same as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other specific social network due to the control it provides over how content is shared. Nevertheless, I think it does take some core elements from existing social networks and implements them in a unique way. There are no such things as friend requests; anyone can add you to their Circles, just like anyone can follow you on Twitter (if you have a public account) at will. Like Facebook and LinkedIn, there is a rich stream of content and information that you can view; Circles act like Twitter’s List feature, enabling you to view this information based on the way you categorize your friends.
  • Preemptive Release of +1: At the end of March this year, Google released “+1″, its version of the Facebook “Like” button or the Twitter “Retweet” button. The button originally premiered in Google’s search results as a way to recommend content and make search results more relevant. In June, +1 was made available to the entire Web, enabling sites to implement a +1 button on all content for sharing purposes. The button has popped up on sites like The Huffington Post, Reuters, Mashable, and many others. The roll-out of +1 before launching Google+ was a smart move as it provides users with an instant way of sharing content on the network.

The Google+ interface is very clean; vacant of the targeted ads that exist across the social network landscape. Expect that to change fairly quickly. Google plans to soon offer brands their own tools to create a Google+ presence, which will likely rival Facebook Pages. Additionally, there’s no doubt that, over time, Google will implement contextual, targeted advertising in Google+. After all, it was calculated that it cost Google close to $600 million to build its social network. As we’ve seen, every social network needs a business model at some point or another, and advertising seems to be a winning route to take in most cases.

I’m a big fan of social networking via mobile devices, so when the Google+ iPhone app is finally approved for the App Store, I will likely become much more active on the site. I’ve already connected with a number of folks from the printing industry via Google+, and hope to see many more (you can connect with me on Google+ here).

With all the questions and mystique that seems to still exist around social networking, my suggestion is always to try it out and get a feel for it. Google+ has gained a lot of traction in a short amount of time, in part because I think it does indeed have some differentiating factors when compared to other networks. The key question will be whether the hype can be sustained. There are only so many hours in the day, and there needs to be clear value and a continually evolving platform to keep peoples’ attention. While it remains to be seen if that will happen, Google is certainly off to a good start.

Using Social Media to Gain Customer Insight: Pros and Cons

Friday, May 6th, 2011

As MSPs (marketing services providers), printers need to encourage their customers to move into social media and must be prepared to help them implement it, too. But social media isn’t a one-way street to success. There can be surprises and drawbacks, too. Do you know what they are?

At its most basic, social media marketing costs nothing but your time. When handled well, you and your clients can reap tremendous results, especially if the campaign goes viral. I think of The Ace Group’s Calvin Klein QR code campaign in which 28% of the seven-figure hits to the mobisite were from Facebook and Twitter. I also think of a Dunkin’ Donuts SMS campaign in which 17% of recipients forwarded the offer to a friend.

In social media, viral is king. But viral isn’t always a good thing. Recently, I came upon something interesting on SunChips’ Facebook page that reminded me of one of the risks.

As you may know, SunChips introduced a 100% compostable bag last year. It was a huge hit and got national media attention, but the bag was so noisy that it was deafening. In fact, social media ultimately caused the demise of the bag: an explosion in the blogosphere, ubiquitous YouTube videos with ear-ringing audio, and mass Twitter and Facebook wall postings (so much for concern about the environment being greater than personal convenience!). The bag was pulled from the market.

A new, quieter bag introduced earlier this year. I decided to go to SunChips’ Facebook page to see what people were posting about it. There I found something else SunChips probably isn’t very happy about — several discussions (right on SunChips’ own Facebook site) about whether the SunChips bags were biodegradable at all. What I discovered was that many people been attempting to compost the bags to no avail. There were quite a few angry SunChips fans who had attempted to compost their bags for months. Turns out, the “right” composting environment isn’t something nearly any household can do at all, and when these enthusiastic SunChips customers found this out, they were not happy. SunChips had likely set up these forums to be able to monitor consumer reaction to its products and serve as informal focus groups, but in the end, it exposed itself to charges of greenwashing and misleading the public.

So much for a happy social media ending.

As you encourage your customers to move into a multi-channel marketing environment that includes social media, remember that social media has both pros and cons. It offers tremendous opportunities and significant risks, too.  Helping your customers understand and balance those risks is what being an MSP is all about.

Location-Based Services: What’s it All About?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I’ve been seeing some great posts lately on the The Digital Nirvana that cover many different aspects of mobile marketing and technology, including mobile 2D barcodes, mobile content delivery, and more. In light of a number of very recent events, and to build upon my last post about data security, I wanted to cover one additional aspect of mobile marketing and technology: location-based services (sometimes referred to as LBS). In the context of mobile, location-based services leverage the GPS and wireless broadband capabilities in a smart mobile device to drive hyperlocal applications.

One of the more basic applications of LBS is the GPS feature on your smartphone. Perhaps you’ve taken advantage of some of the more advanced applications built on location-based services, as well; you may have checked in to your favorite restaurant on foursquare or Facebook Places, found a good bookstore close-by on Yelp, or even found the nearest post office on the USPS app. These apps use your device’s GPS to determine your exact location and then use your wireless broadband connection to deliver localized information or entertainment to your screen, all in the matter of a few seconds. This accomplishment is pretty astounding when you think about it, and in many situations, highly useful.

If you’re not familiar with the prior example of “checking in”, it is typically a function of a location-based game or social network where a user “checks in” or submits their coordinates to prompt a location-based action. In LBS games like MyTown, your check-ins earn you points to level-up in the game. In LBS social networks like Facebook Places and foursquare, the place you are visiting is shared with your friends, and you’re even able to redeem coupons or discounts from the businesses you frequent.

Especially in major metropolitan areas, local businesses use these types of offers through something like “foursquare for Business” to generate loyalty with their plugged-in customers. Foursquare also works with brands to do location-based marketing for hyperlocal engagement. Some vendors and service providers, including Konica Minolta and Harte-Hanks (respectively) used foursquare at recent trade shows to engage with attendees and bring traffic to their booth.

While there are lots of impressive, useful applications of location-based services and significant growth is expected in this area, location data privacy has been in the news quite prominently over the past twoo weeks. Researchers recently announced their finding that Apple’s iOS tracks location data and stores it in an unencrypted file on your mobile device, which you can actually visualize using a desktop application the researchers created. Apple stated that some of this information is shared to help improve user experience over time. Later in the week, it was revealed that Android phones also track location data in a similar type of on-device cache. Apparently Microsoft does the same thing with its newest Windows mobile OS, as well.

What do these findings mean? In the end, probably not much if you’re a law-abiding citizen (these location databases have been used in forensic analyses for law enforcement). Still, with recent data breaches on our minds, and the prospect that these location caches are not encrypted in any way can certainly stir up thoughts of how this location data can be used if someone steals your device, for instance. Many users are clearly concerned about their location data privacy. Companies throughout the entire mobile ecosystem, from carriers to device manufacturers to app developers, need to be transparent about what data is stored, how it is stored, how it is shared/used, and how it can be protected. By clearly communicating this information and giving users the option to easily opt-out of location services (and make sure that opt-out actually works), the stigma around location data can be lifted.

There is immense potential still to be reached with location-based services, especially for local businesses trying to connect with their customers in new ways and for brands that want to engage with people in a unique way. Through transparency, choice, and clear value, LBS can move from a privacy concern to an effective tool for marketers and consumers. Service providers that are getting more involved with digital media need to seriously analyze if and how LBS fits within your suite of services; the opportunity is still too large to ignore.

Facebook Basics for the Marketing Services Provider

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Are you “Facebooking” your prospects and customers? With today’s technology and the multiple ways you can interact with your prospects and get your message across, it’s important to take advantage of the more popular social media sites where your prospects and customers hang out. Did you know that Facebook has over 200 million active users? Don’t you think your current and future customers are among them? So stop putting off the inevitable and set up a Facebook business page so you can connect with prospects and customers, promote your products/services, and also the content you put out (articles, videos, audios, etc.) about your products and services.

Facebook LogoPersonal versus Business

Keep in mind that there is a difference between personal and business accounts on Facebook. Business accounts are limited in the information they are able to access compared to the standard accounts. You can’t send or receive friend requests. However, this shouldn’t prevent you from creating a business page for your company. In fact, there are benefits to business pages, where you can designate multiple administrators to manage and post to the account. Also, the pages are public and therefore will attain rank in Facebook and search engine results. A business page can garner “fans” and you can still post events, pictures, videos, polls and other interactive ways to promote your business and build the buzz.

So remember: profiles are personal but pages are business in Facebook world. So you’ll want to set up a page (not a profile). And remember to only create one account, because Facebook doesn’t take kindly to those who create multiple accounts.

After you create your Facebook business page, you want to gain “likes” from your professional network. Here are some ways you can build that fan base:

  • Make sure your page is searchable by the general public. This is typically the default setting, but you may want to double-check and look at the Settings on the Edit page. Make sure your page is “Published (publically visible).”
  • Announce your new Facebook page on your website / blog with a link to your page and an invitation to become a fan.
  • If you have a newsletter, be sure to include the news about your new Facebook page.
  • Send out an email to all your existing contacts asking them to check out your Facebook page, become a fan and leave a post.
  • Leverage your other social media profiles and invite those connections and followers to check you out on Facebook. For example, if you’re active on Twitter, you should tweet the link to your Facebook page and ask your followers to become fans.
  • Post a Facebook badge or widget on your website to let your site visitors know about your Facebook page.
  • Think about using Facebook ads. Yes, it costs some money, but the advertising will get your business name in front of a lot of eyeballs.

Of course, it will be easier to get more fans as you build your page and add content that is informative and engaging. Add polls, events, links and videos. Invite commentary by posting questions. Pull in the RSS feed of your blog. Post about special discounts or coupons. As you build upon your page, current fans will share the page with their colleagues and friends and your fan base will grow.

Remember, Facebook is not just about information or entertainment. It’s also about relationship building. Connect with the people who “like” your page and respond to any posts by prospects and customers. It’s important to create a dialogue with your fans, rather than just have a running monologue of business information.

Calling All Printers: Make Social Media Work for You.

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard at least some buzz (!) about social media marketing. Everywhere you look online, you hear people talking about using social media to boost their business. In fact, in recent months, you don’t even need to be online- social media is making itself known in Hollywood- think Ashton Kutcher – TV – Oprah did a show about Twitter – OPRAH!

The print industry has headlined social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter time and again. Yet, you still haven’t stepped out and joined the ruckus because you’re a brick and mortar printer who makes physical paper objects and the Internet just isn’t a logical way to promote your business, right? WRONG!

If you’re in the business of printing marketing materials for other businesses, you absolutely need to be utilizing the power of social media to promote your company and build your business. The Internet doesn’t replace print media, no matter what anyone says. It doesn’t operate independently of print; it doesn’t function in a different business world than print. In fact, Internet businesses have a huge need for printed materials- brochures, flyers, invoice materials, packaging materials and dozens of other hard copy paper materials with text and images printed on them.

Where do Internet entrepreneurs look for business partners? On the Internet, of course- and they are using social media to find them.

Grow Socially on LinkedIn

One of the first sites where these entrepreneurs and other prospect may look for you would be LinkedIn. This is the most important social media site you should have yourself and your entire company join. It may appear to be a site that is useful for a job search or a way to rub shoulders with fellow colleagues, but it really has evolved into so much more. You can update your profile page with your RSS feed, be “introduced” to new connections, join groups and ask questions. The atmosphere is definitely more professional in nature than others, and it’s the perfect addition to your social media efforts. Better yet, LinkedIn is a great research tool for prospects and could be thought of as the new way of cold-calling. You can use LinkedIn as a sales lead generator by connecting with prospects, reminding them of what you do, and giving them more information about your business.

Another way of connecting with sales prospects is by joining and participating in LinkedIn groups. Doing this gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your company’s and your own attributes. Engage in a group; show yourself as a thought leader.

Grow Socially on FacebookFacebook is the big daddy of the social media sites. This platform allows you to create a profile or even a Fan Page. The difference between the two may actually seem quite negligible to the average user, but they make a difference to you as a business owner. The Facebook Fan Page allows you to have a professional business page where you can announce information, promote special deals, or provide other information about your business. You can target your posts so they are broadcasted to all of your fans or just to those in specific demographics, such as location or language. Pages don’t utilize the inbox like personal profiles do, so you cannot send or receive individual messages. Only the administrator or owner of a business can create a Page, but you can assign other administrators to help you maintain and manage the page. You invite people to become fans of your page and build your following when those fans invite their own fans and friends.

Twitter is another big player in the social medial game. Twitter plays a little differently than Facebook by limiting each post to a maximum of 140 characters. While it may seem like the restriction could impede communication, the truth is many people love the challenge of saying what they need to say in a short, concise message and find it a time saver! Twitter is a great way to share links, posts to blogs and short messages with your customer base.

John on YouTubeYouTube is another popular social media outlet. On YouTube, you post video for people to watch and share- they even share it on other social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter! By utilizing video, you can show your products, demonstrate unique ideas, let your customers see the person behind the name, and allow a customer to see your facility, equipment, staff or anything else that makes you stand out from your competition.

One of the key features to remember with all social media platforms- is that you need to make sure you are actually being social and not just promoting your products. If all you do is hard sell, you will lose your followers or at best, simply be ignored.

A Database Will Become Something Else Altogether. But What?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Multics released the first commercial relational database management system in 1976. Soon thereafter, in the 1980s, direct marketers moved to computerize and warehouse names and addresses. Zoom forward to today. Databases have become the fundament of direct marketing, customer relationship management, and a lot of other core business initiatives. The question is: Where is this evolution going?

In particular, I’m thinking of Facebook, which is becoming an Internet of its own [or even theInternet itself, some argue], with vast quantities of personal information databased in one location. With the addition of Facebook business pages where folks actually shop from within Facebook, this “FB universe” takes on a whole new dimension of control [and, reportedly,profitability].

Should FB begin to thoroughly monetize it’s database by selling its data warehouse [and how can it possibly resist the temptation?] consisting of trillions of terabytes of information (names, email addresses, photos, educational background, connections, shopping and Internet habits, photos, videos, birth dates and records of children’s growth and activities, from over 500 million subscribers internationally, as of this hour) how will external databases compete? Despite a firestorm of warnings about what not to do on Facebook and the fact that we sign away our rights to everything we post there, the user base keeps growing. So …What will happen to databases as we currently know and love them?

It’s a huge question. And only imaginings of the Brave New World variety can intuit the possibilities. As I work on the April “Lists and Databases” issue of DMAW’s Marketing AdVents, I wonder how many years into the future this vital element that has driven direct marketing for three decades will remain as we have come to know and love it.

Thoughts anyone?