Too many Internet retailers rely too heavily on Google to reach their audience. For example, one of our clients faced sinking sales with the recent changes to Google’s algorithms. His strategy over 15 years of selling products online centered completely on search engine optimization, and he neglected integrating social media, with disastrous results.

If you are a retailer who is facing a similar problem, you may be tempted to close down or give up. Before you do that, I recommend that you take a closer look at how social media can become a major driver of customers to your site. By integrating social media into your marketing efforts, you will likely see an abrupt turnaround in your traffic and sales.

When what you’re doing isn’t working, try something new.  You may be reluctant to dive into using social media to market your business. Maybe you’re intimated by the tools, or you don’t want to make an investment of time and money in a new solution. (read more…)

There seems to be a perception that social media is better suited for business-to-consumer brands than business-to-business marketing. This view is supported by a lack of easily accessible social media success stories in the B2B space — on the Internet and at conferences. But it is a misconception.

Without a doubt, there are countless impressive B2C success stories, including the funny Bodyform video created in response to a disgruntled Facebook post and the successful Old Spice video campaign. But social media is also extensively and successfully in use for B2B marketing. We simply might not hear about it as much because the examples are not as entertaining.

B2B social media is best suited to generating awareness. To just pick a few examples, social media can help build thought leadership, increase the reach of events or strengthen your brand. Social media can also foster action and engagement. Used properly, social tools can help you leverage advocates and influencers to spread your message, generate content for you and even generate leads. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Does your business produce holiday-related content for its branded social media channels?

  • No: 51.35%
  • Yes: 48.65%

The month of December means different things to different people. The season can be religious or not; serious or silly; rooted in family tradition or fueled by commercialism. Even cold weather isn’t a given. All most people can really agree on is that it’s an important time of year. So how do you, as a brand, go about getting people excited about the holidays, when you can’t be sure what exactly your customers are getting excited about?

Here are three ways to rethink the “holiday spirit” and get your fans involved this year.

  • Ask what your fans want from you at this time of year. What are your best customers — the people who support you all year round — doing this month?
  • (read more…)

Working out and living healthy is easier when your friends are doing it, too. General Electric gets this, so the company built a social experience into one of the brand’s key pillars, health, and called it HealthyShare.

The network encourages members to share their progress on health challenges, invite friends to join them and find others with similar goals. This was much more interactive than a Facebook or Twitter button at the top of the page (which the company had tried before). GE was also quickly seeing opportunities to surprise and delight that turned into a great word-of-mouth strategy.

In this video, Jon Lombardo, leader of GE’s social media COE, explains how the company used earned micro-media to make big impressions for the brand. Here are some key points from his presentation at SocialMedia.org‘s BlogWell conference in New York.

  • Obsess over context. Lombardo says to keep your goal front and center because if you don’t have the right context in social media, there’s no relevance and no meaning.
  • (read more…)

Social media is fun to talk about but tough to implement. The truth is there is no cut-and-dried secret to developing a great social media program. Your social presence must be adapted to fit your business and brand. Wait, what was that? Yes, adapted means you have to do some work.

Perhaps this is why so many struggle with social media. We hear words like “strategy” and “content creation” and we automatically cringe, wondering where we should start climbing this beast of a social media mountain. It’s simply too much work.

But even though every brand needs to develop their own strategy, there are a few keys to getting started that everyone can use.

“Shop the world, steal from the best”

You do learn some things in school. An advertising professor at The University of Texas said the above quote, and it holds true for many aspects of marketing in any industry. (read more…)