Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Introducing: Social Marketing Keylex-Style

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

social_marketing_logosWith the economy in a slump, many businesses are turning to the Internet to generate extra reveneue. We’re finding though that companies are trying to apply traditional marketing strategies to their web business and the results are dismal. With technology moving at a dizzying speed, marketers are having a difficult time understanding the new age of marketing, let alone generating revenue. Executives I talk to write off social media as “teenager hype,” yet what they fail to realize is that social marketing is what makes the Internet tick and it’s here to stay.

Take blogs as an example. It is by far the most misunderstood marketing tool and is perceived by many in corporate America as a glorified chat room. I am fascinated that many people I talk with have the perception that the sole purpose of a blog is for the general public to write uncensored comments. It is the same demographic that is clueless to how Facebook works and to whom Twitter means birds singing.

So continuing our mission of building online brands through better design, development and marketing, Keylex has launched a comprehensive Social Marketing division to guide companies in creating buzz with this exploding medium. With our pulse on technology and our deep knowledge of social trends, we have quickly become the go-to company for new-age marketing strategies.

Skittles: Twirlling the baton

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

It’s easy to see why Skittles would want to divert the attention from Twitter, because it is, as you can see, heavily abused by spammers, and a lot of the jokes are simply to tasteless for…well, anyone. That’s the ugly side of social media: a lot of it is completely uncensored and some users see this as an opportunity to get nasty or even vile.

“Skittles Swaps Homepage from Twitter Search to Facebook Page” by Stan Schroeder

skittles“Ugly side” of Social Media? Is there really such a thing, or are some folks too sensitive for the reality that people with varying opinions and social backgrounds are what makes up our country’s mainstream today? Walk down the street or catch a bus in any major U.S. city in 2009 and try to avoid opinionated banter with a little choice language. Do we take any of this to heart or base our buying decisions on the specifics of what these people say? It would be pretty sad to discover if we were this easily influenced. Instead, perhaps we should focus on why so many people feel it is their responsibility to voice their social and political opinions loud enough for others to hear.

As some of you may know (or not know) Skittles has changed its entire website at Skittles.com to a “social Media Hub” where web-savy surfers can access social outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook. Here, they can sound off about their love (or hate) for Skittles. Now, all of us can see where this might cause some controversy, but is controversy really a bad thing? At the very least the stench surrounding the topic (including the stink that we are about to raise) is enough to genereate audience buzz alone!

Something that much of corporate America is still having trouble facing is the intelligence of today’s online audience. Smoke and mirrors no longer work like they used to in marketing and are easier for web savvy consumers to pick up on. Younger generations (like the demographic targeted by Skittles) don’t base their purchasing decisions on negative or positive comments and reviews of a product. They base it on how many people are talking about it. Popularity isn’t always defined by support.

Many of the posts on twitter regarding Skittles aren’t really about the user’s desire to get others to try or avoid the product; They’re about being part of the conversation. That’s the beauty of social media! Raw, uncensored, reality. This is what today’s young consumer responds to, not gobbledygook from the mouths of out-of-touch internal corporate marketing departments. In fact, they laugh at the old-fashioned, being “marketed at” approach. It undermines and insults their intelligence.

Skittles is allowing itself to be associated with its audience. Some people like Skittles, some do not, and some just want to be heard. It’s reality, and young consumers (Skittles’ target audience) understand, respect, and excuse that. While it may be controversial now, it’s the wave of the future in terms of Brand interaction for for the “internet generation”. What’s more powerful than allowing your consumers to represent your brand for you?

Ask yourself this question: Are my brand, products, and services unique and strong enough to stand up to the reality of a market flooded with old-fashioned teqhniques?

If the answer is anything but “100% positively”, consider Skittles the leader of the parade and get in line. A bold move? Yes, but as Apple’s mantra for the 21st century goes, if you want to have a successful brand you’ve got to “Think Different.”

You go, Skittles. Keylex approved!

What’s Digg, and how can you benefit?

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

digg_logo11What is Digg? “Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by its users.” Digg isn’t run by editors. People visiting the site collectively determine the value of content. They’re changing the way people consume information online.

Everything on Digg — from news to videos to images — is submitted by people who visit the site. Once something is submitted, other people see it and “Digg” (or vote on) what they like best. If your submission is good and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of visitors to see.

It doesn’t stop there. Because Digg is all about sharing and discovery, there’s conversation that happens around the content. This allows visitors to discuss the topics that they’re passionate about. By looking at information on Digg, people always find something interesting and unique. They’re committed to giving every piece of content on the web an equal shot at being the next “big idea.”

How You Can Benefit:

Just think of what this can do for your online business. All you have to do is submit information about your business online, strike up some conversation and leave the rest up to the power of Digg! You can even link to Digg directly from your website to allow visitors to comment on your products and services. As a result, this will drive new traffic back to your site, and the cycle will continue. Consider it one big online traffic rotary with only one exit – your website. Digg is an excellent ( and FREE) way to determine how your target audience is responding to your business online. It’s the most honest information you will find on what people really think about what you do. It’s basically a FREE portal for market research and the entire online community is your focus group. By search Digg for topics which are relative to your industry, you can discover a wealth of information based on user reviews, conversation, and of course, diggs.

Digg it? Visit Digg.com and get started!

Must Read: Twitter Search – The New Kid on the Block

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

If you use Google exclusively for all your Internet searches, you must take a look at a new phenomenon that is the fastest growing search among teens and tech savvy adults. Whether or not you understand how twitter works, the fact is that millions of people are sending sms-type messages to groups of friends about their seemingly unimportant events throughout the day. Everything from letting their “friends” know that “I just boarded the  Q train at times square to brooklyn,” to “I’m eating cabbage soup at Mike’s Diner”  or “Delta Air Lines 1212 from lax to atl is delayed.” These seemingly useless conversations (or “tweets”) between thousands of groups of friends are all saved by Twitter and avilable through search to the genral public.

What does this mean to you? While you may not be intersted in cabbage soup, what if you wanted to know the weather in Chicago right now? While the weather service will give you tempatures and general conditons, there is a way to see exactly what people in Chicago are saying about the weather this moment (see screenshot below). To take this a step further, when a new flash happens anywhere in the world, a twitter search is the quickest way to get first-hand reports from people on the scene as it happens. When a plane landed in the Hudson river, twitter had it first. The same goes for the Mumbai attack and every recent newsworthy event. Many businesses are even monitoring Twitter to see what customers are saying about their products as well as contributing their own buzz about promotions they are running and more.

I encourage you to bookmark http://search.twitter.com to try it for yourself. While Google is great for many daily searches, Twitter is the best way to get a pulse right now on things that are importnant to you.

(Click here for a quick video overview of twitter)

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Tropicana to scrap new packaging

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Last week, our office was discussing the new Tropicana branding – or lack of it. We were therefore pleasantly surprised to come across the article below.  I wonder if the Stop Sign comedy routine played out between Tropicana executives and Arnell Group Advertising (see here).

Many companies would ignore the writing on the wall and forge ahead with the campaign, so kudos to Pepsi / Tropicana for making the right move.  What is also fascinating about this article is how the consumers’ voice is more powerful today than ever before; no more does the mainstream media decide what is noteworthy. Through Twitter, Facebook and Blogs, the public sets the agenda.

Tropicana

IT took 24 years, but PepsiCo now has its own version of New Coke.

The PepsiCo Americas Beverages division of PepsiCo is bowing to public demand and scrapping the changes made to a flagship product, Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice. Redesigned packaging that was introduced in early January is being discontinued, executives plan to announce on Monday, and the previous version will be brought back in the next month.

Also returning will be the longtime Tropicana brand symbol, an orange from which a straw protrudes. The symbol, meant to evoke fresh taste, had been supplanted on the new packages by a glass of orange juice.

The about-face comes after consumers complained about the makeover in letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls and clamored for a return of the original look.

Some of those commenting described the new packaging as “ugly” or “stupid,” and resembling “a generic bargain brand” or a “store brand.”

“Do any of these package-design people actually shop for orange juice?” the writer of one e-mail message asked rhetorically. “Because I do, and the new cartons stink.”
Others described the redesign as making it more difficult to distinguish among the varieties of Tropicana or differentiate Tropicana from other orange juices.

Such attention is becoming increasingly common as interactive technologies enable consumers to rapidly convey opinions to marketers.

“You used to wait to go to the water cooler or a cocktail party to talk over something,” said Richard Laermer, chief executive at RLM Public Relations in New York.

“Now, every minute is a cocktail party,” he added. “You write an e-mail and in an hour, you’ve got a fan base agreeing with you.”

That ability to share brickbats or bouquets with other consumers is important because it facilitates the formation of ad hoc groups, more likely to be listened to than individuals.

“There will always be people complaining, and always be people complaining about the complainers,” said Peter Shankman, a public relations executive who specializes in social media. “But this makes it easier to put us together.”

The phenomenon was on display last week when users of Facebook complained about changes to the Web site’s terms of service using methods that included, yes, groups on facebook.com. Facebook yielded to the protests and reverted to its original contract with users.

And in November, many consumers who used Twitter to criticize an ad for Motrin pain reliever received responses within 48 hours from the brand’s maker, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, which apologized for the ad and told them it had been withdrawn.

“Twitter is the ultimate focus group,” Mr. Shankman said. “I can post something and in a minute get feedback from 700 people around the world, giving me their real opinions.”

Neil Campbell, president at Tropicana North America in Chicago, part of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, acknowledged that consumers can communicate with marketers “more readily and more quickly” than ever. “For companies that put consumers at the center of what they do,” he said, “it’s a good thing.”

It was not the volume of the outcries that led to the corporate change of heart, Mr. Campbell said, because “it was a fraction of a percent of the people who buy the product.”

Rather, the criticism is being heeded because it came, Mr. Campbell said in a telephone interview on Friday, from some of “our most loyal consumers.”

“We underestimated the deep emotional bond” they had with the original packaging, he added. “Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded.”

Among those who underestimated that bond was Mr. Campbell himself. In an interview last month to discuss the new packaging, he said, “The straw and orange have been there for a long time, but people have not necessarily had a huge connection to them.”

Reminded of that on Friday, Mr. Campbell said: “What we didn’t get was the passion this very loyal small group of consumers have. That wasn’t something that came out in the research.”

That echoed an explanation offered in 1985 by executives of the Coca-Cola Company in response to the avalanche of complaints when they replaced the original version of Coca-Cola with New Coke: Consumers in focus groups liked the taste of New Coke, but were not told old Coke would disappear. The original version was hastily brought back as Coca-Cola Classic and New Coke eventually fizzed out.

(There are, it should be noted, significant differences between the two corporate flip-flops. For instance, the Tropicana changes involved only packaging, not the formula for or taste of the beverage.)

An ad campaign for Tropicana that helped herald the redesigned cartons, also introduced last month, will continue to run, Mr. Campbell said. Print and outdoor ads that have already appeared will not be changed, he added, but future elements of the campaign — like commercials, due in March — would be updated.

Unlike the packaging, the campaign has drawn praise, particularly for including in its family imagery several photographs of fathers and children hugging. Such dad-centric images are rare in food ads.

The campaign, which carries the theme “Squeeze it’s a natural,” was created by Arnell in New York, part of the Omnicom Group. Arnell also created the new version of the Tropicana packaging.

“Tropicana is doing exactly what they should be doing,” Peter Arnell, chairman and chief creative officer at Arnell, said in a separate telephone interview on Friday.

“I’m incredibly surprised by the reaction,” he added, referring to the complaints about his agency’s design work, but “I’m glad Tropicana is getting this kind of attention.”

In fact, Tropicana plans to contact “everyone who called or wrote us” to express opinions, Mr. Campbell said, “and explain to them we’re making the change.”

Tropicana is among several PepsiCo brands whose packaging and logos have been recently redesigned by Arnell. The new logo the agency produced for Pepsi-Cola has been the subject of comments by ad bloggers who perceive a resemblance to the logo for the Barack Obama presidential campaign.

The bloggers have also buzzed about a document outlining the creation of the Pepsi-Cola logo, which appears to have been written by Arnell for PepsiCo executives; Mr. Arnell has declined to comment on the authenticity of the document, which is titled “Breathtaking Design Strategy” and is written in grandiose language.

One aspect of the new Tropicana packaging is being salvaged: plastic caps for the cartons, also designed by Arnell, that are shaped and colored like oranges.

Those caps will be used, Mr. Campbell said, for cartons of Trop 50, a variety of Tropicana with less sugar and calories that is to be introduced soon.

During the interview last month, Mr. Campbell said that Tropicana would spend more than $35 million on the “Squeeze” campaign. Although he declined on Friday to discuss how much it would cost to scrap the new packaging and bring back the previous design, he said the amount “isn’t significant.”

Asked if he was chagrined that consumers rejected the changes he believed they wanted, Mr. Campbell replied: “I feel it’s the right thing to do, to innovate as a company. I wouldn’t want to stop innovating as a result of this. At the same time, if consumers are speaking, you have to listen.”

Source: NYTIMES.COM

Online Marketing: Run and never look back

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Consistency is the key to online marketing. One of the biggest mistakes  companies make is trying out a few new ideas and then sitting back to wait for results. Online marketing is time consuming, but  every company should be committed to have someone spend time daily blogging, tweeting,  researching and spreading the services of the company. No matter what you promote or sell, online marketing can be extremely rewarding – but not necessarily overnight. Consider that the average brick and mortar business takes four years on average to turn a profit and most new businesses fail within the first two years. If you view online marketing as a long-term investment, you will outpace your competitors that have not embraced this medium in no time.

So where do you start? Start your own blog, create a twitter account, join LinkedIn, get involved in industry conversations, comment on other blogs, submit press releases to free and paid sources and create an endless stream of information. Forget about instant results and focus on the long term. Just run and never look back.

Keylex Internet Solutions Joins Twitter

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

twitter_logo_125x29If you’re wondering what the little red bird icon is in the top right of our blog, it’s our new Tweet icon! Keylex is now a member of Twitter: a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

twitter1To view our Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/keylex
or click on the icon in the top right of this blog. Twitter is an easy way to receive quick updates of our latest news! It’s basically the “cliff notes” version of our blog. You can even get our updates on your cell or PDA!

Step 1: Create your own account.
Step 2: Go to www.twitter.com/keylex and click on the “Follow” button.
Step 3: Go to Settings, click on the “Devices” tab and add your phone number!

For a quick, easy-to-understand explanation of Twitter, see Using Twitter

Social Media: Business time wasters or big time money makers?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

“Have you heard about the newest Internet buzzword? It’s called Social Media and depending upon who you talk about it with you’ll get a differing definition that paints it as either the next big thing or the world’s greatest waste of time. I like to think of Social Media as nothing more than a means of connecting more regularly, inexpensively and efficiently to people or businesses you might not otherwise connect to.

Perhaps you’ve heard the cliche – “people like to do business with people just like them”. The use of these various Social Media tools allow you to interact with your customers and prospects on a more personal level than ever before.

There are dozens of ways to be active online with Social Media – some of the popular tools are MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as the use of blogs to self publish content. The question I hear over repeatedly from people who haven’t yet joined the online Social Media scene is – “what can I do with Social Media tools like Facebook ,etc” and “will social media help my business or is it just for high school kids”.

Rather than argue that all Social Media tools are awesome and worth spending hours of work time to use – I’ll explain how I use Social Media and what I believe its long term benefits are.
Why Social Media? It All Starts With Search

The goal most businesses have in mind when they think of “going online” is to increase the likelihood that their customers and prospects can easily find them in an online search. As you may have found, obtaining a much coveted high Google ranking is increasingly tougher as competitors employ professional search optimization consultants to craft pages tailored for higher search engine rankings. There are also some experts who predict that Google search will eventually become less dominant and give way to searches through other types of Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

What can your company do when you lack the budget to hire an expensive search engine consultant and you lack the skill to do this search optimization yourself?

My answer to search optimization has been to ignore the tricks and fine tuning of web pages. These tweaks to rank a web page highly seem to change almost daily and keeping up with the latest tricks of the search trade is almost impossible unless it is your full time job. In my use of the Internet I’ve found that one type of page never seems to go out of style. Web pages that contain useful content instead of a sales pitch are increasingly prized by those customers and prospects doing their own searches on the web.

Blogging Is An Easy Way To Publish Fresh Content Online And More Helpful Content Equals More Visitors To Your Site. When people hear of blogging they sometimes think of a lone writer ranting endlessly about the local government or some other esoteric topic of interest to a small minority. At it’s core blogging means nothing more than writing an article and publishing it on the Internet.

The key to blogging is that once you write and publish an article – the words in that article become indexed by Internet search engines and eventually (hopefully soon) are discoverable by potential clients who in turn may contact you.

To be sure there are those types of blog web sites. However the way you use blogging for your company can also attract significant traffic to your web site. (Remember – more traffic reading quality articles equals the chance to contact more qualified web searchers).

During the course of a day (depending upon my schedule and whether there is any relevant news) I may publish 1 to as many as 6 articles. Do the math and you can see that by the end of the week if I published only the minimum that I’d have 5 new web pages for the search engines to index and for customers and prospects to find. Multiply that by 52 weeks in the year – and in the first year I’d have over 260 different web pages that all would be indexed and searchable on the web. There’s a good chance that out of the 260+ pages there will be some that are indexed highly by search engines – especially when I’ve taken care to make sure that I always use relevant keywords and write about topics that deliver value to clients and prospective clients.

Perhaps the best thing about blogging is that it costs nothing to start. I like to use this solution because I can update my site from any web browser without the need for added software. Once written the content is all properly formatted with graphics and fonts.

Remember – the more helpful content you have on your site (emphasis on the word helpful) the more likely a web visitor is to read it and contact you. The cost of creating this helpful content is only the time you spend writing (on average it takes me about 30 minutes to generate a typical online article including proof-reading). Once created these articles on your site live on forever.”

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Article Originally posted by: Wayne Shultz

Why you may want to consider Twitter…

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

twitter_logo3
Whether you’re familiar or unfamiliar, like or dislike the idea of Twitter, you may want to consider it as another marketing outlet online.

Here’s what Holly Buchanan from marketingtowomenonline had to say:

Your customers are talking about you on Twitter. You need to join in the conversation.

Here’s a news flash – Twitter is turning into the new Google. More and more people are using Twitter Search. @lewmoorman says:

Google used to get 100% of my queries. Today, I bet Twitter is getting at least 10% of them. There are some things Twitter is just flat out better at for getting information than Google. Here are just a few: researching companies, products and services for real customer feedback, breaking news and live events/conference updates. It is not a total threat but Twitter is so superior in these areas that people will indeed make the effort to search somewhere new to get the information. I do.

Instead of going to your big flashy website, customers may be going to Twitter to get the real scoop.

For example –

I was curious about a new no calorie sweetener Truvia. (I suspect this company uses the same product naming service as the drug companies.)

So what did I do? I went to Twitter Search to see what people are saying about it.

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Imagine how nice it would have been if someone from Truvia was on Twitter. When I tweeted about it, they could reach out to me – answer any questions I had, maybe even give me some free samples to send to my friends, or prompt me to talk to my local Starbucks manager to request they carry Truvia.

Calling all brands. Your customers are on Twitter. They are talking about you. Is it going to be a one way conversation or a two-way conversation? The choice is yours.

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What is Twitter and why would anyone care about what I am doing?

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

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The last social media tool that’s gathering some “buzz” is a very simple and basic service called Twitter.

There’s only one thing that Twitter does — it allows you to post brief (140 character maximum) messages that answer the question “what am I doing”.

Often these messages describe what you are doing at the moment though you often will see people posting open questions on a wide variety of topics. The appeal of Twitter is that it integrates to a huge number of different online services.

By sending a message to my Twitter account — I can also update my Facebook profile at the same time. So Twitter becomes an easy way to generate multiple sites with short content (also known as status messages or “what am I doing”). Twitter also accepts text messages sent from your phone (thus the limit of 140 characters which is generally the maximum size for text messages).

The question that I hope you are asking is — “Do people really care what I’m doing” followed by “This sounds weird and like a waste of time”.

At this point the main users of Twitter seem to be those who either work at home and are networking in a manner similar to the “office water cooler” or writers who use the service to gather information on things that are currently happening (which is easy because there are several tools that integrate to Twitter and display the hottest keywords being sent by users at any time).

There are several ways you can use Twitter for business.

First, there are tools (my favorite is a program called Twhirl – http://www.twhirl.org) that make it easier to not only post messages but to listen. Using this software tool I’ve setup my searches so that anytime someone mentions my business that I’m able to see them right away. Often I will provide (free) answers to a question about my solutions. While it might seem foolish to provide a free answer, long term the hope is that your company builds a relationship with the user and perhaps a customer.

Twitter is still very much in the early adopter stage. It is gathering press mentions because of the easy way that it allows news to spread quickly. When the airplane went down in the Hudson River, Twitter was one of the first services that carried messages and photos from people in New York City announcing that a plane had crash landed.

Example:

Keylex on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/keylex

Conclusion

Social Media is still not used by everyone. Just as the notion of web sites was foreign to most of us 20 years ago, the notion of Social Media seems foreign today.

Your company should make some effort to become familiar with the various tools and establish a basic presence. By becoming familiar at the early stage of use, you’ll be better poised to increase the amount of time that you spend on various Social Media sites as they become used by more of our typical business customers.

The Next Generation Will Use Social Media as Easily As You Now Use Email

In 1986 I remember the company I worked for bought their first fax machine. Actually at the time faxes were so expensive that they leased it! The technology of using a fax seems mysterious. Hardly anyone used the machine at first. Gradually as people grew accustomed to faxing it became an indispensable part of the business office.

As your older clients retire they’ll hand over the “keys to the business” to their children. These children have come through school learning how to use tools like Facebook as their primary communication method.

If companies want to form connections with this next generation of business owner, they must learn their language! Social Media is increasingly the language of this next generation. It’s time for you to learn this new language.

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