An Exercise in Stupidity

At EBS Marketing we always advise that you fully think through your use of social media before you utilise it in your online marketing strategy. If you don’t, it can go badly wrong. We want to underline that point this week with what we can only call an ‘exercise in stupidity.’

Facebook is arguably the most popular social medium out there – it has over 500 million people worldwide at last count. This means that it makes a fantastic online marketing tool.

Think about it. You have such a wide audience that for the price of nothing at all, you can craft a status, video, fan page etc. that has the potential to reach 500 million people. The nature of the networking site also means that you can cheaply target your target audience and the authority of the site on Google means that it nearly always gets on page one for your search term, meaning more people will see it.

However it really is a double edged sword and if you misuse it as drastically as it was in the example we are about to explain, then not only can it destroy the message you are trying to convey in your online marketing campaign, it can get your profile deleted so that you can never use Facebook to promote yourself again.

Last year a page appeared on Facebook that suggested people doing vulgar things to soldiers – we won’t name the specifics – but it certainly wasn’t pretty and it was very offensive. It was reported last week that Facebook has removed the page in its entirety.

It’s important to note here that the page was actually left up at first – the social media platform said that it did not breech its policy.  However after a notable outcry from the armed forces and from the BBC, the page was removed and the user’s details revealed to be fake.

Of course, the vast majority of people out there would never think that something so offensive is appropriate for Facebook, never mind an online marketing campaign, but it does teach us something about negative content. Often it’s allowed to remain online and this draws attention. It’s this negative attention that would be so bad for your online strategy.

If you learn anything from this exercise in idiocy, let it be that you should always carefully consider what you post online. You never know what your target audience could find offensive and it could damage your entire brand.

Spread Your Marketing Message to an International Audience

We live in an era of globalisation and these days, profit potential extends outside of our own borders. Saying this, EBS Marketing explores how can you spread your online marketing message to an international audience?

The fact that we live in the era of globalisation means that it’s so much easier to provide your services to every single nation on this planet; all you need to do is offer them online and they can be accessed anywhere in the world. The pervasiveness of social media also means that you can market for any audience in the world as well.

However this isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are a number of issues such as the language barrier, differing social norms, and alternative legal standards etc. that mean that marketing online to a global audience can be a heavy task. What can you do to ensure that your online marketing strategy manages to capture audiences beyond your own borders?

The Language Barrier

Make sure you address the language barrier before you do anything else. After all, if your target audience can’t understand your strategy, it’ll be completely lost on them. As well as the obvious things – making sure your content is grammatically accurate when translated into their language etc. you need to adapt your social media for various languages. By creating one brand page on sites like Facebook, you can adapt it to each language.

Don’t Fall Foul of the Law

The reason that we’re divided into different countries is that we are governed by different sets of morality and as such, we have different local laws. If you fall foul of them then your campaign will be pulled so fast your head will spin. Take privacy for example; in America it’s not as large an issue because of the emphasis they place on freedom of speech but in the UK, laws are much tighter and what would be acceptable across the pond would get your content pulled in the Isles.

A Common Language

Even with translators on hand to adapt your content, things can go wrong, so it’s always good to try establish a common language between your differing sets of consumer. Include content with pictures, colours, symbols etc. that are universally understood to maximise your outreach at a minimum of time, effort and cost.

Address Your Audience

You need to localise your content. At the end of the day, content is supposed to hook people in so that they are open to understanding the message of your online marketing strategy. If they’re not interested in the content, it’s useless. Understand what issues matter within their society and frame content around them. Think of it as a marketing extension of ‘the customer is always right.’

The Power of Social Media

If the situation in Turkey over the past few weeks has taught us anything at EBS Marketing, it is the true power of social media. So what did the Turkey situation teach us and what does it say about the wider scope of social media in online marketing?

The thing about social media is that it is uniquely equipped to promote freedom of speech; it can be accessed anywhere, on any device and can be posted in a matter of minutes and it is incredibly hard to block. This is why social media is so effective in online marketing. You can use it to say whatever you want, reach whoever you want in a matter of seconds, and there’s pretty much nothing you can really do about it.

Not that people haven’t tried. China has notoriously blocked Twitter and Facebook within its borders for years, supplanting it with Weibo instead. However social media in China, despite government efforts otherwise, manages to promote freedom of speech and lend the downtrodden a voice to speak out.

This is why social media is the enemy of less democratic societies. The regimes of these leaders rely on the ability to effectively suppress the population. The ease of access of social media makes it impossible to do so, and the only way to exert any control over the situation is to ban it.

That is clearly what we are seeing in Turkey at the moment. Earlier last month the world went into shock when Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, promised to “wipe out” the social networking site. Now a court has ordered that the move is unacceptable and ordered it revoked.

The press this evoked around the world was astounding. It generated headlines from New York to London to Paris to Hong Kong and back again. At EBS Marketing, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was the international pressure that made the move such a bad one for Erdogan.

It says something about the power of social media. In the modern world people don’t see it as a privilege; they see it as a right that must be protected if society is ever to retain its democratic foundation.

This is the way that you must view social networking if you ever hope to use it to craft an online marketing strategy. It’s pervasive, it’s everywhere, and it’s a part of every single aspect of everyday life. Social media, therefore, must be a part of every single stage of your campaign if you want it to be a success.

Reviews: An Essential Part of Local Business Online Marketing

Local business online marketing is an entirely different beast to its big business counterpart, you have fewer resources at your disposal to get your message out there. This is why fostering positive reviews is key to any effective local business online marketing campaign.

There’s a specific reason why positive reviews work so well. These days Google is everything; if you don’t have a positive page one for your search term, the people who look for the service you provide  online will either not know you exist, or most likely, be turned away by the negative content floating around on your page one.

Positive reviews are a great way to solve both problems. They get your name on that lucrative page one and they push down any bad press. For this strategy you need Google reviews. Because they are generated by the search engine themselves, they see them as authoritative and nearly always rank them highly for your search term.

The issue here is to make sure you’re the subject of positive reviews, not negative ones. Always remember that it has be real. They have to be honest reviews. If they aren’t, Google will pick up on it and you could be penalised, leaving you in a worse position than before.

The Google Review guidelines make this unbelievably clear. They say that: “Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased … Don’t offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor. We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews.”

So how can you acquire honest positive reviews? It obviously starts with the service you provide. If this isn’t up to scratch then nothing you say or do will get you that elusive positive Google review. It’s a case of letting your work speak for you.

However there are some online tricks that you can use to promote the idea that customers who have enjoyed your service should leave a positive review….

  • Email Marketing
  • Threading your Social Media profiles into every communication
  • Build Up Likes to Appear on A Broader Range of Social Media Profiles
  • Promote the Positive Reviews you have through content

Using reviews in your online marketing strategy hinges on one principle; be honest. You can only use online tools here to persuade happy customers to review, and that is exactly how local businesses should handle this matter.