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.

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.



Online Marketing: The Silent Approach?

When it comes to online marketing there are various techniques that can be used to craft an effective marketing strategy. It really is a very versatile field. You can craft eye catching YouTube videos that delight and amaze. You can reach out to your audience on every social media site going and hook in millions of fans. You can blog about every subject under the sun, yet sometimes, the silent approach works better.

So what do us at EBS Marketing mean by the silent approach? We don’t mean doing nothing online; otherwise it wouldn’t be an online marketing strategy. What we mean is the element of surprise. The element of surprise can actually be extremely powerful in online marketing.

Why though? Why would keeping quiet about something then promoting it work? Let’s look at the release of Beyoncé’s new album this month to find the answer. Nobody knew it was coming. It has been announced by the record label that it was in the works, but nobody expected the release of it anytime soon.

Then the album suddenly hit. The 13th December saw the announcing of the album and she really went all out for it. She crafted clips for every single track that dominated YouTube. It was promoted like crazy on social media. It dominated gossip column inches that day. Everyone was talking about it. She certainly knows her stuff.

It’s important to note here that this only works because she’s already a celebrity. She couldn’t have marketed herself this way online if she’d been at the beginning of her career. People wanted to know what she was up to, so she hyped them up by not giving anything away. Then she made sure they knew exactly what she was up to.

This teaches us a valuable lesson about both online marketing and life in general. It really is all about timing. You roll out the campaign too early, and then it might not appeal to potential consumers in the right way. You roll it out too late and it might simply pass them by.

It also teaches us about using the art of building anticipation in online marketing. Keep them guessing get them excited.  You can’t give the game away until they really want to know what it is.