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You’ve created a Facebook fan page. Your company finally has a Twitter and now you’ve even set up a free HootSuite account to schedule out posts. Sometimes. When someone at your office thinks about it.

b2ap3_thumbnail_staring-at-phone.jpgAccording to statistics, 73% of Americans have a social network profile. That is 233.6 million people with just one social profile. One. Personally, I use Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram multiple times a day. I get on Pinterest and LinkedIn a few times a week. My generation, and those younger than myself, are glued to social media. Think of how easy it would be to send one tweet and reach hundreds of people.

Not right away, mind you. Gaining social media followers may take some hard work, but the payoff is worth it. It’s a free way to interact with your consumer. How can you beat that?

Still not sold? Here are five reasons why having social media is a benefit to your business:

  1. Interaction – Other than speaking in person, there is no better way to interact with your consumers than through social media. While there is a certain negative stigma that comes with making yourself available 24/7 (not all of your employees may happy about it), you have the advantage of being able to reach consumers 24/7. A customer could tweet at you, asking a question about your product and, if someone is watching diligently, they could have an almost instantaneous response. Talk about helpful customer service! Speaking of customer service – someone leaves a nasty message on your Facebook page? Offer a response by giving them your office phone number. Put the ball back in their court and show everyone that you care. Start a weekly poll about something fun! Be entertaining and make people want to want to tweet at you, post on your timeline or send you a message on LinkedIn.
  2. Transparency – Being direct and not having a hidden agenda is the best (in my personal opinion) part about social media. It’s about having fun and interacting with your audience. Not trying to sell something. If people like you and your brand via social media, that will translate to your sales. Made a mistake that needs to be addressed? Put out a press release and then address it on social media. Whether you believe it or not, this generation of young adults – your future consumers – are willing to let mistakes go a lot more easily if you’re honest and upfront about them. Let the newspapers and your blog take care of the press release, but get your apology on social media as soon as possible. This generation, my generation, respects that. You messed up. Everyone does. Don’t hide it - that will only make the situation that more newsworthy when it comes out later. Show your audience that you are doing the best you can, no matter the circumstance.
  3. Humanize your Brand – The great thing about social media is that you can give your service or product human qualities. Do you pride your brand as being eco-friendly? Are you geared towards the modern business person or the weekend warrior? What would your brand be like if it was a person – take that and run with it in your social media plan. Say your brand produces sporting gear and equipment. You may want to focus on the words courage or determination. Your messages should always be crafted to insinuate those ideals. Has it been really snowy in your area lately? Throw up a post about thermal workout gear and never giving up. A sports star has done something bold and really great? Wow, they must embody your brand. Use those words and add them to your marketing campaign.
  4. b2ap3_thumbnail_tacobell-impresses.pngCreativity – There are so many directions you can take your social media presence. I’m a huge fan of Taco Bell on Twitter (they’re funny and I love tacos). And honestly, what is Denny’s even doing with their social media? Does anyone know? Not really – but it’s entertaining and hysterical. According to this post on the Social Times, Denny’s “embracing the weird” has put them in the #1 spot for “Brands Doing an Amazing Job on Social Media”. Having a unique social media strategy and being different just might garner you some attention. People like funny. People like different. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. Who knows? It might turn into the Thing that your brand is known for.
  5. Bragging Rights – Want to show how fun your office is? Take a picture at your staff meeting and put it on Instagram. Share that to Twitter and Facebook. Someone on your team won an award in their field? Copy the article URL and make a post on your company’s LinkedIn. Taking a company team-building retreat? Write a post about all of the great skills you’ve learned! Don’t misconstrue this. I’m not implying you need to post a status every time someone uses the microwave without complication or you recycle a piece of paper. That would be out of hand. But social media outlets are notorious for people posting their accomplishments. Take advantage and do what your audience expects – show them how awesome your brand is.

b2ap3_thumbnail_SM-buttons.jpgSocial media is happening now. Your consumers are online. Right now. They’re out there, waiting for you. Why wouldn’t you want to use free outlets to reach them?

Right! Mailing lists.

I’m not saying they don’t work. All I’m saying is that the only mail I open is what I’m expecting (I’m looking at you - books I’ve ordered online and my dreaded student loan statements). But take that as you will.

If this has sold you on create social media and dutifully updating on a regular basis, great! Now is the time to get started. Make sure that your pictures are high resolution and if you’re using more than one medium, that you keep a cohesive look. (Like using the same cover photo for Facebook and Twitter).

Happy posting!

Worried about the time it takes to set up all of your accounts and monitoring everything to make sure you’re posting on a regular basis? Here at Intrada Technologies, we offer education and services to help improve presence and develop a positive online reputation.

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Tagged in: Digital Marketing SMM

Clients have asked, instead of hiring a sales person, should I put that money toward an online marketing or search engine optimization? As a company that supplies SEO, SMM and SEM services, I love to hear this and it’s a good strategy if managed correctly depending on your current staffing and market focus. I can’t say enough about having someone that breaths air and knows how to listen to a prospect because computers don’t listen, they just tell. But on the flip side, things are changing and if you’re not online, you are just local.b2ap3_thumbnail_ShakingHands.jpg

There is a lot of talk about how the generation coming does not know how to communicate with each other without sending a tweet, txt or other online communication. I watch teenagers and they can’t seem to keep their eyes or hands off their smart phone. What is so important on that screen? YO! – put it down and look up and talk to me. So I must be getting old that I want to talk to someone when making business decisions. But when I’m shopping online, leave me alone until I ask for help and stop trying to chat with me. However, these teenagers might be the ones looking for products or services in the future and you want to make sure your company shows up where they look.

The next generation is very transparent and tech savvy so having a solid online presence is critical unless you are not interested in reaching them as consumers. But I think there needs to be blending between humans and technology, and you need to understand your target market. Online sales or lead generation through SEO, SEM, SMM and digital media should be a part of every companies marketing plan. Based on your business model depends on the extent of that involvement and it should also support traditional marketing methods. Marketing campaigns should drive traffic to your website which should be designed to convert that prospect into a lead or sale. Leads require responding and follow up. It’s proven that conversion rates are higher when a qualified sales person does the follow up and closing.

So the answer: There is a blend and I see the internet as a referral source to your sales team. So depending on your sales team configuration, that will determine how much should be spent on Internet Marketing.

I also recommend you hold your SEO, SEM and SMM vendor to the same accountability as your sales team. In most cases, sales professionals’ success is based on activities and goals. Why don’t companies hold their Internet Marketing vendors to the same accountability? I think it’s because most Internet Marketing vendors don’t offer accountability and most companies are not viewing online resources at the same value. But what if you did and expected results? If you hire a lead generation or cold call company, they provide you detailed lists, call scripts and record keeping to justify their services. At Intrada, we have an aggressive online internet marketing campaign using Pay-Per-Clicks, landing pages, call to actions combined with traditional print advertising. We also focus on article generation like this one to build ranking on target keyword/key phrases for organic placement. But we also have a sales team that follows up on all leads and does traditional cold calling. It’s a balance and, depending on your business, your current staffing and target prospects, determines how you balance this decision.

So how do determine this balance? Intrada offers a Strategic Market Planning session designed to teach our team about our client and then identify the marketing goals. With the goals identified, a marketing plan can be created to deliver those goals and provide tracking, accountability and desired return on investment. Some of the questions asked and information gathered in the marketing planning session include:

  • History and Company Background
  • Service and/or Product Information
  • Current Staff and Positions
  • Current Market Reach / Target Market Reach
  • Current Market Saturation / Target Market Saturation
  • Current Competitor Challenges / Target Market Competitors
  • Current Sales, Budgets, Marketing Campaigns, Web Traffic and Online Visibility
  • Past Marketing Campaigns Efforts
  • What do you want to accomplish? Goals / Objectives / Growth

With this information, Intrada researches the current placement of a company on both online and physical placements. Intrada also identifies competitors, both physical and online, to establish a competitor analysis. Using tools available from search engines and other paid services, Intrada identifies the estimated search traffic available based on keywords and key phrases. After compiling this information, Intrada is able to provide a detailed marketing campaign designed to accomplish the goals, objectives and desired growth of a company using both digital media and traditional media.

So you want to find out if you should invest in SEO, SEM and SEM service instead of hiring another sales person? Contact an Internet Marketing company, establish some goals and get a quote. If you decide to move forward, hold the vendor accountable for hitting those goals and benefit from the largest referral network in the word.

If you would be interested in learning more about Intrada, give me a call or email me today.

David Steele, Partner / Webmaster
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