The End.

Word Works has been on quite a ride over the past two years.  Unfortunately, due to various complications so regretfully common in business and life, we have reached the point where we cannot continue.  Rather than belabor an explanation, let it suffice to say that we found ourselves in a situation where the skill sets and the willing attitudes simply didn’t match the circumstances.
If any former clients or prospective new ones reading this are looking for the kind of assistance we provided with Word Works, please contact Stephen at stephenheiner@gmail.com or Brandon at brandon.james.carlson@gmail.com, and we’ll do our best to help you independently or put you into contact with someone else who can help.
Thank you!
Stephen and Brandon

Owners

Word Works, Inc.

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Tapping into the Valentine’s Day trend on social media

Taking Advantage

As business owners who want to stay relevant with current trends, you plan ahead of time to take advantage of holidays. But maybe you struggle with Valentine’s Day because you don’t see how it fits in with your business. Further, you see the advantage in using social media, but don’t know where to start in contributing and drawing attention to your brand.

First of all, have something to say. We always want to add value to the consumer’s life. This is what gets us shares. Especially on Valentine’s Day when we are competing against hundreds of other companies for consumer attention, we have to come up with something unusual, creative, and completely shareable.

Whether or not you personally want to “buy in” to all the Valentine’s Day hoopla, it’s smart business to encourage what consumers see as a day of hope for humanity.

  • Set up a series of inspiring quotes with trendy graphics relevant to your business. For example, if you own a computer store, your quote could be a cute quote on love or a corny romantic-themed joke, but your graphic should be of something like two computers running off together holding hands. Check fiverr.com to get something drawn up quick. Post your graphics on social media throughout the day. These should be completely shareable and only include your website in a discreet way down at the bottom somewhere, if at all. Selling your business to the consumer is only the remote goal of what you’re trying to do here. The proximate goal is getting them to agree and love whatever it is you’re sharing.
  • Highlight your business’ support for couples and participation in Valentine’s Day festivities by offering couples-centric discounts. Or offer freebies for those who stop by your business between certain hours. Your participation in Valentine’s Day with a discount for the public is the bare minimum of what the consumer expects. Graphics are cute, and you’ll get clicks for something shareable, but you need to cement people spending money for your product, not just have them like your page.
  • In all social media posts, include appropriate hashtags. #ValentinesDay and #Valentine are obvious ones, but other hashtags, like #WhatIsLoveInFourWords, are starting to show up. Check out hashtags.org to see what is trending from hour to hour. Appropriate hashtags would also refer to hashtags common to your target market. This post will be shared with the Valentine’s Day tags and #SmallBiz.
  • It’s probably too late for your small business to get a short video together, but if you have that kind of ability, don’t underestimate the power of the video. With Facebook, if you promote a short video – something humorous, something moving – your traffic can increase a ton because users will now see your content streaming in their feed, regardless of whether or not they click. Seeing a bit of what they are getting provides incentive for them to engage.
  • Instagram, a picture sharing site, is more heavily used by the younger crowd, so if you’re wanting to tap into this market more and use Valentine’s Day to do it, try ramping up your editorial style pics and making a social commentary on love with photos. Even if this only means taking your camera and randomly taking shots of occasions that remind you of love, romance, etc.  If it’s inspiring to you, it will probably be inspiring to others. It doesn’t matter whether it’s connected to your business specifically. The point is that your company believes in and encourages love, commitment, and hope for the future. Best of all, Instagram is free.
  • Use Valentine’s Day as a way to encourage people to engage with your business. You could ask users to post a pic from their journey to love and offer a discount code to anyone who does. You could participate in the trending hashtag #WhatIsLoveInFourWords and host a contest with a “basket” or gift card as a prize for the best one. Or do the same thing with a romantic haiku.
  • Make use of the personal story. Whether it’s an inspiring personal love story, your grandparents’ story, or your love story with whatever product or service your company produces, sharing something concise and inspiring can up your traffic. Video is the ideal vehicle for such a story, but this late in the day, a slideshare.com presentation is your next best thing. Failing that, use an article. Just make sure that the update announcing your story is pithy and will create curiosity in the consumer.
  • Service or product, have something crafted specifically for Valentine’s Day weekend. Limited edition items sold for a limited time create urgency in the user to take advantage of the moment. Use the obvious themes – hearts, flowers, romance. Even if your product or service isn’t romantic per se, having it wrapped in Valentine’s Day packaging (literally or figuratively, depending on what you are offering) or giving it a Valentine’s Day inspired name, is enough.

Valentine’s Day is coming up fast so you might not have time implement as many marketing strategies as you’d like. If coming up with content for your business isn’t doable, the least you can do is engage and participate with the existing content on the day of. Promote the business of other small businesses like your own and retweet and share the Valentine’s Day quotes, pics, and vids that put a smile on your face or in your heart.

You might not think your business has anything to do with Valentine’s Day, but that’s no reason your business can’t support love and romance.

Social Media Marketing Strategies in 2015

Social MediaMarketingStrategies 2015

If there is anything we can count on in the digital world, it’s that it changes quickly. As the speed at which information is exchanged improves, consumer response to that information becomes faster and businesses want to be the first to know, and react in kind, to the consumer response.

Analytics are and will remain important for businesses. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest all have rolled out analyzation tools for their users. The new information will allow businesses to pinpoint which aspects of social media are drawing interest, and which are falling flat. In order to use this information effectively, businesses will have to be flexible, willing to discard strategies that aren’t working and acquire new ones, sometimes implementing strategies that are novel and creative.

Businesses have to be aware, and not just aware, but engaged with the public profiles of their employees. As businesses learned from this past year, a business, and the public profiles of its employees, don’t have a private life on social media. Everyone markets. On a public profile, employees of a company are representatives held up to consumer expectations.  Consumers have the expectation that the companies they buy from reflect their own values. Which means employees have to be careful what they post on their public profiles and how they represent the brand.

Consumers are also wanting authenticity because it’s more relatable. As video and visuals become more common, there will be an upswing in the number of promotional videos that “sell” via real customer reviews, or through telling a great story. Consumers give greater points to a company that is doing more for the community than just making money off them.  They will want to see the human, personal side of a company because it gives the impression that it’s local and approachable, versus an immense and untouchable thing that happens to employee people. Companies will find their videos going viral if they can make the consumer’s heart melt, by promoting caring rather than persuading them to buy.

But attention spans among adults are starting to change. Studies have shown that we actually read differently after a constant exposure to social media.   Businesses concerned about consumers losing their ability to “read deeply” might focus on having quality posts of a longer length. But businesses who want to tap into the consumer trend of focusing on the most pertinent information in the shortest number of words, will use focus on implementing shorter posts and more of them. Microblogging, especially, will be useful for businesses interested in shorter, more frequent, posts.

Bigger companies will rely on an approach that incorporates both the digital tech and creative aspects of marketing. This means knowing a modicum of html speak will be of huge benefit to the social media marketing job-seeker. At the same time, smaller companies will discover that social media and blogging companies are catering to the DIYers by making their interfaces more user friendly.

Regardless, some argue that the age of the blog is starting to wane as companies discover other avenues of social interaction that work better for their business, and microblogging via tumblr and twitter take over. New social media outlets that are specific to certain subsets of people will begin to become more common. Purchase of ads tailored to these subsets of people will increase as consumers begin to make use of the hobby/interest-specific social media.

Hence, business owners will have social media managers who are given specific parameters of interaction – as much to ensure that there aren’t any social media faux pas which escalate into media debacles, as to ensure that the interactions are appropriate to the audience.

Immediacy continues to be an important aspect of digital commerce and, as such, will continue to force the direction of digital technology. As social media outlets attempt to shorten the distance between idea and action by experimenting with platforms that allow direct purchase of products, we’ll see the beginning of the end of third party distributors. Consumers will no longer have to go to a different website to purchase the product, but can purchase it right from their media outlet of choice.

This in turn will lead to a rise in ad sales on social media, as well as opportunities for individual bloggers to make more through affiliate links and acting as distributors of products endorsed on the blog. Because of this, authenticity will be even more important to the consumer who may not trust a blogger whose sole purpose in owning a blog is to make money off followers.

Overall, in 2015 we can expect to see a more tailored approach to the individual consumer. With every generation that passes the exchange of information has steadily grown swifter. The speed of that exchange has made a huge impact on the marketplace, both digital and otherwise. It will continue to do so and businesses will need to be prepared to take advantage of improved social media changes. Technology stops for no man.

Sources:

http://www.business2community.com/social-media/7-top-social-media-trends-will-impact-marketing-2015-01107054

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/social-media-in-2015-predictions-and-potential/

http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/05/digital-marketing-2015/

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7608-2015-small-business-predictions.html

 

Google+, the walking dead?

800px-Forest_in_CantabriaOriginally created in June 2011, Google+ was supposed to take Google to the next level. Combining all of Google’s services into one place, it was hailed as the next social media powerhouse, allowing you to network with friends, family, employers, employees, sharing everything under the sun. Its rise to 50 million users in three months exceeded the growth of Myspace, Twitter and Facebook in the same period, and led to speculation that Google+ could even replace Facebook as the most used Social Networking site. As nuts as that seems now, it wasn’t so nuts in 2013. Google was the only company in the world that had a popular mobile OS, namely Android, which could be merged with its own social network as well as the rest of its products. It showed a great deal of promise. When one considers the wide range of Google’s reach, from Picasa photo sharing, to Youtube, Jetpack, Blogger, etc., it seemed that everything might become Google. But then, it didn’t.

Right off the bat, Google+ was a hard sell. All the things people value about Facebook, privacy (ha ha), the ability to have tiered pages so only friends and family can see them, or even to post anonymously were surprisingly absent from Google+. Google+ required real names, identify verification, and putting all of your details in one place… this made it a hard sell. The social layer to all things Google was not a standalone product, but an embedding of everything into one place.

So, not only were most people uncomfortable with a more realistic book of their face, but few were going to move all of their information off of Facebook and put it on Google+. That was like, secretarial work, not fun social stuff! The momentum cooled quickly, and not too much has happened since.

In April of this year, Google+ developer, Vic Gundrota, resigned unexpectedly. In the aftermath of that everyone involved in Google+ was shifted to other departments. This sparked rumors that Google+ was on its way to death’s door and was to be discontinued, like other Google products. But speculation about Google+’s demise actually predates Gundrota’s resignation. Techwatcher Adam Metz, noted:

“Here’s why I think Google’s high-priority social network is failing, fast. After Amir Efrati’s February article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that, after sign up, Google+ users aren’t really doing anything much with the platform, a pretty stunning info-graphic really jumped out at readers – it was a diagram that showed the average minutes-per-user for all social networks in January 2012.” (Source)

If you click on the link, you’ll find according to Metz’s source, Google+ users spend all of 3 minutes a day on it. Hm. This is compared to the average of 40 minutes a day people spend on Facebook (source).

Yet it’s still there! At least, for the moment. Google has, however, downgraded Google Authorship, by removing profile pictures and Google+ circle counts from searches. This was one of the most notable features of Google+, and without it one wonders what’s next.

What was intended as a grandiose Google takeover of the worlds containing Facebook, Office Online, and even LinkedIn, Google+ is an epic fail. It still maintains over 500 million active users around the world, but many more than half of those account holders also have Facebook pages. Google+ can’t begin to compete with Facebook’s 1.2 billion users. Though Google+ has had a good success rate maintaining its number of account holders, it looks more than likely, to those of us that pay attention to such things, that as Google moves on to other projects, it will simply leave behind Google+ until it fades into irrelevance. And nary a tear was shed.

But wait! Stop the presses… Google+, like chivalry, is not dead! In a recent 2014 interview with David Besbris, Google’s new social media guru, Besbris said:

“We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it.” “The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.”

The ace the company is holding up their sleeve is that Google+ is ad free and will remain so, unlike Facebook, who’s pro-ad pages are starting to get some serious flack in the Facebookosphere,

“They won’t convert well, they won’t be beneficial, and it kind of just pollutes the space. I think for a social place that tends to be very intimate where you’re having conversations with people, you’re sharing pictures, you’re exploring things you’re really into, you don’t want to be at that point bombarded with noise,” said Besbris.

He went to on to say that Google+ is just misunderstood, and will come into its own someday. And if, IF, they DO decide to put ads in there for our, erm, enjoyment, they will be unique in such a way as only Google can make an ad unique. Oh… joy.