The business of social media: Do you still need a sales team?

With social media, individuals and small businesses have the power to reach thousands of people in mere seconds.  Our smartphones and computers allow us to reach anyone in almost any part of the world in less time than it takes to warm a microwave burrito.  Business contacts, colleagues, associates, consumers – they’re all right there at the tips of our fingertips.
So that leaves some members of our Florida marketing agency wondering, what’s the point of your sales team if you can broker sales through effective use of social media?  The “push” sales strategy may be losing its place in a “pull” culture, where people go online to seek out only the information that they need in order to formulate an opinion as to the products or services that they find valuable.  [quote]Through social media, people can buy items with just a few clicks, which in some cases could virtually eliminate the need for a costly sales team.

Like us. Follow Us. Tweet Us. Pin Us. Watch Us.

While it may seem tempting to save thousands of dollars each year by pink-slipping your entire sales team, I’d instead argue that the role of the salesman has changed.  Individuals have been very successful in pushing their products through online sales, so perhaps for companies such as cell phone retailers, the benefit to a so-called sales team is to offer potential consumers opportunities to demo products and explain services, and to provide customer service when people have issues.

Sales teams will almost always remain important in fields where connecting online may not be the best or most practical option.  Perhaps your desired audience may not be tech savvy, or isn’t as plugged in as most of the world.  Though it seems as though everyone you know has a smartphone, as of a year ago, only ½ of the United States’ mobile phone owners had one.

Your sales team can be beneficial if you arm them with the tools to properly use social media to their advantageVideo programs are offered by executive training companies such as McKinsey, as well as online courses from top continuing education institutes on how people can properly use social media in either a B to B or B to C sales capacity.  These classes can teach about the benefits of using Facebook and Twitter to connect with people who may provide valuable resources for your company, and can teach your employees to seek out potential buyers and distributors through LinkedIn.

Returning to the original question, does your company still need a sales team?  Maybe not!  Certainly, it’s contingent upon your industry.  But, for those of you in fields reliant upon tech, it may be beneficial to hire a social media expert to help you master the art of sales through social media.  Additionally, offering opportunities and incentives for social sharing may help drive your company’s bottom line through active use of social media.

While our Florida advertising agency doesn’t suggest that you immediately get rid of your entire sales team, we do suggest that you teach them strategies to use social media in a professional capacity to help build sales and increase revenue through social media.  We imagine a future where all business sales come from the relationships established and maintained through the use of social media.

What does your sales team look like?

How advertising is like parenting pour three-year-old kid

When you’re three, you don’t know much.  The world around you is an amazing stimulus of glittery, shiny and bright things, just waiting for you to touch them and explore them.  As adults, when people are subject to advertisements and promotions, they experience marketing in the same way.  Good marketing makes people impulsively want to reach out for things, try new products and seek new experiences.
Like a good parent, the marketer’s goal is then to push the person in the right direction.  We make hundreds of choices each day about where to eat, what fabric softener to use, and what type of chair looks best in the dining room.  Though we may not realize it, it’s marketing exposure that allows us to make informed choices.

But children are unpredictable sometimes, as are consumers.  Ask a group of well-educated adults what they want in a smart phone, and you’ll get a host of complicated features.  Apple’s Steve Jobs took it upon himself to dismiss focus groups and instead to create the features that people didn’t know they wanted yet… applications, web browsing features, music, video and, most importantly, efficient design.

Around age three, a child learns how to identify with a group.  While this tendency is most pronounced in young children, the fundamental learnings they take home during that time stay true well into adulthood.  These attitudes are the same ones we fall back upon when we identify with groups as adults.  Nike capitalizes on the people who identify as athletes, designing products suited toward athletic lifestyles and even engaging in content marketing directed toward that group.  Throughout our lives, we’re constantly evolving and identifying with our favorite brands, purchasing Apple products or showing a preference for Pepsi over Coke.  Our perceptions of our own identities evolve as we grow to learn more about the world around us.  Advertisers can latch on to this concept to sell us their products at every stage of our lives.

Parenting is hard, and in the way that children trust their parents, consumers trust advertisers and marketers to point them into the right direction.  [quote]Marketers strive to make that meaningful connection to their consumers, much in the way that parents strive to see the world in the way that a child can understand.  [/quote]Consumers reciprocate when they find brands reliable and trustworthy.

For advertisers and marketers, the realization that our client base may not fully understand the science behind the marketing of the good or service means that we have the ability to teach them.  We can also grow with them, and can learn from their mistakes.  But, in any case, the brand is the guide – at our Florida advertising agency, we believe that a successful brand will teach consumers to comprehend new products or ways of thinking, or to experience existing products or services in an emotionally-connected way.

The team at our Florida marketing agency wants to remind you that the next time you receive criticism from a client, or you experience surprising or even erratic behavior from consumers, it’s important to step back from your consumers and instead view them from a parental perspective.  They trust you, and they’ll lash out against you, but if you’re able to build trust and respect within the relationship, you’re able to nurture a healthy, long-lasting relationship.

To learn more about our advertising and marketing services, please contact BIGEYE today at 407-839-8599.

The newest buzzwords & what they mean to your company

The marketing and advertising industries are notorious for making up their own buzzwords, in order to emphasize and, in some cases, glamorize trends and ideas as they come into the public space.  (I once received an email from a media company encouraging me to “techcessorize” my iPad – how’s THAT for corny PR language?)  Here are a few definitions intended to flush out fresh trends from Orlando advertising agencies, and what they could mean for you.

Advocacy: A new phase in the traditional marketing cycle, where fans of a brand encourage active engagement by sharing, via their own social media platforms.

Aggregator: An aggregator collects content from a number of sites around the web, and allows people to search the aggregated content to find links that they may find of interest.  Popular aggregators include Reddit and Google Reader RSS Feeds.

Agile Marketing: A marketing technique that involves the use of agile tactics, such as real-time response to marketing opportunities, brief stand-up meetings and investing resources in production and project execution (as opposed to planning).

API: Application Programming Interface.  Companies such as Facebook and Foursquare allow third-party applications to access their systems in order to create innovative uses for such platforms.

App: Short for application.  Though mostly associated with smartphones and iPads, browser-based applications may connect to Facebook or other social networks, such as Facebook games like The Sims Social or Words with Friends.

Content Marketing:  Based on the theory that good content creates reader and viewer interest and encourages engagement and social sharing, content marketing describes the consistent generation of branded content to create and sustain search engine traffic, and to keep people returning to a company’s website or social platforms.  (Content marketing = keeping your blog up to date.)

eCommerce:  All commerce activities that occur on the internet.  While people commonly think of companies such as eBay and Amazon, newer power players in the eCommece industry include companies such as Groupon and Fab.

Engagement:   The process by which readers and viewers interact with your content, generally by commenting, “liking,” up-voting, mentioning and sharing.

Frictionless Design: The development of intuitive, painless digital interfaces that reduce bounce, increase conversion and increase user satisfaction.

Gamification:  This technological function makes digital behavior into a game.  Though Foursquare didn’t create this type of tactic, which encourages repetitious behaviors that presumably lead to more points, the company made it popular by including “badges” in its platforms, allowing people to earn various badges (and therefore, social capital) for their check-ins.

Hybrid:  A hybrid delineates a person who has a broad skill set applicable to a number of technological disciplines, though that person typically also has one or two areas of true expertise.

Infographic:  A visual representation of a data set.  Sometimes funny or downright hilarious.

Meme:  You know those funny cat pictures, or those sarcastic eCards that always pop up in your Facebook feed?  As people share those photos and images, and continue to alter them in ways that are humorous and make sense within the context of the original content, they becomes Internet memes.  (It’s pronounced like “theme.”)

Native Speakers (of Technology):  This term is used to describe a generation that is growing up with smartphones, tablets and computers as the norm.  These children are learning through interactive games as opposed to books and notebook paper.

Pivoting:  When a company realizes it’s not meeting its goals, it may pivot to set a new trajectory.  This may occur in a single marketing campaign, or may apply to an entire business strategy.

SEM:  Search engine marketing.  SEM may involve paid search, search engine optimized content, or both.

Social Capital:  Many people believe that social capital is at the core of most individuals’ content creation and sharing behaviors.  The theory is that people share content with the hope or idea that it will elevate or retain one’s status within their online community.  Put simply, the idea is that people share content because it makes them “look cool.”

Social Listening: Monitoring digital media to assess what’s being said about a company, brand, product, or person on the internet in real time. Listening provides opportunities for quick response to customers, get ahead of public relations issues, and trending topics.

Social TV:  This describes technologies and behaviors that combine television and social media content.  For instance, when brand marketers encourage fans to live Tweet sporting events, this is a form of social TV.

Trendjacking: Leveraging a trending topic to generate buzz around a brand. Like most marketing tactics – there are smart, creative ways to do this right, and also terrible, clunky attempts that get this all wrong.

Viral Video:  No one can create a viral video; rather, they can aim to create a video that “goes viral.”  Though many viral videos have well over 1,000,000 views, a video can be said to have achieved some level of virality at views as low as 100,000.

We sometimes throw these words around at our Orlando marketing agency, but we’ll never leave you in the dark about what they mean, and the implications for your company.  (And we’ll never ask you to techcessorize ANYTHING.)

Contact us and we’ll help fill you in on the fancy lingo.

How digital video can help sell your brand’s story

Fewer than two weeks ago, Korean recording artist Psy was virtually unheard of in America.  But now, the video for his song “Gangnam Style” has more than 335,000,000 views, and the song itself holds the number two spot on the Billboard charts – and the song isn’t even in English!  That type of crossover language success would be impossible without the Internet, as well as a video that adequately captures Psy’s concept and personality through a montage of humorous visuals.
While not every video is guaranteed to reach 335,000,000 views, Psy’s story touches on the massive impact that a visual presentation can add to a product or service.  People are visual beings, and when a video goes viral, it’s typically because it triggers a powerful emotion, which makes people feel the need to share.

If you’re feeling jazzed about a new product or service from your company, or you want to circulate important news about future projects or concepts, you may want to consider bringing on an agency to help you create a video to help spread the word.  A video is a terrific way to tell a brand’s story, which is becoming more and more essential in today’s world of high-impact, compelling digital content.  A well-executed video can help humanize a brand, and can bring product features to life in a way that, even just five years ago, was only possible through expensive production budgets and television airtime.

Don’t get us wrong… at our Orlando advertising firm, we find other digital content such as blogs, photographs and infographics extremely valuable, as they tend to be cheaper and easier to produce.  But when was the last time you heard of a piece of written content being shared 300,000,000 times?  While each format serves its purposes (i.e., our blog a better forum for our Florida marketing agency to tout the benefits of digital video in a format that you can print out for easy reference), a video can leave a long lasting impact with a higher potential to go viral.

[quote]While a company can benefit from all types of content, many people actively seek out branded video content.[/quote]  Brand fanatics regularly check to see what companies such as Nike and Pepsi are up to behind the scenes.  Brands are essentially now media companies, ones that people look to in order to stay up to date with current trends, ideas and innovations.

According to a recent report from searchenginewatch.com, video content can drive social currency.  Social currency can heighten your brand’s profile within your digital community, especially if such content is informative, funny, or both.  And, while a cheap smartphone photo can offer fun insights into your company, a professional video offers credibility, which helps establish trust and rapport amongst your audience.

Ideally, a company should target the content portals where their target community already exists, integrating text, video and social content into the digital marketing strategy that reaches potential customers across platforms.  But, where the concept and budget permits, a video may be the most effective way to tell a story and allow it to reach across numerous fronts.

Our Orlando advertising agency can help you create a targeted video to help tell your company’s story in an effort to help grow your business to its fullest potential. Contact us today!

Instagram in the OR: Using social media to bring comfort to others

I never thought when making the switch from nursing school student to an advertising major in college that I would have the opportunity to witness an open-heart surgery on a small child. But that is exactly the experience I had last month. BIGEYE had the honor to be asked by our client, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, to produce a video about their cardiology program. As part of that video, our crew was graciously allowed in the operating room to witness an amazing surgical team, lead by Dr. William DeCampli, repair little 3-year-old Emily Stone’s heart.
We literally got to participate in history being made. The hospital broke ground by trying something relatively unheard of in healthcare: using social media to share a live surgical operation with the entire world. The hospital posted images and updates of the surgery every 10 minutes through the photo sharing application Instagram, pushing the updates out via their Twitter and Facebook profiles, as well as their blog. For me, it definitely brought new meaning to a photo app that I primarily use to apply artistic filters to pictures of my food.

The response was overwhelming as the world watched and cheered on little Emily with amazing words of encouragement. It was awesome, in the truest sense of the word, to be so openly allowed into a world that is usually very closed off to the public. Pushing the envelope will always bring on a slew of questions: Why did they do this? Does social media go too far? What role can social media play in healthcare? The very nature of social media encourages debate and provides a portal for honest discussions.

Mike Schmidt, director of digital media at Arnold Palmer Hospital, said it best: “Healthcare is behind the rest of the world in being able to tell stories well through social media. There are thousands of amazing things that happen here at the hospital each and every day, and we want to share that with our community.”

Advertising, taglines, slogans and pictures of happy patients all have their place in healthcare. They play a role in communicating to the public a hospital’s message: who they are and what they stand for. But what about showing, not just telling, what really goes on? There may not be anything “pretty” about surgical procedures, but they are real, raw, and honest. We’re talking about humans saving other human’s lives. Arnold Palmer Hospital and Emily’s family were ready to take that leap by sharing this life-saving procedure with the world. The fact is, surgeons and healthcare professionals alike live and breathe this every day, and that’s what has a true impact on their patient’s lives.

Social media is here to stay and will continue to evolve and change. Yes, seeing pictures of a beating heart on your Facebook timeline may not be for everyone, but I do commend the hospital on using a tool that we are all familiar with in a new and interesting way in order to keep people informed of what’s going on behind the curtain. It breaks down barriers and can remove the mystery of the “unknown” for families that may be going through something very scary, hearing their child has  congenital heart disease.

On a very important side note, Emily is doing well. It was a joy to get to know her and her family throughout this process. She’s a brave little girl!

You can see how the story unfolded on the hospitals blog, Illuminate.  Warning: some of the pictures are graphic in nature.

http://myilluminateblog.com/livesurgery

Written by, Laura Adams, BIGEYE Creative Account Manager

Illuminate: The best way to connect with your audience

Illuminate the way you connect with your audience. Create a short and fun video, aka “splainer,” to engage and inform your viewers. Here’s a splainer we created for Illuminate – a children’s health and wellness blog by Arnold Palmer Hospital. Check out the blog for more of our handiwork!

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