Is your social media really under control?

By: Ryan Harrell, Creative Director
As a social media firm we get a lot of inquires as to how we can help a business market itself using social media. The whole process usually goes like this: A business comes to us asking for a quote and wondering what we can do. Our leadership team outlines a plan to get their customers engaged and figure out how many hours we will devote to this each month and develop a budget. Once they see the quote they either move forward or remember they have a receptionist or a nephew that has a Facebook account and figure how hard can it be. They then turn over control of their business image on all social networks to this person.

Now in some cases the #’s increase
I once talked to a client who said he has a person from his office doing his social networking and his #’s were going up. (Meaning that he was gaining new friends and followers on each of the networks.) I thought great, keep them engaged and you should be able to gain new customers. However upon looking at his profiles I quickly realized this probably would not happen. His business was localized. Meaning you could not really utilized his business unless you were local. However most of the likes and follows came from people not in the local area. It seems an online ad campaign had been ran incorrectly and he got a ton of likes, however not from anyone who would ever be able use his business. Even worse these were dead likes, or people who did not interact at all.

It is about the Apps.
Another situation I ran into was a friend who had a guy run a contest for him on his Facebook page. He did a giveaway and had tons of interaction. It would have been a successful once. However in the middle of the contest his page dissipated. It was no where to be found, gone for good. Where could it have gone? He was in the middle of a very expensive media buy and had tons of ads going out talking about the contest. How could this happen? It turns out the person running the contest did not use an app that followed Facebooks TOS. You see Facebook has guidelines for the way you can run giveaways and contests from the site. You have to use an app to run a contest, it has to be moderated and it has to follow the terms of service for Facebook or you could risk loosing your page, all the likes and data you have built up. There is no fine to pay to get it back either. It is gone for good. Now that is a tough price to pay.

Help I cannot get into my Facebook page!
I got a call one time that a friend of a friend could not login to the page they created. They had just secured the URL they wanted and was beginning to feel good about connecting socially with current and potential clients. So to take it to the next level they hired a social media expert to do some work on the page. They were happy with the work and got busy with the business and life and decided that they would let the social media expert do their job. A month into it the “expert” changed the rates, and demanded that the amount be paid immediately. It turns out since they were an admin on the Facebook page they were able to remove the original page owner and hold the page “ransom.” In order to get the page access back they would have to spend a money over and above the monthly fee, something that was for sure not in his budget. He decided he would create a new page instead of paying and something else happened. Since this guy was not in his local area he sold access to the page, URL and all the likes to a competing business in another area of the country. If you do not think this happens you can check eBay, there are new seasoned fan pages coming up each day on there.

The only way to be safe is to use us.. (Just Kidding) You have to be safe when dealing with social media experts, or companies you have not heard of. It is way to easy to deem yourself an expert, or call yourself a company and have bad intentions. This happens anytime there is a new area like social media that is changing the way we do business. One thing is for sure we have a lot of clients, extremely happy with the results, and you can be too.

Call us today and learn how we can help your manage your business’s social media.

Why You Need A Mobile Site For Your Business

mobile site Having a mobile site is the new black.  According to comScore, smart phones comprise 35% of the U.S. mobile market with the slice of the pie projected to overtake the majority in less than a year.  Google has reported 95% of smart phone users have searched for local information.  So, why you ask, does your business need a mobile site?  Especially since you already have a perfectly good site that looks amazing on your desktop, well … here’s why you need a mobile site for your business:

-Browsers do not work the same way on your mobile device as they do on your desktop.  The screens are much smaller so images appear differently.  Also, your phone or mobile device works off a lot less processing power than a computer.  If your site is taking too long to load on the phone, people will likely move on to your competitors site.

-Analytics don’t lie. If you want to track traffic to your website accurately, you should include how many people are accessing the site from their phones, which means a separate url for the mobile version.  It’s helpful when devising digital marketing and over all marketing strategy.  You might find a whole pool of people you’ve mostly ignored by not catering to their primary web use.

-Web experience: ever try and visit & site and get so frustration with how difficult it is to navigate, how long it’s taking to load, or how the layout just isn’t easy?  That’s what people are getting when they click on your desktop designed site on their mobile phone.  Plus, as the mobile population increases on a daily basis, search engines are investing heavily in developing faster and better tools to meet mobile search demand.  This means that if someone is searching from a mobile device, mobile sites could be weighted more heavily in the results so the experience is smoother for the user.

-Get ahead: not everyone is doing it yet.  Mobile web design and ease is still an emerging market.  Why bring this up?  Because your competitors may not be doing it, and isn’t better to stay ahead of the curve rather than trying to play to catch up?

-Increased reach: if someone’s searching your business or service from a mobile device, don’t leave them out.  By including them, you’re increasing your reach and there’s no downfall to that.

Ask us today about our mobile site designs for your business.

Tips To Making Social Media Coupons Work

If you’ve read our blog on Social Media Coupon Pros & Cons and then on How Social Media Coupons work, and you’ve decided it’s right for your business, here are some helpful tricks to land yourself on the plus side and have a positive experience.

1.  Have happy employees:
A Rice University study found that only 25% of social media coupon redeemers purchased products or services beyond the coupon value and less than 15% returned to the business to purchase at full price. That’s not to scare you off, but that’s to help you realize how significant creating a positive experience for redeemers is.  Your employees are going to be inundated with lots of questions that they need to be prepared to answer.  Make sure you’ve communicated all the ins and outs of the deal before it launches.

2. Gather contact information for future use in marketing campaigns:
With all the traffic to your business you have prime opportunity to gather more information about customers to use later.  Have a comment card or better yet have a lap top, iPad or smart phone handy for users to input their information.  You should aim to collect their name, phone number & email address at the very least.

3. Follow up:
With all that contact information sending out an e-newsletter thanking participants or being in contact should be a snap.  It’s amazing how many businesses don’t follow up & it’s amazing how important and special it can make a consumer feel.  Ask for feedback.  Most people jump at the opportunity to express their opinions when they feel like someone’s listening

4. Reel them in:
The best way to get a new customer is for your employees to be friendly and make the customers feel important.  Again and again we’ve found that social media coupons redeemers generally are less satisfied, tip less, and usually only spend the bare minimum to activate the discount, but in order to have a chance at them returning, they must feel like they’re important.

5. Don’t double dip:
If you’ve decided to run a social media coupon deal, don’t run a cheaper promotion elsewhere.  This is where backlash from consumers can quickly and fiercely occur.

Have you recently run a Social Media Coupon campaign in your small business?  Tell us about your experience our Facebook.

How Social Media Couponing Works

We recently wrote about the pros and cons of Social Media Couponing and in a later post we’ll offer some tips on how to make it work for you.  We don’t mean to discourage anyone from venturing in, but we do strongly suggest caution.  Don’t forget earlier this year and FTD’s run in with bad publicity due to a Groupon deal.  But if you’ve weighed your options and it’s something you’ve decided you want to do, here’s how:

The plan:
Start off your social media coupon campaign by defining your goal for the special.  Don’t go in without a plan or it will be more work than it’s worth.  Do you want to capture new customer information to use for later marketing?  Do you want to gain new and loyal fans?  Do you want to increase brand awareness?  Most likely your goals will be a combination of these things, but it’s important to prioritize so you know where to most focus your energy.

Pick a site:
Maybe it’s a national site like Groupon or Living Social or more localized site deal offered by city newspapers, but whatever you decide, read the fine print. Know when to expect your cut of the profits, and what your responsibilities are and the sites responsibilities are.  Keep in mind these “profits” aren’t always direct profits.  A recent Rice University study found 66% of Groupon promotions were; 32% reported the promotion was not profitable at all.

Once you contact the site, you may be assigned a representative or regional speKITTENSt to assist you in getting your deal & business qualified for the site.

Look into the deals other similar businesses are offering.  Your deal has to compete with these deals.  Think: why would someone want to buy MY deal?  This information will be helpful when speaking with the social coupon site because you’ll know how other businesses and what they offered.

Reach out to the different social coupon sites that you are interested in hosting with.  Keep in mind, some sites only offer to certain cities or regional areas, so your location could impact eligibility.  Keep in mind your regional speKITTENSt or representative from the coupon site, doesn’t have your best interests at heart.  Their job is to find deals that will sell, regardless of whether or not it’s profitable or beneficial for your business.

Be prepared:
Do you need extra employees to answer the phones & questions, make reservations, or extra product while the promotion runs?  Will you need to add hours in order to accommodate customers? Does your website have all your contact information and is your host able to handle a surge in traffic?  Do you have a system in place to capture new client’s information for future marketing purposes?

Finally, if you’re working your way through the social media coupon process and have questions, don’t hesitate to post them here

The Pros & Cons of Social Media Couponing

Social Media coupons are growing rapidly.  Who gets daily updates from Groupon, LivingSocial, or other more localized consumer daily deal website?  Recently Whole Foods offered a social media coupon on LivingSocial that sold 115,000 per hour during its peak time.  There are obvious benefits for LivingSocial, but the benefits of social media couponing are less clear for Whole Foods.  The media attention and word-of-mouth marketing is tremendous, but the monetary increase is more questionable.  The partnership suggests that Whole Foods saw potential to not only reach new customers but convert them.  But what about for a small business?  What are the benefits of social media couponing and what should you expect?

In a later post we’ll discuss how social media coupons works but before that, let’s look at the pros and cons so you can decide if it’s right for you.

-Increase in web traffic for your products/services
-Word-of-mouth advertising and awareness of your company
-Reach new customers
-Upsurge in phone calls (be prepared)
-Opportunity to collect contact information for future marketing use
-Potential in sales increase
-Immediate buzz without many man-hours

-Increased time and man-hours answering questions via phone, email and social media sites
-Less net income for the short term
-Need for responsive & immediate customer service
-Unless you are tracking each coupon, inability to track if someone has converted to a loyal long term customer
-If a part of the deal isn’t thoroughly thought out and communicated to employees there’s a potential for many unhappy customers, counter productive to word-of-mouth marketing
-You don’t get your money from the corporate coupon site right away

Are you considering using social media coupons for your small business?

Five Ways Social Media Can Work Internally

Sure, you’ve heard the scoop about social media being beneficial in starting a conversation with your consumers and how it can help your overall marketing strategy, but here are some other ways your employees can benefit from social media integration:

1.  Google
For traditional office environment businesses it can provide customized email addresses for your employees (, a chat room interface, a place to host documents, a integrated calendar, and so much more.  Bonus: it’s free.

2.  Make a private group on facebook that your employees must join.
Post mandatory staff meeting times, holiday business and employee hours, incentive program initiatives or social events.  Skip the staff meetings all together occasionally and post the information here.  Ask your employees to leave questions or comments on your post to confirm they’ve read the information.  Be clear it’s not a place to bash the business, because you are watching, but it can be a place to foster camaraderie among co-workers.  Getting to know your co-workers and becoming friendly with them makes for happy workers (read: more productive and motivated employees).

3.  Use your employees social networks
If your employees use any type of social media, they have a network that you could tap into.  Ask your employees to check in on facebook or foursquare to your place of business.  Ask them to tweet and tag you twitter handle.  Happy employees are much more likely to oblige so keeping the message upbeat is essential.  Maybe even offer employee incentives like product discounts, free company swag or an extended lunch break to the employee who checks in the most over a 1 week period.

4.  Recruitment

Those networks, referenced above, may have future employees that will want to come work for you!  Once you’ve tapped into your employees network’s you could have a wealth of potential future employees.  Post in your private facebook group that you’re looking for new employees and I’ll bet one of your employees has a friend looking for work.

5.  Create discussion
In addition to asking what your consumers might think about a new policy, ask what your employees think.  Maybe you’re wondering about extending your weekend business hours, or hosting a new product.  Ask your workers.  Employees that feel like they are contributing to the business are more motivated to perform well at their job.

Review sites
When someone is searching for a restaurant or bar, review sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon are often some of the first results to come up.  Ask your employees to post reviews about your business.  They can even say they work there.  Good reviews are good reviews no matter where they come from.

New Look for the 219 Group

Taking Social Media Marketing to the next level

The 219 Group launches its new look website.  The new website design and layout allows for more content and increased social interaction.  Being that we’re a social media marketing company, we have to stay fresh too!  We now have more in depth descriptions how we can help you.  From social media marketing, branding & identity, graphic design, Search Engine optimization, to copywriting we have your web 2.0 needs covered.  Whether you have a new project to start from scratch, or existing sites in need of revitalization, 219’s team of social & search experts will facilitate all your social media marketing, internet and promotional needs.

102 Person St, Suite D
Fayetteville NC 28301
1 Glenwood Ave, 5th Floor
Raleigh, NC 27603