Since the Red Sox and Bruins are not playing I instead offer my current four favorite social media tools. I have become a fan of these because I am very visual, I love “easy”. and I do not have a ton of extra time.
The first two are visual, Instagram and Screenr. Instagram gives people a way to connect around images. Businesses use it as a “softer marketing” tool capturing the essence of brands and the companies – rather than blatantly advertising. Companies will mix pictures of products with other “behind-the-scenes” photos which “personalize” the business. Vineyard Vines is a great example:
Screenr falls under both my “visual” and “easy” categories. A screencasting tool, Screenr is used for e-learning, webinars, and visual demonstrations of products. Consumers find it much easier to watch a 5 minute demonstration (the Screenr limit) than read a manual, and support is easily targeted to whatever the “problem” is. Companies use Screenr to be in front of the customer when it is not possible for a salesperson to be. Examples can be found on the Screenr blog at www.screenr.com.
To the “easy” category…HubSpot. My only pick which is not a free service, but rather a Software Suite. Designed for small to medium sized businesses to provide sales leads and generate traffic, HubSpot has used “Inbound Marketing” successfully for itself and now shares this model with its customers. “Inbound Marketing” was founded on the basis that traditional advertising has become less effective.(1) One infographic showed that 86 percent of viewers skip commercials and 44 percent of recipients never open direct mail.(2) In contrast, companies that blog have 50 percent more website visitors than those that don’t(3) and ” inbound marketing” leads cost 60 percent less on average.(3)(1) HubSpot offers “all-in-one” services, but the great part (in my humble opinion) is they provide an easy (there’s that word again) way to design a website and then monitor who visits it, turning visitors into customers. A 30 second analysis of a businesses current marketing can be performed at http://marketing.grader.com and HubSpot has LOTS of answers (Ebooks, webinars, whitepapers, etc…) for effectively marketing a business through social media.
The last tool in my 4 favs is Postling. Again designed for small to medium sized businesses, Postling allows companies to manage all social media messages simultaneously from a single, one page “dashboard.” A business can also schedule posts and Postling instantly updates comments made about the company’s brands. Postling also has a very cool feature which sends alerts to the email inbox of the user, the user can then email a response, and the response is posted to all of the social media platforms the company uses. This gives small businesses time to do what they went into business to do – spend time with customers. Please see www.deniseoberry.com/postling-review-social-media-management-for-small-businesses.
(1) Basu, Dev (June 29, 2011). “Inbound marketing: The customer finds you”. The Globe and Mail.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/start/business-planning/inbound-marketing-the-customer-finds-you/article2079880/. Retrieved February 27,2012
(2) Nakano, Chelsi (October 31, 2011). “INFOGRAPHIC The Decline of Outbound Marketing”. CMS Wire. http://www.cmswire.com/cms/customer-experience/infographic-the-decline-of-outbound-marketing-013308.php. Retrieved February 27, 2012
(3) Leary, Brent (January 27, 2012). “Jeanne Hopkins of HubSpot: All Leads Are Not Created Equal”. Small Business Trends. http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/01/jeanne-hopkins-hubspot-interview.html. Retrieved February, 29, 2012.