The Business Case for Snapchat: Disappearing Content in a Content Marketing World


Snapchat-LogoLove it or hate it, Snapchat is a bit of a big deal.

Having turned down acquisitions for a reported $3 billion (from Facebook) and yes, even $4 billion (Google), Snapchat is the ephemeral juggernaut of the social world. While the total number of users isn’t officially disclosed, they were reported at 30 million in Fall, 2013, with over 400 million snaps per day. That’s an active bunch.

Considering the average user age is 13-23, this is exactly where marketers want to be, in connecting with users while they are young. A few brands have already jumped in, Taco Bell (a frequent innovator) and sports teams such as the New Orleans Saints and (very recently) Pittsburgh Penguins come to mind.

Like Instagram, Snapchat is a mobile only platform (though there are Instagram web profiles). The kicker with Snapchat is, of course, that the content has a limited life span. It’s gone either after you view it, or with Snapchat Stories, lasts for 24 hours. It’s very plain to see that Snapchat works as it solves a very real problem of life in the “share everything” age we are in – the content disappears. What happens on Snapchat, stays on Snapchat. It’s the Las Vegas of social networks. It’s the exact opposite of a Facebook Timeline.

If you’re a marketer – why then, would you want to be using Snapchat? What’s the value in sharing content that disappears in a Content Marketing. Why wouldn’t you use something you can “keep” like a Vine or Instagram video? Why would we make content that we’re going to allow to disappear?

The answer is because you may find new users there. They may follow you, and then they may follow you on your other platforms as well.

The other factor here is something that I think we should use a reminder as marketers. Embrace it. Change is constant. Remember that social marketing can be fun. Ephemeral content still has value and is an interesting concept. Things don’t always work out as planned (remember when you couldn’t wait to build your G+ Brand Page?). The ephemeral reality of Snapchat is that it may lead you to new followers. And in turn, new customers. Or maybe not. But you’ll probably learn something about your marketing and your market at the very least.

Selling in the Social Space


“Social media is not about making money, it’s about relationships”

Watch out for statements like this…

Social media as it relates to sports teams, organizations or athletes is about marketing. The last time I checked, marketing is about making money – isn’t it? Marketing is not sales (obviously), but it is about awareness, brand, positioning… and there are several tools available to do this in order to drive sales.

There are many who continue to drive home the message that social media is about “relationships” – and yes this is true, but isn’t all marketing? The same for sales; I have trained dozens of sales people on the value of “relationships” as it directly relates to sales. Social media is a marketing tool – its time to demystify exactly what social media is and does from a marketing perspective.

Now, having said all that, there is 1 very important rule to marketing and selling in the social space…

It’s Not Yours

Your fan page is exactly that, it belongs to your fans. It’s a place you build for them. As such, you are best to not go around selling things left and right as it will turn your fans off. The vast majority of the social content online is generated by them. Listen to what they tell you and give them what they want.

With sports brands, its possible to build a fan base of several hundred thousand fans quite quickly – but remember, they can unlike and un-follow you just as fast.

If something is wrong, they will tell everyone about it – and in doing so, will tell you about it as well. You can’t control that – but you do have the opportunity to address it, deal with it/fix it and tell them about what you learned and what you did about the problem. These things happen in real-time, so you need to stay on top of it. Similarly, there are times when its best just to leave things alone.

Remember: Fans first… and success here depends on the triple win for the fan, the team and the sponsor alike.

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2 Free Marketing and Branding Downloads


I recently came across a couple of free resources that I wanted to share…

The first is a powerpoint from HubSpot. They have some great free resources and webinars regarding social media. Below is a link to a presentation that contains over 50 charts and graphs on marketing data – many related to social media. You might find it useful and also be interested to keep tabs on HubSpot as well…

HubSpot Marketing Data Presentation

The second is an eBook from Don MacLeod called “The Basics of Branding”… it’s a 21 page PDF.

The Basics of Branding

Hope you find some value in these!

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Sales and the Transfer of Brand Credibility


I often ask sales people to define the word “sales”.

We all know what it means, but it can be hard to define. I think it is important to sometimes reframe what we are doing – take a look at it from a higher level and this can help inform our perspective on what we do, how we do it and how we can improve it.

Essentially, “sales” represents the transfer of credibility from the seller to the brand.

A sales person starts with nothing – perhaps a cold call, and they work through the sales process by establishing and reinforcing their credibility to the point when the buyer feels they trust and believe the seller and agree to sign off. At that point – the seller has worked hard individually to the point where credibility has been built and then has been successful in transferring that credibility to the brand they represent – A tall order for sure.

Now, sure – of course marketing can help with building that brand (either in advance or during the sales process), but it really comes down to individuals. People connecting with people. For that very reason, sales people are one of the most important hires that an organization can make. These people are walking and talking your brand every day.

Who says sales and marketing do not understand one another? They are different sides of the same thing.

Social Media – It’s Only Us


Don’t get me wrong, I’m kind of into hype…

After some time of rampant evangelicalism, there is a sober reality taking root as more and more organizations embrace what these new(ish) platforms of engagement can do for them.

I really liked this post from Zygote. It talks about ROI, and campaign measurement, and it is visually great as well.

Like anything new, there needs to be some demystification surrounding social media – and I think the easiest way to describe this, or focus this point is that – All social media really is… is us.

Using the tools available to access, introduce and collaborate with us is the trick – this is where the how’s and what’s are applied. But the why seems quite simple – because social media is where your market already is.

And we’re not so bad are we?

How to Start Listening with Social Media


earWhat organization wouldn’t be interested to leverage the ability to sell to, listen to, build loyalty with, create with, promote with and participate in conversations about their brand, product or industry?

If you are a doubter, or not sure about dipping that toe in… start by just listening. Listening is one of the most important sales skills – why? Because it’s how you find out what your customer wants. Good sellers are good listeners. This can work on the brand level as well – via social media, you can listen at the brand level.

How To Start Listening With Social Media – 5 Steps

  1. Get yourself a Twitter ID
    • Make it a personal one, something you can play around with (worry about the brand later)
  2. Learn the basics and the simple jargon
    • Start with the FAQs
    • This will help you understand what you find
    • This will help you listen/search effectively
  3. Start following a few people or brands
    • Like me
    • Twitter will recommend some when you sign up…
  4. Now Search for you, your brand, your industry, your product
    • Use the handy search box on the top left

    And Step 5…Analyze what you find.

  • Who is tweeting?
  • What are they saying? Do you like it?
  • What can you do with this?

Step 5 isn’t really a step, it’s a choiceWhat are you going to do with what you heard? There’s a lot more to social media of course, but this is a simple way to start.

Facebook as a Marketing Tool for Local Businesses


facebook-logo1I’m going to take a look at two very different businesses and how they use Facebook as a marketing tool.

One is a well known brand/multi-million $ business in a major U.S. city and the other is a small hair salon in the interior of British Columbia.

Two reasons: Contrast and Compare. While these businesses are very different entities – they both leverage Facebook for the same purpose and strategy. People have a lot of questions about how to use Facebook to promote their business. There is no doubt that Facebook provides huge potential – but many people are unsure how to best make use of it.

Facebook benefits B2C companies with immediate and collaborative communication. Their audiences are already there on Facebook –  Here’s an example of one…

hairdooz1Click here to see Natasha’s Hairdooz on Facebook.

There are a number of things that I think Natasha is doing very well with Facebook:

  • Leveraging Her Network: With almost 300 Friends (50% are customers), there are frequent posts on Natasha’s profile about her customer’s satisfaction and requests for appointments.
  • Customer Testimonials: Natasha posts photos from in the salon and hair styles of her customers for all to view.
  • Profile and Page Integration: By building a Page about her business with location and contact info, she also drives a lot of discussi0n back to her profile as well.

Some Key Points…

Natasha targets younger clients through Facebook and her salon offers free wireless internet access. Her friends and customers are already on Facebook and by allowing them to connect with, participate in and access her business on Facebook, she gains  immediacy, convenience and promotion that is unachievable by any other means. Having a camera on hand at her work allows Natasha to photograph clients and then post the pictures on the spot.

One of the greatest features of Facebook is the visibility it provides – when anyone in her network makes a comment, all the other Friends see that comment too – this results in exponential exposure for conversations surrounding the hair salon.

Facebook leverages the network that people already have in a very effective manner and can be an excellent marketing tool for solo entrepreneurs in the B2C field.  On the flip side, my next post will break down how a much larger business in the sports industry uses Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy…

Marketing = Applied Art, Selling = Fine Art


It’s always different working with entrepreneurs vs. sales people.

Teaching at Microskills

Teaching at Microskills

I recently taught a class here in Toronto focused on social media at MicroSkills. For a lot of “new” entrepreneurs, selling is the last thing they want to do. Many of them see sales as a necessary evil – as if it is only a matter of time until the market finds out about them and the phone begins to ring. They have the vision, but are not prepared to put in the time to find customers/clients (and the skills to pull it off). They focus their skills gap on the brandi.e. “if only the brand were stronger…” vs. “I’d like to be better at selling.”

On the other hand, sales people often miss/overlook the vision of the business – both their own and their prospect’s businesses. They have the skills and can pound out calls and presentations, but have trouble with the big picture.

Now – these are generalizations, and there are some great sellers with vision and some entrepreneurs who can work it on the streets. Ultimately, I think it is rare for individuals to be strong in both areas. Success doesn’t come easy.

Bottom line = $. The efforts of any business – your own or selling within someone’s business needs to result in sales. Sales continues to be stigmatized while functioning as the life blood of any organization. I see both entrepreneurs and sellers alike continue to wish that their brand could help them sell, or better yet, sell for them.

Selling is a fine art – marketing is an applied art.

Relax – It’s only Social Media


What exactly is social media – how does it redefine marketing?

I define social media simply as a communication platform that enables deep engagement. There seems to be a sense out there that social media means everything, and represents a revolution in marketing and communication. While I think  it’s true that social media is changing the landscape, there is much being defined and redefined right in front of our eyes, almost a living test run in action. This is the speed of technological change and adaptation today…

For example… Check out the most recent Facebook ToS (Terms of Service) flap and the related story on CNN – or evangelistic posts such as this that purport social media as the undeniable redrawing of the face of marketing.

It seems a bit funny that the basics of social media are so simple – user generated content and participation – and how social media has made such a splash and impact on marketing. It can seem like social media is so much of a buzzword, or something that appeared out of nowhere, but its evolution can be easily tracked. In addition, the huge layer of opinion and discussion generated through blogs and online communities provides a whole other element to the “phenomenon”.

Social media is a powerful and engaging platform – but the rush to categorize and historicize it as the greatest thing since (a. the printing press, b. television, or c. fire) sometimes only serves to intimidate and confuse…

Let’s keep this simple – Social media is:

  • Simple and/or Easy
  • Free and/or Inexpensive
  • Fun and/or Exciting

While social media maybe the greatest thing since sliced bread, whether or not it is redefining the concept of food and nutrition is another story for another day.

The point is – What are you doing with social media and your business today? It’s time to start with little steps…

How to Make Your Market Care About You


When considering your marketing and sales strategy, ask your yourself a question – why should your market care about you?

People buy when they have a need. Outside of those who buy quickly, Sellers always seem to be concerned with 2 things:

  1. Follow up until they do buy
  2. Drive them to your website

While these are actually good ideas, most times they are not done very well. Let’s break it down…

Turn Prospecting into Sharing

Most times that a seller follows up, they are basically saying, “Are you ready to buy yet?“. Endless calls and emails are sent with very little or no results. All this does is continue to flood your market with annoying and unwanted messages. The main goal in following up with any prospect is to offer them something they value – and the most sensible thing to offer them is information.

How? Use some simple tools like Google Alerts to search for articles and information that your market can benefit from. Send them links, but don’t don’t sell to them – just share information. This strategy can work very well for individual sales people to connect with their prospects. BTW – your prospects are part of your network too… so treat them like it. Give them referrals, helpful information and things they can use.

Your Website – Why Should They Care?

For a larger, organizational approach strategy – give your market a place to go for information. Consider again – unless someone had an immediate need to buy, why else would they ever visit your website?

Your website can be a place for people to learn and share information. By building this idea at the core of what your website is, you will be positioning yourself as a thought leader, a resource, an organization of value. By using blogs (like this one on WordPress), and creating opportunities for your market (with tools like Twitter, Delicious, Groups on Linkedin…) to learn more about your industry and current topics, you are giving them something they can really use and that is what will bring them back. What you are really doing here is positioning your brand into the conversation that is already going on – and that is a very valuable way to build engagement and awareness.