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Strategically Social: Tumblr & The Atlantic

If you're hunting for the latest Internet phenomenon, chances are good that you'll be directed to Tumblr. The free, easy-to-use microblogging and social networking hybrid website has been home to memes and more since 2007. Although its primary users are individuals, some businesses and organizations—like the editors of the news and analysis magazine the Atlantic—are doing a great job using Tumblr in creative ways to extend their brand and curate fresh and relevant content to their readership. Some other Tumblr pages run by publications whose editorial staffs are doing a good job editorially include the Reader, Vanity Fair, and New York Time's T Magazine.

Microblogging and editorial storytelling

Tumblr allows users to share multiple kinds of media (polls, photos, words, quotes, links, video, and more) on personal blogs. Tumblr blog homes can be customized using assorted pre-made—yet, modifiable—templates layout themes. Tumblr registration is quick and easy. To sign-up, users only have to provide three bits of information: their name, e-mail, and desired password.
Editorial staffs make up one niche pocket of Tumblr users who are utilizing the format to extend their storytelling and add more content to supplement what they're doing through blog entries and printed publications. The Atlantic's editors post original videos, teaser excerpts from their stories, photography, and more as stories break. As a monthly publication, Tumblr's instant click-to-publish format allows the editors to add reactions to stories as they happen. This week, for instance, they've been able to share assorted, relevant bits of content and links regarding the riots in London as they are created.
Does your marketing plan include reaching out to your clients on an informal, frequent basis? Are you working to build a community around your brand? Used strategically, Tumblr can support your existing efforts.

Some ideas for implementation:

  • If you have a landscaping company, use Tumblr to post photos of finished projects and how-to videos for sharing tips for maintaining professionally designed gardens.
  • If you have a catering business, use Tumblr to share sample menus and photos from events.
  • If you have an auto repair shop, use Tumblr to answer questions and run polls.

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The 411 on Google+ for businesses and organizations

Though Facebook gets more traffic that Google now, that's not stopping the innovators at Google from trying to imagine up new services and products to bring back the users they lost and reclaim the title as most used website. One of Google's strategies is their latest foray into social networking—Google+. You probably noticed the companion component of the website—the Google+ buttonappear as part of Google's search results at the start of June.

Google+ (aka g+) launched in late June for personal use. The social networking website is still in beta and remains invitation-only. In the past three short weeks, over 20 million users have activated their accounts. To better understand why this quick growth is so impressive, remember that it took Facebook and Twitter nearly three years to reach 20 million users.

G+ may have over 20 million users, but it is still not supporting businesses and organizations who want to make professional profiles. According to G+’s product manager Christian Oestlian:

“With so many qualified candidates expressing intense interest in business profiles, we’ve been thinking hard about how to handle this process. Your enthusiasm obligates us to do more to get businesses involved in Google+ in the right way, and we have to do it faster.

"As a result, we have refocused a few priorities and we expect to have an initial version of businesses profiles up and running for everyone in the next few months. There may be a tiny handful business profiles that will remain in the meantime solely for the purpose of testing how businesses interact with consumers.”

While Google's team works to create the best possible experience for its business and organization users, they encourage those eager to set-up at the social networking website to do so as a person. Until their consumer profiles feature officially goes live later this year, accounts created that do not tie to a personal account will be removed.

Three ways to convince people to take your online survey

Creating online surveys has never been easier thanks to tools like SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, and SurveyGizmo; however, getting potential new clients or existing customers to respond and provide helpful feedback takes strategic planning. Here are three simple things you can do when developing an online survey to ensure a better response rate:

  1. Select the right audience.
    Don't dump your entire database into a pool of potential survey respondents. Instead, figure out who you want information from and use that group as your base. If you're looking for feedback from potential new customers consider sending your web survey to those in your database who have made inquiries but no purchases. Don't forget to filter out e-mail addresses of those who have said they do not wish to be contacted. Supplement that base by asking your website visitors to answer the survey, too. A good place to post the survey might be the contact form page if that's where a lot of your new business queries originate.
  2. Personalize your messaging.
    Do you have the first names of your potential survey respondents? Perfect. Write your e-mail to begin "Dear Tatum" instead of "Dear Indianapolis Small Business Owner." This small extra step in the set-up of your online survey during the mail-merge process can result in a higher response rate.
  3. Keep it clear, keep it short.
    Respecting your potential survey respondents' time at the start by writing a direct, brief message. This consistency will act as an initial indicator that you will also respect their time when it comes to the actual survey. Be honest about how long the survey will take. Even if you have a longer survey, letting them know upfront will increase your response rate because you disclosed this at the start. Explain who you are and why you're doing the survey. Finish by sharing how the resulting data will benefit not only your company but also the respondents. This may mean providing an incentive, like a gift card or percentage off their next purchase. It may also be as making a donation to a charity on behalf of all who respond. Even the small token of appreciation can increase response rates.

Strategically Social: Starbucks & Instagram

Strategically Social: Starbucks & Instagram
If you scan technology news headlines, it takes seconds to see that Google+ is the social network currently getting the most buzz. How businesses will use this new service as part of their online marketing strategy is still yet to be seen. On the other hand, Instagram—a free app for taking and sharing photos—is quietly making waves and steadily growing its user base. As of May 2011, over four million individuals and businesses downloaded and installed Instagram on their Apple iOS devices.

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