Columnists Brad Simon Internet Marketing Strategies: Social Change

Internet Marketing Strategies: Social Change

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The Internet is constantly changing and evolving and that fact has never been more evident than the past few months. Not only has the Internet become more Social, Social Media websites have made some major news headlines. In case you missed them, here are a few of the major ones that have an effect of your business marketing.

Facebook Overtakes Google!

There may be no bigger news than Facebook passing Google in having more US based visitors. It happened on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day 2009 and again on New Years Day 2010. This did not make too big of news - it was just passed over as people connecting with friends and loved ones for the holidays. But then it happened again on March 6th & 7th.

It hasn’t been since 1998 when an upstart company took the world by storm and within a few short years completely dominated the Internet. By 2003, everyone was Googling. In 2010 we’re still Googling, but now a lot of us are also Facebooking.

If you rely solely on Google for your online marketing – Think Again. If you don’t have your personal profile set-up in FaceBook and at least one Business Page for your store - Do It NOW! If you have done this already, make a group for your business, set-up additional Business Pages, and take advantage of FaceBook Events.

A lot has been written and said about the Social Web, however, I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. Facebook could be positioning itself to take over the Web in ways that no one – not even Google – has done yet. Google taught us all how to Search, Facebook is teaching us to be Social. The question is, are we ready?

The Battle for Number 2

In 2007 My Space was the largest, most visited Social Network. In 2008 Facebook passed it for the top spot in the Social Media category, and as stated above has pushed that to the most visited website in the US. Traffic on the Social Media website is important, but for retail jewelers it is more important to look at which websites send more traffic to your website, and ultimately to your store.

Facebook also bears the distinction of being the site that drives the most traffic to websites on the global level. No big surprise there. But you might be surprised at who the number two website for social traffic is.

No, it’s not Twitter. It’s Not YouTube either. Linked-In does not even make the chart!

Drum roll please....

The number two website for driving traffic to your website is StumbleUpon.

StumbleUpon is a Social Bookmarking website where visitors can learn about different websites recommended by other users and then click on the link to view the website.

During the Fall of 2009, Twitter jumped to number three in this category and has been going back and forth with YouTube for the third and fourth place. Following those are ReddIt fifth, Digg sixth, and MySpace seventh (Yes, MySpace is still alive and well, just not as dominate as it once was). No other website created 1% of traffic to make the chart.

Now you need to understand that YouTube is still the number three website in global traffic just behind Google and FaceBook, and Twitter is eleventh. What this means for retail jewelers is that your message will be seen by a lot of potential customers on both Twitter and YouTube. Those potential customers are most likely going to view your information, but not necessarily click on the links to your website. So if you are using these websites to market your store (and you should be) include all your pertinent information there and don’t rely on, nor expect a lot of click throughs.

Remember that for a local retail store the MOST IMPORTANT issue is getting traffic through the front door of your store, not just to your website. So YouTube and Twitter are still a valuable part of your online marketing.

It is also noteworthy that 3 of the top 7 websites in sending traffic to your website are Social BookMarking websites. If you have not included Social BookMarking in your online marketing mix, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO SO!

Google is Going Places

As I’ve written in this column in the past, Google has made some major improvements in helping Brick-N-Mortar Stores market online. On April 20th Google renamed their Local Business Center to Google Places. No major changes that effect retail jewelers were announced with the name change, but hold on to your hat. Google doesn’t seem to be slowing down in helping local businesses, so look for some more help from them as this online giant now has some serious competition with which to compete.

Also, if you did not claim your business listing in the Google Business Center, head over to Google Places and claim it now. Claiming and verifying your listing is the most important item in getting your business listed in Google Maps and Mobile Listings.

Social Gone Local

Started on April 16, 2009, FourSquare is a Social Networking website and Internet Game all rolled into one application for Local Businesses. Just barely a year old Foursquare already boasts 1 million users and is growing by 50% to 60% per month.

With Foursquare growing so rapidly, the service is quickly becoming much more than a simple game. Businesses are now using FourSquare as a marketing tool, offering special promotions to customers who use the service. With its rapid growth FourSquare is at the top of Silicon Valley’s most wanted list and is already being pursued by Internet giant Yahoo which has offered as much as $125 million for the company.

Members of FourSquare use their SmartPhone to “Check-In” when they visit a business or other location. Each time they check in they earn points and when they accumulate enough points they earn bonuses from coupons to free merchandise from the places they visit.

When they check in they inform their friends on FourSquare to come join them and they can leave reviews about the places they visit. Before visiting a location members can read all the reviews about the place to decide if they want to go there or not. The person who visits a location the most is named the Mayor of that place and wins additional coupons and freebies from that business. They remain the Mayor until someone else visits that location more times than they have.

People check-in at all kinds of places - cafes, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, music venues, and more. It may sound a little silly until you see the list of places that are offering freebies to their mayors - free coffees, free ice-cream, free hotel stays - it pays to be a FourSquare loyalist and check-in whenever you go!

As a business owner, you can use FourSquare to develop loyal repeat customers, and engage them with “FourSquare Specials”, offering your loyal customers discounts and prizes when they check in on FourSquare at your store. Don’t forget to show extra love to your store’s Mayor!

I don’t know of any jewelry stores that have started using FourSquare yet, but I’m sure some of you creative owners can find ways to advertise your business to this ever growing audience. And remember that to be a member and play you need to own a SmartPhone. This, of course, limits your offerings to those people who keep up on the latest trends, try to impress their friends, and are willing to spend money. Not a bad group of people to advertise your jewelry store to.

If you want to dive right in, get started by claiming your venue right from FourSquare’s website www.FourSquare.com. It’s free to set-up; your only cost is the coupons and other specials you give away.

YouTube Got Maps

For some time now you could geo-tag your videos uploaded to YouTube with your city and state. This helps to get your video listed in Google Searches for your products in your area.

Earlier this year Google added their Maps to YouTube. Now you can pinpoint your store’s location in Google maps for each of the videos you upload. Plus you can go to your account and edit all your past videos and include a Map location on all your videos. Be sure to include your store’s address, city, state, and zip so that Google can link the video to your store’s Place Page.

Personalized Search Results

Both Google and Bing are personalizing search results with Social Media posts from people to whom you are connected. Now when you perform a search there along with all the listings for websites will be FaceBook and Twitter posts from people you know and trust who had something to say about the topic you are searching.

What this means is, if Mrs. Smith does a search for Diamonds and she is one of your FaceBook friends and you posted on FaceBook something about Diamonds that post has a very good chance of showing up among the top ten websites shown in her search.

For jewelers to take advantage of these changes you need to do two things. First you need to connect with as many people in your local area as possible on both FaceBook and Twitter. Then you need to make a post on both of these websites about your products, services, and your store.

By doing so, you will have a distinct advantage over your competitors when someone from your network does a search for your products or services. This adds additional significance to the value already created from them seeing your post when you created them.

What This All Means

Social Media is not only changing the Internet, it’s changing how retailers can use the Internet to market their stores. FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google Places, and other Social Media websites can all be effectively used for marketing purposes. Knowing their advantages and how people are using them will help you use each one successfully.

Brad and Debbie Simon have been involved in the retail jewelry industry since 1977 and have been marketing On-Line since 1999. Their company Internet 4 Jewelers provides Local and Mobile Search Marketing, E-mail Marketing, and Website Development exclusively for retail jewelry stores. For more information log on to www.Internet4Jewelers.com.

 
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