The Niche Marketing Blog

Tools for understanding and reaching your market

Social Media: 5 Trends to Consider

Social Media and Niche Marketing

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[Editor’s note: Today’s guest article focuses on social media trends that have recently emerged and that can be leveraged by smart niche marketers to create more traffic and more sales. Take a look at these trends and consider incorporating one or more of them into your current marketing mix. Let me know what you think by posting a comment below.  ~Scott]

 

Does the concept of starting a social media marketing campaign scare you? Don’t let it. While social media sites are quickly growing, they’re also becoming easier to use and are welcoming not only social butterflies but businesses as well. Social media marketing is slowly but surely finding its way into the standard marketing campaign – and for good reason. Here are some of the trends we’ve noticed over the past year.

A Lack of Control

When venturing into the world of social media, it is important to remember that you will have very little control over the actions and mindsets of your followers or fans. Take Facebook, for example. You may decide to build a business page for your organization but you may also find that your fans have created fan pages of their own – unofficial pages where they have chosen to network and talk about your products or services. While that shouldn’t discourage you from building your own page, it should encourage you to check out what others are doing or saying in an effort to monitor and protect your brand.

Exploring Collective Sales

The past year has introduced the concept of collective sales, or collective buying, to the social media marketing platform as well. Sites like Groupon offer businesses a set amount of guaranteed sales. You, as a business, will offer a steep discount but an individual can only take advantage of it if a guaranteed number of people make the purchase. Those clients may not turn into regular customers, but the collective sale will give you the opportunity to gain hundreds of new customers literally overnight.

Location Based Marketing

Technology is an incredible thing and advances in the way people can connect to the internet and, in turn, their social networks has had a huge influence on social media marketing. Anyone with a smartphone or an iPad can access the internet and many love checking in on social applications like Loopt and Foursquare. Even Facebook and Twitter have added applications that allow people to report where they are. Many business with storefronts are now offering incentives, ranging from discounts to free products, to customers who post that they are in the shop.

Social Networks and Gaming

Many social networks, including Facebook, feature incredibly popular games. Despite your hesitance, it’s important to recognize that millions of people are playing the games offered by social networking groups each day. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to advertise within these games. At the very least, you may be able to include your product in virtual form so that those playing can buy your services. They may just decide to do so in real life, too.

Social Media Experts

While social media was at one time completely free, trends now point towards the incorporation of social media experts into the overall marketing plan. These experts have experience setting up Twitter profiles or Facebook pages, making customizations and changes that will give you the most professional and appealing face possible. It’s all about building your brand, and an expert can help you set things up right from the start.

Social media marketing is growing by leaps and bounds and many businesses, from Toyota to Nike, are marketing their social networking pages (especially their Facebook fan pages) even more heavily than their own websites. It’s a trend in itself and will continue to grow over the next few years. Don’t launch an online business (or an offline business with a web presence) without adding social media to your marketing campaign. It’s guaranteed to make a huge difference.

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Niche Marketing Strategy – Using Trends to Drive Traffic

Niche Marketing Strategy: Using trends to drive traffic

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There is a simple, yet effective, way to drive traffic to your niche blog or web site. This strategy is quick, easy, and best of all, won’t cost you a dime.

This powerful niche marketing strategy will use free applications to identify trends in both Google and Twitter, and then using the information gleaned from those trends, will drive traffic back to your home blog or web site.

If you don’t already have them set-up, go ahead and create both a Twitter and Google account.

Google

Once you have your Google account set-up, head on over to Google Alerts and start typing in some niche keywords that are related to your business. You can then tell Google where to send these alerts; e.g. an RSS reader or email address of your choosing, or Google Reader.

Google will search the web on a daily basis, and gather up web entries, blog posts, and news items that match the keywords which you entered.

This is a quick way to find out what’s hot, and what’s not, in your industry on a day-by day basis.

Google makes it easy to then analyze trending topics by entering keywords into Google Trends. By simply entering your selected keywords at Google Trends, you can analyze search volume by region, city, and more.

Twitter

Twitter also allows for powerful trend spotting. In her article, 5 Ways to Analyze Twitter Trends, Caroline Melberg offers five places to go for finding Twitter trends.

The idea here is to use Twitter’s trending feature to identify topics that are gaining in popularity.  Be on the lookout for questions, concerns, and frustrations expressed by people in your industry (prospects, customers, thought leaders, etc.)

Driving Traffic Back to Your Site

Now that you have identified a current topic that is trending upwards, simply write a blog post or web site copy that addresses the topic. Your final step is to tweet your content on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and any other social media site where you have created both a presence and following. Don’t forget to add a link back to the blog post or web site which relates to the topic.

Since you have picked a topic that is trending upwards, there will be a lot of people, looking for current information in the social media circles. As they search for content relating to the topic, they will come across your tweet, post, etc. Many will follow your link to get more information which, in turns, increases the traffic back at your site.

All that is left for you to do is create a “call to action” back at your site for converting that traffic into leads or sales.

This is a powerful traffic building strategy that has worked well with many of my clients. Try it out and let me know what you think.

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Seven Applications Every Location Based Marketer Needs

Twitter and Location Based Marketing

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[Editor’s note: Location based marketing (LBM) is gaining popularity amongst the “brick and mortar” crowd, for both local and niche marketers.  Here’s a list of services and applications that you can use for setting-up, and running, your location based marketing strategy. Do you have a favorite? Let me know by leaving a comment below. ~Scott]

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Location based marketing (“LBM”) is taking social media and transforming it from a mushy concept to a real tool to drive revenue in your small business.

LBM is creating cost effective ways for smart business people to use social media to increase their sales. The disruptive nature of this technology allows business owners to increase real and measurable foot traffic to their stores and quantify the results of their social media campaign.

In order to take advantage of the huge opportunities location based marketing provides, there are a few key apps that every small business interested in LBM should keep in their marketing arsenal.

You don’t need all of these to run a successful LBM campaign, but each one is helpful in its own right and can help strengthen your LBM campaign in one way or another. Here is a quick rundown of the basic apps that you need to know (and use) to be successful with location based marketing.

Foursquare – This is a no brainer. Foursquare is the market leader in location based services and one of the big names of LBM. Foursquare is free to use and set up for your business. Foursquare also has the largest established user base of any mainstream location based service.

Gowalla Another strong contender in the LBM space, Gowalla also has a substantial user base and offers a “city pages” where you can feature specials and deals for customers to browse online, a great way to showcase your offers to new and perspective customers.

Facebook – Facebook is involved directly in the LBM space with Facebook Places, which allows you to set up a a location page for your business. Facebook Deals is a new Facebook platform that lets you offer specials and reward programs to customers. Facebook’s Fanpage is also a great way to keep your fans updated about your latest specials. All around, Facebook is an excellent tool for building and strengthening your fan base and ultimately your sales.

SCVNGR SCVNGR is a smaller up and coming location based service. With the help of some recent VC investments and a big deal with a major consumer brand, SCVNGR has definitely put itself on the map. Given the lack of users, its hard to get as much traction, but keep an eye on this service.

Geotoko – Geotoko is a third party LBM platform that allows you to monitor your location based marketing campaign across multiple locations and platforms. With an easy to use and sleek interface, Geotoko is a great way to manage your LBM campaign in one place. This service does cost money so keep that in mind.

Place Punch – Place Punch is similar to Geotoko and offers another platform to monitor your LBM campaign from one place – the software isn’t quite as sleek but its a little cheaper than Geotoko. Both services offer a free trail so give them a shot.

Twitter – Twitter doesn’t have a specific location based component that lets you offer deals to customers, but its such a powerful platform for customer engagement and PR that it needs to be integrated into any successful LBM campaign. You can use twitter to broadcast your LBM campaigns to customers and generate buzz about your latest check-in special.

What are you waiting for? Start learning more about these great software tools right now and get your LBM campaign off the ground. This could be the opportunity to make your small business as successful as it can be. You can get these campaigns set up in no time.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. Visit his blog http://www.LBMGuru.com to learn more about location based marketing and get the latest updates. Matt also offers tips and strategies for using location based marketing to grow your business with a free how-to guide you can download right now at: http://www.locationbasedmarketing.biz.

(C) Copyright – Matt Bodnar. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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How To Use Twitter For Small Business Location Based Marketing

Twitter and Location Based Marketing

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[Editor’s note: Niche marketers are always looking for ways to improve their marketing strategy and increase their market share. An effective location based marketing (LBM) strategy is one way to do this. Many LBM strategies focus on platforms like Foursquare, or Gowalla, to drive foot traffic to a retail location. But, how do you drive traffic to Foursquare and Gowalla? Consider Twitter. Yes, if used strategically, Twitter can be a powerful weapon for increasing leads and sales. Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment, below. ~Scott]

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Twitter is a core piece of any social media marketing strategy. It makes sense for online markets to use Twitter for a variety of reasons, but why should a local small business, a shop or restaurant for example, use Twitter?

Twitter is a very strong platform for location based marketing. Foursquare or Gowalla would be considered “primary” location based marketing platforms, while Twitter is more of a secondary location based marketing program. However, Twitter can be a vital tool and take your LBM campaign to the next level.

Twitter builds on the idea of “permission marketing.” Twitter can be used to create a follower list of customers who are passionate about your brand and your business. This Twitter follower list can be used as a “permission asset” of customers who want to see what specials and deals you are offering. Once you build up a significant twitter following (that is a whole different article!) you can market to those customers using Twitter.

What can you do with Twitter to juice up your LBM campaign and make some sales? Here are a few suggestions to consider for building your Twitter base and using that to leverage your LBM campaign.

Tweet about one-time specials and deals available through other location based platforms – send out a tweet to your followers and let them know to come check-in and unlock your special.

Use Twitter to get new followers onto your LBM platform – get followers to sign up for Foursquare or Gowalla and come in to your store for specials, discounts and deals, once they are on the platform – you can offer them more specials in the future.

Offer check-in specials exclusively for your Twitter followers – this is a great way to reward your twitter followers and encourage more of your customers to join twitter – this creates a virtuous cycle where you get more followers on both twitter and your location based service of choice.

Give your customers a small bonus for becoming a follower on Twitter – 10% off or a free beer will do – something simple but meaningful- this creates a win-win situation for both you and your customer because you are both providing each other with something of value.

Advertise in your store – let customers know if they follow you on twitter they can get access to free deals and specials that you will only post on Twitter – this creates a great incentive to get your customers on the platform, once you start offering them specials and deals then you can drive concrete and measureable foot traffic into your venue using location based services like Foursquare.

Use Twitter as part of your arsenal and you can unlock the real strength of your LBM campaign. What are you waiting for? If you already have Twitter followers, this is even easier as you can start to monetize your follower base and use your followers to drive foot traffic and ultimately sales into your business.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. He offers tips and strategies for using location based marketing to grow your business with a free how-to guide you can download right now at: http://www.locationbasedmarketing.biz

(C) Copyright – Matt Bodnar. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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How to Attract Customers Through Social Media Search Engines

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By David Hale

Today, people who frequent Twitter and LinkedIn expect to locate market leaders in their markets. Your customers expect to see top-level content on all of your profile pages when clicking on links within the social networking search engine tools. By providing them with valuable content you will attract more and more customers who eventually purchase your products and services.

As an Internet marketer you need to incorporate all of the social networking sites you have optimized profiles on, into your marketing channels. You can do this by first placing social media icons on your website and blog. What this will do is encourage readers and visitors to your site to click on the icons which will link them to your social pages.

Here is where relationship building comes into play, or relationship marketing as it is called in the business world. This will allow people to get to know you and pick your brain. Give your viewers, customers, and subscribers a reason to check out your pages by offering them some freebie such as an e-book, manual, or special report. By giving them free valuable content, when the need arises that they need a product or service within your niche market, you will be the first one that comes to mind.

You need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile page is optimized by including all of your relevant market keywords and phrases into your content. This will enable your profile to be ranked within your industry focused environment. Also, make sure that you have your blog URL listed on your LinkedIn page so it will be frequently updated. This will also have your name and link to your page listed on the update reports your contacts receive.

Twitter now has a very powerful and useful search tool which is present on every profile page you look at. This search tool is a very strategic device to incorporate into your information gathering strategies. By consistently using your keywords and phrases in your tweets your information will be more likely to be listed higher on twitter search results along with Google Social Search listings.

By incorporating the above techniques into your social networking strategies you’ll start to attract more customers by treating your social media sites and search engines as marketing magnets.

If you are out to attract prospective customers and develop your online presence and exposure, you owe it to yourself and the financial future of your business to learn everything you can about social networking.

Want to discover more valuable Internet marketing and social networking strategies?

For more information on Internet marketing and free training, go to http://www.drdavehaleonline.com

Dr. Dave Hale, The Internet Marketing Professor, is one of the country’s leading developers of Internet marketing and social media curriculum for businesses and universities and specializes in online marketing communications.

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Social Media Benefits Niche Marketing

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Social media sites are quickly becoming powerful tools for the niche marketer. Facebook has recently announced reaching 500 million users. YouTube is now streaming two billion videos a day. Twitter is expanding at a faster and faster clip.

These, and dozens of other social media sites, have turned the social media experience into a boon for the savvy niche marketer. How? Each of these social media sites have “search function” capability. This allows marketers to focus and follow conversations within their niches.

Keeping current on the latest trends, releases, and topics is powerful in itself. But, the real power lies n the niche marketer’s ability to interact, to comment, and to respond to the stream of information in which they are competing. This gives the astute niche marketer the edge by creating opportunities to be seen and heard by prospects.

If managed correctly, the niche marketer can be viewed as an authority, or expert, in their chose field, and this positioning can drive traffic back to a home page.

What does all of this mean for you? Quite simply, if you are not engaging in social media to help sell your products and services, you are leaving lots of money on the table.

Today’s tip: figure out who your target market is and use social media to connect with them.


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Social Media Revolution

Social Media Revolution: Is social media a fad? Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution? This video details out social media facts and figures that are hard to ignore. This video is produced by the author of Socialnomics.

Niche Marketing: Finding Hot Markets

NicheTrends.net If you’re stuck trying to find niche ideas for your niche marketing, here are some free tools that I use to find hot trends that may help you as well. You can also download a free report of the hottest niche marketing trends of 2008 a…

Niche Marketing: Niche Market Research

NicheTrends.net The key to niche market research is finding the needs of your target market. Watch over my shoulder as I dive into market research for a niche. Need more ideas? Download a free report on hot niche trends on http

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Time to Embrace Social Media

Example of Facebook Fan Page.

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What do Starbucks, Sports Authority, and Jack in the Box all have in common? They all are successful, national brands. They also have recently embraced social media as part of their marketing campaigns.

Starbucks and Sports Authority are developing campaigns using “location based” media (such as Foursquare.com), and Jack in the Box has developed a “fan page” on Facebook where they can communicate their latest promotions via their fan base.

Hundreds of businesses, both large and small, are following suit.

Whether you publish a blog, or have a “brick and mortar” retail location, you can no longer afford to ignore social media and it’s power to both create a community of followers, and nudge those followers to your blog or store.

But, with the dozens of social media sites popping up, where do you start? My recommendation is to visit several of the better known sites (like Facebook, Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon) and see which ones “fit” your personal style.

For instance, if you are interested in bookmarking sites in your industry, consider the social bookmarking sites (like Digg, Reddit, and Propeller).

If writing short posts is more in tune with your lifestyle (called “micro-blogging”), then consider Twitter.

If you just want to jump in with both feet – and mix it up with 400 million of your closest “friends” – then Facebook might be the place for you.

In any case, get in the pool and start paddling around. You’ll find that the water is just fine.

Once you’ve settled on a small list of social media sites that interest you, set up an account with each and begin posting; post about yourself, but also post about your industry and your business.

One word of caution here: don’t get into social media sites thinking that you are going to get very far by selling your products and services – that will come later. Simply become part of the conversation and and listen for frustrations and “pain points’. Offer advice. Point people towards solutions that you have found.  Be seen as an expert. Lead the conversation. If you have something useful to say, people will start looking forward to your posts, and then will want to learn more by stopping by your blog or store.

So, you’re now ready to take your first step. It is a good step to take. In future posts I’ll explore more of the social media sites, along with some tips and tricks for  building a loyal following.


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commoncraft.com A simple story that illustrates the forces shaping social media. This video comes in an unbranded “presentation quality” version that can be licensed for use in the workplace. http

What is Social Media?

chris.pirillo.com – Blake Cahill recently interviewed me, and I thought you might find my answers somewhat interesting. If you wanna know what I care about most, let me lay it on the line… and please post a video response with your own take on Soci…

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Internet Marketing Strategies – Conduct Market Research Quickly Using Twitter

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Twitter is one of the “new kids on the block” in the Social Media or Web 2.0 world. It has some fantastic social aspects and if used correctly it can be a great tool. You can use Twitter for market research, which should be one of your core internet marketing strategies. The best thing about using Twitter is you get the research done quickly-and for free!

Broad audience

One of the best aspects of Twitter from a marketing perspective is the broad reach you have. You can touch millions of people around the world. At any given moment there are literally millions of people twittering away.

You put a tweet out to the Twitterverse…asking a question and you will get short, spontaneous answers…these tend to be direct and not calculated because they are spontaneous. The Tweeple don’t take time to think about their answers…tweets are flying by too quickly for that…so they just answer!

You can either put out the questions manually as in “What is your favorite flavor ice cream?” or you could use one of the applications and create a poll or survey giving them specific choices.

After you get your initial results, you can even tweet the outcome giving people a chance to respond and further refine or clarify your research!

Eaves dropping

You can also conduct market research by listening in on other people’s tweets. You can find out for free what people are buzzing about, what they are looking for, problems they are encountering, solutions they wish they could find…or just info they are seeking.

Twitter has a search function built in so you can find people talking about a specific subject. You can also use different search applications to find comments. The hashtag is a popular way for people to identify a topic they are interested in.

So if I want to find out what people are talking about regarding ice cream, I could type “ice cream” in the search box, or “#icecream”. The # will return tweets by people who have put that exact phrase #icecream in their tweet.

So I could ask my question so I catch both groups-“what is your favorite ice cream flavor? #icecream” And I still have 91 characters left!

By getting this input, you can then direct your next project to solve a problem that you know exists! This is one of the classic offline and internet marketing strategies: find a need and fill it! This research might lead you to promote a different product than you had originally intended. Or maybe it gives you clues on how to write the sales copy to make your product more appealing. It might inspire you to create a new product or improve an existing product-or to provide a service that fills a need.

Learn fast act fast

Another one of my internet marketing strategies is acting while a market is hot and Twitter really helps here! Because you got the research quickly, you can also act upon it quickly.

So by using social media, specifically Twitter, you are able to implement at least three of your internet marketing strategies-market research, filling a need and acting quickly.

Tellman Knudson is CEO of Overcome Everything. He and his team at The Listbuilding Club are passionate about teaching others the ins and outs of list building and other internet marketing strategies. To learn more about using Social Media in your internet marketing business, visit http://ListSpeed.com/

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Facebook and Twitter as Search Engines

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By Scott Spooner

When you think of search engines, what names come to mind? if you are like most people, you’ll probably come up with some combination of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. If you’ve been on the Net for a while, you might also think of Alta Vista, Baidu, Ask, and dozens of others.

But let me ask you: did Facebook or Twitter come to mind?

Most netizens associate Facebook with social networking, and Twitter with micro-blogging. But few realize that both Facebook and Twitter are also up and coming search engines, as both offer searchable keyword databases.

With active Facebook members now exceeding 400 million, and active Twitter members now exceeding 100 million, the respective search databases are enormous.

Add to this Facebook’s pay-per-click ad network (with rumors that Twitter will be following suit with their own paid advertising), and you have a potent combination for both demographic/geographic keyword research and targeted advertising opportunities.

If you are an on-line marketer who is looking to build traffic and reach your target audience, then don’t overlook Facebook and Twitter when it comes to search.

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