Monday, February 21, 2011

5 Lessons Businesses Can Learn from the Just Bieber Experience [podcast]

Yes, I saw The Justin Bieber Experience yesterday against my better judgement (kids choice). However, in spite of still not being a big fan of his music, I came away much more impressed than I thought I would. In fact, I was so impressed with Bieber's approach that I did a quick podcast today on five lessons businesses can learn from Justin Bieber.

[updated: couldn't resist adding a link to this video -- hat tip to John Johansen for finding/sending -- of James Earl Jones reading lyrics to Bieber's Baby Baby song. Brilliant!

Marketing in Social Networks: The Importance of Context

As some of you know, I'm in the process of writing the Location Based Marketing for Dummies book with Mike Schneider. As a result, my blog has suffered. To help fill in the gaps, I'm slotting in some guest posts. Today's guest contribution was submitted by Tara Miller who regularly writes for psychology degree.

When marketing your business online, especially in the world of social media, it's important to understand that the term 'social' is a general sort of term. When it comes to marketing within different types of social networks, you have to make sure that you keep in mind the different contexts within which members of these networks operate. Keeping these contexts in mind and adapting your marketing strategies to take advantage of this context can help as you reach out to potential clients or customers in each network.

Two of the most popular social networks out there are Twitter and Facebook, and to the untrained eye, these two networks seem similar. In both cases, you connect with fellow users, share media and other bits of information and you create relationships that can benefit you in other areas of your life. But how can you adjust your marketing for each one?

In the case of Twitter, you have to keep in mind that when you market your blog or products, you have to keep the stream of marketing well within Twitter's 140 character limitations. The message you can communicate is greatly limited in that sense; yes, Twitter now has applications within the site that let users view images and video without leaving the site, but these are still a bit clumsy to use. Likewise, it's a bit harder to follow conversations in Twitter, so anything beyond a few back and forths can be too long for a user to stick with. But this brevity within Twitter does have its advantages; it allows you to really punch up and emphasize the relevance of your message, while at the same time directing users to seek out more context at your main blog or website by following links. Twitter gives you the ability to impress upon your users a simple, but powerful message.

Facebook, however, has the advantage of allowing its users to engage in more complicated types of media; the developers have done a good job of making that a streamlined part of the Facebook experience, so it's much easier for you to take advantage of. While Facebook users also demand timely and up-to-date information, they also have more patience to allow conversations to develop and to experience more static pages. Conversations within Facebook are also threaded, which allows for more contextual conversations versus those on Twitter. On your wall and in your feed, you can post status updates regarding how your product or blog has changed, or what's new for you and your company. You can seek out users who friend you or who exist in similar niches, and interact with them on their own walls. But be wary that Facebook does not usurp your internet presence, as it's very easy for Facebook users to stay online only within the realm of that one site.

Ultimately, if any marketing concept holds true in both social networks, it is this: you cannot automate your marketing in social networks. You must engage users personally and especially. If you can do this well and efficiently, then you can count on users to gravitate towards your brand in a positive way.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Art of Book Marketing: Past, Present & Future

This post originally appeared on Shelton Interactive's blog back in December as a guest post.

Writing a book is tricky business. I know because I'm in the process of doing so as I write this post. Marketing a book after it's published can be equally difficult for a few different reasons:
  1. There is a LOT of content out there right now. Some good, some bad, some meh, but all of that content on a variety of different topics makes it difficult to break through the clutter.
  2. Publishers often don't pony up a lot of money to market new books. That doesn't mean they never put marketing muscle behind a book. Just not a lot. Instead, they rely on the author to hire a publicist that can hopefully propel the book into Amazon's or the NY Times' best seller lists.
  3. Slowly but surely, social media is making its way into the mix. But authors that are new to social media are finding that it takes more than a month or two to tap into the benefits of social. And those that have been doing social for a while aren't necessarily the ones writing the books.
For me, I've had the benefit of some past, present and soon to be future experience with book marketing. In the latter case, I'm the one writing the book. In the former instances, it was a boss or a colleague that wrote the books and I've been on the hook to help them get the word out.

In the spirit of being prescriptive, I'm including a "what worked, what didn't and what I would have done differently" for the past and present books I helped market. In the case of my Location Based Marketing for Dummies book that I'm writing with my friend, Mike Schneider, I've spelled out a few things that we hope will work based on past experience. I also have a dozen or so friends that have written books and I've included a few at the end of this post that I think did a good job marketing their respective books.

The Past
Back in 2006, not a lot of people knew about social media. In some ways, this was a good thing. In other ways, it made marketing a book about social media (or more specifically, using a community of people to crowd source a book on a wiki platform) that much harder. The book I'm referencing was cleverly titled, We Are Smarter Than Me, and was a collection of case studies provided by "the crowd."
  • What worked: Content creation i.e. podcasts with individuals or representatives from companies mentioned in the book. This helped to extend the book beyond its physical cover and was great SEO juice for the book website.
  • What didn't work: While many of the constituents that helped contributed to the book were actively engaged early on in the book writing process, we lost momentum for the six months that it took to get the book through it's official publishing process.
  • What could have been done different: Better outreach to the companies mentioned in the book to get them to buy the book in bulk.
The Present
During my tenure here at Powered, I've actually had the benefit marketing two books. One by my colleague, Joseph Jaffe, titled Flip the Funnel, and a second by colleague, Greg Verdino, titled microMarketing. Because the promotion of Greg's book is more recent, I'm going to focus on that one versus Joe's.
  • What worked: Greg and his publicist, PTA, came up with the idea of asking bloggers to review individual chapters of Greg's book versus the entire book. This way, we were able to get more of them engaged and lined up several chapter reviews a day for 10 days. The foundational post (and a review of Chapter One) can be found here on Citizen Marketer 2.1.
  • What didn't work: Unfortunately, Greg is a busy guy (his full time job is VP of strategy here at Powered). While Greg is always more than willing to speak at events, webinars and take interviews, his day job keeps him focused on delivering client work instead of book promoting. This is good for Powered but tough for Greg as an author.
  • What could have been done different: In a perfect world, I would have loved to have spent more marketing dollars against getting Greg to more events and pushing for more press coverage and earned media.
The Future
As I mentioned earlier, I'm co-authoring a book titled, Location Based Marketing for Dummies. In the plus column, this is a book that is part of a well-known series that our publisher, Wiley, has been supporting for years. It's also focusing on a topic that is near and dear to my heart. At the same time, I know there are people with a natural bias against Dummies books and while I'm thrilled to be a part of it, it's definitely not the same as writing a book from scratch. But with that said, I do plan to market the hell out of it starting now.
  • What (we hope) will work: We've already secured a URL for the book and we plan to start writing posts that talk about location based marketing. We'll also talk about the book writing process, include video and podcast interviews from the companies we talk to and keep a running list of sources we're using for source material. By building our "followership" early and often, we're hoping that we'll have a built in audience who wants to buy the book when it comes out.
  • What (we hope we don't have to say) didn't work: Mike and I never want to come off as too sale-sy. If we ever get accused of that, I know both of us will be disappointed.
  • What we hope to do different: Combine the power of the "Dummies series" marketing engine with Mike's and my social knowhow to create a winning product that people want to buy when it's published. Part of what will make this successful is our continuous engagement with our constituents along the way.
So who are a few of the other authors who have done a great job marketing their books? Here are five (if you want to know why, you have to ask me in the comments):