The 5 Pillars of a Successful Business Marketing Strategy (Are You Missing Any of These?)

When you think about the biggest brands and companies in the world, there’s one thing that CLEARLY really sets them apart from the others.

What is that thing?

It’s their marketing! Take it or leave it, your marketing strategy is such a powerful thing that it can make or break your company.

Now, if you carefully examine it there are two key facets to it. The first is identity. Businesses use marketing to carve out their unique place in the industry. They use it to create an identity, and show off their differences. Secondly, it’s all about awareness and recognition. You need to get your product or brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

As a small startup on a budget, it’s tricky to know where to start. But don’t worry, I’m here to offer some help in this area.

In this post I will walk you through the five core pillars of marketing. Each have their unique benefits, and you’ll need a good mix to stand out in the modern world.

So, if you are ready, let’s get started!

Pillars of Marketing Success

1. Traditional Advertising

One of the cornerstones of marketing is advertising. Paying money to access a huge community of potential customers is still one of the best ways to get your name out there. Traditional advertising refers to TV adverts, radio adverts, and magazine placements. They focus on old media. Now, many marketers have pronounced this market dead. But, if you create a powerful and compelling TV advert, you’ll reach the masses. Plus, magazines are still one of the best ways to reach a niche audience.

2. PR

PR stands for ‘public relations’, and it usually involves hiring a third-party company. It’s their job to introduce you and your product to the press. Natural press coverage (in magazines and online) is much more powerful than advertising. It means that journalists and tastemakers are actively promoting your product. Customers tend to trust their recommendations, so it’s a crucial part of your marketing strategy.

3. Digital Marketing

Of course, the dominant form of marketing now takes place online. If you’re a small startup or new business, this is where you should begin your activities. First of all, it’s much cheaper than traditional marketing, and it’s much more targeted. You can use online advertising through Facebook or Google to reach highly specific audiences. You can build a website, start a blog, and create a rabid community of followers.

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media is part of your digital marketing strategy, but it deserves a category of its own. It is incredibly powerful when used correctly. Some modern companies have built their livelihoods through social media. Creating a community on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest is your best way to reach customers.

5. Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is a little more tricky to get right. But, when you do, it’s the most impactful of all. You’ll need to get a little more creative here. It’s all about creating an experience, and making an emotional connection with your brand. Think about Red Bull’s marketing campaigns. It’s all based on extreme sports and challenges. It makes you feel something. You connect their brand to a particular emotion. That’s experiential marketing at its best.

Conclusion

Take another look at the above again. How many of these pillars of marketing are you currently using? Can you think of any room for improvement?

As mentioned above, your marketing strategy is very important. What you do and how you do it will greatly impact on your business success. So no matter what you do you should take your marketing strategy very serious. You can take one of the above marketing concepts and concentrate on it or take a few and use them as a combination to drive your business to the next level.

Revealed: Why Paying For Facebook Advertising Is Worth the Money!

Facebook marketing for businesses

Social media is a brilliant way of engaging with your customers. It gives you the opportunity to solve problems and encourage them to buy stuff from you. As you can imagine, social networks like Facebook and Twitter have millions of users.

If you wanted to promote your brand online, there’s no denying that social media is the way forward. Facebook is a social network popular with companies. You may know that they offer paid advertising opportunities on their platform.

Unfortunately, many marketers consider paying to advertise on Facebook as a bad business decision. They believe that all you need do is concentrate on updating your profile and providing useful content and you will achieve your marketing dreams.

Now, as much as this may sound interesting, as there is the hope of you saving advertising cost, the question is: Should you REALLY spend money and advertise on Facebook? Is it worth it?

The fact is, as much as you will want to save cost by not paying for Facebook ads, you must remember that that time is money. So, the answer to that question is a big YES!

Ok, I may need to expand on that. So, here’s…

4 Reasons Why You Should Pay For Facebook Advertising

1.    Facebook Allows You To Achieve Your Social Media Goals

You will no doubt be aware that the social network has a large user base. According to their website, Facebook has almost one billion active users each day.

As you can imagine, there are people from all walks of life that use the social network. It makes sense to use Facebook advertising because you can target your particular niche.

2.    You Can Test Different Ad Concepts Within The Same Campaign

One thing I love about Facebook is the flexibility in its advertising system. Let’s say that you want to run a campaign targeting a specific age group and gender.

You can have many ad groups that use different text and images. It’s then possible to find out which groups perform the best so that you can use them and delete the others.

Those with pay-per-click ad providers like Google AdWords will feel at home! That’s because the same advertising methods and structure get used with Facebook. You can then fine-tune your ads to better attract people in your niche market.

Paying for Facebook adverts

3.    It Should Be Part Of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Facebook advertising needs to be a part of any digital marketing strategy. Ads on the platform are so cheap, it’s more affordable and easier to reach a particular audience.

If you’ve got an advertising budget, I guarantee that you’ll get good results by paying for ads.

4.    Facebook Can Help You Grow Your Email Marketing Lists

Let’s face it; people want to be the first to know when a deal that may interest them is available. To keep their finger on the pulse, as it were, they’ll sign up to a newsletter.

You can use Facebook to help you grow your email marketing list. For example, let’s say that you are running a competition on your website. A Facebook ad gets displayed to your niche audience, and interested parties click on the link.

To be in with a chance to win the prize, they must supply their name and email address. Of course, you’ll have to give them the choice to opt out of any marketing emails.

But, for the most part, you’ll get the green light for future email marketing campaigns.

It’s a classic approach that companies everywhere have been doing for years. And it’s better than buying a bulk list of email addresses from a marketing firm.

Advertising on Facebook

Conclusion

Paying to advertise on Facebook, done right is, is a business investment that you should gladly consider. You may want to simply focus on updating your Facebook profile in order to drive organic traffic and save on cost but considering the pace at which things change in the marketplace today, paying for Facebook ads is good way of taking advantage of the changes. Facebook is large enough to give you a platform to test and optimize your marketing and ultimately gain big time from your promotion. So paying to advertise on Facebook is one cost you should consider an investment for your business.

The Top 4 Most Effective Social Media Sites For Your Business Marketing

The big 4 social media sites for your business

Social media and successful businesses go together like salt and pepper. They are a match made in heaven!

Hopefully, that doesn’t come as a surprise because your business might be in a lot of trouble in the not so distant future if today you ignore social media marketing. There is no doubt that many business owners now know how important social media is, but they don’t know how to exploit this powerful business promotion tool for their benefit.

You cannot just pick any social media site and hope for the best. You need a strategy if you want success. To help you come up with a successful strategy, I present to you the best social media sites that every business should focus their online marketing efforts on. Learn to use these sites well and you will see great success in your marketing endeavors.

So, let’s get started…

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn for business

To show its importance, let’s have a look at how many people use LinkedIn. On average, it gets two new users every second, which means there are over one hundred and thirty million users around the world. To begin with, they are contacts that you cannot afford to miss out on. What makes LinkedIn even more successful is that these hundreds of millions of users are all in the business sector. LinkedIn provides a database of like-minded people who can follow, converse and use to cultivate leads with one another. Normally, it would take years to build up this kind of info. Now, it is just a click away.

2. Facebook

How Facebook can help your business is one question that a lot of people ask. For whatever reason, they cannot comprehend how a social media site is good for business. For starters, it is free advertising. Again, masses of people use Facebook around the world, even though they are not strictly looking for business. But, you can always change their mind with some gentle persuasion. Before you know it, one post could result in a huge boost in sales. Facebook’s biggest benefit is that you are advertising to hundreds of millions of people, and it is so easy to use. No other social media outlet can compete with their power or their simplicity.

3. Twitter

Promoting your business on Twitter

The Twitterati are always out in force. Twitter might not have the 800 million active users that Facebook has, but it still has 300 million. Not too bad, don’t you think? Where Twitter and Facebook also differ are trends. Twitter can start trends in a moment’s notice and increase your reputation around the world. Following an event or an experience that your company has been a part of, you can create a hashtag and market it around the world. Sometimes the response will blow you away.

4. YouTube

Youtube marketing strategies

Online marketing strategies need to include video. It is all about a holistic strategy, so all users have something they enjoy. In the case of video, however, it is more important than you think. A video is more relatable and relevant than written content because viewers can see the people involved. It gives your business a face to which they can place the name. And, with 48 hours of video uploaded every minute, you cannot fail to realize the potential.

Conclusion

There are other social networks out there you will want to consider, but the sheer numbers of these four make them the Holy Grail of social media. If you can master the use of these sites and strategically apply them in your online business marketing, you will definitely see the type of results that will surprise you.

Social Media Marketing Trends 2015: Here’s What to Watch Out For! (INFOGRAPHIC)

Social media marketing has no doubt caught on with marketers, whether they be online or offline. This is really not a surprise.

However, what is surprising is the rate of transformation. Over the past few years we have witnessed social media marketing trends that simply beats the imagination.

It was just some five years or so that the social media giant, Facebook, rolled out what we now know as the “Like” button. Since then, social media has grown into a huge worldwide phenomena. For example, imagine 2.46 million posts being posted on Facebook every minute!

But do you know that such figures might soon become child’s play in the next few years if we’re to take seriously what the experts are projecting?

Yes, it is projected that about 2.44 billion users will be networking with friends and family on their favorite social networks in the coming year!

Can you, as a business person who wants to connect with, and engage potential customers ignore such figures? The fact that as much as 97% of marketers now use social media, with up to 92% acknowledging its importance in their businesses, should be another reason why you take note right now.

So, how do you ensure that you get the best out of your social media marketing?

The sure way is to stay up to date with the trends. The following infographic provides an overview of new trends, highlights and things to watch out for in the next year so you can prepare yourself and your business for what’s in store for social media in 2015.

Hope you learn one or two things from it. Enjoy!

10 Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch Out this 2015 (Infographic) - An Infographic from CJG Digital Marketing

Embedded from CJG Digital Marketing

9 Creative Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Business Today!

Creative Ideas for Profiting Iin 2012!

There is no doubt about it, marketing your business on the internet is evolving every day. But as a savvy business entrepreneur you need to put in place your own strategies to stay ahead of the competition.

Putting in place these strategies don’t have to be difficult because you don’t need some rocket science to do that. Whether you pick them up in the course of running your business online or you simply decide to put a “twist” on what you see others doing, as long as they serve your purpose they are justified.

In this post I want to present you with a few creative marketing ideas which could help boost your business profits any day! Read them and feel free to adapt them to your peculiar marketing needs. Pick two or three from the list and work on mastering them. I bet you will be the better for it!

So here we go:

1. Increase Your Visibility Through Co-Operating With Your Competitors

There’s one fact about running any form of business and that is, regardless of what business you are in, every penny you earn comes as a result of the cooperation of other people. These could be employees, suppliers, partners or customers. Another group of people who are very important but we want to stay away from are our competitors.  But instead of staying away from them or fighting them, you could team up with them and start an association geared towards your specific industry. By simply partnering with them you could increase your visibility and exposure which will ultimately increase your profits.

2. Leverage The Efforts Of Your Customers

Your customers could actually be your best sales people because satisfied customers will eagerly spread the word about your product or service. However, to better encourage them to do this, start an affiliate program. The benefit of receiving an income for telling their friends about your product will be an added incentive to spread the word. This is a good way of multiplying your marketing and advertising efforts and increasing your profits.

3. Improve Your Business by Being a Good Listener

Customer feedback has always been a powerful tool for businesses in knowing how to better serve their markets. Today listening to what your market is saying is much easier to do.

Do a search for your business name using either Google or the social media sites. Chances are you will find comments that could help you improve your business. A comment complaining about your customer service, your web site design, product, etc will help you know what to improve.

4. Covertly Encourage People to Link to Your Business Website

We all know the importance of backlinks in gaining visibility on the search engines. Online entrepreneurs have always created backlinks by encouraging reciprocal links. How about some creative ideas that will encourage one way backlinks to business website? For example, you could offer a discount on one of your products and encourage your customers to link to your site to qualify for the offer. They could create the back links on their social media profiles or if they have blogs, make a post mentioning your offer.

5. Add A “PR” Page to Your Business Website

One good way you can create more visibility for your online business is by getting into the news. You can do this by adding a “PR” page to your site. Allow your site visitors to submit newsworthy items to be published on this page. This could attract the media and soon your site could be the “go-to” site for the latest news.

6. Provide a Free Online Directory on Your Site

Like the “PR” page, you can add a free directory of interesting downloadable e-books on your site. If people find your directory to be a valuable resource, they will visit it over and over again. This will not only increase traffic to your site but also increase the reach as your visitors spread the word about your free directory.

7. Hold Free Online Classes Or Webinars

I’ve seen a similar idea being used by Adrienne Smith of AdrienneSmith.net. Offering a live informative training on your site will definitely entice people to visit your web site. If you do this very well, you may just become the go-to expert in your topic area. These classes or webinars could be held weekly or monthly to get people to revisit your web site again and again.

8. Offer Free Consulting For Your Site Visitors

Depending on your business, you could establish your expertise and thereby increase your clientele by simply offering free consulting on your web site. This could be offered via e-mail or by telephone. Skype is another good medium to use. Considering the cost of consultancy, people will place much value on your free consulting and as they talk about it on the social media sites they will simply be offering free promotion for your business.

You could simply add another stream of income to your business by recording or saving the information you give out and creating a product you could sell or give away for more exposure.

9. Create a Free Group on Facebook or Linkedin and Make Your Business Website the Official Site

A Facebook group can be a power traffic generating tool for your business site. Linking your business site as the official site for the group will greatly create visibility for your site. You can also design membership graphics for members to place on their sites. As more and more people come to know of the group and become members so also the popularity of your site will increase. This’ll increase your repeat visitors and sales.

These ideas may not really be new but you can use them as idea generators for enhancing your business operations this year 2012. Your success with these marketing strategies will greatly depend on how you are able to apply them to your peculiar circumstances.

Over to you: Are implementing any of these creative ideas in your marketing right now? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

Facebook Goes Hard Against News Feed Spam?

Did you think webspam is only on Google’s Search Results Pages? Then it will interest you to know that Facebook is now hitting hard against spammy content as they recently announced that they are currently battling News Feed spam!

When in the recent past, Google came out hard against webspam; many thought it was simply a fight against search engine optimization. To them SEO has run its course and therefore “SEO is now dead.” Unfortunately, a lot of the spammy culture has gradually shifted to social networking sites because of the very important role that social media is presently playing in online commerce and in search rankings.

Facebook, in a recent released, has made it clear that they are ready to fight this menace. Announcing this, Erich Owens, Facebook’s Software Engineer, and Chris Turitzin, Product Manager, wrote:

“The goal of News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important and relevant to them.

Today we are announcing a series of improvements to News Feed to reduce stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see. Many of these stories are published by Pages that deliberately try and game News Feed to get more distribution than they normally would.”

From the above, it is clear that the spammy content facebook is targeting is basically brand stories distributed by brand pages in a bid to game Facebook’s News Feed. These come in 3 broad areas namely:

1. Like-baiting

As all content creators know, the purpose of a link-bait is to get people to Like, comment on, or share a piece of content. Since Facebook’s algorithm rewards posts that generate more engagement, many marketers now use this tactic to explicitly ask News Feed readers to like, comment or share their posts in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive.

If you are managing a facebook page and you are using any such covert tactic then it is time to make a u-turn because the new improvements from facebook are designed to better detect such spammy content.

Here’s an example:

Facebook Link Baiting graphic

2. Frequently Circulated Content

When you post something on facebook you expect people to reshare that content. However, some brands now misuse this by uploading photos or videos over and over again to facebook. Facebook has added these as part of the News Feed spam that must be removed.

Recommended: 11 Simple Tricks to Market Your Facebook Page More Effectively!

3. Spammy Links

According to facebook these are links posted to mislead users into clicking to a web page that offers no real value to the user. To better detect these type of spammy links facebook reported they are using the number of users who end up liking or sharing the original post as a gauge to know if such a link was spam or not. And thus far there is already a 5% increase in users clicking on links that take them away from Facebook an indication that users are finding content in their News Feeds to be much more trustworthy.

So, How Do You Stay On The Clean Side?

Though facebook has made it clear that if you are not posting feed spam you will never be negatively impacted by these changes, it is important you know how facebook is doing this so you can stay clean always. You should understand that this move by facebook will increase in tempo in the days ahead and, like Erich Owens and Chris Turitzin clearly stated:

“Frequently and intentionally creating feed spam will see their distribution decrease over the next few months.  We’re making these changes to ensure that feed spam content does not drown out the content that people really want to see on Facebook from the friends and Pages they care about.”

I’m sure you don’t what to be caught unawares, right?

That is why you should study how Facebook determines what is spammy content?

For that, let’s turn to another post done earlier by Varun Kacholia, Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking. In that post Varun said:

“While the goal of News Feed is to show high quality posts to people, we wanted to better understand what high quality means. To do this we decided to develop a new algorithm to factor into News Feed. To develop it, we first surveyed thousands of people to understand what factors make posts from Pages high quality.”

And here are the questions they asked people to determine that?

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g. asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

Recommended: Facebook Fan Page Timelines: Are You Ready To Tell Your Story?

If you’re familiar with what Google is using in fighting search engine optimization spam you will agree that this is really not different. So, if you take the same precautions you are presently using to avoid being hammered by Google you will definitely escape being hit by facebook’s News Feed antispam policy.

Spam, whether in search engine results or Facebook News Feed, is one and the same and therefore we must all join Facebook and Google in fighting the war!

Share your experiences about Facebook News Feed spam if you have encountered any out there. Share in your comments below.

Google +Posts Ads: Giving Brands the Social Power

Google.com has once again showed that 2013 is indeed a year of change and innovation. From the various Panda and Penguin updates to the launch of a completely new ranking algorithm and of course, the issue of encrypting search results, Google has shown that it is an entity on a mission! Right now, Google is taking that mission to another level by introducing a whole new twist to social media advertising.

Just some hours ago, Google announced the introduction of what it has chosen to call +Posts adsan advertising opportunity for brands to turn their Google+ posts into ads which will be displayed across the Google Display Network (GDN). According to Google,

“+Post ads let you turn your Google+ posts into engagement ads on the Google Display Network. People can join a Hangout On Air, add a comment, follow your brand, or give a +1, right from the ad.”

+Post ads - The all new Google advertising game!

For now, Google is testing this new innovation using a few chosen brands like Toyota USA, Cadbury UK and RITZ crackers.

This is really a new twist to social media advertising because unlike what we have seen on other social media sites, +Post ads will not be shown on the Google+ platform (Google’s social media site) but rather displayed across all its network which reaches to somewhere around 2 million sites!

Is This Taking the Rivalry between Google and Facebook to another Level?

Without trying to sound antagonistic, it is very clear that the launch of +Post ads is indeed another way of Google flexing its advertising muscles against other social media sites, especially Facebook.

In his post announcing +Posts ads, Eran Arkin, Google’s Social Ads Product Manager, said:

“+Post ads allow a brand to take a piece of their public Google+ content, like a photo, video or even a Hangout, and with a few clicks, turn it into a display ad that can run across the more than 2 million sites in the Google Display Network. This lets brands think of the entire web as their social stream.”

The statement, “…lets brands think of the entire web as their social stream” is definitely an indirect way of saying that as a brand you don’t have to limit yourself to just one social platform like others are doing but have the entire web as your platform. Of course, that is a way of luring more brands to jump in to the program!

For example in a video posted by Eran Arkin, he revealed how Toyota is using +Post ads to drive consideration for its newly launched Corolla. Arkin also claimed that the brands testing this new innovation are already seeing increased click-through and expansion rates of up to 50% higher than the industry average for rich media ads!

Did I Saw This Coming?

I must say that even when I did not see the whole picture of what Google had up its sleeves from the beginning, I can say I had an inkling that Google was going to do something in this direction at the time Google+ launched.

Back in 2011 when Google plus entered the market and many were comparing it to Facebook pitching Facebook’s big numbers against Google+, I did a post where I said,

“Facebook is not just competing with Google+ but with Google.com who has proved in its own merit that it is an online colossus.

So the question is not about Google+ displacing Facebook from the social networking game but Google.com putting all of its online resources into playing the game and coming out on the top!

You can read that post here.

Since then we have seen a whole lot of new things from the stables of Google aimed at putting all of its online resources to play the game. +Post ads is just another such move!

+Post Ads Is Actually A Two-Edged Sword!

As expected, many are already whining on why Google should not show the +Post ads on their social media platform – Google plus – even when the ads are initiated there.

But it is clear that this is definitely a tactical move. We mustn’t forget that at a time when many users had issues with Facebook concerning what to share with friends, acquaintances and family members, Google came up with the idea of Google+ Circles.

Right now, reports indicate that many youngsters are abandoning Facebook while elderly ones are complaining about the volume of ads they have to contend with on the site. So Google taking the decision not to display +Post ads on the Google+ platform but on its advertising network is definitely a good decision, business-wise!

RECOMMENDED: Business Lessons You Can Learn from Google’s Company Philosophy!
Beyond that +Post ads could really be a way of Google bringing more brands to using the Google+ social media platform while at the same time building its advertising business. And if that is the case, then this is really an innovative move on the part of Google!

How are Facebook and others going to react to this move? We only need to wait to see that in 2014!

But I’ll love to know what your reaction is. Give your views on these +Post ads in your comment below.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Will These Social Media Relics Rise Again?

There is no doubt that social media has changed a whole lot of things in recent times – whether online or offline. For example, if you are in business and you are not using social media, it is definite that you are behind the competition.

Of course, Politicians, sportsmen and women and of course Pop stars are not left out of this social media rave. But we all know that this was not the case a few years ago. Unfortunately, in the teething years of social media, there were social media platforms that tried all they could to stay afloat but today these have either drowned or at the moment, clutching to whatever is handy to stay on.

MySpace was once the place where all the cool kids hung out, but a cluttered homepage and faulty spam filter allowed Facebook to move in and steal the social network crown. In 2009, the site had only 75 million monthly users which may sound like a lot until you compare it to Facebook’s 200 million.

MySpace has now rebranded itself as a social music platform for both established and emerging artists, and it received an unlikely boost in the form of pop star Justin Timberlake who bought the website for $35 million in 2011 and now co-owns it with Specific Media. In 2012, the FTC charged the site with sharing user’s personal information as well as spying on their browsing habits.

Despite the controversy, MySpace still has a legion of loyal fans that would love to see the social relic rise again, and the new owners have poured over $20 million into an advertising campaign to try and make that happen.

Whether MySpace can snatch power back from its archenemy remains to be seen, but new features such as an iPhone app that allows users to create their own playlists may help to make it relevant once again.

In this infographic, we want to take some time off to pay homage to these wonderful “kids” who tried to make our lives a little livelier!

Enjoy!

Will These Social Media Relics Rise Again? by Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

Over to you: What do you think? Do you see any prospect of these social media “kids” taking the stage again?

[SHOCKING] Report Says Facebook Is A Failure For Marketers!

Facebook for Business Marketing
“Don’t dedicate a paid ad budget for Facebook” says Forrester, world acclaimed research group!

At a time when Facebook reported an impressive result for Q3 2013, a report by Forrester, the trusted market research group, says Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity for marketers!

The report based on a survey of 395 marketing executives is indeed shocking. With a reported daily active user base of 728m and a monthly active user base of 1.19 billion, Facebook undoubtedly offers marketers the largest audience in digital reach. But despite these figures and the fact that businesses spend a large budget advertising on the platform (a sure reason for the recent Q3 2013 impressive results), the Forrester research report says, Facebook is a disappointment for marketers!

Announcing the findings in a blog post title: “An Open Letter To Mark Zuckerberg,” Forrester Analyst Nate Elliott wrote,

“Mr. Zuckerberg:

Facebook is failing marketers.

I know this statement sounds remarkable, perhaps even unbelievable. After all, you offer marketers access to the largest audience in media history and you know a remarkable amount about each of your users. As a result nearly every large company now markets on Facebook. Last year your company collected more than $4 billion in advertising revenues.

But while lots of marketers spend lots of money on Facebook today, relatively few find success. In August, Forrester surveyed 395 marketers and eBusiness executives at large companies across the US, Canada and the UK — and these executives told us that Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity.”

Elsewhere Nate Elliott says,

“You’d expect a site boasting the largest audience and the biggest collection of data to fare well. But we found that Facebook offered less value than anything else on our list …. The least valuable tactic within Facebook? Those paid ads onto which Facebook has shifted focus.”

The Forester group is so disappointed with the research result that they advised advertisers:

“If you want to buy ads on Facebook, rely on facts rather than faith. We’ve no doubt that for some marketers targeting some audiences, Facebook advertising can work. If the site really performs well compared with your other media buys, go ahead and spend money there. But marketers tell us Facebook ads generate less business value than display ads on other sites. It’s time to make decisions based on facts, not on faith or fascination. You’re just buying display ads! Don’t dedicate a paid ad budget for Facebook. Make it compete with other media buys based on performance, just as you would any other site.”

But Why Is Facebook Such A Disappointment to Marketers?

Nate Elliott adduces this to two reasons:

1. While Facebook promises to help companies engage with their customers, in reality Facebook only exposes brand messages to only about 16% of their fans!

2. Facebook static-image ad units offer marketers less impact per impression than what they are getting on other platforms. Facebook ads are not really as valuable as other marketing tactic businesses are using on the site.

Facebook Ads A Failure says Forrester!

Indeed, the above reasons may seem logical enough but beyond these we mustn’t forget the power of intent.

Unlike Google, where the intent is basically to find something (and therefore more open for marketing materials), on FB the intent is to like/follow. A huge number of the people on Facebook are there not to be marketed to but to interact and engage with peers and acquaintances. Companies need therefore to move away from the traditional marketing mindset to creating educative content that will help them engage and interact with their target audience.

Static-image ad units may not produce the expected results but any company that will focus on strategic content marketing with the mind of educating, engaging and interacting with the target audience, will definitely return a more pleasant result.

<2>What’s The Way Forward?

Nate Elliott advices Facebook to refocus its efforts in order to realize its enormous potential but I think companies should also look inward and re-strategize if they want to see better results on Facebook. While Facebook works to build bridges between the companies and their customers , fully leveraging social affinity data within their ad targeting products (as suggested by Nate Elliott), companies should also look to engaging the services of influencers and professional content writers to help them better engage with users rather than simply putting up static-image ads.

Also, the fact that the research puts On-site Ratings and Reviews and Search Marketing at the top of the list, as seen in the graphic above, is a definite push for businesses to consider product reviews and engaging SEO writing services in order to drive more organic traffic.

What do you say about this Forrester research? Do you agree that Facebook is not giving enough returns for marketers?

What Facebook And Other Social Media Sites Can Teach You About Blog Monetization!

Recently, there has been a whole lot of controversy regarding the subject of blog monetization. While some bloggers agree that monetizing your blog is a good thing, since you deserve some form of compensation for your labour, others vehemently oppose the idea emphasizing that blogs are for relationship building and trying to make money off your relationships is unethical!

Still among those who accept the idea of blog monetization, many readily frown at the idea of selling ads spaces on your blog as a way of monetizing your blog. To these ones, displaying adverts on your blog is simply a put-off and should be discouraged!

Now, I’m not here to argue whether blog monetization is right or wrong. However, having observed the confusion that many bloggers face because of these divergent views, I want to use this post to make a statement on these various beliefs and leave you to make your decision on what is best for you!

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Blog Monetization – What Really Should You Do?

Blog Monetization: Example of Facebook and others!At this point let me say what really pushed me into writing this post was a comment in a discussions in one of the groups in LinkedIn.com. During this discussion, which centered on the recent changes by Facebook, a member of the group mentioned how much he now disdain Facebook because, to him, Facebook has lost its focus and is now more concerned with making more money for the site owners rather than being a truly social networking site!

What, Facebook has lost its focus?

Now, I understand that many people have this view. Of course, most of the new changes on the site are nothing but subtle ways of increasing the number of businesses and individuals that advertise on the site.  But does this make Facebook to have lost its focus?

Of course, you may not stand the sight of the ads on these social networking sites but you must remember that you are not the one who calls the shots. For one, you use the site for FREE, not caring about how the various resources you’re enjoying for free, are being financed.

Besides, how much do you know of the mission and vision of these sites that you now think that sites like Facebook have derailed because they are selling ads on their sites?

Indeed, when I read that comment the controversy surrounding blog monetization, which I’ve read on different blogs over time, came to mind. I realized then that why many are against the idea of monetizing a blog through advertisements, stem from the same root.

The fact is, a blog is nothing different from a social media site.  Indeed, many have come to accept it as a socializing tool – both for connecting with your readers and also building relationships with them.

But beyond that, a blog could be a business and a marketing tool.  In fact, to get the maximum results from your blog you must accept it to be so.

So, How Do Social Media Sites Make Money?

I think this is a question that we need to ask if we must learn anything from these social media sites and making money online. As you read this I’m sure you have profiles on different social networking sites. And of course, if you are on Facebook, which I believe you are, you have been using the site for free all these years.

But have you cared to know how they keep providing those tools and resources for free? Do you realize that Facebook, Google.com (G+), Pinterest, Linkedin etc are registered business concerns?

What this means is that while they offer you the opportunity to connect with your social circles on their sites for free they also aim to cut a profit as businesses!

But depending on the social media platform, the business model and monetization strategies may differ.  But the truth is, no matter how different the strategies may be, it still stand that they must make money for their venture capitalists!

Here are some ways social media sites are making money that could be interesting to a blogger:

1. Advertising – This is a common one to all the social media sites.

2. Selling subscription – Depending on the target market a few social media sites sell subscriptions to keep the network going.

3. Building and selling applications – This is another fast growing way social media sites are now monetizing their traffic.

4. Replacing affiliate links – This was actually the monetization model of Pinterest. They opened the site to all of us, encouraging us to share our user-generated content with our online friends, but unknown to us, something else was going on right under our nose!

5. Feature upgrades – This is a big one for LinkedIn. While you are free to have your profile for life, if you however desire to use some of the advance features of the site, you then need to upgrade your membership.

Any of these monetization methods can actually be used on a blog. take a cue from these social media sites or you’ll soon be packing your bags and luggage and hitting the door!

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Go To the Ants and Learn!

Ok, that’s what the Holy Book says. And why not, if social media sites like Facebook and the rest are making money through the sale of adverting space, why not a blogger? And so, I’m saying, it’s time when bloggers should go to the social media sites and learn how to monetize their blogs.

I’ve always said it that bloggers are among the most hard working people on the internet today. That labor shouldn’t be in vain – a worker is worthy of his reward!

Or, don’t you think so?

Over to you: Do you think bloggers should sell advertising space on their blogs just like the social networking sites? Share your thoughts with us in your comments below.