Should You Care About Google+?

Podcast Setup in the interlinkONE and Grow Socially offices

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the chance to spend amount of time with Google+. I absolutely am loving it so far.

In fact, the only thing that I like more than using it is being able to talk about it with Graham Spector of Grow Socially!.

I recently had the chance to record a podcast with Graham in the 21 Concord Street Studios regarding the growing popularity of Google+. I hope that you enjoy it.

Right click and save this link, or stream here.

Integrating Direct Mail with Social Media

As someone that recently attended the MFSA Mid-Winter Conference and Dscoop 6, I can attest to the fact that there are plenty of companies making their living in the worlds of print, mail, and fulfillment.

However, social media was also a very hot topic at both events.

So… can direct mail and social media work together?

Here are 5 ideas to make it happen:

Put the Social Media Badge on your Direct Mailer

Alright, this one is probably the easiest and most obvious of the bunch. If you’ve invested the time in creating and managing social media profiles for your company, you need to make sure that people know about them. Sure, some might find about them via links that you’ve added to your corporate website or via their own searches.

But to ensure that everyone knows, try adding the “badge” of social media icons to your direct mail pieces.

Simply seeing the “Facebook” or “Twitter” logo on your postcard may help your target audience become aware that company is sharing information via those channels too.

Post Links to Your Landing Page on Social Media Sites

Let’s say that you’ve created a landing page that is filled with compelling information and a form that asks the perfect amount of questions. Will people only get to that page if they receive a direct mailer that contains a personalized URL?

Give this a try — in addition to the personalized landing pages, create versions that will be available to the general public. Then, post links to the general version of the landing page on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites that your audience uses.

Throughout the campaign, measure  how people are getting to your page. Is it via the PURL on the direct mailer? Or via Twitter or Facebook? These types of reports may help you to better invest your resources in future campaigns when it comes to segments of your audience.

Make the Mailer Interactive with a QR Code

Companies of all sizes and varieties are creating videos with their Flip cameras and smart phones and uploading them to YouTube. (Did you know that 35 hours of video are uploaded per minute?!) Those videos can certainly help to spread a company’s message and to increase their SEO efforts.

But online video can also be re-purposed to make a direct mail piece interactive.

Simply create a QR Code that points directly to the YouTube video or to a mobile-optimized site that provides a link to the video. Place the QR Code on the direct mailer with a call-to-action, and then watch how your growing mobile audience responds.

Enable Landing Page Visitors to Easily Share the Link with Others

This might be the one idea where you can truly start to see growth in the overall success of your campaigns. When someone visits your landing page, make it easy for them to share a link to your content on their social media profiles.

This could be via a simple “Tweet This” button for Twitter, a”Like” button for Facebook, or some other sort of social media plug-in.

If your content is truly helpful and you make it easy for people to share it, your audience will grow with the help of others.

Drive People to Your Social Media Sites from the Thank You page

Let’s say that someone responds to the call-to-action on your direct mailer, types in their PURL, and fills out your response form… What do you then? Do you simply say Thank You?

Well, you could do that and then follow-up with them later. Or,  you could try to further the engagement at that moment.

Try integrating your social media profiles into your Thank You page. This could mean simply putting icons that link to your social media pages. It could also mean embedding a YouTube video onto the page as well. Since the person has already shown interest in your company, perhaps they’d be more than willing to take a few minutes and learn a bit more about who you are and what you can do for them.

————

These are just a few ideas for integrating direct mail with social media. We hope that they help improve the success of your marketing and educational efforts.

Making It Easy to Share

Note: This post originally appeared on Pinto’s Beans of Marketing Wisdom blog

(If my Mom knew that I was writing about sharing today, she’d be happy. “I raised him right!”)

eMarketer.com published an article and chart today with the title “How Effective is Sharing via Email vs. Social Media?”. While it certainly is important to learn which channels people will most like share content on, here’s the bottom line: people will share your content! If they find it compelling, and they think it has a chance of appealing to their friends, fellow employees, and other associates, they will most likely post it for them to read too.

But along with providing quality content, we also need to make it easy people to share our information.

This may include taking steps to put “Share This” links on our e-Newsletter articles or blogs. It may involve putting a “Tell a Friend” button on our emails. We may need to investigate how to allow someone to connect their Twitter of Facebook profiles to our forms, so that a post can easily be generated on their pages once they’ve filled out one of our entry forms (for example, the Mashable Awards entry form).

We must also remember though that in the world of business, it’s not just about how many people Retweet us or Like! us. We need a bit of money to keep things going.

Pandora has done a nice job of tying in “sharing” and “money” with an email that they’ve pushed out this week. Below is a screenshot of what I received in my Inbox:

Pandora is capitalizing on the fact that people love their service. Their fans already tell their friends about it via word-of-mouth and social media… here, Pandora has made it easy (with a little bit of encouragement) for it to be shared with a little bit of green.

As you look at ways to build awareness of your company, to grow your marketing database, and to close more sales, keeping the spirit of “sharing” in mind may help you on that path.

You gotta give

Someone that is thinking about dipping their feet into the waters of social media typically asks this question: “What will I get out of it?”

That certainly is a valid question. If you are going to devote time and energy (and possibly a bit of money), you certainly should expect to see a return on investment.

There is another point of view to consider as well — What can you offer to the hundreds and thousands of people that you might reach via social media marketing channels?

If you want to have a beneficial experience on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more, you have to be willing to give. If you do, you will be rewarded.

  • If you are interesting, more people will read what you have to say.
  • If you post informative articles, people will view you as a thought-leader.
  • If you share helpful information, people will help spread that for you

If every post you contribute to Twitter or LinkedIn is simply to promote yourself, or your product or services, you may quickly find that social media is an unfulfilling channel.

Yes, social media is a unique channel. You truly need to be willing to join discussions, offer insight, and ask questions.

If you are willing to give, you will indeed receive (a successful ROI!).