As Evolven’s marketing director since 2010, I directed all phases of both the creative and technical elements of marketing initiatives including event planning and organization, brand creation, print/Web collateral development, channel partner cultivation, lead generation, as well as running webinars.

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Email: martinperlin@yahoo.com



Letting a 16 year old do your online marketing

As companies feel more pressure to enhance their online presence, marketing teams feel stretched thinner and thinner. The 'new media' paradigms of Web 2.0 and social media, demand more attention and of course - more time. Where can this come from? What needs to give in the marketing priorities? Who needs new focus?

Welcome your boss's nephew - a precocious, grinning 16 year old. To the maturing business world, the challenges of Web 2.0 seem insurmountable on the one hand and are perceived as a waste of valuable manpower on the hand. So why not leave your online marketing strategy to a 16 year old.

There is no doubt that today's generation of adolescents can slip behind a computer like a glove. They can surf faster than their parents, look up information in clever ways, and get onto sites you wouldn't expect. Yet should this precociousness dictate your online marketing strategy.

Just past the year 2000, the corporate attitude to websites began to change. Whereas the new website phenomena seemed like a cute fad whose businss value was unrecognized, company directors demanded of their manager to 'have a website'. This directive in turn was dumped on the secretary, to 'put something together'. Little strategy was put into motion.

- No consideration of measuring site traffic was considered
- No mechanism for gaining subscribers or sign-ins was enabled.
- Contact information was buried
- Product information was non-descript

Yet the directive was fulfilled and a website existed.

Today's WikiPedia, Facebook, YouTube and most of all Twitter are gaining the same fascination by a corporate directors. The old ring of that simple directive can be heard.

They demand of their managers
- to 'have a place on Wikipedia'
- to 'get on Facebook'
- to 'put something on YouTube'
- to 'use that Twitter thing'

Who can the experienced marketing managers turn to?
- Excel spreadsheet specialists?
- Experienced trade show organizers?
- Brilliant marketing writers?

How about a 16 year old.
Teenagers today know how to take video clips of their friends and have it on YouTube the same day. They know how to build friend following on Facebook of hundreds, updating other kids hundreds of miles away about what they did over the weekend. Kids know how to follow Miley Cyrus on Twitter and retweet links to new videos.

It can be said that the new marketer has 'Learned Everything you need to Know in High School.'

Despite this proven skill set, and access to online Internet tools, this adroitness does not equal marketing.

The same rules and approaches of Marketing 101 apply in the world of Web 2.0. Concepts like the lead funnel, measuring indexes, planning next steps, and analyzing data for making clear marketing decisions are still the rule and not the exception.

Sure today's 16 year olds are good at getting something on YouTube faster, but what value is this piece of media. What kind of traffic will it drive? Does it include an action item? Will it be attracting the 'right' traffic?

Yes the boss's nephew can Tweet and Retweet on Twitter, showing the latest Brittny Spears video, but can he put together a Twitter strategy? How will he build a solid set of followers? Has he vetted the followers for your business area? How does he interact with customers on Twitter or has he just been pushed into the Twitter arena to tweet up like a robot, saying a bunch of canned statements that have been created.

A 16 year old's competence in the Web 2.0 world can be very useful, but should not be solely relied upon. If you have 15 videos to add to YouTube, give them to a 16 year old, write the copy to go along with them, set the keywords that you need to 'tag' the videos with, and then let the 16 year old upload these and fill in the information in record time.

For Twitter, once you have built up a strong following of at least a 1000 followers, you can have the 16 year old set up pre-written scheduled Tweets in HootSuite. These Tweets should be carefully crafted to have keywords, hashtags, and most importantly links to your site. Your 16 year old go through the grind of scheduling this list of Tweets like a radio station schedules music for the day, carefully giving exposure to the same Tweets in the morning and the evening so that your followers in both Europe and North America can see them.

Don't under estimate the abilities of our 16 year olds. But don't throw all your online marketing strategy onto their shoulders.

Getting Serious about Twitter

So your CEO told you that he wants to 'see the company on Twitter.' What's the next step? What to do? How can this fit into the overwhelming marketing schedule?

To the uninitiated, Twitter sounds like a black hole of marketing bandwidth, sucking up every last drop of time, and forcing you into doing tons of overtime on a global salary. The next steps might look like
- signing up for Twitter and getting the closest username to your company name
- Tweeting a bit for a couple of days, until it feels useless

Then the effort is abandoned, until the CEO comes back with folded arms, asking 'Well, are we on Twitter?'

At this point, this can mean trying to connive a fellow marketer to step into the saddle and start moving your Twitter. An effort equally lost after just a few days.

Twitter does not have to be as much of a time drain as feared if executed properly.

The main elements that are required for moving forward with Twitter are 1) focus and 2) commitment.

Taking strides to 'get onto Twitter' and make progress means being focused. This means being focused about the goals (acquiring a targetted follower base), staying on course for tweeting about your niche, and maintaining regular exposure in the Twitter stream.

One of the hardest concepts in 'staying focused' is idea of getting started in Twitter mainly by retweeting other people's information - primarily not even about your company or product. How does that work?

When you start in Twitter everything is set to zero, so the main focus initially is building the follower base. By simply tweeting continuously, you are 'Tweeting to an empty house.' No followers. No one hears your tweets.

They say you need to be marketing other people nine times more then you're marketing yourself. Still by being focused on the subjects that are Retweeted, that these topics remain 'in the same ecosystem' as your company, then you are attracting the right kind of people that will also be interested in Tweets about company and product. This is the path of building trust and credibility, and ultimately - a following.

If I had a dollar for everyone that started Twitter and quit within a week, well....
The partner to focus is commitment. This doesn't mean abandoning all other marketing projects and sitting at Twitter all day. You can limit your main Twitter time to one morning a week. At this time, when using a Twitter client like HootSuite, you can schedule a set of repeating Tweets for mornings and evenings. YOu can collect relevant Tweets about your subject using tools like SocialOOmph that will pipe you emails about Tweets using designated keywords.

Success and results on Twitter don't come overnight and not even in a week. However, if you persevere and stay on target your Twitter reputation will grow, and within a few months you will start to see the results that the CEO asked about.


Twitter is no diary

Micro blogging. Life spanning. Twitter has been called a lot of things, but as a marketing tool it is no diary. Twitter is a new communications platform, bringing the immediacy of web pages and the ease of email into a new paradigm.

Tweeting for your company, product or service?
You don't need to tell your followers what you had for breakfast, or that you didn't have a towel when you got out of the shower. You need to keep yourself relevant via Twitter. The most important and lucrative path to relevance is via information. Turn your Twitter stream into a 'channel', like another channel in your cable retinue. You have 'The Cooking Channel', the 'Sports Channel', and even the History Channel.

You Twitter channel should be focused on your niche, that's what makes you relevant. Don't let it be
- an online chat to your friends
- a place to share email jokes
- a tweeting spot for various marketing promotions you are running

Focus. Focus. Focus.
These three words are the essential building blocks for a successful brand, and they will also guide you to creating a relevant Twitter stream (channel). We look at CNN for news, we look at ESPN for sports, so your Twitter Channel should be the stream for your market or target audience.

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