Social Media Advertising?

I have some very strong opinions about using social media to advertise your business.

Most of it is annoying.


Most of those doing it are not doing it right.

What are “they” not doing “right”?

They are treating it as a traditional advertising avenue, where you try and sell stuff by pushing out your stuff to anyone and everyone who may follow you, like you or add you to their Google+ Circles.

The right way, in my opinion is to:

Be social. That means conversational. Talk, listen, respond. This is two-way conversation.

Target. There are people who want to spend money with you, and if you take a strategic approach to find those folks and stop blasting the rest of us to the point of annoyance, you can use Social Media Channels to enhance your business reputation and sell stuff too.

The RAB shared this report:

Two-Thirds of Local Merchants Advertise on Social Network; One-Fifth Use Facebook

According to MerchantCircle, new local ad offerings from Facebook are making inroads with local merchants and may put increasing pressure on Google and pure-play deals companies such as Groupon for share of local marketing budgets. With its huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use and low barrier to entry, Facebook continues to be the most popular digital site for merchants to market their business, though, overall, 66% are using the social network for marketing.

The survey shows 22% of local merchants have used Facebook Ads, two-thirds would use them again and show increasing favorability towards group deals, with 77% now saying they would offer another daily deal.

Darren Waddell, vice president of marketing at MerchantCircle, says “Facebook…has established (itself) as an important marketing channel for local businesses… and is effectively parlaying this popularity into local ad sales…”

Key conclusions from the survey include:

1. Facebook continues to be the most popular way for merchants to market their business, with 66% overall using the social network for marketing. Facebook’s targeted display ad offering boasts a remarkable 94% awareness rate among local merchants.

  • 22% of merchants report having used Facebook ads since its launch
  • 65% of these merchants say that they would use the service again
  • 67% say because of ease of use
  • 65% say the top reason for continuing is the ability to start and stop campaigns

However, of the 35% of merchants who said they would not advertise with Facebook again, 69% said that the ads did not help them to acquire new customers, and 35% said the ads were too expensive.

2. The study indicates that familiarity with Facebook and Google will make these well-known brands a strong alternative to Groupon and LivingSocial, with 52% saying that familiarity with these brands would lead them to choose Facebook Deals or Google Offers over competitive offerings. Other reasons for choosing:


  • Bigger audience size (26%)
  • Better local targeting (21%)


  • Bigger audience size (42%)
  • Brand reputation (34%)

3. While three months ago, only 50% of merchants who had tried offering a group deal said they would do so again, 77% now say they would be willing to offer another daily deal, 58% citing effectiveness in customer acquisition, 30% favorable deal structure, and 24% profitability of the deal as their top three reasons.

Among those who wouldn’t offer another daily deal, 42% said that it was not effective in customer acquisition, 25% said it was too costly and 24% said they lost money.

Mixed opinions about the medium’s effectiveness for customer acquisition may be contributing to its slow growth among local merchants. This is not for lack of aggressive sales and marketing efforts, notes the report. 34% of respondents who offered a daily deal did so after being contacted by a sales rep, or 31% seeing an ad for the service.

4. Investment in traditional offline marketing methods continues to decline among local merchants. Over the past three months:

  • Use of print advertising dropped from 27% to 24%
  • Use of print Yellow Pages declined from 37% to 29%
  • Use of direct mail decreased from 28% to 26%

The popularity of location-based marketing services has also dropped over the past quarter. Data shows that 22% of businesses are using Facebook Places to market their business, while just 7% are using Foursquare. This is trending downward from the last survey in January 2011, when 32% said they were using Facebook Places and 9% said they were using Foursquare.

In spite of the hype around mobile marketing, just 18% of merchants report doing any sort of mobile marketing or advertising. Lack of understanding continues to be a major barrier to adoption: 71% of merchants state that they don’t have a good idea of how to reach consumers via mobile marketing. Additionally, only nine% said they own a tablet, with 9% said they planned to buy one in the next six months.

5. Local merchants continue to have little time or money for marketing. 61% of local merchants are spending less than $2,500 a year on marketing, and 73% have no plans to raise their budgets this year. Time is also a critical issue for merchants, with 37% citing lack of time and resources as their top marketing challenge.

(Source: The Center for Media Research, 06/28/11)


5 ways to Facebook Your Business

First off…

I’m not a fan of Facebook.

I don’t agree with this article from Drew.

I am on Facebook, but I use it as a communication tool, not as a business site.

I am also on Twitter and LinkedIn as communication tools.

I believe that you should really have your own website or blog, and then post links to your site on Facebook.

As a matter of fact, one of these days I will be doing a local presentation called Beyond Facebook, Creating a Brand on Social Media.

But for those who wish to just use Facebook, here are tips from Drew:

5 ways to build a sticky Facebook fan page

Posted: 22 Apr 2011 09:33 AM PDT

Screen shot 2011 04 22 at 10 57 13 AM
… The McLellan Marketing Group’s page

With well over 600 million people on Facebook, it’s no wonder that businesses are flocking there to create a fan page for their organization. But what should that page contain? How should you use it to connect with your customers?

Here are 5 tips for creating a Facebook page that people won’t ignore.

Connected: Be sure you use your Facebook page as a launching point for learning more about your product or service. Link it to your website, a testimonials page or a third-party site that sells your product.

Good example: Ace Hardware offers us special FB discounts, links to their retail locations and you can even view your own local ad flier.

Be the resource: Know your audience well enough to anticipate what else they might want to know. If you sell business training, link to other HR and employee related sites or tools. Think beyond what you specifically sell and build a more well rounded resource center.

Good example: Arbor Springs shares their expertise in dementia by offering a free ebook and other links to resources valuable to families facing this disease. (disclosure — they’re a client and we built the page)

Let them talk: Don’t make the mistake of treating your Facebook page like a one way broadcast tool. One of the best elements of Facebook is that you can actually talk to your customers and prospects. Don’t turn off their ability to comment on your page.

Good example: Check out the questions we get asked on our FB fan page. We might start the question/discussion but sometimes people pop on and ask us something out of the blue. We love that. (disclosure…duh, it’s us)

Let the games begin: No matter how old we are chronologically, we like to play games. One great way to get Facebook page fans or to get them to keep coming back is to create contests and games that hook your audience and keep them coming back for more. Or, have a regular contest –like a weekly trivia game.

Good example: Northwest Savings Bank offers contests and giveaways to their customers.

Serve with a smile: Use your Facebook page as your customer service portal. Let customers ask questions, post problems or give you feedback about your product or service.

Good example: Check out how Scrapbooking for Less customers ask questions about products and classes.

Facebook is a very powerful tool. But just jumping on board and slapping up a page without a strategy will leave you and your page getting chilled from a lack of attention.

Social Media Attitudes

I’ve been involved in the Social Media Marketing world for years and it looks like this is the year that business are finally wanting to jump on board.

Due to requests for information about Social Media last year, I launched another site, ScLoHo’s Social Media Adventure that is updated every weekday at noon. Click here to go there.

Mediapost reports:

Social Media Marketing Maturing

According to a new study by Social Media Examiner, prepared by Michael A. Stelzner, social media has gone mainstream. And for businesses it represents an unprecedented marketing opportunity that transcends traditional middlemen and connects companies directly with customers. Two years ago, businesses were uncertain about social media. Now it’s here to stay and companies are rapidly responding to new social media opportunities.

Major findings from this report contain insight into how marketers are currently using social media and their future plans:

  • 90% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business.
  • One third of all social media marketers want to know how to monitor and measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media and integrate their social media activities.
  • 58% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, and more than a third invest 11 or more hours weekly.
  • 77% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube and video marketing, making it the top area marketers will invest in for 2011.
  • 70% of marketers want to learn more about Facebook and 69% want to learn more about blogging.

The number-one advantage of social media marketing is generating more business exposure, as indicated by 88% of marketers. Increased traffic (72%) and improved search rankings (62%) were also major advantages.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs were the top four social media tools used by marketers, in that order. Facebook has eclipsed Twitter to take the top spot since the 2010 study.

Only 28% of businesses are outsourcing some portion of their social media marketing.

The overwhelming majority (93%) of respondents indicated they were employing social media for marketing purposes, and a significant 90% of marketers said that social media was important.

Social Media is Important for my Business


% of Respondents

Strongly agree








Source: Social Media Examiner, April 2011

The self-employed (67%) and small business owners with 2 or more employees (66%) were more likely to strongly agree.

More B2B companies have been using social media longer than a year (52.6% reported 1 year or more) than their B2C counterparts (46.2% indicated 1 year or longer). In 2010, only 31% of marketers were using social media for 1 or more years. Now that number has grown to 50%.

Experience With Social Marketing (% of Respondents)


% of Respondents

Just getting started


Less than 12 months


1 to 3 years


More than 3 years


None, but plan to use


Source: Social Media Examiner, April 2011

58% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week and 34% for 11 or more hours weekly. 15% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.

Those with more years of social media experience spend more time each week conducting social media activities. For example, 63% of people with 3 or more years of experience spend more than 10 hours a week doing social media activities. Only 41% of those with 1 to 3 years experience spend that much time.

Time Commitment For Social Media Marketing (% of respondents)

Hours Per Week

% of Respondents



















More than 40


Source: Social Media Examiner, April 2011

There’s a direct relationship between how long marketers have been using

social media and their weekly time commitment. For people just beginning with social media, 59% spend 1 to 5 hours per week. However, for those who have been doing this for a few months or longer, most spend 6 hours or more per week on social media activities.

A significant 47% of marketers who have more than 3 years experience spend at least 16 hours per week focused on social media activities.

There’s a direct relationship between age and time spent on social media. The younger the marketer, the more time he or she spends on social media. People aged 20 to 29 years spend more time than other age groups using social media marketing (with 41% spending 11+ hours weekly), followed by 30- to 39-year-olds (37% spending 11+ hours per week). This is an increase over the 2010 study.

The number-one benefit of social media marketing is standing out in an increasingly noisy world. 88% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Improving traffic and subscribers was the second major benefit, with 72% reporting positive results.

Nearly two-thirds of marketers indicated a rise in search engine rankings was a benefit of social media marketing.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing


% Responding; Multiple OK

Generated exposure for business


Increased traffic/subscribers


Improved search rankings


Resulted in new business partnerships


Generated qualified leads


Reduced overall marketing expenses


Improved sales


Source: Social Media Examiner, April 2011

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs were the top four social media tools used by marketers, with Facebook leading the pack. In 2010, Twitter was in first place with 88% and Facebook was close behind with 87%. Since 2010, Twitter lost 4%, LinkedIn lost 7% and Facebook gained 5%. In the 2009 study, only 77% of businesses were using Facebook.

The self-employed (80%) and owners of small businesses (78%) were more likely to use LinkedIn. Larger businesses were more likely to use YouTube or other video and less likely to use blogs (68%+).

At least 73% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube/video, blogs, Facebook and Twitter. A significant 86% said they have no plans to utilize MySpace or will reduce their efforts.

Read more about these findings and future plans for social media and marketing activities by visiting SocialMedia Examiner here.

Beware of Social Media Scams

First a warning from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Buyer Beware

Both salespeople and companies, whether they currently use social media or not, are struggling to figure out how to use it effectively. In fact, few — even those with sophisticated marketing departments investing time and effort into the process — have any real social media strategy.

Undoubtedly, this will be true for quite some time to come — and, of course, that means there are and will be thousands out looking to take your money to help you learn the hows of making social media work.

The lesson here: Be extremely careful as there are many who know little more than how to construct a tweet who are anxious to take your money.

Source: Sales author/consultant Paul McCord

Now, a free resource.

And I really mean free.

ScLoHo’s Social Media Adventure is a site I created last year and launched in January to be a free resource for those who want to know more about Social Media. After several requests for more information and “how-to’s”, I decided to start my fourth blog dedicated to this topic.

Most of the content is written by me, although I have quite a number of guest post articles too.

It is updated at noon, 5 days a week. Spread the word! Click here to go there.

Are You Using QR Codes?

Earlier this week I posted a story about QR codes.

I’ve got one on my websites which will take you to my home page.

According to Mediapost, this is a high-tech alternative to couponing for people with good incomes:

Could It Be “Quick Response?”

According to a recent survey of smartphone users, commissioned by MGH to determine the usage of QR codes, 72% of smartphone users indicated that they would be likely to recall an ad with a QR code. A what?… an emerging technology that uses barcode-like images containing a hidden message that can be unlocked by using an application on a smartphone.

Demographics of US Smartphone Users Who Have Used a QR Code (% of Respondents, February 2011)


% of Respondents













HH Income

< $25K




$50K +



High school or less




University +


Source: MGH Survey, March 2011

Most respondents reported seeing QR codes on a product, followed by in a magazine or on a coupon. And they were typically used to get coupons or discounts, or to access information.

32% of smartphone users surveyed said they’ve used a QR code, a much higher percentage than various other previous surveys of QR usage. Top usage of those who said they’ve used a QR code was to secure a coupon, deal or discount (53%). Other uses of a QR code included:

  • Access additional information (52%)
  • Enter a sweepstakes (35%)
  • Sign up to receive more information (26%)
  • Access video (24%)

Reason For QR Code Use by US Smartphone Users (% of Respondents, February 2011)

Reason for QR Use

% of Respondents

Get coupon, discount or deal


Access additional information


Enter sweepstakes


Register for more information


Access video


Make a purchase


Interact with social Media




Don’t know


Source: MGH Survey, March 2011

70% of respondents said they plan to use a QR code again or for the first time. The top usage (87%) would be to secure a coupon, discount or deal. Other desired usages included:

  • Entering a sweepstakes (64%)
  • Accessing additional information (63%)
  • Making a purchase (60%)
  • Signing up to receive more information (53%)

MGH President, Andy Malis, concludes that “… while QR code usage is… still a relatively new marketing tactic with little to no statistics about how consumers are using them… results demonstrate that consumers are embracing the mobile marketing tactic… and even those who haven’t used QR codes are interested in engaging with them…”

For additional information, please visit MGH here.

Social Media for Small Business

A study was released recently that compares Social Media satisfaction and awareness for marketing and advertising.

This is from Mediapost:

Small Business Owners Liking Facebook

According to the MerchantCircle Merchant Confidence Index (MCI) survey, the total Q1 2011 MCI score is 5.1% higher than a year earlier. The largest contributor to its growth is respondents’ expectations for sales revenue growth during the next three months.

Merchant Confidence Index


Average Response on 1-5 Scale

% Change vs. Feb 2010

Rate today’s economy compared to past 12 months



Change in sales revenue over next three months


+ 4.8

Change in marketing/advertising expenditures over next three months



Change in headcount over next three months



Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

More than four in 10 small and local business owners expect sales revenues to improve somewhat in the next three months. 13% expect significant improvement, a combined 57% of respondents anticipating some sort of rise in short-term sales revenues.

Expectations for the future (How do you expect your sales revenues to change over the next three months?)


% of Respondents

Improve significantly


Improve somewhat


Remain relatively the same


Decline somewhat


Decline significantly


Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

The factor with the highest year-over-year growth rate is respondents’ rating of today’s economy compared to 12 months ago, which improved 11.8% to 15%.

State of the U.S. Economy (How would you rate today’s economy compared to the past twelve months?)


% of Respondents

Significantly improved


Somewhat improved


About the same


Somewhat weaker


Much weaker


Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

About six in 10 small and local businesses anticipate their marketing expenditures to remain relatively the same during the next three months. Only 2% expect them to increase significantly, while less than 5% expect them to decline significantly.

Marketing expenditures (How do you expect your marketing/advertising expenditures to change over the next three months?)


% of Respondents

Increase significantly


Increase somewhat


Remain the same


Decline somewhat


Decline significantly


Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

When asked about their usage of a variety of online marketing tools and channels, 70% of respondents said they are currently using Facebook. This makes Facebook the most used of any marketing tool covered by the survey, closely followed by Google. LinkedIn comes in third. Generally speaking, the lower the current usage rate of a tool, the higher its planned usage rate, suggesting small and local businesses are open to a wide variety of online marketing channels.

Adoption of specific online marketing services (Are you promoting your business with the following websites/services? % of Respondents)



Not Promoting

Not Yet, But Plan To

Not Familiar





















Yahoo! Local












































Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

And, with regard to expectations of marketing activity in the next three months, only 15% see a decline.

Marketing expenditures (How do you expect your marketing/advertising expenditures to change over the next three months?)


% of Respondents

Increase significantly


Increase somewhat


Remain the same


Decline somewhat


Decline significantly


Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

The online survey was to a random sample of 1.6 million local business owners, and There were 8,456 total responses from local business owners across the United States. Overall, about three fourths of the respondents’ budgets for marketing are below $5,000.

Annual Ad/Marketing Budget

Budget (x000)

% of Respondents











>10.0 <25.0


>25.0 <50.0




Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

The Top Three Most Effective Marketing Or Advertising Methods The Responding Business Uses Or Has Used

Most Effective Channel

% of Respondents

Search engine marketing


Profile on social network


Email marketing


Other online methods


Coupons or direct mail


Print newspaper


Online yellow pages




Banner/display ad


Local radio


Source: MerchantCircle, (Merchant Confidence Index Survey), March 2011

For additional information, please visit Merchant Circle here.

Those Funky Looking Ink Blots

Do you know what a QR code is? It is a barcode designed to be read by smartphones that take people to a specific place online. Try scanning this one and see where it takes you:

Nick Jerome has more:

QR Codes: Thinking outside the square

(posted on

QR codes are quickly becoming a part of any integrated marketing campaign. We all know they’re great for offering coupons and additional product information, but the possibilities for using them are really endless. Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small non-profit, creative use of QR codes can help people engage with your brand. Here are some examples of “outside the square” thinking:

San Francisco was the site of a pilot program between CitySearch and Antenna Audio. QR codes were posted on the city’s historical landmarks and restaurants. When scanned, they produced information about the site or reviews on the restaurant.

Eventbrite is starting to use QR codes at registration desks. Event attendees register online and receive a QR code on the confirmation. Event coordinators can scan the codes at the registration table and gather attendee information quickly and accurately.

Starbucks made QR codes a successful ecommerce solution. Starbucks Card Mobile Application allows customers load an account with money, and the pull up their account’s QR code at the register for convenient payment.

The Smithsonian used QR codes to increase engagement with their Neanderthal exhibit. When visitors scan the code they are sent to a website where they can take a picture of a friend with their phone, and the program shows what they would have looked like 30,000 to 50,000 years ago as a Neanderthal.

These are just a few examples of the creative ways QR codes can be used. The bottom line is that a QR code should always provide added value for the user. That value can be a discount, information, convenience or just plain fun, but it represents an opportunity to engage with people in a new way.

About the Author

Nick Jerome is a marketing services manager at FASTSIGNS®, a visual communications services provider with more than 550 locations around the world.