The Best E-Tools for E-Marketers to Find E-Success

In an age where more and more companies compete for an ever-dwindling attention span, your brand needs to seize a customer’s focus and not let go. Americans face exposure to advertising everywhere they turn. A Media Education Foundation report suggests that by watching television for three to four hours per day, a person will take in 40,000 commercials in the span of a single year. Given that kind of audience, what tools should a marketing team use to stand out from the crowd?

Monitoring and Tracking Metrics

emarketing tools,

You can put a million ads on the Internet and never get so much as a single sale if they do not properly target a demographic and appeal to a customer. One of the best ways to ensure your advertising effectiveness follows the competition is to use a tracking metric like AdBeat to get a comprehensive picture of the advertising your competitors are using on the Internet and then split up the individual copies to better determine success and failure. At $99 per month, this tool gives you a virtual private eye to be sure that your ads are keeping up with your competitors.

Know What Works on Your Side

How many different marketing strategies has your brand put in place? Instead of tracking each baseline statistic for pay-per-click, SEO, outlinking and affiliate sites on a massive Excel spreadsheet, use a comprehensive calculator to know where you get the best return on your expenditure. The Search Monitor identifies exactly what the Internet thinks of your brand, including its search ranking, click rate and popularity for linking. At $300 per month, it’s a pricey way to know what works, but there’s no better product on the market.

Point-of-Sales Solutions

Any marketing campaign starts with the raw numbers—what products work well and which ones need a shot in the arm. Keep track of sales, inventory and statistics with point-of-sale merchant services for mobile platforms. A point-of-sale system can turn your sales floor into a fluid organism instead of necessitating space and equipment for a purchase, while also tracking the numbers on your best-selling products and those that have not been moving as fast as you’d like. Better still, it keeps the information secure and easy to pull up.

Social Marketing

When it comes to your advertising plan, banking heavily on social media can give you the best bang for your buck if you happen to create viral content.

Know what the social sites and blogosphere think about your brand’s platform pages with Fanpage Karma, an algorithm that tracks the popularity of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter feeds for brands.

See when the best time of day for posting updates is and which updates have proven to be the most popular among your network of friends, followers and contacts.

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digital marketing strategies 2014

Must Do Competitive Digital Marketing Strategies 2014 (Small Business)

Your small business is just one of the 22 million businesses registered in the U.S., according to the latest U.S. Census data. It’s almost year-end and time to think about how to keep your business ahead of the competition. These current small business trends will help you take that next step and set you up for success for years to come.

Get Into the Clouds

Companies continue to move their operations into the cloud. Starting out as a convenient way to store large amounts of data, cloud computing has become an all-purpose solution for many business functions because it allows users to access data from any device. The best cloud services offer high-security encryption.

Software as a service (SaaS) providers have emerged as digital marketing has grown; they create applications your company uses in the cloud. These include email programs and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. For years, only large companies could make use of these sophisticated applications. Now you can do everything from taking customer orders to managing your inventory in the cloud.

Protect Your Investment

If you have a security plan for your company, review it and make sure you are using the latest technologies to protect your physical assets and intellectual capital. If you have a home office, check out the latest home security equipment to see how you can better protect yourself.

Not only are the basic alarm and monitoring options important, but many include remote controllability from marketing change for business 2014

Going Mobile

If your company and website are not already supporting mobile access, then it’s time to look at that. More people are using smartphones and tablets as their preferred ways of getting information, doing online research and making purchases.

Your websites should be of a responsive design so mobile viewers will have a positive experience on your site no matter what devices they use.

Searching, browsing, shopping and paying should be optimized for mobile devices.

There’s an App for That

Speaking of mobile computing, look at your company and products to see if there is a mobile app just waiting to be developed. Companies are making their own apps that give users and employees functionality and experiences from mobile devices.

Home Depot has an app that lets customers find a store, see the layout of the store, find products and read reviews.

It has some useful features, but it is primarily a marketing tool. Give your customers a little something that will help them out and they’ll put up with your logo on the screen while using the app.

Get More Visibility

Whatever your product or service, there are informational videos that you could create to help your customers get the most out of them.

Create a YouTube channel and begin creating videos that have useful instructions, product functionality reviews, tips and techniques.

The better educated your customers are about how to use your products or services, the more satisfied they will be, and more likely to continue to buy your products.

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SEOPlanter | cc

cloud networking - step into the future

Step Into The Future with Cloud Networking (3 Things You Should Know)

When it comes to both your personal life as well as your professional one, it goes without saying that you need a simple, reliable way to share information, apps, documents and more.  All while securely connecting with people, employees and businesses with an easy-to-use experience.

Once upon a time virtual private networks (VPNs for short) were the way to go in this regard. However, modern technological developments are finding more people switching to cloud networking instead.

If you’re like a lot of business owners, you may still be wondering which of these two options represents the best choice for you. Let’s take a closer look at what cloud networking brings to the table and how it could really benefit you and your current IT networking challenges.

1. Increased User-Friendliness

If there’s one thing you absolutely want your networking solution to be over anything else, it’s this:  it must be easy to use. It quite simply doesn’t get more user-friendly than cloud networking. Not only is there little to no learning curve associated with cloud computing as compared to VPN setup, installation, support and training, but it’s many times more convenient as well.

Companies who utilize cloud technology as their go-to solution for sharing information, documents, images, and more have the added advantage of being able to access the associated data from anywhere at any time with just a simple, secure login. Plus, cloud computing is seamlessly compatible with any device, including laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and even third party hardware. Once you’ve connected – you can access resources just as if you were in the corporate office.

cloud networking explained

2. Save Money and Valuable Space

Storage and sharing through traditional VPNs are completely reliant on the immediate presence of bulky hardware and expensive setups. Hardware is not only costly to purchase and keep up to date, but it can take up unnecessary space as well.

This means it might not be the most effective solution for small businesses or home offices where there might not be a lot of extra room to spare.

When you make the switch to the “cloud”, you save a bundle on maintenance costs and effort, as all of that is taken care of by the service provider you use. Plus, you no longer have to worry about making room for any needed hardware. Use it for other equipment or give bonuses for employees instead. You’ll find that cloud computing saves you the lion’s share of time as well, and everybody gets more productive.

3. Room to Grow

Unlike traditional VPN-based networking options, cloud networking solutions allow immeasurable room for your business to grow. Most cloud networking providers provide a variety of different package options for businesses of different sizes. Starter packages are typically very inexpensive or even free.

As your company grows, you can upgrade your service to include more space and more features that you and your colleagues can really use. Plus, you’ll enjoy professional level security options, retrieval abilities, and more – all musts for people who are serious about making their business everything it can be.

The fact of the matter is, VPNs are now considered an outmoded technology. Cloud computing is not only here to stay, but it’s the way of the future.

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How To Build A High-Performance Social Media Team

Marketing a company’s logo and products on social media makes it easy and affordable to promote brands. Social Media Today reports that over 90 percent of all marketers use some type of social media for their business promotions.

This reflects the ease and convenience of social marketing, but also the changing demographics of social networks: more middle-aged consumers with greater purchasing power utilize these networks than do teenagers and young adults.

A company looking to capitalize on social media marketing can put together a “dream team” of professionals in order to get optimal results.

Social Management

social-media-team-managementConsider social marketing more than an offshoot of a marketing department. Think of it as its own branch of the company. Unless you can count the number of workers you employ on one hand, selecting a manager or coordinator for social marketing helps to keep every blogger, Tweeter, and Instagrammer on the same page.

A manager should understand both digital and physical communication, be capable of using Pinterest to display images while printing off hard copies and using a postage meter to send them through snail mail. Much of their time will be spent sending memos or letters through postage as the employees under them work online.

The UK-based business advisory group of SalesForce suggests that your manager have better organizational and project management skills than social media skills, since the latter can be found more easily than the former.

The Numbers Guy


Any company, no matter its size, has heard the term “ROI” so often that it may as well be tattooed into an owner’s forehead. This metric has great value because numbers do not lie about which departments and products pull their weight.

You need not hire a financial analyst to study minute changes to YouTube video viewership, but Mashable urges a company to include a person in their social media team that understands the statistics of social media and the value of measuring performance.

Seek out candidates, internally or externally, who combine business skills with digital acumen in order to determine the social media campaigns that need a shot in the arm and the ones that have been performing above expectations.


If you believe that the Internet generation’s attention span has denigrated due to the instant availability of information, a picture in your social media circles can be worth much more than one thousand words (or 8.54 Tweets).

The images you produce and display on social media need to be much more polished and professional than the written content, since only a little bit of the written content will be consumed while the pictures become scrutinized.

Hiring a visual designer to work with photos and videos helps to maintain a strong image of company and products. Spark Growth Partners recommends that companies maintain no fewer than four separate visual-imagery social networks in order to quickly and easily market pictures.

This does not take into account video social media like YouTube and Flickr; choose a candidate with experience shooting and editing both still photos and video.

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How LinkedIn Can Attract More Business and Contacts

Approximately 84% of 3,100 business owners surveyed generated business from LinkedIn, according to the Huffington Post.

Much is written about Facebook and Twitter as social networking outlets for business, but few highlight LinkedIn as an essential outlet. The following are a few reasons to consider adding LinkedIn to your marketing portfolio. Tablet pc with people communicating

Develop a Customer Focus

LinkedIn personal and company pages allow you to be very specific about what you and your company can do for customers, says Entrepreneur. People will find you through keyword searches, so create these to match precisely your products and skills. Be selective about the people you connect with. You can create a following that is interested in your company and its products, and not just interested in collecting connections.

Get and Stay Connected With Colleagues and Industry Leaders

Use LinkedIn to connect to businesses, vendors, suppliers, and leaders in your industry. Through these connections you’ll know where people are working and where they came from. This will help when you are hiring since you can track where the key players are. You’ll be able to give them a heads-up as to your staffing plans so they can begin thinking about possibilities with your company. Candidates using job applications online at can see more specifics about positions with your company. You can also seek the best from those connected with you and share job opening information.

Join and Start Groups

LinkedIn groups combine current event information with tips from other professionals. You’ll use groups to see what is happening in the industry and how others are responding. You can participate in discussions that directly affect your business, such as marketing with social media and how to create authoritative company pages.

By creating groups, you can become the resident expert in your field. Offer useful advice that helps businesses deal with common problems in unique ways. Business topics such as “Managing Health Care Offerings In Your Small Business” or “Lowering Your International Shipping Costs” will draw a lot of attention from business owners struggling with those problems.

Making Use of Recommendations

About 83 percent of consumers surveyed said that their purchase decisions were affected by reviews, notes LinkedIn. Use this to your advantage by promoting customer recommendations. Five or ten days after the sale of a product or service, depending on your business, ask the customer to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Thank each customer for their recommendations. Encourage potential customers to read your LinkedIn recommendations.

Solicit Customer Input

You can create a LinkedIn group to be used as a customer focus group. Invite key customers to join. In this group you can sponsor Q&As about your products or services, discuss upcoming releases and request new features the customers would like to see. This type of customer interaction can create a stronger following, says Kissmetrics Marketing Analytics.

Product Announcements and Testing

LinkedIn groups allow you to announce upcoming products that need testing. If you have a new cloud-based CRM application you’d like to test, create a group of beta testers and have a weekly call to review the feedback. This is another level of testing than you can often do within your business. The testers may find ways to use your product differently than it was intended so you can discover that before its release to the general public.

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Content marketing plans, channels and formats

10 Unusual Ways to Use Content Marketing to Promote Your Business

Content creation continues to emerge as a very important part of an online marketing strategy.

You can’t just build an appealing website but throw in some mediocre content and make it rank well. These days, people know how and where to get what they want; and Google is responding to that. High quality content that caters to people’s problems is the key to drive traffic to your website and make your audience share it to others, therefore multiplying your reach.

Content marketing can be a much more affordable and effective way to help your SEO efforts these days. Writing high quality content (assumed) produces links faster and naturally gets shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and the like.

Another big advantage is Content marketing doesn’t get affected by algorithm updates, making it count as a big investment for the long term. Now that you know just how important high quality content is for both Google and your audience, you need to guarantee results. There are many tactics utilized now by different businesses worldwide, but these 10 unusual, non-conventional ways of using content marketing to promote your business may just do the trick for you.

1. Research, Research, Research

Staying in research mode at all times will always be better than being stagnant and just sticking to the same formula over and over again. You need to be updated about content marketing for you to never run out of great and effective content ideas. Research will keep your mind fresh, making idea pop into your head and increase the quality of your content. As soon as you get ideas based on the current trends in content marketing, jot them down and develop them until you have a good outline to work on.

how to organize content marketing in your business

(Click to see larger image – From Altimeter Group)

In connection to doing your research on a regular basis, you should think out of the box when it comes to choosing the topic and title of your articles. Know the latest things happening in your industry and write about them with a unique and thought-provoking angle in mind. You should learn how to stimulate your readers’ minds and make everything more interesting than usual. Many businesses are writing content, so you should know how to stand out.

3. Write with Personality

At the end of the day, your audience are people and they would want to read something that sounds like a relatable human being actually wrote it. Whether you’re writing a press release or a blog entry, it’s important to incorporate who you are and what is unique about your brand. Developing your writing style for your business and finding your own voice (if you are a content writer) is an ongoing process. Let the content you produce innovate by developing your own voice and knowing what works well with your target audience.

4. Create Infographics

Infographics is a one-two punch when it comes to content marketing. Not only do you create content that matters, you produce them through images that make them more interesting and shareable. Looking at a full page of text can sometimes feel basic and boring, so incorporating infographics to your content marketing will make your strategy more effective than usual.

5. Different File Types

Converting your content into a PDF file, slideshow, or eBook is an unusual but effective strategy. This is especially effective for content materials that aim to inform. These file types are print-ready and can be projected so your readers can use them as a reference material or as a lecture. Make sure you leave links leading to your website so your readers can always go back to your site for future references.

6. Giveaways

Some businesses are stuck with using content creation to inform and persuade, but it shouldn’t end there. Just like any marketing strategy, having some kind of promo or giveaway will definitely spark interest to your content. Giveaways are unusual blog traffic method that can generate massive blog traffic. Get your visitors to participate by sharing your posts to various sites and subscribe to your feed. This way, you can retain them and even earn some loyal followers in the long run.

7. Blog Commenting

The good thing about blog commenting is you gain blog traffic and also earn a backlink. Same with forum commenting—simply use your site URL as your forum signature and when you make comments, it will be displayed alongside your posts. Join active forums and blogs, start commenting today (and regularly), and see the amount of traffic you can drive to your blog.

8. Promote Your Content Daily

Content creation is a marketing strategy, so you must know how to promote your content. Direct promotion involves sharing your content through email and social media, while indirect promotion involves building connections with key players and credible sources related to your business. You need to have techniques for both of them to work effectively, and this requires daily practice. Make it a habit to perform all these promotional tasks. This is the only way your content will get noticed, and ultimately, help your business grow.

9. Get Affiliated

Affiliates are important because the more partners you have, the more exposure your business gets. This promotes business stability and identity in the long run. Learn to choose affiliates wisely. They should be related to your business or the key interests of your target audience. Learn how to deal with them in a friendly manner so that your relationship will grow overtime.

10. Create Shareable Content

We live in an online world dominated by social media. People now have the means to share to their followers what they’re interested in. If you can create content that is shareable, contains important keywords, and is interesting, it will rank high in search results, make people talk, and introduce your business to a wider audience. One of the greatest ways to drive traffic to your website is to create valuable and engaging content that is highly shareable and relevant to a large group of people. Make sure everything you write is so exciting that people will want to share it to their own social networking accounts.

The opportunities of content marketing and promotion are already vast, but they continue to expand by the minute. Growing your business is the bottom line objective with content marketing.

Use these 10 unusual strategies and always remember to step it up a notch to promote your business the best way possible. Do all this with one primary goal in mind: how can I provide useful, helpful value to my community and market?

BONUS: Have you tried NewsJacking for your company, product or service? Here’s a detailed look at how to get big media attention: Get the authority book from Meermann Scott today (Kindle/Amazon link)


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Pay Per Click Marketing And PPC Advertising – A Best Practices Guide

What is PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising?

If you found this post, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard, seen and used the most agile method of search engine marketing: PPC. Also called Pay-per-click advertising… it is a way to get instant search engine visibility to those who are searching for keyword phrases directly related to your business. Portions even appears above organic rankings, which makes it more visible for people interested to learn more, and even buy directly. That’s why PPC marketing & advertising is an essential part of an online marketing strategy for businesses, big or small.ppc - pay-per-click search engines

How Does PPC Work?

The concept is very simple: you bid on search terms or keyword phrases you think are relevant to your business and only pay if and when the ad is clicked by users. PPC ads are placed strategically to generate a response and drive targeted buyers to your site.

These 9 strategies can be your guide to effectively incorporate PPC to your online advertising pursuits and drive more relevant, buyer traffic to your web pages.

Read and Be Updated

Just like anything on the Internet, PPC advertising moves constantly. Read up on how PPC marketing works, register for Google’s training courses and check for updates every now and then in your favorite blogs and PPC websites. The Google Adwords Help Center and Search Engine Journal are some resources you may want to check before starting your campaign.

Know Your Industry & Market

Beyond reading about PPC, it’s also essential to do some research specific to your industry. Review keywords that come to mind and compare then to what’s out there in terms of competition. Research is a key for you to choose effective keyword phrases, set the right budget, and structure a campaign that has the most chance of giving you great results. The Google Keyword Research Tools are a good place to start.

Test Ad Copy

Test different versions of your advertisements to know which would give you the best results. This will help you maximize the ROI of your campaigns. Set up tests that will rotate different ads for each of your keywords. Most PPC platform allows you to do this and displays what version of your ad will result with most clicks.

Always Include a Call-to-Action

There should always be some kind of call-to-action placed in your ad. If possible, use text, or even images (Display Networks) that can grab the attention of users. Then, use a simple one-liner that tells your visitors what they should do to know more about your brand, product or service. Possibly explain what they should expect once they click on your ad. Make sure to leverage approved symbols, numbers and punctuation, along with testing domain names and display URLs.

Use Location-Specific Keywords And Ads

PPC advertising allows you to target your audience based on their location and the scope of your business. If you are offering products or services that can be used globally, it’s good to design different ads that cater to different groups of people in terms of demographics (e.g., country, age, gender). If you are a small business owner, then use the specific city, state, or place you are located in so they could be more familiar with what you offer.

Use Negative Keywords

Negative or excluded keyword is an easy way to avoid unqualified traffic that drive up your overhead costs. Sometimes, your keyword can have a broad meaning that your ad shows up even though the query is not a match for your product. Using negative keywords will lower the chance of this occurrence and refine the positive keywords for web spiders. A simple example might be “cruise”. If you’re not selling Tom Cruise wares, make sure to exclude showing ads for “Tom Cruise”.  A common negative keyword is “free”.

Explore Beyond Search Engines

Don’t limit your paid advertising campaign to search engines alone. Having your ads appear on websites, blogs, and emails can also give you a boost. Some high traffic websites and ad networks can publish your ads, which may increase your online visibility. Another way of reaching a wide number of potential customers is through sponsored ads on social networking sites and web properties related to your business.

Long-term Communications

Since your goal with PPC advertising is to get users to land on your page, why not get the most out of it by adding subscription and follow buttons to your landing pages? Once they click your ad, make sure you ask them for permission to receive future communications from you. You can do this by getting them to fill out a form, subscribe to a newsletter, or follow you on social media sites. This way, customer retention and loyalty can be promoted.

Impress With Your Landing Page

Last but not the least, you must have a killer landing page; both design-wise and content-wise. The purpose of your PPC advertising is to drive targeted traffic to a particular page. Make sure that what users saw in your ad is reflected on the landing page they’re about to see. If they don’t get what they want after clicking your ad, then the traffic will just go to waste. It’s advisable to have a clean look and direct messaging so they can easily see what they came for, and can decide quickly if they want to stay.

Top PPC Platforms

With the help of PPC platforms, you’ll surely have a spike of user traffic to your landing pages. Google revolutionized the Internet when it first created a search engine that ranked pages in a way that made sense. By 2005, the number of searches had grown dramatically as Google introduced Quality Score; a better ranking mechanism to determine which ads should appear before others (not simply based on keyword bidding price).

Because paid searches benefited both search engines and advertisers, the strategy just kept developing. Google’s Adwords program is the most widespread PPC platform in use today. Using it means your ads will appear next to organic Google search results and on the first page.

Facebook has also joined the PPC market with their “sponsored ads.” Other platforms include Bing! which provides advertising through their network including MSN and Hotmail, and Yahoo!

With the right knowledge and adequate practice of Pay-per-click advertising, you will surely reap more and more benefits along the way. In this day and age of technological innovations and online marketing pursuits of businesses worldwide, there’s just no excuse but to use Pay-per-click advertising and master it for the growth of your business. Plus, leveraging all the valuable marketing data in combination with SEO can prove a marketplace breakthrough for your business.


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4 Different Social Media Considerations for CEOs

Chief Executive Officers act as the faces of businesses, but some businesses are still murky about whether or not it’s a good idea to involve them in social media strategies.

  • Is social media a good use of a CEO’s time?
  • What value does it contribute to the business?
  • Should a CEO be involved in social media strategies?

These are the typical questions asked when any level of leadership begins to use new technology.

Here are some factors to consider:

1. Research – The Executives Chime In

In a 2013 survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, nearly 90 percent of 630 executives from companies with revenues of at least $500 million stated they had one or more social media accounts. Those executives also supported the use of social media by CEOs. When asked what benefit social media brings to the company, they responded:robert scoble social media logos picture

  • It gives the company a human face
  • It helps the CEO communicate with the company’s employees
  • It fosters a relationship with news media
  • It shows the use of innovation by the company
  • It has a positive impact on the business’ reputation
  • It enhances the CEO’s reputation as a good communicator

2. Knowledge – Expanding the CEO Role

CEOs are leaders in their industries, and know their business inside and out. This makes them the ideal spokespeople for companies in those industries, which we covered here in an earlier post. Innovation springs out of the minds of CEOs, and social media is one way to communicate some of the excitement that comes with those ideas. It can provide a glimpse into the future. Social media has proven itself to be a quick source of information across the globe.

The current CEO of Ernst & Young and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Tax Policy, Mark Weinberger, used Twitter to comment on his recent assignment as Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO. The value of this social media network is that it allows a brief message to be sent by a busy executive that may be viewed as critically important to their followers. In a time when it may be unthinkable for an executive to spend hours crafting a news release or article, tools such as Twitter provide ways to give the public greater access to a company’s direction.

3. Results – The Benefit to the CEOs

Social media is not only a good thing, but a necessary outlet for greater visibility. Companies that have adopted social media as a way to communicate with the public and news media are able to engage their customers and strengthen their connections. Companies that fall behind in this area may soon be questioned as to what they have to hide. The result will be a shift in market share to the companies who do embrace this way of connecting with people.

4. Crisis Management – The Risks to the CEO

CEOs are human, too, which means they can put their foot in their mouth like anyone else. That’s why some CEOs may hire their own PR people to make sure the right message is delivered. Others just take the risk of spreading messages themselves. The result can be something like the recent PR issues generated by statements made by Chick-fil-A and Netflix CEOs.

Within a matter of minutes, a poorly crafted message tweeted by a CEO can be seen by millions of people across the planet. The potential for great harm in using social media is just as strong as it’s potential for good.

Like all areas of communication, CEOs need to be educated about the proper use, timing and types of messages appropriate for social media. With that basis of understanding, social media can become another powerful communication tool for these business executives.

Do you think CEOs should use social media to promote their businesses? Tell us why or why not in the comments.

photo credit (Robert Scoble Picture): Thomas Hawk | cc

What Can You Learn From The Best Digital Marketers of 2013?

It’s official! In a world of pervasive online media, relying on traditional marketing techniques is destined to fail.

Successful companies continue to innovate with unique Internet marketing campaigns that captivate viewers and translate into a broader market base. Looking to the top companies of 2013 provides a glimpse into the types of Internet marketing strategies that pay big dividends.


Oreo doesn’t necessarily jump to the forefront of your mind when considering tech-savvy companies. But clever marketing execs at the company made headlines during the 2013 Super Bowl for a witty marketing campaign. When the lights went out for 30 minutes at the Superdome during the third quarter, Oreo turned to Twitter. The company released a tweet stating “Power Out? No Problem.”top trends and results from digital marketers in 2013

With an image of a single Oreo with a dark background and the caption, “You can still dunk in the dark,” Oreo’s quick-thinking tweet was retweeted approximately 15,000 times.

According to Wired magazine, Oreo had a 15 person team in charge of social media during the game, allowing them to react quickly to changing circumstances. The take-home message? Always be ready to capitalize on the trends of the moment. Keeping track of trending topics on Twitter is a smart way to identify ways to connect with customers (for example, #SuperBowlBlackOut was the number one trending hashtag worldwide during the Super Bowl).

Keep in mind that Internet trends are brief, often lasting just a few days, so quick thinking is essential.


In 2013, DirecTV made great strides, with its stock rising 25.01% over the previous year. Online marketing is an important part of its overall strategy to grow its user base. For example, DirecTV has reached out to bars and restaurants to make itself the most desirable television content provider on the market.

The company’s exclusive DirecTV MVP Marketing Program offers free promotional tools to businesses with a sports package subscription.

One of the smartest perks of this program is DirecTV’s “Sports Bar Finder” mobile app. This popular app lists great sports bars in the user’s area, but only those that subscribe to DirecTV are listed. Companies seeking to emulate DirecTV’s success should think about perks that they can offer big clients. Providing exclusive access to important apps or promotional tools that allow a major client to grow his own business is a savvy marketing choice.

Plus, it’s a win-win for your company and your clients.

Kohls Cares

Kohls department store continues to struggle to stay competitive, with only 2.2% growth in sales in 2012, according to Forbes. However, the company upped its social media strategy in 2013, creating a successful Internet campaign based around its philanthropic efforts. Dubbed “Kohls Cares,” a Facebook campaign offered people 20 votes to cast for their favorite schools. The 20 winning schools received $500,000 each, for a total of a $10 million giveaway.

This successful campaign earned Kohls 1.5 million “Likes” on Facebook.

For companies seeking to emulate Kohls’ success, a public philanthropic effort isn’t enough. Kohls focused its campaign on an issue (education) important to its key demographic — busy moms.

A successful philanthropic Internet campaign should connect with your customer base on the issues that matter most. For example, if you run a local home improvement store, perhaps you could generate a campaign focused on donations to Habitat for Humanity.

Tying the success of the campaign to customer input is also important. Create a daily voting strategy or tie the amount donated to the number of “Likes” or retweets for maximum marketing impact.

photo credit: GloriaGarcía | cc