advertising in a city

How To Market In A Digital World

In ages past, we have chiseled stories in rock and printed articles on the latest news. And those times of print are by and far almost gone.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love tactile journals and books, as they have a certain special place in my heart. While at the same time I am all in on the digital world. In that place one might soon discover that there is so much noise it’s hard to be heard.

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Facebook: Requesting vs. Suggesting

Recently, this blog has been asking people on our Facebook page to participate in different polls we do through the Facebook Questions section. I had made the decision at the beginning to send the question to all of my own personal Facebook friends in the hopes that I would be able to get more people to participate on the page and hopefully get more people to Like the page. The questions were not personal, simply asking about basic opinions on youth ministry, if they use certain social media networks, or seasonal questions that fit the holiday.

Unfortunately, I ran into a problem. One of my friends from college decided that he did not like being asked to answer this question. He kindly asked me to stop sending him requests because he felt like I was simply trying to run a research project on him. I happily obliged, but was puzzled. For the previous five months, I had be posting between one and three articles a day through my own personal account from this blog that would have shown up on his feed, approximately 300 articles in all. Yet five questions over a month and half was too much. Do not get me wrong, requesting my friends shows a notification that I am asking for something, whereas when I post a blog article, it simply shows up on their feed. So there is a difference in the delivery, but I was curious why he was so disgruntled over it. So why the complaint now?

The answer came quickly: Do not mix up the idea that sharing links that someone can ignore and asking for interaction directly with Facebook Questions is the same thing. They are completely different.

Short Term Success Does Not Mean Long Term Success

My goal to share questions from the Facebook page was a short-term tactic that was designed to increase the reach and interactions of my page with people and also improve the number of Likes so that I would not have to do this too much longer. Short-term, the posts did increase dramatically, though after just the third week it did begin to drop. The problem that came was two-fold: My Likes did not increase at all and people were beginning to gain a negative perception of the page and ultimately the brand. You may increase the reach of your Facebook page quickly, but too much in a short time (and that term too much is very subjective) can lead to a long-term lose of fans and views and even a negative connotation to what you have to offer. When coming up with the strategy of how you plan to use social media to promote what you have say, share, or sell, do so wisely and think about how you would react if someone did what you are going to do to yourself.

You might be asking why I am bringing this up, who cares if we offer suggestions or request their opinion. The difference is that ignoring a suggestion is guilt-free whereas ignoring my request brings about a little irritation that I may be bugging them and even a brief moment of them evaluating if it is worth being a fan of my Facebook Page. Combining guilt, irritation, and a reevaluation of committing to your page once in a while (a month or more) is one thing, but as I found out the hard way, even a question a week becomes spam in many peoples’ eyes.

Would you be annoyed at the frequency of requests or shared links you are putting out there?

Products And Services FAIL Without Strategy

Take a note from HP, if you do not have a thorough and efficient strategy, your projects and services will ultimately fail. Seven weeks ago, they announced that they were going to jump into the tablet market, taking on Apple’s iPad and the other five or so knock-offs. They even had an all-star marketing crew with Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Lea Michele, and Manny Pacquiao. So what happened? Their strategy was weak.

Do Not Just Copy Someone Else
In the business world, if your product is not different enough from other companies, you will not succeed. In their case, Apple has a HUGE reputation and loyal fan base that will not leave. HP could have marketed their tablet to the medical world that cannot use Apple products because they are open source or make them heavy duty to sell to a huge factory market, but they tried to take on a company completely established. Youth workers, bloggers, and any other businesses can try to duplicate someone elses work, but it will fall flat without understanding your audience. HP did not understand their customers and therefore they failed.

You Have To Have The Whole Package
Doing something right does not guarantee success but to have success requires doing things right. It is more than just the hardware for tablets, you have to have the whole package. Apple is so far ahead in available apps that there is something for everyone. All others are simply playing catch up including Android and Microsoft. We can try to blog about whatever comes to us, make up youth ministry events and sermons by the seat but of our pants, but after a couple of months you will crash. Without having all of the A.D.D. fun that Apple’s app store does so well, HP failed.

Do It Better
As previously stated, Apple’s fans are loyal. Doing something right does not guarantee success but to have success requires doing things right. HP made a tablet that costs a little bit less than the iPad, was a little bit faster, and had one or two more pluses (used Flash, snore!). What incentive did customers have? If they already had a tablet that works extremely well, they are not going to shell out another $300 for a little better. For customers that do not have a tablet yet, all they know right now is that Apple has a great product and HP has one that is cheaper and cheaper usually means worse… How do we push our services and projects? Are they just a little better than hanging out? Where is the benefit? HP did not improve a product enough and so they failed.