Small Businesses Need Big Plans For Social Media


By: Jeromy Puglisi

Managed Media Chicago

June 1, 2011

Without  quantifiable goals, small and midsize businesses risk chasing ROI right down the drain…

It is about time small and midsize businesses got serious about social media – and that means planning.  Without a plan, most businesses would be better to scrap their social programs and focus their resources elsewhere. Without quantifiable goals – no matter how basic, there is no way to determine if there is a benefit from their efforts or if they are simply wasting time.

If the clients we talk with are any measure, data indicates that most small businesses are “getting their feet wet” without any defined strategy.  In fact, a recent study indicates that 20% of small businesses simply “use” social media while almost half said they “use it properly.”  31% of mid size firms said they have a “structured” plan, but still an alarming 20% say they do not have a defined plan for their social media activities.

Small businesses are especially prone to a lackadaisical approach to social media.  A recent survey by http://www.Techaisle.com showed 70% of companies with up to 100 employees planned to use social sites for marketing purposes in the coming year, but 45% said they didn’t know how doing so would help them.

Think about that –

7 in 10 businesses are thinking about social media and close to half have absolutely no idea why. 

They are following a trend instead of strategically planning to capitalize on new technology.  This sets them up for failure from the beginning and leads those businesses toward a giant black hole with absolutely no return on their investment.  Lucky for you, Managed Media was designed specifically with the small business in mind!

Managed Media is first and foremost a strategic communications agency.  We take the time to learn your business and your customer, so we can craft an effective communication strategy based on qualitative research that will compel buyers to act.  Managed Media then manages your social media to give your business an on-line presence that tells your story and drives customers to your door.

This is a classic example of the power of social media, and fundamentally what separates Managed Media from the others that are “tweeting” thousands of times every month with absolutely nothing to say!

Getting Started

Depending on the business and the ownership, taking the initial plunge into social media without any experience isn’t always bad.  Sometimes, jumping in reveals the known to the unknown and leads to innovation. Regardless of the method of introduction, businesses at some point need to formalize their plans or risk missing out on the many advantages available in the world wide web of social media.  Eventually, business owners realize that a defined strategy provides for more purposes across a greater range of channels.  At some point, it’s no longer a game and becomes a question of maximizing value and measuring success.

Having a social media plan doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money.  To coin an age old adage, “you get what you pay for” and in the internet world this line still holds true.  Sure, today for as little as $50 a month you can get your web site “optimized” and there are services that “tweet” for you twice a day, every day, to 150K “followers” for $29 a month.  There are others that “tweet” for you 6 times a day to 16K followers for $50.  For $129, one company will let you “buy” links to “optimize” your page ranking in a search result.

Managed Media is created in response to all of the internet marketing garbage in today’s business world. Managed Media is designed to be an extension of your business – we are your part-time employee sitting your “remote office.” Managing all of your social media.

How part time?  Great question.

Managed Media spends approximately 14 hours every month specifically on your business.  Not on the guy next door, or the girl across town.  YOUR BUSINESS. 

Managed Media does the work for you – and what we do is where it gets real interesting.

Before we start any work, we listen – to you.  We learn your business and then create a strategic analysis of your industry and your customer.  This insight provides valuable information used throughout the social media life-cycle.  Next we create a customized communication plan tailored to your business so we can tell your story to the thousands of potential customers listening in the world of social media.  This especially sets Managed Media  apart from the others that are “tweeting” thousands of times every month with absolutely nothing to say.  Again read our blog on the message.

Now, after all that – after we’ve built the foundation– we deploy the technology.  Now that we know who your customers are and what they want to hear, we put your message on-line in the world of social media.  We hit multiple targets from multiple touch points with multiple messages at multiple intervals.  Organically, your business will start to grow & you will continually see new names & faces walk through your door on a daily basis. 

There is no simple way to define strategic communications.  It builds a brand.  It changes perception.  It connects your organization with people and moves them to action.  Smart strategy makes communication meaningful – to your audience and your bottom line.  You need to ask the right questions to translate your business objectives into effective communication strategies.  You need to position your product and provide value.

Let Managed Media help you develop a strategy before you get left behind.

       

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Managed Media Is A Must Have For Today’s Small Business


by: Jeromy Puglisi…

Managed Media Chicago

May 24, 2011

        Don’t Push –

                        Pull The Market To You!

Today, everything moves fast and changes rapidly.   Getting your busy target audience to tune in – to hear, understand and believe your organization’s value – is a daunting challenge.  As markets grow increasingly efficient and competition accelerates, failing to apply best practice solutions to your marketing deliverables can be disastrous.

Successful businesses have more than just great products or services; they have well-known brands that convey their spirit, vision and culture. Your brand identity can be a powerful visual cue for customers, helping you break through the clutter of today’s competitive marketplace.

Brand images must be reinforced over time, with each exposure building on the last.  Presenting a consistent face to your audience is essential.  By extending your strategic communications to printed materials, you are equipping your organization with powerful tools that will continue to speak to potential clients long after the meeting is over.

Proposition Development

At the heart of every marketing campaign is a targeted proposition to your market segment.  There’s nothing more important than your proposition, because it directly feeds into every message you develop to share with your customers.  If it is not on target, you will not get the results you need.

By matching your strength to the needs of the market and the threats of your competition, you can articulate the position you need to adopt.  From this standpoint you build a plan that uses the most appropriate venue for conveying your proposition quickly, efficiently and powerfully.

Integrated Marketing Deliverables

The term “Integrated Marketing” is used to describe a strategic approach to marketing communications and aims to ensure the consistency of message and the complementary use of media.  Using outside – in thinking, integrated marketing is a data-driven approach that focuses on identifying consumer insights and developing a strategy with the right channels to forge a stronger brand-consumer relationship.  This involves knowing the right touch points to use to reach consumers and understanding how and where they consume different types of media.

Customers decide what information they need to make informed buying decisions. To be successful, marketers have to respond to these individual needs and embrace new methods for delivering high-impact, personalized communications.  The challenge is to combine all you know about your customers and products into compelling communications that inform, motivate, and move your target audience to action.

Effective Elements

The goal of selecting the elements of integrated marketing is to create a campaign that is effective and consistent across media platforms.   Mobility is clearly a driving force today because end users have more choices as to when, where and how they engage with brands, products, services and people.

Further, online conversations and tones (vs. sales pitches) are becoming more influential in the marketing mix.  This requires a shift in how marketers think, collaborate and measure performance across teams, disciplines and touch points to best engage and respond to target audiences throughout relationship life cycles.

Managed Media is first and foremost a strategic communications agency.  We take the time to learn your business and your customer, so we can craft an effective communication strategy based on qualitative research that will compel buyers to act.  Managed Media then manages your social media to give your business an on-line presence that tells your story and drives customers to your door.

There is no simple way to define strategic communications.  It builds a brand.  It changes perception.  It connects your organization with people and moves them to action.  Smart strategy makes communication meaningful – to your audience and your bottom line.  You need to ask the right questions to translate your business objectives into effective communication strategies.  You need to position your product and provide value.  Let Managed Media help you develop a message before you get left behind.

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Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control



Managing Pursuit Strategies Doesn’t Have To Be Rocket Science!

By:  Jeromy Puglisi

Managed Media Chicago

May 16, 2011

Building a winning strategy for your business can be a daunting process.  An efficient and effective pursuit strategy is a major contributor to an organization’s long term success and should be based around a strong set of quantifiable goals. Without a strategy and a team committed to achieving organizational objectives, any system or process you develop will likely fail.

A defined, repeatable, managed, measured and optimized approach provides multifaceted benefits. Pursuit strategies:

  • Result in winning more business from fewer, better-qualified opportunities.
  • Raise overall win probability.
  • Decrease costs.
  • Improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

Pursuit Strategies

The central philosophy behind pursuit strategies uses a Six-Sigma approach to developing business and stipulates that if you can measure how many “defects” there are in a process then you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them and win more business.

A pursuit strategy is a quantifiable process that demonstrates how an organization will acquire new business and gain more business from existing clients.  A Six-Sigma mindset is especially critical when pursuing strategic accounts.  Increasing win performance and decreasing decision-cycle down time will make or break a fiscal financial reporting period.  Each one of these strategic pursuits is so important that you must be flawless in your pursuit execution.

Cross-Functional Utilization

The deployment of Six-Sigma principles uses a methodology called DMAIC and significantly increases an organizations probability of winning business.

  • Define:  It is important to define specific goals in achieving outcomes that are consistent with both your customer’s demands and your own business strategy.
  • Measure: In order to determine whether or not defects have been reduced, accurate measurements must be made to determine whether or not defects have been reduced.
  • Analyze: Analysis is extremely important to determine relationships and the factors of causality.
  • Improve: Making improvements or optimizing processes based on measurements and analysis can ensure that defects are lowered and processes are streamlined.
  • Control:  Control ensures that any variances stand out and are corrected before they can influence a process negatively causing defects.

Utilization of DMAIC guarantees your processes are well defined, that you are measuring results and continuously analyzing/learning/improving/maturing and controlling the process.  It is important that this mindset be present in all aspects of the pursuit strategy.  Regardless, whether you are winning or losing you must use these experiences to gain intelligence and adapt your strategy to fit your market.

Adapting to your market is the most important challenge for any small business, and that’s where Managed Media separates itself from the rest of the marketing and communication agencies out there.  Managed Media  was created in response to all of the internet marketing garbage in today’s business world.  Managed Media  was designed to be an extension of your business – we are your part-time employee sitting your “remote office.”

There is no simple way to define strategic communications.  It builds a brand.  It changes perception.  It connects your organization with people and moves them to action.  Smart strategy makes communication meaningful – to your audience and your bottom line.  You need to ask the right questions to translate your business objectives into effective communication strategies.  You need to position your product and provide value.  Let Managed Media help you develop a strategy before you get left behind.

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You Have A Story To Tell… And A Product To Sell!


By:  Jeromy Puglisi

Managed Media Chicago

May 9, 2011

Managed Media A Must Have For Today’s Small Business!

In today’s global business environment, strategic communications are no longer a luxury – they are a necessity.  You might call it stakeholder relations.  You could simply call it marketing.  It is all of these things, but at its core it is actually much simpler – it’s telling your story.

Three keys to communicating successfully are:

  • Knowing what you’re trying to achieve
  • Planning ahead and sticking to the plan,
  • Doing the research and using what you’ve learned.
  • And that’s all before you even put pen to paper! 

How you tell your organizations story affects the extent to which your message reaches the intended audience and yields the desired results.

Telling Your Story

What your organization does and how you do it are important parts of your story.  You want people to know that your business provides a valuable solution to meet their needs.  And because different elements of your story will appeal to different people, you need to match the right parts of your message with the right audience at the right time.

A communications strategy based on qualitative research is the foundation of a strong and effective message that will compel buyers to act.  An analysis of your top competitors identifies your best opportunities.  An analysis of your market provides a profile of the key decision makers, their real needs and the language used to articulate those needs.  Knowing your market and audience provides insight on how to tell your story, who will be listening, and what they expect to hear from your business.

Key Message Strategy

Can you define your business and your competitive advantage in 10 words or less?

If not, you need a key message strategy.  This is the most important aspect of message development because how you tell your story affects the extent to which your message reaches the intended audience and yields the desired results.  Using a key message strategy, you can create high-impact marketing through the consistent repetition of effective messages.  Having a well defined message aligns organizational strengths and competitive competencies with customer needs.  Your communication strategy needs to quickly create value and express what your company can do – today – for your client.

Getting Results

What is the message?  Who is your audience?  What’s in it for your client?  How does your message drive the business?  How will your client measure success?

The simple truth is it doesn’t matter how good you are at your business – if you’re not telling the right story, no one will ever know.

Managed Media is first and foremost a strategic communications agency.  We take the time to learn your business and your customer, so we can craft an effective communication strategy based on qualitative research that will compel buyers to act.  Managed Media then manages your social media to give your business an on-line presence that tells your story and drives customers to your door.

There is no simple way to define strategic communications.  It builds a brand.  It changes perception.  It connects your organization with people and moves them to action.  Smart strategy makes communication meaningful – to your audience and your bottom line.  You need to ask the right questions to translate your business objectives into effective communication strategies.  You need to position your product and provide value.  Let Managed Media help you develop a message before you get left behind.

www.mamagedmediachicago.com

PROVIDING PRESENCE

 

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What Americans Do Online


Social Media & Games Dominate Online Activity

By:  Jeromy Puglisi

Managed Media Chicago

May 3, 2011

Americans spend ¼ of their online time on social networking sites and blogs, which is up from 15.8% just a year ago – a staggering 43% increase according to research released last August from The Nielsen Company.

Nielsen says that Americans spend a 1/3 of their online time – 36%, communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.  Also according to Nielsen:

  • Online games overtook personal email to become the 2nd most heavily used activity behind social networks – accounting for 10% of all U.S. Internet time. Email dropped from 11.5% to 8.%.
  • Of the most heavily-used sectors, Videos/Movies (which includes video-specific and movie-related websites only – and is not inclusive of video streaming behavior elsewhere) was the only other to experience a significant growth in share of U.S. activity online. Its share of activity grew relatively by 12% from 3.5% to 3.9%.
  • June 2010 was a major milestone for U.S. online video as the number of videos streamed passed the 10 billion mark. The average American consumer streaming online video spent 3 hours 15 minutes doing so during the month.
  • Despite some predictions otherwise, the rise of social networking hasn’t pushed email and instant messaging into obscurity just yet. Although both saw double-digit declines in share of time, email remains as the third heaviest activity online (8.3%) while instant messaging is 5th, accounting for 4% of Americans online time.
  • Although the major portals also experienced a double digit decline in share, they remained as the 4th heaviest activity, accounting for 4.4% of U.S. time online.

“Despite the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the web, 40 percent of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities – social networking, playing games and emailing leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie,”

–Dave Martin,

The Nielsen Company

Email Remains Top on Mobile Internet Activities

The way U.S. consumers spend their Internet time on their mobile phones paints a slightly different picture to that of Internet use from computers. In a Nielsen survey of mobile web users, there is a double-digit (23%) rise in the prevalence of social networking behavior, but the dominance of email activity on mobile devices continue with an increase from 37.4% to 41.6% of U.S. mobile Internet time.

Portals remain as the second heaviest activity on mobile Internet @ 11.6% share, despite their double digit decline and social networking’s rise to account for a 10.5% share means the gap is now much smaller. (14.3% vs. 8.3%).

Other mobile activities seeing significant growth include music and video – both seeing 20% + increases in activity share year over year. As these activities gain usage market share, other content activities lose usage market share – both news/current events and sports sites saw more than a 20% drop in share of U.S. mobile Internet time.

“Although we see similar characteristics amongst PC and mobile internet use, the way their activity is allocated is still pretty contrasting.  While convergence will continue, the unique characteristics of computers and mobiles, both in their features and when and where they are used mean that mobile Internet behavior mirroring its PC counterpart is still some way off.

Check out the Managed Media website here, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  Look around and you will see… Managed Media is the only firm that gives your business a daily rotation of social media publicity, promotion and feature publication on multiple sites in multiple formats.  We hit your customers from multiple touch points with multiple messages to provide greater frequency and a greater…  on-line presence…


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If You’re Not Telling The Right Story, No One Will Ever Know…


By:  Jeromy Puglisi…

Managed Media Chicago

April 27, 2011

In today’s competitive world the best way to ensure organizational success is to delight the customer.  If your company does not meet or exceed customer expectations, your competition will.

Technology is more than just computers.  It is more than just information.  It is more than the internet or a flashy web page.

Technology is telling your story.

Technology is developing your business.  Technology is the future of your company.  Technology is………. Everything.

That’s where we come in…..

Managed Media is a Chicago based strategic communications firm that specializes in providing small businesses with the latest technological resources at a fraction of the cost.  We create communication strategies specifically crafted for your small business, and then deploy those strategies through social media platforms that give your company the biggest bang for your buck.

Managed Media creates your strategic plan, and then uses that plan to create your on-line presence in the world of social media.  Success in the arena of social media requires a keen insight into online concepts, and Managed Media is positioned to help your businesses take advantage of the powerful marketing and advertising opportunities available to your company through social media communities.

Managed Media  is designed to be an extension of your business – we are your part-time employee sitting in your “remote office” managing all of your social media.   You’re the boss, and we work for you!

Before we start any work, we listen – to you.  We learn your business and then we create a strategic analysis of your industry and your customer.  This insight provides valuable information used throughout the social media life-cycle.  

Next we create a customized communication plan tailored to your business so we can tell your story to the millions of potential customers listening in the world of social media.  This especially sets Managed Media apart from the others that are “tweeting” thousands of times every month with absolutely nothing to say.

Now after all that – after we’ve built the foundation, we deploy the technology.  Now that we know who your customers are and what they want to hear, we put your message on-line in the world of social media.  We hit multiple targets from multiple touch points with multiple messages at multiple intervals.  Organically, your business will start to grow & you will continually see new names & faces walk through your door on a daily basis.

LIKE us on FB and follow the success of other business just like you.  Check out our website, and find out how Managed Media can help tell your story.

Remember, how you tell your story affects the extent to which your message reaches the intended audience and yields the desired results.  The truth is it doesn’t matter how good you are at your business – if you’re not telling the right story, no one will ever know.

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Managed Media – A One Stop Shop For All Your Social Media Needs


By:  Jeromy Puglisi…

Managed Media Chicago

April 19, 2011

Managed Media is a Chicago based communications firm that specializes in providing small businesses with social media solutions.  We deploy custom communication strategies through social media communities to give your business an on-line presence that tells your story and drives customers to your door.

Social media is the new “buzz phrase” in marketing today, and small business owners are anxious to get started.  Unfortunately, most do so without a clear plan of attack or a stated goal. Jumping in and using these social networking sites without a plan will lead to wasted time, frustration and eventual abandonment of what could be a very valuable asset. It’s important to understand that social networking sites are simply tools you can use to grow your business.  To make sure you maximize your social networking resources, consider how these tools can be used to craft a strategic plan that fits into your overall business strategy.

First of all, every business is unique and a business owner needs to understand that there isn’t a magic bullet out there. A solid social media strategy takes effort. Second, understand that you need to make a long-term commitment. Done correctly, social media is a very cost- effective way to accomplish your goals. You may have heard social media is free, but that is misleading — it takes time.

Determine your goals and objectives. Make them specific, attainable and measurable. For example, you may want to acquire new visitors to your web properties, convert visitors into customers or improve customer service.

Research where your customers are and what they’re talking about. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the most popular sites today. With the numbers these networks are attracting daily, it’s a good bet you may have a good number of customers on these sites.

Join the conversation. Keep in mind that people do not join social networks to be sold to. Like any relationship, you need to get to know someone before you can develop trust. Remember, relationships are based on trust and trust builds business.  Sales are not the goal here — making connections and building relationships is the goal.

Measure results. If your objective is to increase traffic, then you should track the number of visitors to your website and which social media sites referred them there. If you are looking to find out how your latest product is received (real-time focus group) you can track mentions on sites like Twitter. You can also measure customer satisfaction with surveys, referrals and renewal rates. Measure customer engagement by tracking newsletter subscriptions, online community activity, event attendance, testimonials and the amount of feedback you receive.

Analyze, adapt, and improve. Analyze what customers are saying about your product and service. Understanding what your customers want or don’t want allows you to change rapidly and improve your products, services and processes in real-time.

Because social media presents so many opportunities, having a strategy is imperative. Think of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs as tools that tie into your larger strategy.

Pick one or two goals and use the steps above to launch and manage a successful social media effort. Similar to football, once you have a game plan it’s just blocking and tackling that. The better you execute your game plan, the more success you will have.

Managed Media provides a one stop shop for all of your social media needs so please be sure to visit our website at www.managedmediachicago.com and follow us on Facebook & Twitter to receive the latest news, updates and information from the world of social media.

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