Fancy New Features with Google+
Anyone who attends IVY’s presentations knows that we like to give you a heads up about what to watch in social media. Hot new products aren’t always worth your time to explore them but when a giant like Google attracts 25 million people to their new social media platform in just a few weeks — we think that’s worth a glance or two.
Google+, also known as Google Plus, is taking a swipe at Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare with their new social media platform. It’s got some pretty amazing features…
“Circles” allows users to choose the circles of people you want to communicate with in different ways. For example, you might chose to have one circle for your family, one for your friends, another for classmates, colleagues and an entirely separate one for your work supervisors. This handy little feature means your mom or your boss can’t stalk you as easily as before. You are able to share the different sides of yourself with the appropriate group of people.
Challenging FourSquare is “Hangouts.” This feature lets you alert chosen people where you are located in real time. If they don’t come to see you personally, conference your text messages with the Google+ feature, “Huddle.” Automatic photo uploads from your phone are much easier with “Instant Upload” and you selectively decide which of your circles should be able to view your photos. This is a nice privacy feature Facebook does not offer. Even better, Google+ will allow you to permanently delete the photos and other content you post.
Finally, the engineering wizardry of Google’s search algorithms comes alive with “Sparks” where content that interests you is sent as soon as it is available; so when you are ready, it’s there for your consumption.
According to a published report in PRWeb Magazine, nearly 2/3 of over 2,000 web developers surveyed by Appcelerator/IDC, believe Google can catch up with Facebook in the social networking scene with Google+. When asked why, 68 percent of developers say that leveraging Google’s assets (eg: Search, YouTube, Maps, etc) trumps Facebook’s social graph lead.
Information about business applications for Google+ has not been released yet and may still be in the research and development stages. Developers are spending their time working hard to respond to the few early adopters who were asked to test out the platform. Google+ appears to really be listening to suggestions.
Clearly the battle of the Internet superpowers is gearing up. Facebook is attempting to develop search engine capabilities and “Facebook Mail” while Google enters the social media fray for a second time (Google Buzz died amidst a flurry of unresolved privacy issues). We doubt you’ll want to be on the sidelines for long with this great new technology ready to be tackled.
Don’t think you’re a remarkable writer? Then write about something remarkable.
Remarkable content is within your grasp every day. What made you smile today? What made you angry, or sad or surprised you? Dozens of simple, possibly significant triggers come into your life daily. Capture them, break them down into their basic parts. Think about why you reacted as you did and what greater impact that revelation could have on people with the same interests and you — especially those interested in your online content or blog.
It’s really very simple. Let’s say you see a field of daffodils. You find them beautiful and it pleases your sensory receptors. Ask yourself: why? Do you like the color of the yellows and whites against the rich green leaves with the blue sky backdrop? Although being in that field of daffodils might be a “you gotta be there moment” what the colors mean to you and others could be an intriguing topic. Throw in a few serious facts about color, such as studies that support the claim that yellow sparks creativity, green generally means freedom and the blue from the sky is calming. Invite others to think about color, what it means to them, how they use it, what the “universal” opinion of certain colors may be. Take a photo or video of the daffodil field to accompany your commentary. You just wrote a 400 word article that is interesting to read, relevant to your audience, about something… remarkable.
This very easy process can be applied to anything in your life whether it is work-related or personal. Every day you face new challenges. You have new ideas. Again, just think about them in a wider context to test the topic’s ability to be developed into something interesting for many readers.
All writers suffer from ‘writer’s block’ from time to time. They don’t know where to start and nothing is intriguing them. That’s when you get out the Guinness Book of World Records or Google something very strange and interesting. It will spark your creative juices and your fingers will be dancing over that keyboard in no time.
Another writer’s tip is to start in the middle rather than the beginning of your story. The opening to your narrative will show itself when you have written the body of your copy. In fact, since many people write two or three paragraphs before they even get to the true lead of their topic, starting in the middle can work out just fine.
The moral of this story is that your don’t have to be a remarkable writer, you just need something remarkable to write about.
The Marketing Smoothie Recipe for Older Adult Services
Take your direct mail, your advertising, your website, Facebook page, special events and put them all in a blender. Combine, mix on high and serve immediately. The rich flavors will create a marketing masterpiece worthy of your finest efforts. Yields: New customers. Will keep for at least one year.
It’s true, every ingredient you add to your marketing mix is going to enhance the effectiveness of your campaign especially when you combine them and let them work together to support each other. This is especially true when appealing to older adults. Seniors usually read direct mail and watch or listen to commercials, hence the expiration date for these mediums is further out than say, print advertising. That .5% response rate you get with direct mail may bring people to your community, your store or your website. Use it wisely because it is quite expensive; however, it can boost interest and awareness about your organization when you promote your website, blog, Facebook, etc., in the mailed piece (email or snail mail).
Special events are a great place to have people sign up with their email addresses. Offer something for free, or an opportunity to win cash or a give-away and you’ll get more email addresses. Take your online magazine or website on the road — to senior fairs, to trade events, anywhere you can. Then let people see what they can learn, enjoy and gain value from by participating in your online activities.
Of course there’s a menu of options for those folks who like to consume the latest communications trends of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs, too. First, connect your Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts via any one of a number of new social media management services that are often free. Then link all of that to your website. Connect the paths among all these accounts to your blog or online magazine, to reputable referral sites and of course, your RSS Feed. Promote your events on your site, within these accounts, offer special discounts, etc. via these mediums. You can even try pay-per-click advertising on search engines and referral sites.
In your monthly statements or newsletters, provide links and special advantages to using your organization’s online tools. Use signage throughout your venue to promote your online and make it worth a prospect’s while to seek out your business on the Internet.
Online strategies are far less expensive overall and are proving to be about 60% less per lead than traditional tactics. However, a slow but steady shift of funds and efforts away from the traditional methods into the online is a far more successful way to reach the older adult market. Use the next year or two to change your lead-generating diet to mostly online.
Since Mad MenA personal account of advertising agency life by Debra Sheridan, President of IVY Marketing Group on its 20th Anniversary
For those of you who watch Mad Men on AMC, you are probably stunned by the antics of the early 1960′s advertising agency creatives and partners. Well, when I entered the large advertising agency scene in the early 1970′s, things weren’t much better. I had to lie about being able to type over 90 words per minute so that I could get into the creative department rather than the secretarial pool. Oh, and yes, I was asked to be my boss’ “friend” with the assurance that doing so would bring me great career advancements, on more than one occasion. After a particularly trying large agency experience, I found that better-behaved creative and business people could be found in smaller agencies (perhaps there were just fewer place to hide, people to blame). But as anyone who works in this business knows, once it gets into your blood — you’re hooked.
As a writer and account executive, there was a great deal of freedom to work from home. A perfect solution for my husband and three children. As always, all things come to an end and the agency where I was working, decided to close in early 1990. To keep my flexibility and serve my five clients as promised, I started IVY Integrated Marketing, our original name until one of our receptionists changed it to IVY Marketing because she thought it was entirely too difficult to say. We made that official in 1997 with IVY Marketing Group. IVY is named for my parents, Ruth and Paul Ivy. Since the name ends with them, I wanted to give them a legacy that would be a tribute to their intelligence, integrity and creativity.
Business in 1990 was very different then, than it is now. For starters, I only needed a computer for word processing and a laser printer. The big question was “should I buy an Apple or an IBM computer?” Apple offered the Apple II or the Mac but there was also the PC, a far more affordable option. A printer, calculator, our brand new logo foil stamped and embossed on business cards, stationery and envelopes resided on newly-purchased used furniture. A postage meter was not in the budget; neither was a fax machine which was now popular in the business world but priced in the thousands of dollars range. The only vestige from the first days is an HP laser printer which remains faithful by my side, kicking out every page I ask of it. We’ve been through scads of printers and computers since our opening day. I will take it as a sign that I should retire if my little printer ever gives up.
I was fortunate to pioneer the cellular phone for AT&T. It was installed in my car requiring several hours of technical know-how but had a feature that allowed it to be disconnected so it was portable. While I don’t remember its weight, it was about the size of two reams of paper when in its case.
On August 17, 1990, IVY Integrated Marketing was incorporated. With me was my wonderful graphic designer and now dear friend, Noreen Mancini. She comfortably worked at her drafting table, with a razor blade usually resting between her teeth, hot wax gun in hand and Letraset, sheets of dry transferrable lettering, at the ready. I had my PC computer, my little printer and collection of supplies. Getting Noreen off the drafting board and onto a computer was very challenging. I bought her the nicest Mac we could afford and sent her to class. It took years before I heard her whisper that she loved the computer.
We grew the company to serve many clients and 18 employees in 3 short years. Our business expanded to include senior housing, residential developments, retail and office asset management companies along with state and local governments. We were surrounded by electronic gadgets like scanners, copiers, printers, cameras along with our computers and printers.
Agency life got sweeter when we started using email and the internet. After years of rifling through books and periodicals at the library, I could find information at my desk via my state-of-the-art one-gigabyte computer. We loaded up on fancy software, even an expensive accounting system so we could bill not just by the hour but by the copy, the fax or the postage amount. We could even cut down the time to complete projects and better communicate with clients with e-mail — wow!
But, I was about to get my own professional jolt in 2005, when the world of marketing, advertising and public relations was reinventing itself. With a foundation in public relations, our concern grew when paper and magazine pages dwindled and public service announcements were only at 2 a.m. That meant IVY Marketing Group needed to change with the technology. Today, we have sharpened our skills to include anything online — social media, blogs, public relations and advertising.
It’s still a mad, mad world, but we love it. And, so today, 20 years later, we are excited about the amazing people we’ve worked with and for… the plethora of communications opportunities available to our clients… and what we will learn and implement tomorrow.
Borrowing from Real Estate Cousins
Location, location, location is, and always has been, the mantra for real estate which applies to every sector of the industry. It speaks to convenience, present and future value, proximity to people and places and preferences. That’s why residential real estate can borrow from retail and resort sectors, senior housing can borrow from residential and industrial can borrow from office. And, we can all borrow from each other.
So how are residential real estate agents marketing their products to weather the financial storm?
We all recognize that the real estate housing market was a critical factor in the recent demise of our economy. If affects all real estate sectors but when it comes to where we live, it really hits home. The classic: a sign in the yard, a pictures on the church bulletin, an MLS listing and broker specialties, such as “specialist in senior housing” still anchor the real estate market. However, successful agents showcase their product to the internet via interactive websites, video tours with lifestyle components to them, online classified ads and social media.
New technology allows agents to really give a personality to their listing, just like this video from Planomatic (http://photoplan.planomatic.com/viewer.php?propertyTourID=3275). There is also a considerable amount of detail about the property that is right at your finger tips. In fact, you can make your Planomatic video and property information an app on your iPhone.
Twitter and mobile media are good tools for urgency. If a property is just up for sale, just reduced, just received a bid or has been sold, the real time status is just a click, ring or buzz away. Could this be used by sales people everywhere to create urgency for your sought after product, service or property? What’s happening in the community right now? Let the prospect ponder, “What would my life be like if I were there?”
Senior housing specialists have never considered their products to be real estate but rather lifestyle. Clearly, it is a complicated sale with that nagging sense of finality to it. However, generally speaking, consumers still fund their housing with real estate. An online classified ad might bring that all important lead, especially if you have a great story to tell to go along with the real estate. Twitter or Facebook are options to bring news to people where they get their news, especially as we talk to the adult children of older adults.
Residential real estate agents are quick to let people know what is conveniently located to their listings. Savvy agents also add local calendars, real estate values, links to different events and locations that give someone a sense of place. This is added to their interactive websites, Facebook with links to Twitter, LinkedIn and other relevant groups that can either assist with the sale of the product or the potential end buyer.
According to the Inman News Company (http://www.futureofrealestatemarketing.com/), which is a wonderful resource for residential real estate brokers, social media rules apply for real estate, just as they do for other industries.
Rule 1) don’t just talk about yourself.
Rule 2) Post great content along with your listing.
Rule 3) Never claim someone else’s content as your own.
Rule 4) Don’t give out too much information.
Rule 5) Learn the language of the network, group, constituents you are taking with and use it.
We couldn’t agree more.