How to Market your Online Store through Social Media

Before we get started, let’s get back to basics: you need to have a great customer service that is fast, efficient and useful. If you also send your orders in less than 24hrs then you will have come a long way. Similarly, it is equally important to have a well-structured e-commerce platform that is practical and easy to use.

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

1. Prepare a Launch Campaign: spotlight news on your website, sending a newsletter to your database (offering them something, don’t just send an email), a special promotion.

2. Pinterest: create boards; for instance, for a clothes e-shop, the boards could be ‘T-shirts’ (distinguish between men and women), ‘Accessories’, ‘Shirts’, ‘Jackets’. Categorise according to your range of products. For better social media optimisation (SMO) include the original link to your website. Also, include the price (check here to learn how to do it) and a description that is rich in keywords. To avoid too much work, you can import them directly using the “pin it” button on your browser.

3. Instagram: publish only the most relevant and attractive items together with a link and picture. If you wish, you can adorn them using the effects available in Instagram.

4. Facebook: as your store probably has many items, a good option can be to publish something daily, marketing a concept: for instance, “a souvenir for today” or “recommended item”. This can be done daily, every two days, weekly; it will depend on your target audience. Don’t forget to measure the results of these actions.

5. Google + : H&M has the most popular  Google + page. They don’t sell directly but when when you check it out you realise they’ve done a good job of it. Take a look for yourself. They use lots of pictures (also by importing them from Instragram), videos, etc., not to sell but to create conversations that will later generate traffic.

6. Foursquare: if you have real-life premises (that is, a place where our products can be located besides our online store), you can include the best items from one or more stores, choosing 4 or 5 for each store. Choose always what you believe will sell best. Don’t forget to add links to purchase the items directly and your “call to action.”

7. Yelp: Business pages on Yelp can advertise their promotions and the products located in the store (considering we have a physical store). The more adverts you publish, the greater the visibility.

8. Flickr: open photo galleries with your products on Flickr. It is in your best interest that your items are found. For the “Flickr” search to work correctly, all items need to be named, described and tagged correctly and, of course, include back links.

9. YouTube: use the photo shoots that you’ll be carrying out for the website or for promotional images to create videos with them (a “making of”). Publish them but make sure that you make them more human and less superficial: tell the story behind the pictures. Another alternative would be to show your products in the form of a video. Also, you can have someone for the company talking about each product in different episodes. That may help as a prescription element.

All of this work must be supported by working on community engagement, creating conversations, providing answers, clarifying doubts, seeking information, connecting, measuring, analysing and evaluating.

Photo credit: Daniel Broche.

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Strategic Human Media Integration Model

How can we work in social media if we show no interest for people, if we don’t consider their relevance? How can we be professionals in the field and, at the same time, ignore what happens afterwards? Can we learn to accept change without doing the work, simply expecting applause and a standing ovation? What changes can we implement in the digital world to connect with and change our own audience?

I created the first theoretical social media integration model in December 2009. What I find fascinating is how it has evolved over the years, until now, with 2014 just round the corner.

How has strategic integration evolved?

New skills in an interconnected environment, the adaptation to social platforms, the different approaches to new online tools, the change in strategies and tactics towards further interaction, engagement and the consolidation of relationships, perception and understanding of ecosystems in the social web, and the digital revolution, of course. All of this has made social media integration become a more direct, human and connected model, creating a more powerful social and human web. The start of Human Media.

I have been working for a while towards understanding and figuring out how the new environment works and how a new conception of all the above changes social media integration in the business environment.

Human-media-integration-theory-model

The meaning of this

Users generally prefer connections over sales, sharing over creating, resonance over influence and relationships over promotions. This is further amplified by the sheer number of elements that take part in the integration of online platforms and tools in any communication or marketing model today. Platforms that humanise, filter and select contents (content curating) improve the chances of a social object being shared by a larger number of kindred spirits.

Connectivity between platforms results from the users’ “shareability” ratio: the more relevant, emotional and segmented the content you share, the greater connectivity you create with kindred spirits (you can call them potential clients or community). This will inevitably lead to positive visibility and will make it easier for your brand to interact with the people in the community to which you have gained access. This generates a continuous feedback flow resulting from the high level of input generated from visibility to a potential audience, connectivity with these persons and the resulting interaction. However, such inputs are meaningless without perception, understanding, assessment, implementation and reaction to the feedback channelled from social networks and from actively listening to these platforms.

It’s convergence, it’s connection, it’s human

Integration converges with an ecosystem that focuses more on connecting with users than on bombarding them with promotions. A good handling and use of the feedback provided will inevitably generate more traffic and trust, as does sharing what you’re interested in with your audience (usually as a result of feedback), only that it will also afford you credibility and exposure, and a certain authority resulting from having something of value to offer. Authority is a good thing, something you wish to have. Something which is helped daily by microblogging services, geolocation services and online publication services.

A factor to be taken into account is how, as a result of the emotional, human and relational impact of this economy, platforms remain on the outside of such integration; even in the case of a vital element such as a blog: the effects and properties that favour the people remain on the inside and build a crucial system, a resonance between brands and people.

Is there a happy ending to all this?

Of course! The agents that truly strengthen, influence and act as a lever in this setting and all its different channels, aren’t the social platforms or tools. These are only the means towards strategic integration.

How do you think that the social web converges, collides and integrates with this increasingly human and interconnected economy?

Appeared first on Social Media Today.

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Facebook Leads the Present and Happiness

I’m noticing more and more people talking about their lives on Facebook. It’s usually when you turn your head to a monitor or peek towards a smartphone or tablet that you realise that what you’re looking at is the Facebook homepage. I see mums and dads, sons and daughters sitting at a table and logging on to Facebook to see what’s going on. I experience dinners with friends, work colleagues or clients where the first thing they do is to ‘check in’, or update their Facebook status or send a tweet saying that they’re with the person they’re actually sitting next to. The funny thing comes when we decide to take a picture and upload it to Facebook for hundreds/thousands of people to see, or perhaps use Instagram. I’ll own up to the fact that I’ve done it and still do it, yet would prefer not to do it so often.

I’ll Exchange the Present for Facebook

We are so often obsessed by the social media fever –or, social networking- that we miss what’s going on in the moment. In a sunset I experienced very recently, I was impressed to notice that practically 80% of the people there were taking pictures of the moment for later. More or less 50% of them would be uploading them to Facebook; my curiosity took the better of me and I asked many of them, with most of them confirming my hypothesis. On the other hand, only a few were actually enjoying the sunset. They were all logged on to Facebook, following their friends’ and family’s lives.

Some time ago, e-mail was the top online priority. I wonder whether the social media have taken on that role now or, on the contrary, if they still come in second.

Facebook, the Verb

Here in Las Salinas, in Ibiza, where I live, there is a store 300 metres from home. I stopped there the other day to buy some water and fruit. There were two girls there who knew each other and seemed to have met there. One of them said (in English), “OK, I’ll Facebook you if we go out partying.” She didn’t say, “I’ll call you”. No, she said “I’ll Facebook you.” The verb.

How I See Facebook

I’m not a great Facebook fan. I like sharing my life with my friends. I don’t have an official fan page (though many have asked.) I’ll probably never have one, just like I’ll probably never be a superstar, an “Expert” or a “Guru” to have one. I do have an account with not too many friends, close to 2,000 (I’ve been on Facebook almost 4 years now.) I try to be selective and critical about my connections on Facebook. They’re my friends, those close to me, the people I want to share moments with. Not everyone. Sorry, I like to keep certain things about my life private to myself. I believe that almost all of my “friends” who are on Facebook –approximately 75%- belong to my inner circle of friends and family. Through Facebook I can follow the things that take place in their lives. I can take a look at pictures of their events, I can follow health-related news of the people I love. I can learn about their achievements, all those things we used to write letters or make a phone call about. That is how I see Facebook; at least in this context.

What about Facebook for business, as a professional or marketing tool? I haven’t reached that point yet. I still feel out of that game. I’m still trying to find out the magic formula.

However, I do believe that Facebook has changed the feeling of experiencing and enjoying the moment by the act of announcing to the world that you’re experiencing and enjoying that moment. It has changed your happiness by theirs.

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The Internet, Social Web and Human Media: an opportunity for change

The Internet has entailed a paradigm shift in our lives, not only professionally but also personally. Suddenly, a new world of professional opportunities opened up to us while we looked on at what was going on in disbelief. From a personal perspective, Internet provided a tool with which to express ourselves to the world; we began having a voice. This sent shivers to the status quo, as it threatened its existence.

System Interruption

If ordinary people (the only ones capable of extraordinary things in my opinion) have the means to express their own ideas, connect with people thinking the same as them, sharing their same interests, capable of moving the world through their own efforts, then there can be a revolution. Internet was the start of an interruption of the system we had been living until then. Internet was a disruption in the way we communicate, do marketing, sell, work, help and live.

People at the centre

Then came a revolution that was even bigger than the Internet: the Social Web appeared, with social media or so-called social networks. Paradigms were shifted once again, communication became decentralised, starting the decline of mass-market, intrusive marketing. The system we knew started to crumble. New values started to arise in communication: transparency, authenticity, coherence, commitment and emotional bonding. The core of this no longer involved the company but increasingly put people at the centre.

Creating and sharing significance

The real challenge in this online world in which we live is to create and launch something which has real significance, adding value to the world and helping people. We cannot create sustainable businesses if we don’t resonate with people behind these businesses. It had never been easier to reach anyone on the planet than right now. The online environment is the means and Social Media is the vehicle to achieve this.

The Internet and the Social Web is what we need to progress, grow and move on from the stage we’re currently at.

Stay human

You can now find work in a medical software development project with a company in New York, be appointed social media consultant for an agency in London, write for one of the most important online resources regarding social media or be hired to speak at conferences in Mexico, USA or Australia. It’s quite simple to explain, you only need two things: to be and stay human and to use the means available to you to make things happen. Are you going to create change simply by answering emails immediately, tweeting more often, “friending” lots of people on Facebook and staying at work an hour later than your colleagues? I doubt it!

We are walking towards a digital-human present, where interpersonal skills and competences developed in an online environment are increasingly important. This could be a great barrier; however, these skills shouldn’t end in the online sphere. I’m talking about the present. The future is just a distraction in my opinion, something that pulls us away from reality and from starting the movement we need to make: the rays of light that take shape in a start-up, personal brand or any other initiative. The future is only an extension of our present actions.

The economy we live in needs names. The Internet, Social Web and Human Media provides us with the opportunity of being one of those names.

Please don’t ignore the daily opportunities you have to change it all. It’s possible now!

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People, Online Tools and Social Platforms that Sabotage and Intimidate

I received a list that included the “Top Fake Artists” who had bought followers on Twitter. It included many well-known electronic music DJs, with their stage names and Twitter accounts.

Wait a minute! This is a very serious issue. You’re making information that could be very damaging, public. Is this damage really necessary? If this were actually true, don’t you think they’d be frustrated enough knowing that they’ve had to buy fans/followers, unable to get them through their own work and effort? When you’re prepared to make such a claim, you’d better be 100% sure of what you’re saying and make sure that your source is reliable enough to put your credibility, name and reputation at stake. Yes, that’s what you’re doing!

Otherwise, you’ll just be another “cheap talker”, someone who spends their time looking for a way to sabotage the work and dreams of others, simply because someone –even themselves– sabotaged their life. Please, don’t be that kind of person! Wouldn’t it be better to speak of things that can be changed or improved, things that should be empowered, trying to help or contribute.

Something Just Doesn’t Add Up

As a result of this, I started testing with brands, famous people, regular users and even my own clients, using a tool called Status People. This tool supposedly measures the level of “fake” fans that a user may have in Twitter. I was surprised that, according to this, many relevant, famous people with a large number of followers have many “fakes” in their accounts. For instance, Piqué had 30% “fakes” and Josef Ajram had 50%. 30% fakes of 4 million fans? 50% “fakes” in 120,000 followers? Something just doesn’t add up.

Another part of the figures shows inactive followers which are also a high percentage of many accounts. OK, but my question is: What do they base their calculations on to say whether a user is active or inactive? And fake?

You Cannot Measure What’s Not In Your Reach

I contacted them to ask whether their service was 100% reliable. They told me that their tool follows every tweet made by a user in their timeline as they cannot access the Twitter database. Of course they can’t. What this means is that this type of tool follows every tweet and if a specific user publishes nothing in a few days, they configure their account to “protect tweets” or if it is based on location (the tool doesn’t use geo-location), they define their user as inactive. Does this add up? It doesn’t to me.

Ego-System Tools

I think this is a clear example of what is causing social media distruption, making the ego-system we live in bigger, distracting us and preventing us from doing the work that really matters, doing something. These tools, like many others: Klout, Peer Index and a few others (I’m afraid they matter so little to me that I can’t even be bothered to remember their names), simply try to get users to subscribe so they can store their information. And what’s more, some of them even try to get you to pay for the service!!! Their service is poor and unreliable. Some will probably close and, others, simply forgotten.

If They’re Fake, the Big Ones Will Know

Facebook recently started a process which deletes fake fans from pages, as well as blocking fake users (spam). Twitter has already started doing the same thing.

If we get carried along and work like these odd assessment systems do, we’ll see that their Facebook page has 933 fans and no one “likes” their posts. So, we could say that their fans are inactive; that is, they’re also fake.

Lady Gaga has 28 million followers: 34% “fake,” 38% inactive and 28% good. Will she have really paid for all those millions of fans? (Is there an emoticon for über-sceptic?)

The only ones who can actually say how many “fakes” there are, are Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. I think there’s no further discussion possible; not from me anyway.

Opportunity Isn’t in Accepting

Forget about scores, ranks, points, bonus points or any other classification method. They’re just trying to fit you into a system. Once they have you, they’ll forget about you and try to find other sheep to get into the herd. Instead, stand upright, take a step forward, look ahead: we’re living amazing times, make the most of it!

As long as there are still people sabotaging, intimidating, frustrating and cheating, our job will be increasingly relevant.

Bonus: if you were wondering what the result of my “fake” analysis was, I did it while I wrote this; I wasn’t going to but I though it would be fun. So, there you have it: 6% “fakes”, 25% inactive and 69% good. I can’t afford to buy as many followers as Lady Gaga! (another über-sceptic emoticon here)

Photo credit: el Colombiano.

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Smokemakers

smokemakers

Do you know about #smokemakers? Probably not, but you will do after this. To become familiar with the idea, you’ve probably heard of people taking you for a ride, social media gurus or mega-expert power rangers. It all boils down to the same thing at the end of the day.

This concept is the result of reflection and collaborative projects between Pablo Ferreiros, Enrico Ahrens and myself, everything else that has resulted from them and our friendship. Much of what I include here is something that we’ve been pondering about for quite a while now, enough to know what we’re talking about!

We’ve analysed these people, we’ve followed them closely to study them in depth and, as a result, we have reached some interesting conclusions. We shall share some of the most relevant ones here for the first time.

Smokemakers

– We know about your technique of praising us to the skies and say amazing things about us to then position yourself by our side, and in the worst of cases make us feel obliged to return the favour saying the same about you.

– You don’t need to mention us in your blog/tweets/conferences/book. We’d be more grateful if you didn’t!

– Avoid placing our name, brand or projects next to yours. That seems to be something for which you have a special talent!

– There’s no need to be falsely concerned about us. We’re fine and we will be for a long time to come as long as you don’t come near us to see what you can get out of it!

– If we meet and ask you “how’re you doing?”, out of courtesy, we aren’t asking so that you can brag about how many conferences you’re attending each year or the hundreds of projects you’re involved in or how busy you are seeing to the media, your number of Twitter followers or LinkedIn contacts. No, we’d simply like a sincere, honest, humble and heartfelt answer, something which is light years away from what you represent.

– Every time you speak, a smoke screen fills the hall, stage, classroom or space you’re in. As Pablo and Enrico rightly say, we’ll try to carry our own gas masks with us!

– We’re terrified of knowing or being next to someone who uses the word “I” the most.

– Keep your false hugs for those who don’t get it yet. Yes, for those who still don’t know what you’re all about.

– We don’t really care how busy you may be. In fact, we don’t care at all.

– We’re amazed at your LinkedIn profile stating your work for almost every one of the Fortune 500 companies, but we’re more amazed still by not seeing any practical case study or project that so proves it.

– You’ve lost, you lose and you’ll lose. Your ambition to claw your way up is so great that you forget we realise when you’re lying, showing off, bragging or behaving like a schemer.

– We know you manage your database and use visiting cards very efficiently. However, sending an email every time you succeed in a business school, project or conference, positioning yourself as one of a kind, isn’t going to work. We’ll reject you.

– RTing any compliments, praise and flattery aimed at you means that your dark side [Spanish link] won the battle.

– Asking someone, in public or in private, for their Facebook page and then turn the story upside down pretending it was the other person’s initiative… is simply sad!

– It’s easy to recognise you, we only need to observe you for a short while to notice how your yearning, greed, ego and arrogance take over you.

– We love seeing how you take the people who don’t know you for a ride. It’s not a problem. What you’re selling is faulty. Sooner or later, you’ll be found out!

– We hate it when you try to correct the people next to you. We can’t stand how you voice that their opinion is of no importance and that only your perspective is valid. You’ve done it way too often and we’ve witnessed it one too many times so we won’t let it go next time. We’ll show you up for what you really are.

– You forget that when you care for no one but yourself, we realise.

– You’re not a star, genius, guru, higher being or expert even if you believe it in your soul. You’re just a regular person, like the rest of us. Thinking and acting that way can only lead you to mediocrity.

You’ve missed the best opportunity there is, connecting with people, being true, honest, transparent, sincere, humble. That’s why we ignore you.

You’ve failed, you fail and you’ll fail for a simple reason: you never considered that we’re not like you.

#Smokemakers

Every time you find behaviours, practices or people like this, we invite you to use the hashtag #smokemakers. Share it with the world.

Photo credit: John Kurman.

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Human Media Metrics – Measuring Human Interactions on the Web

Human media ROI - isra garciaThe pulse for social media has grown over the last year, social media is a reality that should be in almost every marketing campaign. But, How good could be the efforts in new media if you don’t analyze its human impact from a target-oriented perspective? Surprisingly, since the campaign hype starts (see Gartner hype cycle), the launching and all the “social blah blah,” some marketers forget the essential part: identifying human marketing metrics. These will allow you to track the progress and measure the human ROI – both of them are vital parts for the success when applying Human Media.

Luckily, we can use a bunch of analytics tools that are already in the market to do so. Popular measurement systems such as Google analytics, awe.sm, Sysomos, Radian, TrackUR, Techigry, FlowTown or Brandschat, we all know that they help you to track leads, conversations and real numbers, but they also offer an opportunity to gather human information. Then, what areas should we paying attention to so we can measure human metrics?

Here you have some essential aspects for monitoring Human Media.

Human Metrics

Human Business: make use of tools such as awe.sm so you can track human activity that can be turned into profits. Any human interaction that resonates with a business generates a connectivity effect that should end in getting closer to the customer: newsletters, subscriptions, new members, pre-orders, adding an item to a wish list, online budgets, etc. Ensure that you follow every single interaction and study if it creates behavioral patterns.

WE-B Activity: everything related with your command base and yourself – business – as part of the ecosystem core. You can include here the number of times that you interact along the day, subscriptions from each platform – blog, web, facebook, RSS. Bear in mind that for a successful activity you should generate multi-dimensional conversations across the platforms, communities and users (the best way is measuring comments and responses) search if your blog or site it’s being referred by other sites or platforms too. Identify what human patterns happen.

Engagement: every community interaction, it doesn’t matter if it’s through blog comments, facebook likes, foursquare tips, linkedin recommendations, retweets or Pins on pinterest and so on, they are extremely important, mentions are too. You should track positive mentions as well as negative and then compare and contrast the quantity and its quality. It may occur that you would get key insights in terms of human branding, and an understanding of the relationship of your brand with the market.

– Connectivity leads: how many people connects with your content? How it affects them? how many of them say “I have to share it with my friends”? put the distribution of your content in chunks and have a look to the statistics. Is there any brand sentiment through these interactions produced by the content? What is the most engaging action? What methods I use to connect? Where? How? Who does it? Consider what you can do to create closer ties with your community.

– Network: Who do you connect with? Discover the people behind the numbers, followers or fans – and why they are exposed to your content – How do they interact? Do they interact in a community way – among them? What does inspire them? What could you do to inspire them?

– Time: Once they arrive at your platforms. How human do you appear to them so they can stay longer? Time is not the most important thing, but how you use it, think about quality vs quality (not quantity) What do they look for when they come to you? How can you help them as fast as you can?

– Human Activity: Broadly speaking, how many people interact with your ecosystem? Take a look at your active database and compare the response rates and thus leads, with your active community. You should be able to develop campaigns to improve human interactions. Regularly, you may want to make a comparison and always try to reduce the ratio of passive interactions.

It’s not About the Tools

As you probably have observed in all these metrics, it is not about the tools, but what’s behind them, people and their interactions. Still, with so many tools available, there is no reason to not monitoring the human side of communication and the marketing that happens on the Internet.The information you get, it will help you create a greater connection with  people in your community, resolve any problems with them, identifying patterns, and then successful processes – and the one that don’t work –  and this will drive your efforts and resources to where it has to end up, creating human business interactions.

The new marketing is not about social media, complex technologies or last-generation software, it’s about human relationships, resonance and alignment with people. Although, I’m not saying anything you don’t know already.

Photo credit: transprism.

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New Media: Time to Go Social!

empowering business and communities

Go Social

You know that there’s something beyond social media, do you? We’re on the gates to a new marketing and com world, and the funny thing is that no one can predict how it will be! It’s time to move our business from a passive social media attitude to  a more active one!

Now, we have more power than ever and yes! We can make a difference through social media, we can change the way our business communicate and starts taking advantage of this new world of opportunities. Now it’s the time when you want to stop playing and get serious, it’s time to go social!

Why?

Let me be clear, I use the term Go Social for empowering business and communities through human interactions beyond social media. It’s actually what I’m doing, and honestly I love it!

How?

How can we go social? Well we can go primarily by developing and implementing social media strategies for maximizing the reach, building influence and harnessing the power of global communications through human relationships within an engagement approach.

Let’s see how it changes:

  • Go Social is here because noise is dead, we talk about conversations.
  • There’s a 2 way conversation, authentic conversations are happening due to go social
  • Go Social gives them: Their voice is what really matter – I’m talking about audience’s voice, not your, what did you think?
  • Go Social is about listening – truly – Listen what they have to say and acting so
  • We’re living in an environment where content in the king and Go social makes it possible.
  • Give and get feedback, Go social is Being a learner as much as you’re a teacher
  • You guessed, at the end Go Social is all about Human Interactions

The Point

Go Social is achieving an effective and long-lasting communication between our public, through an authentic and genuine based human relationships.

Go Social inside Social Media, makes possible empowering businesses and communitites developing relationships and leveraging the audience.

You see, it’s all about human relationships and people, not platforms and tools.

Are you with me?

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Why Social Media in your Business?

Here you have straight and thoughtful reasons why you should consider Social Media for your Business.

Social Media business

  • It creates resonance between you and your audience, creating the perfect attunement with them, that is to say, engagement
  • Makes from the audience your most powerful weapon, it transforms your customers and employers into truthful preachers
  • Engagement creates an emotional connection with all your audience tying them to you
  • You’re the crowd, you talk their language, you mingle with the party, know them better…
  • Now it’s possible being friends, it’s possible to set up a relationship, now it’s possible to be closer and warmth, the only thing we need is the wish that it happens
  • It easy to find you audience, because the’re waiting for you, they are really looking forward to talk to you,  besides, you’ve lots of tools available… are you going to listen them?
  • You’ll know what’s hot…the good news? in real-time so if you act properly, you’ll be ahead to what’s is going on
  • Prepare to go viral, never before it has been so easier to spread the message as it is now…faster, easier and cheaper and with the help of others
  • You’ll transform your clients into fans. They’ll be the ones, who will cross the street to buy from you. What’s is more, they won’t come alone…
  • You’ll gain exposure, which leads to visibility, which leads to more leads, which leads to more traffic, which leads to higher conversion rates, which leads to more sales, which leads to more profitssocial media marketing stats
  • We don’t want the market see us as the other alternatives…Be different – differentiation
  • Profits
  • Cut costs, less advertising, communication and marketing budget, plus better results
  • NOT Overnight Success, but…you’ll see the results
  • Who said that it was impossible measure the ROI in Social Media? You can! (link to how you can measure the ROI for Social Media)
  • It sounds like social media is getting famous, yes!!! It’s growing dramatically.

What’s your take? What other reasons you see should be taken into account?

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