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A Tale of Two Trash Companies: Lesson in Marketing

Moving to a rural area was a new experience. Joining a water co-op, an electric co-op and needing to decide between two trash companies, yes, even trash pick-up was now my responsibility. After asking neighbors we picked one out of the two companies who serviced our area. A 50/50 bet, what could go wrong? Everything ran smoothly until the snow storm hit, and our trash sat, and sat, and sat at the end of the driveway, only to be scattered across the neighborhood as the wind picked up.

Service continued to decline after the storm, going from Sunday night pick-up to Monday afternoon to later. As I watched my full trash can out the window on this Tuesday morning I had already determined I was going to switch companies. Trash shouldn't be this much work.

That's when something happened...Their competitor who services the neighborhood saw my trash can, emptied it and left a business card under the lid. It was a brilliant move for several reasons:

1. They saw an opportunity, anticipated my needs and took action. Right place at the right time.

2. They were willing to give a little in order to gain a customer for the long haul.

3. They made it easy to switch by leaving key information right where I needed it.

Looking to build your business? Ask yourself how you can do the same for your prospects. Meanwhile, I'm giving the folks at Sweetland, my new garbage company, a call today.



How Much to Pay for Social Media Support

As a social media marketer I find myself dabbling in all areas of marketing from copy-writing to customer service to design and media buying. Often a good social media marketer has to take on several roles to run a page successfully. And a really good social media marketer knows when to outsource the areas that just aren't his or her forte (insert graphic design here for me). Sometimes there will be the dream client with a load of great information already packaged in bite-sized 140 character nuggets, tons of beautiful imagery and a specific ad budget set aside for promoted posts, but most often, this isn't the case. Usually your social media marketer is going to have to pick up the slack where your creative assets fall short. Herein lies the problem - you can't pay as much for a well-designed Facebook photo as you would for a magazine layout, yet visuals are key on social. You can't pay as much for a well-crafted tweet as you would for your brochure copy, but pumping out content frequently is a must. You can't pay an hourly rate to watch your pages around the clock, yet we live in a 24/7 world. To pay the same prices you've been paying for traditional media on social would be outrageous, but in some ways you need more support than ever - more content, more coverage, more "always on" advertising to feed the hungry Facebook beast.

Should you throw in the towel now? No. There are those of us out there who are coming up with social media packages every day which offer realistic pricing. We're figuring out what content already exists that we can repurpose, how many customer replies on average you'll get a week and the most efficient way to spend your ad dollars to extend your reach.

It's the wild west out there in terms of pricing and there is a range. Talk to several companies and if someone is selling you social media services for what seems like an incredibly low rate be sure to ask them these questions.

- How many posts a week will you create? Do the posts include visuals?

- How many days a week will you monitor my page?

- If I run an ad campaign will you set that up?

- Does this quote include any reporting/measurement?

- How do you plan on using social to help me meet my business goals?

The social media marketer of today is a hybrid marketer merging a variety of talents in order to create content on the go. If you're getting your social for the low low cost of $99/month, there's probably something wrong.




Why Social is so Important to Your Marketing Mix

Most people know social is important even if they aren't active users. They've heard the names Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn enough to know this little thing called social seems more than a fad. But what they don't always think about is why social is so powerful in the marketing mix. If you think about the frequency and length of time to which consumers permit brands to speak to them social blows any other marketing channel out of the water.

Think about it, if you sent an email three times a week to your consumers, you surely would get a lot of unsubscribes. If you secure a great article or TV spot using PR you'd get a quick pop of interest, but it would soon be replaced by the next day's headlines.  Social, done right, allows you to speak with a consumer multiple times a week for long periods of time.

When it comes to investment social isn't totally free but the cost of creating compelling content will still pale in comparison to producing a TV spot. You also have a better chance at reaching people via social - less competition. TV is so fragmented that even with a large investment you are competing with hundreds of channels. People spend more time on Facebook than any other site and more than 80% of their time is spent on the newsfeed page. What does that mean? If you can get people to follow you, the chances of them seeing your message is quite high.

If done right, social has the power to allow you to talk more often, for longer periods of time than any other part of your marketing mix. It also allows you to have a two-way conversation and gives you the ability to listen in. Not bad. Not bad at all.