Future Implications

I think that everyone will agree the social media landscape has become a constantly changing venue. It seems that we no more than get comfortable with a device or system than it has become passe. For example the cell phone I have is not even two years old but I am now two generations behind in cell phones.The operating system I purchased with a then new computer is now on the bottom of the “adaptable” list for new programs. And  SMM has become a monster. There are now well over 200 separate platforms available to thoroughly confuse and discombobulate an average user like me. (Wikipedia,2016,10,11.) When is it going to stop, answer, probably never.

One area of this monster that seems to have unlimited potential are the mobile unites, iPhones, androids, tablets and others. New and improved interfaces will have the ability to identify voices and read signatures with virtually flawless execution. Contacts and eyeglasses will be used as viewing screens and computers with even great power than our pcs at home will be integrated into small mobile devices. Networking will grow exponentially and soon even your mother’s-in-law will have the goods on you. A major key for mobile technology and companies will be the successful managing that mobile technology. At some point in the future, all the technology will come from a personal mobile device.  (University of Rhode Island, 2012.) According to Derek Bryan in a blog on http://www.marketingprofs.com , websites as we know them today are on they way out.

So what effect will this have on say, a cruise line like Carnival?

Carnival, like any other company looks to make a good profit. That profit , as we all know, comes from gross revenue minus expenses. Cut down your expenses, maintain gross revenue and you have increased your profits. Two of the more important factors in generating current or even additional revenue are advertising and communication. (Everyone knows by now that SSM advertising is much less expensive than traditional forms.) With the continuing development in mobile technology, this should be a plus for any business like Carnival, especially those that cater to human behavior and its desire for “good times,”otherwise known as the entertainment industry.  If what the University of Rhode Island’s white paper says is true, then with the advent of an all mobile society, Carnival could have any number of databases that they can use to their advantage. The consumer finding what they want, checking prices, time lines, and booking passage, all in a very short sacrifice of time, will be exactly what the ” society of instant gratification,” wants. It is a win-win situation.

In looking at just at our American society, we have, from the beginning of our Nation, been a forward looking, innovative and , resourceful society. ( I am talking the people here, not the Government.) We have always wished to make our live easier and more productive with less effort. This is a good thing. However the question arises, who is doing the pushing, people or technology. Though I doubt that many people really give this a thought, it nevertheless is an important aspect of our lives.

It can be said that the technology industry is driving human nature. Why, human nature, always wanting something better, faster, more flashy, reducing work loads, increasing efficiency, and all the rest. Technology responds by coming out with more innovations and thus a cycle is repeated. But at the same time does it not appear that technology is bowing to human nature but working with it. I believe that in a human to human relationship this would be called symbiotic. Another symbiotic relationship is that of moss and lichen in nature. A symbiotic relationship, symbiosis,  occurs where two  entities provide the essentials of their lives for each other. So, why not call technology/human relationships co-evolutionary/symbiotic as well. One without the other could not exist. Gerhard Adams suggests that by the relationship between the entities, each is influenced in their future direction. From this one can imply that both human nature and technology feed off one another in a symbiosis that is a win-win situation.

Humans have been wanting tools that provide an easier more efficient path to success since the beginning of time. A tool would be introduce, this tool would then give way to new and better idea creating a new tool and so on. This would be called evolution. Some came up with transistor, technology latched on and produced it.Technology provided the tools of SSM, users of those tools then created a need for new and improved tools and so it goes. (Gerhard Adams, 2012,02,05.)

In conclusion then, it is my belief that technology and humans have worked hand-in-glove to create the chaos that gives this older fellow a headache and sets forth the question what is next?

 

References;

Wikipedia.org, 2016,10,11, social media platforms

University of Rhode Island, 2016,10,11, The Future of Information Technology and Implications for URI, retrieved from, http://www.university rhodeisland.edu/provost/files/Future_of_Information_Technology

Bryan, Derek, 2016,09,27, Future of SEOs and SSM, retrieved from, http://www.marketprobs.com/opinions/2016/30709/five-bold-predictions-about-the-future

Daragon, Jay, 2011,01,04,The Influence of Technology On Humanity, retrieved from, relationship-economy.com/2011/01/technologies-influence-ove-humanity

Adama,Gerhard, 2012,02,05, Technological Symbiosis, retrieved from, http://www.science20.com/gerhard_Adams/technological-symbiosis/86677

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Viral Marketing Initiative

 

We Went Viral; How Did We Do That?

That is the $64 question.!

In reality, no one sits down and plans on going viral, most things actually go viral by accident. There are not many people who can say that they have mastered the art of creating viral content. (Elise, Moreau, 2016,10,05)

According to Ralph F. Wilson on the eCommerce website, the definition of “viral marketing” is a strategy that causes folks to pass on information from one to another creating a potential for exponential growth in the messages exposure and influence. Remeber the old math course, permutations and combinations, 1,2,4,16,256…. and so on? That is what happens when something goes viral on the internet. So if you have content on a Facebook post or a tweet on Twitter that really grabs someones attention and they re-tweet or re-post it, and that grabs others and they do the same, you basically have gone viral.As Mr. Wilson pointed out, it is like a stone tossed in a pond creating ever expanding ripples.

But without the social media platforms that we have become accustomed to, this would  be rather difficult to do. Without the likes of Twitter, Face Book, Pinterest, You Tube, Instagram,  and a whole host of others, there would be little virality if any at all. virality, networking is of vital importance to achieved the magnitude of virality that some content have achieved.(Elise Moreau, 2016,10,05.)

Though there is really no secret formula for producing a viral piece, there are some things that you can do to boost the probability of achieving a viral piece some what. Keeping in mind that it takes good timing, good content, and getting the content to  the right people, here are some tips that you might consider. (Elise Moreau, 2016,06,25.)

Try to focus on current events, be mindful of “key words ” and “tags.” You could launch a contest, and use as much visual content as possible. (Elise, Moreau, 2016,06,25.)

Give away product or services, make the transfer of the content easy as possible, exploit common motivators and behaviors, do not limit content to a small group of receivers, and use existing communication networks. ( Ralph, f. Wilson, 2012,05,10.)

Hotmail.com was introduce in 1996. By the end of 1997 it had 4.8 million users, why?( http://tishia, 2016,10,05.))Because it had offered a free email account and posted the offering on each and every account users email to friends etc. Now operating as Outlook.com, it operates all over the world. There have been more than one election year claim, truthful or not that has gone viral, why, exploiting human behavior in giving the public “dirt” on the candidates. Then there is the Old Spice campaign with Warren Moon at Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – YouTube, https://youtu.be/owGykVbfgUE. To date this campaign has garnered 49.5 million views. Why do you suppose this went viral. My opinion is that it catered to human nature, a man’s or woman’s ego, implying that your man could be a popular sports figure like Warren Moon, quarterback of major star ability in the NFL.

In these three examples you can find the five bits of advice that I would be sure to follow in a SM campaign of my doing;

  1. Visual content- what better image to portray for a man’s cologne a physically fit athlete in superb condition.
  2. Giveaway-nothing much more needs to be said about Hotmail/Outlook and their free email giveaway.
  3. Human nature-appealing to venal side of human nature with the negative ad campaign against the opposing candidates in the primaries and the Presidential campaign.
  4. Effortless transfer for folks to pass on information and hype to their friends etc.
  5. Utilizing existing networks.- With all the networks available and with the numbers of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Insta-messaging, and You Tube, and all of the others with the right keywords, targets, and content there is a good probability that there will be some virality.

References;

Wilson, Ralph, F., Dr., 2012,05,10, The Six Simple Principals of Viral Marketing, retrieved from, http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/100366-viral-principals

Moreau, Elise,updated 2016,10,05, What Does It Mean To Go Viral, retrieved from, http://webtrends.about.com/od/howtoguides/a/Viral-Online.htm

Moreau, Elise,updated, 2016,06,24, 10 Tips for How to Go Viral Online, retrieved from, http://webtrends.about.com/od/howtoguides/a/Viral-Online

Wikipedia.com, 2016,10,06, Viral Marketing, retrieved from http://www.wikipedia.org

The History of Viral Marketing – How Hotmail Became Hot

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

A beautifully written letter by a mother of a young girl. Please read

Dear Mrs. Clinton,

Congratulations on securing the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. It’s historical! It’s liberating to women! You’ve broken the glass ceiling!

But at what cost?

As the mother of a beautiful young daughter, my desire is to teach her every day that she is priceless, valuable and precious beyond anything else in this world. I tell her that God has placed her on this earth for a very specific reason. I make sure that she never doubts her place here.

How exciting it would be for us to celebrate the accomplishments of the first woman ever to receive the presidential nomination of a major political party! Wouldn’t it be amazing if I were able to point my daughter to someone she could look up to and admire? Unfortunately for myself, my daughter and millions of other women in this nation, I can’t.

Sadly, Mrs. Clinton…

View original post 558 more words

Differentiation

The two companies I have chosen to compare are different from the very start. One is a tried and true, honest-to-goodness coffee company, Starbucks. The other is a really a retail company primarily for shoes and clothing, coffee being brought into the mix not to long ago, Toms. (The name being derived from tomorrow.)

Starbucks started out as a coffee roasting house in Seattle, Washington in 1971 and with the coming of Howard Schultz to the company in the early 1980’s, became a huge international coffee company with over 24,000 coffee house world wide.6 Reasons Mr. Schulz led them through a seamless transition into to the internet with multimedia and they became something of a juggernaut by dominating the media in the coffee world. While using several social media networks, Starbucks set the Standard high for content quality and in engaging their customers.

How did they accomplish their high place in the SMM hierarchy?  They worked hard at cultivating their current customers and keeping them loyal. that is not say that they did not go out to acquire new customers, but rather their main focus was on current ones. These became their “super influencers.” (The old saying that it takes 5-7 times more expense to find new customers than it takes to keep your current ones loyal, applies here.) They encouraged customers to share their Starbucks experience with promotions like the holiday promotion ” buy 1, get 1.” It was obviously a success if one is to judge success by the number of likes and shares that the Company received on Facebook alone.The Company made its customers feel like valued individuals with My Starbucks Rewards and the Company has encouraged its customers to share their experience on other social networks. ( Word of mouth is still the best advertising, right?) Another interesting fact, when the company puts up a picture of a satisfied customer holding a Starbucks coffee in their hand you can be sure that it was probably a selfie. Starbucks makes sure that its causes are timely and consistent, especially with causes appealing to their customers.

So basically what Starbucks has done through social media marketing is  to give their customers, new ones as well as loyal ones, the idea that the Company is more focused on them and their suppliers, (Fair Trade, setting learning centers for growers, and the like,) than it is on money.

Interestingly enough Toms started out as a shoe company in 2006, selling the idea of when a pair of shoes was purchase from his company, a needy child would be given a pair free. This idea came about when the owner Blake Mycoskie, while on a purchasing trip to Argentina,noticed the number of poor children running around without shoes. He expand this “1 for 1” idea to eyeglasses in 2011, and is in the process of carrying to other products for needy people. With his coffee, for every bag of coffee beans sold, pure water will be given to the needy people in 24 countries around the world.

In social media marketing Toms has been on the top since the Company’s start-up. Toms Coffee.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, and others are all being used to sell they idea lifestyle, not just a product They encourage their customers to speak out about the customers own personal experience with the Toms brand. The Toms Twitter account is used to promote products as well as charitable initiatives. Mr. Mycoskie himself Tweets and answers tweets from his customers. The Instagram pages incorporate the Company’s fans wearing the clothing etc. themselves.

So what Mr. Mycoskie has done has been to leverage his goodwill and recognition from his retail social media sites to acquire a good following with regards to his coffee. He only markets roasted beans at this point, in country stores and places like World Market. However there are plans a foot to do more with coffee.

The similarities between Starbucks and Toms are many. They both use social media platforms actively, effectively , and to good purpose, not just bottom line, but in helping communities here and abroad. They both realize that the loyal customer is very important and that the customer likes to be involve with their favorite brands. They realize that their loyal customers are probably one of their best assets and recognize them accordingly. They both are well aware of the fact that being a social media presence is not just a good idea but a necessity in today’s market.

The major difference to me is that Mr.mycoskie seems more interested in doing good that making a profit. The Company is driven to put out a good coffee, but that is not his main goal. He is a retailer of varied goods and as such is quite different than Starbucks. Starbucks goods are all coffee/tea related, Mr. Mycoskie’s are related to good will.

References;

m234alii, 2015/11/12, Toms: Using Social media Marketing Effectively, retrieved from, http://www.smbp.uwaterloo.ca/2015/11/toms-using-social-media-marketing-effectively

Zog Digital, n.d. 6 Reasons Starbucks Excels at Social Media Marketing, retrieved from, http://www.business2community.com/social-media/6-reasons-Starbucks-excels-at-social-media-marketing

 

 

Best Practices in Blogging

 

Among the many tools available to folks using social media to press their agenda, business, personal, or otherwise, is blogging. What started out as a simply a way for people to offer up conversation and passing on everyday information has become a major way for people to enhance their knowledge and vent their frustrations, businesses to communicate brand names, education about new products, a place for the Government to put in its two cents about anything and everything, has become a major industry. (Kari White, n.d.) Blogging has become a major income source for many, many people. Huffington Post, 2,330,000/month and Overhead in New York, 9,000/month are a couple examples. ( Michael Dunlop, n.d.)

When publishing a blog, there are some basic mechanical tools that a person should use in order to do a good job. Nothing different than any other effort, right tools for the right job?

When should one run a post ? During the week when most blogs run are not that good of an idea. Saturday is actually the best day, according to a study run by Colossal Content Marketing Report, though only 6.3% of the blogs posted during the week of the study but these receive 18% of all the social shares. So one should try to schedule on the weekend. What should you title the blog? Again, according to the report, most people title in about 40 characters. However , those who used titles with more characters, up to 60, got the best response, over 60 the responses numbers declined. Strategy here, go middle of the road. Should there be questions in your title, survey saaaaays, yes! In the study for this report, sample was 4,618 blogs by the way, the report that those blogs with questions received more than twice the shares as the average. A big question is where to post? The obvious here are Twitter and Facebook. Of the sample number Twitter receive 38% shares while Facebook received 26.7%. (Karen Axelton, 2014,06,23.)

Best Bloggers, the “super stars” read things that have nothing to do with there jobs. As with writers reading is essential to gain knowledge regarding a variety of things. Go looking for articles etc, that expand your brain and give something to write about that is exciting. Look for and find lots of great post, websites, magazines and so on. This will help you in building good content. When doing the blog, just sit down and start to write. As you go along you will pick up the tools necessary to do well. Do not be afraid to write. And when you write, write with empathy. “You are not your target audience,” And criticism should not knock you off track. Criticism of course can be good and bad. You must learn the difference. And best of all, be yourself, let your personality come through, be passionate about your subject content. (Corey Wainwright, 2013,09,25.)

With regards to subject matter, content is probably one of the more key component for blogging. And a key aspect for content is not to be marketing on your blog, for you or anyone else. If all you do is post information about your business and allow use of it for advertising, you will turn people off and not build a following of  any significance. ( Chris Brogan, 2013,)

According to Mr. Brogan, proper sharing is another key to a good blog. Sharing includes passing on the information you wish to share but also should give your followers a decent perception of who you are and what you believe in.Sharing is an endorsement from you, and as such tells people what you believe in and in doing so allows the follower to feel part of something, that you are not crazy, there are others out there with a same belief. (Chris Brogan, 2013.)

There are a couple of things that a blogger should be careful of with regards to blogging. Consider what you want to say seriously, do not lie, defame or in any other way put yourself in a position of a liability problem. As mentioned above do not use your blog as a market platform. Your followers are looking for honest information and recommendations.

Is insurance using blogs. Yes they do blog, all kinds of them. Their purposes are to bring insight and education to current and potential clients. From what I have garnered from research the most active bloggers are the property and casualty and health insurance companies. This stands to reason because these two areas are the most dynamic parts of the industry. It seems that health insurance in particular is a constant changing scene especially with the actual day by day results of “Obama Care.”

So in summary with the multitude of tools available for SSM, including blogging, you should not have any trouble becoming an SSM whiz kid. If Insurance can be successful, so can you.

 

References;

White, Kari, n.d.,Cooperate Blogging: 7 Best Practices, retrieved from, http://www.businessknowhow.com/internet/corporate-blog.htm

Dunlop, Michael, n.d., Top Earning Blogs-Make Money Online Blogging, retrieved from, http://www.incomediary.com/top-earning-blogs

Axelton, Karen, 2014,06,23, Blogging Best Practices, retrieved from, https://forum.web.com/blogging-best-practices

Wainwright, Corey, 2013,09,25, What The Bet Business Bloggers Do, retrieved from, http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/blogging-best-practices-list

Brogan, Chris, 2013, 2nd Edition,Google+ for Buisness, How Google Social Network Changes Everything, Que Publishing,  page 98 and Pgs 128, 129

800 East 96th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana,46240, USA

 

 

 

 

Insurance: Taking Your Brand Social

 

Brand Blog image

 

 

The insurance industry in going social, has to contend with risks that are inherent in any business venture. But because financial services, insurance included, faces heavy regulation buy both  Federal and State Governments there are risks not usually seen in a standard business environment. It has now been ruled that social media activity by insurance companies should considered as regulated as any other form of advertising by State regulators. (NAIC, 2015,06,03.)

Medicare supplements are regulated by a State Insurance Commissioners office, Medicare Advantage planes are regulated  by both the State and the CMS, (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services)a Federal Agency. One of the main issues that crops up from time to time is the issue of privacy. The insurance industry is flooded with all kinds of regulations regarding this, the two most imposing are HIPPA and MIPPA, these two set of rules pertain to a persons private information. In the social media world, hackers,inattentive agents and companies, and even innocent tweets regarding a person illness are always scoping out the platforms for whatever they can find. Another risk area for insurance people is what one says regarding a potential policy’s coverage. Medicare supplements come in several forms, all required by the Feds to be uniform throughout every State,  one plans wording has a policy covering 100% of Medicares approved amount of charges. Another say it will cover 100% of all excess charges. To an older person sometimes, 100% is 100%, the rest of the wording does not penetrate. understands the difference. A misunderstanding and subsequent complaint could cost an agent his license. Going social acerbates  this risk as the agent is not there to explain face to face what the differences are. In the marketing of supplement polices social media can be a great thing but also is loaded with hazards

In a relatively new type of policy called a Medicare Advantage Plan, CMS steps in full throttle. They tell the insurance industry, what can be offered, what words agents must use in explaining the coverage. They monitor all sale seminars, if you are explaining what Medicare and Medicare Advantages Plans are you can’t  talk about any particular company at all. In a one on one presentation, an agent can not talk of any other kind of insurance, even if the prospect asks about one. There has to be another appointment set up. They have secret shoppers at the seminars to make sure everything is in compliance. Non-compliance can cost the agent(s) $5000 per mistake and the company $50,000. ( This information can be verified with any insurance companies required certification process.One can see how these particular regulations go above and beyond the brand reputation, consumer product complaint, and so on.( P.S. CMS even tells the PRIVATE insurance company what it can pay in commissions.)So when it comes to social media the insurance industry, and pretty much whole financial industry, has some real challenges to face when climbing on board Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the others.

But the risks involve in not climbing onto the band wagon are there also. By not evolving a social media strategy and join the “ground swell,” insurance companies put themselves at risk the same as other companies do. Social media allows for much better customer service. In today’ world customer service is the key to building good relationships. Failing to realize that the customer holds the “big stick” now can dissolve many relationships. Insurance is an emotional product. To many people look at insurance as a death business. A company failing to connect emotionally with consumers/clients is bound to lose put on sales and revenue

One insurance company, Transamerica along with Master Card, is making itself known on Facebook with 90,000 likes doing well that all tie into their brand image. Mutual of Omaha  and Master card are another good match with over 170 videos on its You Tube channel. (Daniel Rodriguez, 2013,08,29)

However, where there is gain there is pain. Example Progressive Auto Insurance . A woman was killed in a auto accident and Progressive defended the one responsible for her death. Twitter took um-bridge. Progressive used an automated message through to service TwitLonger. Because of the uproar, Progressive was banned from Twitter. (.Albert Costell, 2014,03,27.) Social Media  fails, retrieved from http://www.searchenginejournal, 35 social media fails/95613

References;

National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 2015,06,03, NAIC  Social Media

retrieved from, http://www.naic.org/cipr_topic-social_media.htm

Rubin,Ted, 2015,06,03, So Why Should Small Buisness Be Using Spocial media

retrieved from, http://www.huffintonpost.com/ted/rubin/so_why_should_small_business_be_using-social-media_6391172.html

Roberts-Gray, Gina, 2013,09,04,Car Insurance Companies use Facebook Claims to investigate, retrieved from, http://www.edmunds.com?auto-insurance-companies-use-Facebook-to-investigate

Rodriguez, Daniel, 2013,08,29,Best Examples of Social Medias Marketing, retrieved from, http://www.seismic.com/blog/post/best-examples-of-social-media-marketing

Costell, Albert, 2014,03,27, 35 Social Media Fails, retrieved from, http://www.searchenginejournal.com/35-social-media-fails