It’s the end of the week, and just like every Friday at The Solopreneur Life, I have some bits of information to share with you. This week’s column includes items on: a possible new social media trend; a Web analytics product that I really like (finally!); my bit part in a soft-drink company’s social media strategy; your weekly “botpreneur.” Let’s do it up, and enjoy the long weekend! (For my international readers: Monday is the Labor Day holiday in the United States.)
Is This the New Social Media Trend?
Shannon Whealy, founder of Minneapolis-based Turnaround Design, posed an interesting question this week: Is “unblogging” the new trend in social media? Shannon makes this point:
Blogging takes a lot of time. And for me, too much time away from other important aspects of my business and life.
If you sell products or services online, blogging can be an excellent way to promote and market. But if it takes a disproportionate amount of time, then your marketing should be accomplished in a smarter way.
I agree, to a point.
Here’s my opinion: I think your marketing tools have to support your business goals, not the other way around.
Set your goals and then choose the tools that will help you the most. (Examples of tools: Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Linked In, Web site, discussion boards, podcasts, YouTube, offline advertising, etc.)
This is what I see sometimes with clients:
1. They form a business, set goals, and then build a marketing plan to support the business goals. The marketing plan includes, of course, the use of marketing tools.
2. They begin using the marketing tools.
3. They become enamored of one tool (let’s say it’s Twitter).
4. They become so engrossed in the marketing tool that they begin setting targets for the tool, without asking whether the targets will help them achieve their business goals. So in this example the target might be “get up to 2,000 followers on Twitter.”
5. The pursuit of 2,000 followers delivers a very poor return on investment.
So the takeaway is: keep business goals in mind and always be analyzing whether the marketing tool in question is supporting those goals.
Circling back to Shannon’s original point: is blogging on the decline as a marketing tool? Should it be on the decline? What do you think?
Review of Clicky
This week I tried a Web analytics tool called Clicky Web Analytics (affiliate link). Based on what I experienced, Clicky is worthy of being added to both my very select roster of affiliates and to my Tools That Work page. I will add Clicky to those pages next week.
This is what I think sets Clicky apart from other analytic tools:
• It’s available as a WordPress plug-in, which means it’s integrated directly into my WordPress control panel. The result: I can access my information quickly and easily.
• The very cool “Spy” feature. In real time, Spy shows you: how many people are visiting your site, where they are located in the world, and the pages they are visiting on your site. For example, I tweeted the Golden Goose column that I posted on Thursday, and I was able to track how the tweet affected traffic.
• The “Goals” feature. A goal is a page on your Web site that a visitor reaches once they have made a purchase or completed another desired action, such as a registration or download. By setting up and tracking goals with Clicky, I can determine how effectively my site is driving visitors to the desired actions.
• I think Clicky’s graphic interface is uncluttered, attractive, and easy to understand and use. I greatly prefer it to Google Analytics’ interface.
Clicky can be used free on a 21-day trial basis. Clicky is available in a free version, plus tiered versions with added features. The tiers are priced at: $4.99/month, $9.99/month, $19.99/month, and $49.99/month.
I subscribed to the $4.99/month option (allows tracking of up to three Web sites). I paid for one year of service upfront, which reduced the price to $2.49/month. I think that’s a tremendous value.
I’m Just a Pawn In Someone’s Social Media Master Plan
Here’s an example of how businesses use social media for marketing purposes. On Twitter I follow Izze, makers of a carbonated fruit drink that I love. This week Izze tweeted that its “Taste Agents” would be in Boston. I replied that I was the biggest Izze fan in Minnesota and I asked if any “Taste Agents” are in Minnesota. Izze responded:
izzetasteagents @SolopreneurLife We do not have any Taste Agents in Minnesota, but we can certainly crown you the unofficial biggest MN IZZE fan!
The news thrilled me, of course, and since then I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that I’m the Official Unofficial Biggest Minnesota Izze Fan. Then people ask me what Izze is. Then I tell them. Then they buy some Izze and and try it.
I wish there were affiliate systems for soft-drink sales. 😉
“botpreneur” is a comic series that strives to “tell the truth about what it’s really like to start and run a small business in the age of social media.” “botpreneur” is drawn by David Billings, who publishes SparkyFirePants.com. The new installment of “botpreneur” (titled “Who’s In Charge Here Anyway?”) is below and is based on an idea from Kelly Parkinson.
In case you missed any of this week’s columns, here they are:
• What Would You Do With a Golden Goose?
• Master Marketing As You Bring Your Great Idea to Life!
• The Making of a Mastermind Group for Solopreneurs
• Featured Soloist Bob Andelman: Be Willing To Do Whatever It Takes