How Social Media Can Help Your Business

Millions upon millions of people have created their own presence via social media. It isn’t just a place for individuals to keep in touch with family and friends, it has also grown into an extraordinary marketing tool that businesses should take advantage of. Facebook and Twitter for example have upwards of 600 million and 400 million users respectively, providing businesses and marketers with a vast platform of people to market to. Marketing is an action businesses need to take to attract consumers to their products or services. Social media marketing is just a new form of  marketing in the new digital age we are living in.

Social media marketing has many benefits for businesses. Here are 4 ways social media marketing can help businesses and marketers.

1. Increase exposure: If social media is just used at its simplest form by just minimally creating a presence and updating it on occasion, you are still creating exposure to your business. Social media marketing allows for your name to be seen. Since millions of people participate in social media, the more you use social media increases your chances for exposure.

2. Increased traffic: Social media marketing allows for traffic to be increased. One benefit of social media is that you can provide links to your website or anything else related to your business. By providing links and information for people, there is a higher probability of creating traffic as your exposure becomes more proficient.

3. Lead Generation: If you think just teens and college students are using social media you are wrong. Businesses all over the world are using social media for marketing. This provides businesses with another way to generate leads and interact with them. Social media networks also provide a wider reach and database of people who could be leads.

4. Advertising: One of the main benefits of social media is that most sites are free. This gives companies the ability to have their name present without spending a dime. The best part of using social media for advertising is that users that know and like you are automatically endorsing you.

Marketing via social media is a great way for businesses to get noticed. It is easy to get started as well as easy to maintain. Social media is changing the way we market businesses, products, and services.

Generation Z, The New Consumers

I’m sure you have heard of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. But have you heard of Generation Z yet? These are people born between 1992 and 2010. They have witnessed 9/11, an economic recession, wars in Iraq, a growing environmentally friendly conscience, the first African American President, and a world that changes everyday. Some categorized in this generation are just learning how to walk and talk but yet they changing the way products are bought, services are used, and how communication works. This generation is very interesting because they have never known a life without personal computers, mobile phones, MP3 players, and the Internet. These are the true people within the digital age that are very comfortable with technology and are used to it changing.

The way this generation communicates is intriguing. Their main way of communicating is through mobile devices and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Marketing efforts via social media will be important in attracting this generation to become potential consumers of products and services. One thing marketers need to understand is that Generation Z’ers are not your typical consumers. They do not take well to branding initiatives, considering how everything around them changes so fast. They expect constant feedback and instant results, meaning marketers need to keep pace with these individuals. Creativity needs to be used to reach this generation. Marketers also need to be aware that one form of marketing to this generation will not be enough. They are notorious for being multi-taskers, which means they are checking multiple social network sites at once, or shopping online at more than one store. To reach these people, multiple outlets need to be used.

Generation Z will be a fun generation to market too. They already have a knack for technology, which will allow marketers to use creativity to attract this generation as potential consumers.

A History Lesson in Marketing

Marketing is an activity and process for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value. It is how products and services gain a voice for customers, clients, and businesses to know they exist. Marketing is an aspect of business that has been around for many years. Have you ever wondered how it all started though? Marketing is based on the technologies of the era, because those technologies is how marketing messages were pushed through channels. Technology has evolved rapidly and continues to change everyday. We have things like social media and Internet today that is a must use tool for marketers, but it didn’t start out that way.

If we take a step way back to the Stone Age, messages were communicated by cave paintings and carvings. Since then, our lives started to evolve and stepping towards advancement. The Renaissance Era in the 15th century produced learning and research as we stepped out of the Dark Ages. We then entered the Age of Discovery, and in 1450 is when things started to change. The Gutenberg press was created, allowing for type to be movable, which is where mail order catalogs got their start. The Industrial Revolution in the 1800s increased demand for manufacturers to market their goods. The 1900s helped develop the marketing concept as science and technology started to change. Competition, communication, advertising, and branding become key factors in business. The focus on selling also grew. Direct marketing surfaced in the 1950s and telemarketing in the 1970s.

The 1990s were characterized by the boom of the Internet, which led to a vast amount of marketing platforms. The early 2000s sparked the launches of Wikipedia, Apple iTunes Store, and Gmail. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter followed. Today we are in the midst of the social media and mobile era. How ironic is it that we started out writing on walls to communicate and now we continue to do just that only not literally this time. The future holds potential for more advances in technology, which will be interesting to see what will happen next.

Mobilizing Your Marketing Efforts

Mobile usage has drastically increased in the past few years and its future is looking brighter. In this day and age it seems like everyone owns a mobile device, most not being able to function without one. Mobile devices have become so advanced that they not only are used for calls and texts, but they now have Internet capabilities, cameras, navigation, email, and many more applications, literally making your mobile device smart. Over 4 billion people own a mobile phone, which is predicted to increase by 50% in 2015. Landlines and desktop computers will be a thing of the past in the coming future as new technologies are being invented everyday to make mobile devices better and more advanced. We have grown and been molded into a mobile society making mobile devices the perfect technology for our busy lifestyles.

The vast amounts of people who own a mobile phone gives marketers a wide array of opportunities to develop a mobile marketing plan. Two of the most widely uses of mobile devices are to socialize and surf the web. Social media networks, most popular being Facebook and Twitter, have developed mobile apps to make socializing easier and in the palm of user’s hands.

Marketers have a wealth of potential to attract customers to their brand, products, services, and their company. A mobile marketing campaign has an opportunity to attract a widespread market of people, a market consisting of an upwards of 4 billion people. This gives marketers room to experiment and try a variety of marketing ideas to cater to that group of people, with one major thing in common, they all own a mobile device.

Here are 5 steps to help mold a marketing plan to fit a mobile lifestyle:

1. Prioritize: A mobile marketing plan is something that will take time to develop and implement. Marketers should have goals and a time line set up before starting. This is not something that can be thrown together in one day. A detailed plan should be prepared for a mobile marketing plan.

2. Utilize: There is an extensive amount of information that is available, it just needs to be looked for. Take advantage of the knowledge others provide. A mobile marketing plan will be easier to create when you have information to help you along.

3. Recognize: Be aware of what others have done in the past and the present. If that information is obtainable, it will become a very useful tool to see what other have tried and if it worked or failed.

4. Characterize: A mobile marketing plan should be exciting, creative, and full of energy. If it is boring, no one will pay attention to it. The idea to keep in mind is to give a mobile marketing plan a personality so that users can feel like a company has a soul. Keep in mind that a company that portrays themselves as fun and refreshing will have a better chance of being seen and heard. Also remember that this marketing plan is being catered to a mobile device and if the campaign doesn’t catch the eye of users it will be quickly dismissed.

5. Initialize: After goals have been made, information has been collected, and a plan has been formed, it is now time to put that plan into action. This is the most exciting step because this is when you find out if your hard work and planning will produce results. A plan to track progress should be put into place at this time.

Marketing Via YouTube

YouTube was developed by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim in 2005. Since then it has become the second largest search engine behind Google. YouTube offers an array of different things, from music videos and commercials, to even the keyboard cat, YouTube has something for everyone. But did you know that YouTube is a helpful marketing tool? It is not obvious why a video sharing site would benefit businesses through marketing, but in fact marketers can utilize YouTube to distribute content and messages to consumers, hoping to inform or attract them to a product or service.

YouTube is a great way to give a business a presence online. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are a available to create a presence online, but why not expand that by using YouTube and allowing users to literally see information. One of the great benefits of YouTube is that its free, meaning it won’t hurt a business to try it out.

Here are 5 other benefits YouTube offers for marketing purposes:

1. YouTube never sleeps: A user is able to access YouTube at anytime, which means a marketing message will always be available for people to see.

2. Watching vs. reading: We have grown into a technologically advanced society as technology seems to change every time we blink. We have now become conditioned to use our eyes more. We tend to rather watch something than read something.

3. High traffic: Millions upon millions of people visit YouTube daily. These people become potential viewers fora marketing message you may have. Since traffic is so high for the site as a whole, potential traffic for a particular video increases.

4. Personality: Some companies have no personality or you can’t put a face to a name. YouTube allows to give a business a face and lets users know that it has a soul. It shows that there is a personality behind the company profile and allows users a chance to really get to know who you are and what you do.

5. Versatility: YouTube is a very versatile tool for marketing. There are many possibilities of uses and it allows for creativity to surface. YouTube can be used to demonstrate a product, create brand awareness, or promote something new. There is no limit to what a company can do using YouTube for marketing.

YouTube has grown into a popular site that is no longer just a video sharing outlet, but a search engine as well. It is also a place for marketers to be creative, allowing a company to come alive.

Sunrise Packaging has just debuted on YouTube. Check out our video!

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Rivalry and Competition in Business

We all know the famous rivalries in business such as Coke vs. Pepsi, Microsoft vs. Apple, and Ford vs. General Motors. Although we have these business rivalries, do we know why they start. Competition is one of the ingredients in how business is shaped. It is a natural occurrence based on two separate parties vying for the same goal. Businesses try to win acceptance from consumers, which is where rivalry and competition essentially begins.

Consider Coke vs. Pepsi, one of the oldest rivalries in American business. Also known as the Cola Wars, Coke and Pepsi started competing with each other in the 189os. Coke dominated the market, but Pepsi was always close behind. The brilliance behind the Cola Wars was that they both had different ideas of how to attract consumers and control the market. They both implemented innovative marketing campaigns throughout the years to gain even a fraction of the market. They also modified pricing and brand strategies to get a little closer to victory. It has been over 100 years now that this rivalry has existed and it still continues today.

Competition and rivalry is a healthy part of how businesses operate. Competitors help each other learn and move forward. Do you think Coke and Pepsi would be where they are today if they didn’t have an intense rivalry? Coke and Pepsi are successful because they were able to improve themselves individually based on what they learned from each other. Competition also helps the marketing process. Consumer needs and wants are uncovered during rivalry, which allows creative marketing tactics to be used. Now that social media has entered our lives and has grown into a big phenomenon with outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, marketing can be taken to a whole new level, opening doors that we never knew existed.

Although competition and rivalry don’t have reputations as being based around something good, in reality they have shaped the way we do business. It can’t be all that bad if Coke and Pepsi have survived over 100 years of rivalry and both are still going strong.

Are You Ready For Some Advertising?!


Super Bowl number 45, the biggest TV event of the year, is only a little over a week away. As we are preparing our parties and getting our adrenaline going for the big game of the year, we are also getting psyched for all of the commercials. Those 30-second attractions that we all look forward to are already underway and totaling over 45 minutes worth of advertising. The average cost for a 30-second spot is about $3 million, meaning companies are making a big attempt to put out the most innovative and exciting commercials possible. Social media is also participating in the Super Bowl, making ads last longer than 30 seconds. Companies are using Facebook fan pages and Twitter to continue the advertising, as well as using YouTube to replay the commercials.

Car makers are dominating the line up this year, but favorites like the E-Trade baby and the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales are back to hopefully make an impression on viewers. Some advertisers who cancelled appearances in the past couple years are back to regain attention. GM is hoping to draw people into Chevrolet and PepsiCo is planning seven commercials this year. Movie trailers will also be seen during the Super Bowl. Paramount will be promoting upcoming releases such as Rango, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Super 8, while Disney will be promoting the next Pirates of the Caribbean and Cars 2, and Warner Bros. will be promoting Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Pizza Hut will make their debut this year as they try to reel in some extra sales for the game. GoDaddy will be present during the Super Bowl as they will reveal their new GoDaddy girl. Doritos, Best Buy, Motorola, and Snickers will also be making appearances in the commercial lineup.

So on February 6th, get the snacks and drinks ready for an eventful night of football and commercials!

The Creative Side of QR Codes

QR codes are springing up everywhere you look. They are becoming a simple way for marketers to engage consumers. All a consumer needs is a mobile device with a camera and the ability to download the code reader application. With the amount of people owning a mobile device, marketers have vast amounts of people to reach. QR codes also allow marketers to unleash their creative side. These codes can lead a person anywhere a marketer wants. Whether the destination is to their website, a contest page, or even a separate page solely created just for the code, the possibilities are endless and creativity can really shine.

Need some creative ideas for your QR code? Here are some ways to add some spark to the black and white code:

* Link your business card to your Facebook profile, Twitter stream, or Linkdin account
* If you have t-shirts for your business, link from your t-shirt to you blog
* Link to a contest
* Link to a Google map that shows your location and provides directions and contact information
* Use ads to connect to mobile shopping
* Link clues to a treasure hunt to engage customers to become interested in your business
* Use a coupon to link to a special discount or sample/freebie
* Link to a product demonstration
* Use codes to link to fan forums, inventory, surveys, or mail in rebates
* Link to homepage to increase traffic on that website
* Link to a newsletter, press release, or promotions page
* Use a code on a printed catalog to link to an online catalog or an online store
* If you have a product that requires installation, link to how to videos or online manuals
* Link from a product to the product’s commercial

There are many ways to use QR codes.  See how many QR codes you see in a day, week, or month and look for how businesses are being creative using these codes.

Social Media is on the Rise

Consumer usage of social media continues to grow in the United States and around the world. Social media is so much more than just a way to communicate with friends and family. Today, marketers are becoming more engaged in what social media can do for marketing. The result, marketers are taking involvement to the next level. Next year, 4 in 5 U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees will take part in marketing via social media. This has increased by 5% from 2009 and is projected to grow in 2011 and 2012.

Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter will be used heavily in 2011 by marketers as they make their presence on these sites more prevalent. Social media is ranked third along with converting traffic, where marketers plan to focus their online marketing budget for 2011. Since social media and online marketing is becoming one of the main outlets for marketers to use, spending for social media will continue to rise.

This positive correlation of social media and usage provides businesses with the opportunity to grow and reach a wider audience. Social media has many benefits to offer businesses. Social media allows for marketers to find out more information about consumers, with the goal of building a relationship with those people. Since consumer usage of social media is on the rise, there are more people out there to make aware of what your business has to offer and how it is different from others. The possibilities are endless using social media and the outlook is positive for the future.

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Facebook is Gearing up for the Holidays

The holiday shopping season has officially started as Black Friday has once again snuck up on us. This crazy day of shopping provides great opportunities for businesses to motivate loyal customers and attract new ones with fun holiday promotions. Facebook has become a very popular outlet for holiday advertising and promotions. Businesses have used their Facebook pages to let consumers know about their upcoming Black Friday deals and have used it as another place to post their ads.

Lowe’s began running a series of display ads to push consumers to its Facebook Fan page that will provide a sneak peak to the specials on Black Friday. This sneak peak will happen at Midnight on Black Friday. The also used an email campaign to create buzz about their specials and perks.

Remember the Christmas crazed lady from Target’s commercials last year? She is back again and crazier than ever this year in a 27 second video on Facebook to remind consumers to go to Target’s 2-Day Sale. They also posted store maps and fun videos to get consumers excited for the annual shopping event. Target is also offering a contest that fans can enter for a chance to win a $25 Target Gift cards.

Office Depot is ready for the holiday shopping spree with posts on their Facebook pages. They share a link for 10 great holiday shopping tips. They also list Pre-Black Friday deals and the top 30 smart gifts. Office Depot’s competitor Staples is also using their Facebook page to post their weekly ad with Black Friday specials. They are also taking one step further and giving fans a sneak peak to their Cyber Monday deals.