Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Social media marketing expert speaks at chamber luncheon

Tim Hong
This might be disappointing, but even if that "Like Us On Facebook" sign you hung on your store got you 500 likes in two days, it doesn't mean all 500 people who liked you are going to see your posts.

When it comes to marketing and social media, change is not only constant but accelerating, said Tim Hong, strategic alliances senior manager for Adobe.

A 1989 Blackfoot High School graduate, Hong was in Idaho Falls Tuesday to speak at the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce's 2020 Vision for Business Luncheon.

Advertising spending on social media platforms -- Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. -- has grown exponentially in the last five years, first for desktop computers and now for mobile devices. Done right, online analytics (Hong's expertise) allow advertisers to measure the success of a campaign in far more detail than it was possible with old media advertising (TV, print, radio).

Nevertheless, a lot of business people, especially small business people, might be wondering the same old question: "How do I know what works?"

A lot of people feel the marketing landscape has changed more in the past two years than it did in the previous 50. Two years ago, the focus was on "vanity metrics," e.g. how many "likes" a business could rustle up on Facebook.

But Facebook has been changing its algorithms, to the point now where 2 percent of the people who've liked your page actually see your posts. Of course you can pay to get better exposure, which is what Facebook wants.

Mobile devices have doubled the amount of time people spend online, and advertising budgets for mobile are growing seven times faster than desktop. "The pace of change, is accelerating, not slowing down," Hong said.

He spoke at length about Foursquare, a web and mobile application that allows registered users to post their location at a venue ("check-in") and connect with friends. Check-in requires active user selection and points are awarded at check-in. To date, there have been more than 5 billion check-ins with Foursquare.

For any business that wants to get a return on investment, understanding the audience is still essential. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, it's best to target your message.

"Be an independent voice, relevant to the people who care about you," Hong said. "Don't try to be popular to everybody on social media."