Hello. Nick Venturella here...I'm writing to inform everyone of some directional changes and new endeavor I'm embarking on.
Nickvmedia.net will no longer exist in the way you've come to know. The nickvmedia.net site will still continue to exist, but at the domain, www.nickvmedia.weebly.com. This change will begin August 1st.
I plan to continue writing useful blog posts about marketing, online brand communications and various entrepreneurial insights, but they will be posted to my new site and blog over at www.growloop.com.
GrowLoop is my newest endeavor. I am becoming a certified life coach and with my training, entrepreneurial spirit and marketing experience I plan to offer success coaching and marketing services to help solopreneurs, creative professionals and small business owners sort through the many necessary hats you have to wear and decisions that need to be made to help your business grow successfully.
I will work with clients as their outside business partner to help them gain the most out of their investment – in their business and personal life – by being their thinking and accountability partner to help sort through the decisions that need to be made to take action quickly and confidently toward success.
The name of my company is GrowLoop. As you take action to reach your business and personal goals you become more confident and positive – that good energy is contagious, what goes around comes around, and opportunities will begin to loop back to find you.
posted by: Nick Venturella
I'm not as adamant a Facebook user as most. For the B2B kind of communication I'm most involved in I gravitate more toward LinkedIn and Twitter, but I'm interested in changing that, or rather, just adding to my social media marketing mix in a more diversified way with better Facebook activity.
The graphic below came from Fast Company's most recently published April issue. The graphic is a visual representation of current Facebook stats. Not only is it interesting to look at, but if you read the numbers they're pretty astounding. For your convenience, I've also typed out the stats shown in the graphic below the image.
With so many Facebook users you are bound to find others in your niche for business with whom you can connect. Be sure to connect for the right reasons, be human about it and sincere and be sure to use proper social media etiquette (i.e. don't be overly self-serving)
Here's a good book that can serve as a basic intro to Facebook and some of the other major social networking sites:
The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani
Facebook stats from the graphic above:
610,736,920 member profiles – that’s one for every 11 people on the planet
Based on pageviews and users, Facebook is the No. 2 site in the US, behind Google and ahead of YouTube and Yahoo.
Every 60 seconds on Facebook, users send 230,000 messages, update 95,000 statuses, write 80,000 wall posts, tag 65,000 photos, share 50,000 links – and affirm or disparage them all with half a million comments
Zynga, Facebook’s biggest app developer, has 19 games that attract 275 million users a month, sabotaging about a kajillion hours of productivity (Damn you CityVille)
Facebook takes a 30% cut of all revenue generated through its virtual currency, Facebook Credits.
Virtual goods for sale on Facebook make up an estimated $835 million market
Each month the average user creates 90 pieces of content and spends 6 hours, 2 minutes, and 59 seconds on the site.
65% of surveyed teens admit to being “Friends” with their parents, though 16% said it was a precondition for joining the site.
More than 38% of teens have ignored a friend request from Mom or Dad.
Analysts estimate that Facebook pulled in $1.86 Billion in advertising in 2010. That’s expected to grow 118% this year, to $4 billion.
Americans make up 24% of users, followed by Indonesians (6%), Brits (5%) and Turks (4%)
Brands with the most fans on Facebook: Coca-Cola (21.6 million), Starbucks (19 million), Oreo (16.2 million), Disney (15.6 million), and Red Bull (14.7 million)
I read a good post today, Raidious' Three Pillars of Social Media.
Raidious is a content marketing firm. In this post they break down some of the basics your company will want to be aware of with your online brand communications.
Basically, they break it down into three sections (or pillars): content, monitoring and moderation.
I really like what they had to say about content:
"...content is king regardless of the platform. Content is anything you post on your pages in order to interact with your customers. This could be a Facebook post, a tweet, photo, video, link, etc."
That's what I wanted to focus on for this post, content vs. platform.
I adhere to Raidious’ philosophy that the engine behind successful inbound online brand communications is regular valuable content. The content (and backlinks) is what helps your SEO. It matters less which social media platforms you use to distribute your content as long as when you do you’re making valuable connections toward new and strengthened business relationships.
This is also why it’s increasingly important for companies to have a blog as part of their website, so they can own their content. Think about it, what if Facebook ever crashed and your company lost everything that was on that platform...if you own your content you could rebuild a presence more easily on a new platform.
Posted By: Nick Venturella
Yesterday I read the Content Marketing Institute’s blog post titled, 12 Reasons to Put Blogs at the Center of Your Content Marketing, written by Heidi Cohen.
Beyond the useful tips in the post there was a line that really stood out to me in regard to blogging as a central piece of your online brand communications strategy, which was...
“From a marketing perspective, you need content at every step of the purchase process that educates and entertains without overtly promoting your offering.”
What I thought was interesting was the idea that content - various forms of communication - often in the form of the written word, is educating prospects leading them down a specific path toward a sale, but often in an entertaining way and with the prospect’s permission, because the prospect wants to go down that path.
What I’m getting at is writing good content that produces results is part art and part science, but more importantly, when it works, it works because we’ve successfully put together information on a subject that a prospect wants to know about and we’ve optimized our content online properly for that prospect to find the info we’ve created that they were seeking.
By creating the content a prospect is looking for and putting it out on the internet in a way that that prospect can find it - with a stripped down simplistic view of it - we’ve essentially empowered prospects to sell themselves.
So why is social media important to your online brand communications, or internet marketing, or inbound marketing, or content marketing - whatever you want to call it? You get the idea - it goes by many names with many facets. For the purposes of this post I’ll refer to it mainly as online brand communications.
When you really break it down into its simplest parts, what does it look like? What is at the heart of this kind of social marketing?
The basics about the appeal of online brand communications for businesses begins here:
Communication and Relationships
It all revolves around communication and relationships. Communication is the vehicle driving connection with others to form relationships (both personal and business relationships).
Friends, and friends of friends
Users of social media do so to stay in touch with friends (maintaining relationships with digital communication through a social media platform that makes it easy to do so). Users also use social media to discover new information and people (often being introduced to friends of friends in their current network - sharing and communicating among them, which exponentially spreads communications and builds farther reaching relationships - this leads us into the next bullet point)
Heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend
Discovery plays a significant role in social media and certainly in online brand communications for businesses. For each relationship maintained online, that person is a potential source of new information that can be shared with you easily because the two of you are connected online and the social media platform makes it convenient to review newly posted info from one another and others with whom you have relationships. So for example, if you and I are friends online, you likely have a whole bunch of other friends or connections online beyond me, most of whom I’m likely not directly connected to. I’m only peripherally connected by my association with you, and the same is true for you with many of my connections. Because of these varying degrees of separation and the ease of transferring communication among friends and friends of friends (due to exponential levels of direct and indirect connections) social media platforms make it easy to rapidly discover new info shared by you, your friends and your friends’ friends.
Word of mouth on steroids
Because information can be shared rapidly and exponentially across social media platforms, by way of these one to one online connections that often have vast additional indirect connections of friends by association, so many observers can see and spread the original one to one message quickly like word of mouth on steroids. That quick and rapid reach of messages delivered in a word of mouth fashion, and the cost-effective use of online social media platforms, makes this way of communicating and building business relationships attractive to companies.
Recommended reading: Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (New Rules Social Media Series), By Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah
posted by: Nick Venturella
So, I’ve recently enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (Amazon affiliate), which is a 91 day personal finance course. I do alright with my personal finance, but I’m always looking to improve.
One thing that really resonated with me in the first session was Ramsey’s description of money as being amoral. Amoral, means something is neither good, nor bad, it simply is. Ramsey speaks of money being amoral, neither good, nor bad, but it’s what we as humans do with it that makes it seem good or bad. The choices we make with money to become greedy jerks, wealthy goodhearted folks, poor resentful people or working class good souls is up to us as humans - the money just is, it doesn’t care one way or another, it’s amoral.
That got me thinking about social media, and many business’ fear of the chaos that realm may bring onto their brand. Social media is amoral, it’s neither good, nor bad, but what businesses do with their marketing and online brand communications in that arena could impact your company and it’s brand in a positive or negative way.
Something to think about.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
The following is a visual representation of an Online Brand Communications content strategy. This is an attempt to help visualize and somewhat simplify the flow of info/content in such a strategy.
Let me know your thoughts by commenting.
This morning I simply wanted to make you aware of a new section on the Nick Venturella Media site. Introducing (Do It Yourself) DIY Education. This is an online book store (Amazon affiliate) with useful and empowering books that I’ve read and recommend for other business owners and creative entrepreneurs.
You don’t always have to be in classroom or have formal education to gather the knowledge you need to run your business. I’ve learned plenty from the books in this section, in fact, the majority of my business education came from these books and my application of their ideas...and yes, failing, reflecting and improving as I keep moving forward.
What I like about learning this way is that with each book I get to piece together my own self-paced curriculum tailored to me and my business.
Within this section I plan to feature one book each month, which you’ll see right at the top of the page. This month it’s Richard Branson's book, Business Stripped Bare (Amazon affiliate), which I also reviewed in the nickvmedia brand communications blog.
posted by Nick Venturella
Annie Cat, made in Brushes app on iPhone
So here’s another iPhone Brushes painting I did (on New Year’s Eve, actually). This Brushes painting is of one of my cats.
What do these little iPhone paintings teach us about being creative entrepreneurs? To me, it’s a larger sense of enthusiasm, creativity, innovation and connectedness made possible by people using various tools to create and distribute their messages to specific audiences at a regular clip with little barriers to production and distribution - all with the idea of communicating toward building relationships.
My point is, if you’re a creative entrepreneur, or really are in any sort of business, I think it’s wise to take full advantage of the available tools to create and distribute your messages to groups and individuals with whom you wish to connect. Forget muddying it up by calling it social media or being intimidated by the technology of it all – these are simply tools to help communicate your messages to build (at least in this day and age) farther reaching relationships that you would not otherwise be able to engage in without such tools.
What's your favorite tool to communicate toward building relationships?
Posted by: Nick Venturella
If you’ve ever read the book Made to Stick (amazon affiliate) you know that one of the elements of “sticky messages”--that is messages that end up being memorable and easy to recall--is being concrete.
What the authors of Made to Stick were talking about was using commonly recognized imagery and ideas in the language used to communicate your message. In the book they give the example of Aesop’s fable about The Fox and the Grapes, which is where the term, “sour grapes,” comes from.
The fox story is concrete in that it talks about how the fox couldn’t eat the grapes hanging on the vine above him, just out of his reach. In the fox’s defeat the fox proclaims the grapes were likely sour anyway. The lesson learned was that it’s easy to despise that which we cannot obtain.
My point (really the point of the authors of Made to Stick), is to the extent you’re able try to be concrete in the way you talk about your company’s brand, in the way you display imagery regarding your company’s brand (logo, identity design, etc), in every way you outline the benefits of your products/services, etc.
Give folks clear imagery that is common enough for them to wrap their imagination around. This is extremely important in service companies that don’t necessarily have a tangible product to sell.