Q: What is social media management?
A: Social media management is the practice of promoting a business or other venture over social media platforms. Unlike using social media on a personal level, businesses must develop a coherent, consistent, proactive, and targeted social media presence. In a broader sense, social media management also includes managing a business’s online image, including its presence in review sites such as Yelp!, TripAdvisor, FourSquare, and Zomato.
This normally requires detailed planning and a fair amount to time to create original content, interact with other social media users, and respond to customer feedback. For some business owners, this kind of planning and activity is closely related to their business model and daily responsibilities. However, many business owners lack the technical expertise and/or time to effectively manage their business’ online presence.
Marino Communications assists small business and nonprofit owners/managers in creating and maintaining an engaging, attractive, and profitable social media presence. We assist owners and managers with developing, implementing, and assessing social media marketing strategies that strengthen brands, capitalize on past successes, and attract new customers.
Q: What is digital marketing?
A: Digital marketing is the use of paid advertising on digital platforms, including websites and social media. One of the most popular digital marketing platforms is Google AdWords. While digital marketing is often an important part of an effective social media management strategy, the additional tools and different marketing functions of sponsored content make it categorically different from non-promoted social media content and activities.
While digital marketing is powerful, it can also become time-consuming and confusing to business owners and managers. Which social media content is worth paying to promote? What market segments should be targeted? Marino Communications understands digital marketing, and can help owners and managers maximize its value. We help businesses and nonprofits plan, develop, implement, and analyze digital marketing campaigns.
Q: What are media relations?
A: Media relations are a proficiency in engaging and influencing mass media contributors and outlets in order to generate a popular, positive, and engaging media image. In other words, it is effectively utilizing media outlets to generate free advertising for a company, brand, or cause. Media contributors (reporters, editors, radio/TV show hosts, and guest analysts) are inundated with press releases and emails every day, as everyone is trying to make their event, product, or success story front-page news. Professional media relations services help raise the profile of a client’s event, product or success story through pre-existing networks with mass media professionals, as well as generating press releases and other content that garner media professionals’ attention and interest.
Marino Communications possesses the connections, resources, experience, and creativity to boost your organization’s media profile. Our media relations services raise the profile of our clients’ successes, support our clients’ aspirations through difficult situations, and provide a professional, experienced voice to advocate for clients’ brands, causes, and sponsors.
Q: What makes Marino Communications different from its competitors?
A: The Marino Communications difference is found in the quality of our services. We focus on markets and market segments where our services can have the most significant, positive impact on our client’s businesses and causes. We are focused on being the right communications partner for the right clients.
For small businesses and nonprofits, we focus on businesses within our home geographic region. This allows us to maximize the value of our services by serving businesses and nonprofits we can visit in-person and customize our services for, within a familiar business environment. We also only market ourselves to small and medium-sized businesses where our services can deliver a superior value. For our motorsports service lines, we focus our marketing on racing series and disciplines that the principal has knowledge of and experience working in. These focuses allow Marino Communications to deliver superior services compared to our national competitors who never visit a client business or lack sufficient motorsports knowledge to write effective, engaging press releases.
Another service difference is the many service levels that we offer. Some competitors require a monthly service plan before they will set up a business’s social media presence, or charge exorbitant account set-up fees. At Marino Communications we are happy to provide our clients with the scope and level of services they need and not oversell to make a quick buck. In the end, we are in the communications/reputation business. We would not expect our clients to trust us with their reputations if we acted haphazardly with our own reputation.
Q: What social media platforms does Marino Communications utilize?
A: Marino Communications can design and implement social media campaigns on popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Google+. We can also utilize other platforms per client needs (e.g. Ning, Meetup, etc.). For our reputation management service line, Marino Communications will monitor up to four review sites, including Yelp!, TripAdvisor, FourSquare, Google/Google Maps, and Zomato.
It should be noted that we will not attempt to get every client onto every social media platform. Each platform has strengths, weaknesses, and advantages that need to be assessed strategically and chosen based on a clients’ customer base and business goals and objectives.
Q: Does Marino Communications require a long-term commitment from its clients?
A: Absolutely not. Unlike some of our competitors who require a monthly service agreement before they will set up a client’s social media presence, Marino Communications offers both one-time, fixed price set-up services, as well as ad hoc social media strategy consulting. For our clients who do utilize our monthly service lines, our service agreements can be canceled with 30 days’ notice.
Q: What service lines does Marino Communications expect to offer in the future?
A: As an integral part of its mission, Marino Communications is continually developing new service lines or improving its ability to deliver its current service lines. For our small business and nonprofit clients, Marino Communications is currently developing search engine optimization (SEO), web design, and lobbying/government relations service lines. For our motorsports clients, Marino Communications is currently developing publicist and trade show support/representation service lines. Additional information about these future service lines will be announced at the appropriate time.
Q: How can social media and digital marketing help small businesses and nonprofits?
A: Social media and digital marketing offer small businesses and nonprofits a low-cost, highly customizable, and highly effective marketing platform. Small businesses can greatly increase the return on investment (ROI) of their advertising budgets by taking advantage of digital marketing’s targeting capabilities. Those capabilities allow small organizations to reach only the specific market segments they are targeting, and thereby increase either the quantity or quality of their advertising prowess. For B2B companies, social media is now one of the leading methods of obtaining sales leads.
Another important benefit of digital marketing is brand management. By building a strong, proactive social media presence and following, an organization’s brand will likely be perceived as much stronger than competitors who are not active on social media. This is even true for B2B companies, whose LinkedIn page will usually appear immediately before or after their website on search engine results pages. A competitor that has a stronger LinkedIn presence may appear to be a more reputable firm than your own to a potential customer.
Social media also allows for additional, more frequent contact points with existing customers. Those customers who have their questions responded to or complaints resolved over social will be left with a more favorable impression of an organization.
One of the most important aspects of building and maintaining a social media presence is making sure it is done well. An infrequently updated social media feed, poor quality content, or an overabundance of hard sales pitches can seriously weaken a brand’s image. Most importantly, not responding to criticism on business review sites can make a business appear disinterested in its customers. Marino Communications understands what it takes to build a vibrant, profitable social media presence. We help clients secure and strengthen their brand, as well as grow their customer base.
Q: What are the advantages of social media and digital marketing over traditional advertising methods?
A: Digital marketing enjoys several advantages over traditional below-the-line/direct marketing methods (direct mail, telemarketing, etc.), as well as mass media advertising. Direct mail and telemarketing require companies to obtain potential customers’ contact information in advance (either directly from customers or through buying mailing/phone lists). Social media differs from those methods in that it uses each platform’s existing database about its users’ identity and activities. This allows businesses to only use the portion of the database that its needs to complete its specific marketing objectives.
Digital marketing can also be used to target niche audiences and demographics, and therefore provide a higher ROI than mass media advertising. For large businesses, or businesses that target large segments of the American population, mass media advertising will continue to have value. However, for smaller businesses, businesses that have small target markets, or businesses that cater to younger demographics, digital marketing can be both a powerful and empowering advertising tool. Digital marketing techniques allow advertisers to focus their advertising efforts by demographics (age/gender/etc.), geographic location, and interests.
Q: What if a business does not want anything to do with social media?
A: That depends on each business’s particular situation. No business is required to have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram feed, or Tumblr blog. Some online businesses who primarily sell to consumers in popular online marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon, already have built-in feedback tools. Those businesses (presumably) already manage their online reputation in each of those marketplaces.
However, for many businesses, including many brick-and-mortar businesses, whether they like it or not, they are already on social media. Yelp!, TripAdvisor, Manta, and Google/Google Maps have created feedback tools similar to those used on eBay and Amazon.
Q: Can social media help every business?
A: Yes and no. While most every business can likely derive some benefit from creating and using a social media/digital marketing campaign, not every business can do so profitably. Just some of the factors that can influence social media/digital marketing’s ROI are a business’s clientele, geographic location, competitive advantages, personnel, size, growth strategy, and products/services. To determine whether your business or nonprofit is likely to benefit from using social media and digital marketing, please contact us.
Q: What kind of return on investment can a business expect from a social media campaign?
A: Like with other methods of advertising and public relations, there is no hard and fast percentage or statistic owners and managers should expect to obtain from digital marketing. ROI can vary based on a business’s customer base (demographic, geographic), the level of investment an organization is willing to put into a social media/digital marketing campaign, and the types of products and/or services being promoted. Additionally, a strong social media presence takes time to build and will not have as fast of a return on investment as some other forms of advertising. However, a strong social media presence can provide an organization with a lasting competitive advantage over its competitors.
One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is the data it generates. Before beginning a relationship with a client, Marino Communications takes the time to get to know each potential client’s business model and business goals. We then construct client-specific metrics that represent satisfactory performance, and regularly report on those metrics to our clients. Our clients can then analyze those metrics in relation to their bottom line to understand the impact of Marino Communications’ services on their organization’s reputation and revenue.
Q: Does Marino Communications charge potential customers for quotes?
A: For the most part, no. While we do not provide clients with step-by-step instructions for what we would or would not change or set up during an initial consultation, we are happy to review most prospective clients’ websites, social media accounts, or other materials free of charge in order to prepare a quote. We do reserve the right to not perform a review for free if the amount of time or resources needed for a proper review is deemed excessive. In many cases though, we are happy to talk with potential clients about their current situation, needs, and opportunities, as well as review their current social media, digital marketing, and media relations materials free of charge. For more information, please feel free to contact us.
Q: Is there a discount available for nonprofits?
A: Yes. Government entities and nonprofit organizations (those registered with the IRS under Section 501c, charitable and non-charitable) are eligible for a 10% discount. Please contact us for more information about this discount.
Q: What benefits can a motorsports team or sponsor expect to receive from Marino Communications services?
A: Marino Communications provides teams and riders with a professionally-managed media image that strengthens their brand, as well as helps keep sponsors satisfied. Our services will not help you go faster on track, but will help you afford to continue your professional motorsports endeavors. Our services improve your reputation with established motorsports media figures and outlets, provide additional exposure for your current sponsors, and help attract new sponsors.
This is especially important with outside-the-industry sponsors who may not be familiar with the motorsports series you compete in. Moreover, many inside-the-industry sponsors support multiple riders. If other riders who are backed by one of your sponsors are sending them press releases, getting stories in their local newspapers, and getting quoted regularly by motorsports publications, can you really afford to not take care of that sponsor in the same way?
Q: Are media relations services really a necessity for a professional motorsports team?
A: Yes and no. You do not need our services to get out on track, but may very well need our services to afford to keep going to the track. Keep in mind that sponsors are not giving you money because your are a fast rider or are a team with a fast rider. They are giving you money to advertise their brand on you and your bike. When you perform well and no one but the person reading the time sheet or seeing the billboard of race finishers on TV sees that, your sponsor is not receiving their end of the bargain. No one is seeing their logo, hearing how well their products have served your racing efforts, or seen a picture of their logo on you while you’re holding your trophy. Why would a sponsor continue an advertising relationship where their brand is not seen, heard, or praised?
Our services are also valuable for attracting new sponsorship. A competitor who is not finishing as well on the track as you is more likely to get additional sponsorship when they have press releases featured on publications’ news feeds and have professional photos on their website. Sponsors would rather be acknowledged and seen in the mid-pack than be invisible on the podium.
Q: I am a privateer racer who competes in a local or national amateur motorsports series (SCCA, WERA, CCS, NASA, etc.). Can Marino Communications’ services help me?
A: Possibly. If you are a privateer racer who does not have any ambition to become a professional motorsports competitor, our services are not as valuable to you. If you are an up-and-coming racer who has the talent to become a professional, it is important that you differentiate yourself from other up-and-coming competitors, and even established competitors and teams who do not take care of their sponsors. If the latter situation applies to you, please contact us. We would welcome the opportunity to help you win the sponsor support needed to enter and remain in the professional motorsports community.
Q: Which motorsports series do Marino Communications serve?
A: On the national level, Marino Communications primarily serves riders, teams, and sponsors who compete in the MotoAmerica Championship. Future plans call for Marino Communications to also serve teams, competitors, and sponsors in the American Flat Track and Pirelli World Challenge series. Locally, Marino Communications is happy to work with motorsports teams, competitors, tracks, and sponsors who compete in or near its home region in Western and Central New York State.
Additionally, we remain open to serving clients from outside of our target markets on a per diem basis. If your situation does not fit within one of our target markets, please contact us.
Q: Does Marino Communications have access to professional photography services?
A: Absolutely. For national events and series, Marino Communications partners exclusively with BrockImaging to provide clients with a strong, comprehensive media services package. Photography produced by Brock Imaging is utilized in press releases and other promotional materials. For local motorsports events, please contact us to make arrangements for your event or track.
Q: How does Marino Communications better serve the motorsports community than its competitors?
A: Our advantage is found in our business structure and our knowledge and experience with motorsports. We are not a large corporation that has to charge exorbitant fees in order to cover the cost of our overhead. We are also not a small firm that has no experience with motorsports and just trying to turn a quick buck.
Our principal, Michael Marino, is an avid motorsports fan who has been covering the MotoAmerica series for iHeart Media’s Two Wheel Power Hour Motorcycle Show for the last two seasons. As evidenced by his experience as a motorsports media contributor, two master’s degrees, and portfolio of social media management work, Michael is an intelligent, creative, savvy, and driven media professional who can help teams and riders find, engage, and satisfy sponsors through engaging media services products that are technically accurate enough to satisfy inside-the-industry sponsors, as well as engaging and creative enough to attract and excite outside-the-industry sponsors and media outlets.