These 5 Pieces of Social Media Video News will Change Small Business Marketing

16 Jul

When it comes to engagement, video is a vividly colored unicorn. It captures the eye, draws the user in, and holds their attention for a longer duration.

Video certainly isn’t new on social media, but there have been recent changes that directly impact publishers and video marketing specialists. In case these didn’t fall onto your radar, here are 5 social media video news announcements that are worthy of your attention.

  1. Facebook Opens Watch to More Creators

Facebook is giving creators and publishers more tools in their video-oriented arsenal by expanding its offerings.

Originally, Watch was only going to feature original programming and content. However, Facebook decided to include videos from Pages as well, and a larger number of creators will be eligible. To help find the ideal creators, the Facebook for Creators Launchpad program will assist in identifying candidates.

Additionally, new revenue opportunities will also be available. This can be a boon for organizations that were harmed by monetization changes on channels like YouTube, giving creators and publishers additional options for their content.

You must apply to join the program, which will focus on longer, engaging, and authentic content.

  1. Instagram Launches IGTV

When it comes to video, YouTube is the unicorn in the space. But Instagram wants to change that though it’s new standalone app, IGTV.

IGTV will welcome long-form video, including hour-long uploads. Plus, the content will be displayed as full-length vertical videos, keeping people from having to shift their phone between the portrait to landscape orientations to use the app.

Instagram has 1 billion users and has seen a 60 percent increase in the amount of video being consumed on the platform. IGTV is attempting to capitalize on the interest in video.

Advertising isn’t on the platform yet, but that will likely change quickly once the platform gains a following.

  1. Parents Make Their Voices Heard

Over recent years, parents have been increasingly vocal when it comes to concerns over the YouTube’s algorithms. Multiple incidents involving content being directed to children that is not kid-friendly, disturbing, negative, or destructive created varying levels of uproar.

YouTube has been working to improve its algorithms, but growing pains have led to some missteps. Additionally, the sheer volume of content created additional challenges, requiring the company to hire more staff members to moderate activities on the platform.

  1. Facebook Messenger to Introduce Autoplay Ads

A feature that is already available through News Feeds and on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, autoplay ads will soon be arriving on Facebook Messenger. The ads will display in a sponsored portion of the main feed in the Messenger app, and all advertisers are eligible for the program.

While this could present companies with an opportunity to engage with a wider audience, users have mixed feelings about autoplay ads in general. At this point, only a small number of users are being exposed to the ads, and Facebook is gauging their reaction before rolling it out to additional users.

  1. Biggest VidCon Ever

VidCon, a convention that attracts online video content creators and video platforms, saw its highest attendance records when the event kicked off on June 20, 2018. While YouTube usually dominated the conference, every major player came in this year to tout their capabilities.

Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, and Snapchat all made their presence known, particularly since many creators have grown frustrated with YouTube over demonetization, the high amount of competition, and other changes made by the company.

Ultimately, the world of social media video is changing rapidly, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future thanks to the popularity of video on the platforms. New opportunities for companies will continue to emerge, and those who are vigilant can take advantage of them early, creating a strong mechanism for staying ahead of the competition while engaging with a wider user base.

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How to Use Social Media as an Effective B2B Customer Service Tool for Active Engagement and Brand Building

9 Jul

Did you know that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others?

Not long ago, businesses would focus on newspapers and advertising through print. They still do, but clearly, digital media has taken over a major share of the branding budget in 2018. Now with smartphones and social media technology, businesses prefer to surf the tide of customer service using new-age marketing technologies. Social Media Marketing clearly demonstrates how technology amplifies brand messaging and meets new benchmarks in customer service benchmarks.

B2B marketing insights incorporated in social media are effective methods for traffic generation, interactive engagement and brand association.

Customer centricity is the pillar of any B2B or B2C social media marketing concept. A consistent rhythm of working through engagement campaigns is what makes the B2B social media marketing sphere ever dynamic and progressive.

To-do list for a strong social media marketing campaign

A number of businesses use the wrong path while pursuing leads on social media. The marketing technique used here must be effective in analyzing the weak links and strengthening those that have the potential to be efficient and affordable. In order to execute a robust social media campaign, follow these specifics:

Dedicate time to understand the intricacies of social media

A number of social media marketing tips are prevalent online, but the key goal here is to experiment, understand, and then pursue the ultimate goal. Curiosity is the key here, folks.

Listen to your clients/customers for valuable information

Having certain leads for ongoing commentary/advice or recommendations on feeds, posts or campaigns is important. Customers shall leave in positive or negative responses, but analysis of both reactions are important.

Real-time conversations exist and must be utilized

In the current world of rapidly growing technology and speed; unhappy customers who wish to communicate must be given importance to. Responsive time management is crucial. An auto-reply response generated by social media platforms would be an added bonus here. This will help customers in having a waiting time allotted, after which a real-time conversation can smoothly flow.

Social media marketing management

Many marketers aim to target 4-5 social media platforms at once, and this causes friction between coordination and calculation of insights. The to-do list here would be to focus on one platform with the right content and then expand eventually, after achieving the desired target.

Measuring Targets

No social media campaign has been proclaimed as “effective” without measuring targets and analyzing social media growth. According to DMA, “56% are using engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares, and retweets) to measure the success of social media.”

The objective is the same and it applies to both small business and enterprises; build structured content and then present it to the right audience. This fuels the audience for active engagement and tracks performance accordingly. Social media marketing has become a prerequisite, one that is implemented by businesses for overall presence. It also impacts the effect social networks have on users.

Content for Social Media Marketing

Posting content for social media has to be productive and valuable. The concept of quality over quantity is a must. There are numerous ways of generating content which in return will create leads and direct traffic.

Infographics

The addition of digital Infographics to your social media marketing campaign is a fun and quick way of transcribing the message to an audience. Infographics are fluent to understand and can give the user a massive break from monotony. Do make sure that the content made available via the infographic is visually appealing and productive towards your target audience.

User Generated Content or UGC

Content created by unpaid contributors is explained as UGC. This method of capitalizing on engagement taps into psychological behavior by analyzing how consumers react to stimuli presented by the company. This helps the company understand KPIs in analyzing crowd response and user-generated ideas/thoughts.

GIFs

GIF translates to the Graphic Interchange Format. GIF is an image format in which visual files can be shared and viewed. The format supports both animated and static images. GIFs are gaining popularity in the social media platform and add interesting visual components to a company’s portfolio. Incorporating GIFs into a social media marketing strategy will be a relatively new feature. Yet it will be approved by the fresh urban crowd of today because of its quirky and fun-filled appeal.

Concept Visualization

Visualizing a single concept with self-explanatory graphs, charts and paragraphs will be easy to implement in a company’s social media strategy. Embedding such visuals shall boost a company’s website and social media game since digestible facts are easier to consume, in comparison to solid bricks that are difficult to chew! These graphics are also shareable and commentary received on interesting topics can help you leverage metrics on the decided social media campaign.

Social Media and Social Media Marketing Tools

Due to the rapidly developing internet hype, social media users have reached an all-time high! Most of the social media users excessively leverage specific social networking sites to distribute content and increase traffic/leads.

Apart from the common social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube— Marketers can also leverage other social media tools that can help blend content seamlessly and increase engagement.

To hone language and improve the quality of content, below are 3 popular tools for social media marketers in the fields of calculating outreach, scaling images and video editing.

Percentage Calculator

Percentage Calculator is a free online tool which is used to calculate percentages. This is especially beneficial for social media marketers who find it time-consuming to analyze the increase and decrease of outreach for social media posts. With percentage calculator, the regular marketer can help turn raw data into definite percentages.  Instead of structuring correct mathematical formulas, the app can simplify a task by entering numbers into the calculator’s sentence based structure. It helps in doing the computation for you, significantly transforming the digital platform.

Landscape by Sprout Social

Landscape by Sprout Social efficiently scales the sizes of images for social media. Each social media network has different image sizes and coverage. For an image to fit all platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn; cropping, resizing and positioning are required. Landscape makes this easy by catering to needs of image editing by providing a platform fit for all. Landscape performs these edits with no compromises. After uploading the image to Landscape/SproutSocial, Landscape caters to different options for you. Landscape systematically resizes images meant for every platform, thus making your task simple and organized. It’s a free tool and comes with a download tab after edits, hence simplifying your social media managing platform.

Magisto

Magisto is a super-cool AI-powered video editing tool. Simply upload videos/movie clips or audio files from the desktop or smartphone app. Magisto will analyze faces, objects, camera motion or people; synching the music beats to the video footage. You can choose an edit amongst those provided either on the mobile app or website, and the results will be astonishing!

Social media is an efficacious medium for marketers and for business solutions. It fosters communication by augmenting social media marketing with key metrics is a definite way of calculating the effectiveness of strategy campaigns. The results are pure, rapid and valuable. With digitalization, social media marketing is the ideal way of connecting to an audience in a redefined driven innovation.

How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Company’s Other Marketing Efforts

2 Jul

While social media is a solid path for expanding and deepening brand awareness, it’s unlikely to be your company’s only marketing strategy. Other avenues—from content marketing to corporate events to traditional tactics—can take up significant portions of your advertising budget.

A 2016-17 study from Gartner illustrates that the average company spends 12 percent of its annual revenue on marketing. And while 92 percent of marketers agree that social media is important to their business, that doesn’t mean your social efforts must exist in their own silo, separate from your company’s other campaigns.

Instead, elevating every campaign in a way that allows them to work together will help you get the most out of your limited budget.

Rather than looking at each arm of your company’s marketing as its own distinct effort, try these methods to link them with your social media approach and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts:

Experiential event marketing

Events are a great way to make a positive impression on potential customers, and marketers across the board have taken notice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the event industry is predicted to experience 44 percent growth from 2010 through 2020, which exceeds the growth predictions for most other industries.

While it would certainly seem obvious to connect events with social, EventTrackreports that a full 11 percent of brands apparently fail to use social media in conjunction with their in-person events.

But utilizing social media to broaden the reach of your event marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. According to Darren Wilson, president of bluemedia, it could be something as simple as a photo booth: “All you need is the booth itself and a way to link it to social media so customers can share their pictures. Choose tech elements that fit both your team and your event.”

According to the Event Marketing Institute, 74 percent of event attendees leave an event with a more positive opinion of whatever was being promoted, whether it was a company, brand, product or service. Linking this boost with a well-orchestrated social media blitz can extend the positivity to consumers at large, even if they didn’t experience the event firsthand.

Word of mouth

64 percent of marketing execs believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. They have good reason to think so, as this form of marketing drives around $6 trillion in annual customer spending, with research suggesting that it accounts for as much as 13 percent of all consumer sales.

While marketers can’t force customers to sing their praises on social media, they can make it much easier by providing the tools for them to do so. Sandbox VR is doing just that. The company provides an immersive, all-encompassing virtual reality experience to its users, using its technology and location-based capabilities to drop its participants into zombie rumbles and pirate standoffs. Players are given a shareable video showing a side-by-side comparison of their personal Matrix-like VR experience and what an outside observer would see looking at the green screen.

Sandbox VR’s proprietary “Demand Generation Engine” builds real-time mixed-reality videos made specifically for social sharing to nurture the word-of-mouth marketing that generates prospective customers.

On-site content

Social media is a vital component of any well-executed on-site strategy. To generate inbound marketing opportunities, 53 percent of marketers tout blog content as a top priority, and blogs have been rated the fifth-most-trusted source of accurate online information. Social sharing of your blog content will increase engagement on your company website, in addition to building trust in your social platform as a valuable resource.

94 percent of people who share posts do so because they find them helpful and think others might, too. When you can promote social sharing of your blog posts, the result is increased engagement with not just individual posts, but your entire social media campaign.

Traditional media buys

Media buying has expanded far beyond TV and radio ads. In an average week’s primetime TV hours, YouTube reaches more people 18 and older on mobile devices than any of the cable networks do on television. In fact, while watching TV, two-thirds of YouTube viewers are watching the platform on another screen—and it’s probably during the TV ads.

A well-placed hashtag or effort to encourage social sharing goes a long way, and since TV ads often enjoy an extended life on YouTube, those efforts can be extended by including your video ads in social posts. In general, social video generates an astounding 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined. Complementing your media buys with your social campaign will result in much higher viewership of those ads and much higher engagement on your social accounts.

Social media receives incredible amounts of attention, and the biggest companies in the world have entire teams devoted to winning customers over with their social media accounts. Still, it isn’t a complete marketing solution.

Use your position as a social marketer to interact with your customers and encourage them to help you build hype by providing fun, easily shareable content for them to broadcast to their networks. If you use social media in the right ways, it will elevate all your other marketing efforts and improve your return on investment by a hefty margin.

Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Effective? Here’s How You’ll Know

25 Jun

With more than 50 million businesses owning a Facebook Business Page and 94 percent of B2B organizations relying on LinkedIn for content marketing and distribution, it is clear that social media is continuing to grow.

With so many new businesses breaking into Social Media, it is no wonder they can often times feel overwhelmed and find it hard to determine the impact it is having for their business.

Social media ROI comes down to having a strong understanding of what your goals are, what you plan to do, and what you’re looking to get out of it.

Let’s review some key steps to building a social media strategy that results in definite ROI.

Social Media ROI Definition

ROI is getting a return. Obvious, right?

But when it comes down to how to calculate social media ROI, it isn’t just the result of revenue minus expenses.

ROI is value received in return of an investment.

The value you receive as a return on your social media marketing investment might include increased:

  • Customer lifetime value: Transactions —  sales
  • Customer referral value: Referrals — leads, traffic
  • Customer influence value: Word of mouth — branding, reach
  • Customer knowledge value: Information — market research

You might be interested to know that engagement is the social media metric most important to respondents of Search Engine Journal’s 2017 state of digital survey.

Recent research in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science connects customer engagement strategy to marketing goals, like customer acquisition, growth including cross-selling and upselling, and retention.

If the value you’re looking for isn’t something that social can provide, then what’s the point of investing in social?

If it is, then it’s time to set your Social Media goals.

How to Determine Social Media ROI

ROI is getting a return. ROI isn’t just a number.

You need to know where your audience is most active and the platform they are using. You need to evaluate your internal resources and Then understand the investment of time and energy for quality updates.

Once you have your setup, then you determine what is the ROI — understanding your goal and what you’re getting out of it. Then you can understand the return. Here are a few tips to help you figure it out:

1. Know your social media goal.

First determine what social media means to your company.

What’s your reason for jumping on social media. Is it realistic?

From driving leads, sales, and traffic to automating or scaling customer service to information gathering, a social media campaign may make a lot of sense.

There are many different goals that will influence how you utilize social media as a whole, such as:

  • Increased website traffic

  • Increased leads

  • Increased sales

  • Increased customer engagement

  • Reduced cost of customer service

  • Information

  • Exposure to a new audience

By the way, obtaining information from your current or potential customers is a commonly overlooked goal. And I urge you not to forget the value of data.

2. Align your social media activity to your resources.

For this step, you should absolutely look inward.

If your whole company is on Facebook regularly, knows its features and community expectations and participates on Facebook naturally, well, you see where I’m going with this.

Better ROI might come from not having to hire a new person for Facebook.

Developing your social media strategy is more than throwing a body on an initiative and hoping it comes out well.

3. Reality check the social channel.

Before you jump on social, consider the longevity of the channel.

Snapchat’s growth has become stagnant, down to around 2 percent quarter to quarter, as of Q1 2018. With Instagram growing to become one of the most popular social networks worldwide, it seems only a matter of time before they replace Snapchat all together.

Facebook Pages are becoming less visible. A recent Facebook News Feed algorithm update reduces the chances for Facebook Page content to be seen as much in the organic News Feed. Depending on how things progress, traffic from Facebook could continue to dwindle.

Obviously, developing a strategy for a platform in its sunset days doesn’t make sense for ROI.

4. Analyze your data to determine ROI.

At the end of the day, you’ve started with a clear goal in sight and designed a campaign that matched your goal to your audience to a channel and your resources.

You put tracking in place and assigned a value to your metric. With the performance data rolling in and everything in front of you, you can ask the question: Did this campaign show ROI?

Say, for example, your goal was traffic and your campaign ran on Facebook. You posted content combining statistics and great images. As a result you got a 2-3 times increase in website page views over the lifetime of the campaign. That’s a campaign that demonstrated ROI.

What do you want social to give you to make you feel good at the end of a campaign?

5 Social Media Tips to Help You Drive Sales

18 Jun

The evolution of social media and technology has completely reshaped marketing. Today, data is plentiful and insights are easy to gather, allowing social media savvy marketers to drive tremendous results.

Social media allows you to build a loyal following and share your message in a unique way, resulting in generating sales and ultimately building a successful business. It’s quickly becoming one of the most effective forms of online marketing. Here are five tips to helps you use social media to drive more sales for your business.

  1. Use the same handle for all of your social profiles.

It’s important to use the same handle on all social media — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. While it sounds like a small detail, it’s a branding play that can have a significant impact on your growth across social media.

Consumers have become accustomed to remembering usernames, and most assume a brand’s handle is the same across the board. Something as simple as maintaining a consistent brand, username-wise, ensures that you will always be found, regardless of the social media platform.

Personally, when I am creating a new consumer brand from the ground up, I always make sure the brand name handle is available on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Once I know they are all available, along with the exact-match “.com” domain, I will begin my trademark research.

  1. Re-post content from real people using your product.

There is no better testimonial than real people posting about your product on social media. Re-posting this content on your social media pages is more effective than any forced-advertising. You are letting actual customers do the selling and convincing for you.

By sharing content created by consumers who have already purchased your product (or use your service), you are putting out content that instills trust. Consumers love reviews and endorsements by real users — give them incentive to create this content for you. Create a branded hashtag and incentivize its use by creating contests or giveaways.

  1. Target the social networks your audience is active on.

You don’t need to have a social presence on every platform, but you do need to have a strong presence on the platform’s your audience is active on.

  1. Speak your audience’s language.

When building a relationship with consumers, it’s important that you use their vernacular.

This is especially true if you are asking a user to take a specific action — like comment on a post, tag their friends or even purchase one of your products. A great way to show that you understand your target consumers is to speak their language and use keywords, phrases or emojis that resonate with them.

When you make that personal connection, your audience is more receptive to your marketing message. Let your brand voice and personality shine.

  1. Link to the product you’re trying to sell.

At the end of the day, driving sales from your social media efforts is all about making it easy for your followers to convert into customers. If it’s complicated in any way, a potential customer will turn their attention elsewhere.

Make it seamless for consumers to click-through from your social media page to your website. You can include links in your bios, as well as within your content. If a user can’t access your product page in one or two clicks, your conversions will be extremely low. The social networks are constantly making changes to help their business users perform well, like Instagram’s product tagging.

Social Media Engagement is the New Social Media Marketing

11 Jun

Social media is as much about engagement with other people as it is about sharing content.

It’s why we call it “social” media.

Here are just a few reasons why social media engagement is a vital part of any social media marketing strategy.

  1. Simply broadcasting content results in low reach and referral traffic

Over the last few years, organic reach (on Facebook in particular) has dropped so dramatically that some people have questioned the viability of organic posting at all.

In 2017, Buzzsumo analyzed 880 million Facebook posts and uncovered a sharp decline in engagements. This is linked to a perceived push by social media platforms to encourage brands to use advertising to boost their reach.

In 2018, Facebook also announced that they would change their post ranking algorithm to prioritize personal posts over brand page posts in the News Feed. A key part of the change is that they are using “meaningful engagement” as an important signal that a post should be prioritized.

In other words, posts with more active and thoughtful interactions will get more reach.

  1. People expect businesses to respond on social media, and fast

Twitter and Facebook have become the first places people go to for customer support, product enquiries or just to say thank you to businesses.

Back in 2013 it was estimated that 67% of consumers use Facebook and Twitter for customer service, and that was five years ago! With the rise of Facebook Messenger usage, that number is likely to have trended upwards as over 8 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses on Messenger alone each month.

The speed at which business respond is also important. According to research commissioned by Twitter in 2016, 71% of their users expect a response within an hour.

  1. Social media engagement increases loyalty and generates word of mouth.

People love positive interactions with brands on social media.

There’s also a ton of data that suggests that answering complaints on social media increases customer advocacy and reduces churn. For example, Jay Baer’s research found that answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by as much 25%.

On the flipside, in Sprout Social’s research they discovered that 30% of customers who are shunned by brands on social media are more likely to switch to a competitor.

What’s more – social media experiences are, by design, both public and easy to share. This creates a compounding impact on positive experiences, compared to say, an email exchange or phone call.

The benefits of social media engagement seem clear, so why haven’t more brands fully embraced it as a marketing strategy?

I believe there are three key challenges that, on the surface, seem quite daunting for marketers and their organizations.

  1. Finding the resources to engage with all relevant conversations
  2. Quality control: maintaining a consistent, authentic voice and tone
  3. Measuring the impact of social media engagement

The best brands on social media turn these challenges into opportunities, and this is how you can nail your social media engagement too.

After Facebook and Snapchat, What’s Next for Social Media Marketing?

4 Jun

We’re in an interesting time, to say the least, for social media marketing.

Today, for most large brands, small businesses and creators, it’s hard to stand out from the digital noise on social media without investing large sums of money into advertising and content that includes investing in resources (people) for graphic design and video production.

In spite of the social media landscape continuously evolving through algorithm changes and Snapchat’s recent redesign, which has made it harder for users to get views on their content in both cases, there’s still value to be had from a sales and marketing standpoint if businesses go back to the basics of 1-to-1 marketing and accept the reality that organic reach is depressed without ad spend.

Is Snapchat for business dead?

For the greater part of two years, Instagram has made significant improvements to its platform that have resulted in a mass movement of marketers and creators who once believed that Snapchat would, in fact, be the next Facebook over to Instagram. A recent poll in the Social Media Masterminds group on Facebook indicated that less than 10 percent of professionals are using Snapchat in their business. While Snapchat is not dead completely, the potential reach isn’t there for most businesses unless their target demographic is between the ages of 13 and 24 years old.

Facebook ads

Whether you’re a florist, a local gardener or a dry-cleaning company, the easiest way to reach local buyers in your city or town is through Facebook ads. Personally, I work with real estate agents and I often recommend setting aside a minimum Facebook ad budget of $300 per month or $10 per day to get their content in front of the right audience versus posting their content to an unknown user base. With such a small percentage of page fans seeing your content these days, running Facebook ads is not an option – it’s a requirement.

Chatbots and AI

Bots are a practical tool for businesses that can’t invest in hiring a dedicated community or social media manager. Within your own Facebook page you can set up a Messenger bot assistant within a couple of minutes (for free) whereby anytime someone clicks on the “Send Message” button on your page she will receive an auto-reply message whereby you can let your visitor know that you’re currently away but to leave you a message and you will get in touch ASAP.