Archive | February, 2015

Social Media Marketing To Increase 126 Percent In 5 Years

23 Feb

Social media marketing is a trend that no progressive brand can ignore anymore, despite the natural conservatism of larger companies. The latest CMO survey shows that all marketing spending is going to increase over the next five years as a result of positive economic predictions. Social media marketing will also increase by both small and big business.

According to Forbes, it will be the major trend, along with growth of mobile, digital marketing in general, and analytics spending.

“Digital marketing is expected to grow by 14.7% next year compared to a negative growth rate of 1.1% for traditional advertising… Second, marketing spend on mobile is expected to almost triple from 3.2% to 9% of marketing budgets in the next three years. Third, marketing spend on social media is expected to increase 126% over the next five years, from currently 9.9% of marketing budgets to 22.4%.”

It seems that business just starts to fully realize what is social media marketing is capable of in terms of promotion and market analysis, and its share in overall marketing spend will steadily increase over the years.

“Most social networks are networks of people who know each other in ‘real life’. This means that there’s a very good chance they’re going to be local to each other and if you can get a satisfied customer to share their experience it’s going to be seen by plenty more people in your target area.”

The usage of social media for marketing purposes encompasses both promotion and data analysis, which is only to be expected, considering what an important part of our everyday lives they constitute. Sometimes the amount of information and the way it is collected can get downright creepy. For example, according to an Inquisitr report, Ditto Labs scan and analyze the photos of users to find out more about them and define trends for their customers.

“Marketers such as Ditto Labs are using image scanning software to mine the photos posted on social media sites such as Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest, and they aren’t just looking at the brands we prefer. They are checking facial expressions and the backgrounds of pictures to help them better understand social media users.”

Social media marketing opens an entire world of possibilities for businesses; the ability to creep out customers being one of them.

 

Facebook Business Manager – are you ready?

16 Feb

By now, most advertisers would have been notified by Facebook Ads to migrate to Business Manager – a tool to help businesses and agencies manage Pages, ad accounts and permission levels. With the increasing complexity of advertising activities and teams involved with Facebook advertising, this is necessary tool that would bring about many positive benefits for advertisers in the long run.

So how do we get started? The migration can be a complex process for Advertisers and Agencies with several ad accounts and pages, so you need to plan before you act.

Follow these recommendations set out by Facebook

Identify who should set up the Business Manager
As the first step you’ll need to identify a person in the company who will set up the Business Manager. Here are a few criteria that will help you identify the right person. They must be an admin on the primary Facebook
Page to set up Business Manager. The initial admin could be:

  • The person who manages the business’ primary Facebook Page and permissions, or the business’ main ad account.
  • A ‘social media manager’ or similar role who oversees and manages social media accounts and teams for the business.
  • The person responsible for onboarding new team members, setting up company emails and giving them access to the tools they need to do their job.

After identifying who should set up the Business Manager, add other admins for additional support. All admins have the same level access and there is no master admin role.

All admins will be able to give access to partners (ex: media agencies, creative agencies, social agencies and PMDs) to work on their Pages and ad accounts.
Build the right structure – basic guidelines

  • Create one Business Manager for each line of credit or currency.
  • If the company operates in a way that is siloed with limited transparency across lines of businesses(brands, divisions, regions), create one Business Manager for each line of business.
  • If the company has open transparency across lines of businesses, create one Business Manager and use labels to organize business assets for teams within a single business.

Potential considerations for businesses and agencies
Pages

  • Global Pages do not necessarily need to be together, depending on the business’s preference.
  • Admins should not share logins and/or personal login credentials across different Business Managers. Add as many admins as your business needs to manage team permissions on ad accounts and Pages. All admins have equal access in Business Manager, there is no “master admin” with more control than another.

Ad accounts

  • If you have a business-owned direct line of credit with Facebook that is not shared to other Business Managers, your business can now set up new ad accounts using the self-service tool after a one-time set up. Please reach out to your Facebook rep to facilitate the set up.
  • Claiming an ad account in Business Manager is a permanent action, once taken it cannot be removed. Make sure you’ve thought through the best structure for your business before going through this step.

How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working?

9 Feb

As the owner of a digital lead generation firm perhaps there is no question I get asked more than “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 for my keywords?” The answer isn’t so simple, because the question itself is misguided (no offense). The question is born from an understanding of SEO that was once the reality but no longer is.

New SEO vs Old SEO

Once upon a time the strategy was to identify those keywords that were the most relevant to your business, got the most traffic, and weren’t very competitive. It used to be you would figure out 5-10 keywords that were your “golden keywords” and would bring in the majority of your traffic. When someone comes to us and says “I need to be #1 for such and such keyword,” we know they’re stuck in that paradigm. That keyword strategy is wrong, because with rarer and rarer exceptions, there is no one keyword, and no small group of keywords, that is going to drive a lot of traffic to your website–at least not compared to what you can get from the long tail of search. The bottom line is that if you’re focusing on a small group of generic keywords, you’re probably not being found by most of the people who are searching for you.

SEO today is increasingly driven by natural language search, that is, people doing searches that are more like normal questions than two or three keywords. This is happening because people are using tools like Siri and Google Now to speak their searches, rather than typing them in. And because people are including more detail in their typed searches as they seek to find what they’re looking for faster. These keywords are much easier to rank for, because they’re not as competitive. They are much more relevant because they include more detail, and therefore traffic from these keywords converts at a higher rate. And in aggregate, the number of searches in the long tail often adds up to many more searches than you would get from your “golden keywords.” Therefore the objective, when it comes to rankings, is not to rank for a few top keywords that remain the same over time, but to focus on a much larger number of natural language searches that is growing and changing rapidly.

Rankings Don’t Matter As Much As You Think They Do
Rankings matter. But they’re not the metric you should be focusing on. If, by asking “How long does SEO take to start working?” you mean “How long will it be before I get top rankings?” then you’re mistaking outputs for outcomes, as SEER Interactive founder Wil Reynolds is fond of saying. Getting rankings is an output SEO firms can easily sell because they’re emotionally satisfying, but they’re worthless unless they generate leads or sales–the outcome you want. That’s why you should only hire SEO firms or SEO professionals who focus on outcomes, rather than outputs.

The Question You Should Be Asking

Now that you know how SEO has changed and that you want leads and sales from your SEO firm rather than just rankings, the question you should be asking is “How long will it take for SEO to start generating leads and sales?”

How Long It Takes For SEO To Start Working

Now we’re ready to answer the right question. And the answer is…it depends. Frustrating, isn’t it? But it’s the truth. What does it depend on? It depends on how long your website has been around, how much SEO has been done on it previously, what shape the website is in, how much content is on it, its link profile, and many other SEO factors (see infographic below). No two websites are starting from the same place, even if they’re in the same industry and competing for the same customers. However, here is a plausible scenario for what your SEO efforts might look like during the initial months, and the results you might expect.

Month 1 – Research and discovery, website audit, keyword strategy, and planning. If research and discovery can be done quickly, then technical changes may start being made to the website within the first month. In other cases a thorough research and discovery phase can last more than one month.
Month 2 – Begin technical SEO work, that is, making modification to the website based on site audit results. In some cases the website needs to be overhauled, and this of itself can take months. Other SEO activities such as working on the link profile and building content can be done at the same time the overhaul is happening. If you find yourself in this overhaul situation, you’ll be doing “SEO” but you still won’t be seeing any results at all, since the changes being made will only start to have an impact once they’re finished.
Month 3 – Start focusing on content creation. Blogging, FAQs, whitepapers, articles, expanded product and company information, etc. Ideally you would have started on this right after the strategy and planning, but often budgets restrict what can be done at once, and so a technical overhaul needs to come first. This being the case, you might start seeing some improvements in rankings by the end of this month. If those rankings are translating into leads or sales then even better, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect them yet.
Month 4 – Continued content creation, technical optimization of the website, and development of a healthy link profile (which may include cleaning up low quality links). By this month you could expect to see a marked increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation. It won’t be anywhere close to the improvements you should 12 months into your SEO efforts, but it should be significant enough that you know SEO is working.
Month 5 – By this month or perhaps earlier in the process you may have started incorporating social media management into your plan to amplify your content and increase direct traffic to your website. This can lead to a healthy, natural link profile, and of course generate leads in and of itself. You would continue with content creation and perhaps engage in some PR or media outreach. You should be seeing more and more traffic coming in from SEO at this point, and your leads should be growing as a result.
Month 6 – If your traffic has reached 5,000 visitors per month or more by this point, you could benefit from adding conversion rate optimization to your efforts to improve how the traffic you’re receiving converts into leads and/or sales. From this point on, your activities may be consistently focused on content creation and promoting that content, or you may be doing things that are more creative. The specific activities can vary greatly depending on what type of company you are and what kind of website you have.

Many SEO firms will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. That’s generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you’re getting at 6 months should be considerably less than what you’re getting at 12 months. At some point, you may see your results taper off, and then it may be a matter of maintaining results rather than growing them.

Don’t Stop Too Soon

Many companies underestimate how much time and money it takes to be successful with SEO. Success by any standard rarely comes within the first 3 months, even with a healthy SEO budget. I’ve seen companies get started the right way, but quit after 2 to 3 months and say “We just weren’t getting the results we needed to justify the cost.” This tells me they went into the exercise with unrealistic expectations. If you can’t budget for 6 to 12 months of SEO, you might be better off putting that budget somewhere else. Paying for just a few months of SEO is, in many cases, no better than throwing your money away. SEO is a long term marketing tactic, and shouldn’t be seen as a way to generate sales quickly. However, if you make the proper investment, and plan on being in it for the long haul, SEO is a marketing tactic with one of the best ROIs out there.

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing “Success”

2 Feb

Defining “success” on social media isn’t easy for brands. It’s often an early step in an increasingly complex customer journey, and there are heaps and heaps of data. Given that, many marketing departments feel overwhelmed by the data and don’t know what to do with it, so they end up relying on the easy metrics to pick out to define social marketing success. For example, Facebook makes the number of page likes very obvious and Twitter puts the follower count front and center. As a result, marketers lack true, actionable insights from social and the channel ends up being less effective than it should be.

For brands to participate on social media, it requires an investment. It takes time and energy, and increasingly, it takes a monetary investment. We’ve been big preachers of social marketers proving their value and their success in terms of ROI, but for so long, the “experts” of social media have played fast and loose with what ROI means for social.

In this post, we’ll explore the evolution of what that “R” means when it comes to social media.

In 2007, Facebook finally let organizations create brand pages. It was touted, essentially, as free marketing access to Facebook’s growing audience of highly desirable young adults. For brands, just reaching that audience and getting a message in front of them was “success”. In the ROI equation, with a very little “I”, the “R” didn’t have to be very substantial from a business goal perspective.

As the social networks continued to grow and mature, social marketers also became more sophisticated. Brands realized how powerful social marketing could be and began investing in bigger teams and more thought-out social strategies.

The power of the network was a massive attribute of the channel that marketers had to capitalize on, but perhaps more importantly, for the first time, customers could make an impact by communicating back. The two-way communication created a big opportunity, but also had a lot of risk.

Sure, before social media customers could call customer service and make a complaint, or make a scene in a store, but with social media, their complaints could be seen by their peers and other customers of the brand, creating a much larger impact. Brands reacted and started to use social media as a major customer service channel — putting out fires, engaging with customers, and learning about their wants and needs.

At this stage, sentiment analysis and social listening became really important. Brands wanted to make sure that complaints were taken care of, and social marketers were tasked with creating positive engagement: likes, favorites, follows, and positive comments.

Over the last year or two, Facebook’s algorithm has become more important than ever. Due to the massive amount of content that people are sharing, as well as pressure on Facebook to generate revenue, the news feed algorithm has squeezed down hard on brands’ organic posts. And it’s not just Facebook. Twitter, too, has seen an increase in content, resulting in clogged feeds, and some sort of feed algorithm is expected this year. As a result, it’s practically a requirement for brands to have some paid social component. And with any serious paid component, managers and executives want to see a real ROI. The value of a “like” or “favorite” or even a follower on social is highly debatable, and for most businesses, won’t cut it as a business metric. They want conversions and proof that their investment in social media marketing is creating revenue.

Just this week — while I was writing this post — Facebook basically announced that clicks don’t matter, conversions and sales do. It’s the next step in social marketing success. Now that the actual ends (sales) can be accurately measured, the less predictive indicators (likes, impressions, etc.) aren’t as important.

Social media was always on this course. It was only a matter of time for the technology of the social platforms to mature and for social marketers to become comfortable and well-versed with the relatively new channel.

Brands that measure their social success with likes and follows will struggle to make a real impact in their organization. On the other hand, those that realize that social can move the business needle, and evolve their social measurement accordingly, will see success.