Archive | June, 2015

Social Media Trends that will Shape Marketing Over the Next Decade

29 Jun

It’s 2015 and brands have figured out how to best use social media for business. The last decade was filled with trial-and-error attempts to succeed as the operating environment evolved. However, the same trends that created this environment have continued to develop and unless brands adapt, their efforts at digital engagement will be a waste. Marketers must update their strategies for social media, because over the next 10 years it will be:

  1. Evolving

The way consumers use sites and the way brands participate and engage have changed fundamentally over the past 10 years. Brands must discontinue the tactics that worked in 2005 and adopt customer relationship and engagement strategies that harness data for long-term growth.

  1. Shoppable

Social media has long escaped the scrutiny of the chief financial officer and it’s time for brands to monetize social media efforts. Fashion brands, such as Burberry and Ralph Lauren, understand this and have made their runway videos shoppable. Now, every brand should incorporate financial calls to action in social media content.

  1. Snackable

Consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to digest long-form content. When browsing, users want to get to the heart of the message as quickly as possible. The more snackable a brand makes its content, the more social it will be. Easy to understand means easy to share, which translates into better results for content and campaigns.

  1. Automated

Currently, ad placement and publishing in social is a manual process. This will evolve to better utilise data and computers. Most advertisers are already shifting display and video budgets into this type of media buying, and social media will follow suit. Why? All consumers hate ads because of interruption, irrelevance and clutter. Programmatic placement (the insertion of ads and native content into social media sites) can help drive context, relevance and efficiency of messaging.

  1. Connective

The power of our increasingly powerful mobile devices as social utilities are where great potential lies. The ability to develop transformative applications that connect individuals toindividuals but also societies to societies holds great potential.

  1. Filtered

Increasingly powerful and affordable technology allows people to create more content than ever before. In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been created over the past two years. Because of this information overload, people will filter out messages to hear only what they want to hear, creating segmented and sheltered media channels.

  1. Integrated

Social media sites act as brand graveyards, filled with the tombstones of dead campaigns that were only meant to survive a single campaign. From TV commercials and billboards to microsites and social media accounts, brands must focus on using platforms for long-term relationship building.

  1. Chinese

China currently contributes the greatest percentage to global GDP growth. However, many Chinese social media sites remain focused on the local market. Over the next 10 years, these sites will shift their focus beyond the “great firewall” and enter overseas markets.

9. Empowering

Some brands, such as Dove and Nike, have discovered that supporting social good can have a greater impact than feeding individual egos. Other brands will follow suit and use social media efforts to look at the long tail, identifying opportunities to foster empowerment and equality aligned with brand values.

Brands must change their mindset to engage successfully in the future. Marketers must embrace their inner digital geek and learn to love technology. To harness trends, they must look beyond their borders, specifically to the east where Asia leads the way. Realizing that their current techniques are outdated will lead brands to new strategies for success in the next decade.

5 Tactics for Brands Playing Catch-up on Social-Media Marketing

22 Jun

The best marketers have an uncanny ability to reject conventional wisdom and still succeed. Their approach is often just crazy enough that it works, winning fans, friends and, most importantly, customers.

For brands that are new to social media, or have been hesitant to invest in it due to how crowded and competitive it has become, here are five unorthodox marketing strategies that will deliver the brand awareness and sales your business needs.

1. For organically shareworthy content, invest in SlideShare.

While everyone else is caught up on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, you can spend time in the relatively unchartered waters of SlideShare. On SlideShare, small businesses — not just platform power users — can receive the visibility they deserve if their presentation is featured on the website’s homepage or embedded onto other websites.

With almost no money spent on advertising and little promotional effort on our part, a number of presentations we uploaded to SlideShare went viral. Of the 10 SlideShares we published, eight received more than 10,000 views and three had more than 30,000.

Create a standalone presentation that tells a compelling story even in the absence of talking points and notes for each slide. Add it to SlideShare and watch as it racks up views, downloads and embeds.

2.No audience, no worries. Leverage others’ followings.

Most social media strategies require a heavy upfront investment in building your fanbase and followers list. Of course, when you do earn a large enough audience, you will need to spend energy and time maintaining consumer mindshare while constantly competing with other brands for customer attention. But that is a long game only few businesses can afford to play.

Take advantage of the unique audience relationships and the widespread distribution that social media influencers have. They’ve already done the heavy lifting, so why would you?

3. Circumvent Twitter’s 140-character limit.

A tweet can only fit 140-characters but a picture can literally fit 1,000 words. Take a screenshot of a quote or text you want to reference and you won’t need to cut it up into multiple tweets. The image itself will be a welcome change of pace to your followers who might otherwise have overlooked the five different tweets you posted because you decided to copy-and-paste all of the sections that mattered.

Video works just as well, too. Use different types of media to get around Twitter’s 140-character limit, thus allowing you to share more in-depth messages within every tweet.

4. Use an old media strategy: product placement.

One of the oldest tricks in the advertising book — product placements — has come to social media. Brands that have decided to tap influencers look for more than pithy endorsements. Subtle product placements end up becoming extremely successful brand integrations.

Fortunately, marketplaces such as Grapevine (for YouTube),HelloSociety (for Pinterest), Niche (for Vine), and theAmplify (for Instagram and Snapchat) make it easy to find and work with the right social media personalities to reach millennials who will rave about your products.

5. Say something quirky or outrageous.

If you have an intimate understanding of who your audience is, you are well positioned to do and say things that are a little bold without offending anyone. Avoid insulting your fans and followers, but do play to their emotions with wit.

In the past, we have seen Charmin cleverly use potty jokes to get everyone excited about toilet paper. Dollar Shave Club provided plenty of shock value with the unabashed sales pitch, “Our Blades Are F***ing Great.” EAT24, now owned by Yelp, advertised on adult sites and lived to tell the world about it. These calculated risks resulted in praise and quality customer engagement. You can play it safe on social media by being a little quirky first before doing anything outrageous. Either way, folks will love it.

Social Media Marketing Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Business

15 Jun

A few years ago, social media was a new and unchartered territory.

However, when platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook gained a tremendous following almost overnight, businesses knew they had to follow suit in order to stay relevant.

Nowadays, an impressive 97% of businesses rely on social media to effectively connect with customers.

However, using the social media platforms to grow your business is not as simple as it may seem.

 

In order to generate an impressive following and foster a lifelong bond with customers, you need to be on top of two elements: leveraging social media to create a bespoke and enjoyable experience, and avoiding blunders that can put your business in serious jeopardy.

Allow me to share with you the 7 major social media marketing mistakes you need to avoid if you want your business to stay afloat and thrive.

1. Talking more and showing less

Do you flood your feeds with line after line of text?

If so, stop.

Right away.

Let us be clear about one thing: audiences are more likely to engage with tweets containing visual content as opposed to just text.

Need proof?

Studies show that image links incorporated in tweets get an engagement rate that’s 200% higher compared to those who just use the 140 characters allotted.

Turning things around:

Keep your feed interesting.

Have you seen Oreo Cookie’s Twitter page? They keep their followers hooked, thanks to mouth-watering images, charming videos and creative illustrations.

Indeed, a picture is truly worth a thousand words – use that knowledge to your work for you.

Auto schedule your posts.

Apart from enticing your audience through visual content, you also need to be mindful of posting too often.

In line with this, consider using tools that can help auto schedule your shares, tweets, etc. Hootsuite, CoSchedule and Buffer are good tools you can use to automate your sharing so you do not overwhelm your followers.

2. Not having a personality

Make no mistake about it, in most cases, automated replies and corporate jargons can send your audience scrambling in the opposite direction.

They are then welcomed with open arms by brands who are confident enough to show some personality.

Turning things around:

Be charming and relatable.

 

Humanize your brand.

Every once in a while show your followers the personalities behind your brand by sharing images of behind-the-scene-action in your company.

Your followers will feel more connected if they know they are interacting with a human being and not a robot.

Be yourself.

Regardless if you are tweeting as an individual or in behalf of a brand, always be mindful about sounding and appearing robotic.

Leave comments every now and then; share trending updates that resonate with your customers and use terms that appeal to them so they can relate more to you.

Remember, your personality is one of the many reasons why people follow you, so don’t think twice about letting it shine!

3. Assuming all social media platforms are created equal

If you want a social media marketing campaign that works, you need to get rid of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality.

A Social Media Examiner study discovered that while B2C buyers preferred Facebook, most of the B2B audience favored LinkedIn.

Every social media platform needs to be managed differently.

In essence, you have to be ‘fluent’ in diverse social media networks so you can effectively make each work to your advantage.

Turning things around:

Adopt a bespoke approach.

Start off by identifying the channels that are best aligned with the interest of your target audience.

Need an inspiration?

Old Spice is a classic example of a brand that uses different approaches in their campaigns.

Case in point: while it interacts with Facebook followers through forum questions, it engages with the audience through the use of entertaining videos on Youtube.

4. Not measuring the impact of your efforts

The good news: Nowadays, you have access to all the data necessary to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.

The bad news: While a whopping 88% of brands use social media marketing, only 37% measure the efficacy of their marketing efforts. Are you part of the 37%?

Let us be clear about something.

The social media landscape is highly dynamic.

Within days, (or hours, even) you will most likely encounter new hashtags, trends, viral stories and videos that can capture and fascinate your target audience.

If you get too comfortable and cruise around on autopilot, you can easily miss out on an opportunity or make critical mistakes along the way.

Turning things around:

Always make it a point to measure your efforts.

Sure, it’s tempting to gauge the efficiency of your social media marketing campaign based on the number of likes, shares and retweets alone.

However, it is not an accurate way of measuring things as those numbers alone will not tell the whole story.

Get a more precise picture of your marketing campaign’s impact by making sure you study all the metrics.

Not sure what metrics to include? This comprehensive list enumerates all the metrics that count.

5. Ignoring your audience

In a realm as competitive as the business world, you simply cannot afford to take your customers for granted.

If you forego interaction and just spend all your time posting, you miss the whole concept of what ‘social’ media is all about.

Sans interaction, you make it impossible for you to connect and eventually develop a lasting relationship with your target audience.

Turning things around:

Interact accordingly and always give a timely response.

Nowadays, sharing a negative review in the searchable social web can be done in one click.

That means complaints that don’t get attended to on time have the tendency to be shared by a customer to everyone on their social network – that can be disastrous for your brand.

Fact: 72% of customers who complain about a brand, want a response within an hour. That should give you a clearer context of the importance of a timely answer.

 

The bottomline: Attend to customer complaints right away before things escalate.

And take time out to give answers or acknowledge a comment. It will not only make your customers feel valued, it will also make it a lot easier for you to develop a lasting relationship with them.

6. Posting without thinking

Remember that controversial 9/11 AT&T tribute that didn’t sit well with many people?

That is a classic example of how easily things can backfire if you do not think twice prior to posting.

At all times, keep in mind that your posts represent your brand so there is no such thing as too careful or too cautious.

Turning things around:

Be mindful about creating buzz the wrong way.

True, in today’s highly connected world, staying relevant is no walk in the park.

Trending topics can go from viral to so-yesterday in the blink of an eye.

How do you keep up?

For starters, consider newsjacking.

This strategy entails amplifying content through popular headlines instead of creating buzz from scratch. As always, think a lot of times before posting. Otherwise, you might end up rubbing your customers the wrong way.

7. Advertising more, connecting less

Your primary goal on social media is to advertise, right?

Wrong!

One of social media’s enticing qualities is its ability to allow people to tune out mass messaging and advertising with just a mouse click.

So if you talk more but listen less, consumers can easily remove you from their feeds or unfollow you for good.

Turning things around:

Focus on what your audience wants.

Rather than talking about your brand nonstop, focus on making your audience feel special. Find out what makes them tick, share content they will find substantial and highlight their interests every now and then.

It pays to remember you do not have a captive audience so make sure you are able to build a strong connection that is worthy of their loyalty.

 

Why Social Media Listening Is Key To Your Marketing Strategy!

8 Jun

The most significant marketing change in the past decade was brought about by social media. Before Facebook or Twitter, brands couldn’t dream of building such close connections with their audiences or having real-time conversations with their customers on a global scale.

In order to leverage your presence on social networks, build a strong brand and effectively manage your social media accounts, you’ll need to do some social listening. Here are 8 good reasons why your marketing team should be monitoring your brand on social media right now.

1. Building a community

Social listening tools are available to businesses of all sizes. They enable you to track conversations and detect buyers, leads and key influencers in your industry. All this knowledge will help you to interact with customers in a way that builds a positive image of your brand and fosters better relationships, which eventually form a tight community of loyal followers or even brand evangelists.

2. Understanding consumer behavior

Brands that pay close attention to their consumer base will easily understand the main problems, motivations and issues customers might have with their products or services. This in turn helps them to come up with more efficient customer service.

Brands can identify common problems and provide specific solutions, create a comprehensive knowledge page based on questions frequently asked by consumers and integrate those insights with CRM to benefit from some cost savings.

3. Powerful marketing analytics

Marketers listening closely to social media will be able to uncover what is being said about a brand, who is saying it, on which platforms, how often and who the main influencers are. Keeping tabs on what’s happening in their audience, marketers will improve their content marketing by leveraging topic insights in such a way as to come up with optimized content, SEO and PPC strategies.

4. Social media management

Most social listening tools feature smart functionalities to help brands take good care of their social channels. Many different tools (Hootsuite, PostPlanner and Buffer to name just a few) allow a business to manage and monitor multiple networks and profiles on a single dashboard, helping their users execute campaigns across various channels and instantly measure their results.

5. Improved agility

When it comes to social media, timing is everything. A recent study from Lithium Technologies showed that 53% of consumers who tweet a brand expect a response within an hour. Things get even more extreme when the tweet in question is a complaint – the figure above rises to 72%!

Time of reaction is also important for building a positive brand image. Finding that smart window of opportunity is a strategy proposed by Jay Baer, who claims most people are in meetings during the day which are usually scheduled on the hour or half-hour. If that’s your audience, you should try to post your content just before or right after this key hour.

6. Developing a better product

By intelligent listening in social media, you can uncover various problems consumers experience when using your product and then address them when releasing a corrected version. Monitoring the reviews of your product, you’ll gain additional input and lots of ideas on how to improve it to better suit the preferences and expectations of your target audience.

7. Boosting sales

Social listening is also important for your sales department – you can uncover conversations that indicate someone’s intent to purchase your product, as well as monitor what your competitors are up to in their social media feeds. Integrating CRM with those insights, you’ll be able to effectively improve your ROI.

8. Social recruiting

Another area of your business that can benefit from insights gained through close monitoring of social media is human resources. Your recruiters can access new talent pools, uncover key experts and influencers, build your employer brand and have their eyes open to problems that might impact employee happiness.

Conclusion

All in all, social listening is an activity that is rich with insights relevant to every area of your business. By keeping tabs on what’s being said about your brand, you can improve your interactions and build a positive image throughout the web.

 

How to Make Time for Social Media Marketing

1 Jun

With everything else required to keep your business up and running, finding time for social media marketing can be a challenge. You know you need to do it, but trying to find the time to fit it into your already packed schedule can feel like an uphill battle.

Commit to a specific time each day for social media.

Without a solid plan in place to accomplish goals, they often go by the wayside. That is why most people fail at resolutions, such as exercising more. They lack a definitive plan for doing so. Making a daily time commitment can help to keep you accountable, and ensure you do not procrastinate to the point that you never actually get around to handling your social media goals.

In determining how much time you will spend on social media marketing each day, remember to keep it reasonable and realistic. Setting goals that are too lofty will often result in failure. Instead, make a commitment to tweeting twice a day or sharing one piece of content on Facebook daily. Even a small investment in social media marketing each day can help your brand to accomplish more than you could imagine.

Take the step to block out the amount of time you wish to dedicate to social media on your calendar. Set an alarm on your phone. Do whatever it takes to make sure you have a block of uninterrupted time during which you are working on your social media marketing goals.

Follow the KISS method.

Far too often, brands fail to make time for social media marketing because they over-think it. Simplifying your social media marketing plans when you are getting started or making your way out of a rut will ensure you at least have a steady stream of relevant content. Remember, you do not have to become a social media marketing guru overnight. The key is to think about who you are marketing to, and focus on building content that your audience will enjoy and find valuable.

Stop trying to do it all on your own.

Social media is pervasive and massive. You simply cannot handle it all on your own, especially if you have limited time to dedicate to it daily. The good news is there are tools available to help you maximize the amount of time that you do have.

Rather than spending hours digging for relevant content to share, consider using tools such as Swayy, Feedly or Nuzzel to discover top news stories. Not sure who you should be following in the world of social media? Tools like TwitNerd take all of the guess work out of it by providing a Follow by Keyword feature that allows you to input any keyword or phrase and identify Twitter influencers.

Carving out time for social media marketing is a challenge, but it is worth the effort and the investment. Nielson reports that 33 percent of consumers prefer to contact companies over social media rather than the phone. If you are not investing in social media marketing, you are likely missing customers. Make time for social media marketing now.