Archive | April, 2018

Hottest Trends in Social Media Marketing Technology For 2018

30 Apr

In 2017, we witnessed various trends in social media marketing like the introduction of live feed, integrated video, and story features, and the growth of mobile ads. Lately, the B2B sector has become more involved in catering to the ideas of social media marketing techniques, since they deliver efficiently and have a wide reach.

Mobile Chatbots

Chatbots have now being programmed to think, feel and act according to a customer’s requirements. Many food delivery apps such as GrubHub and Uber Eats use bots to take orders.

In 2018, a large number of Chatbots would be made available for business proposals and enterprises. A lot of careful thinking and implementation goes into making a Chatbot as approachable, sensible and fully functioning as possible. They can also be customized depending on the user’s requirements.

Chatbots run on algorithms that use ‘Deep Learning’ where data is channelled into queries and solutions are delivered. According to a report, 50% of mobile phone users are aggressive social media users. Chatbots divert traffic to the right screens, helping marketers filter audiences and enabling target segmentation.

Ephemeral Content

In the current scenario of visual stimulation, social media applications like Facebook and Instagram have developed their own mediums of transient content which is minimalistic and eye-catching. The content is then lost within a few hours, leading to the users developing FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), acting quickly and helping the marketer achieve the desired result.

Social Listening Tools

Social Media Marketing has advanced with the advent of social listening. With the use of hashtags, trending topics, and search engines, companies can understand what makes their audience tick. This is done by researching specific brands, tags or product names which help companies create more engaging content.

Social listening tools include brand monitoring and marketing insights, help address indirect complaints and target location-specific keywords. Social listening tools are not only about monitoring insights; they also actively engage in conversations about products and services. Some examples include Spotify, Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, SproutSocial, Brandwatch, Conversocial, and Sprinklr.

Micro Influencers

Influencers don’t always need to be very famous or have a million followers to be considered dependable. The concept of micro-influencers comes from apps like Instagram and Facebook where brands choose people to advocate their products while showcasing their experiences. In 2018, influencers shall continue being a large part of social media marketing trends.

Marketers can calculate the ROI delivered by these influencers using certain software and digital metrics. The data is instrumental in working two ways; both for the micro influencer as well as the marketing enterprise.

AI and Image Recognition

The depth of knowledge and programming along with intensive analytics is what AI is all about. We often underestimate the power of a machine. The AI software along with an automated vision software can be combined to create Image Recognition. Baidu, HubSpot, IBM, and SalesForce are some examples of AI with Image Recognition. Image Recognition on Facebook is one such example. Other examples include Google Image Recognition, Amazon Rekognition, Clarifai, Ditto Labs, GumGum, LogoGrab amongst others.

 

Three Signs It’s Time To Pivot Your Social Media Program

22 Apr

Pivoting your marketing tactics is a way of life in the digital age. Market dynamics can change in a blink of an eye and marketers need to respond quickly by tweaking or completely pivoting their programs. Social media is particularly vulnerable to the whims of the market and public opinion, as a single negative social media post can affect your brand’s reputation in minutes.

Social media is an effective and proven channel to gain consumer insights and engage with your prospects and customers. Almost every marketing strategy now has some type of social media program. Some firms have implemented basic programs while others have embraced social media and are actively engaged daily with influencer microtargeting and social selling initiatives.

Whether you have a basic program or a robust program, you need to develop a strategy to mitigate the risks of reputational impact. Every firm needs to have a crisis management plan in place but, beyond that and before a crisis hits, marketing teams need to understand when to pivot their social programs to avoid risks and maximize effectiveness.

Each quarter we take a close look at our client’s social programs and benchmark them against goals and objectives. We take a look at what is working what is not working and evolve the program. While poor goal alignment or underperformance can trigger an overhaul of the program completely, other external factors may require a social media pivot.

We need to remember that social media channels run on technology platforms that are continuously evolving. As with any emerging technology, with widespread adoption comes an evolution in the way consumers use it and an evolution of the technology that supports it. Marketers need to be aware of ongoing changes and pivot their programs to get the results they require. Here are three triggers to look for when identifying a need for change in your social media program.

Changing Algorithms

Social platforms change algorithms all the time, but the companies only make announcements of those changes when they are a significant departure from the current ways. It is extremely important for marketers to understand what even the small changes mean because social platforms are the ones that set the rules of engagement and your ability to reach your customers and prospects on their platforms.

For example, Twitter changed their algorithm last year so that the tweets you are most likely to care about appear at the top of your timeline — still recent and in reverse-chronological order — instead of an all-encompassing chronological feed. Facebook recently announced that users’ news feeds would be populated by posts made by friends and family rather than by businesses and brands. The announcement stated, “Because space in news feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

Both of these announcements are giving priority to engagement. The key takeaways for marketers are that organic reach is going to be limited, and engagement and pay-to-play (advertising) will rule. Pivot your program to embrace employee and customer advocacy to encourage engagement and consider increasing your advertising spend.

Aligning Influencers

Outside of marketing teams, there seems to be a misconception about influencer marketing. People throw the term around claiming that people trust influencers and not ads, even though influencer marketing is the digital form of a celebrity spokesperson. It doesn’t have to be a real-life Hollywood celebrity, but it could be an expert in a specific field or market who serves as the “influencer.”

Influencer marketing is pay-for-play — a new form of advertising. No, influencers won’t endorse or promote your products from the goodness of their hearts. Some influencers may take product as compensation, but most established influencers expect cash or a long-term consulting engagement. At a recent conference, a social media representative from a chocolate company was discussing how they tried paying influencers in chocolate until one influencer just told them that chocolate doesn’t pay the mortgage. Influencers are free agents — they are always looking for a better deal and they want long-term commitments.

When you sign up an influencer, you need to be aware that, along with their following and engagement statistics comes a real, live human being. They have opinions and they make mistakes. When you hire them, they become a spokesperson for your company. This means that you need to ensure that your brand values align with the influencer’s public persona.

Make sure you continually check out the type of content they create and share, especially during the course of your campaign. If it doesn’t align, then pivot your campaign and find influencers who better align with your brand.

Business Objectives Change  

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many organizations change their business strategy and forget to pivot their social strategy to meet the new goals and objectives. In many cases, the social program has been running on a “set it and forget it” mentality and it is considered almost an afterthought.

Don’t treat your social media efforts as afterthoughts. If business objectives or directions are altered in any way, revisit what your social media marketing strategies are and adjust them accordingly.

Even with the evolution of platforms and various changes to how consumers use these platforms, social media is your most nimble and least expensive channel to reach and engage with customers and prospects. It is relatively easy to pivot your program when needed, and doing so effectively requires recognizing the triggers to avoid risk and maximize effectiveness.

How to use social media marketing for your business

16 Apr

Like many of you, we put a lot of time and effort into our business and branding. And one key element to all business marketing efforts is to look at the results in order to effectively plan out future marketing and business operation changes.

We previously set about doing our year-end review on our content marketing and social media efforts and wanted to share some of the insights we discovered in hopes you will get inspired to analyze your own efforts while planning for the year ahead.

Where and what to analyze

One quick and easy way to go about your year-end review is to look at your online engagement from the past year. Whether it’s checking your social media stats or looking at your website traffic, lots can be gleaned from these types of analytics.

There are a few places to look for the stats you need: You can utilize Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, or your blog stats.

Log into each of these and take a look at how your posts and articles performed. They can provide a lot of valuable information on how your business and marketing resonates with users.

So what did our analytics tell us what our followers liked? Here are three valuable insights learned from three of our top posts in 2017:

1. Communicating to Maintain Effective Client Relationships

Not surprisingly, this article from one of our guest authors, PR specialist Susan Elford, offers similar advice to this one: Listen!

Communication is key to a successful business and when clients and followers communicate with you through social media, whether it’s by a direct comment, a share, or something else, you need to listen.

Client relationships are a big deal for us and we like to build long-term ones by treating our clients with respect and listening to what they say.

We don’t just hear it, we listen. We then adjust and improve to reflect the client’s expectations.

So apply the advice from the article like this: Use language and mannerisms your clients can relate to—use mirroring to deliver messages in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

And apply the same recognition and response to your social media. If you’ve noticed some articles focus on something specific and your clients/audience are receptive to it by way of engagement, then in 2018 you should know what to do.

Give them what they want and build your client-base by accepting what your followers like and expect from you. Communication is a very broad term and doesn’t always mean simply direct vocalization or emails.

2. 10 Ways to Attracting Clients Through Kindness

This article has our approach laid bare. We watch, listen, learn, and follow the golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Open yourself to receiving both good and bad feedback and accept each as constructive. Assess the full picture of what is happening and understand where the feedback is coming from.

We employ kindness and generosity all the time. It’s a big deal when put into practice and by following that and our other nine steps from the article, we’ve seen our business and client-base grow consistently.

3. Why Twitter Ads Boost Business & How to Create Them

If your business isn’t on social media yet, then check out the links given at the start of this article.

Social media is a BIG factor in most businesses and has effectively replaced a lot of other support channels as users go-to for getting a response.

So once you’re online, it’s time to make the most of it. None of the businesses whose names we know are worth what they are today without requiring some paid component. Twitter is no exception.

While Facebook offers advertising and Instagram as well (among all others) our article on Twitter’s paid promotion resonated with our audience. About 110 shares through our website alone is a great indicator of the effectiveness of this content with our follower-base and potential clients.

Diving into social media can have drawbacks, so if you’re looking to get serious, it’s good to hire online marketers who know how to use social media for business.

We don’t have any information on how effective our reader’s Twitter campaigns have been, but our clients have seen stellar results. From this, we learned that within our content we have users who are anxious to expand their presence online and try new ways to reach new potential clients.

Is this limited to Twitter? Probably not and the real message here is that when we give back to our clients and readers with free tips via content marketing strategies, we will see reciprocation by way of new leads and new clients.

So what did you learn in the past year from your content and social media marketing efforts? Take a look at your metrics (and if you don’t know how just let us know for a possible future article) and see what they tell you.

Then take that information into the boardroom and help make 2018 even better.

Email Marketing 101

9 Apr

Email marketing has become a vital tool for small businesses that want to send regular marketing messages. The initial attractions are obvious – it’s fast and cheap. But that’s not all – email marketing offers sophisticated opportunities to target messages to the right people at the right time and bring in serious business.

Response rates for bulk emails are higher than for direct mailings, thanks to the immediacy of the medium. Results can be measured and used to make subsequent email marketing more tightly focused.

Direct marketing via email is an ideal communication method for any small firm that relies on its websitefor much of its business. Email messages can highlight special offers and new products and then prompt recipients to click through to the website.

Email marketing done badly does present some pitfalls, however. Indiscriminate emailing will be seen as spam. Responsibility and relevance are the watchwords. You must have permission to email the recipient, particularly when new data protection laws come in in 2018, and records to prove you’re doing all you can to protect their personal data. And if you want them to respond positively, you must send messages that are genuinely of value to them.

Building your email marketing list

An up-to-date database is the starting point for your permission-based email marketing strategy. Your contact list must have all the necessary information about recipients so that you can target your messages.

These recipients must have given their permission for you to send them marketing emails by ‘opting in’ on a form or on your website. Make sure you include simple opt-in tick boxes on all your marketing material.

Segment your email list into key groups of people who share specific characteristics. Group your customers according to what they have bought in the past. That way you can send targeted messages about specific product ranges to the right people.

The law on email marketing

You can contact customers who have agreed to receive information from you in the past. The important thing is that they must actively opt in. Sending unsolicited marketing emails, or spam, is illegal. Anyone that has registered with the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Preference Service should be removed from your contact list.

It is illegal to reveal recipients’ details on your emails, so you need to create a mailing group that sends a blind carbon copy (bcc). All commercial emails should be clearly identifiable as such. At the same time, you must not conceal your own identity. Finally, each mailing should include an easy ‘unsubscribe’ option, so people can opt out of future mailings if they wish.

Creating your marketing emails

Whether you send regular email newsletters or occasional offers, the content of your marketing emails must be relevant and useful to the recipient. Send one or two irrelevant messages and your prospects may start deleting all your emails, or even unsubscribe.

To ensure relevancy, target messages to specific segments of your database rather than the whole list. Check out responses to previous emails and also buying habits to make sure your message is reaching the right people.

There are lots of ways to make your email stand out. Grab attention with a compelling subject line, but don’t use exaggerated claims – they can look like junk mail. Keep the text simple, use images wisely and give a clear call to action and a reason to respond. Encourage recipients to click through to your website.

Before pressing ‘send’, always review the email and put yourself in the shoes of the recipient. Is it really relevant or useful?

A good-looking email is essential, but some messages end up getting mangled on the recipient’s computer because of software incompatibility. It’s worth offering both a text-only email as well as an HTML version.

Measuring the response to your emails

Tracking the results of your email campaigns will enable you to establish what’s working and what’s not.

Gather key information such as: how many emails were delivered, how many people clicked through and how many people opted out. Give each email campaign a code in order to calculate the campaign response rate.

Response rates for email marketing are often higher than for other direct marketing methods. The average rate is about 4%. If you send emails to a large mailing group, you could be inundated with enquiries. Make sure you can you handle them and fulfil the orders.

Revamping Social Media Marketing Through Big Data

2 Apr

Ever since Internet became an integral part of people’s lives, it became evident for marketers that data is an incredible resource for advertising. Today, big data and analytics have become a vital tool for social media marketing. The advertising options like sponsored stories and mobile ads that appears in Facebook provides marketers with important data when users like a post. Alongside, various other social media networks like Instagram and Twitter have emerged as major platforms for marketing, which is mostly executed through influencer marketing. The data collected from these platforms can be a huge differentiating factor for companies for their social media marketing methods.

Without the use of big data, companies previously had to derive their own market data to create targeted ads. However, the scenario is changed today as big data platforms are giving marketers readily available relevant data, within no time. With powerful insights into customer segmentations, companies are able to generate better advertisements which are effective than ever before. Big data also increases the rate of success of a marketing campaign. This is because big data has provision for campaign simulations where companies can test advertisements within a virtual marketplace and make the necessary changes before the campaign goes live.

Social media marketing is an ideal medium for powerful marketing and has transformed marketing communication from social point of view.  In addition, big data has truly remodeled the approached that choose to communicate with their consumers. With these advantages, big data clearly revamps the marketing strategies.