Archive | November, 2018

6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Your Social Media Marketing

26 Nov

The holiday season is here. There are at least four major holidays and plenty of minor ones to go around.

All this festivity offers us unique chances to make a connection with potential customers. ‘Tis the season for savvy social media marketing.

You don’t have to drape your Facebook page in tinsel or string lights on your Twitter feed to catch the holiday spirit. In fact, the bigger, tackier celebrations are less likely to feel authentic, and more likely to alienate those who don’t celebrate a particular holiday.

It’s better to celebrate the holidays on social media the same way you do everything: With your audience’s needs and wants firmly in mind.

Here are a few ideas for getting your brand into the spirit.

#1: Go Behind the Scenes

Your audience always wants to see the people behind the brand. During the holidays, those who are celebrating will enjoy seeing others celebrating, too. Snap candid shots of decorated desks, bedecked halls, and your annual office party.

Collect memorable holiday stories and favorite recipes from your co-workers, too, and share them with festive holiday portraits. Ugly sweaters and santa hats are optional, but encouraged.

#2: Encourage Your Audience to Share Holiday Photos

During the holiday season, most people’s thoughts turn to happy childhood memories. We recall the warm glow of the menorah, or waking up early to see the presents under the tree–these memories are indelible. For kids born in the 70s and 80s, these precious moments were captured in pictures that look pre-Instagrammed.

Encourage your audience to share their favorite memories and photos with your brand. Create a branded hashtag you can use on Instagram to collect cool retro holiday photos and the stories that go with them.

#3: Shine Light on a Worthy Cause

One of the most powerful ways your brand can get noticed this season is to turn the spotlight away from the brand. Instead, highlight a charity that your brand can support, and offer a way for your customers to lend their support, too.

#4: Focus on What Your Customers Need

This time of year consumers are drowning in a flood of holiday-related advertising. Everything from $500 cell phones to $40,000 cars are positioned as perfect holiday gifts. Every retail outlet is playing some variation of Christmas music non-stop.

It seems brands desperately want to put their customers in a holiday buying mood. But that’s not what customers want. They want ways to deal with stress, or help finding the perfect gift, or a moment of silent reflection. B2B companies want help making their budget for next year, closing out 2016, making sure their customers feel appreciated.

Take some time to think about what special wants and needs your specific audience has this time of year. Better yet, ask a few of them. You could end up creating some powerful, useful content instead of more holiday dazzle.

#5: Sum up the Year

Not every consumer spins a dreidel or stuffs stockings this time of year. But the vast majority do celebrate the New Year. It’s a time to look ahead and to reflect over the past year.

If Christmas carols or Kwanzaa lights don’t suit your brand voice, New Year’s is still a safe bet. Take the opportunity to tell your current and potential customers about your brand’s year. Let them know how the company grew, what you learned, and most importantly how you are planning on treating them even better in 2017.

#6: Highlight What Unites Us

This season is about more than lighting candles and giving gifts. It’s a celebration, as the quote up top reminds us, of being alive, being together, and being halfway out of the dark. Your brand can celebrate these ideals–family, togetherness, love–without committing to a single holiday in particular. Instead of singling out a specific group, you can remind everyone we’re all in the same group.

What is your brand doing to make the holidays special for your customers? Let me know in the comments.

10 Ways to Ace Social Media Marketing In 2020 And Beyond

12 Nov

As we inch closer to the end of the decade, the world of marketing will witness significant changes and social media marketing will be at the core of most marketing strategies. In this article, we look at a 10-step guide to emerging trends in social media marketing and how you can win at social in 2020 and beyond.

Social media marketing is essential to any marketing strategy in an era where everyone is online. In fact, the sheer number of social media users in the world in 2018 – 3.196 billion – is staggering. Social media won’t remain the same as it is now. What counts as a trend today will be obvious tomorrow.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making sure your social media marketing strategy always stays current:

1. Social videos broaden horizon: The audience loves videos, and so do marketers. Videos are well retained by the human brain, are usually self-explanatory, and engaging. It is predicted that 80% of global internet traffic will be attributed to videos by 2021.

2. Moreover, live streaming of events, ‘how-to’ videos, product launches, behind the scenes, etc. is catching up with consumers and marketers alike. By 2020, videos will not only be used to create brand awareness and conversions but also become highly personal. Marketers will use videos for:

  • One to one communication – for e.g. Personalized videos to walk you through the features of a device.
  • Networking – As users consume more videos for entertainment and education, marketers will leverage this opportunity to build a community of loyal followers.
  • Visual content for online shopping – With short-form videos gaining traction, and shoppers preferring video ads and how to videos over other ad forms, marketers will sync social videos with their e-commerce strategy.

3. The rise of AR and VR: Experiential marketing has tremendous opportunity to engage customers and create memorable experiences for them. Virtual Reality (VR) can be used to bring to life a faraway event or a simulated environment, while Augmented Reality (AR) can add unimaginable layers of depth to real-life experiences. With social platforms pushing features like FB’s Oculus Rift Glasses, Snapchat’s Geofilters and Lens or Amazon helping users try on clothes virtually, marketers will embrace these features to entertain and engage their audience and boost their advertising revenue.

4 . Product search goes social: Today’s customers are tech-savvy and informed. 84% of people surveyed said they trust online reviews as a recommendation. Hence social proof like reviews, shares, likes, mentions, etc. are important. While you are busy advertising, your prospect is most likely looking for social recommendations or the popularity of your product. He is most likely to turn to social media to discover this information. According to a Globalwebindex report, 28 percent of users turned to social networks during their online product research. As users continue to flock to social media platforms, it is possible that social would go on to trump search for product research.

5. Social commerce – hit the buy button: The next logical step, when a user discovers you on social media is to provide him with a call-to-action. Social has commerce channels and can provide an easy, breezy shopping experience for users.

Marketers can supplement their ads with a buy button to optimize conversions. The addition of a buy button can eliminate the step needed for a website visit or app download. Though this trend hasn’t caught up yet, it can certainly add value and improve conversion rates.

6. Step up your sell game: People are hooked to online as well as offline games. Can you deny the popularity of Pokemon Go, Clash of Clans, Candy Crush and so many more? With 66% of men and 70% of women playing mobile games, and 54% of gamers being in the age group 25-44, games are popular across most demographics.

Brands can take this as a cue to investing in gaming apps for ads, creating exciting games for brand awareness, educating their customers, and making some sales in the process.

7. Insights get more profound: There is no shortage of data from social media marketing efforts. As more people converge on social channels, pulling data from different platforms and monitoring usage and preferences, can help you gather rich insights into consumer behavior and understand the customer journey better.

8. Unique content: There is too much noise out there, with everyone churning out content at a fast pace. Now, the need is to create customized content for every individual. It may sound ambitious, but an extraordinary amount of data you now have access to, along with emerging technologies, it seems possible. Most social media platforms are already customizing a user’s newsfeed based on his likes, clicks, and preferences. This trend will continue to grow, and marketers will serve content and ads handpicked for an individual.

9. Niche platforms for targeting: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. cater to mass audiences, but platforms like LinkedIn make it easier to connect with a specific niche. Niche social platforms will gain popularity and make it easier for marketers to focus on a particular user base.

10. Power of AI: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in vogue. Combined with machine learning (ML), AI can help you automate mundane, repetitive tasks, perform predictive analytics, offer personalized recommendations, and engage your customers. Marketers will leverage AI along with social media data to:

  • Offer product recommendations
  • Make chatbots to provide customer support
  • Use ML algorithms to craft personalized and relevant messages
  • Identify business issues

Now that you know what’s to come in social media marketing, how are you preparing for the future? Let us know in the comments below.

Five Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2019

5 Nov

Every marketer today wants to make their brand presence felt. That is the reason why social media is being leveraged on a big scale.  Whether one owns an established business or a startup, social media marketing is something that everyone is using to reach and communicate with the customers. Doesn’t it make sense to be in a place where the crowd is? One often comes across some social media marketing activities that fail. While, on the other hand, some Facebook and Twitter pages become popular than the others. Many times, marketers observe that their competitors are doing better than them in social media marketing!

Everybody does make mistakes. How can social media marketers be any different? But the fact is, making too many mistakes can see the followers dwindle and their count drop. Indeed, it does affect the revenue of a business. As with all mistakes, the first step is understanding and becoming aware of them. It then becomes easier to avoid them in the future. Let’s discuss top five common social media marketing mistakes that one must avoid in the coming year – 2019.

1. Undefined goals and targeting the wrong audience. As a marketer, one may be working very hard, yet they may suffer badly if they aim and shoot in the dark. A marketer needs to ensure that they are not targeting the wrong audience. The key to success in social media marketing is to know and reach the target audience.

Most marketers commit one of the biggest social media marketing mistakes, that is, not properly defining their goals. Can anyone win without a goal? Once the goals are set, one can start working on their social media strategy and create a plan. For example, some of the goals that work well with social media could be to improve customer engagement or increase event attendance or increase website visits, etc.

2. Multiple profiles, over-promotion, wrong reaction. Creating more than one profile on social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter will not only waste one’s time and other resources, but it could confuse the followers too. One will be better off focusing all their efforts in one direction, getting people to follow their business by creating a single profile in each of the commonly used social media platforms.

The social media platform is all about being social and communicative. Most visitors on a social media page hate promotional content. If too much time is spent on promotional activities, chances of losing followers or likes are high. So, it is advisable for marketers to avoid over-promotion and keep it effective and efficient.

In reality, being on social media is all about being “social” that is, one needs to have more and more conversations and engagements. Many times, one’s profile has updates but no participation in the conversation. Lack of conversation with followers can decrease the value of social presence. And, this aspect needs to be carefully addressed to. At the same time, one need not ignore a negative feedback. Doing so could even derail a social media marketing campaign.

The negative comments may not get much response from other users, but when people see something negative, though they may not comment on it, the damage is done. Negative feedback is not always a sign of a problem, most often it is simply criticizing the brand. Marketers should avoid censoring such users. React to those messages somehow, but avoid reacting harshly. They should respond to the negative comments in such a way that it will convert those negatives into positives! Equally important is to avoid deleting a negative comment. Instead ask the customer to call or email you, keeping the tone helpful and polite.

Reacting poorly or deleting posts can give a bad reputation that will be hard to shake. Avoid that!

3. Not putting a right strategy in place!  It is essential to define and implement the right strategy for social media marketing just as prior to starting any business, niche market, product, and audience are identified. On the contrary, by joining the social network, creating a profile, loading it with info, posting great stuff to attract attention and then suddenly disappearing is not going to help! Within no time the page is bound to turn into a barren land!

Followers will wonder why they are there, while others seeking answers and getting no replies will lose trust. And, so the social media presence could soon become a flop show! This explains, the need for a social media marketing strategy to be identified before going live on various social media platforms.

The social media marketing strategy must ensure to improve the presence of the business on different platforms and not let it drift. The main goal for any marketer in using social media is to gain likes and followers, and that is mainly to create a new source of sales leads. If one is not sure of their goal they will not attain it. Similarly, without a proper strategy in place, the entire purpose of social media marketing shall be defeated.

Therefore, to get success in social media, marketing strategy should have well-defined goals, target audience must be identified, tactics to be employed must be implemented, the right amount of time should be invested and proficient workforce should be employed to perform the tasks.

4. Automated link posting and not tracking analytics. Automated link posting gives an impression of a spamming site! It is the mistake many marketers make by posting back-links to their website. Automation eases the load on manual efforts, but randomness doesn’t pay, and it must be avoided.

There is no point in using social media without any insights. One usually measures the success of their SEO and e-mail marketing campaigns with an analytics software. Similarly, they should track and assess the performance metrics of their social media campaigns. One can easily use the metrics provided by the platform or utilize an external service or software to gain further insights.

By measuring the quality of followers, the popularity of posts, and the extent of influence to gain data will help in one’s future social media marketing efforts.

5. Not investing in video and neglecting paid advertising. The content one posts over social media channels are crucial, as posting repetitively – especially if it is self-promotional, the followers can get irritated or lose interest. Engagement can be increased by varying the type of content, like:

  • Business-related blog posts, articles, videos, and photos.
  • Links to external content that is relevant to the interests of followers.
  • Shares or retweets from other players.

Social media video marketing plays a significant role in the purchasing decisions of consumers. There lies a big opportunity in this area and neglecting it is not a good idea. And one needn’t have to shell out huge cash to make compelling videos on social media! Most smartphones have great camera abilities, and creating candid videos are gaining in popularity.

However, care must be taken not to post videos that are hazy, or with poor sound quality, or do not make any sense. In the coming year, the video is likely to account for eighty percent of global internet traffic. Therefore, it is advisable for any marketer to avoid the mistake of neglecting to invest in videos in the coming year – 2019.

Now coming to paid advertisements in social media – most social media platforms are pay-to-play for businesses. If one is planning to advertise on social media, it should be with a purpose and objective! Using platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest; the below goals are achieved:

  • Bringing traffic to the business website,
  • Building brand awareness,
  • Generating leads,
  • Boosting engagement with prospects, etc.

The most effective platforms with highest hits for general audiences are Facebook and YouTube. LinkedIn is ideal for B2B companies. Organic reach that implies reaching the audience using the news feeds on a page or as shared by friends on Facebook hovers under ten percent. It means that the likelihood of a post or message being seen by the target audience, over social media in general, is slim or negligible.

As one embraces social marketing, their social media strategy is likely to grow by including social media advertising. It may appear odd or even scary to move from an organic social strategy to investing real money!  But, it is always advisable for any marketer to avoid neglecting paid advertisement over social media in the coming year – 2019 and stay relevant and competitive.

Are you making any of the above social media marketing mistakes that we discussed above? Don’t worry; you can quickly turn it around for your business. Start with a fixed goal, know the target audience and follow the instructions mentioned above. If having any doubt or trouble there, always go ahead and reach out to a social media marketing expert  – it could save a lot of your time along with avoiding the social media marketing mistakes you have been making all along.