Archive for Online Marketing

Identifying Social Business Objectives

I’m often asked by people, “How do you identify social objectives?” My answer is always: “Tie it back to the actual business objectives.” More often than not, I’m given a semi-blank stare, with a response related to how difficult that can actually be. There are many tools available that help us track the success of social campaigns. Here are some common social business objectives that can be applied to any launch campaign:

Gaining brand exposure

Exposure is an important and powerful metric to measure. When your content is good, social can help you push your content further beyond your own audiences – to even those who may not have heard of you.

Fostering consumer dialogue

The objective of creating a conversation or dialogue between an organization and its consumers is grounded in the fundamental concept of using social media to facilitate conversations between people. These dialogues require brands to act in a genuine manner. Components of the dialogue include: building awareness by initiating conversations (creating original content), engaging with consumers to understand their response to ideas, thoughts, products, etc., and responding to individuals through genuine interactions (a great way to instill trust).

Promoting consumer advocacy

This objective really involves enlisting the support and dedication of individuals who are ambassadors of a brand/company, without having an official connection. This type of advocacy allows brands to extend their reach by taking advantage of the word of mouth opportunities. Consumer advocacy requires: nurturing existing relationships, encouraging word of mouth activity and developing relationships with folks who have an affinity with your brand.

Facilitating customer support

This business objective represents the major shift in consumer empowerment – which has been enabled by social media. Consumers can now turn to social media channels to share their issues. They can certainly share your praises for everyone to hear, but can just as easily throw you under the bus. This has also led to the expectation of instantaneous responses to their social posts. With that said, consumers who are listening and sharing, will develop (and share) their impressions of your brand based on your ability to respond to them in a timely manner, along with the quality of your answers. Support requires the following: expediting issue resolution (and communicating it), resolving the issues through the social channels and ultimately satisfying customers.

Learning from the conversations

This should be an obvious objective for all organizations. It’s important to realize that every conversation with an advocate, customer, etc. provides an opportunity to learn. The best businesses will embrace these experiences and formalize the learning process by tracking insight, dialogue and even complaints, as a part of their long term growth and strategy.

Posted in Online Marketing, Social Media | Leave a comment

Top Digital Marketing Trends in 2014

digital marketing laptop Top Digital Marketing Trends in 20142013 will be known as the year organizations began embracing different tactics for digital marketing in a big way. It will also be known as the year of the biggest social media changes: Twitter’s IPO announcement, Google and Facebook’s algorithm updates, and the list goes on. This trend of disrupting the digital marketing arena will continue into 2014 and beyond. Here is a roundup of what we predict in 2014 for the digital marketing industry:

Content continues to be king

Social Media Today reported that 78% of CMO’s believe custom content is the future of marketing. Most marketers have embraced and accepted content as a major resource in their efforts. Along with this, there has been an influx of content discovery apps which support the growth trend: Flipboard, Pulse, and Fancy (to name a few). If you’re not dedicating budget towards content development, it may be time to consider doing so!

Growth of video marketing

It goes without saying that videos have the ability to convey a message that is ten times more powerful than text content. Kony 2012 was proof that great video content has the potential of becoming an overnight viral success. Also, with apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Vine, videos are being created, viewed and shared on mobile devices. Facebook has also introduced and enhanced their mobile ads platform. Combined with the mobile potential, we predict that video marketing will grow even more in 2014.

Social media diversification

2013 has been the year of social media growth. We will continue to see this trend in the coming year. 93% of marketers already say they use social media for business, but in 2013 we also saw a surge in popularity of new networks like Pinterest, Vine and Instagram – and have become a part of everyday life. These networks are carving a unique niche for themselves, which means that businesses will continue to use different platforms to build their brands and connect with consumers.

Are there other trends we’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Flickr. Originally posted on the Activa PR blog.

 Top Digital Marketing Trends in 2014
Posted in Online Marketing | 1 Comment

Tips for Building Loyal Brand Advocates

7214953050 f90567f11c m Tips for Building Loyal Brand Advocates

Consumers are influential. They have the power to influence their peers to buy or not buy your products – both offline and online. How is this determined? Based off their experiences with your brand. Creating a brand advocacy program can help you take steps towards turning your customers into advocates. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Know Your Content

Before you decide on what you say to your advocates, you should know the story you’re trying to tell. It’s important to determine your tone of voice, narrative, platform and even your content creation process. Understanding the process of content ideation, creation, approvals and distribution can be demanding – which is why it’s important to create a structure. The combination of everything outlined above will allow your advocates to help you tell your brand story.

Appreciate and Thank Often

At the core of building brand loyalty is rewarding and thanking users for their activity and engagement. Taking the time to say thank you forms a positive reciprocal relationship between you and the consumer, and brands that take advantage of this early on can create loyal advocates. If someone is taking the time to support your brand, you should ask yourself how can you say thank you?

Evangelize internally

In an earlier post I shared the importance of embracing employees as brand advocates. Employees continue to be one of the most under-leveraged resources for many brands. From experience, I’ve found that this is often caused by departments being siloed, which creates a lack of communication. Building a successful brand loyalty and advocacy program includes a company-wide initiative. You should ask yourself, if your employees won’t buy your product, then why should anyone else?

Listen and Learn

If there is anything word of mouth marketing has taught us, it’s that customers want to be heard, and not only that, they want to make sure you’re actually listening. Advocates are not only keen on sharing experiences about your product or services, they can also provide insights and suggestions. If you’re listening but not doing anything with consumer feedback, you’ll build brand critics, not brand advocates. The importance here is engaging and adding value for your customers. In turn, they will appreciate your efforts and recommend you to others.

Are there other tips I’ve missed? Share them in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Jenni Rodger.

 

 Tips for Building Loyal Brand Advocates
Posted in Online Marketing, Social Media | 2 Comments

What You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Algorithm

facebook like 300x215 What You Need To Know About Facebook’s New AlgorithmIf you’ve managed a Facebook page for a client then you know how difficult it can be to get your posts seen by fans. Just because your page has 10,000 likes, doesn’t necessarily meant that your posts are going to be seen by 10,000 people.

In the past, your post reach was determined by an algorithm called EdgeRank (which marketers were finally starting to wrap their head around). Not unusual for Facebook, they’ve made some interesting changes recently, including the ability to embed posts on your website. That being said, Facebook has officially replaced the news feed algorithm from EdgeRank to Story Bumping.

What is Story Bumping?

With EdgeRank, Facebook news feeds used to be organized based on freshness. The newest posts would be visible to a user first and would be prioritized over older stories. In short, this often meant that older stories would likely get buried towards the bottom of a user’s news feed.

Story Bumping helps change this, and takes into account all posts a user has seen and pushes unread stories to the top. This means that when users load their news feeds, it will populate stories that are new to each user. Regardless of the time they were posted, even stories that may have been previously missed will be pushed to the top of the news feed.

Facebook stated that in testing, story bumping has already resulted in an increase in interactions (likes, comments and shares) with different stories.

Wait, there’s more!

Another change rolled out is related to the way Facebook organizes the news feed, and is based off your last 50 interactions with the site. This new feature is called Last Actor and is another signal that the algorithm will use to prioritize posts in the news feed.

Last actor will review an individual’s most recent Facebook activity, which means that the social network is adding more real-time signaling to help decide what should show it the user’s news feed.

What does this mean for Marketers?

The ultimate goal of all these changes is to encourage brands to create relevant content that produces interactions from users – whether it’s likes, comments or shares. While the algorithm changes have an impact on businesses and marketers, it’s important to note that these only apply to organic content. The Facebook ad system uses different algorithms to promote posts.

Story bumping has the potential to open the door for brands and marketers, as it will allow extended visibility for content, even for users who might have missed it when it was originally posted. Along with this, Last actor provides added visibility over shorter time periods – taking into account real-time interactions.

Final thoughts: You no longer have to worry about your posts getting lost in the news feed because they’re a little old. If you’re putting out good and relevant content, and people regularly interact with your posts, they will get seen.

Only time will tell how users react/interact with this content. What do you think of these changes?

Image via Flickr.

 What You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Algorithm
Posted in Online Marketing, Social Media | 1 Comment

4 Types of Social Media Mistakes

oops 300x248 4 Types of Social Media MistakesThere are many examples of social media infractions by companies, but the good news is that these types of experiences force marketers and senior executives to take notice and become more responsible about social media. In an earlier post I shared tips on how organizations can respond to criticism on social media.

While examples provide a good baseline of what “not to do,” they also help you take a step back and explore the different types of social media mistakes you should avoid. Here are a list of top social screw-ups and what you can do to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Lacking a Presence

Not having a social media presence could be considered slander in today’s digital marketing world. Social media gives your brand the opportunity to have a voice that reaches a wider and diverse audience. Solution: Learn to let your hair down, be open, insightful and deliver to your targeted demographic. Also take some time to listen to what others are saying about you – this will help you understand the general sentiment and deliver content accordingly.

Mistake #2: Poor Customer Service

Sub-par customer service and poor-performing products have no place in today’s social landscape. Consumers are quick to share their dissatisfaction, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or any other social platform. Solution: Listening will help you capture negative experiences customers are sharing. As an organization you need to set certain expectations and make it right with the customer.

Mistake #3: Poor Responses

Whether it’s taking too long to respond or offering oblivious responses to consumers – these are all reflective of your brand. Many companies are past due in realizing that anyone using a corporate account speaks as the voice of the company across social media. Solution: Offer organizational social media training that is compliant with social protocol and will also help mitigate embarrassment for your brand.  

Mistake #4: One-Time Fiascos

The reality is that mistakes happen (although one could argue that some are more obvious than others). Some mistakes even originate outside of social media, but the new digital landscape offers consumers an opportunity to relay their opinions and responses quickly. Solution: Create a social media disaster plan. The worse possible response you can have to a social media mistake, is no response at all. You need to show consumers that you care. This means developing a plan to get out a message, apologizing and participating in the discussion.

Are there are other mistakes/solutions that you’ve come across? Share them in the comments below!

 4 Types of Social Media Mistakes
Posted in Customers, Online Marketing, Social Media | 2 Comments

Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark.