Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Working Around Social Media Vacations

It’s really hot out there. So hot, it might be time for a vacation. From work and chores. Even social media?

According to a new survey by MyLife.com, more than half of online users asked have taken or have considered taking a social media vacation. Why? they’re tired of irrelevant updates and don’t have time.

Of those surveyed, 40% had multiple social media profiles and 35% said they spent more than 31 minutes a day on social media and dealing with personal emails.

This all ties into the slow media movement: a growing chorus that advocates for less time on screens and avoiding things like responding rapidly to emails, Facebook updates and texts. People are concerned about how our rapidly changing digital universe is impacting them, and thinking about ways to unplug.

For brands looking to get marketing messages to potential or existing customers via social media, this data serves as a warning: information overload is a real threat and social media audiences, hungry as they seem to be most of the time, are closer to burnout than we would like.

Posting too often, spreading news that’s not really news, being too self absorbed and reposting without input: all these social media marketing habits can inspire followers to shut down their desktops and get their media kicks elsewhere.

To keep followers engaged and not tempted to switch you off, focus on some of the basics of social media marketing. Less is more.

Get involved in conversations and the community instead of just promoting yourself. If you can’t say anything authentic, say nothing at all. Re-read, and re-read again, every post to avoid triggering unwanted controversy.

And, hard as it may be, accept that your message is part of a busy, loud social media industry. It may not be heard by everyone. It may be heard so much by some that they’ll want to shut it off.

Keeping this in mind need not destroy your social media intentions, but it can help you craft them to be more succinct, smart, timely and respectful of your audience and just how much they want to hear.

The Now Of Social Communication [Infographic]

You’ve already heard a lot this week about the evolution of our company. Our CEO, Michael Nowlan, wrote about what this change means and our COO, Jim Delaney, wrote about how these changes reflect a changing landscape for our customers and how we’re here to help you. Well, today we thought instead of telling you more, we’d actually show you.

Below we put together an infographic that shows how certain industries and business functions have changed over the years. Things like PR, marketing, customer service and reputation management have changed significantly just in the past 10 years alone. In order to help you do these things better, we as a company had to evolve as well to grow with you.

Take a look at the infographic to see how the industry used to operate (Then) and how our Marketwired suite of products, powered by Sysomos, can help you do your job better today and make smarter decisions for the future (Now).

We’ve evolved from a wire company to a wired company and we want to help you do the same.

Social Media is One Weapon Within a Marketing Arsenal

Like anything new and shiny, many brands have fallen in love with social media.

I mean, what’s not to like: social media delivers the power and ability to quickly and easily engage, educate and entertain a global audience to build relationships, goodwill and, hopefully, sales.

At the same time, it is keep in mind that although social media is sexy and glittery, it is not the only game in town. It means brands need to recognize there is such thing as being too in love with social media.

Truth be told, social media is a single quiver in your marketing and sales arsenal. Yes, it is effective and cost-efficient but it is just one of the many tools brands can leverage to reach target audiences.

While social media dominates the spotlight, many traditional tools – TV, radio, newspapers, direct mail, billboards – are still alive and well, as well as the online advertising market, which surpassed $100-billion last year.

This is just anecdotal but there seems to be signs that some brands are scrutinizing their social media activity and what it’s delivering. It doesn’t mean they have fallen out of love with social media but, instead, are trying to figure out the right role within the overall marketing and sales portfolio.

Econsultancy wrote a blog post recently asking if brands were over-estimating the value of social media data. The focus of the post that while data provides good insight, it is important not to completely fall in love with it because there are many other factors that impact a brand’s performance and sales.

As brands take a healthy look at their social media activity, it is a reflection of how social media is maturing and evolving. There is no doubt social media delivers terrific insight, engagement and value, which is why it has become table stakes from a marketing and sales perspective.

At the same time, there is also the question of balance and resource allocation.

For brands to thrive, it is important and necessary for them to have the right amount of focus on the right channels to meet the needs of target audiences. Without a doubt, social media will be a key part of the mix but there are other tools that will happily sit alongside it.

What are your thoughts?

 

Is Sulia a Hidden Gem for Digital Marketers?

Social media is packed to the brim with places for people to spend time, connect and share stories and photos. Many of these services help people aggregate content across several services.

With the playing field so crowded and people only able to use a handful of services, you have to believe that a few quality players are going to slip through the cracks. That said, it is important for marketers and PR practitioners to leave no stone unturned.

There’s a social network that isn’t getting much press or attention, but is definitely on the upswing because it offers an interesting and more niche perspective of the world.

This mysterious player is Sulia, a subject-based social network that has intriguing potential. It’s definitely under the radar given it has less than 700 Facebook fan. Sulia makes it easy to filter and find content that are relevant to you, your brand or your cause.

In a year’s time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sulia attracts a lot more of the social spotlight and its user base is through the roof. Of course, it already has more 10 million users so it’s not exactly the smallest fish in the pond. But, I would suggest the real audience is out there waiting for it.

For organizations, it can be a great way to easily locate opinion leaders and influencers on key subjects that are relevant to you.

Have you tried Sulia? What are your thoughts? Do you know of any other under the radar networks?

Sulia

Social Media Can Boost Traditional Marketing

Social media has definitely changed marketing, communications and advertising.

Even those still clinging to more traditional channels are coming around to the reality and power of social media.

One of its inherent truths is that social media tends to work best when it is coupled with offline tactics.

A recent example such as QR codes shows that there are ways to connect the real world with the digital.

Are there other tactics which can appease your team and bosses, and help you deliver the most comprehensive strategy possible?

The answer is yes, and some are very simple but still  often overlooked.

Here are two important ones:

Always make sure that you have the key URLs listed on your print material. Sometimes, we forget that if people see something often enough, it has the ability to stick with them next time they are online.

Use social media to generate solid sales leads. All networks can provide you with analytics and data to hone in on key sales leads. It can help a sales team become more focused and efficient.

These are just a couple reminders to include tactics to help ensure that your offline abilities are not limited, and actually helping to prop up your online initiatives.

What tactics have you used to create a common thread amongst these two vital elements of marketing and communications?

Social Media and the Holiday Shopping Battle

As everyone and their mother knows, we are in the greatest shopping period of the year from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

It’s a stretch of time of non-stop consumerism and purchasing; everyone is looking for deals and advice.

How do stores, brands and marketers win this pivotal quarter and help ensure the highest gross of profits?

The most important thing to realize is that now is the time to figure it out, before it is too late.

This is a fight that now takes place digitally, and whoever can gain the upper hand via social media will reap the most rewards.

Every major brand and store has a holiday campaign, and if social media is not front and centre, then there is a good chance it’ll be all for naught.

The greatest proof is the amount of online purchases that happen every year, and this number is intensified as we near the end of the calendar. If this is the preferred method of purchasing then you have to use social media to influence buying decisions and offer portals to buy the goods and services.

The underlying point is that you need to make the holidays your biggest sales, then you have no choice but to embrace social media and make sure it is working for you.

The big challenge facing many brands is how they rise above the digital crowd when so many rivals are also using social media. In many ways, the stakes keep on getting raised, which means brands and marketers need to be more creative, aggressive and think out of the box to capture the spotlight.

It will be interested to see which brands call pull this off and, as important, whether it will help their cash registers ring.

Any suggestions on the leading candidates?

What if Facebook Goes For the Money?

Ever since Facebook went public, there has been growing criticism and scrutiny of the biggest social media brand in the world.

Its stock has plummeted — dropping to nearly half its original value — everyone is selling shares, and no one has much good to say about the company’s strategies for mobile or anything else at all, really.

Everyone is waiting, it seems, for this powerhouse to start making money the old fashioned way. With the idea of charging consumers for its online or mobile service a huge long shot, chances are that revenue is going to inevitably come from advertising.

But until now, running ads on Facebook has been an inexpensive yet effective undertaking. With all the personal data collected by Facebook, ads can be easily targeted to a myriad of demographics.

That could change. To start generating real and more revenue, Facebook may have to start charging more for advertising.

That can mean spiked rates for click-throughs or even a charge for page impressions, which could significantly impact marketing budgets.

This could lead to a rough transition with some marketers exiting Facebook for cheaper ground. For others who have found they are getting good results on Facebook, higher costs may lead to fewer but increasingly focused campaigns.

And it may begin an upward trend in online ad rates across platforms — again, a downside for marketers, but a good thing for social media companies, online publishers, bloggers and the like.

Meanwhile, Facebook could introduce advertising spots that synch up more seamlessly with users’ news feeds. This, however, is how ads sometimes appear on the site’s mobile version, which has garnered many complaints.

If Facebook starts doing this, it will have to do it well — but it could offer an opportunity for premium ad space for big campaigns.

Another option for Facebook is following Twitter’s footsteps and begin a data-mining program to sell to third parties. For marketers, this could be a boon: finding out what certain groups are talking about and potentially buying.

Perhaps this is one of the big ideas the company is currently hinting at, but keeping under wraps.

So far, social media has been an inexpensive ride for users and for marketers. That could well change as the publicly owned Facebook moves forward. Are you ready?

Three Keys to a Successful Social Media Campaign

Many social media users and fans get excited when a brand knocks it out of the park with a great and engaging digital campaign. It provides credibility that this is the place to drive marketing activities in a different or unique way.

The reality is when social campaigns hit, they have the ability to hit in a big way.

Some of the best campaigns orchestrated by Google, Old Spice and McDonald’s have delivered dividends that far exceed the online world.

So what do brands and agencies need to keep in mind when devising the next great social media campaign?

1. Creativity is key. The generic or the broad rarely plays well in the offline world, let along within social media.

The best campaigns all have this in common. Those who do straightforward “join now” or “click here” campaigns may have trouble engaging fans and potential fans.

2. Hit emotional notes. Old Spice did this through humor, which made it doubly impressive. The “It Gets Better” campaign” created emotional engagement with celebrities and users, which heightened everything.

3. Find your online audience. You can cast a wide net but you have to still focus on target audiences who will talk about and share your campaign and its value.

Which social media campaigns have hit home hardest with you?

 

Content Marketing + Social Media = The Perfect Marriage?

content marketing social mediaHave you embraced content marketing yet? Have you bought into the idea that content is, in fact, king?

It’s difficult not to feel like the role and value of content has dramatically changed over the past year. It was not that long ago that brands were getting their heads around social media; now they have to think about becoming publishers. No wonder some brands have little idea about what to do given the landscape is changing so fast.

Here’s the thing about content marketing and social media: they’re both meant to attract eyeballs and, at the end of the day, drive transactions. In other words, they’re marketing and sales tools that can be leveraged to attract target audiences to change their thinking or behaviour.

It’s really as simple as that, although it can be difficult to tell given the hype surrounding content marketing and social media.

Here’s another reality: content marketing and social media have the potential to be perfect partners because while they share the same mandate, they address the challenges in different ways.

Content marketing involves the use of content – Webinars, videos, blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, etc. – to build a brand’s profile and provide existing and potential customers with some kind of value. By creating content that resonates, brands hope consumers will think of them in a different way, establish a relationship and, ideally, buy a product or service.

Meanwhile, social media is a way to engage and have conversations with consumers by using tools that allow for two-way dialog. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Linked, YouTube, Tumblr or Pinterest, brands leverage social media to connect with consumers and, hopefully, have them connect back.

So what happens when you put content marketing and social media together?

If done right, the content created or delivered by a brand is distributed using social media services to target audiences looking to consumer content in different ways.

By using social media, brands can do a better job of getting content into the hands of people who may find it interesting or useful. As important, social media lets consumers engage with brands about this content.

In other words, content marketing and social media complement and support each other.

It explains why many brands are embracing content marketing because it provides more ammunition for their social media efforts. At the same time, social media can offer an effective distribution network for companies creating a lot of content.

Bottom line: content marketing and social media can be a powerful one-two punch.

More: For some other thoughts, Erin Nelson has a post on the “real magic” of content marketing, while Lee Oden has a post on five ways that B2B business can win with content marketing and social media.

Will Brands Ruin or Super-Charge Pinterest?

Like any social media network that gains traction, the initial surge is led by people looking for a new way to consume or share content, or communicate with friends and family.

As a social network becomes popular, it is only a matter of time before it captures the attention of brands looking to connect with consumers. A classic example is Facebook, which not only embraced brands but created a new platform, Facebook Pages, so they could establish a stronger and better presence.

As Pinterest continues its impressive growth, one of the big questions is the impact of brands, which are likely salivating when they look at the 12 million active users and the amount of referral traffic.

Will brands ruin Pinterest by making it more commercial and transaction-oriented. Or will brands make Pinterest even more fun and entertaining by adding a new element to the mix?

While it is too early to assess the impact of brands on Pinterest, the thing that may keep brands in check is how Pinterest is a no-frills platform – at least for the time being.

The lack of bells and whistles is a key part of Pinterest’s appeal because it makes the service easy to use. There aren’t a lot of moving parts to distract or overwhelm users, which makes content paramount.

Unless Pinterest changes how it looks and works, brands will have to compete for the attention of consumers by delivering engaging, compelling and interesting content. If your photos, graphics or images have no curb appeal, you’re dead.

This reality could make it challenging for brands to establish strong footholds on Pinterest because they will need to be creative and think out of the box. Unlike Facebook, a brand won’t be able to super-charge its efforts by holding contests or giving away free pastries to become popular.

For Pinterest, the reality of having brands as part of its ecosystem will be an opportunity and a risk.

On one hand, Pinterest could benefit from having lots of brands because it could provide key pillars of its business plan – e.g. advertising and sales commissions. At the same time, however, Pinterest has to be careful not to change too much to accomodate what brands want.

In other words, it is going to be a delicate balancing act.

What do you think? Will brands ruin or enhance Pinterest?

For more thoughts about brands and Pinterest, check out this infographic by Maxymeiser.