Posted by: FDMC | February 22, 2017

Facebook and YouTube Videos Changing Again!

In the past week, Facebook and YouTube have both announced some changes to their video advertising formats. These changes won’t take place until later this year (or perhaps early next) but I know video marketers, too. They HATE to change things. But, with that kind of advanced warning, who can really complain?

So, what are these changes? Nothing too super radical but they are going to be noticeable. And why did Facebook, whose mantra for developers has long been “move fast and break things,” and YouTube, which changes at a rate of 33% a year, decide to alert us to these alterations in their video advertising formats several months in advance? Well from my research, here is what is coming down the pike.

New Ways to Watch Facebook Video

On Feb. 14, 2017, Facebook announced four news ways to watch Facebook video. The biggest change involves bringing sound to videos in the News Feed between now and the end of the year. As video marketers know, videos in the News Feed have played silently up to now — unless a user tapped on a video to hear the sound. But, as younger people have been watching more Snapchat videos on their smartphones, they’ve apparently come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on. Who knew? So, Facebook has decided – after testing sound on in its News Feed and “hearing positive feedback” – to carefully follow in Snapchat’s footsteps and slowly bring sound to more people, as well. When this update rolls out, sound will fade in and out as Facebook users scroll through videos in their News Feed.

Now, if your smartphone is set to silent, then Facebook videos won’t play with sound. And, if you never want videos to play with sound, then you can disable this feature by switching off “Videos in News Feed Start with Sound” in Settings. Facebook also says it will be showing in-product messages to tell people about the new sound on experience and controls.

In other news, Facebook also announced changes to make vertical videos look better on mobile devices. It made it possible to minimize the video you’re watching to a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of your screen while you browse other stories in News Feed. And it announced a new Facebook video app for TV. But, these changes are less likely to ruffle anyone’s feathers.

All media companies have to carefully balance what their readers, listeners, viewers, and users want with what their advertisers would like to have. Back in the 1980’s when I still had hair and “gag me with a chainsaw” was a popular catchphrase, two-thirds of the advertisers in PC/Computing (an example) wanted their ads to appear in the first third of the magazine, even though reader research showed that the most popular part was the middle of the publication where the cover story ran. Today, advertisers may prefer that their videos autoplay with the sound on, but that may or may not be welcomed by the vast majority of Facebook users. Snapchat users are used to sound because the audio they hear instantly typically comes from their friends videos. Not from advertisers.

With the advent of Facebook Live, we may see a similar response, but it’s too soon to tell. So, why would Facebook hear “positive feedback” after testing sound on in its News Feed? Well, not every Facebook user sees videos in their News Feed. The stats sate that only 500 million Facebook users even see videos, so the test may have been conducted using the most video-friendly segment of the social network’s users. And 85% of these Facebook users currently watch videos with the sound off. So, did Facebook conduct its test using the 15% that currently watch videos with the sound on? And as the social network rolls out videos that autoplay with sound, will the feedback continue to be as positive? In other words, kudos to Facebook for giving everyone a “heads up” that changes are coming down the road. For a company that just celebrated its 13th birthday, the social network is showing a lot of maturity. But, video marketers should still watch this particular change like a hawk, because sound may not be welcomed by as many Facebook users as advertisers would like. The jury is still out.

YouTube to End 30 Second Unskippable Ads

Google provided an official statement on Feb. 17, 2017, that said  YouTube will drop the unskippable ad format beginning early next year. A Google spokesman added that YouTube will “focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.” The 30-second unskippable ads were popular with advertisers. So, apparently this format didn’t work for YouTube users, who have apparently come to expect the ability to choose which video ads they want to watch – which is what TrueView video ads gave them seven years ago.  Advertisers will have until 2018 to make adjustments to their plans. And video ads that are shorter than 30-seconds, including 20-second spots, can still be made unskippable. Plus, YouTube has been touting its six-second unskippable bumper ad format since its introduction in April 2016. Again this is nice that YouTube gave consumers and advertisers a “heads up” that changes are coming down the road. For a company that just celebrated its 12th birthday, the video-sharing site is showing a lot of maturity. But, video marketers should recognize that YouTube appears to be giving its users want they want while Facebook is testing the limits of what its advertisers would like to have.

Although both video platforms and trying to balance the two competing forces that any media company feels, one is zigging, while the other is zagging. That means this isn’t a horse race where both competitors are trying to pull out ahead of each other on the same well-defined track. This is more like cross-country running where two different teams are competing in a race across open-air courses over natural terrain that is not well marked. That makes the changes to Facebook and YouTube’s video advertising formats well worth watching – even if we won’t know the outcome until next year.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC

http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | February 15, 2017

Is Your Business Using Pinterest?

On Pinterest – the social platform built on beautiful, shareable imagery – opportunities for shopping come cleverly disguised as outfit inspiration and smoothie recipes and DIY centrepieces and VW bus renovations and french bulldog puppies. These collectible, bite-sized visuals feed our human instincts to covet and hoard and categorize. For consumers, it’s a place to hunt and gather. For brands, it’s a goldmine. saying “Take my money!” Last year, Pinterest was the second largest social source for traffic (over Twitter), and resulting visits had the third highest average order value (beating Facebook). If you’re still not convinced, consider this: sales and traffic from Pins can occur long after the item is pinned. In fact, 50 percent of visits happen after 3.5 months, according to Piqora. Compared to Twitter and Facebook where the content half-life is around 5 minutes and 80 minutes, respectively, Pinterest is more bang for your social buck. As a merchant, there are several ways to maximize your efforts on Pinterest, including choosing the right content, running contests, and engaging with your community. Here are seven ideas to add to your Pinterest marketing strategies.

1. Use Rich Pins

Rich Pins are pins that contain extra information right inside the pin. Your customers can benefit from Product Pins which include real-time pricing and stock availability. Rich Pins can improve CTR and discoverability of Pins, by making them eligible for Pinterest’s own curated feeds. Another advantage of Rich Pins is price notifications. If you reduce the price of your product, customers who Repinned that product image will receive an email from Pinterest notifying them of the price drop and prompting them to buy.

2. Pin Smarter

Quality over quantity is a long-revered rule of thumb when it comes to, well, just about anything. With Pinterest, make it your mantra. Volume matters for the sake of consistency – pin every new product, engage frequently, keep it fresh. Knowing what types of images work best on Pinterest is even more important. When shooting and choosing photos for your product pages, make them highly Repinnable. What makes an image Pinterest-worthy? Let’s dig into the data:

·        Keep it Anonymous. Images without faces receive 23% more Repins than those with faces.

·        Use Color Wisely. Pins with multiple dominant colors are Repinned 3.25 times more than those dominated by a single color, and red images fare better than blue.

·        Size Matters. Images on your product pages should ideally be at least 600 px wide with the optimal Pin width being 736 pixels wide (the maximum display size). Taller images are more likely to be Repinned.

·        Listen. Pay attention to your analytics, either through your Pinterest business tools or via other apps like Piqora, Tailwind, or Curalate. While summer salad recipes and DIY treehouses may have high virality potential overall, be relevant – find out what resonates with your audience specifically.

·        Timing is Everything. Pin and engage when your customers are doing the same. The time periods 2-4pm and 8-11pm are roughly the best times to Pin, but it can depend on where and who your customers are. Pinterest research also suggests that certain categories perform better on specific days of the week.

·        You Need a Blog. You already know why your ecommerce site needs a blog. Use it as a place tocreate beautiful content for your Pinterest boards, too. Even if you’re not a designer or photographer, you can use easy tools to help create great content.

3. Sell the Lifestyle

Inspire your audience, don’t just sell to them. Create boards around lifestyle themes that include your products, rather than just product boards (“The Great Outdoors” vs “ABC Company Outerwear”). Great brands understand their customers and the kind of content that they crave.

4. Piggyback on the Popular

While I previously cautioned against pinning content simply based on viral potential, you can tap into the most popular pin types and search terms if they’re actually relevant to your audience. Are your customers predominantly men? Your slice of the Pinterest pie is small, so maximize your efforts. Create boards and pin content in the categories of photography, art, design, and home decor. Do you sell food or beverages? Develop easy recipes containing your products. Are your products related to fitness, health, or beauty? Pin inspirational and inspirational content with quotes. Is your ecommerce store a source for tools, craft supplies, or fabric? Use them to create DIYs and tutorials.

5. Run Pinterest Contests

Contests are a great way to increase engagement on Pinterest. Brands, however, should pay attention to Pinterest’s contest guidelines. Certain types of contests are not permitted, nor is spammy behaviour.

Done well, and within the platform’s parameters, Pinterest contests can drive sales and traffic for your ecommerce site. Jetsetter used contests to increase site traffic by 150% and Overstock.com saw a 1000% jump in referrals from Pinterest.

Contest tips:

·        Be Creative. Modcloth wins at contests by keeping them fun and original.

·        Make it Worth it. Forever 21 asks followers to create an entire board, but puts a $1000 gift card on the table as incentive.

·        Get Inspired. Look to other brands for contest ideas that might work for you.

·        Use an App. Apps like Gleam.io, Wishpond or Woobox can help organize your contest and host it on your site or Facebook.

6. Leverage the Power of Influencers

Partner up with Pinterest influencers and bloggers to give your product some clout on the social network. Many brands get access to new audiences by inviting Guest Pinners to create boards on their accounts. Often, influencers will charge a fee for this service, but social media love in exchange for your product may be possible, too. Choose to work with Pinterest users whose audiences resemble your desired customers.

7. Engage Your Community

Involve your community to help increase engagement. Group Boards can be comprised of many contributors – customersstaff, a select group of influencers – or can even be open to anyone to join. The contributors to your group boards become brand ambassadors, creating content on your behalf. Celebrate the selfie! Tap into narcissism and encourage your customers to share images of themselves with your product. This is an especially useful tactic for fashion brands to gather alternate, accessible images of products worn by real people.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC

http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | February 8, 2017

Getting Social The Right Way With B2B

B2B buyers take their time researching, consulting and getting approvals before making any decisions. As a result, it’s unlikely that a decision-maker would see an ad and make an impulse purchase the way a consumer might. Rather than using social media to drive direct sales, B2Bs should leverage it to share valuable content and position themselves as subject matter experts throughout the buyer journey.

LinkedIn automatically comes to mind when discussing social media for B2Bs but there’s plenty of untapped potential on other networks as well. For example, Twitter is a better platform for driving conversation. Facebook can be a powerful tool for B2Bs. Facebook helps us drive registration to events, whereas on LinkedIn, we focus more on thought leadership,

Consumer brand marketers advocate developing fresh content for each social platform whenever possible, but because of the investment B2Bs make in producing white papers and customer case studies, it doesn’t make sense not to reuse content. The key is to present it in a way that resonates with each social platform’s unique audience.

B2Cs often use social media to participate in live conversations surrounding current events. B2Bs have a similar opportunity at industry conferences and trade shows. Companies can share contextual information and drive meaningful conversations with a leaned-in audience.

Though B2B companies may often have more modest social reach than consumer brands, B2Bs can build niche decision-maker communities where questions are answered and industry-specific matters are discussed. The reach may be smaller, but with more room for one-to-one conversation, the impact could be greater.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social and Digital Media

http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | February 1, 2017

Networking With Your Business

Networking. The mere word conjures up discomfort: There you are, making forced small talk with complete strangers while balancing cube-shaped cheese or veggies and a pool of dip on a plastic plate. But networking isn’t just an activity you do over cocktails and finger foods or with conversations centered around safe topics like the weather or what you find most “rewarding” about your job.

Networking is simply any act that builds strong personal connections with other people. And it’s an essential activity—a necessary evil, some may say—for advancing your career or, if you’re an entrepreneur, for securing new business and meeting investors. Since it’s a human-focused undertaking, you’re actually networking every time you interact with another person—or at least you can be. Each tap, tweet, post, message, and comment is the chance to make a connection—therefore, it’s networking. That means that in the space of an ordinary workday, you have plenty of opportunities to network in a multitude of micro-ways, hold the micro-cheese. Here are a few of them.

YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE

Come what may of other communication tools, email isn’t going anywhere soon. According to a recent Radicati report, the average number of business emails sent and received per user each day totaled 122. And that figure is set to grow; by 2019, researchers estimate, we’ll be trading 126 emails a day.

So rather than groaning about the state of your inbox, consider the 122 networking opportunities you have each time you hit “send.” Set up an email signature line if you don’t have one, and take a fresh look at it if you do. Do recipients know not only how to reach you (off email) but also what they should be seeking you out for when they do?

Does your signature line appear at the bottom of each email sent, or do you have to remember to drop it in each time? Send yourself an email and consider how it looks from the perspective of a recipient. Would you like to talk to that person on the basis of the signature line alone? If not, change it.

LINKEDIN UPDATES

You may have a polished, professional, up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, but that only tells part of your career story. To use LinkedIn to its fullest, you can’t just treat it as a directory. You have to share updates pretty regularly in order to tell connections what’s on your mind, whether it’s your point of view on some industry news story or just congratulating a colleague on a business win. You can break out of your own immediate professional sphere, too. Consider sharing updates on a nonprofit cause you care about; many business connections deepen around shared charitable interests, not just professional ones. And yes, updates are a chance to toot your own business horn—but just as the best networking isn’t all “me me me,” you should also use updates to cross-sell your colleagues’ talents or promote the services of vendors you trust. (Just remember that LinkedIn is still a business platform, so keep your LOLs and selfies for other social networking sites.)

YOUR SPEAKER OR AWARD BIO

Okay, maybe you aren’t exactly invited to speak or receive an award on a daily basis, but the further you go in your career, the more often these opportunities may crop up. As they do, you’ll need to craft custom bios that are tailored to each one. And as counter intuitive as it sounds, even if you’re the main-stage attraction, the bio you submit should be all about the audience, not about you: Who are they? Why do they care about what you have to say or what you’ve accomplished? How can you draft your bio to connect with them more meaningfully? The bio you submit won’t just appear in a program handout, it’s also likely to be posted on the event or organization’s website, included in online marketing materials and even a press release (where others will readily find it with a quick Google search). So take the time to craft a targeted bio each time you’re asked for one. Use the opportunity to not only just tell them what you’ve done in the past, but also to show them what they should be seeking from you in the future.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC

http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | January 25, 2017

Blogging and Video To Increase Business

If you are running your own business, then you know how tough it can be. A blog significantly improves search rankings and gives you a chance to connect with more customers.

But what if you’re not an amazing writer? And what if you don’t know what to blog about?

Don’t worry. The first blog post is always the hardest. That’s why I collected examples of different kinds of posts for your inspiration.

Check these out and consider writing to tell your story, announce a sale, or give a guide to your products today.

Make a List of Influencers to Follow

Here’s an easy way to create good content – and offers the potential to be widely-shared:

Make a list of the top 25 blogs, Twitter accounts, or even Tumblrs, for someone interested in your industry to follow. Compile that list, write a few sentences about why you included each blog or Twitter account, publish it, and send it to the people you feature. If you do it tastefully, there’s a good chance that they’ll share the post with their audiences. That will get you lots of traffic – in addition to improving your SEO.

Answer Questions About Your Industry or Vertical

Some of the most successful pieces of content marketing ever comes via Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spas.

River Pools and Spas installs fiberglass pools, the cost of which is not always transparent. Sheridan decided to write blog posts about every aspect of fiberglass pools.

Sheridan’s posts were so good that the New York Times profiled him with a headline: “A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answer Customers’ Questions.”

His blog posts often rank on the first page of Google for their search terms. And that’s driven both traffic and sales.

 

Profile Your Team or Staff

Your team is made up of interesting people. Why not feature their stories? There’s a variety of things that you can do. You can write up a short bio of them that includes their interests and where they’ve been. This can also take the format of a Q&A, when you spend 15 minutes chatting with someone on your team and then write up the questions and their responses.

This is an especially easy way to generate some good content. Most importantly, it gives your customers a sense of who they’re dealing with. When they purchase a product from your store, they know that they’re buying from real people with real passions.

Give a Sneak Peek of New Products or Services (and Ask for Feedback)

There’s two ways that this tactic can be valuable:

First, it generates excitement from your customers for a new product. If they like what you do and are loyal towards your brand, they’ll feel especially good that they get to see a new thing first.

Second, it has the potential to increase engagement. If you manufacture your products, consider floating a prototype for people to see; they may offer valuable input on what can be improved. And if you don’t manufacture your own products, ask your readers which of the options you can stock most appeals to them. Let them anticipate something that they’ll buy from you.

Make a Tutorial for Your Products

Everybody wins when your customers know how to use your products.

Not every product needs an in-depth tutorial on how it’s used. But for certain products this can be a big help.

Does your product have cool, non-obvious uses? Is it best enjoyed in a certain condition? Is there something that the customer should do to make the most of it?

Point these things out. Potential customers may see one more way to use your product and existing customers may be pleased to discover a new way to use it.

Announce a Sale

This one’s obvious. When you have, a big sale coming up, announce it on your blog. It’ll give people something to link to.

Use the space to talk about the products you have on sale, and if it’s applicable, why these products are right for the occasion. (It may be, for example, the perfect present for Mother’s Day.) And if you’re able to design something, put together a graphic.

 

Run a Contest

Running a contest is like announcing a sale. They’re both effective and attractive ways to get more attention for your store. Just make sure that you’re not making the common mistakes with giveaways and contests.

You can have all sorts of giveaways, of your products, of gift cards, or even special experiences like a visit to your store. And entering the contest can take a variety of forms. The easiest way is to submit a comment at the end of the post. You can also ask people to tweet about your store or share it on another social media platform.

Set up Gleam to make the most out of your contest. Gleam offers one-click entry, built-in viral sharing, and multiple ways of picking new winners.

Write About an Event You Participated In

If you help put on an event then you should definitely write about it. But you can also write about something that you don’t own, like your thoughts on a conference.

Write up your impressions and thoughts about a conference or meetup you went to. It shows that you’re paying attention to where your industry is going and people will appreciate the insights. Make sure to snap a few pictures and post them up too.

Tell the History of Your Company

Being an entrepreneur means something special. Few people think of it, and even fewer people act on it.

So, what’s your founding story?

Share the story of why you decided to become an entrepreneur. Was it driven by an event? Was it the result of a special trip? Were you struck by inspiration of some sort? Tell the story and connect better with your customers.

Make a Video: Product Tutorial

Okay, we don’t want to give the impression that content marketing is only blogging. It can be making videos, writing emails, and other kinds of content-generation too.

Sometimes you just can’t write about how to use a product. You have to show, not tell. Then it’s time to post a video on YouTube (or some other platform).

Besides, video marketing is effective. By one estimate, consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.

Shoot a product tutorial to introduce your product, its benefits, and how it can best be used, or talk to us here at FDMC Social and Digital Video on how we can help you.

Make a Video: How Your Product Is Made or the Service You Offer

Our last suggestion for an easy piece of content: Make a video of how your product is made.

Do you have a very interesting manufacturing process? Does it require special tools and equipment? Is the process fun to look at? Shoot a video of its production.

Conclusion

You know your business well, and there are lots of opportunities to create good content by telling people about cool things in your industry. Write a blog post, shoot a video, or generate some other type of content today to tell your story and improve SEO.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social and Digital Video

http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

 

Posted by: FDMC | January 18, 2017

Are You Using WhatsApp Yet?

Although I don’t have a ton of friends or contacts on WhatsApp, I continue to use this app and have been now for several years. I like it and now advertisers are starting to see the benefits of WhatsApp. The traffic is less crowded and there is a lot of potential here at lower advertising costs.

Right now, brands are finding that a WhatsApp strategy makes sense for the always-time-strapped consumer. Instead of asking them to seek out the brand’s mobile app for a personalized experience, brands will come to them to talk where they already are. And since only 20 million of WhatsApp’s 1 billion users are projected to be based in the U.S. in 2017, according to Statista, the app serves as a door to an international audience.

On WhatsApp, customers can select items they want to be delivered by scrolling through the latest updated stock. A Reliance Brand representative said in 2015 that conversion rate was as high as 80 percent, and that “cash-rich-time-poor” customers appreciated the convenience of the direct conversation. It helps that that conversation doesn’t cost the brands a lot, either.

“One of the most appealing things about WhatsApp is its success rate. 98 percent of WhatsApp messages are opened and read. “Second, it’s cheap. Cheaper than any customer service or advertising on any traditional media, with the bonus of the automatic opt-in, since the customers gave you their telephone numbers.”

Over the holidays, high-end lingerie brand Agent Provocateur set out on WhatsApp with a goal to help couples buy items. The customer service strategy was aimed at the “time-poor” customer, a brand spokesperson told  Digiday, and also the retailer’s VIPs, who are becoming increasingly important in a competitive retail market.

WhatsApp’s current advantage: It’s less crowded by other brands than the Facebooks and Snapchats of the world. “The challenge brands have is finding an uncluttered environment where they can talk to customers,” said David Cooperstein, an advisor to the programmatic platform Pebblepost. “They know people are spending time on WhatsApp, and they’re looking for ways to get visibility.”

Outside of WhatsApp, brands have tested conversational-driven customer service and marketing on apps like WeChat and Facebook Messenger, as customers are becoming more open to the idea of chatting with a brand. So far, WhatsApp’s full potential is still yet to be tapped.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC

www.floridadudemarketeingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | January 11, 2017

Social Trends To Watch For In 2017

Social media moves fast. Just as you’ve wrapped your head around a set of features or developed a great new marketing tactic, the rules change.
Looking back at the recent developments can help us work out what to expect in the future. So here are our predictions for the social media trends of 2017.

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality 

I know, I know… you’ve been reading predictions of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) taking over for the last few years. It never quite happens. 
But think about what happened this past year. For a while, you could barely walk down the street without someone bumping into you while they tried to catch a Rattata. Pokémon Go introduced a lot of people to AR, and it showed that there is mass appeal for it when it is executed well. Several VR sets went on sale and generated hype, although they don’t seem to have that killer app yet.
The practical application of these technologies is yet to be worked out beyond gaming. Brands with physical stores are likely to be interested in AR development, as it makes proximity-based offers and engagement possible.
We are still at the beginning of the VR/AR journey. While I don’t expect AR or VR to be a dominant social media trend in 2017, a few brands will surely experiment over the coming twelve months with these new technologies.

Pay To Play Stays Social

How do you best reach your audience? It’s a vital question for marketers, and one where the answer is always changing.You may choose to aim for the 3.5 billion searches per day conducted on Google. Alternatively, you can aim for social media. Facebook holds 1.71 billion people. Instagram has 500 million active users. WhatsApp has 1 billion. Youtube has 1 billion.
With search, an SEO practitioner can get your content high in the results page. A PPC expert can deliver ads that drive traffic to your site. With social, the halcyon days which saw brands’ content being distributed at no cost are over. The changes brought about by the social networks mean that organic reach is greatly reduced.
Brands have two choices: pay up, or have a true understanding of the content your audience wants to see and provide it to them. Even then, you would need to think about how you can maximize sharing, and engage influencers to increase the reach. In the end, a successful strategy will most likely have to include paying money to the networks.

Live Streaming Video

Last year Meerkat brought live streaming to the masses. (Sadly Meerkat could not compete with Periscope.) Earlier this year, Facebook introduced live streaming for celebrities. Recently it was rolled out for all users. YouTube Live is about to launch too.
Video has been responsible for a lot of the growth enjoyed by Facebook this year, and consistently shows higher engagement than other formats. As social networks fight to keep people online, this push into live video makes sense.
At this early stage, it’s difficult to know what the possibilities for brands are. Facebook will surely have rules around this. However, forward-thinking brands will be watching this social media trend for opportunities. Brands have the potential to release engaging content, conduct marketing around an event, or even pay influencers to feature their products.
With the priority that Facebook gives to video and the reduced organic reach, we should see brands experimenting with this new format in 2017.

Rise Of The Chatbots

Artificial intelligence is now reaching a level where it is useful to many people’s daily lives. The rise of digital assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant have got people used to talking to their phone rather than exercising their fingers.
With Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google Allo all introducing integrated bots to help with bookings and customer service, prepare to start talking to machines much more often.
Chatbots make sense for brands, allowing common questions to be answered and simple bookings to be managed. This can free up customer service representatives to answer more in-depth queries.

More expiring content

The success of Snapchat has seen many of its competitor’s introducing features inspired by the ephemeral messaging app. FacebookInstagram, and Whatsapp have all ‘borrowed’ Snapchat features recently.
It seems disappearing content might be about to become even more popular. It will be interesting to watch the inventive ways brands embrace these new features, just as they have for their Snapchat campaigns.
Increased Personalization
The amount of data available increasingly allows ads to be shown to the right people at the right time, both across the web and specifically on social networks. The huge increase in the amount of content published online means that this needs to be seen by the right person at the right time too.
There is so much choice for the reader that if you don’t personalize and focus on a specific target, your content is much less likely to resonate with consumers.
Niche content, interactive content, innovative campaigns: it’s all part of the content arms race, trying to win limited attention in a very busy space.

Mobile First

‘Optimize for mobile’ could have been on every social media trends post written in the last five years. That doesn’t make any of those predictions wrong, nor does it devalue it’s entry this year. Its importance has increased every year, and this year is no different. It is no secret that mobile traffic has overtaken the desktop on the web this year. Google is working on a new, mobile-first web index. These changes mean that it is more important than ever to make the mobile experience as good as possible. Increasingly that means putting mobile first, rather than simply optimizing for mobile.

Roy Garton
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

When it comes to online marketing, the purpose and objectives are generally the same as traditional strategies in terms of increasing brand awareness and finding new customers. There are several ingredients that go into a successful digital promotion all the way from planning to sales. Perhaps the biggest benefit online marketing has for small businesses is that it enables them to spend each dollar more efficiently to yield a higher ROI. Here are some ways in which small businesses are making the most out of their online marketing efforts.

Producing strong content

Content marketing is the cornerstone of every online marketing strategy. Producing stellar brand material is a surefire way to create loyal visitors and encourage sharing.

At the end of the day, the most important goal of content creation is to turn visitors into customers. This can start with small objectives like earning a follow on social media, signing up for a newsletter or taking a survey or poll. Regardless of what type of content you are producing, such as a video, image, blog or social media post, you need to have a clear vision of how your content is going to add value to the life of the reader. Successful small businesses don’t just produce content for the sake of keeping a schedule. Typically, they know exactly what the concerns of their target audience are and they gear their content to address them in a profound, meaningful way. Everyone benefits from quality content Small business can take advantage of their tight-knit followers and cater to their precise interests.

Localized SEO strategy

A good SEO strategy is the key to getting noticed.. Local SEO is extremely important for small businesses, especially ones with a physical address. The end goal of local SEO is to gain high rankings for searches around your geographic location. When users search keywords or phrases in the area, you want your website to be at the top of the list.

Localized SEO is great (but very competitive) for smaller companies such as dental offices or law firms. For example, Abrahamson and Uiterwyk, a Florida injury law practice, has used local SEO to dramatically boost their rankings to increase business. With consistent efforts, they’ve ended up ruling Google’s Map packs and local results for keywords like “injury lawyer Tampa FL.” Google them and see for yourself. Currently, only 17 percent of small business are investing in SEO. Now is a great time to jump onboard and find the best ways you can leverage the Search Engine  to increase your online exposure.

Website marketing

To compete in the rapidly evolving digital landscape, having a strong website is a must for businesses of all sizes. Keep in mind, 51 percent of website traffic comes from organic search. Your positioning depends on the reputation of your website.

Perhaps one of the most important factors that go into a website’s reputation (that influences Google Rankings) is speed. Loading time has a huge impact on how users interact with your platform. Page abandonment drastically increases after each second.

A great way to optimize website speed is to select a good host for your web server. A lot small businesses miss the mark in this area because they’ve put together a site using a basic CMS like WordPress, but don’t have a good technical team to support them. For a small business evaluating a website platform, the free trials are typically pointless. Building and marketing a good website takes a lot of work and resources. Committing to this task is one of the best investments of time and money you can make for your business. One of the greatest things about online marketing is that it gives small businesses a chance to compete a relatively level playing field as the bigger enterprises. Success is based on smarter rather than total money spent. Having a solid content creation plan and SEO approach is crucial in getting your website in front of the eyes of your target audience. No need to rush it, a strong foundation will almost always lead to good results in the end.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC

www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

 

Posted by: FDMC | December 28, 2016

Doing Your Best Content Writing

You take pride in creating content for valuable resources such as blogs, e-books and training videos. You make sure you’re dedicated to producing quality work that will “wow” your audience. You set aside specific blocks on your calendar to write and revise. You prepare yourself for deep focus and concentration. You even pay for professional design, editing and copy-writing.
When you see the final product, you feel pro. You can’t wait to share it with the world. You post it everywhere and patiently wait. This is the one — and it’s going viral, baby!
The results? Minimal traffic, a few leads and no conversions. But how? This was the “no-boundaries” content you knew your audience craved. And you should know by now: You’ve been doing this for months with little to no return on investment.
So why isn’t your content marketing working? Take a look below to see if you spot any missing elements that are burning up your time, energy and money.

  1. Captivating personality.

    Knowing your business brand will help you nail down your voice. The tone, language and messages that represent your brand will help humanize your business. Together, they bring your products, programs and services to life.
    When you add personality and soul to what you do, it becomes much more emotionally engaging in the marketplace. People will want to read, watch and listen. It resonates with something inside them and ignites their imaginations. If your content isn’t reaching viewers at a personal level, it will cost you.

    2. Clear personas.

    Profiling your audience helps you narrow down detailed target markets and precise buyer personas. When you’ve clearly identified key demographics and psychographics, you can effectively streamline audience needs, wants and other invaluable specifics.
    As a whole, these tactics can help you gain your ideal customer’s attention. Get these down, and you can bridge consumers’ knowledge gaps with relevant information. In the process, you’ll earn trust along with their interest. Each time your content helps them gain perspective, confidence and progress, you’re positioning your brand as one that’s hard to forget. This directed content also can increase organic clicks, likes and shares. Without it, you’ll struggle to connect.

    3. Precise content.

    Content type and a known customer buying cycle help you create relevant, valuable content for your audience. But what about the right format? Do you know where and when it’s best to drop an e-book in front of your audience? Or which time and place your followers will watch a video instead of reading your amazing white paper? Understand how and when your audience prefers to receive information, and you’ll make an impact that transforms costs into profits.

    4. Concise placement.

    All of the above can help you pinpoint better, more relevant platforms. You understandably want your logo and products to be seen in as many places as possible, but you don’t want your brand to be just anywhere. Focus on finding two or three primary platforms to start. Refine your approach until you’ve optimized these through traffic metrics, leads and your desired return on investment.
    Saturating the market with too many locations will spread your message thinly across scattered channels. Your team will end up doing more work and having fewer conversions to show for it. This costs you in more ways than one as employees grow frustrated and your marketing dollars dwindle.

    5. Consistent promotion.

    Promoting inconsistencies will kill your content-marketing efforts. Whether you’re generating leads or practicing your lead-nurturing activities, it’s imperative that your brand stay top-of-mind for audience members.
    It’s easy to get caught up in prospecting for new traffic and leads, but don’t forget your current email and social-media communities. It’s more profitable to serve your existing customers first than to expend resources finding new ones. Learn from the audience you already have. They’ll help you save time, energy and money so you can operate even more effectively.

    6. Collaborative planning.

    Taking time to plan strategically is indispensable. As much as it’s enticing to jump on the current hot tactic, don’t — yet. You’ll certainly want to explore different platforms and tactics, but think it through first.
    Make sure these moves make sense for your brand, your audience, your team and your bottom line. That being said, overthinking during the planning stage can needlessly delay action and lead to missed opportunities. Find your balance between implementation speed and precision strategies.

    7. Calculated production.
    the results we anticipate. Strategies can fail miserably. That’s why you must put in place methods to test, track and measure your predictions and expectations against actual outcomes.
    Every business is different, every audience is special, and new technologies mean the marketplace is a dynamic one. The content you “know” will go viral sometimes bombs. A campaign you think smacks of effort half-done turns out to generate massive engagement.
    The market can be surprising and often is unpredictable. Unless you have a system for tracking, of course. Capture data and use it to better calculate outcomes so you can produce better results in the future.
    Learning to effectively and profitably promote your content will take time, energy and money — period. But it shouldn’t put you in the red. Be clear, be strategic, and be sure to evaluate these seven planning considerations. Your upfront effort will pay for itself many times over.

    Roy Garton
    FDMC Social & Digital Media
    http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | December 21, 2016

Live Streaming. The next generation of marketing videos?

If 2015 was the year that brands and advertisers embraced online video, then 2016 will see the medium take the next step as live streaming takes off.

Live streaming video refers to broadcasts in real time to an audience over the internet. While the concept of live streaming has been around for years, mobile-first video platforms with user-generated content have just recently begun to make serious waves thanks to improved video quality, faster broadband speeds, and enhanced mobile technology.

Online video has become a key part of the strategic business model for both brands and marketers as they seek more innovative ways to capture consumer attention. Creative live streaming video initiatives and campaigns are a way for companies to cut through the digital clutter and have emerged as the medium of choice not only for person-to-person sharing, but also for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) communication.

Brands are increasingly using live streaming to reach audiences. Its importance has grown significantly thanks to substantial investments by social platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter to build and enhance their live-streaming platforms.

Advertising dollars are likely to follow. 88% of agency respondents stated that they “might” or “definitely will” invest in live stream video advertising over the next six months, according to a recent Trusted Media Brands survey.

Live streaming video will further accelerate streaming videos overall share of internet traffic. Streaming video accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic, and this share is expected to jump to 82% by 2020, according to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report.

Live video’s value comes from its unique ability to add an authentic human element to digital communications. As a result, brands are leveraging three main streaming methods to connect with their viewers: tutorials, product launches, and exclusive and behind-the-scene footage.

Advertisers will continue to invest heavily in online video, especially as live streaming video gains traction. Already in the US, digital video ad revenue reached $7.8 billion in 2015, up 55% from 2014, according to figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau.

While live streaming is still in its early stages, brands are leveraging micro- payments, mid-roll video ads and direct payments from social platforms, to monetize their live streaming videos.

The success of live streaming video hinges on brands overcoming a lack of measurement standards in the space, as well as changes in social media sites’ algorithms that affect what content users see. I encourage small businesses to seriously look into live streaming the next time you want to generate traffic to your next event!

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