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!

“Over the next few years, video is going to be some of the most engaging content online, and by continuing to innovate here, we have a chance to build the best place to watch and share videos.” -Mark Robertson, Facebook

Why should marketers upload native Facebook video to their Pages?

In short – video marketers should upload to Facebook because it works best, and because Facebook, a platform with the largest number of daily active users worldwide, has put significant resources into enhancing the platform to showcase and promote native video content. Although Facebook has allowed for uploading of native video for many years, they implemented several changes in mid-2014 that made native video, an incredibly popular medium for the platform.

After Facebook tested “auto-play” videos beginning in December 2013, they officially made it the default video playback experience in May of 2014. Since then, any video content uploaded to the platform, is given unique, and prominent visibility within user’s news feed through the automatically moving picture.

Secondly, Facebook, like other platforms, is constantly making algorithm adjustments. But, it’s become clear that Facebook began to reward native video posts (vs. photos, status updates, URL links – which include YouTube video links) in the algorithm a couple of years ago. Since mid-2014, there have been several studies published which indicate that natively uploaded video is one of the most-rewarded formats within Facebooks’ algorithm in terms of News Feed impressions delivered. Whether as a consequence of this preference or not, studies have also shown that video also generates more engagement than other post formats in Facebook. This is particularly true with regard to Facebook Live, for now. With growing popularity now of “Facebook Live” and the two video platforms now go hand-in-hand.

Benefits of using Facebook video vs. YouTube?

For most video content strategies, it’s important to leverage both platforms. However al it’s important to understand that they are also different applications and platforms. YouTube is a video-first destination, and is primarily a video discovery platform. YouTube provides a great environment for building video channels and for generating viewership both in the immediate term, as well as over time. Videos uploaded to YouTube vs. Facebook tend to bring viewership long after they are posted. Due to the nature of discovery on YouTube it is primarily driven via browse and search discovery methods.

For Facebook, viewership is often generated more-so from a “push” perspective. Facebook users are not searching out videos to watch on the platform, but rather, are viewing videos that they did not expect, but that were shared to them within their News Feeds.With Facebook, if your video content is compelling enough, it could potentially generate massive viewership in a very short time, due to the vast user base that resides in Facebook and the fact that any viewer/user can immediately share your video with their friends and fans inside the platform – creating viral potential. In fact, 53% of all Facebook video views are generated via shared posts.

Best practices for uploaded native Facebook Page videos

An important consideration and best practice for any content published digitally (video in particular) is that there are a couple known best practices for Facebook video, that pertain much more-so to the environment in which videos are consumed in the platform.

With that knowledge, there are two best practices for video that I’d like to call attention to and both have more to do with the format of the video being uploaded.

Keep in mind that in a mobile experience (75% of all video views), aspect ratio matters. In the top 25K, only 30.9% of videos were widescreen, or 16:9 aspect ratio, while 56.3% of the top performing videos were either square (1:1 aspect ratio), or vertical videos. However, in taking a look at the top 1K most-engaged videos from that set, only 20.6% were 16:9, vs. more than 70% being either square, or vertical videos.

Because 85% of Facebook video views occur with sound-off, it’s important to include timed-text, so as to better tell the story and hook a viewer. This can be done in a couple different ways. First, you’ll notice that many successful video publishers on Facebook include text subtitles and overlays within the video itself. Secondly, adding closed-captions to your Facebook videos, can help. In fact, according to Facebook itself, video ads with closed captions generate 12% more video watch-time, than those without.

By the way,the most important and obvious best practice required for success in a social platform like Facebook, is to understand, interact with, and cater to desires of the community itself.

Posting schedule or frequency for Facebook Videos

There can be more upside than there is downside to increasing the frequency at which a Facebook Page owner publishes content to their page. Many popular publishers like Buzz-Feed are publishing videos at a rate of 5 or more videos per day, per page. If you are concerned that this could cause post fatigue, or over-saturate your audience, pay close attention to the “negative feedback” analytics available within Facebook. If your audience is constantly hiding your video posts, or un-following your page, you can reduce the frequency with which you are uploading to test if that may be a cause.

While some studies suggest best days and times for posting video content (Thursdays and Fridays most often referenced), the best schedule is going to be one that best fits your unique audience, and their network. Therefore, rather than deciding schedule based off published, aggregated research, each publisher needs to deploy a proper, data-driven testing strategy in order to determine what works best for a given, often times, niche audience.

Metadata optimization

On Facebook, it appears that video metadata (while arguably always of importance), is less important in terms of video performance, than is the format and the content of the video itself. Remember, when users are served a video in Facebook, it’s not the metadata that causes them to make a decision as to whether or not to click and watch or engage with a video. Rather, it’s whether or not the video itself caught the users’ attention and interest in the few seconds it exists when scrolling through one’s feed.

All that being said, because metadata options are available within Facebook’s video uploading process. Metadata is still of importance and may be of importance more-so in the future. If Facebook enhances their internal search functionality, metadata may play a bigger role in the future. Additionally, for search engines like Google (which has been indexing more and more Facebook video URLS), metadata will be important as user signals within Facebook will be unavailable to outside search engines.

Tips For Facebook Videos and using Facebook Live

Interact with your audience: When you post a video and someone comments or reacts to your video, be sure to interact with that user. Aside from the overall importance of being interactive in social platforms, think about the result. Each time that you like and respond to a user’s comment, you generate an additional view, and two additional interactions. If that user then returns to view your reply, you then generate yet an additional view, and perhaps interaction. This engagement can help send additional positive signals to Facebook that your video is one worth providing additional exposure to.

Custom Thumbnails: While it’s true that most videos on Facebook are set to autoplay in the News Feed, there are many users who have opted to disable auto-play, for various reasons. In those cases, as well as for related videos, it’s still important to upload a compelling, custom thumbnail.

The future of Facebook video? 

Live video is exploding on Facebook and will continue to grow in the future. It is a well-known fact that the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has taken a tremendous interest in live video streaming, and as such, has re-focused internal resources into building out the company’s live broadcasting offerings. I would expect to see continued push towards live video, as well as virtual, augmented, and mixed reality moving picture content formats. I believe that those who wish to succeed with Facebook video should look to embrace live video now and figure out what types of live video content resonate best with your audience such as grand openings, sales, related events that are relevant to your business or profession are some examples.

Lastly, given that Facebook is a social platform with audience interests that span genres, geographies, etc., it’s important to continually evaluate your audience and community, to determine what will resonate with them. Testing can be done through organic post-segmentation as well as via paid promotion. I hope these tips and comments give you more insight to Facebook Videos and Facebook Live. Good luck!

Roy Garton

FDMC Social and Digital Video

http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

With social media,reach and engagement rates having dipped so precipitously over the last year or so, the paying to play game is the only option for most brands now.

But what about businesses and brands that can’t afford to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and similar social platforms? Not everyone is willing, never mind able, to carve out the budget necessary to keep their content in front of a critical mass of relevant followers on a regular basis. Those organizations can be particularly creative or incredibly persistent, but the most effective strategy they can embrace may be to get all hands on deck in the form of an employee advocacy program. Of course, to go in this direction, every team member needs to be on board with their new tack, despite an abundance of reasons to be uncooperative, unknowingly or not.

Employers need their employees working together toward the same goal if this social media strategy is to be effective. And in many cases, that’s just not going to happen anytime soon without proper training, guidance, incentive and rewards.

Here are 10 BIG mistakes many businesses, brands, teams and their leaders are making with social media…

Not providing enough education

Social media isn’t rocket science, but it requires a huge leap of faith for the uninformed and uninitiated. Not only can it be daunting, it can be downright difficult for a newbie to craft even a simple tweet, never mind write a blog post or record a video. We at FDMC can help you with training and consulting. A comprehensive, mandatory educational program is key to bringing employees up to speed.

Not providing enough incentive

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that job descriptions seem to include everything but the kitchen sink nowadays. So why not add learning social media to employees’ list of responsibilities? Seriously. Everyone’s a marketer. Everyone’s in sales. And everyone’s on social media. Which should mean repping your employer every once in a while.

Not connecting with others

There’s power in numbers, especially when it comes to propagating content. No reach, no engagement. Don’t be afraid to suggest that team members broaden their networks, even if their roles have nothing to do with sales and marketing. Employees shouldn’t be kept under wraps. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the multiplier effect.

Not sharing organizational content

All for one, one for all. That should be an internal team’s creed. Someone writes a white paper, everyone shares it. That’s a no-brainer if you ask me. Every employee – certainly those in marketing, advertising, PR and social media – should be sharing content created under the corporate roof. Their personal brands should include the professional brands for whom they work.

Not producing original content

There’s a rule in group communications called 90-9-1. This rule suggests that 90% of the members simply lurk while 9% add something to the conversation and a mere 1% contribute the most. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can’t be effective on social media if you’re being anti-social. Key employees and related stakeholders should be more than encouraged to create their own content, they should be rewarded for doing so on a regular basis.

Not keeping up with changes

Call them Luddites, Laggards, Naysayers or just plain stubborn. Whatever you call them, call them late to the party, almost too late to gain entrance. Anyone serious about their career in this day and age who hasn’t at least started to use social media risks falling dangerously behind their colleagues, connections and competition on the job. And looked upon as being not that serious after all. Social Media is ever-changing. If you are going to be involved in social media, you need to pay attention to technology changes. Sometimes these changes occur monthly!

Not looking at the big picture

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people dismiss social media as a passing fad or an inconsequential trend despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. By 2018, 33% of the world’s population, or 2.44 billion people, are expected to be using social media. Social media is the biggest revolution in mass communications since the printing press. Anyone who can’t see that by now can’t see the forest for the trees.

Not brave enough to experiment

A tendency to take risks isn’t one of the hallmarks of a corporate executive, so any fear and trepidation among this set isn’t surprising to me. But this is not the time for analysis paralysis. Social media represents a trans formative change in the way people, not just business people, communicate. Like it or not, it’s not going anywhere soon, so resistance is futile.

Not aware of their capabilities

Most employees don’t realize how easy it is share content on social media, contribute to the conversation at large and actually help move the algorithmic needle in favor of their respective organizations. Whether they’re intimidated, confused or just plain misinformed, they think social media is difficult, complex and ineffective, while it’s actually quite the contrary. They can do it if they try.

Not leading by example

People will rarely take it upon themselves to share work-related content on their personal accounts. They’re afraid it’s irrelevant and off-putting to their audience. But if leaders are doing it themselves as an example to their teams, that’s another story altogether. Employees will quickly see the benefits of supporting their employer’s brand if they see senior managers practicing what they preach and walking the talk on social media themselves.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social & Digital Media

http://www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | November 30, 2016

6 social Media Tips For Small Businesses

Social is easy – if you great content and the means to distribute it. As a marketer, however, your attention is split between various tasks at hand. It isn’t easy to give social media marketing the undivided attention it needs to get your approach to it right. Sometimes you overlook a tactic that is clearly working, or fail to optimize one that you are working with. Here is a list of six ignored tactics to increase your social media reach.

1. Create a social media sharing contest

You could use social media contests to engage and reward people who have been following you for a while. They also work in acquiring new interest for your pages, and increasing reach for the content you include as part of the contests. By powerfully branding your contest you can also increase your brand awareness on social media. One easy way to increase reach for a new product or service is by involving it in a social media sharing contest.The ideal goal here would be to get people to participate and share/bring in other participants. To do that, you have to ensure that the reward is exciting, and that the contest involves something that your audience is likely to do. The simpler you make it, the more likely your audience is to participate. Ensure that the platform or app you use to conduct the contest is user-friendly and prompts your audience to share something that furthers the reach of your contest.You could begin with the simplest contest idea you have in mind – like, share or comment to participate. Analyze the participation on that contest and slowly work your way up to more demanding activities with subsequent contests. Fully make use of the data you pull from contests, because they tell you important things about your content, your audience and your brand’s presence on social media.

2. Build a targeted social media following

If you want better engagement on your social media pages, you need a targeted social media following. Followers on your page who don’t add value to your brand or business are simply a number. While large numbers are indicative of popularity, low engagement numbers affect your brand’s search engine efforts. Irrelevant followers can also damage your brand’s identity if they decide to include you in less than desirable content.To build a targeted social media following, you first need clarity on your target audience persona(s). Define your demographic, identify what makes them tick and what their concerns are. Go to where they are located on the internet/social media and bring them to your social media pages – with the right content and follow-back links.A good way to do this is through the influencers in your niche. Follow their followers, who are highly likely to be part of your target audience. While following these people, scan through their social media descriptions and match their interests to your ideal target personas. Also judge by their following/followers ratio to see if they are likely to follow you back. Another method of building a targeted following is by sharing content specific to your industry.

3. Leverage keywords that are likely to drive traffic to your social pages

You can optimize your search for social media, just as your do for other search engines. If people are searching for something on Google, the same trends are likely to follow on social media.When was the last time you analyzed the performance of your content you put out there on your social platforms?  If you have noticed, some keywords may work for you better than others, on different social media platforms. Monitor them and apply them to every post that you share on your social media pages. Here are a few words that generally perform better on different social media platforms.

Twitter: free, top, how to, blog, 10, great, media, follow

Facebook: comment, post, discount, when, where, take, deals, amuses

LinkedIn: researched, developed, created, won, improved, under budget

Search trends generally don’t undergo drastic changes, but subtler ones that are also observable in your audience’s language. By optimizing your content to reflect the subtle changes, you can consistently build and grow the traffic moving to your social pages. One of the easiest ways to do this is by referring to what is working for your competition, on a regular basis. By using this tactic you can avoid doing the leg-work yourself and feed off what your competition is doing. The only catch is the choice you make for the topic mining. Choose one of the giants, a company that you know does its research before implementing a content strategy. You could of course go by the popularity of any post that you see is working. But when committing to a strategy in advance, follow only the best in your niche, or a large company targeting the same audience as you are, but with a slightly different product/service.

4. Build a peer/employee advocate network

Why add shares when you can multiply them? By building relationships with peers and advocates on social media, you can increase your reach up to 300X times (where X is the number of advocates you create and 300 is an approximate average follower count each of them has on all social media platforms). Imagine what would happen if your employees fill the variable X. The larger an organization is, the more they have to benefit from employee advocacy. When building a peer/employee advocate network, you have to be considerate. This relationship works like any other, there has to be give and take. You could reciprocate your peers’ sharing efforts by helping them promote some of their content. With employees, you could help them build their authority on social media while helping you push out your content. You can also create an advocacy program and reward your best advocates.

5. Post more often and on a calculated schedule

At any given time, your social media reach is limited to your audience’s real-time activity and the position of your content in their feeds. Sometimes, your audience may not even get to see the content you have created, stunting your content performance. You may have to schedule your content multiple times to reach most of your social media followers. A good frequency of posting is clearly necessary to engage and grow your social media following.

It is a good idea to focus your posting to fit the period when your followers are most active on each social media platform. People generally use Facebook and Twitter in the afternoons while LinkedIn usage happens in the mornings. But is isn’t enough to rely on generic research. You should optimize posting times to fit your social media followers’ activity. You could do this by setting up a simple experiment. Take one piece of content and schedule it to be posted on different days and at different times on each day. You could choose four-time intervals to test (early morning, mid-morning, afternoon and evening) and see the exact time when your content performs the best. You should do this on each social media platform you intend to be active on. Once you have your results, you can plan a content posting schedule to make the best of high engagement time intervals.

6. Interact with your social media audience

There is no point building a social media audience if you don’t interact with them. To build strong and lasting relationships you’re your audience, you have to care. You have to pay attention to the people who make your social media audience. People appreciate if you take the time to respond to them or to initiate conversations with them, it makes them feel special and gives them the impression that they will be cared for by your brand. How do you expect to turn your social media audience into customers without engagement and conversation? It is easier to manage your social media mentions when you have an app to help. Social media listening apps can monitor certain keywords, related to your brand, and give you real-time alerts when a mention has been made. Some of them also let you delegate tasks to a team to make your response streamlined and efficient.

The key to succeeding on social media is a good content strategy and effective reach. To optimize both for your brand, it is important to be observant of everything you put on social media and how it is received. Focus on the tactics that work better than the others, and ignore the ones that don’t.

Roy Garton

FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC

www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com

Posted by: FDMC | November 22, 2016

Using Social Sales In B2B Marketing

Social selling, or selling your products and services through social media, can be a tricky balancing act for B2B concepts. Sales and marketing teams must toe the line between persuasiveness and pushiness, and a little bit of social media know-how can facilitate enhanced positive interactions with potential clients.

After all, statistics point to social selling as one of the most effective tools in sales and marketing. Nearly 75% of buyers consult social media before making a purchase decision, and 77% of buyers don’t talk to a salesperson until performing independent research. Here are four ways to master B2B social selling for your company.

Develop a strategy and choose your network

Before heading to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, take some time to develop a strategy. What are your goals? Which social media channels does your brand perform best with, and which channels are your customers using?

In general, avoid Facebook and Twitter for B2B selling; users on these social networks are likely entertaining themselves, catching up on news or interacting with friends and family. They are more likely to view a sales pitch as an invasion of privacy and an annoyance than on LinkedIn, where the audience is much more professional. However, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+ and other platforms can still serve a purpose: They are important components to creating a comprehensive brand identity. And while Facebook, Twitter and other platforms certainly have more users, LinkedIn’s more targeted audience is more engaged with professional products and services, which serves sales and marketing teams well. Once you have a plan in place, you’re ready to proceed.

Use existing material to build brand equity

Chances are your business already has some valuable collateral that can aid in creating a conversation with a potential buyer. Think blogs, bylines, case studies, trade-show collateral, guest writing opportunities and other industry activities that will be noticed.

This is also a great time to re-distribute  any press coverage your brand has earned with decision-maker contacts for your targeted prospective customers. The truth is that most buyers do their research beforehand, so presenting your brand as favorably as possible is critical to the due-diligence process.

 Be prompt, not pushy with your follow-up

According to Social Times, more than half of consumers expect brands to respond to an inquiry or message within an hour. While this might hold true for consumer-focused brands that do the majority of their customer interactions via social media, B2B brands can afford to show a little more restraint in social media conversations. Certainly, respond in an appropriate amount of time, but don’t be too eager: Your products and services are valuable and should be seen as such.

In all interactions, make sure your messages are clear, friendly, spelled and formatted correctly, and ensure that your tone is personable yet professional. This is the opportunity for a first impression you won’t be able to make again.

Utilize the power of your prospects’ networks

You’ve done all the right things—respectful, timely follow-up, well-crafted messages, supplementary material and more—but the potential client still isn’t biting. There could be many reasons for this—budgetary limitations, corporate hoops to jump through, general bureaucracy—but it’s still important to keep up a good relationship with your potential client because while they might not be looking to buy, someone they know in the industry could be.

Craft a follow-up message to send on to leads when big internal news hits, simply informing them of positive news and gauging their interest, because circumstances change. If at first your prospect doesn’t respond, don’t be afraid to follow up with another note. This is true social networking!

Clearly, social media influences B2B sales interactions greatly. However, it does take a practiced hand to close deals, requiring a more nuanced understanding of social selling and the social media channels involved. Use these tips to take your selling to the next level.

Roy Garton
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
www.floridadudemarketingconcepts.com
Posted by: FDMC | November 16, 2016

Are You Using Google’s “My Business” Listing?

Local marketing will be pivotal for brands in 2017 — but local affiliates are missing out on major opportunities to reach consumers.

Even as local businesses  understand the value of tailoring their marketing efforts to their community, it appears that a profound disconnect still exists: Less than 8 percent use mobile, targeted search, or display advertising to reach local consumers — and 56 percent haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing, according to Brand Muscle’s  State Of The Local Marketing Report.

The study indicates that local marketing will be pivotal for brands in 2017 — and beyond. Below, three takeaways that businesses can implement to ensure that their local efforts payoff:

Claim those listings: Brands that don’t manage their listings on the local level are likely to see inaccuracies in their data, whether than means in incorrect address listing or out-of-date hours. This leads to customer frustrations when a location they expect to be able to visit has closed or relocated — and businesses can’t afford that negative experience.

chart

Set a social strategy that includes local advertising: “That’s not to say that local businesses need to be active on every social media outlet but approaching platforms like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat with an open and creative mind presents clear opportunities for brands to execute hyper-local, targeted marketing that helps local affiliates establish a viable social media presence.” Social media posts — and ads — should be tied to concrete locations and local events/promotions.

Make 2017 the year of integrated marketing:  Online and offline are essentially equal in customers’ minds; they shop and purchase however best suits them in the moment, meaning it’s more critical than ever that brands build integrated marketing efforts that work on the national and local levels. Understanding which tactics generate the best results for affiliates so you can align co-op funds and co-branded materials to support these efforts represents a major opportunity to optimize local marketing, The report concludes. “Campaigns that have historically been seen as seasonal, one-off efforts should be packaged to accommodate an increasingly fragmented media
landscape, while also taking advantage of new targeting capabilities available in our mobile-first digital world.”

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