Posts tagged social media advertising

A social consumer holding a brand new Apple iPhone 5S with an Instagram profile on the screen.

Where Are Your Social Consumers Coming From?

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A person holding a brand new Apple iPhone 5S with an Instagram profile on the screen. Many social consumers like this one use social media to find websites.

Social consumers are harder to track as social media leads them to different websites.

Tracking is a huge part of online marketing. When you visit a site, the company knows all sorts of details about your browsing history, and all of that gets used to market specifically to you. In fact, that lamp you were looking at on Amazon is going to become the bane of your existence for the next few days. It will seem like every page you visit is trying to sell that very same lamp to you. However, tracking is not that easy when it comes to social consumers.

Enter Social Media Marketing

Content on social media gets shared via mobile devices, apps, and the like. Before long, your website traffic starts to increase, but it looks like it is all direct traffic. That can’t be right. How many people who have never been to your site before know the URL to just type it in to arrive at your site? Welcome to “dark social.” These are the social consumers that are arriving at your site, and you simply don’t know where they are coming from. It may surprise you to learn that as much as 70 percent of the website traffic you get from social media falls into this category.

What Can You Do About Social Consumers?

Google is trying to help by adding filters that can allow you to get a better look at where traffic is coming from. Other tools are available that specifically keep track of hidden social shares and things of that nature. Unfortunately, no one tool exists that will allow you to measure everything, only those tools that give glimpses into what you were completely missing out on before.

While some marketers are looking for creative ways to track mobile and social use—think custom keyboards offered by certain brands—there is still a long way to go before all of that traffic is as transparent as it once was. Until then, this hidden traffic is a hot topic in the marketing world.

Does your company have a solution for shedding light on this dark traffic? If so, it may be the next big thing that digital marketers are looking for, and it’s a race against the clock to be the first one to get there.

60-Second Instagram Videos – An Opportunity

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Let’s face it—while we were happy to start making Instagram videos, 15 seconds was only a small step up from 6-second Vines. But now the game is about to change for real. Instagram announced that they will begin allowing videos that are up to 60 seconds long.

What does this mean for the future of marketing on Instagram?

Instagram Videos are More Important Than Ever

People want to see videos. It’s why YouTube is second only to Google for number of searches—and Facebook and Instagram are also trying to get on board. Instagram offers just one more way to reach consumers with video, and not only condensed ones anymore.

Creating Video Specific to Social Media

The one possible downside to this as far as marketing is concerned is that brands are going to think they can simply upload their TV ads to Instagram. You want to be sure that you are creating an experience that goes along with social media. A TV ad on Instagram is going to feel out of place to the average user.

Brands Must Meet Consumer Expectations

You’ve been given an opportunity to engage with consumers on a deeper level. If you squander that opportunity, consumers will find the engagement they crave somewhere else. This is a chance for smaller businesses to quickly gain ground on larger and established competitors. Don’t waste that chance.

High-Quality Video Production

People are using social media on all sorts of devices with varying screen sizes and resolutions. Make sure your videos are up to par. Plus, you want the production quality to show that you are a real business. Stop filming business videos with a smartphone or tablet simply because it is easy to upload. It is time to hire a video production company, if you don’t already have one. If you do, 1 or 2 videos isn’t enough anymore because Instagram users will demand steady content.

Influencers Will Benefit Most

Influencers who already have a stronghold in social media will certainly grow stronger with this new way to express themselves to the public. If your brand is not an influencer, you need to get close to those who are influencers in your industry now.

How to Survive Marketing Trends That Fail

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Past successes and failures, current marketing trends, and influential forecasts all go into developing an analytical model for the future of your brand’s marketing strategy. Looking ahead is always the smart move in business and particularly in the competitive digital marketing world. But what happens when you look at the market from every angle, create the perfect strategy, implement it… and then find that you were wrong? Let’s take a moment to discuss how to survive those inevitable misses by reducing loss.

Weighing Risk Versus Reward

The weatherman can’t always be right and neither can predictive marketing. That being said, the weatherman doesn’t get fired when there’s an unexpected afternoon shower. So the question here is: When it comes to market predictions, how wrong is too wrong?

Without risk, you’re never going to produce that Slam Dunk campaign that every marketer and brand strive for. Fear of being wrong will hold you back from success. But, you have to critically consider what your company can stand to lose. If you put all of your social spending into one account, and that social media format doesn’t last, that’s a big oops. If you try something less risky, like introducing a new hashtag, and no one jumps onboard, you wipe the egg off your face and create a new approach.

Reducing Room for Error

A good way to ensure that high-risk tactics succeed is to test them in a low-risk environment. Are you worried that offering a discount on lifetime memberships will result in a lifelong loss of revenue from those customers? Sometimes it happens.

For example, someone may pay for a $150 lifetime membership who would have been willing to pay $10/month for the next couple of years. That cuts $90 off the value of that customer. How can you test this theory? How about trying discounted one and two-year memberships before adding a lifetime membership to the options. What happens? Do you get new customers who wouldn’t pay a monthly fee, or do you simply lose monthly customers to cheaper annual plans?

When it comes to predictive marketing, most mistakes are due less to human error than to the changing nature of business, technology, and the like. The marketer’s goal is to track marketing trends as closely as possible to produce the best campaigns.

 

Does Your Brand Market to Children? 3 Things You Must Consider

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The FTC enforces regulations that affect business practices while protecting consumers. When it comes to protecting children, these rules become stricter. UNICEF has also created some global regulations. Besides the rules, you should consider ethics when marketing to children. Here are 3 guidelines you should find paramount for your marketing strategy.

Privacy Policy

If children are under 13, you can’t collect private data from them that identifies the child personally. That’s why COPPA exists. The FTC will not allow the identifiable collection of a child’s personal information, be it a name, address, phone number, email, or even interests.

If your site even possibly collects information from someone under 13, you need to know the policy well. It will affect your site’s privacy policy. It will mean notifying parents of children to receive consent before collecting data. It also means added security guidelines to comply with.

Don’t assume that children will never use your site. If the FTC decides that your site may appeal to children in some way, it will be assumed that kids would provide their information when prompted.

Be Careful When Promoting Benefits

As marketers, we often appeal to adults on an emotional level to make a sale. Most grownups realize that the actual benefits of a product will be somewhat less dramatic than the life-altering experience promised in advertising. Children are more easily misled. They are also more easily disappointed.

Legally, the same rules apply. Don’t lie or intentionally mislead. Ethically, the issue is whether or not an ad creates a situation where parents are pressured to buy unnecessary products that marketing has convinced a child are necessary for happiness.

Where to Place Your Ad

This is another touchy subject. The only real rule that the FCC has is that you can’t advertise a product during a show that is based on said product. For example, there cannot be a commercial for Transformers during a Transformers cartoon. However, after the credits roll, there’s no rule about the very next ad.

The key here is to be responsible when marketing to children. If a parent is watching a show, playing a video game, or surfing the web with their child, will they be appalled at your brand’s choice of product placement?

Marketing Myths about Millennials

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Here is an example of how important market research is when you’re targeting a specific group or niche market. They are perhaps the most diverse of generations, yet — Millennials — are grouped together as one, and because of this, we are constantly fed a stream of ideas on how to market to them as homogeneous. While some of those suggestions are good, a lot of it is junk. Let’s clear up a few of the marketing myths:

Myth #1: Millennials Prefer Connectivity to Interpersonal Relationships

Just because this was the first generation to grow up with smartphones does not mean that they hate human interaction. Not all Millennials dream of working in a room filled with technology and no people. In fact, one recent study showed that Millennials prefer interacting with others at work rather than performing tasks remotely. While this generation appreciates the tech they have grown up with, personal relationships with family and friends are still among the most important things in their lives.

Myth #2: Millennials Are All Identical

We really shouldn’t make such a blanket statement about any generation, especially when it comes to Millennials. Socially, institutional, and even racially, this is the most diverse generation to date. So why do we insist on creating a stereotype for marketing purposes?

Millennials have the stereotype of being:

  • Always connected
  • Optimistic
  • Extroverts… at least when online

That stereotype describes a little less than half of Millennials according to a recent survey. If you want to lose out on reaching over half your audience between ages 15 and 34, be my guest. I’ll be focused on still reaching my targeted demographic within this generation.

Myth #3: Technology Is Priority One

Yes, Millennials love their phones and tablets, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that they couldn’t live without them. Nearly half of Millennials responded exactly the opposite in a recent survey, saying that they could function smartphone-free. In fact, less than half said that they are at the forefront when it comes to new tech. Less than a third were using their smartphones to make purchases, which puts them well behind several other generations.

In fact, more than 80% of shopping done by Millennials takes place in brick and mortar stores. A far cry from the idea that Millennials will only shop from their devices.

Myth #4: Millennials Have No Loyalty

This is the worst of the marketing myths. We’ve dismissed an entire generation of potential lifetime customers. Surveys show that over half of Millennials choose quality over price, and that is with two-thirds of Millennials admitting to being on a tight budget.

In summary, don’t sell this generation short or any other when there’s so much market research available. For example, Millennials love human interaction and are shopping in your brick and mortar stores, and may be loyal for life if you provide a decent product at a reasonable price.

 

How to Cope With the Facebook Algorithm Update

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What do people want to see when they check out their news feed on social media? That is the question that Facebook had to answer while creating a new algorithm. Unfortunately for marketers, the answer that the social media giant came up with is content posted by friends and family members. How does this affect you, and how can your company still use social media marketing effectively on Facebook moving forward?

How Businesses Are Affected

Preference to posts from friends and family automatically means that sponsored content will appear lower in the feed. Since some users do not have time to scroll very far during each use of the social network, this may mean fewer ads actually being viewed. There is, however, a silver lining. Here are a few things that you may already be doing that will have a positive effect on your news feed placement.

  1. Brand Advocates Are More Vital Than Ever

Create a call to action for your fans to share your content with their friends and family. By producing high-quality content that fans deem worthy to share and promote, you get an even better spot in the news feed, and it doesn’t cost you a dime.

  1. Use Images and Video

This is another determination that Facebook made – people love visual content. That translates into videos and images finding a higher spot on the news feed. So whether you are encouraging your fans to share your content or are using paid advertising, focus on high-quality and engaging video and image content.

  1. Tags, Tags, and More Tags

Tags increase your viewing audience quickly. Be sure that any content your company posts is tagged properly, and encourage fans to use specific tags that are associated with your brand. If you have an event, make sure everyone who posts to Facebook is using a specific tag that identifies the event. Tags can also create a sense of community.

It may take a little more creativity, but the new Facebook algorithm is certainly not a deal breaker for social media marketing strategy gurus.

When Should You Upload Social Media Content?

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The short answer is: as often as you have something to post. Before you say, “I was expecting at least several days a week and even specific hours of the day,” hear me out.

The reason you are looking for information on this topic is because there are so many conflicting opinions out there. Some say you should post to your LinkedIn on Thursdays between noon and three local time. Others say to post to your Instagram at noon EST because Europeans are getting home from work right when those on the US West Coast are just getting to work.

Here is some even more helpful advice.

Rather than trying to post one thing at the most opportune time each week, be prolific in your content creation. Then if one post falls into obscurity due to the timing of the post, it’s not the end of the world. Plus, your brand may get a better reaction from your specific audience at a different time from most companies. Posting at all different times allows you to see when you get the best response from your fans and advocates.

Plus, having a set time when you post content once per week does not allow you to market in real-time or to produce content when you feel the most inspired. Of course, if you really need to post at a certain time, you can create when inspired and then set up a scheduled post.

In short, you should upload social content when you have something to upload.

If there is a formula beyond that, it is one that you have to find yourself by creating, uploading, and then observing the response. Perhaps, lunchtime on Tuesday will work out best for your fans to comment share or click. Maybe they prefer to read your posts during commercials while watching Monday Night Football. The only way to find out is to post your personal social media content often.

Mobile Innovation and the Future of Engagement

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More than ever, we need to engage consumers on their mobile devices. After all, that’s where people are. They are even picking up their phones to check social media while million dollar ads are running on the TV screen across the room. So how can you stay ahead in the mobile innovation race?

What’s so great about getting there first?

After all, Myspace wasn’t the world’s social networking giant just because it existed before Facebook. Sometimes it pays off to be the second or third company to the party. Then you can see where someone else with a genuinely good idea has gone slightly awry in presenting it and do the same thing, only better. One of the most important things to build for your brand in the mobile arena is credibility. That doesn’t always come from being the first brand to do something new.

True, some of the world’s largest companies are innovators such as Apple and Amazon. We rely on Apple to wow us with release news. We know that Amazon will always be ahead when it comes to running the world’s largest online superstore (even if federal law kills some of their big plans – like drone deliveries). So where does that leave your brand?

You have to focus on a few solid goals with your team’s mobile innovations:

  • Engagement
  • Loyalty
  • Trust
  • Sales

With certain forms of innovation, getting there first can make the difference between selling your app to Facebook for billions of dollars or not even making the featured page on the app store. At other times, arriving late to the party but doing it better may be the difference between actually being the next Facebook or drifting off into obscurity. It is important to understand what true innovation is.

Sometimes innovation means having the idea first. Sometimes it means seeing someone else’s idea and seeing how to improve on it.

 

5 Simple Ways to Screw Up Your Brand’s Instagram Account

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If you haven’t already guessed from the title, this is a “what not to do” with your social media marketing. Here are five things that I have seen on Instagram which turn people in the community off to an account.

  1. Failing to Interact

Social media is all about interaction. If your brand never comments or responds to comments, then you are blowing a big opportunity. You want to humanize your brand for people, and that means being polite and engaging, not just posting pretty pictures.

  1. Using Instagram for Sales Pitches

Social media, in general, is a tricky place to try and post sales copy. Instagram is probably the toughest. People who are scrolling through their friend’s pictures don’t want to see an ad, and they especially don’t want to see spam comments. When your brand comments on someone else’s picture, even if you’ve been tagged, play it cool. Save the sales pitch for your landing page where it belongs.

  1. “What Is This Account” Syndrome

Have you ever been on Instagram and had no idea what an account was about? The problem is likely inconsistency. Your brand’s message needs to be easily recognizable to anyone who has ever used your products or interacted with your brand somewhere else. Can you tailor your content to something buzzworthy such as a holiday? Of course! But a makeup company doesn’t need to post a pic of a graveyard on Halloween. You’re a makeup brand – post a face made up for the holiday using your products.

  1. No One Likes a Panhandler

There is no place in social media for comments such as “Follow us! Our pics are da bomb!” That’s just annoying. Unless you want people to think your brand rep is a preteen kid with braces or some guy with a neckbeard living in his mother’s basement, stick to getting follows the old fashioned way. Post good content.

  1. Forgetting the Hashtag

Okay, there is one more thing you need to add to your solid content when working with social media marketing. A bunch of good hashtags. This is how people find you. Forget it and you’re lost in the sea of pictures. If you need help finding which tags to use, try a Google search for popular tags, or check the Explore page to see what is trending at the moment.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Pay Top Dollar for Marketing

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People seem to have gotten the idea that businesses should pay for services based on the amount of income that the company has. When it comes to marketing, that is a ridiculous idea. Sure, a smalltime marketing firm may try to charge a bigger business more if they think they can get away with it, but in reality a new startup will require more work on the part of product branding strategies. Here are a few reasons why.

Your brand is still in its infancy. That means the message that your brand is trying to get out is still being tweaked. Startups often require a great deal of trial and error. That is on the part of the owner and not the marketing team. Everytime the boss decides to try something new with this startup, the marketing staff has to adjust campaigns on the fly to keep up.

Your brand is starting at the ground level. Branding takes time and effort. When you first start out, it takes a lot more time and effort than once a brand is established. When you watch a Coke commercial, you may often think, “They could [insert your idea here]. That would work great!” Now try to come up with great marketing material for a company no one knows, trusts, or has dealt with yet. That is an entirely different beast.

Your situation is more desperate. Whether you are starting off with your own money or you took out a loan, most people can’t afford to have their startup crash and burn.  That results in entrepreneurs putting a ton of pressure on their marketing agency, sometimes more than a corporate giant with tons of liquid assets would. If a marketing firm messes up a campaign for a Fortune 500 company, they lose one of their best accounts. If they mess up your advertising campaign, your business may go belly up.

All of this having been said, I love working with new businesses and helping them get their feet under them. Just remember not to complain about the bill. Know that your marketing campaign is often tougher and results in more stress than the ones we put together for our biggest clients. Ultimately, that is because we want you to succeed.

 

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